Maya freezing on imported DEM mesh

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  04 April 2013
Maya freezing on imported DEM mesh

I'm on Maya 2013 x64 working with a terrain mesh created from a DEM exported as an .obj file. The .obj files imports into Maya without any problem and, once in, I can resize and rotate the mesh just fine, change materials, etc. But if I touch the mesh in any way or try to select vertex mode, face mode, etc., it freezes the entire computer. The original mesh from the DEM was hundreds of mb's, and I reduced the polygons to get it to 90mb, then 52mb, and down to a 37mb version. At 37mb at lot of the detail gets lost, but that's the only one I can even try to select anything on, and if I do it still virtually hangs Maya..if I'm lucky it may still be several minutes to even see a response, let alone try to get an on-screen menu to show up.

I'm only on a quad-core with 8mb ram, and no doubt more would be better, but something tells me that by the time I've used every program I could find to reduce it, make it quad-dominant, reduce triangles, etc etc that it shouldn't be killing Maya. I've had a 2gb chainlink fence object that at the very least I could open and work on in Maya. So I'd appreciate any help on what might possibly be going wrong with a mesh exported as an .obj (from Vue, Polytrans, Meshlab, you name it) such that Maya just comes to a halt when I touch it.
  04 April 2013
37mb! That's a very dense mesh. Editing it's verticles may cost huge memory. But a quad core with 8 GB Ram freezing is not expected. Try using low res mesh. I recommend to use Zbrush (if u hv access to) Retopology tool and then morph to the base mesh. For details bake a displacement map out of Zbrush.
  04 April 2013
Its best to not be working on a vert level when working with that much data. If you have to, here are a few things to look for. How many verts/tris/faces? are your normals smooth or faceted? How many grid units does your mesh span. DEM data is fraught with peril. Its workable, but you have to worry about a lot of factors most people don't.

Smooth is good, Faceted is bad
Your opengl/directx vert count can go up by 4x or more if your normals are set to face. It wont show that count in maya but it destroys your video card performance anyway. This is also true of UVs. Use big shells.

Grid Units
Be careful with scale
Maya is single precision, doesnt matter most of the time, but with things like DEM data you can quickly run into math problems. If your verts start to jitter when you move your camera you are in trouble, you may need to go back a few steps and reduce or increase your scale to avoid math problems.

More cores doesn't help, A fast dual core is better than a slow eight core. Memory matters, 8gb may not be enough for processing that much data.

Big Meshs just suck.
If you have a good workflow its just sucks. Selecting a vert might take 1 minute or more. If your workflow is bad everything breaks. If you have a huge amount of DEM data and its running slow, your doing it right. If you need speed, bake it down to a displacement or something similar.
Ryan Brady
Special Projects Lead
  04 April 2013
Decimation master in zbrush would be good for this....
  04 April 2013
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