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Firefly Renderer Settings Tutorial


First a quick defenition of each setting, you will find these options in Poser 5 Firefly renderer and in Poser 6 Firefly under manual settings.

Bucket Size: The amount of pixels being rendered at one time. If you have the system resources, set this number high for faster renders. One drawback to a high number is that it will take longer to respond if you hit cancel. This doesn't come up often though, I would use the highest number your system will allow (about 100 for 1GB ram depending what else you are running). You can find this out by using Windows Task Manager to view your memory usage as you try out new settings.

Pixel Samples: This is used in antialiasing. It means how many pixels are averaged between to create the smooth antialiased line. A higher number will increase your render time and quality, according to the manual 3x3 is a good default size, I like 4.

Max Texture Size: Set this value to the same size as the largest texture map that you are using for a quality render. For draft renders you can set the number smaller and Poser will use/create a smaller version of the texture just for that render. For instance using a 3000x3000 face texture you could set that number to 500 for your test renders and they'll go very fast. If you leave that number low though your final render would suffer as if you had used a low resollution texture map. It won't create a larger version of your map if the number is higher than your actual texture so if you always want the texture to render at it's actual quality level then setting it to 4900 should let you forget about it from then on.

Shade Rate: A lower minimum shade rate will give you a better quality render, it also takes longer. *Important note, there is also a shade rate for each body part or object. Poser will use the higher of these two numbers, meaning the lower quality setting. For a high quality render you have to go set the shade rate number for each part in the properties dialog box. What's good about it is that you can set a part low that is not being noticed or focused on and high for what is most looked at, such as using a 0 for the face and hair but a .50 for the forearm. The default shade rate on each object and/or body part is .20. If you want a better quality render than that you have to change the value in both the render options window and the body part/object properties.

Here is an example of what shade rate set to zero looks like and then shade rate set to two, fairly low resolution maps are being used. The shade rate at zero compares favorably to a straight Poser 4 render, shade rate set to two looks fairly blurry.

Shade Rate 0
Shade Rate 2

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Post Filter Size: Samples colors within a pixel and averages them. It's like a blur that makes model edges look softer. A setting of 2 will work for extra antialiasing, the opposite of sharpening.

Post Filter Type: Seems like one of those "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" things. You are choosing what kind of algorithm to use while averaging the color within a single pixel. People have said that gaussian is best but test them for yourself to see what you like.

Use these settings if your render looks jagged along the object's edges or has a moire pattern. If not leave them off because they increase render time and you'll lose some crispness.

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Check "remove backfacing polygons" unless it causes a problem (black spot, empty spot).

To use Ray Tracing for shadows, change the shadow setting on each light to "Ray Traced". You won't have to wait for shadow maps to render but the render itself takes longer. Also raytraced shadows can have funky effects on morphed characters. If you set the Ray Trace Bounces higher than two, expect slow render times. The higher setting is used when you are trying for ray traced reflections and special effects.

Smooth Polygons: Can cause distortions on straight lines and corners but makes organic curves look more natural. You can set this on each object using the properties dialog so use selectively. Example, on for a face and off for a cube.

Default Scale: Different versions of Poser have different values for the bumps, if a texture or mat pose was made in another version from yours, chances are the bump will look wrong. Most commercial textures will have a Mat pose for each version of Poser for this reason. If you are having a problem with too strong or too weak bump values, change the bump value in the materials room.

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Trouble Shooting: Shade Rate is the setting that effects how your texture maps render as well as the Max Texture Size setting. Pixel Samples effects how the geometry renders the most, especially the edges of things. If you have a problem with jagged edges you want to try changing Pixel Samples first, if that doesn't do it add a post filter. If your textures look blocky and chunky it's probably your Shade Rate, either in "Render Settings" or on the object or body part itself in the Properties dialog. Also make sure that your Max Texture size is set to the size of your largest texture map for the final render. If your object looks grossly bumpy it's the bump map values, different for each version of Poser so a constant source of vexation.

The default render quality output is low, meaning that the image will be compressed to death unless you change this setting to high. When you go to export the image you will find a quality drop down list to select from, if you save without selecting from this list the default quality is low or compressed.

Slow renders can be caused by the higher quality settings mentioned above but other things to look out for would be atmosphere settings on the lights, if you turn atmosphere up in the light properties it will slow your render down a lot without much to show for it. Also if you render with ray tracing on and turn up ray trace bounces it'll take much longer to render.
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