These settings control the sampling quality of the rendered images.
AA Samples: global, brute-force 'over-sampling' control over the number of rays per pixel that will be traced from the camera. The higher the number of samples, the better the anti-aliasing quality, and the longer the render times. The exact number of rays per pixel is the square of this value. For example, an AA Samples value of 3 means 3x3 = 9 pixel samples. In practice, you may consider using a value of 4 for medium quality, 8 for high quality, and (rarely) 16 for super-high quality. It is important to note that this control will also multiply the number of samples performed for diffuse and glossy sampling, so high values for all three can be unnecessary.
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Diffuse Samples: controls the number of hemispherical rays fired for indirect diffuse GI shader evaluations. Increase this number to reduce the diffuse GI noise. The exact number of hemispherical rays is the square of this value. Remember that the diffuse sampling is done for each AA sample, so high values for both AA Samples and Diffuse Samples will tend to result in slow renders.
Glossy Samples: controls the number of BRDF rays fired for indirect glossy specular shader evaluations. Increase this number to reduce the noise in soft/blurry reflections. The exact number of rays is the square of this value. Remember that the glossy sampling is done for each AA sample, so high values for both AA Samples and Glossy Samples will tend to result in slow renders.
Refraction Samples: controls the number of samples used to simulate the microfacet-based glossy refraction evaluations.
Lock Sampling Noise :locks the AA_seed so the sampling noise won't change with the frame number (avoiding the film grain look)
Raytraced: select this option if you want to use brute-force ray traced diffusion sub-surface scattering (BSSRDF) instead of point cloud sub-surface scattering. This approach removes a number of shortcomings of the pointcloud method, trading them for unbiased noise instead. Raytraced is the recommended approach, but point cloud is the default setting for backward compatibility with old scenes.
Raytraced SSS is more suited to scenes that contain many poly meshes, such as crowd scenes. This is because the memory usage can increase more when using Point-cloud SSS.
BSSRDF Samples: if Raytraced is selected, this controls number of lighting samples (direct and indirect) will be taken to estimate lighting within a radius of the point being shaded.
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PointCloud Sample Factor: if Raytraced is not the selected method, this controls the number of sampling SSS point cache irradiance evaluations that will be used. This control behaves similarly to AA Samples, but for subsurface scattering (as with AA Samples, it is important to note that this control will also multiply the number of samples performed for diffuse and glossy sampling, so high values for all three can be unnecessary). The default value is 4. Typically this should be set to the same value as AA Samples to ensure every point cloud receives noise-free lighting.
Clamp Sample Values: enabling this control, pixel samples will be clamped to the specified maximum value. This can make it easier to anti-alias certain high-dynamic range effects such as bright motion blurred specular streaks (at the cost of reduced contrast). What is clamped is the resulting output value of the renderer computations of each pixel sample and has nothing to do with the number of ray samples of AA, diffuse or glossy traced. Example: If the Max Clamp Value is set to 2, no pixels will have an RGB value greater than 2.0,2.0,2.0
Affect AOVs: if on, the pixel samples of the AOVs will also be clamped.
Max Value: the clamping value. Low values will, of course, decrease the dynamic range.
Type: the filter type used for averaging individual subpixel samples into a final pixel color. The default gaussian-2.0 is an excellent filter, you will rarely need anything other than gaussian.
Width: the width of the subpixel sample averaging filter, in pixels. For circularly symmetric filters, this is the diameter of the filter's support.
Filter Color AOVs: applies to the color AOVs the same reconstruction filter as the beauty.
Filter Numeric AOV: applies to numeric AOVs the same reconstruction filter as the beauty. Disabling this check is useful for Depth or masks AOV.