I've been developing a physically-based shader framework for Unity3D. I am using the Normalized Blinn Phong NDF, and an approximation to the Schlick visibility function. I am using an effective specular power range of [4,8192] for direct illumination. I have also developed a translucent shader that uses premultiplied alpha to only make the diffuse translucent while preserving the specular intensity based on fresnel.
For all my testing, I am doing everything in Linear HDR mode which affords me an FP16 render target for my camera.
So this is a highly contrived scenario, but my team's artist managed to make it happen. Basically he has a scene with a directional light whose intensity is effectively 1.0 (0.5 input for Unity) shining on a glass bottle surrounding a smooth metallic liquid. As a result, the two substances' highlights overlapped and their combined intensity seems to have exceeded the range of the FP16 render target. This resulted in weird artifacts where the the highest intensity color component went to black, while the other two just looked really bright. (see example image below).
Upon further testing, I found I could remove the artifact by making the surface more rough, thus reducing the intensity of the highlight. However, I still found it having this visual error for even relatively rough overlapping materials.
1.) Is there any way to prevent this from happening programmatically without having to clamp the light values to an upper limit or otherwise harm the visual quality?
2.) Is it just something that falls to the artist to avoid doing?
3.) Even so, this means that I can't have multiple overlapping translucent objects or have to be careful about what objects pass behind them. Am I missing something here?
4.) Just for future reference, what is the actual upper limit value of FP16?
Thanks for any help you can provide.