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somlor
10-31-2003, 08:56 AM
Couple questions about messiah:studio.

Is the renderer a separate module from animate? If so, how are they integrated? What is the workflow like?

What is the shader UI like? Is it node based? Can someone provide a screenshot of the workflow for creating shaders?

Does the renderer support normal and displacement maps? Does it support true displacement?

What is the licensing policy? Is it node-locked or a floating license? In other words, can I run it on any computer in my network, or even my laptop?

Thanks.

ThomasHelzle
10-31-2003, 12:15 PM
No, the renderer is completely integrated - you don't have to deal with any problems workflow wise. There is simply one more tab in the interface where you can switch to "Render" with subtabs for surfaces, materials, settings and output...

The Shaderflow is nodebased and the real highlight of the renderer IMO.
Shaderflow (http://www.screen-dream.de/plugins.htm)
This screenshot is a bit stupid because it merely shows all my plugins, so it doesn't produce something useful :) But you can see the basic concept. You can connect everything with everything without worry about the format. Color channels will be converted on the fly if they are hooked into value channels etc.
You always have a base node with all the inputs, and then you create texture, noise or gradient nodes that feed into it. Very flexible and efficient. I'm really in love with that part of messiah :)
The API for writing your own nodes is very easy to use but very powerfull and fast.

Displacement isn't implemented yet, but subpixeldisplacement is anounced to be available in a later patch. I assume that it will support the common things like normal, local and world coordinates.
I don't know what you mean with true displacement?

The license is a dongle (USB or parallel) that you can attach to any machine. No activation and no node locking. Just what the doctor ordered - I prefer this way of working a lot over all the new complicated locking schemes...

somlor
10-31-2003, 12:41 PM
Thanks for the response. I'm glad it's all integrated, and that Shaderflow looks pretty nice. Can you render out thumbnail views of the individual blocks and/or the end result within that shader view?

So displacement mapping is in the works. Where was this announcement made? Is there an open list of some sort? Any word on an estimated time this feature will be implemented?

And by "true" displacement, I mean along the lines of RMan and MRay where the surfaces are diced and pushed per-pixel very efficiently, as opposed to slower methods that tesselate the entire mesh and move vertices around.

Very good to hear that it's dongle based.

:thumbsup:

ThomasHelzle
10-31-2003, 12:59 PM
This image should give you some more information:

http://www.screen-dream.de/Studio_Materials.jpg

You can see that there are material thumbnails. It isn't possible yet to render thumbnails of the individual nodes but it was mentioned some time ago to "be on the list"...

The official mailing list is here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pmGmessiah/

Yes, Subpixeldisplacement is what you want.
pmG doesn't give time estimates anymore since they missed some of them by large amounts :) in the past. But currently all the stuff that was in the way is done and all effort is going into the renderer, so it shouldn't be too long. So if you need it tomorrow - no luck. If you want a renderer that will support it in the near future - go buy it ;-)

BTW. the renderer is extremely memory efficient compared to Lightwave and other renderers and scales very good with multiple CPUs

somlor
10-31-2003, 01:16 PM
Wow. Thanks again, Thomas. And I just watched the two texturing videos off the pmG website, so that also gave me a good idea of the shader system. The fact that you are given license to distribute rendering over a network with no limit is very nice as with other renderers you will easily start racking up the $$$ this way.

ThomasHelzle
10-31-2003, 01:27 PM
Yes, but like with some other stuff - networkrendering isn't implemented yet. As I said before, if you have some time, go for it - if you need everything right now... Hmm...

somlor
10-31-2003, 01:37 PM
doh!

Well actually I'm researching a package to buy after Christmas. Let's see what they can do by then. *cough*Holiday promotional price*cough*.

:)

somlor
11-02-2003, 11:43 AM
Can messiah:studio output RIB format by any chance?

ThomasHelzle
11-02-2003, 11:56 AM
Not that I ever heard of...

But you are welcome to write an exporter! :)
The SDK is very cool, powerfull and easy to use...

somlor
11-02-2003, 12:05 PM
man, you are fast Thomas. :beer:

Yeah, somehow I stumbled across this page (http://www.softimage.com/community/xsi/discuss/Archives/xsi.archive.0108/msg00817.htm) and if you look carefully in the jumble of HTML at the bottom it mentions RenderMan RIB output and more.

ThomasHelzle
11-02-2003, 12:19 PM
Heheheheh - sometimes, yes :)

That post mentions some stuff that isn't there and misses other stuff that is... not too accurate - don't know who has posted this.... not an actual user I fear...
Wouldn't it be a bit funny for animate to export to RIB without any texturing?
And there is no real time motion blur for particles AFAIK...

If anyone has other information, please correct me!

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