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HDR brightness?

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, Evo8uk said:

I have tried it just to see and it makes no difference in hdr mode

Ok great, then we could say this problem affects only with Xbox and should fix.
Maby you could put that also to 1.2 buglist and ask that Riggs update his buglist to frontpage of that thread.

There´s is only very little communicating between customers and devs, no customer support at all we could say.
That´s shame because with game you did not get anykind of manual and ingame menus there´s not any explanation what each setup actually do.

Edited by SimFunny

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I hope this is addressed in the next update!!

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8 hours ago, Evo8uk said:

I hope this is addressed in the next update!!

Hopefully, We badly need proper HDR settings. Skyboxes are great but it's so dull everywhere else. 

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I do feel like this latest update has made some improvements on this issue, for example I was using the rs200 in New England and can actually tell the dashboard is a grey colour where as before it would have been black!! plus a couple of areas on stages I remember being difficult to see have got better!

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So, four months after release, and 2 months since this thread, this is still a major issue.

And there has been no indication (that I've seen) that Codies are going to fix this.

It's a fact: On the Xbox at least (and I believe PS4 too), shadows and shadowed areas are too dark. As are areas not in direct sunlight, in sunset stages for example. I have never encountered visibility like this in real life, and that includes driving in the harsh Australian sunset with the sun right in my eyes. We use sunglasses in real life, yet the game seems to ignore this and provide an absurd rendering of ambient lighting.

This is not a system-wide problem. I am currently playing an excellent recent game, 'A Plague Tale: Innocence' which uses HDR. And ambient light levels mean you can still see things properly when going from direct sun into shade. The way it should be.

I've stopped playing DR2.0 because of this problem, it is that bad.

@PJTierney Some acknowledgment of whether this is even being looked at, would be much appreciated.

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the HDR implementation in this game is not great. honestly just better to turn HDR off. it's the same for a lot of games though. most monitors and TVs are not actually true HDR but use tricks to make it seem like they're doing true HDR anyway.

HDR can give you an exaggerated bloom effect which makes the bloom even worse when it comes to DR2.0 because there's so much bloom and all these crazy lighting effects to begin with. 

I think the game actually looks better with HDR off.

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I'd really like to try by myself how bad HDR is, because I usually think it's great, but I'm on pc, so non HDR for me.

I still don't get why.

Is there any hope for HDR on pc?

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I did get a message on here from a producer at codemasters and they said the issue couldn’t be replicated internally at codemasters but would pass the info onto the graphics team and hopefully it would be fixed in a future patch!

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Posted (edited)

I think there's some confusion here around the somewhat ambiguous term 'HDR'.

The game runs internally using high dynamic range. It may not map to a particular HDR standard like HDR10 or Dolby Vision, but the game needs to map this brightness range into a standard output range (SDR) for display on conventional screens. This is mapping is what is problematic in some areas – the tonemapping/exposure is too dark for those areas, leading to an image which looks underexposed. This also explains why the headlights don't affect the scene – internally the scene is actually fairy bright, brighter than the headlights; it's just being displayed incorrectly.

The issue of outputting HDR visuals is a separate matter. It's also not something I have any experience with so I won't try to discuss it. All I know is it's a fairly new technology, so there may well be issues simply because of that.

edit: hopefully this will explain what I mean about the tonemapping/exposure problem. Let's say you're driving along and you come to a shaded area. I'll use this bush in my garden as a substitute for a shaded road 🙂

FJXT9890.thumb.jpg.75159516839eea79bd6dee32644cf95f.jpg

Now let's drive into the dark area:

FJXT9891.thumb.jpg.74be62388e2948348a8da6b13edf8063.jpg

So dark! Let's turn headlights on:

FJXT9893.thumb.jpg.9d9103d7ce43098c073e57991a62f3cd.jpgFJXT9892.thumb.jpg.e2fc3897a10b96391c0f699ee4896b60.jpg

It doesn't do anything! And it's a pretty bright light, too. What's up with that? Well, it's bright, but it's still not as bright as the shaded area, in absolute terms. The shaded area looks dark because it's underexposed. If we adjust exposure (in this example, by 3 stops; going from 1/125 shutter to 1/15), everything's fine:

FJXT9894.thumb.jpg.acf350c3f4a378a8363a00683a33bcbe.jpg

This is more or less the same as how your eyes would adjust when going from a sunlit area into a shaded area. It wouldn't look oppressively dark unless you were basically going through a long tunnel, and bear in mind that in New Zealand in particular, the shaded areas aren't fully covered – they're actually mostly open to the sky:690790_20190612105635_1.thumb.jpg.1dd84fa1baf2e8cfa1c8e38d877a0fdb.jpg

(note that this example has actually been brightened a bit to make the road clearer; by default it was very dark)

Edited by caerphoto
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That’s a good explanation, I hope it gets fixed at some point it’s so frustrating

4203F5D5-2A91-42F6-9B10-780CE614C542.jpeg

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Just to add a bit more to this, the darkness is from the dynamic shadows. If you set Shadows to Off (on PC only, obviously), it looks fine, which leads me to suspect the game is basing the HDR tonemap/exposure on the brightness of the scene before the shadows are rendered. Here's a video I made comparing the same section with shadows set to Off and Medium:

 

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Well, I've taken your suggestion @Tranzitive and switched off HDR at the console settings level (Xbox one X). And I'm not looking back! After some calibration of my TV, the skies are still looking wonderful, but the game is also looking much less dark and murky - and more detailed and vibrant to boot.

It's funny, I thought the whole point of HDR was to 'combine exposures' so you could have the equivalent of Caerphoto's two photographs (and two exposure levels) of the bush above, in the one image? Such that images show high contrast detail at all light levels - which is the opposite of the result in this game. Would be interested in your comment here @caerphoto

Never mind, it looks great without HDR, and still a major step up from DR1. Having said that I have yet to play though New Zealand and the infamous dark shadow sections, with HDR switched off. Hoping it makes a great improvement, but we'll see.

Now, if they could just improve the headlight throw...

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, Jake Cushing said:

It's funny, I thought the whole point of HDR was to 'combine exposures' so you could have the equivalent of Caerphoto's two photographs (and two exposure levels) of the bush above, in the one image? Such that images show high contrast detail at all light levels - which is the opposite of the result in this game. Would be interested in your comment here @caerphoto

This is part of the problem with the term 'HDR' – it has so many uses that discussing it can be confusing.

What you're thinking of is a technique used in still photography, which does indeed do what you're describing – compress a large input brightness range into a smaller output range. Sometimes it's a bit, er, overdone

extreme-hdr.jpg.21be242d07a4f826591a8592b483536b.jpg

With digital photography it's usually done by merging two or more exposures of different levels, since camera sensors are somewhat limited in the range of brightness they can capture; with a game engine there's no need since it already has the full brightness information available. The problem with doing this in-game, though, is that it almost always requires a lot of manual tweaking to look good (e.g. avoiding things like the weird glow around the car's roof in the pic above), and the adjustments required would vary constantly. It could probably be done, but at this point it's more of an artistic choice than a technical one – the 'HDR look' isn't to everyone's taste.

What DR2 does (just like any other game I think) is basically what videographers and camera exposure meters do: pick an exposure level that works best for the subject, even if it means some parts of the image are under- or over-exposed. Stills photographers do the same for moving subjects, since you obviously can't capture multiple levels of exposure of a moving subject. This is not necessarily a linear subjection of the input brightness – there's some tone curves and stuff that get applied to achieve a certain level of brightness range compression, but nothing like the exposure blending I mentioned above; more just simulating how our eyes work.

Usually the game (or camera) gets it right, and you don't notice anything weird, but in certain conditions (e.g. NZ at sunset; camera pointed at someone in front of a bright window) it gets it wrong.

———

Another use of the term HDR is for output – this is what HDR10 and Dolby Vision are all about. They specify that a device must have a certain range of brightness and colour output, quite a bit higher than your regular TV or computer monitor, so the source brightness range doesn't have to be compressed as much. Thus when you look at an HDR monitor you see deeper shadows and brighter highlights, if everything's working properly. If it's not, you can end up with an ugly flat-looking image that looks like a photo left out in the sun too long.

I don't know how big the internal brightness range of the game is, but I suspect it's still larger than any HDR screen – perhaps since it uses physically-based rendering, it's simulating the full brightness range of the real world, so there's still going to be a degree of tonemapping/exposure adjustment going on.

Edited by caerphoto
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I hope codemasters can at some point fix this problem but in the meantime a simple in game toggle to turn hdr on/off would be a workaround as opposed to having to switch hdr off at a system level.

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@caerphoto Terrific explanations!

It's great how you can learn about such things on a seemingly unrelated forum (a rally simulation!)

Makes me want to get my camera out and actually learn a thing or two.

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Posted (edited)

On the PS4 you can tell when HDR is not done right by pressing the PS button once the game has loaded up and going to the dashboard. If HDR is done right games Res7 or Horizon the dashboard is as bright as it is before starting a game up. If done wrong the dashboard is can be dull or extremely dull and Dirt Rally 2.0 is on the extremely dull side for whatever reason they choose not to do HDR properly and didnt give us the correct settings/options so it gave us a game lacking in luminance. 

Edited by FLAW3D
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