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Hmmm..... VR working for you these days?


Jason_Williams
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3 hours ago, [CPT]Crunch said:

Unless your screens are specifically built with HDR capability this settings not going to do anything for you, far as I know there are no HDR capable VR sets.  Doubt most monitors have it either, more likely with high end TV's.

 

Hi Cap'n! Alas, you've fallen for one of the worst named features of all time. Let's call what you're talking about "True HDR" and what the game has "Dynamic Contrast Enhancement".

Here's a (very) simplified rundown:


1. True HDR


Imagine you have a screen capable of showing brightnesses from 0 (black) to 10 (white). You take a photo of a scene in real life with brightnesses from 0 to 30 (because e.g. the sun is brighter than the brightest white the screen can show). How do you show this on the screen? The most obvious approach is to divide the brightness so it fits, by dividing it all by 3. So the sunlight (30) becomes 10. A fairly bright section at a brightness of 12 becomes 4. 

You've preserved all the details, but the image comes out looking dull. Everybody says your photo looks dull and flat. :( 
This describes the "Raw" example on the left.

image.png.0b6888f5aa4dabb41414f3d62b2402ff.png

So you increase the contrast, losing details in the highlights and shadows of the image in order to make the gap between each brightness value similar to the real scene when viewed on the screen. This is "SDR" content, artificially boosted contrast to attempt match how much contrast reality has.

 

If your screen can actually show brightness 0 to 30, boosting the contrast like this was unnecessary and images end up looking really weird. So if instead we show the non-enhanced image on your special screen it now looks much more real! That is "True HDR" content on an HDR device.


2. "Dynamic Contrast Enhancement" (DCE) or "Video game HDR"

So how does this apply to a video game? We haven't taken a photo, we have created & rendered a scene. If you built a scene with true-to-life brightnesses for the sun, and materials that behave like they do in reality then when you just output raw brightness values from the scene you end up with a game that looks dim and overly dark at night, or too washed out during the day. You need some way to enhance the contrast and also adjust the brightness of the scene (the way your eye adapts to lighter/darker environments), so you add a step where the game looks at the brighter parts of the image, the darker parts of the image and the average brightness and then boosts the contrast so that these areas become white, black and middle grey respectively. Sound familiar? Yeah, it's the contrast enhancement that turned "True HDR" photos into "SDR" content for screens. The only reason it is called "HDR" is because it makes the game treat the image it would have shown you as "HDR" content and adds a step, where the game makes that image "SDR" by enhancing contrast.

 

Not all games have accurate lighting or materials, some games solve the contrast issue by making custom lights of different brightnesses instead of writing DCE code. IL2 is kind of in the middle, it is trying to be realistic, but most lighting/materials are still more "artistic" than "realistic". Because of this the game already has decent contrast, the HDR setting adds just a little bit extra. And whether that extra contrast is needed, or helpful, is debatable.

The HDR option in this game also includes bloom (Because when we increase the contrast, we push some highlights past the point we called "pure white", we can still use the information from those brighter-than-white points to generate bloom) which can be disabled in the startup.cfg file. Still, lighting, HDR and all of that is not quite 'right' in IL2. 

So what's the difference in game?
Well I think the gifv I uploaded showing the testing does a good job demonstrating the difference, even if that's not really the purpose I created it for. Even on an SDR screen you will see the difference.
https://gfycat.com/unsightlyniceaxolotl

 

 

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8 hours ago, [CPT]Crunch said:

Unless your screens are specifically built with HDR capability this settings not going to do anything for you, far as I know there are no HDR capable VR sets.  Doubt most monitors have it either, more likely with high end TV's.

The in-game HDR setting is something different. You’re thinking about this type of HDR

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-dynamic-range_video

Indeed nearly all newer UHDTVs are HDR compatible. Actually quite a few monitors are today. And nearly all current or mainstream games feature HDR. As does MSFS2020. Looks fantastic. 

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