Questions regarding Vue5I

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Old 03 March 2005   #1
Questions regarding Vue5I

We were considering getting VUE5I as soon as it was released for a project with a quick turn-around deadline, but e-on wasn't willing to accommodate a quick delivery so we decided to go with Terragen.
However I'm still interested in V5I but would like some feedback on concerns we initially had with the product. I'd like to hear from end users who are using the product for more than just "hobby" related work, preferably those using it in a production environment.

First off, it seems like a lot of the images we looked at (both still and motion) had a real "gritty" feel to them. Real noisy. Is this something that is due to people not using a higher render setting or is this the best it gets? It's one thing my client noticed right off and was very concerned if we'd gone forward in getting it. In the couple of QuickTime anims we viewed this noise was real apparent as there was a lot of shimmering going on, especially in the ground detail, around terrain edges, as well as trees and texture maps on geometry. I didn't know if this was a result of the render quality or a low quality setting in building the QT anim.

Can clouds change shape over mimic the ol' time-lapse look? Can they be/look volumetric or just 2d in nature?

How do render times compare to products like Lightwave, Max or even other terra-farming packages like Terragen?
One consistent complaint I've read regarding earlier Vue versions was it was extremely slow. Too slow compared to most other packages. Did they speed things up?
Since my "hero" 3D package is LW(8), are there any issues with the scene/object translations between the two packages. For geometry, do the objects transfer over to Vue with texture and UV's in place? Is it a seamless conversion and should I bow down and praise the e-on programming-gods or are there lots of compromises and it's "not all that".

The one area that interests me most is the GI/radiocity render features. Any feedback on that would be very appreciated. Also comments on Illumination baking, especially on large scenes and objects would be great.
I'm looking for something that is faster (and better) than LW's current radiocity rendering. So in this area is V5I awesome/fantastic or does it suck?

Bottom line is I love Terragen for it's render quality and interaction with Lightwave. However it's still an unfinished package.
There are things about Vue5I that really intrigue me. The Eco-System stuff looks great ( if it works as good as it reads), the GI/Radiocity stuff, the interactive terrain builder, rock generator, atmosphere preset all look interesting, if they really work.


Craig Paup
Digital EFX group
Old 03 March 2005   #2
I second pretty much everything that Craig stated, we are very interested in VUE 5I but all of the concerns raised by Craig are those that we share. So any input would highly be appreciative.

Edit: We're using Maya, and not Lightwave, meant to clarify that previously.
Light & Stuff
Think for yourself, question authority.

Last edited by BillSpradlin : 03 March 2005 at 07:53 AM.
Old 03 March 2005   #3

I can't answer any of your questions as I'm in the same boat you are. I'm a LW8 user and the Vue product terrain and foilage generator is what attracted me. I download the trial version of Vue 5 Esprit. Vue 5 Infinite Trial Version won't be available until Q2 2005.

Anyway my impression is it's alot like Bryce which is not necessarily a bad thing but from what I remember about Bryce it did take awhile to render for the higher quality and Vue seems to have the same renderer as Bryce. Maybe it doesn't but they look very similiar. So similiar that I would say they are at least based on the same code. It seems also to have the best integration with Poser models. So it is basically the 3D system that is in the Poser, Daz, Byrce arena. And I believe Daz owns Bryce now.

The terrain animations with all the trees and plants are impressive though.
I wish LW had a system like that built in.
As far as radiosity rendering from LW haven't you tried FPrime?
There are also plants and tree models available for LW.

Old 03 March 2005   #4
I am a Lightwave 8 user here as well. Like js33 I downloaded the demo version.

I can say that the demo handled more polys more smoothly than I ever could in LW.
I have to re-create big outdoor expanses and I didn't see Lightwave as a viable solution for it either in modeling or rendering. I am crossing my fingers and took the plunge with buying the Infinite version already. After I get it I plan on posting samples of my importing and rendering results. Hopefully we can all compare notes. Thing is their site says my copy has yet to ship.
Richard Cabrera
Twitter - Flickr

Last edited by richcz3 : 03 March 2005 at 04:02 PM.
Old 03 March 2005   #5

I am an Vue user since 2 years about and I will try to answer here to some question.
Yes, maybe Vue has a "gritty" feel, but it's very conditioned from how I use the illumination.
I can to realize images very "photorealistic" with a not "shiny" feel also.
In Vue 5 has been implemented the GI, Radiosity and IBL lighting and this one has raised enormously its render quality.
I repeat, all plays it from how the light it's used.
The render time has been greatly accelerated in the last versions.
Vue 5 Infinite is surely a professional product and its ecosystem feature will revolutionize the way to do scenographies.
You can see some examples of Vue capabilities, in order to "photorealistic" render to his site:

Sorry for my bad english.

Ciao, Luigi.
Old 03 March 2005   #6
some small notes that might be helpful

1. there´s a BIG difference between the v5e demo and v5Infinite.

Big both in render speed and features and render quality, you have alot more control in v5I and it renders alot quicker when it comes to animations and thanks to the bigger control in my opinion the render quality can be higher, and since v5I integrates alot better with existing productionlines that only increases the BIG difference between v5e and v5I.

2. if you have tried the v4pro demo, there´s also a big difference between v4pro and v5I, both in render quality, lightning,speed and features, keep in mind that v4pro do not have gi,ibl,ro, v5I looks better and renders alot faster and has alot of production improvements over v4pro.

3. Poly count, if you felt that v4pro/v5e could handle alot of polys/massive scenes v5I increases that by a magnitude that´s not even sane.

4. Bryce vs vue, yes they are focusing on the same market segment, but bryce has not kept up with vue for years, and neither features, rendertime or quality in bryce is up to par, in fact v5e is far ahead of bryce, so i woudnt even dream of comparing bryce with v5I, different price segments tho, but for commercial work with an existing production line i would easily go with v5I.

So let see have i missed something.

render times, yeah well render times for animations has been greatly improved upon in v5I compared to earlier vue versions.

Interaction with LW, sad to say im not a LW user, so i hope richcz3 get his v5I copy fast so he can but in, but i would be very surprised if terragen did a better job of it, however i have to be honest, i do not use LW so i cant give you an educated feedback here so better wait for richcz3 to come around.

Gritty looks, depends in my opinion on the render quality choosen by the artist, perhaps you were looking at preview/wip´s? or low quality animations?.

But it´s impossible to realy answer your question without seeing one of the renders you´re refering to as being gritty.

But yes, renders can get gritty if you render with a low quality, especially shadows and edges of trees/terrains.
Old 03 March 2005   #7
I'm a LW8 user who has V5I. The rdner quality of V5I is astonishing. LW would never handle the poly count the Vue now can. If you want ultr-realistic outdoor expanse scenes (Son of Lord of the Rings ) then you can now accomplish this by compositing Vue and LW8. I've yet to do this as Im getting to grips with the Vue way of approaching shading etc. Another couple of weeks and I'll be away!

That said I'm having network rednering problems, but am in contact with E-on so I'm sure that they'll soon fix these.

If you want quality, then buy it. V5I is a no brainer.
Old 03 March 2005   #8
Well, I can't address this from a production studio aspect, save as a 'hobbyist' (one man spare time studio here), but that said, I have used the product through several iterations and in both still and animation work.

The graininess of the illumination (and particularly the shadows) tends to be the result of time trade-offs and users who aren't watching their settings. A fair number of stills are actually rendered in Preview mode, and the shadows look more like post worked airbrushing...with a stuttering brush. With the exception of the demo that Phoul created, all the current animations out there are either Vue 4, Vue 4 Pro, Vue 5/Pro Studio (which is the Vue 5 product with 4 add ons). Infinite's renderer has been significantly improved over the previous versions, but you can still get the noisy shadows if you don't have your quality settings high enough. Another part of it is the artifacting that QT can produce, no two ways about it.

The clouds do change shape over time, and in the atmosphere editor you have full control over direction, number of layers, density, time scale, type of clouds, etc. They haven't got volumetric clouds implemented at this time; most users use the old elongated primitve and volumetric material trick. But as this is one of the more requested features now...

The render times at quality for Vue have been slow. That was one of the attractions of Vue4Pro; if you had the RenderCow distributed networking set up, it would subdivide a still and spread the time across 4 nodes. But times have been decreasing with each version (they remained almost the same between 4 Pro and V5, but since 5 implented IBL and GI (of course full radiosity killed the time, like it does in any package), I consider that an increase. Infinite's renderer has been sped up yet again, and the ability to bake GI lighting effects into per object static mesh objects really increases the quality of the animations you can render.

Can't address the Lightwave issue as I don't have that one, but in the packages I do have, the imports carry UV and texture data fine (the current problem child is the Poser import system, and that relates directly to the SDK that E-on was provided; however, E-on is very good about dealing with repeatable issues that users present them with. There is a service release in the works now dealing with some beta issues found after the RC went gold). I've imported both Truespace 5.5 and Shade 7 Standard models with no problems.

The EcoSystem works as advertised, both for Vue native content and imported content (referencing the Infinite demo reel that Phoul produced, the field of marching robots was 6 terrrains flattened; the actual 'bot was the Dystopia Storm Trooper, available at DAZ, and set up with a simple repetitive walk cycle in Poser). The vegetation, while it can be edited, is limited to the included species...however E-on is working an a 3D store for content, and has strongly hinted that there will be new species available. Both rock and terrain have a fractal based generation system that you can tweak to your heart's content (you can also animate terrain deformation). The one thing you need to keep in mind about the atmospheres is that the included ones were -not- created with GI in mind. You will need to do some tweaking of light color and ambient temp to get the effect you want.
Old 03 March 2005   #9
I am a Vue 5 user and a lightwave user. The vue product line has always had a good
interoperation with lightwave via the ability to export terrains in the .lwo format.
With V5I this interoperability has been expanded to include not just terrains but almost
everything, including whole scenes. You can map cameras from LW to
Vue for compositing animations done in lightwave into vue scenes. You can also export Vue skies as HDRI sky domes for lightwave.

But the key to V5I and the "professional" label is the expanded options for almost every major feature, IMO. Whereas before V5I you had limited options for lights, now you have the same type of control over lights as you have in Lightwave (and then some), with many shadow options, per object light exclusion and more. And these options are really very necessary, since, as in most 3d apps, you never rely on simple radiosity alone for a good render. You need to use the basic lighting principles, key lights, fill lights, etc, to really bring out the details. This is where the new expanded lighting attributes can really make a difference. Also, while the volumetrics in Vue are nice in many cases, the quality is nowhere like that of terragen IMO. The clouds are not truly volumetric and there is nothing like a ray marcher fog algorithm or the ability to define fog density using textures. I also think that a translucency channel is a very big omission for a program that does so much with vegetation. Many times vegetation renders have a hard look up close because of this omission. Also, in Vue 5 standard at least, interior radiosity from say a single sun light
leaves a lot to be desired. And, for those attracted to ecosystem, the ecosystem data cannot be exported to 3rd party apps.

But even with those flaws, the benefits are tremendous. The procedural engine for textures and terrain displacement are very powerful and well suited to large outdoor landscapes. Many of the default settings allow for quick generation of
nice imagery without a lot of fuss.
Well now, THATS a good way to put it!
Old 03 March 2005   #10
DotPainter makes a very good point regarding translucency.

It's just as well the ecosystem cannot be exported. LW would choke at the first bite. Horses for courses...
Old 03 March 2005   #11
mm and as mentioned you dont have to export the eco systems (even tho it would have been nice most packages woudnt be able to handle it atm) since you can bring the LW stuff into v5I instead and finish it up inside v5I instead.
Old 03 March 2005   #12
Originally Posted by DotPainter: I am a Vue 5 user and a lightwave user. The vue product line has always had a good
interoperation with lightwave via the ability to export terrains in the .lwo format.
With V5I this interoperability has been expanded to include not just terrains but almost
everything, including whole scenes. You can map cameras from LW to
Vue for compositing animations done in lightwave into vue scenes. You can also export Vue skies as HDRI sky domes for lightwave.

Those are key points for me as I can see different render solutions between LW and Vue. I wasn't aware of the HDRI sky domes but that answers a big concern I had. I have specific model animations in LW which will require the lighting produced in Vue. That's a big relief.
On some shots I can see a fair amount of composite work, but I am banking that this is a move in the right direction for me.
Richard Cabrera
Twitter - Flickr
Old 03 March 2005   #13
I'm just curious how a relatively inexpensive program like Vue can handle so many polys compared to LW which was considered to one of the few high/higher end programs that could handle a lot of polys well. The only other program I've seen that could handle over a billion polys was the not even released Modo renderer that was shown in a demo last year.

Old 03 March 2005   #14
I am totaly guessing but I would imaging its some form of software instancing. If one is working with objects where geometry is point for point the same only varied in shape like a tree, bush or rock, the program only needs to produce a point setting. I know hardware settings on 3D accelerators and upcoming games will use close to the same principal to render a mass of characters with a minimal performance hit.
Richard Cabrera
Twitter - Flickr
Old 03 March 2005   #15
Yeah you're probably right. I imagine instancing would be a good way to efficently reproduced a massive amount of leaves and trees.

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