I have a few questions about the Light Paths bounce settings under the ‘Render’ tab in the properties panel in Cycles.
The ‘diffuse’, ‘glossy’, ‘transmission’, and ‘volume’ bounce numbers are separate from the ‘max’ and ‘min’ numbers. The tooltips for ‘diffuse’, ‘glossy’, etc. all say they’re “bounded by total maximum”. Is this referring to the ‘max’ number? And does this mean, for example, if I had glossy set to 2, and diffuse, etc. set to 0, should I set the ‘max’ number to 2 as well, since I assume “bounded by total maximum” means the glossy’s bounce number won’t go higher than what’s set to max during the render, no matter what number I put into glossy? This confuses me because under the ‘direct light’ preset, both ‘max’ and ‘min’ are set to 8, but none of the other bounces below it reach 8.
I’m also curious on the bounce setting’s influence on noise in renders. I’ve read that if I want less noise in my image, I should decrease the bounces. But I’ve also read that certain bounces, like glossy for example, require more bounces to look correct. I sometimes have to have multiple light sources with many glossy materials, and having my bounces set to even low amounts like 6 can produce a lot of noise and fireflies. I know you’re supposed to increase the samples to get rid of noise, but sometimes I increase it up to 3000 samples, and noise is nowhere near to being gone. This usually leads to me trying the various other methods of getting rid of noise, like clamping, filter glossy, and denoising.
But my questions above lead to confusion and constant second-thoughts on my bounce settings, as I’m always wondering if the bounce numbers are the problem and if there’s a good light bounce template for certain types of scenes using certain kinds of materials and light sources.
If anyone has any answers, or tips in general on lighting settings in Cycles, I’d be very grateful.