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[SOLVED] Denoiser for baked maps ?

Home Forums Graphics / Blender [SOLVED] Denoiser for baked maps ?

  • This topic has 11 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by xeon.
Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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  • #44780
    xeon
    Customer

    Hi Blender peeps.
    If you have ever baked maps you probably are in or have been in the same boat I am in. I am looking for a good denoiser for baked maps.

    I have tried Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Premiere, Apple Motion, FinalCut, Neat Video, and Topaz Labs Denoiser.

    All of which do a decent job of getting rid of and smoothing out pixelation type noise. But Blender adds this other messy noise that is more gaussian in nature, especially found in shadows and rough surfaces.

    Blenders’ own denoiser works great at removing this stuff but does not work when baking textures. SOOOOO….. I am hoping someone in this group has found a good solution they could recommend.

    Thanks

    • This topic was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by xeon. Reason: typos
    • This topic was modified 1 month ago by xeon. Reason: solved

    Xeon
    Route 66 Digital
    Interactive Solutions

    #44784
    jdhutchinson
    Customer

    Hey, is that pixellation as in requiring too many samples? Is there a workaround using simple colour maps and multiplying an AO pass or something?

    Or rendering to a larger texture map, then downsampling?

    I’ve been lucky because some of the baking I’ve done has been from a scan, so I only have to tick the ‘Colour’ option, not direct light.

    #44788
    xeon
    Customer

    Blender’s denoisers are completely bypassed when created baked texture maps. So to get around this I have been increasing my sample from typically 128 to as high as 10,000 and then post-processing the files.
    This technique works…but is extremely time-consuming for rendering. I render out 8K to 12K maps…then dump them to 2K or smaller…but the process removes all the crap left in by Blender. Unfortunately, each bake takes about 2 to 3 days to render. Given the number of maps I have to do this can take more time than it takes to create the project. Especially since baking each pass separately…Lights: direct and indirect (not always needed), diffuse, glossy, transmission, ambient occlusion, and Emit. Sometimes depending on the object and scene, we can do them all at once.

    However… I have just tried Blenders compositor…that gives me some hope. It allows you to access the “denoiser” … doesnt specify which one….and it also allows you to access “despecal” which really helps with the “fireflies” and Gaussian noise. So going to try some much smaller map sizes…and see if I can cut my render times down.

    Youtube link on how to use here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJbGR0Jnd0k

    This is free of course…so that’s a big win.

    Xeon
    Route 66 Digital
    Interactive Solutions

    #44789
    jem
    Customer

    @xeon,
    It seems that you have researched this topic thoroughly already. I was going to suggest the brute-force technique of increasing the samples in Cycles. I understand that you have tried this and found the time required unacceptable, but before you give up on the brute-force high-sample bake solution, you may want to check some Blender settings. As you know baking in Blender is weird (I am being kind). Here are a few settings to check. I will assume that you are using one or more graphics cards with an Nvidia 10xx GPU or newer.

    1. Make sure that you are using CUDA on your GPU only (Edit->Preference->System->Cycles Rendering Devices). DO NOT USE RTX. Don’t include your CPU under CUDA even if you have a Threadripper or some other hot chip.
    2. If you have more than one graphics card, verify that all of them are selected under the CUDA option.
    3. Make sure that you are actually using your GPU to bake. The board partner that built your graphics card should offer a tool to monitor GPU activity. During the baking process, the GPU load should be 100%. Do not use Windows Task Manager for this. It does not do a good job showing GPU load.
    4. Set your tile size to 256×256

    My point is that Blender likes using the CPU to bake. Blender is sneaky and does not warn you when it does this. You can have the “Device” setting in the render properties tab set to “GPU Compute” and Blender might still default to the CPU if your settings are not quite correct. GPU baking is easily 10x faster than the fastest CPU out there.

    Please let me know if I am wildly off-base here. Thanks.

    Jeremy Wernick

    #44790
    xeon
    Customer

    Hi Jeremy,
    Well…I am probably an odd ball but I am running Blender on a MacPro with Dual AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Dou cards…and kicking myself. I can use AMD Pro Render for video…works great super fast rendering… but of course when I have to use Cycles and I wishing for a PC. I have 16 cores but its still pretty slow..since Blender on Mac wont recognize the AMD GPUs.

    However now that I figured out I can use Blenders compositor to denoise…I can drop the samples to something more reasonable. So far I am dropping res sizes to 4K and sample to about 2500 and that takes me from days to just a few hours. So that is super helpful. I will push up the tile size per your suggestion and see how that goes.

    Xeon
    Route 66 Digital
    Interactive Solutions

    #44791
    jem
    Customer

    Hi Xeon,
    Yep. That is an odd setup for Blender. It is very nice, but not ideal for Blender. I have a Mac with an AMD Vega 56 GPU. It is nice, but I never use it for Cycles rendering.

    You know this, but I will state this for everyone else reading this thread: Blender on Mac OS does not use the GPU for Cycles rendering. As a result, Blender will use the CPU for Cycles render tasks. It will be very slow.

    FYI, I just did an 8k texture bake at 1,000 samples on a pair of NVidia 10xx on a PC. It took less than an hour.

    I wonder if one of the cloud-based Blender render services supports texture baking. If it did, that could be a cheap solution.

    I am glad you found an acceptable solution.

    PS, the tile size suggestion assumed a GPU. GPUs use bigger tiles. Since you are using a CPU, you should use a size closer to the default.

    Jeremy Wernick

    #44795
    jdhutchinson
    Customer

    @xeon Yes! This is a good point, there is a denoiser in compositor I recall.

    Would love to see your process and results.

    #44838

    Here’s a new video tutorial how we in soft8soft team baking AO maps.

    Co-founder and lead graphics specialist at Soft8Soft.

    #44844
    jem
    Customer

    Hi Mikhail,
    That was a great video tutorial. I like your compositing technique with the gaussian blur and infill. Also, I always forget the filmic color mode setting!
    And, I did not know that UVPackmaster existed. Thanks for the tips!

    Jeremy Wernick

    #44859
    xeon
    Customer

    Hi there…the method in the video is what we use but with hundreds or thousands of objects…I would not bake maps one object at a time….we just bake them all at once. Set it up and walk away for a while until the render is complete.

    I don’t know about other people but 32 samples is way too grainy for my liking even after denoising in Blender compositor but thats a subjective thing.

    Process works thats for sure.

    Xeon
    Route 66 Digital
    Interactive Solutions

    #45029

    Hi Mikhail,
    That was a great video tutorial. I like your compositing technique with the gaussian blur and infill. Also, I always forget the filmic color mode setting!
    And, I did not know that UVPackmaster existed. Thanks for the tips!

    Glad it’s still useful even for such experienced user.

    we just bake them all at once. Set it up and walk away for a while until the render is complete.

    This was shown in video just for understanding the process, ofcource you can select them all and bake or temporally join and bake.

    I don’t know about other people but 32 samples is way too grainy for my liking even after denoising in Blender compositor but thats a subjective thing.

    If we are talking about AO this usually enough fore me almost 7 years of developing. You can see it in the result image that is good enough no matter how scene is big.

    Co-founder and lead graphics specialist at Soft8Soft.

    #45041
    xeon
    Customer

    Thank you all for the great information.
    Seems I have some adjustments to make on my render samples now that I have a respectable way to denoise baked texture maps.

    Xeon
    Route 66 Digital
    Interactive Solutions

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