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Vizfizz
02-06-2006, 06:32 PM
Your client has requested you to accurately animate a boat on water during a storm. He wants to see splashes and the boat rocking to and fro accurately following the waves. The skies are stormy and he wants a torrent of rain to be falling. Lightning in the distance. Its twilight and visability is limited. Visable light glows from the boat's cabin. You don't have psunami.

What would your approach be?

Vizfizz
02-06-2006, 07:11 PM
This thread will be moving into the EIAS Techniques and WIPs Lab at the end of the day.

Giacomo_M
02-06-2006, 07:14 PM
>You don't have psunami.
>What would your approach be?

Go to the Northern Lights website and buy it. ;)

GM

Vizfizz
02-06-2006, 07:18 PM
>You don't have psunami.
>What would your approach be?

Go to the Northern Lights website and buy it. ;)

GM

You're broke and need this job to pay your rent. Or how about, the internet is down and you can't get through to Blair. I've got a dozen more.

j4ym4h4r
02-06-2006, 07:31 PM
You pray to these guys!
http://www.flowlines.info/gallery.html
(tell them you want to integrate it into EIAS) ;)

view the one on the right
actually I just came across them and was blown away!
it's not like that will help you but it is amazing none the less

Jay

fahl5
02-06-2006, 07:31 PM
You're broke and need this job to pay your rent. .
I cant see the problem, since Northern Lights plugs are relativly inexpensive and are doing a good job especially for that task, so if you'll work hard render fast and all is well done, you'll pay the plugs and your rent with that job and save the rest.
Steffen

Vizfizz
02-06-2006, 07:33 PM
Sigh... :banghead: I'm trying to accomplish something here people.. lol..

You know...education...

Be nice

j4ym4h4r
02-06-2006, 07:45 PM
ok I'll bite...

I think that I would try I2M with an animated image file for the water suface.
and parent the boat to a uberplane with inherit deforms on parent that group to the I2M plug and have it deform everything that is parented to it. Similar to this technique
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=314077

Do you have AE to work with?
lightning from there

splashes with pp and blobby also parented to the deformed plane (actually parent them to the boat and inherit position turned on.



am I close?
did I win?
:)

Jay

yhloon
02-06-2006, 07:48 PM
You're broke and need this job to pay your rent. Or how about, the internet is down and you can't get through to Blair. I've got a dozen more.


hehe:applause:

how about RealFlow?

If that is not the answer, than I will think on some other else...


Loon

halfworld
02-06-2006, 07:55 PM
Haha!

Fine, I'll have a go. No 3rd party anything in mine....

The boat rocking on the water (the hard part!)
Deform the high res water plane with runwave, use XP2 to 'stick' the boat to the water while moving it forwards (ive done this before, but not on a deformed surface... I hope it will work). The problem here will be getting the angle of the boat on the waves right, there are a number of ways you could fake it by simply keyframing but that doesn't seem fun, someone help me on that one :) -- I don't know the math to do it in XP...

Rain with PPB, rendered out on a separate pass with motion blur. The splashes could be done with PPB but they might look a little skeletal, maybe if you attach enough emitters to the side of the boat with varied settings (no EI to test!)... Blobby would be too slow, could use a nasty ugly transparency map on a rotating sphere.... forget i said that. How about a smoker? Now were talking, use one of them for spray, a really sparse fractal pattern would probably look REALLY cool for that effect...

I would use a luminescent lantern for the cabin light, that way GI would see it as a light source and bounce the light around. I might put a tube light in the cabin, with a dropoff just round the cabin -and make it low intensity- these things create a really cool glow effect.

I would add the boat to a couple of nulls to add some repeating movement noise using the FCE.

The distant clouds would be on a sky dome, or, if i had time, i might use smokers, but they look a bit rough and ready for clouds.

Lightning? Are you kidding!? :)
I'd do it in post! Maybe create a number of lightning pictures in Photoshop with alpha and flash them up occasionally, you could randomise it with XP2 (map them to the sky dome on top of the cloud map (in the luminance channel, have XP2 randomise the rotations of the maps so that the lightning doesn't strike the same place twice!).

So, basically, use XP :)

Right, now there's something for people to take aim at... go on! Improve on it! ;)
Ian

yhloon
02-06-2006, 07:55 PM
Sigh... :banghead: I'm trying to accomplish something here people.. lol..

You know...education...

Be nice


opps didn't read this, I'll think of the hard way, so I'm broke, i don't even have any 3rd party plug-in...

let me think first...

Loon

Vizfizz
02-06-2006, 07:56 PM
Ok.. maybe I need to explain this a little better. We all run into situations at work every day. Being a previs artist, I have to think on my feet constantly to make up sequences and scenarios for film. In many cases, I don't have everything I need or a point and click solution. In this scenario, I'm looking for your problem solving approach to creating this scene. How would you do water without psunami. What about rain? Lightning? The boat traveling along the surface of the water and giant waves? Skies? Twilight? What kind of lighting would you use? How would you do splashes.

I'll tell you what. You can use any other plugin or shader other than psunami.. the obvious choice.

halfworld
02-06-2006, 08:01 PM
I'll tell you what. You can use any other plugin or shader other than psunami.. the obvious choice.

Curse you Brian!

After all the trouble I went through to avoid saying "Use Realflow".

:cry:
Ian

Dova
02-06-2006, 08:02 PM
I have a project file without the boat...yeah, no much interesting until I say that...It features foam in the waves. As now I am swamped in the middle of a move, is hard for me to post it, but I will post the movie ASAP. A quite convincing effect for a stormy ocean, and made with the SimpleWave shader plus the FractalFoam shader over a simple UberShape. No match for Psunami waves, of course, but still really cool.

sacslacker
02-06-2006, 08:16 PM
Being a brand spanking new EI user this type of stuff really helps. You have to be able to accomplish this in EI by default right? I mean I know how to do this in Maya either by using the fluids stuff or by using motion paths, things like that.

Thanks for posting this stuff because EI just showed up on my doorstep and tonight, I get to dig in for the first time.

Vizfizz
02-06-2006, 08:32 PM
Yeah! You'll have to tell us about your new experiences!

Can EIAS accomplish this scene, yes, without a doubt. But I've mentioned before, EIAS with its Ala carte approach basically states, yeah.. that's easy, just buy this plug in. So you do, you charge your client for it, and now its in your inventory. Next time you use it, it makes you money. Most of the plugin solutions are quite sophisticated and offer lots of options.

But this scene can be accomplished with little to no outside support, save the particle systems. EIAS includes a really crude particle system that really needs to be replaced. Coming from Maya, you're gonna look at Power Particles basic and chuckle. Its childish by comparison. Dante by Northern Lights, is really the only solution for particles in EI in my opinion. It offers all kinds of particle options including collision objects, force fields, etc etc etc. Power Particles Pro version could be nicer because it has a handier interface, but it hasn't gone through a major overhaul in a while.

Lets start with water generation. The cheapest solution is to pick up Image2Mesh. This is a free plugin that is very powerful and does a great job.

Ok... who wants to take it from here....what other ways are there to create an ocean like water plane without Real Flow or Psunami?

sacslacker
02-06-2006, 09:27 PM
Does EI have animated deformers like say a spline deformer? By the way, I can't wait to get home and play with this.... Is it 6:30 yet? =)

Vizfizz
02-06-2006, 10:09 PM
Does EI have animated deformers like say a spline deformer? By the way, I can't wait to get home and play with this.... Is it 6:30 yet? =)

Yes,

EIAS has a lot of animated deformers and good ones at that. Does it have a spline deformer? Yes. There are also a couple of plugins that exist that do similiar functions as Maya's flow deformer on motion paths.

Contortionist by Northern Lights and Flexpath by Konkeptione.

richardjoly
02-06-2006, 10:15 PM
This is Runwave, the boat has a constraint with the mesh set to surface normal.
Rain and lightning in Photoshop. Animation tomorrow.
http://www.rdn.qc.ca/free/Storm-WIP.jpg

Vizfizz
02-06-2006, 10:18 PM
How about the lightning? Of course we can use Northern Light's Zeus, but in this particular situation, lighting is in the distance, so why trouble yourself with 3D lightning. Animated .img sequences or qt movies with alphas can supply a quick card solution. Add a little glow and your set.

The ocean... well, I've been able to make great oceans and swells with animated grey scale maps and Image2Mesh. Once the geometry is made and animating, I'd create my boat and parent it to a hierarchy of nulls. With the parent (top) null I would then constraint it to the surface of the water with a geometry constraint. This would allow you the swelling action of the water to move the boat as you animate the null across the surface. Seperate nulls could then be used to provide manual pitch, yaw and roll and sink the boat partially into the water. (Which you're going to want control of anyway).

Sky? Konkeptoine offers a great conception series of sky shaders that could provide any number of looks or simply create a uber shape dome and texture map it with a stormy sky texture. If you want 3D clouds, there's all kinds of solutions for that. Kmyst, Psyclone, Mondo Clouds, Dante...

Vizfizz
02-06-2006, 10:20 PM
This is Runwave, the boat has a constraint with the mesh set to surface normal.
Rain and lightning in Photoshop. Animation tomorrow.
http://www.rdn.qc.ca/free/Storm-WIP.jpg


I've never used Runwave.. I'm going to have to look into this. :) Great job Richard. Thanks!

Vizfizz
02-06-2006, 10:50 PM
ok I'll bite...

I think that I would try I2M with an animated image file for the water suface.
and parent the boat to a uberplane with inherit deforms on parent that group to the I2M plug and have it deform everything that is parented to it. Similar to this technique
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=314077

Do you have AE to work with?
lightning from there

splashes with pp and blobby also parented to the deformed plane (actually parent them to the boat and inherit position turned on.



am I close?
did I win?
:)

Jay


Actually, you have some good ideas. Displacement with I2M will also work. PPbasic with Mr. Blobby is another good solution for splashes.

percy06
02-06-2006, 11:00 PM
If the water is a highpoly mesh which I think it might have to be to animate convincing waves. I would make a grey scale animated seamless wake in Photoshop and if I am poor Ill use paint shop pro or if Im skint Ill use GIMP (I use this anyway) maybe I could use a open source compositing program for some of it too. I would like that to the boat. There we have a wake for the boat. I2M does seem like the likely choice for the waves but I think that an animated Photoshop waves could work too. For that. Same for the rain droplets in the sea. Layer them up and that should be that. Dont know much about getting the boat to follow the wave surface of the waves.

Is it possible to have xp place particles on the crest of waves? Ill explain a bit more say when wave hits X high set ppp to on. Or some thing a little more complex than that.

kevmo
02-06-2006, 11:01 PM
EIAS includes a really crude particle system that really needs to be replaced. Coming from Maya, you're gonna look at Power Particles basic and chuckle. Its childish by comparison. Dante by Northern Lights, is really the only solution for particles in EI in my opinion. It offers all kinds of particle options including collision objects, force fields, etc etc etc. Power Particles Pro version could be nicer because it has a handier interface, but it hasn't gone through a major overhaul in a while.


I agree, I still don't understand why they didn't update the Particles Plug-In that used to come with EIAS 2.x? at least to run with v3,4,5,6 - jeez it's been that long?
The interface wasn't very exciting or friendly, but you could at least do some really cool FX with it.
I recall someone did some really nice Fireworks FX with it.
It's too bad it couldn't be resurrected and or even expanded upon.

NorthernLights
02-06-2006, 11:47 PM
Caveat: This comment is intended for people using EI to make a living.

It wouldn't be like me to whine about this thread killing potential sales. Nevertheless, I'll throw an important point to consider here. How much are you getting paid? Is it by the project or hourly? In my experience, you get paid by the project not by the hour. So what's your time really worth in dollars? If you spend several hours that end up stretching into days, you haven't saved yourself anything by not buying Psunami (or any other tool for that matter). More often than not, not spending some money up front ends up costing more than if you did.

Case in point: a small VFX house that many of you may know does a whole lot of work in EI. They boys in the trenches have told me many times that one or more of my plugins would have saved them hours, days, sometimes weeks of work yet convincing their boss to ante up is a fruitless effort. The boys end up busting their butts to get something done and the hours wasted could have easily been devoted to new projects that would generate more revenue.

After all, why would you try to build a house with hand tools when you can build several in the same amount of time using power tools?

kevmo
02-06-2006, 11:56 PM
After all, why would you try to build a house with hand tools when you can build several in the same amount of time using power tools?

I recently tried to explain to my uncle why I needed to buy Dante for a work project involving a bunch o coins, and he was like why can't you do it without spending $? and I said something similar...

I can cut my lawn with a pair of scissors, but I choose not to...

:rolleyes:

Vizfizz
02-06-2006, 11:57 PM
Caveat: This comment is intended for people using EI to make a living.

It wouldn't be like me to whine about this thread killing potential sales. Nevertheless, I'll throw an important point to consider here. How much are you getting paid? Is it by the project or hourly? In my experience, you get paid by the project not by the hour. So what's your time really worth in dollars? If you spend several hours that end up stretching into days, you haven't saved yourself anything by not buying Psunami (or any other tool for that matter). More often than not, not spending some money up front ends up costing more than if you did.

Case in point: a small VFX house that many of you may know does a whole lot of work in EI. They boys in the trenches have told me many times that one or more of my plugins would have saved them hours, days, sometimes weeks of work yet convincing their boss to ante up is a fruitless effort. The boys end up busting their butts to get something done and the hours wasted could have easily been devoted to new projects that would generate more revenue.

After all, why would you try to build a house with hand tools when you can build several in the same amount of time using power tools?


Oh I completely agree with you Blair. If you can afford the customized plugin solution, by all means, get it. Most VFX houses can and do. It saves them money and it will give you beautiful results. But a lot of new 3D folks and hobbyists can't spare the change. These kinds of threads are not to convince users not to buy plugins, but rather, for education. People need to learn the capabilities of their software first, then enhance it with all the goodies which you offer.

Doing animation and film for the studios has taught me, always find the quickest and simplest solution first. Work up from there...even if its only a mental exercise. By knowing what you can do with the tools you're initially given, will only clarify what you can do once you get the power tools.

sacslacker
02-07-2006, 12:12 AM
I've been checking out the Northern Lights plugins and I can see that there are a few that I'll most likely need if I can get ramped up in time to use EI on my next project. I definitely don't intend on spinning my wheels trying to accomplish something that is trivial in a $299 plugin. That's pretty darn cheap and is very easy to have a client absorb most/all of the cost.

I like threads like these because being so new, I'm going to be challenged to identify what is not possible because I'm not used to the EI workflow and what isn't possible because EI doesn't have a certain feature; however, there is a plugin that fits the need. Then add on which plugin handles that feature and you have a bit of a learning curve. Hopefully this forum will help in those situations.

Vizfizz
02-07-2006, 12:30 AM
You'll find that the EI community is pretty cooperative. Many years of having to fend for ourselves plus the lack of a huge community like Maya's has caused us to be pretty helpful towards "our own". Plus you're pretty much latching on to the whole plugin ala carte mentality pretty quickly. Get it when you need it. Why pay for something you're not going to use?

EIAS has a lot of internal capability. Some I have yet to even explore. There are things it simply does easier and better than Maya and in other areas it falls on its face without 3rd party plugin support.

fahl5
02-07-2006, 07:43 AM
These kinds of threads are not to convince users not to buy plugins, but rather, for education. People need to learn the capabilities of their software first, then enhance it with all the goodies which you offer.

Doing animation and film for the studios has taught me, always find the quickest and simplest solution first. Work up from there...even if its only a mental exercise. By knowing what you can do with the tools you're initially given, will only clarify what you can do once you get the power tools.

Brian as much as i understand and appreciate your intention - even if I am not the EIAS master to make great contribution to it - i think it is likewise reasonable to talk about what you can do with thoses great plugs, you can have for EIAS, which indeed are often much less expensive than comparable plugs for other 3D-Applications. So don't think newbies and hobbyist are not intrested in the EIAS-plugs at all.

I think they do not only contribute to the power of EIAS, but they also have to be learned, just because they are often as demanding as complex in their variability. Just think not only about Dante or Psunami but to about plugs like Blaster, Fiberforge or the (hopeful upcomming) "Rodeo", or shaders like NX, or the AG-Shaders for instance - you know there a quite a lot more to mention. (Not to forget the now implemented XPressionist which is allone worth a whole bunch of how-to-threads).


So even if i do understand the purpose of this thread quite well, I think it is also reasonable to talk about efficient "how to"'s of the complex and powerful plugs for EIAS too.
Steffen

halfworld
02-07-2006, 08:18 AM
I got a couple of animations going this morning using deforms but XP was giving me some slightly unexpected results (got it going over the ocean but it was quite rough and jumpy).

Using a geom constraint wasn't much smoother... The mesh is really tight too...

I'll give it a go with displacement instead of deforms.
Ian

Vizfizz
02-07-2006, 08:29 AM
Brian as much as i understand and appreciate your intention - even if I am not the EIAS master to make great contribution to it - i think it is likewise reasonable to talk about what you can do with thoses great plugs, you can have for EIAS, which indeed are often much less expensive than comparable plugs for other 3D-Applications. So don't think newbies and hobbyist are not intrested in the EIAS-plugs at all.

I think they do not only contribute to the power of EIAS, but they also have to be learned, just because they are often as demanding as complex in their variability. Just think not only about Dante or Psunami but to about plugs like Blaster, Fiberforge or the (hopeful upcomming) "Rodeo", or shaders like NX, or the AG-Shaders for instance - you know there a quite a lot more to mention. (Not to forget the now implemented XPressionist which is allone worth a whole bunch of how-to-threads).


So even if i do understand the purpose of this thread quite well, I think it is also reasonable to talk about efficient "how to"'s of the complex and powerful plugs for EIAS too.
Steffen


Oh no worries Steffen. I don't take any offense to what you or Blair are saying. Quite the contrary. I have lots of plans for this forum and highlighting plugins/shaders and their usage is one of them. Thing is, the biggest thing I have heard time after time from EI users is, "Where are the tutorials?" How do I do something? My philosophy is, as I stated earlier, understand what you have first, then upgrade to the powertools later when needed. Think of it as the McGuyver method. If you don't know who McGuyver is, he was a secret agent type fellow who could build crazy contraptions and weapons out of bobbie pins and rubber bands. In this sharing tutorial, we've built our scene without the use of fancy tools. As a newcomer, I know that I would kinda want to know some of that, especially if some how I found myself without those special tools.

Maybe I'm finally starting to show my age in this industry and I feel like students of 3D need to understand certain foundational concepts of how something works before moving on. (Oh my God, I'm becoming my old collage professor who was still teaching rubylift in commercial art class)

So stick with me my friend. We're only getting started here. We want this forum to appeal to all levels of users, including those who do or do not have a particular plugin to work with. If per chance you're an expert on a particular plugin, I'd LOVE it if you would post something for all to see. It would certainly be really appreciated. :) Or perhaps there is a particular plugin that you would like to discuss?

yhloon
02-07-2006, 10:01 AM
Not concerntrate to the sea texture, more on the animation

I use 4 null constrain geometry, to stick the boat to the smooth sea surface which is hidden during render, and 2 bone to use for the boat constrain rotation, another sea surface with details wave sitting on top of the hidden. and the wave is done by combination of 2 runwave & 2 circular wave.

I hope my explanasion is clear...:blush:

movie 1 (1.5mb) (http://home.graffiti.net/yhloon:graffiti.net/movie/sea_boat02.mov)

movie 2 (3mb) (http://home.graffiti.net/yhloon:graffiti.net/movie/sea_boat.mov)

project file (http://home.graffiti.net/yhloon:graffiti.net/project_sample/Sea.zip)

regards,
Loon
:)

halfworld
02-07-2006, 10:43 AM
stick the boat to the smooth sea surface which is hidden during render,




Good idea that man! That would probably solve the issue i had :)
Ian

RoundPixel
02-07-2006, 11:03 AM
OK, back to the original post intention, which i applaud as this kind of things put your brain to work and sometimes are lifesavers.

I should say that im not that good with EIAS, as i only have the DVG Toolkit (im seriously considering to upgrade or even to fully switch), being LW my main working tool for the moment being (has been for the last 8 years), but i do like to do things from a no plugin point of view, understanding that 3rd party efforts will always make these tries much better, but im positive as well that on knowing the ground level approach is always good.

For the sea id use a highly divided poly mesh to displace and animate either using a fractal noise or fractal bumps approach (or I2M in this particular case of being broke).
For the boat, id parent a null to the sea surface to control displacement of the boat, parent to it a second null to control the boats attitude and a third one to control the boats secondary motion. The boat would be parented to this last null. When the ocean mesh gets in motion the boat follows along, and using the middle nulls the boat movement can be refined to cutomers wishes.

For the clouds id use several layers of fractal noise mapped to a wide dome with varying parameters to add , well, complexity. This could also be animated.

For the rain, several layers (ala screens) of flat polygons placed in front of the camera with (again) fractal noise animated and stretched in the Y axis (transparency channel).

Some non linear fog to mask the limits and visibility of the meshes and we are almost there. As in regards to lighting, low ambient, a few low intensity shadow casting lights (and some other shadowless) around the scene, and if at all possible, proper textures to aid in reproducing lighting conditions amidst a storm.

As you can see, fractal noise is my friend, but this is a very simplistic approach that can be improved a lot by introducing 3rd party helper tools.

From my somewhat limited experience with EI (DVG) i can see that LW and EI share very similar procedural shaders, including the fractal noise and bumps, and i have done some things in the past with LW using this approach (adding extras of course to include foam and other stuff).

cheers
JC

Vizfizz
02-07-2006, 04:42 PM
Excellent work guys... now you're thinking. Finding a method to move the boat on a less turbulent hidden sea is good thinking. The geometry constraint is still picking up a lot of noise in your examples Yhloon. Has anyone tried using I2M's displacement capabilities instead of a geometry constraint?

What would be fun, a little later, would be if someone WITH psunami could give us a quick little demo on what it can do. It would be nice...comparitively speaking, to see the difference.

richardjoly
02-07-2006, 07:29 PM
WIP Storm animation 1 (http://www.rdn.qc.ca/free/WIP_Storm_1.mov)

Really have to try with the boat constrained to a Smooth sea surface. I'm working on rain with PP. This is lunch hour work, so it's not going fast. Lots of fun though. I learned a trick for Photoshop lightning:
http://www.rdn.qc.ca/free/Lightning.jpg

Vizfizz
02-07-2006, 07:36 PM
Richard...

Looks like we're still having issues with the geometry constraint and getting reasonably smooth animation. The constraint is popping across the deformed mesh and we're seeing those little hits in the animation. This needs to be solved. Cool trick on the lightning.

:)

Ideas?

richardjoly
02-07-2006, 07:56 PM
Looks like we're still having issues with the geometry constraint and getting reasonably smooth animation. The constraint is popping across the deformed mesh and we're seeing those little hits in the animation.

In the last animation the boat in NOT constrained to a smooth mesh like Loon suggested.
I will try his idea to see if the movement is smoother.

yhloon
02-08-2006, 04:47 AM
The geometry constraint is still picking up a lot of noise in your examples Yhloon.

I'll look into this, maybe increase the smooth surface poly count will solve it.


Loon

yhloon
02-08-2006, 04:57 AM
WIP Storm animation 1 (http://www.rdn.qc.ca/free/WIP_Storm_1.mov)

Really have to try with the boat constrained to a Smooth sea surface. I'm working on rain with PP. This is lunch hour work, so it's not going fast. Lots of fun though. I learned a trick for Photoshop lightning:
http://www.rdn.qc.ca/free/Lightning.jpg


that is very cool idea,
I was thinking of using group cycle to achived lightning animation, thanks.

i learn a lot in this thread.

:applause:
Loon

Vizfizz
02-08-2006, 06:05 AM
Smoothing your mesh may not solve your problems. Try it and see what you get.

yhloon
02-08-2006, 06:31 AM
Smoothing your mesh may not solve your problems. Try it and see what you get.

Brian, You are correct, I'll do some test later on...

Loon

halfworld
02-08-2006, 11:49 AM
See two posts down...

yhloon
02-08-2006, 01:16 PM
Okay i have a solution to all our woes :)

Create an animated wave pattern in AE using the Fractal Noise shader, use this as a displacement map for Image2Mesh.

Parent either your boat or an uber cube the size of your boat to I2M.

Activate displacement in I2M, your cube will stick to the water surface.

Animate the cube/boat, it will stick to the water and animate wonderfully smoothly....

1 Problem, I2M will warp your boat/cube with the surface, this is no good, so, time to use XP (plus you cant texture anything parented to I2M for some reason, unless I'm missing a setting).

In XP, link the position of your real boat to the position of your warping cube, now your boat will follow the waves smoothly :)

Howsa?
Ian

PS. I will edit this post with an animation shortly.



Good luck Ian, I've try on the constrain geometry with various of setting, but still could not get a smooth movement... may be i'm not on the right direction...


Loon

halfworld
02-08-2006, 01:25 PM
Well, I can get it going smoothly over the terrain with no rotation, or the other way around... but not both.

XP won't see the deformed position...

So, I guess there is no perfect solution... Some part of it will have to be manually keyframed... or... is there something up someones sleeve? ---Like psunami...
Ian

yhloon
02-08-2006, 01:38 PM
or... is there something up someones sleeve? ---Like psunami...
Ian


I'm thinking the same thing... or may be Brian is hiding something to suprise all of us...:twisted:

Loon

AzOne
02-08-2006, 01:59 PM
Just thought I'd add a little tribute to Rodeo :-)

http://www.geocities.com/aziz_cg/EIAStest/index.html

halfworld
02-08-2006, 02:06 PM
Hah!

Uwe would be proud!

Great stuff AzOne :)
Ian

yhloon
02-08-2006, 02:17 PM
Aziz, that is realy nice.

but i want more, more teapot...

:)

Vizfizz
02-08-2006, 06:28 PM
Hey guys,

Lets try to summarize what we've tried.

1. We've used runwave to accomplish a pretty nice looking rolling sea. I2M also works to produce a nice looking ocean as well.

2. Geometry constraints are effective to constraint the boat to the sea, but the deforming geometry causes the constraint system to jump between polys producing a stuttering effect. Increasing the mesh resolution helps, but does not resolve the issue.

3. Image2Mesh deformations provide the smoothest animated solution, eliminating the stuttering problem, but causes the geometry of the boat to deform rather than remaining rigid.

4. I've tried the I2M solution with a cube acting as a animated null along the wave's surface and then constraining the boat to the cube. Position and rotation constraints are ineffective because they lock onto the cube's pivot point along the animated path, which is not deformed, instead of the cube's deformed position. I've attempted a normal and geometry constraint to the deformed cube for the boat, but that's proving troublesome. I'm still investigating.

5. Xpressionist will not see the deformed position rather it sees the object's pivot point along the path which is not deformed.

6. Plugin support is becoming obviously necessary for this solution, however, I'm not giving up yet. :) Psunami and now the upcoming Rodeo appear to offer the best solutions.


From this though, there are a number of things I would like to suggest to Matt Hoffman at EITG.

1. Some sort of averaging system for geometry constraints would be useful. The stuttering effect is limiting the use of the geometry constraint system on deforming/animated geometry. The mesh resolution would have to be so high to get a smooth motion that it becomes counter productive. If EI were a nurbs/spline based program, geometry constraints would probably be the perfect answer.

2. Deformations, both I2M and EI's standard deformations, should have the option to deform the geometry mesh or their pivot point/location in world space.

3. Deformations should be capable of being applied to an object's bezier motion path. It would be nice to be able to animate an object on a straight line then apply a wave deformer to the path, thus changing the entire animation.

The last suggestion prompted a potential solution to our problem, though it involves another plugin. Northern Light's Pathfinder permits geometric entities like splines or wires from EIM or FormZ within animator to act as motion paths for objects within animator. Deform the entity, deform the potential motion path. But of course at this point, if you're going to purchase a plugin, I'd just spring for Psunami.

Any more ideas guys?

Vizfizz
02-08-2006, 08:34 PM
Sometimes its really easy to exchange the definition of displacement and deformation when they are really two different things.

Displacement is the process utilizing a texture input, whether procedural or an image, to manipulate and move the actual rendered faces. It affects the object's mesh. Image2Mesh actually uses a displacement technique to change the surface geometry based off a gray scale value. Sometimes we like to say the geometry is deforming because of this, but in reality its displacing.

A deformation however is usually a method to modify an objects geometry mesh based on mathmatical equations. EIAS creates a cubic deformation region around an object and all geometry within that region is reshaped based off the selected type of deformation. Sinewaves, beziers, bones, etc.

In either case, the object's pivot point location is not affected. If image2mesh were to modify the object's pivot point in space, rather than displacing the geometry, we could have a solution on our hands. When using deformers and XP, XP is still reading the object's pivot location and in the case of ocean swells, it wont provide a solution. The geometry constraint is the only method to have an object travel and orient along a surface, but thanks to shifting of faces, the object tends to pop. Some method of averaging faces for the geometry constraint would be cool.

This is why I would l like a method of applying deformation regions to an objects actual motion path. I think it would provide for some very interesting capabilities. If anyone would like to try my experiment by using splines from an outside modeling program and pathfinder, please do. Perhaps a deformation region on this spline would allow us to deform the motion path and then let pathfinder move the object along on the newly deformed path.

Vizfizz
03-13-2006, 07:16 AM
Well.. I've almost found a solution that works if you own pathfinder.

Utilizing a technique I've learned in Maya, I've been able to get EI to recreate a lovely waving ocean with an object following the contours of the waves perfectly without any popping or stuttering from a geometry constraint.

The Maya technique is to project a curve on surface and then tranform that surface into a softbody or simply deform the surface. Maya can use curves as motionpaths and the result is simple and easy.

Since we don't have nurbs or softbodies, the EI solution is a little make shift, but it isn't that difficult. Unfortunately it does require at least 1 plugin and it helps having another freebee.

My solution was to use Path2Line, a free plugin from the Igors, to convert a null's motion path into a line entity. This line entity is then exported out and reimported into EI as a fact model. An ubershape plane is used as the ocean's surface and deformed with Runwave. Ultimately, pathfinder is required to move the boat or object to the curve that is inheriting the uberplane's runwave deformation. The end result is a perfect match from curve to wave. Pathfinder also permits auto alignment to the curve and since its deformed, it causes the object on the curve to pitch properly.

However, there is a problem. Since we are utilizing plugins and deformations, child objects of the item attached to the path will loose their local pivot and animation capabilities. You'll be able to include them visually...but if you want to animate child objects on the boat, you're going to have problems. This is becoming a common issue for me with in EI. The way the program handles parent/child relationships within the deformation and plugin architecture needs to be addressed. The program and the various plugins are getting to sophisticated not to have this work.

If you have pathfinder, you'll be able to look at the project file as an example. The alignment to curve has been turned off...

v6+ and pathfinder required.

Vizfizz
03-13-2006, 08:00 AM
Ok... I must correct myself.

I have now been able to obtain local rotation around the child objects local pivot point. My problem was I tried animating the child objects before integrating them into the plugin and deformation engines. Once that happened, the animation just simply disappeared even though keyframes existed. So...I tried animating the object after everything had been established on the path. Now placing keys worked correctly.

However, there is still a small bug...in my opinion. The rotate gnomon for the child object does not properly appear over the child object's local pivot, but rather it shows up over the plugin's center.

Its a little disorientating but hey.. its working now.

Here's a new project file for you to look at.

v6+ and pathfinder required.

yhloon
03-13-2006, 08:26 AM
It works! but there is a limitation, it is a bit difficult to change the path, even though i can Bezier deform it but limit to 4 segments still not enough..and the object does not rotate to the wave normal...

actually I still not giving-up on the geometry constrain idea, my new idea will use more than 1 position to constrain geometry, more than 2 "pointer" to the rotation, and use the target weight and XP to smoothening the motion... but that will be after the phoenix contest (or even after the journey begins contest...:))


Loon


Edit: opps! Brian, I didn't read your new post I'll check on the new one....

Vizfizz
03-13-2006, 08:40 AM
Actually you could change the path... if you use Path2Line. Of course.. by nesting so many plugins together.. things not only slow down.. but they fail to properly update and refresh. Hence my request to Matt for 2d curve generation within EI.

Vizfizz
03-13-2006, 08:46 AM
...and the object does not rotate to the wave normal...



Actually that's not true... you can obtain pitch control by activating alignment to path within Pathfinder. Then the "boat" will pitch to the waves as necessary. Runwave just makes some pretty detailed waves.. and the boat pitches all over the place. That could probably be solved though.

yhloon
03-14-2006, 05:28 AM
Brian, you are correct:), the path align resolve the problem, only keyframe manually to the 'Roll'...it looks impresive...


Thanks,

Loon

Igors
03-14-2006, 06:06 PM
Gentlemen, we've read this thread, and, maybe, we missed something.

At least in theory, all EI deforms (count RunWave) should do what you want (as we understood you want boat's motion according to waves). Any EI deform works like:

- if "inherit deformation" is ON, then deform is applied to child (if it's inside deform region)

- if "inherit deformation" is OFF, then child is not deformed, BUT child's center is affected by deformation (position and rotation as well). Again, if it's inside deform region. The "child center" is what you see and can change in Link Editor. Unlike "Inherit deforms", this action has effect for non-geometry objects as well

As we remember, constrains are applied after deforms

Vizfizz
03-14-2006, 06:25 PM
Gentlemen, we've read this thread, and, maybe, we missed something.

At least in theory, all EI deforms (count RunWave) should do what you want (as we understood you want boat's motion according to waves). Any EI deform works like:

- if "inherit deformation" is ON, then deform is applied to child (if it's inside deform region)

- if "inherit deformation" is OFF, then child is not deformed, BUT child's center is affected by deformation (position and rotation as well). Again, if it's inside deform region. The "child center" is what you see and can change in Link Editor. Unlike "Inherit deforms", this action has effect for non-geometry objects as well

As we remember, constrains are applied after deforms


Hey Guys..
Yah Runwave works great for ocean swells. One of the problems I'm having however is that the child's local pivot for rotation, though properly positioned in the link editor, doesn't show up properly in the camera window. Instead of the rotate gnomon/icon being over the child's pivot center, it appears over the plugin's center. Quite annoying.

Another example of deformations being a bit of problem is with Image2Mesh. Once the child object's position is modified by I2M's displacement feature, the child's pivot does not remain with the child, rather it located around the plugin's center. Any attempts to constrain to the child object fails.

Maybe I'm just doing something wrong. Perhaps there needs to be an option check box to permit constraints before or after deforms.

Igors
03-14-2006, 07:34 PM
Hey Guys..
Yah Runwave works great for ocean swells. One of the problems I'm having however is that the child's local pivot for rotation, though properly positioned in the link editor, doesn't show up properly in the camera window. Instead of the rotate gnomon/icon being over the child's pivot center, it appears over the plugin's center. Quite annoying.

Another example of deformations being a bit of problem is with Image2Mesh. Once the child object's position is modified by I2M's displacement feature, the child's pivot does not remain with the child, rather it located around the plugin's center. Any attempts to constrain to the child object fails.

Maybe I'm just doing something wrong. Perhaps there needs to be an option check box to permit constraints before or after deforms.

Sorry, don't understand problem. BTW: I2M (or any other plug) can create geometry anywhere but cannot modify the linkage point. Ok, the attachment is a simple solution (as we see it)

Vizfizz
03-14-2006, 07:56 PM
I'll try to come up with a couple of examples today.. and show you the problem.

worx3d
04-01-2006, 04:16 AM
This thread is so very very interesting, thanks Brian for starting this kind of discussions, please keep ideas like these coming. On the other hand I have to say, Psunami has never looked as much interesting to me as it is now, if/when I need to animate a large volume of water for commercial purposes it will be a no brainer. Thanks Blair for making these awesome power tools.

J

Vizfizz
04-01-2006, 04:22 AM
There is a thread here on Postforum that is worth a look too.

http://www.postforum.com/forums/read.php?f=9&i=40711&t=40711

worx3d
04-01-2006, 05:02 AM
duplicated below...

worx3d
04-01-2006, 05:02 AM
By the way, I wanted to say, after reading Blair's comments (and the following comments about a boss unwilling to buy plugins for 'the boys in the trenches')..

I run a very small production house, and have two partners, and we have equal decision power, and that means that each buy has to be approved by all three of us. But I'm the 3D guy. The other two have no idea about 3D or the tools, they go as far as know that Maya exists and that I don't have it/use it, and that I use a less known (practically unkown for them) 3D package, and that it has given us very good results.

It's always me that has to sell the powertools to the other two, and sometimes I get a feel like some times they see my requests for these tools as almost innecesary expenses. I'm all for the new toys, and will take a good opportunity (a need in a project) to get them, but it won't be possible to always be succesful in my sales pitch, and the projects still have to be done. And that's why I'm glad you started this kind of discussion, Brian..

cheers

Joel

worx3d
04-01-2006, 05:05 AM
There is a thread here on Postforum that is worth a look too.

http://www.postforum.com/forums/read.php?f=9&i=40711&t=40711


yep, the thread I started myself, if I knew about this thread on CGTalk I wouldn't have posted there hehehe..

Joel

WmH
04-02-2006, 01:49 AM
Here is a technique using deformers that may bo of interest to the group (some of this is recap if you saw the postforum thread) It is easy to link an object to a (runwave) deformed surface and tracking it to the displacement and angle of the (deformed) surface, bit animating (moving) the linked object can be problematic (to say the least)

The technique I illustrating I actually came up with several years ago (but it is unlikely I am the only one who has thought of it)
First the preview: (2.9MB H.264)

http://idisk.mac.com/holderness/Public/Concept/WaveDeform2obj.mov

Same movie in low bandwidth version (711KB H.264)

http://idisk.mac.com/holderness/Public/Concept/WaveDeformLowB.mov

Now the how, Since objects linked to a deformed surface can't be moved (without problems) the simple thing is to move the surface and the parent surface will drag the child along for the ride while at the same time you displace the deformer the same amount in the reverse direction. I used this but then up came with a shot request for a jet-ski to approach and jump a floating buoy. This (like the preview above) was impossible with the moving the surface object technique because all objects would be pulled along with the surface in the same way. And an object not linked to the surface would not track the bobbing and rolling motion of the deformer.
What I came up with at the time (though I never had to do it because the shot got scrapped) was to use two identical surfaces (duplicate the surface one set up). The first surface would be pulled along (and the deformer backed up) to make the child plow through the water and the second surface would just remain stationary (though it could be moved if necessary) The first surface is invisible (non rendering) so this actually solves a problem in the original, single surface trick, in that not only does the deformer have to moved to counter the movement of the movement of the surface but also any shaders also have to be moved as well. In the 2 surface setup the shaders are simpley attached to the non moving (just deformed) surface.

There are a couple tweaks that make the children look more like boats and less like objects tracking the surface of a deformed object;;-) First set the deformer displacement a little larger (10%) than you actually want it to be (get the right look then add 10%) then after you attach the child set the vertical scale (y) of the surface (parent) to .9. The child will track the original surface displacement and over/undershoot the waves accordingly (real boats do this because they have translational inertia) also move your children (the floating objects) slightly toward the advancing waves, this makes them react to the waves just after they encounter them dipping into the face of the wave and then tipping upward and lifting as the trough passes (again boats do this because of their translational and rotational inertia)

So that's it while it might sound complex (or perhaps I just explain it to verbosely) it really only took a couple minutes to set up the test (I had never tried to do the two surface setup) It is also a very clean (unfettered) setup as the surfaces only have two keyframes (one at the beginning and one at the end) and the 2 floating objects are unconstrained, so if you wanted to adjust them to float higher or even animate one of the objects doing something complex (like leaping into the air and jumping over the second object) it would be easy to set a few keyframes (on the object) to alter it's path (EI just layers the change on top of the deform displacement)
Here is a screenshot of the setup:

http://idisk.mac.com/holderness/Public/Concept/Screen.png

You can see I don't even have animation enabled on the cube (boat) and capsule (buoy)
Also note that the surface is about half way through it's 100 unit movement (about 50 units) and that in the plane deformation dialog the region control shows the deformer position is -50 so it is perfectly offsetting the advance of the surface. (that is how easy the setup is; you advance the surface to move the child where you want it. Then make a note of the displacement (at the keyframe) and set a corresponding inverse value in the deformation position.

I can provide the project file if anyone wants it (though there is truly very little to it)

-Wm Holderness

richardjoly
04-03-2006, 08:21 PM
Thanks WmH. This really is the smoothest technique so far.
The setup is incredibly simple.
http://www.rdn.qc.ca/free/Runwave.mov

tjs61822
04-03-2006, 10:04 PM
WmH, that is very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Tim

BJMonkey
04-04-2006, 04:38 PM
Been ushered in here to show you this...

Basically it's a ball bobbing in water, at the moment in a very basic stage, but here's a quick animation showing it working...
http://www.x1.ltd.uk/brooks_website/ball_on_waves.mov

I'm still improving it, that's actually using an older script than I have now... That's a real cheat... heh.

One problem I have at the moment is stealing rotation from constrained objects... XP just won't do it. So any rotation will look less natural than the movement, so I've not had that rotate :)

I'll do a quick render of the new script at work...

worx3d
04-04-2006, 09:31 PM
I would like the setup file WmH if it isn't too much problem for you.

thanks!

Joel

WmH
04-05-2006, 02:07 AM
It is a 6.5 file and uses (only) the UberShape (6) plugin for geometry

http://idisk.mac.com/holderness/Public/Concept/WaveTest2obj.prj

worx3d
04-05-2006, 03:38 AM
thank you very much!

DickM
04-05-2006, 01:51 PM
Hey Brian
In an earlier post you said it would be nice to see what someone may have done with psunami for this challenge. I did this a few years ago and never finished it but it will give you the idea. The wake foam was an animated map out of AE. Particles were pppro but were never tweaked. Any way, take a look :)

http://www.morleyarts.com/storm.html

Vizfizz
04-05-2006, 04:25 PM
Nicely done. I completely agree that Psunami is the best way to complete this exercise. Considerably more control and options than a manual solution. However, if in a pinch, it shows it can be done without it.

DickM
04-05-2006, 04:35 PM
Absolutely. I could have definitely done this without psunami. To tell you the truth, just as much time can be wasted using a plugin that was specifically made for the task. Psunami works great in some situations and not so well in others. Scale and speed are huge issues with psunami.:banghead: On MANY occasions I have fallen back on animated gray scale maps and I2M instead of psunami. So even if you have the plug, it's a good idea to learn other ways to create these FX. So this is a great idea Brian! :applause:

BJMonkey
04-05-2006, 05:41 PM
In case anyone was interested, here's the updated animation... Looks a bit jumpy cossuv the low frame rate, it actually goes quite niceley. But yeah, heh.

http://www.x1.ltd.uk/brooks_website/waves2.mov

If anyone wants to see the project, gimme a yell... It's probably more cluttered than it needs to be.

I've said on teh EIAS forums, i'm waiting for total rotation values to be included in Xpressionist, then I'll be able to make some much more impressive rolling go oon in the animation... For now, this it is :)

Lots of editable channels, such as air resistance, gravity and buoyancy... Well, mostly them!
For a boat I'd use two or more of these and take an average rotation between them and animate the boat like that.

Hope this helps summink...

DickM
04-05-2006, 08:10 PM
Impressive ......... Most Impressive! :applause:

halfworld
04-06-2006, 09:21 AM
BJ that is really very cool!

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