Maya instead of Vue 10 xstream? Recommendations?

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Old 03 March 2013   #1
Maya instead of Vue 10 xstream? Recommendations?

I'm writing this after finally reaching the end of my limits with Vue. Having spent a month at 8-12 hours a day learning Vue, and getting some very promising results, I'm giving up. Primarily, because I've never seen any pro-level program crash this much. I might have lived with taking forever to load and save a scene, let alone do a high quality render, but I was never able to even approach rendering an animation. I admit that I was trying to build a scene that was based on an imported terrain object with an image overlay, grass and rocks, lots of polygons, etc. But with a quad-core machine and 8mb ram, and the very latest drivers (for a video card Vue says should work), even working on a standard terrain created by Vue itself and experimenting with built-in's like the spline editor and rocks/plants, it would just crash for nothing--and often! I've worked with Maya 2013 and made some huge scenes and, though I know it's possible to overload any program, it never hung or crashed this much.

So, now that I've vented my frustration, I'd appreciate hearing about any successes others have had using Maya to do highly realistic natural terrain scenes. I really like the realism that Vue gives, and Terragen is incredible but doesn't seem to have any built-in animation capability for wind, etc. I'm thinking Speedtree may be the way to go and know it's used by some big-name companies. So any help to boost my spirits, even seeing some examples of what any of you have done, would be a big help right now.
Any thoughts are appreciated..
Old 03 March 2013   #2
Yup. check it.

utilizing maya proxies and such can give you extraordinary results.

i have this dvd collection.. it is what they advertise and more.
Old 03 March 2013   #3
Agreed, the gnomon dvds are very good
I also use vue on a regular basis and yes, it also crashes a lot.. but i use it mainly to do matte painting of landscapes, because the renders are very realistic, but for anything else (i mean items in the foreground) maya or any other 3d application is more versatile and and stable.
BTW the fractals in vue are awesome to generate realistic rocks to export to other 3d applications.
Old 03 March 2013   #4
I've spent a lot of time with Vue, since version 4, and can second your horrible experiences. It is really poorly coded, prone to crashing constantly, and the application itself is very poorly implemented. Also, their plugins for Maya are pure garbage and should have never left beta testing, much less been a viable product. I've also tried each new version hoping they would "get it right", but alas...

Maya is a lot more tedious at first, sure, to do big forest or nature scenes with. But the resulting renders are so much faster, better, cleaner, more realistic, and flexible! Using mental ray or Vray, you can accomplish photorealism or just about any artistic style you'd wish.

Here is the Great Big Forests in mental ray thread, it's a windy one so bookmark it and read up! You can do some amazing stuff with Maya and a few plugins/scripts, and it is much more powerful and flexible than Vue in every way.

And here's an example of many of the techniques involved, a personal work-in-progress:
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
1541 Floppy Drive

"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
Old 03 March 2013   #5

Alex's Tree and plants tutorials are priceless. A must buy, indeed. I find those techniques amazing for close to medium/far distances. But what about the very far, matte-painting like mountains? Those that you can achieve with TG or Vue, where the atmosphere and ozone plays a big role.. I'm curious to see if there's anything like that done with MR/Vray.

I'm avoiding using Vue due to the reasons we all know, and while TG has lot of potential, it's still limited in some aspects for my personal needs.

Some examples of what I mean:

Is this even possible?
Old 03 March 2013   #6
Great advice...keep the ideas coming.

I'll definitely look into the Gnomon Workshop DVD. It looks great, even if what I've learned so far about Maya makes my mind ache thinking of all the things I still have to learn (staying up to 3am every night doesn't help :\ )

Frustrated as I am, I still long for the simplicity and realism of terrain found in Vue, and Terragen. In particular, importing a large DEM and being able to work on it right from there. Since giving up trying to do it all in Vue, I've been trying to export the DEM to an .OBJ file so I can get it into Maya. It's only a bazillion polygons (a few too many I think) so I've been trying to reduce it with
a) seemed to get bigger! and literally freezes the program,
b) Vue...but the poly .obj doesn't seem to ever come out well enough
c) Polytrans...which crashed loading the DEM and hangs just trying to reduce the polys.
d) MeshLab...ok so far, but very slow response, tough to select anything, and will hang (but best so far).
e) AccuTrans3D..had potential, but hard to understand and says 'out of memory' when it isn't.

It's slowly coming along, but even when it's reduced considerably (I think), when I get it in to Maya and touch selecting vertices, faces, etc.. it will freeze Maya and require a reboot! If anyone can also suggest a 'best practices' way to convert a DEM into an .OBJ file, or whatever, please advise.

Nevertheless, when I get this into Maya I'll try everything that's been suggested. So far I'm trying to be positive about how much I'm learning on the road to getting what I want
Old 03 March 2013   #7
well, if you can get an obj file out of the DEM file, I would use zbrush decimation master plugin to make the obj much lighter
Old 03 March 2013   #8
I think it's important to remember that all these programs and applications are just tools. They're like advanced, kickass paintbrushes. There's no reason not to use Terragen or Vue to accomplish a scene, in conjunction with or without Maya. Obviously we're all aware of Maya's power and flexibility, but it's not perfect and isn't geared towards handling everything under the sun.

I like Terragen myself, and have played with it a little. And it's much more stable than Vue! Knowing the limitations of a program is helpful in deciding how to proceed.

Regarding DEM files: I think it would work best to convert them to point-clouds. I'd be willing to try this in Rhino for you, jttraverse, if you'd like to send me a DEM to work with? Rhino can handle pretty absurd data-sets; maybe it will do what you need.
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
1541 Floppy Drive

"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
Old 03 March 2013   #9
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