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Andrew West

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Andrew West last won the day on December 1

Andrew West had the most liked content!

About Andrew West

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  • Birthday 04/15/1962

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    Bend Oregon

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  1. Andrew West

    New update 9.0.6

    That seems a bit harsh. Some of us are beta testers by choice and some are by default. However, I challenge anyone out there to find a perfect piece of software in this industry. I have used many of them and they can all be buggy. I have even crashed Photoshop which in my opinion is the most stable software on my machine. Autodessys, with all its challenges, seems to be a bit more on the buggy side from time to time. What interests me, and has been stated previously, is stability first and new tools second. We already have so many ways to achieve the same results that focusing on stability seems to me where the future should be. That and the seamless integration of outside models, but that is a rolling target. For what it's worth I still find Form.z tech support to be outstanding compared to other software where the forum is often your only option.
  2. Andrew West

    facetted arc segments

    Well it used to be part of the arc tool, now it is hidden elsewhere with a separate tool. I am sure they had their reasons. This is something that could be addressed with better documentation. Thanks for the info.
  3. Andrew West

    facetted arc segments

    Well you have me stumped. I remember being able to type in the number of segments in a curve in past releases. That seems to be either discontinued or hidden so deep I can't find it. Wish I could be of help here and I hope that Tech can chime in on this. It would be very useful in certain situations.
  4. Andrew West

    V build A26A

    I have noticed a significant lag as well. I am using the latest release. It affects most of my tools and all of my key shortcuts. My machine is a Win 10 pro 64 with a 1080Ti GTX card, dual xeon processors and 128 gb of ram. My lag times are actually a lot worse than yours. One thing that sped up my machine considerably is to turn on Keep Textures and to select Opens Fast in the preferences. Still, it is disconcerting to see newer releases performing slower. I had an occasion to use 6.7 recently (drafting) and it really shocked me as to how fast it was. But it also lacked a lot of the features of the latest release.
  5. Andrew West

    V-Ray update

    Is it December yet? Feels like the longest year of my entire life. I can't wait to get my hands on 5. I have tried it out on other programs and I really like it. If it does not materialize soon I might be looking into Maxwell again. Their integrated render farm could be what I was missing previously in regards to speed.
  6. Andrew West

    Importing 3rd party models

    I seem to be at a crossroads once again in my career. I have tried many other programs over the years and for various reasons I keep on coming back to Form.z. Years ago I tried Electric Image, 3DS MAX, Cinema 4D, Vue, etc etc. None of them had the speed and agility of Form.z for my quick turn around projects. Then the other programs got better and better and added a lot of third party plugins and rendering engines that gave stunning results. So I resigned myself to owning several programs to get the results I needed. Hardly ideal for a small studio to maintain. But here is the catch. Form.z does not play well with others so transferring back and forth between programs became extremely laborious and slow. This is especially true with projects that require a lot of client feedback, revisions and transfers of geometry. So, every time I started a new project I felt like I had to reinvent the wheel and assess what the best path forward will be for this project. Sometimes I guess wrong and pay for it dearly in wasted time. In the last few years I have personally felt that Form.z is getting slower and buggier and certainly more unpredictable. One step forward and two steps sideways away from my goal of a one stop shop. I am not sure that I am ready to abandon Form.z any time soon so for me it will still be a combination of programs to achieve what I want. My current direction is to model in Form.z as much as possible and then transfer over to Rhino for the last 50% of the job. For instance, on my current interior project I modeled most of the plane geometry in Z and apply my texture maps. Then I move over to Rhino to import all my furniture, set up my lighting and do my renders in Vray. Moving back and forth between the two seems to be fairly fluid and my maps all come in perfectly except for the Vray materials. Those need to be redone so I don't even bother with them until I am in Rhino. Why this method you might ask? Simple, the more you bring in 3rd party models into Z the more likely that things will fall apart and you will spend a LOT of time troubleshooting. You can just feel the program starting to bog down and become increasingly less responsive, so then you know it's time to transfer over. As for learning Rhino it is pretty simple but very important to understand their philosophy first. Dave Shultz on Lynda.com gives a very detailed explanation of how to approach the program and where to keep your attention focused. There are a daunting number of tools and options available, most of them somewhat repetitive, so being given a general direction is imperative to limit frustration. Once you understand that things go pretty smoothly. Hope this helps give some direction to anyone else who is struggling out there. Sorry that there isn't a better solution. At least not one I am aware of yet.
  7. Andrew West

    Importing 3rd party models

    I will second the Rhino option. It will save you a ton of time on all sorts of imports. I even use it to clean up 2D files from architects that have way too much info attached. Takes hours to import into FMZ. I just open them instantly in Rhino and delete everything I don't need.
  8. Andrew West

    V-Ray update

    Rumor has it that we might see something by the new year. But I wouldn't hold my breath. Everything seems to be moving very slowly lately. I just hope it is sooner rather than later because I could really use it too.
  9. Andrew West

    Importing 3rd party models

    SJD This has been one of my biggest hurdles when using Form.z. The slow speed of import stems from the fact that Form.z is a solid modeler while most other programs are surface modelers. Form.z is trying to create solids out of surfaces which can become problematic. I tend to use a lot of outside models in my business, from architects and from sites like 3dSky and TurboSquid. They come in a variety of formats and each one has its own unique problems. Personally I prefer to use OBJ format most of the time if it is available. FBX has been an interesting problem. I wish I could use it more because it handles texture maps a bit better but I have found that on some models it scrambles the geometry in random arrangements. One problem I have been having lately is that I can only import one model. If I try to import a second model the program hangs. Open the task manager and the manager screen is flashing rapidly. Force quit the program and then restart and you will now be able to import the next model. Annoying but doable. I am also fortunate to own a few other programs that I rely on from time to time when I can't get Form.z to properly import. In particular I resort to Max and Rhino which import most models instantly and flawlessly. Once in there I start to clean them up a bit and then re export out. Furniture models in particular can be troublesome if built in Max. The modelers often apply a TurboSmooth modifier which can create very dense meshes that need to be optimized. They also tend to group lots of things together which need to be exploded. I hate to suggest that you need to own another piece of expensive software just to get your model into Z but you just have to get creative on how to accomplish this. I remember there being websites that would translate models into various formats for free. 3Dconvert.com was one I had used once. I believe that they had a file size limitation. There are probably a few others out there. As a last resort you can also ask us here in the forum if any of us can translate it for you. I have seen many posts asking for help over the years and the forum has been very good at responding. Good luck.
  10. Andrew West

    VRAY - Huge Material Problem!

    Update time. We finally tracked down the issue at the beginning of this post. There has always been some issue with materials not previewing in the palette or materials not showing properly on the model. Or in my case lots of missing textures upon render. The FIX: You must have KEEP TEXTURES turned on in project settings. Then you must turn on Opens Fast or your save times will be really long. It was such a simple thing that ended up causing a lot of issues.
  11. Andrew West

    V-ray Scene Files

    I am posting this as a favor to anyone who is thinking of using Scene files in their models. Don't. They are more trouble than they are worth. First is the issue of lighting. Each scene file creates a sun light that automatically comes in with the file whether you turn off that option on import or not. Then you have to go into the attributes tab in the inspector to make sure its off. If your lighting is totally messed up this is the reason. Next there is the issue of Alpha Channels. I use them A LOT! The scene file will corrupt your alpha channel completely as it renders as pure white. If like me you render out a building you would expect to have it separate from the background for compositing. Or if you do an interior model that has a view outside the window you might want to place an image behind the glass. The scene file makes this impossible. I spent a day and a half chasing down this problem so save yourself the trouble and don't use them (unless you don't use alpha channels). I am aware that the development team is working on this issue for the next release. Lets hope it is sooner rather than later.
  12. Andrew West

    VRay Licensing

    Both Maxwell and Vray require an online license. Maxwell is considerably slower even in their latest release but it is better quality and has Multilight. Vray is usually adequate for my needs. I recently traveled to my sister in laws in Oregon where they had no internet and only a weak cell signal. Very rural. I brought my laptop which is pretty powerful and one of my 24 inch monitors to get some work done. Thankfully monitors are very light these days compared to the old behemoths. When it was time to render I used my cell phone as a hot spot and logged in to the license server. I had to go up to the top of a ridge nearby to get a good signal. So anything is possible, but sometimes you have to get creative. For what its worth it seems like many software companies are doing an online license lately. I guess they expect you to be connected to the internet to get anything done anyway. And then there is the issue of annual subscription services but that is a completely different discussion.
  13. Andrew West


    Unfortunately these are no longer available. Although when asked Tech has been able to implement other scripts into the new Python format and bring them into the program. You just need to ask them to see if they have enough demand. When you mention Fix Normal there is a script for that now. It is called Fix Obj Reverse and it requires that you pre pick the objects in question or the entire model for that matter. In terms of the Clear Face Color script I personally use the Separate Object Faces By Color script now. It allows me to isolate different materials that were assigned to multiple faces of one object so that they can be grouped and adjusted. The other script is not something I have experience with but if you right click on an object you have the option to select all objects assigned that material. Then just create a new layer and move it there. Easy. Unless of course your object has multiple materials assigned. Then just see step two above.
  14. Andrew West

    Bump Maps

    Here is a before and after. Note that the only thing I changed was the addition of a bump map on the stone material. One map was an RGB and the other a grey scale.
  15. Andrew West

    Bump Maps

    For those of you out there that are still using Form.z and V-ray there is something you should be aware of with bump maps. As of today I finally found what was causing my image map materials to appear odd. They were too dark and they did not accept shadows correctly. The sun just didn't cast an accurate shadow on my stone wall planes and it looked like a mess. I finally found that if you remove your bump map it cleans it up instantly. As a matter of fact if you remove all bump maps from your project a lot of issues suddenly disappear. I even went so far as to remove any native V-ray materials that had bump maps. I am only trying to help those who are experiencing similar issues and hope that they don't have to spend a lot of time figuring it out like I did. Hopefully this will be addressed soon. In the mean time use displacement if you really need 3d relief on your surfaces. Very unfortunate.