Determine the best/right load order of shaders?

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9 months 1 week ago #1 by Vreem
Is there a way (other then visually) to determine the best/right load order of shaders?
I did read about it in the Troubleshooting part here (great read btw!) but still some questions.
I use ReShade 4.5.0 for RDR2 (Vulkan) and use only 4 shaders: Clarity.fx, LumaSharpen.fx, MXAO.fx and qUINT_lightroom.fx.
If I follow the Troubleshoot guide on load order and place MXAO first, then all kind of artifacts appear. But if I load LumaSharpen first and then MXAO, all is fine.
The load order now is LumaSharpen,MXAO,Clarity,Lightroom
The following user(s) said Thank You: Tojkar

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9 months 1 week ago - 9 months 5 days ago #2 by Tojkar
No. The only effect shaders has is visual. Thus no other means to determine the best order. The best order is 100% dependant on your own preferences.

However, there are certain things that knowing them will help you to come up with initial baseline order before even activating any shaders. Those thing are how different shaders interact with each others. For example, having noise shader before sharpening makes the noise stronger and might even prevent the sharpening shader to sharpen the actual picture beyond the noise. Thus usually it's better to have the sharpening before the noise. But then again..it's all dependant on your own preferences.
Last edit: 9 months 5 days ago by Tojkar.

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9 months 1 week ago #3 by Vreem
@Tojkar
Okay, thank you. Trusting my own eyes then :)

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4 months 1 week ago #4 by aaronth07
Replied by aaronth07 on topic Determine the best/right load order of shaders?
If you would like a more physically accurate guide (based off of an actual camera and post process pipeline), here is a great post that I have saved from this forum:

reshade.me/forum/shader-suggestions/1003-correct-image-pipeline

The only change I would make to that is put the anti-aliasing shaders first, as real life is not aliased.

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4 months 1 week ago #5 by Faustus86
Replied by Faustus86 on topic Determine the best/right load order of shaders?
Personally i alway's start out with color correction, because color correction with curves and depth's has the highest impact on what the game look's like. Then i save all color data made with different shader tool's and save them to a LUT wich i then put on top of the loading order. Less active shaders = better performance and better oversight. Then i start adding effect's like bloom, ambient light etc. Everything that does changes to the image brightness. Since i already did this part with the LUT i can turn down a lot of effect's and go more suble with them. You shouldn't use bloom for example to brighten an image up. Unless you go for a specific look. Once colors, light and bloom is set i can add other effect's like lense flair or grain.

My last step is to choose AA + Sharpening methid. AA should always come first. Where i put these depends on the effect's i use. There isn't much sense putting CAS on top of the order when you also use blur effect's underneath and as aaeonth07 said, loading sharpening last could also cause unwanted effect's.

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4 months 10 hours ago - 4 months 10 hours ago #6 by canceralp
Replied by canceralp on topic Determine the best/right load order of shaders?
I guess, in OP's case the correct order should be:

1) MXAO (AO should already be as early as it can even when it's a natural in-game effect)

2) qUINT (any color correction should come later, as it wouldn't affect AO. Because AO is only black & white)

3) Clarity. This one is an overall contrast enhancer which acts similar or bloom. Actually it is a special bloom-like shader that does not only the lightens the light colors but also darkens the dark colors. Since it's an overall enhancement and does some blurring, it should come after MXAO and qUINT. Otherwise MXAO and qUINT wouldn't have a chance to interact with the original image. (I would have gone with Curves, instead of Clarity, though. Curves + qUINT can be combines in a LUT file and the result would be scene independent)

4) Sharpness. That always comes at the end. Placing any sharpness filter to the end is important because our brain perceives things as a whole. When the whole screen is sharpened our brains accept that. If some effects are sharpened and some not, than the picture wouldn't look as whole to our eyes.
Last edit: 4 months 10 hours ago by canceralp.

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4 months 7 hours ago #7 by Uncle Crassius
Replied by Uncle Crassius on topic Determine the best/right load order of shaders?

canceralp wrote: I guess, in OP's case the correct order should be:

1) MXAO (AO should already be as early as it can even when it's a natural in-game effect)

2) qUINT (any color correction should come later, as it wouldn't affect AO. Because AO is only black & white)

3) Clarity. This one is an overall contrast enhancer which acts similar or bloom. Actually it is a special bloom-like shader that does not only the lightens the light colors but also darkens the dark colors. Since it's an overall enhancement and does some blurring, it should come after MXAO and qUINT. Otherwise MXAO and qUINT wouldn't have a chance to interact with the original image. (I would have gone with Curves, instead of Clarity, though. Curves + qUINT can be combines in a LUT file and the result would be scene independent)

4) Sharpness. That always comes at the end. Placing any sharpness filter to the end is important because our brain perceives things as a whole. When the whole screen is sharpened our brains accept that. If some effects are sharpened and some not, than the picture wouldn't look as whole to our eyes.


2) While color correction doesn't affect AO per se it affects the picture. And since AO affects the brightness of colors it can make a difference if you apply it earlier or later.

3) Clarity doesn't add bloom, it's color contrast. And MXAO relies on what the depth buffer provides anyway to it doesn't matter if the output picture is changed by Clarity. So if you add Clarity first and MXAO second, the MXAO pass won't be affected by clarity. But if you apply MXAO first and Clarity afterwards it might add too much contrast. Clarity, like sharpen, is more like an inverted blur.

4) Depends. Sharpening Filmgrain or shaders that add filmgrain like pretty much all of Prod80's Shaders will probably look worse since the grain gets more noticeable by sharpening it. I'd also say that sharpness should come before DOF because you don't want to sharpen the blur.

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4 months 2 hours ago #8 by Tojkar

Uncle Crassius wrote: So if you add Clarity first and MXAO second, the MXAO pass won't be affected by clarity.


That is only partly true. It wont affect the placement of AO but it will affect on the blending to the image as pixel brightness affects how strongly it is applied. Similar effect as you said in point 2 about color shading effects affecting it.

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4 months 41 minutes ago #9 by Uncle Crassius
Replied by Uncle Crassius on topic Determine the best/right load order of shaders?

Tojkar wrote:

Uncle Crassius wrote: So if you add Clarity first and MXAO second, the MXAO pass won't be affected by clarity.


That is only partly true. It wont affect the placement of AO but it will affect on the blending to the image as pixel brightness affects how strongly it is applied. Similar effect as you said in point 2 about color shading effects affecting it.


True, worded it poorly. In both cases Clarity influences the final outcome but in both cases differently.

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