Special K HDR Newcomers

Hi, so I decided to bring up this topic as support for others who are in the same boat as i am. I’m just your typical PC gamer, and after discovering you can inject HDR into a heap of games, it peaked my interest. As a newcomer and not having knowledge of brightness/nits, etc. What is the simplist, click and go explanation to just putting it in a game and enjoying it? Is it possible without much knowledge of how HDR works? Asking as I’ve noticed a lot of people (including myself) getting a bit confused, any help would be welcome!!

Right now Special K is sorta in a weird semi-transition phase from the “old” HDR implementation and its necessary steps and the “new” HDR implementation (displayed in DigitalFoundry’s video) and the newer steps. It’s mostly the latter steps that are slightly different, as step 1-11 of the older instructions still apply to all versions of Special K.

Special K
Download here (same as the download link on the top of the page)
Instructions here

Special K 0.11.1 (beta – version displayed in DigitalFoundry’s video)
Download: 64-bit files or 32-bit files
Instructions here

The 0.11.1 package is a custom one I threw together just now from my local files as there’s no unified up-to-date copy of it elsewhere. The 64-bit DLL file have a fix applied to it for an unexpected gamma that was experienced in HDR, but the 32-bit DLL file has not so it’s possible 32-bit games might have weird gamma when enabling HDR.

I’ve notified Kal and asked him to recompile and repackage 0.11.1 in a unified package with all the latest updates, so it’s easier to get the up-to-date copy of the mod.

Suffice to say there currently isn’t one, as Special K is a general-purpose tool in constant development which necessitates (for now at least) generalized instructions not tied to a single use case or version.

The easiest way to get “up and running” would be something like this:

  1. Open the Settings app of Windows, and navigate to System > Display .

  2. Select the HDR monitor and toggle Use HDR to On .

    • Ideally the display driver settings should also be set to a bit depth of at minimum 10-bit and use RGB or YCbCr 4:4:4 if possible. Use the Advanced display settings at the bottom of the Display settings page to identify what the display is currently set to.
  3. Download either of the previously linked versions.

  4. Extract their contents to Documents\My Mods\SpecialK

  5. Run SKIF.exe and hit “Start Service”

  6. Continue based on what type of game you want to use it with:

    • If the target game is not a Steam game you need to go to the injection tab and add the executable name of the game to the Whitelist Patterns section.
    • If the target game is a Steam game then go to the next step.
  7. Launch the game. SK’s in-game UI banner on top should appear.

  8. If the game supports a borderless window mode, select it in the preferences.

  9. Press Ctrl+⇧ Shift+← Backspace to open the control panel of Special K.

  10. Expand the Widgets section and enable HDR Display .

  11. In the top right corner a new widget called HDR Calibration will appear.

  12. Enable the scRGB HDR (16-bit) option.

  13. Restart the game to confirm everything works.

    • If everything works the Framebuffer Resolution row at the top of the Special K control panel should show (HDR) .
    • If the game does not launch properly, remove the the game-specific config file.
  14. Click on HDR at the top menu bar of the Special K control panel, and adjust the luminance of Special K’s UI as well as the Steam overlay (if playing a Steam game).

  15. In the HDR Calibration widget, adjust the settings based on the version-specific instructions provided in the previous post.

EDIT: File no longer needed. :slight_smile:

That should be the newer 64-bit .dll file the 32-bit from the 0.11.1 beta was newer though guess I haven’t kept up as much as I thought with what’s posted where. :smiley:

EDIT: There really could be a beta topic or something centralizing these WIP builds.

That’s the one with the Watch Dogs Legion anti-debug bug fix thingy, no? I skipped that one since it didn’t seem to pertain to other games.

Probably, I figured Kaldaien just compiled whatever the latest was and posted it after working out that particular issue as the main thing that version resolves so there’s that and possibly some tweaking or changes might also work with other anti-tracing and anti-debug sensitive software.

It shouldn’t be too important over the existing numerous HDR changes and improvements through 0.11.1’s numerous beta builds in any case if that’s the only difference from these two files of the 64-bit dll. :slight_smile:

Ah, yes, it’s the one from here:

The various beta “versions” being thrown around is confusing even to me…

There’s been no update to the source code either although it’s less of a issue but it makes it hard to track some of the separated 32 and 64 bit binaries posted in the big OT thread indeed.

Eventually some form of beta opt-in or separate topic might be more accessible for WIP builds in between major updates.

Soo Ive installed it to 2 games, dead rising and hard redux, when enabling HDR they both work perfectly, but it’s defaulted the HDR brightness at 1000, but I know my Hisense is a max of 800 so should I disable the checkbox?

The default is to be ignored, just use the slider. That should be the process for all users.

Kaldaien enabling hdr10 tone mapping ACES just crushes all the blacks to the point where you can’t distinguish anything on the screen, why could that be? I’m using a HDR10 display

So I’m trying 0.11.1 (the Oct 31 build, the newest I could find) after watching the Digital Foundry video. It’s really great! Playing Outer Worlds in HDR is awesome! …except everything is very yellow for me, and on ACES it is EXTREMELY yellow to the point of it being unusable. :confused:

Does the display detection in special k affect this? Special k is claiming that my television is a “SNY LG Ultrafine”, likely because of my Sony reciever. This is wrong of course, my TV is a Samsung Q9FN. I wonder if that’s why it is so yellow? Is Special K adapting its tonemapping to what it detects your display as? And is there a way to correct for this?

@Kaldaien seriously, you are making it really difficult for anyone to follow along or help you when you post newer builds in random places.

create a thread about BETA BUILDS, and link to them from other threads when you want to show someone

I have no freaking clue what the actual newest build you have right now is, and since the last time you updated the main download was October 10th, people are stuck using an extremely outdated build.

FYI Kal mentioned elsewhere that he intends to release 0.11.1 this weekend, so we’re probably seeing a new release within the day.

The newest build is the one for Download at the top of the site :stuck_out_tongue:

The hassle would come from a bunch of users using one of the beta builds, they’re beta for a reason and I want new users using the release builds that don’t have any of the features being complained about.

I understand that, but for your power users sanity, having a beta thread with notes in one spot would make a big difference.

If someone actually searches through the forum and goes into the beta thread, they probably have a higher chance that they know what they are doing.

Those test builds are all for stupid DRM-related stuff, nothing in them is HDR related. Save for a couple of minor changes that have already been explained in calibration guides. Since there’s a calibration guide already with a test build of its own, I prefer users who don’t need the DRM stuff use those instead.

The calibration guide will be changed a bit when 0.11.1 goes live.

Most power users are already playing watch dogs Legion. I don’t understand why posting the same info you are already giving out in different areas of the forum, feels better than having a designated spot. You can still link in the other threads to the same spot.

I’m telling you, I’m literally one of very few people that reads every single post that has been posted in this forum, and if I’m confused, I know others are. I shouldn’t have to scroll 10 days of your post history to find the latest WDL beta, or a version with fixed hdr processing

Because the whole thing is slated for a release tomorrow and all those tiny posts you consider information, really are not what you are cracking them up to be :wink:

Those incremental beta builds are for the most part me working one-on-one with a single user to resolve a problem they were having. It’s not really beneficial for anyone to try and follow that, those fixes will all roll-up into the official 0.11.1 release, tracking down the individual builds would be a waste of time.

Only reason it was not released ~last week is I ran out of Ambien and have not been sleeping… I don’t release new software until I’m well rested and ready to deal with potential chaos :stuck_out_tongue:

Weird how something that is essential to the patients well being can be limited to such small quantities and so problematic considering the times that’s been mentioned since back on the Steam forums.

It is what it is I suppose plus how it’s handled in the US with 50 some separate states and differences between every one of these.

Sounds like a bunch of states legalized more medicinal recreational drugs too … which is about what I picked up from this current election going on though it was hard to miss the minor online avalanche of posts and stuff once some of the results were coming in ha ha. :smiley:

Anyway hopefully that situation can improve eventually weird situation being sleep deprived but also deprived of the medication required to resolve it seeing how it’s a pretty serious issue and how the body goes if you don’t get at least a minimum amount of hours of rest.
(Ridiculous how something that severe can be mismanaged like that just because some groups might potentially OD on the thing.)

EDIT: Medical and political situation being the fluster-cluck it is though nice to hear things are still going even if there’s these issues from time to time.
(And unfortunately no good solution to it.)