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Old 01-06-2013, 09:39 PM   #1
TeeJayEllis
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Anyone using Maya for Arch-Vis?

Hey guys, just curious if anyone here is using Maya for the bulk of their ArchVis pipeline?

I've worked in vis for about 5 years, and always used Max/VRay. I also have been using all Macs both at home and at work for the past 4 or so years. Up until now, I've just Bootcamped Windows and ran Max just fine, but every time I boot OS X at home, it makes me want to just run OS X and ditch Windows.

So, obviously the first issue is my main 3D app. I bought Modo recently, and whilst I LOVE the modeling tools, the scripts available as well as the UV tools, the renderer is slow... and noisy.

I've tried C4D and can't get into it. It looks like it could own the motion graphics world (if it doesn't already) but for vis, it's never performed fantastically for me. It doesn't like complex scenes, and I don't like the 'instancing' system when using hundreds of tree models for example. The renderer is pretty nice but very very slow.

So that really only leaves Maya, which I've never tried for visualisation.

So, how does it handle the usual stuff for architecture? DWG imports? Proper scaling and unit handling?

I've just seen this, which apparently is all Maya (and PaintFX???!!!) which kind of instills a fair bit of faith in the strength of Maya and MR, but it's also important that it can handle the points above too.

Thanks
 
Old 01-06-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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Vray is available for Maya as well.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
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Really? I knew there was a C4D version, wasn't aware there's a Maya version too. Thanks.

Is it Mac compatible? (I'll go and Google this now) EDIT: looks like it is!

One more question, and this could sound like an odd feature requirement, but is there a VRayDirt alternative in mentalRay? I tend to rely on that quite a lot and it's massively useful for a lot of situations, would be nice if there's an alternative in MR.

Last edited by TeeJayEllis : 01-06-2013 at 10:03 PM.
 
Old 01-07-2013, 06:20 PM   #4
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Should be an Ambient Occlusion map, basically the same thing.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Is it Mac compatible? (I'll go and Google this now) EDIT: looks like it is!


ya, I run the Mac version of V-Ray for Maya with Linux slaves helping out with the rendering on 3D illustration projects and it's great. They have very good support. Don't even bother with mental ray it's a nightmare in Maya because it's so poorly supported

Read my blog for V-Ray for Maya (and OS X related) tips.
 
Old 01-08-2013, 02:31 AM   #6
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I'm a Maya user. But I really think Maya can't beat MAX when it comes to Arch-Viz. Sure you can archive the same thing or even convert models/materials over from MAX/Vray. But there are just some plug-ings that are sooooo easy to use in MAX that are not available in Maya. Autograss... Snowflow.. PaintFX can't beat autograss when it comes to ease of use. And I don't think there's any Snowflow alternative on Maya at all.

Last edited by Panupat : 01-08-2013 at 02:34 AM.
 
Old 01-08-2013, 06:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panupat
I'm a Maya user. But I really think Maya can't beat MAX when it comes to Arch-Viz. Sure you can archive the same thing or even convert models/materials over from MAX/Vray. But there are just some plug-ings that are sooooo easy to use in MAX that are not available in Maya. Autograss... Snowflow.. PaintFX can't beat autograss when it comes to ease of use. And I don't think there's any Snowflow alternative on Maya at all.



i've seen some interesting things done with Fur to make some very controllable grass effects... i guess it's not a simple click-n-go thing though.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:11 PM   #8
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Thanks guys.

See this is the thing, the ONE thing keeping me from making the switch right now is the support for third-party stuff. Things like FloorGenerator, Bookmanager etc etc as well as all the model libraries. I do try and model my own stuff whenever possible but obviously on most client projects there just isn't time.

I think most libraries have an OBJ or FBX included but then it's time setting up materials. Although, I often end up messing with the defaults anyway so that may not be an issue.

I may run through a test project with the demo and see how I get on, if I can get things done quickly and smoothly then I may well just go for it.
 
Old 01-08-2013, 05:45 PM   #9
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The Gothenburg-based studio Industriromantik do a lot of arch viz, and they're Maya/V-Ray based. I'd say Max is the most common software in arch viz, but there are some Maya based ones too.

There are some C4D-based studios too, I'm sure, and even a few Lightwave-based ones. If you want to use Mac instead of Windows, you don't have to use Maya. And while V-Ray is a very good render engine, it's not the only good render engine. I mostly use modo, and that's available for Mac and Windows as well.
 
Old 01-09-2013, 10:39 PM   #10
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Yeah I picked up Modo over Christmas when it was on sale, amazing stuff. I had heard good things about the modeling tools and they are incredible, so fast! It's my go-to for all modeling now.

I'd like to use it for everything, but I've found the renderer, whilst capable, is a little on the slow side and very noisy. I also severely dislike the Shader Tree system. I still can't see why one would prefer it over a standard node-based shader editor or similar. I'm also not sure if I'd be able to figure out working with the Shader Tree on massive scenes with a bunch of objects.
 
Old 01-10-2013, 11:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeeJayEllis
I'd like to use it for everything, but I've found the renderer, whilst capable, is a little on the slow side and very noisy. I also severely dislike the Shader Tree system. I still can't see why one would prefer it over a standard node-based shader editor or similar. I'm also not sure if I'd be able to figure out working with the Shader Tree on massive scenes with a bunch of objects.


I think you are misjudging modo, it always takes some time to learn your way round any render engine (and material system). The renderer in modo is definitely comparable to Vray in terms of speed and quality, there is very little difference between them in those terms. Vray's main advantage is more features (multiscatter and so on), but a skilled artist will get comparable results in either engine.

I would say that in terms of libraries and plugins it makes a lot of sense to stick with Max/Vray however. That is one area where modo cannot compete.
 
Old 01-10-2013, 12:18 PM   #12
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Hmm, I can't seem to get it working anywhere near as quick as VRay.

Yes you can tweak settings to the point you get a decent time:quality ratio but I seriously can't eliminate noise with GI on blurry reflections.

The main thing is the shader tree, though. It causes me problems in two areas, firstly when I'm working on a scene with hundreds of objects, it gets a little confusing when you have 20 objects with one material, and then 50 unique materials, and five with the same etc etc. And secondly the whole 'layers' setup just gets way too complex when you have multiple masks and layers set up.

For example, an aged wooden texture where you might have the base wood texture, the worn edge wood texture, a top-coat of paint, and then a dirt/dust layer on top of that, all masked to their respective areas (edges/normal direction etc), and then layered properly. In Max or Maya (or UDK or any node-based editor) it's simple to see how it all connects up and even more simple to apply it to select objects. In Modo, it's a nightmare, not only to set up and apply, but to manage later on.

Don't get me wrong, Modo shines in some areas, as I said, I use it for 100% of my modeling now, and having fantastic retopo, UV and even some pretty useful sculpting tools at my disposal is great. However, whether it's genuinely the shortcomings of the software, or my ineptitude at picking it up, I really can't get into it for shading/rendering.
 
Old 01-10-2013, 01:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeeJayEllis
I seriously can't eliminate noise with GI on blurry reflections.


You definitely can eliminate noise on blurry reflections, it comes down to just two settings: the reflection rays on the actual material, and in the global render settings the ray threshold (lowering from the default to 0.01 or lower is necessary in more complex scenes with recursive reflections).

In general the consensus is that Vray is faster for GI, and modo is faster at AA, but they really are very similar.

I also would like to see some kind of nodal system come to modo's materials, however this isn't directly related to render quality. In the meantime these are the strategies I use to manage the shader tree:

1) Only ever polygon tags (M key shortcut) to create and assign materials, this makes scene management much easier. Item masks should only ever be used for special circumstances, and in these cases (like outputting a per object alpha channel) they should be used without materials.

2) Use the Preview window to select your material in the Shader Tree, and/or also use the Filter on Selection option to limit the visibility of your layers to the currently selected object.

3) Complex materials are actually easily managed, as long as they are within just the one polygon tag, they will all be nested inside the same group in the shader tree. You then use the occlusion textures or image masks within that group either as simple masks or group masks and it is very easy to read and manage. Just like a node editor it will really help if you give descriptive names to your folders.

None of this is to say that modo is better than X or Y, just clarifying some workflow issues.

This image is modo, and has clean blurry reflections and a very complex material on the wooden floor that uses many gradients, maps and procedurals to drive the variations in the floor tiles, and the shader tree is set up very simply with all of these maps contained in two folders:

 
Old 01-10-2013, 01:28 PM   #14
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Just to add: if you do ever encounter a problem with one of your scenes in modo, it's well worth posting on the Luxology forums, there are a lot of helpful people there who will assist. Captain Obvious above and I being two prime examples
 
Old 01-10-2013, 01:43 PM   #15
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If you own modo and need some insight on the rendering stuff get Richards rendering training its really good only $45 to!
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