CG Nature - Maya & Vray Proxies

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  11 November 2011
I usually use Onyx but Speedtree is probably the best generator out there. Onyx is procedural and it can serve as good source for trees that you use to make forest but you loose that flexibility that STree has and all the details you get with ST.
Render times mostly depend on few factors like are you using transparency map for leaves, is there filtering on that transparency map (should be off), what kind of image sampler are you using (DMC works great for trees) etc.
 
  11 November 2011
Wow, turning off filtering makes a substantial difference! i'm down to 3 mins per frame! thanks. I use DMC, but find I have to crank up the settings pretty high to lose the noise, i'm currently set to 1/12 (which shoots the render time back up to 15 minutes PF). Is it a good idea to save out the IR map and use from file?

I've been playing with the lite Forest Pack for the last hour in a difference scene, over all it seems very cool and lots of control. But I do wonder why you can't set an amount for the population, ie; 3000 trees. I also noticed when i have three tree types, if i scale one it scales them all. I guess i need to look up the documentation

Thanks again, sorry for hijacking the thread with questions! lol

D.

Last edited by everlite : 11 November 2011 at 12:07 AM.
 
  11 November 2011
Thanks for the tips guys.

More on Vue - I was asking someone that has tinkered with Vue before. She said that the quality of the trees does not look good even for stills. And she has been cranking up the settings to be pretty high. She showed me a test render from awhile back and it did look rather cheap. Even for a distant shot. The details just didn't seem to look quite that amazing. Is this true? Anyone can post up some stills that they used...with vray or something out of vue.

Next up, thanks for the instancing tip. I think it is the case that proxies got stuck in everyones head. I reckon if I ever made a jungle library i'd proxy it all though.

Is there a good application for tree scattering in Maya? A lot of plugins and solutions are max based.

How is Carbon Scatter, I was involved in the beta testing stage but found it rather buggy. With the full release out now...has anyone used it with Maya? How does that fair?

Thanks
 
  11 November 2011
From personal experience i found Vue to be quite good for still, those as you said, you do have to really crank up the settings and wait a long time for renders, but with the power and patience you can get good results. I have no experience with Carbon scatter myself.
 
  06 June 2012
I'm still looking for an efficient way to scatter the damn things. Using Maya LayoutTools works for small numbers of instanced objects but freezes Maya with anymore than 100 or so pacthes of grass being scattered at once. I only have 16gig RAM, might this be an issue?

Looking in the task manager, Maya is eating over 14gig RAM while attempting to scatter (ie everything that Windows isn't using)
 
  06 June 2012
Ever considered using Terragen?
I know it's not broadly accepted (yet), but it has a very robust renderer which can handle millions of instances of tree/grass models with a relatively low memory footprint and also offers flicker-free GI animation.

Just ask if you'd like to know more, either here or via PM.

Cheers
 
  06 June 2012
Originally Posted by Kinematics:
How is Carbon Scatter, I was involved in the beta testing stage but found it rather buggy. With the full release out now...has anyone used it with Maya? How does that fair?

Thanks


Used it in combo with maya,vray. and max Vray seems to work well. Does sometimes slow you down when its writing the scene file.(leave off populating till the end).
Has all the advantages of the ecosystems and layering grasses and trees works fine with VrayProxies. Have only tested it on a house garden scene, not a massive forest...
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  06 June 2012
Originally Posted by InTerceptoV: It will be faster almost every time if you don't use proxies. My workflow is ... I create scene and I don't use proxies at all, but if I hit memory limit and know that my rendertime will suffer because of lack of memory, then I move to transforming-optimizing some elements in scene to proxies. It just doesn't make sense to create proxies if you don't have memory issues. Only other benefit I see is that you can get faster viewport feedback when using proxies, but then you can also use "show as box" or something to speed up viewport.
Plus, another benefit of not using proxies is that you always have direct access and flexibility to change instanced geometry in your scene, without going into whole process of remerging proxy into scene and saving it again.


Hey Toni!

I'm in total agreement with this workflow. One side affect everyone should be aware of is that your file sizes are going to be much larger if you actually have all that tree geo in your scene. So every time you save and version up your filling your hard drive up. Saving your fill will also take longer. Referencing or making proxies of your trees will help keep your file sizes down and save times faster.

Tim J
 
  06 June 2012
Is it normal for Maya to take a long time to load a scene (10mb) featuring a lot of proxies? In my case about 5000 grass patches
 
  06 June 2012
I'm surprised Paint Effects hasn't been mentioned here. While it's not good enough to create hero trees, if you understand it's many controls well enough, you certainly can use it for mid ground and distant vegetation.
No need for proxies, and since the geometry is created procedurally, it's not stored explicitly in the scene file (if you keep the construction history of course).
I'm working on a shot right now with many millions of polygons, all Paint Effects driven with dynamics applied here and there (wind/breeze) rendering nicely through Mental Ray (4K render times <15mins per frame) and the scene file size hovering around a mere 16MB.
I can isolate each and every bush/plant/tree/patch of grass and tweak it in seconds based on the art direction provided by the director and VFX sups. Love this workflow.
Paint Effects is a Matte Painter/Environment's Artist's best friend. It alone makes the £700 a year maintenance fee for Maya worth it. I just wish Duncan would keep developing it more actively.
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Last edited by DutchDimension : 06 June 2012 at 11:55 AM.
 
  06 June 2012
Completely agree with dutchdim.
I have been keeping eye on whats available around and I think that Paintfx is the most powerful l-system out there.
There are few tootools focused at generating trees or other specific things, but they can do just that. With pfx the only limit is our imagination and skill. It is much more than just l-system.
A lot of us ignore it based on popular beliefs developed around maya2.5 but things changed quite a bit since then.

I often use it in production and often for things i never thought before.
 
  06 June 2012
I think that one that develop something like Forest Pack for Maya will make a lot of $
 
  06 June 2012
I don't have any Vray experience to share (yet!) but I also do not use proxies, even with mental ray. Instancing in-scene works great and also allows you to see and tweak everything (if necessary) right there in the scene. That said, some scenes and large animations may not be workable this way, and proxies in theory shouldn't render any slower than instances, since they're just instanced proxies anyway, right? Having moved away from them outright since my scenes are personal and relatively small (50B poly at most, give or take a billion) I can't say for sure, but they're supposed to work just like instances using BSP2 at least.

SpeedTree is good for distant trees and animation. You've seen it in Oblivion and Skyrim if you've played either, and almost any big-budget game with animated trees. I'm not too familiar with the app itself, but from what I've seen it would not be possible to make proper trees (accurate phyllotaxy and botanical structure) with SpeedTree. Onyx is still the closest one I've seen for this - only thing you can't do at this point is a proper maple, though, obviously.

The TreeStorm plugin by Onyx for 3DS Max looks like the best way to go for animation all around, but of course it's not for Maya. I've tried contacting the developer several times but no luck yet. Perhaps if enough of us contacted them, they'd crank out a Maya plugin for us someday? Or if you have access to 3DS Max, perhaps point caching would work or something like that?

I'm not sure what to say about Vue without sounding like a jerk, however. Buggiest, messiest, sloppiest program I've used in the CG world. XStream for Maya is a total joke - it shouldn't have ever cleared beta. And Vue's native trees are worse than SpeedTree's. Entire branches rendered as opacity-mapped cards? Not impressed. An attempt to use Onyx trees (low-poly 100K trees, three species) in Vue was also a disaster. Vue's viewport is entirely unable to handle more than a few million polys of real geometry - it's just not made for that, evidently. The parametric landscapes and plants in Vue do work well enough in the viewport, but it's still not pretty and good luck isolating specific trees. And the rendering speed, as others have mentioned, makes it useless for print-work or HD animation. Great concept, horrible execution.

Terragen is gorgeous too, but the rendertimes I've seen are horrific. Perhaps I'm just not familiar enough with the controls to achieve optimization?
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  06 June 2012
Originally Posted by SreckoM: I think that one that develop something like Forest Pack for Maya will make a lot of $




http://rendering.ru/ru_en/vrayscatter-for-maya.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrsR1TGMUpo

Last edited by bigbossfr : 06 June 2012 at 08:07 PM.
 
  06 June 2012
Originally Posted by InfernalDarkness: SpeedTree is good for distant trees and animation. You've seen it in Oblivion and Skyrim if you've played either, and almost any big-budget game with animated trees. I'm not too familiar with the app itself, but from what I've seen it would not be possible to make proper trees (accurate phyllotaxy and botanical structure) with SpeedTree. Onyx is still the closest one I've seen for this - only thing you can't do at this point is a proper maple, though, obviously.


SpeedTree was also used for most of the "Earth-like" plants in Avatar (the palm trees in the opening shot of the foggy forest are actually ST's default palm model).

You can get as detailed as you want with it (or rather, as detailed as your hardware allows), and it can now even blend branch textures with trunk textures for a totally seamless look. I like it a lot. The ability to go in and adjust the angle, size, rotation, etc, of every branch is really useful for art directing "hero" trees.

Although I guess I'm aiming for "plausible" vegitation, whereas it sounds like you're after botanical veracity.
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