In desperate need of help: Animation looks crap, stills look great (Vray+Max2012)

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  01 January 2013
In desperate need of help: Animation looks crap, stills look great (Vray+Max2012)

Hi guys,
I'm a long time lurker here but really am in need of some help. I'm currently doing a non profit assignment for a local golf course. I made an animation (interior and exterior) of a new to build golf academy complex. If the investors don't see my animation, they won't pour money into this build and the golf course can no longer exist...

3D Max isn't really my area of expertise, not for an animation that is anyway. That's why I could really use some help.

Right now I've got 4 mayor problems:

- Stills look great (GI--> IR+LC)
- Animation looks crap (No GI at the moment)

Now the solution would be, render the animation the same as your stills. But I really can't get a good and fast GI setup for an animation. The animation will be around 4000 frames of camera movements and if I need to pre-calculate the GI (even with a frame step of 10) it will still take ages. Also, with the stills, I can more easily use a Vray ZDepth pass. In order to do that in an animation it would involve setting up a different scene for each and every camera path. (different VrayZDepth settings per camera)

- 3D max keeps crashing locally, but sometimes also on a render farm.

I've got a 6 core I7 (3930k) with 32gb of Ram, Windows 7 64bit and 3D max 2012 64bit with Vray 2.20.03 but my scene keeps on crashing. In total there are 12 million polygons and if it renders, it renders in only 6 minutes per frame. (So not THAT heavy) But it just crashes randomly. In my 'still images' scene I'm using multiscatter to distribute ~5000 tree's with more polygons and that renders even faster and never crashes. Sadly the RenderFarm we are using (see problem #4) crashes when I use MultiScatter.

- Gamma problem! On my workstation, in Vray's Framebuffer it looks great, when I export it out it either looks too flat, too dark or too light. Small things can be corrected in post, but when I try to adjust the saved images, a lot of noise comes back. With my still images I also had this problem, but I would just override the gamma to 1.0 when I saved them. When rendering images from my animation setup this seems to only partially work. The images I get from the RenderFarm (also adjusted gamma on their render manager) are also different then when I render them at home (they are worse) so that's not helping either.

- Time!
Yes, time's a problem... That's why we are using a renderfarm. We bought a 14day sunscription for Respower's Super/Farm but except for their customer service, (top notch I have to say!) we are not experiencing anything ' super' at all to be honest. a 200 frames camera path takes 8 hours on my workstation and 5 hours on their renderfarm. They say it's because other users also use the farm. (I understand that) In my opinion this is still way too long. Rebusfarm or a lot of other farms will render it in half an hour max. Of course, they are more expensive (but still, ResPower is also not free, we paid $515), but in my opinion the price difference is not showing the extremely longer render times. Anyway, like I said, time is a problem. I can't run a fancy dandy BruteForce GI pass because it will take weeks to render and ideally it should be ready in 72 hours.

Now I realize this is a very long post, but hopefully someone can help me (us) or point me in the right direction. I'd be happy to share all the files with someone who I can trust, but for obvious reasons I cannot post them online for everyone to download.

I've tried hundreds of web pages about gamma correction in Vray, tutorials about illuminating an animation in vray, etc... But still, I'm stuck here.

I'll update this post with screenshots and renders soon.
I am always willing to learn!
  01 January 2013
I'm sorry, I couldn't read past non profit golf course work and investors.
  01 January 2013
Originally Posted by BigPixolin: I'm sorry, I couldn't read past non profit golf course work and investors.

Care to elaborate? I don't really know what you mean... I just put that there to not look like a fool, lol... It was just to explain the not so pleasant situation I'm in at the moment. I understand what's at stake for them and I really want to give them what I believed I could give them...

Wow, this sounds like I ask someone to clean up my mess... Well, of course that's partially true; But I'm here to learn and even some tips would be greatly appreciated.
I am always willing to learn!

Last edited by ProXius : 01 January 2013 at 04:02 PM.
  01 January 2013
Without pics it's tough to help, but one tip for you. If you are using Max 2013, you should take advantage of State Sets. This allows you to setup different camera passes with different settings all in the same file. So if you need to adjust your Zdepth, or some other setting you don't need to save out a ton of different Max files. Hopefully if we see some renders we can help more.
__________________ - 3D Visualization and Content Creation
  01 January 2013
Wow thanks for the tip! I'll certainly look into that.

Right now the problem is more that some of the frames are crashing and that the render farm only renders doubles as fast as our own single 6core i7 workstation... The look/quality is actually less bad then I first thought it was.

The NoGI look (with quite some post processing) is actually quite acceptable if the rest would go as planned, but sadly that's not the case.
I am always willing to learn!

Last edited by ProXius : 01 January 2013 at 06:50 PM.
  01 January 2013
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