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TOPIC: "Best-Practice"/Intermediate Guide?

"Best-Practice"/Inte​rmediate Guide? 8 months 3 weeks ago #1

I hope this isn't a question that has already been asked (it didn't appear to be after a search).

So basically, the position I'm in is I've got the hang of Reshade itself. I can even rather easily port presets made for older Reshade, which I've been doing to teach myself the ropes of it. I can add ridiculous amount of "magicbloom" and give games a Michael Bay feel as much as I can add subtle effects that do seem to actually work without seeming too much.

What I'm wondering is if there are any "best-practices" people have found in order to create presets which actually add to and go above and beyond the visual experience and take it beyond just adding a filter to a game? How do people get the "best" colours from their games, or indeed entirely change the colour curve or matrix of the game as accurately as possible? (e.g. for "realistic colour" mods). I'm guessing it involves working out how scenes are coloured and inverting/reversing anything that goes beyond being natural (beyond any shaders the game includes, which should probably be turned off).

Then there are more off-beat questions such as... Is it possible to incorporate a games' own shaders into reshade? How can I most effectively use Reflective Bump Mapping? (I can see it could be very useful but can't fathom how to best use it).

TL;DR There are hundreds of guides on how to "add this effect/preset to this game" on the web and Youtube, but very little information it seems on starting from scratch with a game.
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"Best-Practice"/Inte​rmediate Guide? 8 months 2 weeks ago #2

WELL. Looks like I triggered the spam filter and my post got deleted again. Thankfully after the LUT Tutorial shenanigans I backed it up before hitting submit:

EDIT (crosire): Restored full post below.

Nice try, crosire, but you won't drive me up the wall, across the ceiling, and into Crazy Town just yet!
"haaa ha ha haaaaah" -The Dark Adonis

Am I on some ReShade watchlist after I teased the guy for complaining about the PCMR icon by making stylish rainbow swastika icons for them? I never had this issue before then.
Last Edit: 8 months 2 weeks ago by crosire. Reason: Restored full post below
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"Best-Practice"/Inte​rmediate Guide? 8 months 2 weeks ago #3

  • crosire
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FierySwordswoman wrote:
Am I on some ReShade watchlist after I teased the guy for complaining about the PCMR icon by making stylish rainbow swastika icons for them? I never had this issue before then.
Hehe. No. (That was fun btw, but a bit too drastic to stay online on this forum). At least not officially. The spam detection uses machine learning, so who knows, maybe it's out for you ;). Anyway, in case that happens and you don't have a backup, just leave a note and the post can be restored.
Cheers, crosire =)
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"Best-Practice"/Inte​rmediate Guide? 8 months 2 weeks ago #4

I make all my own presets from scratch since I'm too picky to use other peoples', so here's my few tips kinda~

For color correction, I've found that hands-down the best way is to use a LUT to make the color corrections in a program like GIMP or Photoshop. I've conveniently already made a tutorial of that here: reshade.me/forum/shader-discussion/3179-...correction-the-guide
Most modern games (Battlefield 4, GTA V, etc.) won't need much more than that.
Other tiny effects you can use everywhere is Lumasharpen and possibly Film Grain.
For Lumasharpen I always set the intensity to 1.0, the pattern to 'Normal', and adjust the clamp with debug on to have it sharpen as much as possible without creating white highlights (I generally use a clamp of ≈0.2).
For Film-Grain, I've found it can actually look kinda nice if you set the signal/noise to 16 (means it only applies to shadows), the intensity to 1.0, and adjust the variance to be however visible you want it (I generally use a variance of ≈0.5)
These 3 effects (LUT, Lumasharpen, maybe Filmgrain) take no FPS and can be used basically anywhere, so that's your "base set".

Now, a variety of effects in order of what I typically use the most:
loom and Lens Flares. This can be configured to look like either Magic Bloom, Ambient Light, or neither. It can be really subtle or really intense. It really helps with older games/those without much post effects. I also use it to replace lame bloom on certain older games like Star Wars Battlefront II and Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. I use this far more than anything else below.
DOF (Depth of Field/Focus). While I initially hated the effect due to not being a cow and actually using my eyes to look at other parts of my monitor beside the center, I've found a way to make it viable. First, pick which type you like in some test environment. I personally like Matso DOF with Advanced DOF coming in second (might be first if not for the pixelation), finding none of the others nearly as desirable. Next, to make the effect at all worthwhile, adjust the near/far blur curves and blur amount to make the shader have no effect unless the object is really close to the camera in a relative sense (1m *max* for first-person, close to the ground for RTS, etc.) at which point the blur can either increase sharply or mildly depending on your tastes. This basically replicates the effect of you putting your hand a pencil's-length away from your nose IRL and never starts blurring the BG somewhere you don't want it to ('cept for maybe the UI in some really specific circumstances like Warcraft III where the depth-buffer includes the UI. Just mask that out.).
This effect requires depth access, which means you'll probably only use it in 1/5-1/2 of your games depending on what you play. No multiplayer (Battlefield) or weird games (Don't Starve) will work, and even then you might just be unlucky.
HQ4X. Can be used to smooth certain games to a degree (Grainy games like Factorio and pixelated games like Crypt of the NecroDancer). No real comments on settings since it varies a lot depending on the type of smoothing needed.
MXAO. This is ambient occlusion on steroids, similar to that of ENB Skyrim's if you've ever used it. However, the reason it's not above DOF is because some games have their own AO which doesn't have any visual issues such as overwriting the UI and other times it just won't work nicely with certain in-game objects (Bayonetta PC's environemt and some Subnautica flora if I recall correctly). I've found that for games where you can get it to work properly, the best way to configure it is via the black/white debug view since you can see exactly what's happening ("Oh hey, that looks rather hazy and doesn't accent the object. Let's turn down the sample area. Etc."). Also, don't forget about Inderect Lighting (SSIL)!
Same depth-related drawbacks of DOF.
Surface Blur. Really just used for game whose art style you want to change. I used it on Warcraft III to make the textures a bit more oil paint-y like in DOTA 2.
UI Mask. Use if you use depth-effects like MXAO or DOF and the UI of the game doesn't change in all of ever, such as in Warcraft III.
Reflective Bump Mapping (RBM). Mimics the effect of surface reflection on games that don't have it (Street lamp reflecting off of a road, etc.). However, I have yet to find a game that can reasonably use it while also having depth-access, so no comment on the settings.
Adaptive fog. Covers all your fog needs, though I've never found a game that actually *had* fog needs. No comment on settings.

And that's about it. The only other thing I can say at this point is to use the value sliders like they're going out of style; waggle your mouse back & forth to "home-in" on the ideal value.
Also, don't take my word for any of this. Go into a malleable game with depth access and test out each shader one by one to get a feel of where/if you can use it and how to do so.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Viper_Joe, Dark_Ronius, Kurt3100

"Best-Practice"/Inte​rmediate Guide? 8 months 2 weeks ago #5

This is all really handy, thanks! I figured it might be better to use GIMP, I guess I didn't want to "remake the wheel" so to speak and see how others approached it. I think it was that problem of a "moving target", both from in-game shaders and art style. I was worried my question was maybe too obvious, I mean in some ways it is, but it's more connecting the dots and this has helped. Thanks again!!

It might be worth me adding that I've also found DepthHaze can give a fixed DOF feel that isn't too harsh.
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"Best-Practice"/Inte​rmediate Guide? 8 months 2 weeks ago #6

You can disable autofocus and set a manual focus depth to recreate that using the DOF shaders while still keeping all the other benefits.
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"Best-Practice"/Inte​rmediate Guide? 5 months 1 week ago #7

Just noticed both of the "people" who've responded last have extremely generic names, no other posts, spotty grammar, and are advertising some crappy web service in their signatures.

crosiiiiiiire, SkyNet is taking over again.....
Last Edit: 5 months 1 week ago by FierySwordswoman.
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"Best-Practice"/Inte​rmediate Guide? 5 months 1 week ago #8

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Banned both of them and removed their posts. Do you wish to have this post here removed and your post as well, to keep things uninterrupted?
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