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Andrew West

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Andrew West last won the day on January 19

Andrew West had the most liked content!

About Andrew West

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 04/15/1962

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    http://www.westillustration.com

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    Male
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    Bend Oregon

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  1. Glad you were able to find the displacement settings. As for caustics I had a really hard time with them as well. Never could get anything to work for my indoor pool project. I do remember reading once that caustics may only work with a direct sun light. If true that would be unfortunate.
  2. Andrew West

    How do I get a bigger grid?

    Something is terribly wrong with the grid system when I try to do this. You are not doing anything wrong from what I can tell. I bumped up the numerical accuracy thinking that might have an effect but it did not. Out of curiosity what are you trying to build that is so tiny? I work in architecture so I never need to get that small.
  3. Andrew West

    Why isn't formz more popular?

    To all I apologize if I made a wrong assumption about Paul and Chris. I was told not long ago that "the main developer was willing to let this program die but another developer decided to step in to keep it alive". That was obviously David stepping in. Over the years Paul was an invaluable help to me in both technical know how and guidance on how to improve the program. I falsely assumed that he was also a main developer. His knowledge of the program was unmatched by anyone I encountered. After he was gone things got real quiet for quite a while which was unfortunate and led to a lot of assumptions. Moving forward with suggestions on how to improve Form.z I have a general question for everyone. One thing that makes programs like 3DS stand out to me are the plethora of third party plugins available that can be integrated directly into the interface. Plants (x-frog) Environments (like Vue) Smoke, fire, particle systems, Rendering engines, etc. I don't know how one would even go about convincing third parties to expand their offering to include Form.z but it is worth discussing here. I also can't help but wonder if Autodesk has any legal restrictions on these third party plugins that make it exclusive to their platform. Given how aggressive they can be it wouldn't surprise me a bit. It is also worth noting that many of the features in Max were actually introduced as plugins before they were totally integrated into the main program. This is actually one of their great short comings as the program certainly feels like a collection of plugins. Here are a few that I would love to see in the future in my perfect program: Any plant generator along with an environment generation tool similar to Vue x-stream A cloth generator similar to the one in Max A gravity tool that allows one to drop an object onto any surface below. A tool for creating UVW maps directly Integration into Unreal or Keyshot that maintains all texture maps properly A tool similar to Turbo Smooth in Max that can smooth out any geometry and optimize it. It would also need a Pro Optimizer tool for reducing geometry interactively by the number of points A tool to "paint" texture maps directly onto geometry in selective areas. A tool for sculpting meshes with a touch sensitive brush (similar to Vue and Z-brush). We had something somewhat similar in 6.7 where we could push and pull meshes a bit more interactively. And the list goes on and on but those are the ones that I use outside of Z most regularly. Open to suggestions Andrew
  4. Andrew West

    Why isn't formz more popular?

    If you want more people to use this program the company needs to get it taught in schools. Right now it is not in any meaningful way. Part of the problem is what happened when Chris Yessios decided to let the program die several years ago and also when the main programmer Paul Helm actually died. If it weren't for a single programmer that wanted to keep it alive it would have ended a while back. Now it is a challenge to both keep it going and create new and exciting buzz about its capabilities and its future. The introduction of V-ray was an important first step but it does feel that it might be too little too late. I personally am doing everything I can to promote Form.z through the images I submit to the website along with tagging it everywhere I can. All of us can help in that regard.
  5. Andrew West

    slope a spline

    I use the ramp tool (stair) when I have a uniform width slope. When the width or shape of the ramp is non uniform then I create a spline on the XY plane, move the control points up to their desired positions, offset the spline for the inside of the curve, adjust the control points to where I need them, Then form a nurbz plane between the two splines. Now that I have my nurbs plane I can extend and add onto it pretty easily to complete my roadways. The terrain tool works as well but it feels so antiquated. Probably because it has been around for at least 25 years in its current state.
  6. Andrew West

    Offset Nurbs Edge Like in Rhino

    Concerning the original question here on the sink I would not use nurbs to construct that. You are making this harder than it needs to be. One of the great strengths of Form.z is that you have many different tools to achieve the same result. I am sure everyone would do this a bit differently but my approach would be to construct two different solids from a front and side view and then use the Boolian split tool on them. Delete the parts you don't need to get a solid that is the volume of the sink. (in other words I have created a form that would be the shape of the sink if it was filled with water). For the 1" radius I would hold down the control key and use the round tool to round those two edges. Select the top face and delete it. Now you have the shell of the sink. Thicken it if you want to. Attached is my file. It took me about 4 minutes to create which is a lot less time than it took to type this. sink.fmz
  7. Andrew West

    Offset Nurbs Edge Like in Rhino

    Like this?
  8. Andrew West

    Offset Nurbs Edge Like in Rhino

    Lower left hand corner there is a paper clip icon to attach images and files. Drag and drop your file there
  9. Andrew West

    Wet Pavement

    That is a good way to blend two basic materials. But now how do you control the Reflection, Bump and Transparency of those materials individually? For instance, in Maxwell's material editor you can create a material that simulates rust on metal by adding a rust map over the top of a steel map, then give the rust a transparency Noise map so that it only appears in places. Adjust the amount of noise to adjust the amount of rust. It works almost like a procedural material and this would be an easy way to do puddles on the street or dirt on the floor. V-ray does work this way in other programs, just not in here yet from what I can tell. Correct me if I am wrong.
  10. Andrew West

    Wet Pavement

    I have spent hours trying to figure out how to blend materials in V-ray like you can in most other editors. It does not exist in the current build according to Tech but they hope to unlock more of the V-ray features in the next build. One thing that has been lacking in our editor has been the ability to stack materials on top of each other and control the amount of blending that happens on each layer. That would be a real game changer for me. Adding rust, dirt or in this case water over a surface would increase the realism tremendously. Thanks for your help.
  11. Andrew West

    Wet Pavement

    I think I got lost on what you did to achieve this. Could you please explain a bit more. Tech sent me an example of how to do it with a plane suspended an inch above the pavement. That highly reflective plane has a B&W Opacity map of blotchy spots in various densities from white to pure black. The white areas are opaque and the black are transparent. I also put that map into the reflection channel and set the reflectivity to 1. The asphalt plane below is also fairly reflective since it would not be dry at all. It has a specular map and a subtle bump map. The result was not nearly as good as what you have achieved and it was very difficult to control. Even the pure black areas of the opacity map affected the pavement below to a large degree. Looked kind of muddy and unrealistic. For what its worth the Vray tutorial for Sketchup had the best result in the fastest manner. You also create a material that can be applied to any model in the future without displacement. Here is my pathetic attempt
  12. Andrew West

    Sketchup model woes

    Well I just watched a couple of videos in Cinema 4d's Cineversity website where you can watch countless tutorials on how to use their program. I am seriously impressed by their texture mapping tools which has been an issue in FMZ for me personally. Their material editor is amazing. Before I make the leap to this program I am going to wait to see what becomes of the next release of V-ray Next for Form.z. If it is a major improvement to the integration of V-ray and an expansion to their material editor I may just stick with that a bit longer. I realize this post has gone off topic now. But it does relate to the use of multiple programs and how they work together (or not).
  13. Andrew West

    Sketchup model woes

    Thanks for the feedback. I owned C4D about 18 years ago and I tried to get an efficient work flow between the two but had very little success. Perhaps it is time to revisit that again. I also own 3DS Max and my workflow back and forth with that is also awkward at best. In a perfect world Form.z would have a stable high end rendering engine with a robust material editor similar to the Slate editor in Max. It would also need to play nicely with outside models of questionable quality. Or Max and C4D would have quick and easy modeling tools for architecture like Form.z. But that world does not exist at the moment. The issues I have had working between two programs is always the same. Revisions to the design and texture mapping. Modeling in one and rendering in the other means a lot of importing and exporting along with re texture mapping. How well does C4D handle texture maps coming out of Z? The reason I ask is because I find it much faster to map as I build the model.
  14. Andrew West

    Wet Pavement

    I have been beating my head against my keyboard all weekend trying to get a decent result for this. If you study great architectural photographs they often wet the streets down in front of the buildings. It pools up into puddles in spots. This would add so much drama to my images if I could make it work. What I am after is a single material in Vray that can mimic this accurately. The asphalt needs to have a bump map which is easy. Then it needs a layer on top of that which is the water and that needs to be highly reflective and have a bump map to raise it up off the surface a bit. I have watched several tutorials on this for Max and Sketchup but our editor is drastically different from theirs. In the Sketchup tutorial they use Blend Material for the water surface but in our editor we can only add from the drop down list into the Blend. I want to add a generic material and make that white and highly reflective and transparent. That is not possible. Does anyone have a clue on how to achieve this using our editor? Tech has suggested making physical puddles on top of the asphalt which seems to me to be really time consuming and awkward. Here is a good example of what I am after:
  15. Andrew West

    Sketchup model woes

    Thanks guys. I know of all the little "work arounds" to get an SKP file to behave in FMZ. I am just looking for a more streamlined process that covers some of these on import. These models are done as process models where designers push and pull and twist and shape the design until they get something they like. During that process it is very easy for geometry to become non planar, distorted and corrupted. I have the same issue in FMZ with the Reshape tool at times which is a tool that more closely resembles how SKP models are built. Most of the issues are related to just bad modeling habits. It is just interesting to me that a other programs have a much higher tolerance for these bad models and they can deal with them without crashing or corrupting the model. It is not limited to SKP either as Justin points out. Any time I bring in any outside model I have to cross my fingers and pray that the program doesn't get all wonky on me. On that note I also hit Save before I ever import anything. Lately on some of my big interiors projects that use outside models I have kept a journal to note when the program became unstable and what was added. The first warning signs are usually in the Materials and texture maps along with the famous vanishing tool palette options. Things only go downhill from there so the journal helps me backtrack a bit. Snow, I have also found that exporting the file as an OBJ is better than an FBX as it retains the materials properly and fixes a lot of the geometry in the process.
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