Maturation and expansion of per-pixel probe interpolation
Per-pixel probe interpolation, the Enlighten feature which helps artists shade large, probe-lit objects with high quality light graduation across the surface and reduces the performance cost of maintaining and recalculating sampling points for large numbers of probe-lit objects, has previously only been available in experimental forms in the Unreal Engine Integration and Forge. Taking this important feature to the next level has been the main focus of the Enlighten team and it is now fully exposed for all Unreal Engine users and available in the SDK as a robust low-level API or an experimental high level API.
Acceleration of the precompute
In order to accelerate the Enlighten mark-up process, SpeedTree assets that are imported into Unreal Engine 4 are now automatically marked as Contribute Probe and have their materials set to double-sided, the recommended settings for trees to increase lighting quality and reduce precompute time. Similar to this, the SDK now prevents certain cases where the wrong precompute material property, such as backface behaviour, could be used. In Seastack Bay, these changes combined delivered a 9x improvement to the precompute time for contributing trees.
Further performance optimisations have taken place across the precompute – especially noticeable will be the case of CalculateSystemDependencies which shows precompute reductions of 15% for large game worlds.
Higher fidelity probe lighting
If you want to indirectly light dynamic objects, you need to author or automatically place volumes of light probes as part of your authoring workflow. There are currently two approaches for laying out Enlighten probes, grid and octree, with the latter offering lower precompute times and storage costs. With this release, the visual fidelity of octree probe lighting has been further improved.
Easier baking from Forge
Forge, the global illumination visualization tool which supports new users to understand the basics of the Enlighten workflow and the impact that dynamic indirect lighting can have on their scene, now fully supports the ability to export scenes for baking without any additional mark-up using GeoPrecompute or the GeoRadiosity tool. This ensures that however studios wish to use Enlighten in their project, they can quickly evaluate the benefit it can bring.
The focus for the development team over the coming months is on increasing the value that Enlighten real-time global illumination adds to outdoor scenes. Meanwhile our artists are designing a showcase that will highlight the benefit that real-time indirect lighting can bring to virtual reality experiences. This demo will be released in December at VRX USA, but you can follow its progress via the development diaries.
For further information on these and other items included in Enlighten 3.07, please read the release notes.
If you have a specific feature request for Enlighten, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.