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Thea for FormZ - Call for Beta Testers


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#21 Tech

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 01:55 PM

Hi Richard,

 

Yes, welcome to the new forum!  

 

Good luck with your Renovation project and looking forward to seeing you more frequently in the future.  ;)


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#22 Justin Montoya

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 01:29 PM

I am literally bouncing in my chair in excitement!   :D

 

 


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#23 mojo

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 07:24 AM

really great to see a progress finally regarding alternative render plug-ins! Thank you!

 

 


Edited by mojo, 20 October 2015 - 07:38 AM.

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architectural visualization


#24 Walter

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 09:10 AM

@ DennisA:

 

You asked about render time: I'm using Thea for about 2 years together with FormZ  - i imported my files as 3ds to Thea.

 

In the Attachement you can see 2 Renderings done in about 9 min. with presto (GPU/CPU) - original size 3200x2400 and 3200 x 1600

 

My System:

I7 4930k 3.40GhZ
32 MB RAM DD3
GForce Titan Black
fully water cooled

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2015-01_DH.jpg
  • 2014-01_SH.jpg


#25 Andrew West

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 08:18 PM

Does anyone know if this is integrated into Form.z in the same manner as Maxwell?  I am always looking for alternatives that actually improve quality and speed at the same time.  No easy feat. 

 


Edited by Andrew West, 02 November 2015 - 08:28 PM.

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#26 jonmoore

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 08:25 AM

Does anyone know if this is integrated into Form.z in the same manner as Maxwell?  I am always looking for alternatives that actually improve quality and speed at the same time.  No easy feat. 

 

It's early days of the beta as yet so the level of deep integration may change before launch but at the moment the workflows are comparable. There will of course also be an option to export the scene to Thea Studio too but the majority of functionality is directly accessible via the FormZ interface.

 

With regards to speed it's worth clarifying exactly what you're getting with Thea.

 

- Unbiased TR1: 'Path Tracer'; with comparable speeds to Maxwell. Good for exteriors or product visualisations.

 

- Unbiased TR2: 'Bidirectional Path Tracer'; slower than Maxwell but better on difficult to light interiors

 

- Biased BSD: Equivalent to V-Ray/Mental Ray approach but includes a unique technology called 'Field Mapping' which speeds this engine up considerably. Good for all situations and at higher quality settings shows very little compromise over the unbiased engines. The best option for interiors for many as TR2 involves lengthy render times.

 

- Biased AMC: This is an adaptive engine that uses biased techniques to speed up the standard TR1 path tracer. The adaptivity is a simple % level of bias.

 

- Presto AO: Biased engine that 'cheats' by providing the majority of the solution via Ambient Occlusion. This is the fastest engine but the least accurate. I would personally never use it other that for stylistic reasons but it's perfect for situations where realism is less of a goal.

 

- Presto MC: Close to TR1 but a lot faster because the path tracing aspect can be enhanced by the GPU. It's also faster when using CPU only as it's a compromised version of TR1 (reasonably compromised in my opinion). The main speed enhancement is that in enables you to control the ray tracing depth. For many scenes you can keep this to something around 5 without any discernible loss of quality. This compares to TR1/TR2 which are have unlimited ray depths.

 

The beauty of Thea is that you decide on the level of compromise appropriate for your scene. My favourite engines are Presto MC and Biased BSD which strike a good balance between compromise and speed. The Biased BSD engine requires a little more knowledge to set up properly but it's unmatched on difficult to light interior scenes.

 

There's a great comparison page on the Thea site that shows exactly which features each engine includes (it also details a couple of deprecated 'Progressive' engines which are accessible via Thea Studio presets but not currently part of the plugin versions).

 

http://www.thearende...ngines/293.html

 

Hope this helps clarify things a little.


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#27 Tech

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 08:49 AM

Hi Jon,

 

Thanks for the nice summary, I am sure this will help users decide which of the many render modes would best apply to a particular situation!



#28 Justin Montoya

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 01:51 PM

Good info coming in here!

 

Anyone able to take this Plug-in for a spin yet and perhaps share some demonstration video?



#29 jonmoore

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 02:10 PM

Good info coming in here!

 

Anyone able to take this Plug-in for a spin yet and perhaps share some demonstration video?

 

The beta has started (I believe there are 5 testers in total as the Solid Iris folk like to keep things focused, at least in the early stages of beta testing) so I'm sure it will be fine for us to post some images (once we've had clearance from Solid Iris team).

 

The Thea engine is mature so you can get an idea of the capabilities by perusing the Thea Gallery (especially the 'best of' gallery) on the Thea website. The demo version of Thea Studio (and the plugins for SU, C4D, Rhino etc) aren't time limited and allow you to render up to 720p. The main restriction is that the demo outputs watermarked renders. There are also plenty of demo scenes to download for the Studio version and the various plugins and plenty of presets for both materials and render engine setups. Backward engineering these demo scenes and presets is the best way to learn about Thea. You'll have a head start if you already know how to use Maxwell as they share many parallels but digging into the demo's/presets will teach you more than any screen grabs we can share here (not sure video grabs will be viable as the screen capture software will fight with the GPU engine for resources, and Solid Iris may not be happy for specifics of the integration to be shared whilst it's still embryonic).


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#30 Justin Montoya

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 05:18 PM

The beta has started (I believe there are 5 testers in total as the Solid Iris folk like to keep things focused, at least in the early stages of beta testing) so I'm sure it will be fine for us to post some images (once we've had clearance from Solid Iris team).

 

The Thea engine is mature so you can get an idea of the capabilities by perusing the Thea Gallery (especially the 'best of' gallery) on the Thea website. The demo version of Thea Studio (and the plugins for SU, C4D, Rhino etc) aren't time limited and allow you to render up to 720p. The main restriction is that the demo outputs watermarked renders. There are also plenty of demo scenes to download for the Studio version and the various plugins and plenty of presets for both materials and render engine setups. Backward engineering these demo scenes and presets is the best way to learn about Thea. You'll have a head start if you already know how to use Maxwell as they share many parallels but digging into the demo's/presets will teach you more than any screen grabs we can share here (not sure video grabs will be viable as the screen capture software will fight with the GPU engine for resources, and Solid Iris may not be happy for specifics of the integration to be shared whilst it's still embryonic).

 

iPhones take great video these days....  :)



#31 Andrew West

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 06:09 PM

Five beta testers?  The wide variety of user techniques and different machine configurations makes this seem like a very small test.  I will definately be purchasing Thea when it becomes available and then I will take it for a spin.  I still have yet to find a program I couldn't crash.  Even Photoshop.


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#32 jonmoore

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 06:16 PM

I will definately be purchasing Thea when it becomes available and then I will take it for a spin.  I still have yet to find a program I couldn't crash.  Even Photoshop.

 

:)

 

The day I discover any software package that's crash proof, never mind a DCC/CAD/Rendering package, I'll know I'm in the afterlife!


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#33 rob

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 06:27 PM

iPhones take great video these days....   :)

 

Do those come with a free NDA waiver?



#34 Justin Montoya

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 06:31 PM

Do those come with a free NDA waiver?

 

Obviously I'm only suggesting showing APPROVED videos.  I would think that both Thea and Autodessys would be thrilled to share any positive experiences.  All you have to do is ask.  

 

The comment was referring to using another device (iPhone) to record the video so that it wasn't slowing down the computer running Thea.  


Edited by Justin Montoya, 03 November 2015 - 06:33 PM.


#35 Justin Montoya

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 02:40 PM

Alright,  let's see some Thea action already!?!?

 

PLEASE!!!!????



#36 Tech

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 02:47 PM

Justin,

 

An NDA is a NON Disclosure Agreement -- which means that anyone who has access to Thea can't say anything about it.  If you are so eager, did you sign up to be a tester?



#37 Justin Montoya

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 03:09 PM

I'm aware of what an NDA is, and that there is likely one for the Thea plugin.  Yes, I did sign up to be a tester as soon as I read this news, but disappointedly never heard a response from Solid Iris.  I would still love to join that group if possible.  

 

I'm not asking anyone to break the NDA, but rather, submit some teases to be approved by Solid Iris, so we can share in the excitement of the development.  Ideally, Solid Iris would be doing this themselves via this forum or their own forum - https://thearender.com/forum/    This would help build the momentum in launching a sucessful new plugin.

 

If I can be of any help, please let me know!  I'm willing and able, and even minored in Interaction Design at SCAD in addition to a MFA in Industrial Design.  Hence you can see where all my interface and efficient workflow comments and suggestions come from.

 

Many Thanks!



#38 jonmoore

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 03:29 PM

I'm aware of what an NDA is, and that there is likely one for the Thea plugin.  Yes, I did sign up to be a tester as soon as I read this news, but disappointedly never heard a response from Solid Iris.  I would still love to join that group if possible.  

 

I'm not asking anyone to break the NDA, but rather, submit some teases to be approved by Solid Iris, so we can share in the excitement of the development.  Ideally, Solid Iris would be doing this themselves via this forum or their own forum - https://thearender.com/forum/    This would help build the momentum in launching a sucessful new plugin.

 

If I can be of any help, please let me know!  I'm willing and able, and even minored in Interaction Design at SCAD in addition to a MFA in Industrial Design.  Hence you can see where all my interface and efficient workflow comments and suggestions come from.

 

Many Thanks!

 

Justin,

 

I alpha/beta test for a number of different developers including Chaos Group (V-Ray), The Foundry (Modo), Pixar (Renderman) and Solid Iris (Thea). In each and every case nothing can be disclosed during the closes stages of the beta other than the occasional output render and in the case of Thea there's nothing you can learn from the beta testers about render quality that you couldn't learn from downloading a demo version of Thea Studio (which has no time limit and is only really limited via watermarks on render outputs).

 

What we can't discuss is details of the integration within FormZ as this is still very much a moving target.

 

I'm sure more info will be forthcoming as and when Solid Iris see fit. But beta programs can sometimes take a long time to mature to commercial release so a little patience may be necessary. V-Ray for Modo has been in beta for close to 18 months and is still yet to be released commercially. I'm sure things won't be as drastic with Thea for FormZ, but it's certainly not likely to be released in the very near future.



#39 Justin Montoya

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 04:54 PM

Hi John,

 

That's an interesting experience you've got there.  I would almost think that some of those are conflicting interests, but hey, what do I know.  I'm sure having the overlap allows you to better recommend things that work and things that don't across the various renders.  

 

Quite frankly for our workflow and many others, Thea Studio or any other standalone render is useless.  We need to be able to actively change the models and provide new renders constantly.  A live Plugin or built in render is the only way this is ever going to work.  I'm disappointed to hear that the Plugin would take more than a few months of Beta testing to be released.  Upon studying the previous plugin releases for Thea, they appear to have taken anywhere from 2-4 months to be released after going Beta.  That makes it sound more like it is in Alpha testing.  This image posted by Thea on their Facebook page on October 8, makes it look further along.

 

12139909_1237018392990632_51058541189691

 

If we are looking at another year or more of development, there's going to be some complications just convincing the groups I work with to stay with FormZ.  Clients and our bosses are demanding better and better renderings to stay competitive.  With the news of Thea and V-Ray I was able to buy some time, as everyone loves modeling in FormZ on their Macs.  Renderzone can almost get to the level we need when you turn on all the bells and whistles, but it's inability to scale up in performance past 6 CPU threads has made this ineffective, as it slows renderings down tremendously.  We all have 12+ core machines now, but Renderzone isn't any faster.   This is why Thea has so much interest with it's CPU + GPU Presto engine.  And yes, we have NVIDIA CUDA cards at the ready.  

 

V-Ray just looks like Maxwell to me.  Complicated and slow.  If they added GPU acceleration, for more than the viewport (VRay RT?), it could be worth the complication to learn as the speed would start to justify the quality.

 

I understand these things take time to become robust and mature.  But, I don't think we even need a fully robust Thea at launch.  Most users will get lost in all the options anyways, and stick with the easy to configure, known settings for default scenes.  Professionally, it's a lot of rinse and repeat.  For better or worse.  

 

Still very excited for Thea inside FormZ, and willing to help in anyway possible.  But in the meantime, it might be worth another request to AutoDesSys to get RenderZone scaling up properly.  I know they've said it's a problem stemming from Lightworks, so who knows if that can even be fixed.

 



#40 Tech

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 05:04 PM

Speculating on a release date is merely speculation, so I wouldn't read anything into that.  Perhaps you can contact Solid Iris for their take, and see if your qualifications would allow you to be included in their testing (if you really want to test and not just try).

 

VRay is very different from Maxwell, and you should probably study up a bit more before making such generalizations...






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