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#1 Andrew West

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 06:58 PM

I would love to try out Maxwell on my computer but the demo version seems to be extremely limited and more than a little buggy.  Currently I have a simple room set up that I opened in FMZ.8.  I have no ability to try out Maxwell materials (disabled) and the lights in FMZ do not work in Maxwell render.  Maxwell Fire is so slow to show results that it is all but useless. But what I find even more interesting is that when I do try to create a Maxwell light my machine all but freezes up.  The light menu takes 10 seconds to open.  If I click on a Maxwell light it takes another 10 seconds.  If I make any adjustments to the light it takes another 10 seconds.  Painful!  At first I thought that Fire was taking all the system resources but it is not.  Is there anyone out there that has successfully used the demo version to evaluate this software with FMZ.8? 

And to Pylon:  please don't tell me that I just need to buy the program and all will be well.  I am trying to do a speed test on my computers to see if I need to purchase another $5000 machine to just run your program.


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#2 Andrew West

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 07:09 PM

I just took the Maxwell folder out of my plugins and the program is now working as usual.  That plugin would absolutely kill my work flow.  Whew!  Pray for Vray in the near future.



#3 pylon

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 07:37 PM

Andrew,

 

You need to get a demo license. If you have not already, download the Maxwell Rende suite. Install, and the click on the LicenseActivator in your Maxwell Render 3 Applications/Programs folder and request a demo license.

 

From the email you recieve when downloading the trial version:
 

Step 3: Verify your demo license

You can verify your demo license either 1) during installation or 2) when you launch the program (you will be prompted). To verify your demo in the validator application you simply:

1. Select DEMO LICENSE
2. Select I WANT TO ACTIVATE NOW ON THIS COMPUTER
3. Click VALIDATE
And you're ready to render!

 

 

(Every time you try to render a scene, enable Fire, or do a material preview, Maxwell checks for a valid license on your machine, or on a network servers. This discovery process is very thorough, and can take time to exhast all possilities if you have no license-- including a demo license-- installed. It there is a license, discovery causes no delays. A demo license works fine.)



#4 Andrew West

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 01:13 AM

Activated license and started the same project as a test.  Clicked on a light and tried to edit it.  Wait, wait, wait, wait, panel comes up and properties are displayed.  Edit properties of light, wait, wait wait wait, properties changed,  click Okay, wait wait wait wait,  accepted.  I feel like my computer is an old Mac II with this program.  Does everyone have this problem with this program or is it something with my system?  I am running an intel core i7 4930K six core at 4.0 Ghz.  with   16 gigs of 2666 ram.  made by XI computers.

Even with an activated demo license there is no ability to edit materials to maxwell materials to see how they perform. 

Form.z lights are disabled so I need to re light my scene with Maxwell lights.  Slow painful process as Form.z often displays the "not responding" death threat as I repeatedly try to click on lighting options to edit my lights.  Click once too many and the program crashes.
This add on really kills the base modeling program  in Form.z making it perform very poorly. Sorry for the poor review.  Wish I could like it. Obviously there are many people out there who have figured out how to properly integrate Form.z and Maxwell into their work flow.  The program has some very impressive results to show for it but as of now I just don't see it happening for me.Too slow.



#5 pylon

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 09:10 AM

Andrew,

 

The Maxwell Plugin does not slow down or otherwise degrade performance in formZ in any way (except in your case, where something is clearly wrong). If it did, I don't think you would hear users call it "well-integrated", etc.

 

I have not previosly heard of the problem you are describing, so we'll have to take it from the top. To help us investigate your problem, please send us your plugin Log after activating Fire. Instructions:

1. Enable Fire by clicking on the checkbox in the Fire palette.
2. Open the plugin Log (Select \b{Extensions> Maxwell Render> Log}).
3. Click \b{Save Log} and save to your Desktop or other convenient location.
4. Post the resulting log file.

 

Does this happen even if you start a new file, make a cube, and then attempt to add/edit a light?

 

Regarding materials, please see the documetation which begins here, and Evan Troxel's great video here.

 

For lighting, documentation starts here, and Evan has a video on exterior lighting and a quick video on emitter lights.

 

Evan's video are for Bonzai, and the plugin has been enhanced since these were produced, but the basic workflow still applied in formZ.
 



#6 pylon

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 09:45 AM

Andrew,

 

Try this:

1. restart your computer

2. TEMPORARILY disable all virus protection software

3. Launch formZ and try again with the demo.

 

Obviously, this is not a long-term solution, but it may help pinpoint the cause of your problem.



#7 Andrew West

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 07:14 PM

Here is the plug in log your requested.  It is from my home computer that suffered the same problems with Maxwell.

 

Index Severity       Context         Tag            Data
         
0     Info            Context        Instance       Fire          
1     Info            System         Time           Thu Dec 11 16:09:37 2014
2     Info            System         OS             Windows 7 v 6.1 Build 7601 Service Pack 1 Intel® Core™ i7 CPU         960  @ 3.20GHz
3     Info            Host           Name           form·Z®       
4     Info            Host           Version        v 8.0.1 (Build 9353)
5     Info            Host           Path           D:\Data\Desktop\formZ 8\formZ 8 Pro 64\Support\
6     Info            Plugin         Name           Maxwell for formZ
7     Info            Plugin         Version        3.0.1.7       
8     Info            Plugin         Platform       Windows 64 Bit
9     Info            Plugin         Path           D:\Data\Desktop\formZ 8\formZ 8 Pro 64\Plugins\Maxwell\maxwellrender.fzp
10    Info            Maxwell        Engine Version 3.0.1.3       
11    Info            Maxwell        SDK Version    3.0.1.3.50    
12    Info            Maxwell        License        Demo License  
13    Info            Maxwell        License        Valid         
14    Info            Extensions     Grass          Loaded        
15    Info            Extensions     Scatter        Loaded        
16    Info            Extensions     Volumetric     Loaded        
17    Info            Extensions     Sea            Loaded        
18    Info            Extensions     Wireframe      Loaded        
19    Info            Project        Open Projects  2             
20    Info            Project        Name           Untitled1     
21    Info            Project        Path           D:\Data\My Documents\
22    Info            Window         Scene Windex   3             
23    Info            Window         Tiles          No            
24    Info            Fire Setting   Fire Enabled   Yes           
25    Info            Fire Setting   Time Max       60            
26    Info            Fire Setting   SL             18            
27    Info            Fire Setting   Threads        0             
28    Info            Fire Setting   Port Scale     Yes           
29    Info            Fire Setting   Max Pixels     320           
30    Info            Fire Palette   Viewport X     640           
31    Info            Fire Palette   Viewport Y     480           
32    Info            Shaded Bitmaps Search Rsrcmngr Yes           
33    Info            Shaded Bitmaps Allow Embed Export Yes           
34    Notice          Resource Mngr  Library Entry  ENB:1 LCK:1 MXM:1 IMG:1 IOR:1 HDR:1 IES:1 D:\Data\My Documents\\Resources\
35    Info            Translator     Translate Time 0 seconds   



#8 pylon

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 08:21 PM

That looks all good.

Try the disabling all virus detection software as suggested above...



#9 Andrew West

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 03:01 PM

Disabled virus software and I had the same issue.  Form.z ran extremely slowly,  loaded slowly, lights and material palates were hard to navigate do to extremely slow speed and if I clicked on something too many times in frustration the program would crash.  Removed Maxwell folder from the plugins and everything ran fine.  One other thing to note was that the program ran poorly whether I had Fire enabled or not.  I am going to try this again in Form.z 7 and then in Form.z 6.7.



#10 rob

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 03:58 PM

That's definitely not normal...

 

Re-Download and reinstall Maxwell?


Edited by rob, 13 December 2014 - 03:58 PM.


#11 Andrew West

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 11:25 AM

So I took the plunge and bought Maxwell hoping that the licensed version would run better than the demo.  Nope.  Maxwell and Form.z are still running very slowly.  I created a simple box for a room with one material for the floor and one glass pane window,  one exterior sky dome light and one interior cone light.  For some reason cone lights are not supported in Maxwell (even though they say they are) so it had to be changed to a soft box.  The entire program bogged down considerably.  Just selecting a light and editing the parameters took 20 seconds to load and adjust.  After ten minutes the render was only 30% complete.  I would hate to see how long it would take to do a room with furniture. 

Is this normal?



#12 Andrew West

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 04:39 PM

A few more pieces of this puzzle that I am having trouble with:.

 

Cone lights and point lights in Form.z do not work in Maxwell at all.  Need to be converted to Maxwell lights.

 

It seems that in the Maxwell material editor your bitmaps must be place in the program files "material database" for them to be recognized.  So if you have a folder like I do that has 20 years worth of texture maps on your non program drive you need to copy and paste any texture map you want to use into your system drive Next Limit Material folder.  Then if I start a new material, navigate to the correct folder on your system drive,  load the bitmap texture, play with it and try to save it as an MXM I get an error saying that I do not have permission to save this material at this location.  I then have to save it to my other drive where I can use it if needed.  Really slow and awkward.  Is there a way around this?  

 

Did a test render using Form.z 7 this time with Maxwell.  Slightly improved performance loading lights and textures but still quite slow.  Set render up on simple room with a couple of lights.  I could continue to work on the model for a couple of hours during the Maxwell render process and then the program just got slower and slower until it froze completely.  Is this normal?  I am generally having overall Form.z stability problems with Maxwell installed. 



#13 pylon

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 03:18 PM

Andrew,

Re: demo versions:
The demo version of the Maxwell Render Suite is no different than the paid version, except for a few limitations listed on the trial page where you signed up here: http://www.maxwellrender.com/try/suite

The purpose of a demonstration (or trial) version is to evaluate, before purchase,
a) whether a piece of software will run correctly in your particular environment (i.e., to make sure that your computer, operating system, other applications, and network are fully compatible with the software), and
b ) that the software suits your needs.

Re: Native Point and Cone lights.
These are indeed supported. It is likely that your exposure is incorrect, or (less likely) the intensity of the lights is not great enough. Maxwell is a physically-based renderer which is fundamentally different from Renderzone. You do not use tricks to get the lighting to look real. Now, the light IS real, and you need to set up your lighting situation in a physically realistic manner to take advantage of this. In real life, if you are near a window during the day with light streaming in, a 60 watt light bulb is going to contribute almost nothing to the scene. Same in Maxwell.

Re: Bitmap Locations.

Your bitmaps can be stored wherever you like. You have a file system permissions error.
Are you referring to the Maxwell material editor application (MXED)? Or something else? (Please try to provide clear, specific — preferably numbered— steps to reproduce any issue you are having, so we can figure out how to help.)

Re: adjusting lights & formZ getting slower.
Do you mean that the light sliders won’t move for 20 seconds? This is instantaneous here. (Please try to provide clear, specific — preferably numbered— steps to reproduce any issue you are having, so we can figure out how to help.)
No, this is not normal. We have never heard of or experienced this before. Our only hypothesis is that you have one or more malware/antivirus programs that are interfering.

Re: your test project
Please provide your sample file and all dependencies so we can have a look. (Select Extensions>Maxwell Render>Workstation transfer to collect them.)

General Tips:

• Are you running Fire continuously? Fire, the plugin’s interactive preview, is only for doing brief interactive tests of lighting and materials. You should not leave it running while you model, lest it consume resources unnecessarily. Turn off when not in use.

• Please, please watch Evans videos and read the documentation before continuing.
 



#14 Andrew West

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 09:04 PM

To start out with I will work backwards from your last comment.  I watched all of Evans videos prior to buying this software and while in demo mode.  I was astonished at how quickly his program worked compared to mine.  The only real difference is that he was working within Bonzai and I am using Form.z.  That and of course his computer system.  The system I am trying this on is running a quad core i7 at 3.2 ghz.  with 32 gigs ram.

 

I am not running Fire continuously as his video clearly states that it kills the program speed.

 

I disabled all virus protection software to see if it would speed things up.  It did not.  I am running Norton.

 

I re downloaded the software,  disabled virus protection and reinstalled the program.  I do not have any other copies of the program on my computer. 

 

As for bitmaps here is my issue:

Start MME

File/New MXM/ click on BDSF/ go to reflectance 0/ click on checker board pattern/ texture picker comes up/ click on folder icon/ navigate to my form.z texture folder/  click on texture map/  ERROR MESSAGE: the image cannot be loaded. 

 

Here is another issue I am having:

I download a material from your website/  place it in my Maxwell texture folder on my D drive/  Unzip it/  click on the maxwell texture/  it launches the MME program/  I click on save MXM to compile the image maps/  Windows explorer crashes every time. 

 

Concerning point and cone lights. 

I thought maybe it was an exposure problem so I had tried making the room very dark with just a slit for a window.  Set up two cone lights and a point light.  Set the lights to be accurate and set their output to 100 and then 1000 watts and efficiency to 80%.  Nothing shows up in Fire except the little bit of light coming in from the slit.  I have tried all the different setting in Form.z intensity with no change.  I have changed the cone and point lights to Maxwell's intensity settings with no change.  The only way I can get Maxwell Fire to recognize the point and cone lights is to change them to softbox lights. 

 

By the way,  I am also an architectural photographer so I am aware of how lighting and exposure work in the real world. 

 

One more interesting quirk is that in From.z 7 both the Maxwell Render button and the RenderZone buttons were displayed in the Display Tools palate.  In Form.z 8 the RenderZone button disappears and can only be accessed from the upper menu once Maxwell is installed. 



#15 pylon

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 09:54 AM

I think Evan was using something like a 2010 imac when he made those videos, with screen recording software running concurrently, so your system should be just a responsive as (or more responsive than) his. There is no differenece in performance between formZ and Bonzai3d as far as ui responsiveness goes.

 

Re: "MME" (we think you mean the Mxed application)

We (Pylon) develop the plugin for formZ, not the Maxwell Render Suite proper. For inquiries about components of the Maxwell Render Suite, such as Studio or MXED, please go to the Next Limit forums for support. However, there should be no problem selecting bitmap textures of almost any kind. I suspect there is some issue with accessing that D: drive, in general.

 

Re: point/cone lights

You have not yet provide your test file for us to review...

 

Re: Disappearing Maxwell Icon.

Finally, a problem we have seen before! We saw this happen occasionally in formZ 7, but not with 8 so far, but based on your report it sounds like this may still be an issue. (We have also seen the Renderzone icon disapear. It only seems to happen when both plugins are loaded at the same time.) This is not anything the plugin has control over, but you should be able to add the Maxwell render icon back manually, using the Tool Manager. Or you could try resetting your workspace or deleting preferences.



#16 Andrew West

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 12:05 PM

I am not sure how to post my test model to this forum.  Is there an email address I can send it to?   

 

I was thinking of taking the Maxwell folder off of the system drive to see if that improves performance and solves some of my issues.  Any reason I should not do that?

 

Incidentally,  the Maxwell icon is not what is disappearing in Fmz.8.   It is the RenderZone icon that disappears once Maxwell is installed.  I have not been able to get it back.



#17 Tech

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 12:12 PM

Andrew,

 

You can zip and attach the file to your post. Just click on the "More Reply Options" button in the lower right corner. If it is too big, use dropbox to send to the address in the thumbnail below.

 

I doubt moving the Maxwell Folder off the system drive would affect the issue (but Pylon can correct us if that is incorrect).

 

To fix the icons, go to the Workspace Menu: Reset Workspace command, or go to the Workspace Menu: Tool Manager -- and drag the RenderZone icon into the Display Tools Palette, and then close the Tool Manager.

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#18 pylon

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 01:49 PM

Andrew,

Got your test file.

 

Re: point/cone lights not rendering

In Maxwell Display Options, Scene tab, you need to enable 'Export Point and Cone Lights'. This is enabled by default, so you must have clicked it off at some point during your testing by accident.

http://support.nextl...pageId=16810290



#19 Andrew West

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 06:13 PM

So here is my workflow on this:

 

I set up a simple box of a room with 4 cone lights.  No windows.  Enable "Export Point and Cone lights".  Start fire to see what I get.  Set camera to f 1.8 and a shutter speed of 1/30.  Lights are barely there.  Stop Fire.  Click on each light (they take 5 to 7 seconds for the adjustment palate to show up)  Set intensity to 1000 watts and efficiency to 100%.  I keep trying to bump up the power until I can just notice the lights in the room.   (Set SL to 12 and time to 300 seconds). Enable Fire.
Crash.  I would really like to try this program. 



#20 Andrew West

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Posted 25 December 2014 - 07:49 PM

Set up a test render on an existing interior shot in FMZ.8 using Maxwell.  Rendering for 24 hours now and no where near done.  Used every optimization tip I could find and lowered the resolution down a lot.  I have a feeling that it might need 3 or 4 days before the graininess goes away.






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