"C4D Scene Speed" Article: increase your viewport speed

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  08 August 2013
That's already in the mograph section, great plugin
 
  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by mattfrodsham: That's already in the mograph section, great plugin

Huh. I must have skipped the whole mograph section for some reason.
 
  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by Horganovski: I'm curious, does anyone have a success story with XRefs (particularly with character rigs) that might inspire others to give them another go?


Yes, used them for 2 small - medium animatics (about 6 artists, mixed PC mac) where all characters & much of the sets were xref-ed in for all shots.

1st was in R12, there were limitations & minor bugs but no major problems & overall made the production possible (client was revising character's appearance even as we had begun animating)

2nd was under R14, no limitations or problems. We were even able to re-pick which character the x-ref referenced & preserve animation (they were based off the same rig) - ie 'should be Mike on the left & Brian on the right' - we could just change the x-ref target to swap the characters.

At times it could be slow to open the scenes but our network has never been the fastest so it may be to blame.

The only thing we NEVER did was nest x-refs - might be possible but that way lies madness...

Also, we put all our textures in a 'master' textures folder & had that path in our cinema 4d prefs.

Finally, we used NET render & just did 'save with assets' to the jobs folder, had no real problems.

Form anecdotally seeing threads, seems like problems are most likely to occur when a point update has been made to Cinema 4D in between making the x-ref & using it. But that's just 'never update mid-project' as usual.
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  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by Horganovski: Been there too, bitten on the ass by XRefs on a couple of projects (always character rigs in my case) and abandoned them. It's frustrating as in other situations (ie with a different program) I use references all the time and from a rigging/animation pipeline point of view they are so incredibly useful and avoid a lot of tedious re-working of scenes (copying a bunch of animations to an updated rig is no fun). I feel that in Cinema they can be made to work if all the bugs are eventually ironed out but that takes brave users who keep trying to use them in production and then report the bugs they run into.

I'm curious, does anyone have a success story with XRefs (particularly with character rigs) that might inspire others to give them another go?

I'll salute the OP here too, nice article, I'm always surprised how many of my clients don't seem to be aware of the layer system in Cinema for example.

Cheers,
Brian


I use them for The Ottoman. They haven't been perfect, but there's some reasons for that typically(We had jumped from R13 to R14, so old Xrefs in R14 caused some issues).

Whenever I have come unto an issue, oddly enough the animation always seems to be preserved no matter how mangled a mesh is.

If you're using a Character Object(ie any time you have more than 1 character imo), you can just double click on the character object to select all the controllers, then copy and paste to a new XRef.

I've also written an animation transfer to transfer the animation from XRef A to XRef B. So it hasn't been perfect, but I'm not ready to place the blame on Xrefs yet for the problems. There's other issues like which options are enabled on an Xref when you update, what you are updating etc. etc.

But, I've not found an XRef I couldn't properly transfer the animation to.
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  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by Decade: The only thing we NEVER did was nest x-refs - might be possible but that way lies madness...


I usually believe this as well, but someone on our project came up with a pretty nifty way to keep a Visual selector setup for a character object that is getting updated often.

He made a scene that references the rig(which has a character object and meshes etc. etc.), then in this scene he builds the Visual Selector. Then animators XRef this scene file that is XReffing the rig. Allows you to update/rebuild character rigs but not lose the connections to the VS which has been quite handing for the animators who prefer a GUI picker to viewport controls.
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  08 August 2013
Thanks guys, yeah I've seen my share of mangled meshes, not pretty! Sounds good though that they are starting to be more robust. I'll avoid nesting for sure, rarely if ever do that anyway.

Cheers,
Brian
 
  08 August 2013
It is certainly reassuring to know that they are being used successfully by some.

The thing is it's hard to troubleshoot what combination of problems lead to such erratic errors (in my experience).

The opinion either seems to be split into 'been fairly consistently bitten and generally don't use' or 'they're not perfect but I can workaround it'. Its that second group who are tenacious enough to continuously 'beta test' things during production that will turn the first group (me) around eventually when the kinks are ironed out. So thanks!
 
  08 August 2013
Great article!

Ruimac has a couple of plugins in this area:
http://ruimac.com/plugins.htm#09
 
  08 August 2013
What a great idea, a one-stop shop to keep animators from staying until 2am at night on large scenes. I'll be killing off my parametric objects much earlier from now on.

Two more tips maybe to add:

First, I sometimes use an idiosyncratic workflow that avoids nulls altogether if I sense a scene will get big. Instead, it's possible to use an empty spline object as a null-esque grouping object, for the simple reason that by control-clicking the checkmark on the spline object, the entire hierarchy of parametrics / deformers, etc. disables. Control-clicking again 'toggles on' all the hierarch's checkmarks. In conjunct with layerizing, this used to get me through big scenes back when machines were slower. Caveats: This means you can't be animating the 'enable' button on objects in the hierarchy, but I rarely ever do that anyway. Then there's the issue of disabling lights that one might want to re-enable later--personally I double-red lights or delete them.

Second, just common sense. Naming objects in your scenes will speed things up when you revisit the scene later for optimization. It's much faster to get through a scene when you don't have to stop and suss out how you're using 'Cube copy.7.'

Scene speed was a hot topic on a recent job on which all animators were seated at slow machines, including the poor guy who got the iMac. 'Use the polygon reduction deformer,' a colleague insisted. Somehow I didn't see that tip included, ahem.
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  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by govinda: Scene speed was a hot topic on a recent job on which all animators were seated at slow machines, including the poor guy who got the iMac. 'Use the polygon reduction deformer,' a colleague insisted. Somehow I didn't see that tip included, ahem.



Only helps if your actually making the reduction permanent. Otherwise it's a very slow generator with intense calculations that usually is a speed hit not a reduction.
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  08 August 2013
haha, Govinda's sarcasm flying safely under the radar there? I remember your username from mograph years ago when I was still figuring out how to add wiggle in AE!

But anyway yes.. if you want to make a fast (permanent) low poly version for use in a viewport proxy setup it's pretty useful actually. Left parametric, its one of the slowest things in the program.

And woah, I didn't know about ctrl clicking on a parent 'enable' check/cross. Thank you!!!
And yeah, naming/organisation.. I have an equally long list of tips and scripts that would fit in a 'general workflow speed' article rather than viewport calculation speed, but that is such an important one I should probably put it in the intro or something.

I have another list of recommendations and tips growing so I'll update again in the next week or so. I'm seriously grateful for all these extras, I've learned so much and been gifted new solutions to old problems in the past week. So cheers!
 
  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by govinda: Instead, it's possible to use an empty spline object as a null-esque grouping object, for the simple reason that by control-clicking the checkmark on the spline object, the entire hierarchy of parametrics / deformers, etc. disables.
Nifty little tip, can't believe I never thought of that.
 
  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by bunk: Nifty little tip, can't believe I never thought of that.


Agreed, nice tip there Richard!

I'll add not to forget about the Object Manager Filter. That open/shut eyeball icon in the OM menu bar.

I forget about it sometimes, when, in general, it's a convenient way to select, then deactivate generators, deformers, parametrics, and tags based on object type. Although it's main purpose seems to be to simply hiding these types within the OM, you can double click the type to select all objects, and go from there.

It's also a good way to get a tally of how many of these particular objects are being used in your scene.

And of course, Bookmarks are a huge help in saving sets of cherry-picked object hierarchies in the OM.
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  08 August 2013
I will be doing a general 'workflow speed' one as well at some point, there is obviously a lot of crossover so it's hard to say were to draw the line.. but stuff like object manager navigation could (and will) have it's own page.

I find the eye useful but limited, if I'm working in a file for myself I will usually try to keep a naming convention (like including shorthand generator/deformer types as well as a descriptive name) that is easily searchable which usually shows me what I want quicker. Obviously the eye is still great for selecting and turning things on/off in a couple of clicks!

And also bookmarks are good, I only started using them recently actually... but again I wish they were a little more manageable!

cheers!
 
  08 August 2013
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