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  05 May 2006
Gary, I made that sample scene. I believe it dosent use irradiance caching. Try leaving DOF on, and just unchecking blurry reflections from the gold metal ball, and try turning ON IC with 2 bounces, 1024 rays, 5 rate, and 6 interp values. The render wont be quite as accurate, but you'll see a difference in rendertimes for sure. Post your results.
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  05 May 2006
Hey Mike,
You've done some beautiful beta test renderings with modo 201! I'll try out those settings - I'm currently rendering the same scene without Depth of Field. It's interesing how the camera works like a real world camera - I locked down the F-Stop to 11 to increase the depth of field. It's rendering now ... and appears to be about the same 46 minutes. But the details are much sharper now ... for Thomas' viewing pleasure.

OK, it actually took a little longer:

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  05 May 2006
Hehehe - Well, I learned that the hard way over the years - that's the good part of growing older, although I could do without the back ache right now...

I am very easily distracted since I am interested in almost everything
So I had to establish an input-reduction-policy to be at least halfways productive.
The second part grew over the years with added frustration over software and what it promises. I've been through like 15 3D Tools alone and just had it after some time. I accepted that there simply is no Tool that is good in every area.
Lightwave/messiah was for a long time the cheapest workhorse available (it never made sense to me to spent thousands on something that you already know it will be only hundreds some years later, like the first DVD authoring tools) that I now replaced with XSI Foundation mostly. It can't become much cheaper than that.
Since I also do coding, writing, compositing, design, websites and many other things, 3D isn't even the only area I have to know (and pay for), but for most other stuff I rely on Adobe and that makes it easier since they have rather logical workflows - and their stuff is very good in most areas.

But somehow, the XSI/MentalRay SDK isn't inspiring at all to me. While AoN|XSI is basically working for my inhouse needs and I wrote a almost complete base material to replace their dead boring idea of surfaces, there are things like copyprotection and other issues that would need a massive effort to work across company networks with mixed win/linux and 32/64bits machines. I am simply gunshy since I don't want to spend my life with finding solutions to obscure software problems of that magnitude.
And it is funny, but nobody seems to really love Mental Ray at Softimage, it feels orphaned in a way, it works very reliable, but it isn't really sexy. messiah has that sexy-bit set IMO and with the latest development, I really look forward to using it more again.

So please, take my occasional rants with a grain of salt. I know I can be rather grumpy at times
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ScreenDream | Thomas Helzle
 
  05 May 2006
Hey mike!

Nice to see you around here! I was extremely impressed by your glass examples and they were very inspiring for my tool development.
I hope you didn't mind me posting your image here as an example and goal for messiah?

Since you have more practice with modo 201: where do you personally see strengths and weaknesses?

Chikega: nice, but still a bit blurry? Or am I overcritical?
We would have to create the same thing in messiah to really compare it...
Seems rather slow to me in this configuration? What does take the most time here?

Cheers!
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ScreenDream | Thomas Helzle
 
  05 May 2006
Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity ... - Henry David Thoreau

I think you and Henry may have something there. It's funny, I worked with Softimage:3d back in 1995 when Mental Ray was still an "alternate" render engine. How things have changed and XSI is now sooo totally dependent on MentalRay. I guess Softimage thought it was a good move at the time - hehe. But since then, rendering engines have popped up left and right - some very nice ones and some that are even free. The results with Blender's Elephant Dreams comes to mind. Interesting times ...

I believe the blurriest aspect of the rendering may be the image map which may not be of high enough resolution to stand up to more scrutiny.
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Last edited by chikega : 05 May 2006 at 07:58 PM.
 
  05 May 2006
I'll write a longer reply later, but Gary, try dropping your AA samples to 8 instead of 32, without DOF you don't need as many. Should help the rendertimes significantly.
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  05 May 2006
Thanks Mike - I've been going through the video tutorials - unbelievable I show 2.16GB worth of documentation. Luxology and the beta testers, you being one of them, have really worked hard and deserve a lot of credit.

Mike is right, it's all about tweaking the settings. I rendered this whiskey glass scene and it rendered very quickly at 1min 21sec!!! And the results ... well ... just .. speak ... for ... themselves. OMFG. I feel like I'm cheating, it's so easy to make nice glass in modo. Shouldn't this be harder?

I tried to replicate this scene in stock messiah ... and it was a flat out no-go. Two polygons occupying the same space is OK (glass and air polys), but having a third (the liquid) caused artifacts. So, to be able to even attempt glass with liquid in messiah would require TLHPro.

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Last edited by chikega : 05 May 2006 at 02:35 AM.
 
  05 May 2006
Thomas, since this is what we're trying to shoot for...

The whiskey liquid shows some of the same characteristics as your twisty-glass thingy. The color fades as the object grows thinner or where the rays are penetrating less inner-object distance. I can see your plugin being very useful for this effect. You also may be able to derive some information from these settings for the glass. Modo has a built-in Absorption Distance setting based on Beer's Law of Absorption. Is this something that's possible with TLHPro? Similar perhaps already?



And for the liquid:

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  05 May 2006
Thomas: Here's the whiskey project file, if you get a chance, try out your shaders on the liquid/glass combination - I'll be going on vacation to New Mexico and Arizona for a week ... so, I won't be able to play with all these new toys. :( I have to spend some time with my girl friend. I think she want's to strangle me or my computer ... maybe both.

"OK... OK... I'm getting off the computer ... sheeze..."
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  05 May 2006
Blurry reflection off on the dull metal ball
AA samples set to 4
DOF off
GI bounces reduced to 1
IC on
128 ICrays
5 ICrate

you lose the caustics that come from having more rays (more accurate sampling), but as you can see the rendertime is pretty good....

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  05 May 2006
Originally Posted by chikega: You've got the right idea, Thomas, by sticking with one or two apps and being done with it. I'm all over the friggin' place ... when will the madness end!?


hopefully with modo 301
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  05 May 2006
Wow.



That was sure a humbling experience. I thought this would be a very
easy scene to replicate. . .

Where to begin. . .

I guess the most obvious would be to ask. . . what the !@#$#$ are all
those little white dots!!?! Especially on the top ball! Man thats
ugly. Is it the ball that is emitting light? Is it the HDRI image I'm
using to light the scene!?!

I'm not getting the Glass thing. Thomas? What am I doing wrong?
Besides not using your shaders. :-)

Blurry reflections. . . yea I could have cranked that up.

Caustics. . . just didn't work. Everything would just turn out white.
Caustics and HDRI lighting don't like each other or something.

Frustrating.

If anyone else wants to have a try. . .

Link
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  05 May 2006
Ouch. I'm not familiar with the messiah renderer, but can you just crank up some rays, or sompling, or somthing to lose the white dots?
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  05 May 2006
Originally Posted by Wegg: Wow.



That was sure a humbling experience. I thought this would be a very
easy scene to replicate. . .

Where to begin. . .

I guess the most obvious would be to ask. . . what the !@#$#$ are all
those little white dots!!?! Especially on the top ball! Man thats
ugly. Is it the ball that is emitting light? Is it the HDRI image I'm
using to light the scene!?!

I'm not getting the Glass thing. Thomas? What am I doing wrong?
Besides not using your shaders. :-)

Blurry reflections. . . yea I could have cranked that up.

Caustics. . . just didn't work. Everything would just turn out white.
Caustics and HDRI lighting don't like each other or something.

Frustrating.

If anyone else wants to have a try. . .

Link


I thought the latest rev was supposed to fix the white dots. Not looking very good esp compared to Modo's fantastic looking renders.
 
  05 May 2006
Wegg: After running a few tests on your scene, it appears the white spots are due to the particular HDRI map you've chosen, I noticed that you have it set to .15, a very low setting - this is a very hot map if there's such a thing.

I turned off the Blurry reflection on the Gold sphere to save on render times. For colored glass, you may try using Tint to Surface Color next to the Transparency setting instead of lowering the transparency setting to capture the diffuse color. But even in this case, the white dots are tinted red.



The white dots are not from the Glowing Sphere as shown below:



Note how the white dots remain even after lowering the HDRI map to 0.0 setting:



Below, the HDRI map has been turned off and a constant color is being used instead - no more white dots:



I used the alternate HDRI map in your list and it shows no white dots either even at 1.0 setting:



I also noticed that the GI Noise Reduction does get rid of the white dots - but the downside is that the objects no longer appear grounded but floating. I would like to have made some additional changes like tweak the reflectivity using a Fresnel gradient, but I've run out of time. Gotta catch a flight this morning!!! I'll be out of commission for a week. Here's the minimally adjusted project file.
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Last edited by chikega : 05 May 2006 at 06:07 AM.
 
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