The EIAS Workflow Tips Thread

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  10 October 2006
The EIAS Workflow Tips Thread

Hi all,

This thread will do exactly what it says on the tin. I'll compile all of the 'Daily Tips' I did a while back and add some more. Please feel free to pile in if you have any to add!


Last edited by halfworld : 10 October 2006 at 03:01 PM.
  10 October 2006
Custom labels.

Today we were having some issues with a huge project (and I mean "400meg project file" huge). There were literally hundreds upon hundreds of groups, probably half of Southern England was in this file. I noticed just how tidy everything was for a project this size. Everything was very tidily parented to nulls which we often treat as folders and a lot of things were labeled which, in a file this size, is absolutely essential.

So, if you don't already, I suggest labelling everything in large projects, a great bonus is that you can customise your labels, so why not get a scheme going, get used to it and keep using it. It will save you TONES of time.

You can select groups based on their label, this is really helpful when you want to turn all the glass in your scene off instantly or do something similar like change the texture of all of one type of object at once (say internal walls) by copying a texture then pasting it onto all the selected objects at once.

  10 October 2006
Project Management 1

Browsing someone else's project set up today made me decide to share a good windowing set up for EI.

90% of the time I use a two window set-up, I know several 'power users' do the same thing. It's much faster for large scenes because Animator only has 2 windows to draw instead of the usual four (note: lights slow OpenGL down more then polygons!)...

Click here to see my setup (note: I actually have two monitors and use one for views and the other for palettes).

You can use the menu (shown open) at the top of the Top View to change cameras... how slow, don't you wish there was a faster way?

Fret not, there is! With that window in the foreground, hold down the option (alt) key and any number from 1 to 6, this will cycle through the views available to you.

If I'm not animating in a scene I would scale the project window down to just the object list. I actually run EI with dual monitors so sometimes I move the project window over to the second monitor and make it tall and then scatter other windows around it in a nice and untidy pile

Hope that wasn't too patronising!

PS. Remember: Alt and 1 to 6!
  10 October 2006
Animation workflow

Ey up,

About a year ago I was asked to put together (what at the time seemed like) a long and complex camera move, It required animating in Explicit mode, that obviously gives you more control over the camera, however, it got messy and I couldn't get my head around what each channel was doing, so Al (workmate of mine) suggested I litereally seperate every animation channel. It was such a lifesaver.

With this method a camera is now not controlled by one null, but by 6 or more, one null for each animation channel, this makes it a lot clearer in the project window, the function curve editor and in my head it's a real life/time saver for those moments when you look at the FCE and get brain freeze, you can see what is happening so much more clearly (and make faster adjustments).

Download a sample project

A related technique -and i'd love to hear if other people do this- is that I never animate the camera reference point, but instead use a 'Look at' constraint to make it stare at a null, I then animate the null.

It's the little things

Last edited by halfworld : 10 October 2006 at 09:03 AM.
  10 October 2006
Easy stars!

Hey everyone!

You might have seen the image of a lightpost I uploaded in the Mr. Revolver thread. The background stars in that image were created with 'Random Dots' a shader that comes with EI. It can create some very passable stars.

Random dots is added to the Luminance and Glow tabs (remember to set up a glow layer!).
In this scene the dots were applied to a 200 unit wide Ubersphere.

Plug (pardon the pun): Northern Lights have a fabulous Galaxy building plug-in called Big Dipper which is far more versatile and works with motion blur, unlike this tip which can really only be used for stills.

Take a look at the screens and go play!
  10 October 2006

Great idea Ian - great tips!
And, just watched your glass vid and for the first time in my foggy brain there was light - albeit distorted slightly by 1.53%.
  10 October 2006
I keep a library of fully textured models for quick easy importing.

I have organized this by having a single textured model with texture variations (different standard colors, etc.) as master materials.

I save this as a project file into my library.

I use the "merge" project command to bring these into new projects complete with master materals.

Since the project must contain at least 1 camera, I use the red label to identify items like lights, cameras, etc. that I want turned off or deleted after I import the projcect file.

This system works very well, especially if you need to keep a comprehensive library of consumer products for rendering retail environments.
  10 October 2006
Originally Posted by arketype: I keep a library of fully textured models for quick easy importing.

I use the "merge" project command to bring these into new projects complete with master materals.

We do the very same thing, it's a very relyable system.

Here's a screenshot of my EI Materials folder. The 'Material Textures' folder contains every single texture I regulally use so that I can quickly point EI to that folder if it can't find an image when loading a project.

Materials labelled orange look great in any lighting conditions. Ones with no label colour are used as an approximate base to build from.

For Mac users, I also keep my active projects in the side bar along with easy access to the Snapshots folder.

  10 October 2006
Originally Posted by Spleeve: Great idea Ian - great tips!

Cheers Mike,

There are more coming!
  10 October 2006
Good organisation Ian, I which I could say that much about my setup...
Pieces of eight... Good memories. The time when good script was more important than stunning graphics. Oh well...
  10 October 2006
I agree

We can't be having boring hard drive names though can we now.

Today I have three little project window habits to share.

Firstly, lights, I'm constantly sharing projects with my workmates and it's always a pain to work out what is doing what to a scene, so I find it's good to explain myself This also helps when I haven't been inside a project for a while, I instantly know the score.

Masterlights, I always parent slave lights to their master lights in the hierarchy. This keeps things tidy and comprehensible. Remember, this is not the same as linking them.

When doing raytraced or GI test shots (or animations) I habitually turn off the most complex eliments in a scene — unless they are the essential —. The best way to find them is via the Project View menu, by complexity. The example below shows an OS map, not the best example for renders but it certainly slows down OpenGL previews!

Bye for now!
  12 December 2006
No one mentioned the R-click contextual menu ?

Must be one of the best new workflow features, once you get used to the fact its acually there.. you can do a lot of tasks just by using the menu.

"We're on an express elevator to hell - Going down"

  01 January 2009
RPF Saver and minimum render settings

Just a silly quickie: for EIAS' RPF Saver to produce its output it requires as an absolute minimum that the Render Tab's Bump/Displace, Diffuse and Specular checkboxes are on.

I wanted to create a RPF set for simple masking purposes in After Effects, so I was trying to reduce the project involved to its bare bones to make it render as fast as possible. I was turning myself crazy seeing no RPF files output at all, so I began the usual recursive "turn half the things off" tests until I arrived at that.

Last edited by juanxer : 04 April 2009 at 02:35 PM.
  03 March 2009
After many years with EIAS, I finish discovering a way to make geometry mirror!

just to put a negative value in the axis that you want symmetry and reverse normals.

if the scale of your model is:

X= 1.0
Y= 1.0
Z= 1.0

change to:

X= -1.0
Y= 1.0
Z= 1.0

and you have a horizontal mirror of the model, also you need reverse the normals.

I already know that it is very basic but sometimes the basic thing are ignored…

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