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Everything posted by jonmoore

  1. Thanks for the kind words R2D2. I hope the expiring license had nothing to do with that that critical post. I've certainly not had any formal communication from the powers that be at AutoDeSsys regarding the post. Chaos Group found my feedback useful and I'm now testing the forthcoming Rhino, Revit & Sketchup integrations for them (that use the latest V-Ray core). Integrating a rendering plugin is far more difficult than one might think. True integrations can take anything up to 24 months to get right. Export based integrations such as Octane can be quicker because the artist has less control in their DCC/CAD application. I'm testing the 3ds Max Redshift integration at the moment and that's still officially classed as being in Alpha status (after 18 months of work). People often complain about the high cost of rendering engines but when you consider the amount of work that goes into each integration for what can be in many cases a limited potential pool of customers it begins to make more sense. The team at Solid Iris have done a tremendous job with Thea. It's the only renderer I know of that scales so linearly across network nodes whilst utilising all available CPU and GPU resources. Redshift is even faster than Thea because it's a biased solution (much like V-Ray) but it requires more technical knowledge from the artist. However Redshift is the only viable GPU solution for animations - I just wish it would use my Xeon's as well as my GPU's! Because of the consultancy work I do I'm constantly experimenting with all manner of rendering solution but right now Redshift, Thea and V-Ray cover any rendering challenge I encounter. Octane is impressive because of it's low priced 'Cloud' option but it offers less artistic control than Redshift, Thea or V-Ray. Nvidia's iRay is also very impressive but it's pricing model is ridiculous. But It's phenomenally easy to use so I have a feeling it's going to be a big success, and the old dinosaur 'Mental Ray' is gradually becoming GPU enabled too. Too many renderers not enough hours in the day... I hope to continue contributing here but we'll have to wait and see what happens with the V-Ray beta.
  2. Hi All, Thought I'd leave you with a couple of Thea renders before I retire from the FormZ community. My FormZ license expires tomorrow... So onto the renders. During private testing I purposely avoided talking about Thea's GPU accelerated grunt as I wanted people to judge Thea on it's visual finesse. However over the last 24 hours I decided to put together two test renders that would 1.) show off Thea's speed on production workstations and 2.) show how Thea copes with one of my 'torture test' scenes (something I put together for when I'm testing new render engines). My production setup is a pair of HP Z620's each with dual Xeon's and each with a 6Gb Titan Black GPU; they're joined by my (humble by comparison) iMac 3.4Ghz i7. So onto the renders before I reveal the blisstering speed of that setup! The first of these renders (rendered at 1080p) was complete in a shade under 7 minutes! Granted, I was using a production setup but nowhere near the latest and greatest of technologies. In fact the second of the Z620's was purchased in recent months on the second hand market for £700, and the Titan Black within it only cost £280. There's a lot of decent ex corporate equipment out there right now available for a fraction of what it cost only a few short years back. The Xeon 8 core (16 Thread) processors in my Z620's cost $1500 each in 2012 and that was purely the cost of the processor. So my two Z620's have a massive 64 render threads between them. The beauty of Thea Render is that it not only renders on the GPU but it uses every last CPU cycle available to it across your network (Mac or PC). I believe you get two render nodes included with the cost when you purchase Thea (three render nodes in total). Phenomenal value and performance compared to other options in the marketplace. The second render wasn't about speed so I won't talk about that here but I will add that the same test in another unbiased CPU render engine was still not noise free after 24 hr's of rendering on a similar setup.The reason the second render is such a challenge is that it is the limited lighting and the vast number of louvered surfaces - just think of the billions of light bounce calculations! Anyway, if you haven't downloaded the public beta yet, do it as soon as you can. And if you have downloaded but haven't yet purchased, what are you waiting for? There's a healthy discount available on Thea whilst it's still in beta which makes it's value even better. Sales pitch over (by the way I don't get commission I just believe the Thea team have a great product). Hopefully I'll bump into one or two of you in other 3d forums in the months ahead. And I'll carry on posting here if the V-ray beta is available in FormZ Free (Thea works in all three flavours of FormZ). Best regards all, had some fine times here and met some thoroughly decent folk as part of the bargain. J x
  3. jonmoore

    Thea for FormZ - Now Available

    Oops I'm sure Giannis knew what I meant.
  4. jonmoore

    Thea for FormZ - Now Available

    Fantastic new Giannis. I'm sure Thea will be warmly welcomed by many in the Thea community. jm
  5. Fix snap to perpendicular (to previous 6.7 standard), (Originally suggested by pipo).
  6. jonmoore

    How to Bill for Render Time

    This is actually the crux of my point. I have a design/advertising agency background and everything in that world centres on the perceived value of your creative output. The final production output may be a scan of a charcoal sketch but reaching that final creative deliverable is more often than not the result of many weeks work. Putting too much focus on the costs of physical production can take away from the true value you provide. Andrew has some sage advice for those clients that do attempt to nickle and dime you on production costs. But just be careful those production costs doesn't become the focus of the discussion.
  7. jonmoore

    How to Bill for Render Time

    Charging for render time is less important than charging accurately for creative development and change requests. I've often found that change management can be the difference between a healthy profit or a nasty loss. Educating the client about the increased complexity of physically correct rendering workflows is vital too. And be transparent, clients often think they're making relatively minor change requests but these might necessitate length render times and more importantly scene set up changes. If you mainly deal in still images there's little value in providing a 'time & materials' style breakdown of render time. However if you're rendering animations (which are usually only feasible via a farm/cloud solution) it's often best to work on a 'time and materials basis' for those occasions. A reasonable markup on what you are being charged usually suffices but be sure to let your client know animations usually involve multiple takes/test renders etc. Hope this helps a bit.
  8. jonmoore

    FBX Importer Plugin

    It's now a default part of 8-53. Not sure if it works with earlier versions but I'm sure tech will shine a light. There's an archived version on the FTP but that requires 8.5 anyway.
  9. jonmoore

    We are looking for some private testers.

    In praise of Renderzone, it can produce stylised, illustrative renders that aren't easily possible with Thea or V-Ray. I think it's particularly strong with technical illustration type renders.
  10. jonmoore

    We are looking for some private testers.

    Always nice to get the first test render out of the way. And how nice it is to view the familiar friendly face of the V-Ray Frame Buffer inside of FormZ...
  11. jonmoore

    We are looking for some private testers.

    Perfect. For the beta to be valuable, the artist's testing need to feel that they can be frank with their opinions. Respectful too obviously, but things might appear a tad brutal to the casual observer.
  12. jonmoore

    We are looking for some private testers.

    I asked something similar myself Anton. I'm really hoping the feedback mechanism isn't going to be closed (emails to the devs only) as we'll all end up reporting the same things repeatedly. I also don't think it's wise for the feedback to be in a public forum, especially when we're so early in the beta process and performance/clashes with other plugins seems to be a major issue. A similar setup to the Thea beta forum would be ideal.
  13. jonmoore

    "Clean" wireframes for 3d printing?

    Post a picture when you get a chance. It still sounds like some kind of procedural pattern (and that should be achievable). You've got me intrigued now.
  14. jonmoore

    "Clean" wireframes for 3d printing?

    It sounds like you're describing Voronoi patterns. Something that was introduced to FormZ during the v8 life cycle. I used it recently to create a sculpture whilst testing out the new camera matching tools in Modo 902. Check out this tutorial video for some great starter tips on how to use the tools: This is the scene I created. If only I had the worlds biggest 3d printer...
  15. jonmoore

    SketchUp to FormZ and back to SketchUp

    Round-trip journeys involving Sketchup can always be a little hazardous without due care. A few hint's for the way that I tend to work (but I'm sure there are many others). Evan Troxel would be a good person to consult too as I know he's done a lot of round-trip work involving Sketchup too. - I always revert to Sketchup v8 as my export format as I find it the least problematic - Use a specific SKP importer where available (the FormZ one was working correctly last time I used it) - DWG export from FormZ is always my first preference, then DAE and 3ds (3ds is actually pretty solid apart from the underlying triangulation) - Only do serious material settings at the end of the round-trip. If need be maintain two scene files in FormZ, one for the round-trip focused on the geometry and one optimised for FormZ materials The materials part may seem a pain but you'll save a lot of time in the long run by optimising materials for each particular platform and only focusing on the geometry for the round-trip stuff.
  16. jonmoore

    RAM question

    Memory's so cheap these days I think it's worth maxing your system out. Especially with the odd way that OS X manages memory these days! Even if you end up having to dump four 4gb units for four 8gb units it's still possible for around $150. I went from 24 to 32 GB myself last year so that I could give 16gb to Parallels and still have 16gb for OS X for those occasions when I need to swap between Windows and OS X in a fluent manner. Which is quite often when dealing with a wide variety of 3d file/scene formats.
  17. Like the proverbial bus, you wait for ages for a decent third party rendering solution for FormZ then two come along at the same time. As you know from previous conversations I'm a huge fan of both V-Ray and Thea. If budget allows I think they complement each other really well. Thea is more accomplished at the moment as a GPU solution and V-Ray might be considered the more artist friendly because it has less restrictions regarding 'physically correct' workflows. I love working in both but I am admittedly a self confessed hussy for all things resplendent in the world of rendering...
  18. Here's something that I think shows off the quality of Thea nicely. Don't bother with questions about render time as I wasn't going for speed on this, all I'll say is that it was well under an hour. There are no CG lights in the scene, all lights are Mesh Lights (Emitters in Thea speak). Some are used for effect behind the walls and others are invisible to the camera but help spread light in a natural manner (common technique for scenes of this type). I tweaked a small amount in post to tonemap and add the glow.
  19. jonmoore

    Happy 25th birthday form•Z

    Congratulations to all the team at AutoDesSys. And here's to the next 25 years of innovation and creative thinking.
  20. Cheers Des. I thought it would be cool to do something away from the world of archviz that was still relevant to those working in architecture. It's also a bit of a torture test for a render engine to get a natural light balance on these types of enclosed spaces so a great test of Thea's capabilities too.
  21. Cheers Anton. I'm a sucker for a dystopian space ship interior. This one I imagine as a part of the Nostromo, from the first Alien movie. Just need to populate it with a decent Xenomorph model or two.
  22. It was well under an hour (CPU not GPU render, using the MC integrator). However, the reason I mentioned that the time taken to resolve is irrelevant, is because speed is not the only delight Thea has to offer. All my Thea tests are using OS X with an AMD card (which isn't CUDA capable). But you can use Preto MC purely on the CPU and it provides excellent results and speed without too many compromises. The pure unbiased CPU engines - TR1 & TR2 would take considerably longer to resolve.
  23. jonmoore

    Thea for FormZ in action

    Apologies for the late reply Justin. Nothing new to show from my end as the day job has taken over from any substantial testing of Thea but things are coming along nicely. I'll be sure to post something new i the next week or so.
  24. The beta testers have been given permission to post some renders made with Thea here on the FormZ forum so I thought I'd show one off in situ in the Thea interactive render window. A small test image of this size (1080x810) readers to the quality you see in less than 2 minutes.
  25. Hi Tom, There are plenty of low cost options for creating proper UV maps that work well both in FormZ and Unity (whilst FormZ doesn't currently have a UV editor it will read UV's correctly from imported geometry). Your options are: Modo Indie - http://store.steampowered.com/app/401090 Maya LT - http://www.autodesk.co.uk/products/maya-lt/overview 3d Coat - http://3dcoat.com/home/ Both Modo Indie and Maya LT are available as low cost monthly subscriptions ($10-25%). 3d Coat is more expensive but less technical in use (very similar workflow to FormZ).