Jump to content


Photo

managing file formats

modo octane render rhino

  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 David Lemelin

David Lemelin

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 82 posts

Posted 15 September 2017 - 12:32 PM

Hi there, I've been modeling in FormZ for a few years and rendering in Maxwell (will someone PLEASE tell the people in charge that RenderZone is an embarrassment in 2017....)

 

The lack of a high quality and speedy rendering engine seriously handicaps FormZ's amazing modeling tools. Consequently, I've added Maxwell, which thanks to its plugin is easy to use, if bloody slow.

 

To try to work my way around Maxwell's limits I've added Rhino for Mac, MODO 901 and Octane Render to my stable. That said, I'm still having trouble exporting my FormZ geometry into these other packages. I've spent a fair amount of time testing different export options and have had to fall back on my tried and tested FormZ / Maxwell pairing. But in terms of speed, the time I would save if I could sort out these export issues!

 

Does anyone have experience with this type of workflow? I would be very interested in learning about other's successes and the tricks they've learned and the limitations they've come up against.

 

Thanks!

 


  • bbuxton and ArmandoMug like this

#2 Tech

Tech

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,110 posts

Posted 16 September 2017 - 10:06 AM

Hi David,

 

RenderZone is based on the Lightworks rendering engine. While very good in its early days, regretfully the Lightworks engine did not advance as rendering technology evolved and newer hardware (multi-cores, GPU processing, etc) became available. A few years ago we started looking for a replacement. Around the same time a third party began working on a V-Ray rendering plugin for formZ. We gave them room to work but in the end they were unable to get a viable product to market. We assumed the development of V-Ray for formZ and started from scratch. This effort is now yielding excellent results in private beta and will become public soon. I think that you will find this integrated solution is much easier to work with and will give you the results you desire. If you would like additional information you can email the team at vray@formz.com.


  • jsiggia, Jaakko, Justin Montoya and 1 other like this

#3 bbuxton

bbuxton

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 34 posts

Posted 17 September 2017 - 04:46 AM

Modo should cover most of your rendering needs. 

I use Integrityware's Power Translators and SubD2Nurbs plugin's when moving stuff between FormZ and Modo.

Unfortunately there is something amiss in the way formZ handles components so you cannot make use of the plugins ability to convert them to instances or replicator geometry.

However I normally just model the individual parts in FormZ and layout the assembly in Modo so it is less of an issue.

 

If you use Fusion 360, Inventor, ZW3D or Solidworks etc then the plugins are much more effective as these are all built on a later and more robust foundation.

FormZ, Vectorworks, Viacad (based on Ashlar/Vellum Cobalt), SolidThinking and numerous other packages that have their roots in the late 80's early 90's all have the same problems with part names, project hierarchy and instancing symbols, blocks or components.

 

Simlab Composer and Keyshot are good alternatives in that they will import CAD files and do a good job tessellating the geometry for rendering.  Normally step is a good format for this.

 

 


  • David Lemelin likes this

#4 Smarttec

Smarttec

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 75 posts

Posted 18 September 2017 - 12:03 AM

In terms of rendering RenderZone is definitely old school and not up to scratch.  However Lightworks have a GPU renderer which is based on Nvidia's iRay and it is very good and working now - not on formZ though.

It has inherent limitations for Mac possibly because it requires nVidia graphics card ... hence the possible roadblock for us here!

 

VRay is a beautiful simple to use renderer ( with options to excel ) and will be great when it is available -soon.  Vray renders on both CPU &/or GPU ( nVidia ) so you get a choice. But it will probably come at a cost equivalent or more than Maxwell - so you will have choices.

 

It's clear that the RenderZone has hit a dead end but again it still works.


  • David Lemelin likes this

#5 Jaakko

Jaakko

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • LocationFinland

Posted 18 September 2017 - 08:14 AM

Looking forward to see Vray. RenderZone is good enough in many cases. The seamless integration into formZ is the best part of it. I hope any new rendering engine will be as well implemented as it.

 


  • FZnoob, Alan Cooper and David Lemelin like this

#6 David Lemelin

David Lemelin

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 82 posts

Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:20 PM

Thanks everyone for sounding off on this... Vray does sound quite appealing. It does seem to be a standard in the industry and the volume of textures already created for it is a real bonus... That said, boy, I'm getting tired of buying rendering software at a few thousand bucks a pop to get my FormZ work done...

 

 bbuxton, your idea sounds like it might answer my needs... I'll have to drill down and get a good grasp of how the plugins work and how. If I can get my FormZ modeling work into MODO, I will have access to both MODO's renderer and Octane, as I have the plugin that inserts Octane's functionality into MODO's interface. The reason I'm modeling in FormZ instead of MODO is the ability to take my models from illustration to fabrication drawings. I could be wrong in my assumption, but MODO and many other packages I've looked into work with meshes instead of solid geometry. 

 

Thanks again!



#7 pylon

pylon

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 743 posts
  • LocationLos Angeles

Posted 18 September 2017 - 04:31 PM

David,

 

Please look into the denoising feature in Maxwell 4. You can now get noise-free renderings in a fraction of the time it previously took.



#8 bbuxton

bbuxton

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 34 posts

Posted 19 September 2017 - 12:45 AM

Thanks everyone for sounding off on this... Vray does sound quite appealing. It does seem to be a standard in the industry and the volume of textures already created for it is a real bonus... That said, boy, I'm getting tired of buying rendering software at a few thousand bucks a pop to get my FormZ work done...

 

 bbuxton, your idea sounds like it might answer my needs... I'll have to drill down and get a good grasp of how the plugins work and how. If I can get my FormZ modeling work into MODO, I will have access to both MODO's renderer and Octane, as I have the plugin that inserts Octane's functionality into MODO's interface. The reason I'm modeling in FormZ instead of MODO is the ability to take my models from illustration to fabrication drawings. I could be wrong in my assumption, but MODO and many other packages I've looked into work with meshes instead of solid geometry. 

 

Thanks again!

If you want to check the  PowerTranslator meets your needs post a small sample and I will reply with the translated lxo.


  • David Lemelin likes this

#9 snow

snow

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 25 posts

Posted 19 September 2017 - 07:48 PM

I've found that C4D is a fantastic out of the box renderer that plays pretty well with formZ:  export as 3DS (be cautious of objects with many smooth faces, like pegboard) and import into C4D.  

 

The nice thing about this is that you can texture your model in formZ and then import it into C4D completely in tact, so you're not sacrificing the shaded render modes to another program.  The caveat here is that you will need to delete the lights that are imported into C4D and turn down the reflections on the materials.


  • FZnoob likes this

#10 Smarttec

Smarttec

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 75 posts

Posted 22 September 2017 - 12:55 AM

Snow,

 

I agree C4D's Studio renderer is good but an expensive 'sledgehammer to crack a nut' if you can run Maxwell Render 4 NOW! or soon Vray 3.6 integrated inside formZ...


  • snow likes this

#11 bbuxton

bbuxton

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 34 posts

Posted 24 September 2017 - 11:29 PM

I'm going to bump part of this topic as it is an important issue in sharing data between other cad applications and rendering systems.

 

part names, project hierarchy and instancing symbols, blocks or components are all headache inducing when moving between applications.

It is interesting that when importing files from more recent frameworks such as Inventor or Fusion 360 part names and instanced symbol references are retained, even if I change the part names in formZ on export they revert to the names used in Inventor or Fusion 360. I am guessing that FormZ object names sit independently of part names within the formZ file. I think this is the reason I cannot get instanced components to import into Modo via Integrityware's PowerTranslators without exploding all the instances into separate items (internally they are renamed to ensure unique names which breaks the way instances are seen by the importing application). The problem also occurs in Keyshot and Simlab Composer I think for the very same reasons.

 

Is this something that will eventually be resolved in FormZ?? It used to be that the parametric cad applications were far too expensive to challenge FormZ and same generation direct CAD applications but with Fusion360, Inventor and ZW3D etc etc etc this is no longer the case. 


  • David Lemelin likes this

#12 Smarttec

Smarttec

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 75 posts

Posted 25 September 2017 - 12:18 AM

I'm going to bump part of this topic as it is an important issue in sharing data between other cad applications and rendering systems.

 

part names, project hierarchy and instancing symbols, blocks or components are all headache inducing when moving between applications.

It is interesting that when importing files from more recent frameworks such as Inventor or Fusion 360 part names and instanced symbol references are retained, even if I change the part names in formZ on export they revert to the names used in Inventor or Fusion 360. I am guessing that FormZ object names sit independently of part names within the formZ file. I think this is the reason I cannot get instanced components to import into Modo via Integrityware's PowerTranslators without exploding all the instances into separate items (internally they are renamed to ensure unique names which breaks the way instances are seen by the importing application). The problem also occurs in Keyshot and Simlab Composer I think for the very same reasons.

 

Is this something that will eventually be resolved in FormZ?? It used to be that the parametric cad applications were far too expensive to challenge FormZ and same generation direct CAD applications but with Fusion360, Inventor and ZW3D etc etc etc this is no longer the case. 

 

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer here for translation as each different package want's you to use their 'ecosystem' and the file format they use  for symbols and referencing is theirs to keep you working in their paradigm.

 

Seriously I don't expect anything special from form more than what is available.  Integrityworks Powertranslaters  may offer an external option and some miracle - that is their business!

But I don't understand why you are talking about Keyshot and SimLab Composer here - these are not currently supported in formZ, but Maxwell, RenderZone and Vray soon and to a degree Thea are.

 

 

What specifically needs to resolved with formZ?

 

These packages you note are more product/industrial design and the costs of Fusion 360 starts at $300/yr Inventor at $2,000/yr not sure about ZW3D at all...

Whereas formZ is Conceptual design pack that bridges archViz and 'the above' quite well for a lot less and does/will support some great renderers internally.

 

Rob



#13 bmeissner

bmeissner

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 25 September 2017 - 09:13 AM

My hope always has been a STEP export which keeps hierarchy information intact, I've already asked for that ever since STEP support has been introduced in FormZ with version 4 or so. It's an industry standard for exchanging smooth (analytic) geometry, including hierarchy and object names. The format supports it, FormZ still doesn't, at least 12 years after introducing STEP.

 

In my case this would entirely solve my problems with exchanging data with other applications (IronCAD, Polytrans, etc.). I'm still one of those "dinosaurs" modeling in FZ and rendering in EIAS, however, initially good geometry export to EIAS has been pretty much unusable for years. Currently I'm going the route via either STEP through SharkFX to FACT (loses hierarchy, but Shark doesn't support that anyway) or STEP through Polytrans to FACT, which would work perfectly if the hierarchy would be written into STEP files. It isn't, and STEP (and SAT) export is pretty much broken in 8.5 anyway. So I'm still using 6.7.2 for most of the work…

 

Bernd



#14 David Lemelin

David Lemelin

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 82 posts

Posted 25 September 2017 - 01:38 PM

David,

 

Please look into the denoising feature in Maxwell 4. You can now get noise-free renderings in a fraction of the time it previously took.

I am quite impressed with all the stuff Maxwell has crammed into v4. The denoiser alone may resolve timeline issues dramatically. The problem I've been encountering is that the denoiser seems to not be able to manage to create its denoised final output from a Network Render. Because of the relative speed of my individual machines, production renders must be done over the network.... so sadly I've had to leave the denoiser aside for now.... If you have any ideas that might resolve this, I'm all ears...

 

I am also anxious to get my Windows station back from the shop, it contains three Titan video cards, and I'm really expecting to see some dramatic changes in render times. Any word about Maxwell adding the ability to use multiple GPU's? The new machine is also built on the new AMD Threadripper processor with 16 cores/32 threads.... I'm anxious to report how this CPU will impact Maxwell also.


  • Justin Montoya likes this

#15 bbuxton

bbuxton

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 34 posts

Posted 25 September 2017 - 09:58 PM

My hope always has been a STEP export which keeps hierarchy information intact, I've already asked for that ever since STEP support has been introduced in FormZ with version 4 or so. It's an industry standard for exchanging smooth (analytic) geometry, including hierarchy and object names. The format supports it, FormZ still doesn't, at least 12 years after introducing STEP.

 

In my case this would entirely solve my problems with exchanging data with other applications (IronCAD, Polytrans, etc.). I'm still one of those "dinosaurs" modeling in FZ and rendering in EIAS, however, initially good geometry export to EIAS has been pretty much unusable for years. Currently I'm going the route via either STEP through SharkFX to FACT (loses hierarchy, but Shark doesn't support that anyway) or STEP through Polytrans to FACT, which would work perfectly if the hierarchy would be written into STEP files. It isn't, and STEP (and SAT) export is pretty much broken in 8.5 anyway. So I'm still using 6.7.2 for most of the work…

 

Bernd

 

Our workflows and frustrations seem quite similar. I too used EIAS for years and still use SharkFX alongside formZ.

FormZ is wonderful and fast to work with for a lot of my work but working with other applications is more of a headache than it needs to be. STEP really needs to work not just as well as in v 6.7.3 but as well as Fusion 360 etc etc.

 

Rob

I mentioned Keyshot and Simlab because they import CAD files STEP,DWF, among others. Personally I think developing  links to these two renderers (maybe VRed too?) would be a better solution than we have currently with Maxwell and Vray.

 

I do realize the difference between formZ and applications like Fusion 360 and ZW3D but my comments were really pointing to a generational difference with the hope that this could be addressed in the future. The quality of STEP exports (and DWF) are the most important issues to address for collaborative work and modern rendering workflows. FBX is a good start but at the moment does not support instancing and animation among other useful features in the format.



#16 Smarttec

Smarttec

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 75 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 08:09 PM

I am quite impressed with all the stuff Maxwell has crammed into v4. The denoiser alone may resolve timeline issues dramatically. The problem I've been encountering is that the denoiser seems to not be able to manage to create its denoised final output from a Network Render. Because of the relative speed of my individual machines, production renders must be done over the network.... so sadly I've had to leave the denoiser aside for now.... If you have any ideas that might resolve this, I'm all ears...

 

I am also anxious to get my Windows station back from the shop, it contains three Titan video cards, and I'm really expecting to see some dramatic changes in render times. Any word about Maxwell adding the ability to use multiple GPU's? The new machine is also built on the new AMD Threadripper processor with 16 cores/32 threads.... I'm anxious to report how this CPU will impact Maxwell also.

 David,

Maxwell Render 4.1.1.1 is an evolving version and I believe you will see very soon a significant update from the current 4.1.1.1 that should make you happy with the use of multiple GPU cards ( especially 3 x TitanX!!!) amongst others -all part of anyone running Maxwell 4 or considering it. hopefully a Christmas present...

 

I spoke recently to Mihai Iliuta and believe there is a work around any issues with the current denoiser and it should work well. Have you reported issues with it to Maxwell Support in your portal?

 

On the AMD cards they use Open CL not CUDA and I only know of one renderer that currently supports OpenCL - ProRender. So there will be no rendering benefit for these hot rod cards I know!

 

Rob



#17 Smarttec

Smarttec

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 75 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 08:32 PM

Our workflows and frustrations seem quite similar. I too used EIAS for years and still use SharkFX alongside formZ.

FormZ is wonderful and fast to work with for a lot of my work but working with other applications is more of a headache than it needs to be. STEP really needs to work not just as well as in v 6.7.3 but as well as Fusion 360 etc etc.

 

Rob

I mentioned Keyshot and Simlab because they import CAD files STEP,DWF, among others. Personally I think developing  links to these two renderers (maybe VRed too?) would be a better solution than we have currently with Maxwell and Vray.

 

I do realize the difference between formZ and applications like Fusion 360 and ZW3D but my comments were really pointing to a generational difference with the hope that this could be addressed in the future. The quality of STEP exports (and DWF) are the most important issues to address for collaborative work and modern rendering workflows. FBX is a good start but at the moment does not support instancing and animation among other useful features in the format.

OK - I get it!

 

I had a lot to do with EIAS in the early days and it's how I got into formZ - but unfortunately both EIAS and formZ 6.7 are 'dinosaurs' as you say - fmZ 6.7 is so old and no longer supported (certainly different to fusion360 etc ) I don't get it - and even the current 8.5 is due for an interface update soon.(v9)

Sorry you should be using 8.5.x -  on STEP I heard was part of the 'ACIS' kernel - I know there are issues and hope that ADS knows what needs to be fixed!

 

I get the interest in 'Keyshot' but it's expensive and Maxwell easily outshines its results and is well implemented internally inside formZ. The 3D rendering landscape is currently going through lots of acquisitions and changes as rendering is becoming GPU based and what's more there is now rendering in the cloud that I have seen implemented that is great and realtime.

So watch this space and Maxwell is working hard to improve render speed ( actually not bad now with denoiser and single GPU support) and is considering all options as long as they don't compromise on being a no tricks 'unbiased' renderer.

 

Rob



#18 bbuxton

bbuxton

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 34 posts

Posted 28 September 2017 - 02:34 AM

OK - I get it!

 

I had a lot to do with EIAS in the early days and it's how I got into formZ - but unfortunately both EIAS and formZ 6.7 are 'dinosaurs' as you say - fmZ 6.7 is so old and no longer supported (certainly different to fusion360 etc ) I don't get it - and even the current 8.5 is due for an interface update soon.(v9)

Sorry you should be using 8.5.x -  on STEP I heard was part of the 'ACIS' kernel - I know there are issues and hope that ADS knows what needs to be fixed!

 

I get the interest in 'Keyshot' but it's expensive and Maxwell easily outshines its results and is well implemented internally inside formZ. The 3D rendering landscape is currently going through lots of acquisitions and changes as rendering is becoming GPU based and what's more there is now rendering in the cloud that I have seen implemented that is great and realtime.

So watch this space and Maxwell is working hard to improve render speed ( actually not bad now with denoiser and single GPU support) and is considering all options as long as they don't compromise on being a no tricks 'unbiased' renderer.

 

Rob

 

Actually I am using 8.5.x with the latest version of Maxwell. I keep 6.7.3 handy for the features that were removed, such as metaformz and Lightworks LWA materials. 6.7.3 also has less issues with STEP files. I do appreciate the improvements after 6.7.3 such as push/pull, being able to model in a shaded openGL view rather than wireframe. FormZ now has the immediacy of SketchUp but it also needs the interoperability that is afforded by competing CAD solutions. There is also the speed of development, in the 2 years I have been using Fusion 360 I have seen substantially more development than the last 15+ years I have been using FormZ. I know it is a bit uncool to say it but ....

 

Links to Keyshot and Simlab are a cost effective way of keeping FormZ competitive. SketchUp (the inspiration for the look and feel of FormZ 7 onwards) has links to both as well as Maxwell and Vray etc. 

STEP and DWF are possibly the most important file formats FormZ supports. Fixing the issues with STEP and DWF as well as making hierarchies, components or block/symbol instancing work in a standard way with these file types is vital.



#19 snow

snow

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 25 posts

Posted 28 September 2017 - 08:17 AM

Links to Keyshot and Simlab are a cost effective way of keeping FormZ competitive.

 

 

Agreed.  The plugin from Rhino to Keyshot is about as simple as it comes (from the end-user's perspective) since there isn't any added UI elements added to the modeling program.

 

From Keyshot's website: 

 

"A KeyShot plugin links the 3D modeling software and KeyShot together, rather than putting KeyShot inside the modeling application. Plugins add a menu button to your 3D software that transfers 3D data and other model information into KeyShot. Plugins are developed by Luxion or by our partners who will distribute and support them."

 

The unfortunate information here is that a plugin is out of the hands of ADS, so asking for it on these forums is likely to be ineffective :( 



#20 bbuxton

bbuxton

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 34 posts

Posted 28 September 2017 - 11:04 AM

Agreed.  The plugin from Rhino to Keyshot is about as simple as it comes (from the end-user's perspective) since there isn't any added UI elements added to the modeling program.

 

From Keyshot's website: 

 

"A KeyShot plugin links the 3D modeling software and KeyShot together, rather than putting KeyShot inside the modeling application. Plugins add a menu button to your 3D software that transfers 3D data and other model information into KeyShot. Plugins are developed by Luxion or by our partners who will distribute and support them."

 

The unfortunate information here is that a plugin is out of the hands of ADS, so asking for it on these forums is likely to be ineffective :(

 

Actually Autodessys can develop the link themselves. Tim Olson developer at Encore developed a link for SharkCAD pro and ViaCAD.

What is harder is persuading Luxion do sell a bundled version of Keyshot with a steep discount that only works with the host application and native Keyshot bip files. 







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: modo, octane render, rhino

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users