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Andrew West

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Everything posted by Andrew West

  1. Andrew West

    Mapping strategy- Importing from turbosquid

    Peter I buy my models from 3DSky since they are usually a lot cheaper and they seem to work fine. I used to use TurboSquid and still do when I need something very specific. My method is to always use OBJ on import and I make sure that the model and textures are in the same folder. On import the textures are never assigned properly but the naming of the new textures allows me to quickly figure out which ones need to be loaded. For instance if I click on an object that I know to be brown leather and it is named wire0093872665 then I rename it and load the leather image into the correct slot. Since most of these models have UVW mapping the leather is assigned and aligned correctly. Then I do this for every other texture. I wish it was easier but this is the price I pay for using other peoples models which saves me a ton of time. It is also worth noting that these models are usually in millimeters and if you forget to change the units on import then scaling the model will loose all your UVW mapping. I would edit the huge texture map down to 2000x2000 since Form.z and Vray both choke on files that large. If the object still has UVW mapping the map size should not matter in my experience.
  2. Andrew West

    Shear tool (skew)

    There used to be a shear tool in 6 which I still keep around for specific reasons. I am curious as to how you plan on doing a shear in Maxwell.
  3. Andrew West

    Help with lighting interior

    Stay away from dome lights for now. I have tried repeatedly to use them to no avail. I have completed a few successful interiors so far and my method is to create a light plane roughly the size of each window behind each plane of glass. Set the intensity to about 20. Then set your camera to something realistic for an interior photo. Now make a large rectangular box a couple of feet high and place it floating in the middle of the space (not intersecting with any geometry). Turn that into a V-ray mesh light and set its intensity to about 15. This provides more ambient light in the room. Make sure you double click on each light plane and box in the palette and go to the parameters tab to make it invisible to the camera and turn off reflections.
  4. Andrew West

    FMZ 10.6 No FBX Export

    Installed this latest version. When I try to open the project I was working on last night I get this error: Smooth Modeling error. Access Violation. Then the program crashes. I was an hour away from finishing a major project but the last build was causing all sorts of problems. I just went back to it (build 10017) and the file opens perfectly. I should also note that V-ray renders the scene just fine but if I switch to Shaded Render the program crashes.
  5. Andrew West

    Save as a Copy - Not saving texture maps

    This has been going on for a while now. I would love to get this fixed since I tend to use this feature a lot. I save each project with its own material library.
  6. Andrew West

    Example Images

    For the record Corey has warned me a couple of times about using materials that we find on the web. They can cause all sorts of problems and I can verify this. I believe that the materials packaged with V-ray are okay but from my experience I too need to substantially modify them for my use. There was not a single glass material that worked the way I wanted so I created a few. The rest of my architectural materials can easily be used with the standard Generic translation engine. Once I load my map I then change the reflection color to a lighter grey (black by default for some reason) and then I change my gloss factor to something realistic. High gloss would be .95 and matte would be .25. Correct me if I am wrong.
  7. Andrew West


    Allan Yes, the material editor and material loading is very slow. You are not doing anything wrong. The material editor is still a very strong contender to Maxwell's and hopefully they will get this sorted out soon.
  8. Andrew West

    Alpha Channel Scene

    Vray Settings- Settings- Environment- Background-Color- use project color. Make sure you check the Render Elements box to get all the channels you want. It will add anything from Alpha to Reflections and Depth. I separate out my channels for later composite. A thing of note here: The program gets its ambient light from the sky settings and if you have none since you are doing an alpha background you will have no ambient. If you want to add ambient check the Environment Overides setting and click on GI (skylight). Make it a sky and make the multiplier 3. It will not show up in your render but the light will.
  9. 1. Add to project is great if you are just opening a model and want to add the entire thing to your current model. However, this is not what is being asked for here. I often move pieces of multiple models into a new model. When doing so if you have anything selected in your current model it will be erased upon paste command. What gets me sometimes is that I unknowingly have something behind the camera that is selected that I don't see. I developed a habit of always hitting Command Tab to unselect anything prior to paste.
  10. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Finally got some decent exterior renders going. Tip: when saving your render separate out all the different channels that you want. The ones I use a lot are the reflective, dept and highlight gloss channels. Then bring your main image into photoshop and lay the reflective channel over the top, set the layer mode to Screen and lower the opacity. Adjust the curves as needed. Then do the same with the other channels. One thing I can't quite figure out is why my render window does not show the overall reflectivity/glossiness of my materials in the preview. I get some reflections but almost no gloss. That can only be brought back in using Photoshop layers. I would love to hear what glass materials people are using at this time. I have played with the pre packaged materials and I have found that each needs to be modified to work correctly.
  11. Andrew West

    Some bugs

    One more thing. If I open one of my furniture models and select a sofa I can paste it into my new model but I have to be very careful. Watch the spinning blue wheel of patience carefully. Once it stops spinning I can click and paste my sofa in. Doing so before the wheel stops causes a crash. Once I paste it if I go back to my furniture model and click in that window the program crashes about half the time. So, once you paste something in be sure to save your model. In general switching between different models has become very unstable. While I do understand the need to get this software out so that we can all start testing it we need to exercise patience as these things get flushed out. I have been able to produce a few good images with V-ray so far and I can see that this will be a real game changer for me and my workflow. I just need to very careful.
  12. Andrew West

    Vray Benchmark for Win/OSX by Chaosgroup

    On my computer having 32 cores @2.6 ghz is faster than my GTX 1080. Looking at Justin's setup it appears that having fewer cores that are faster and an additional GTX card may be the way to go.
  13. Andrew West

    vray network rendering setup

    For what its worth I am finding that rendering on just one machine is fast enough that I don't need the network render. If I was doing animation then that would be a different story. One of my typical heavy models that would take overnight to render in Maxwell or Renderzone is now rendering in 15 to 20 minutes. I am also looking forward to not ever using a render farm again. I hate to think of all the money I spent there.
  14. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Here is another shot. For comparison I did this in Maxwell and it looked a bit better but took 15 hours. This rendered in 17 minutes using V-ray. I have not tried GPU rendering yet as my trials were having all sorts of issues. Once they get the bugs worked out I expect even faster render times. Hopefully.
  15. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Improved lighting and materials on this one. To light this scene I used a series of light planes just outside the glass, make sure they are pointed inward, then I used two boxes floating in the middle of the space that I turned into mesh lights. Make sure those don't intersect with any geometry. After rendering and saving out all the maps separately I brought the image map into Photoshop and layered the reflection map over the top of it. Set the reflection map to Soft Light and then reduce the transparency as needed. I played around with the depth map but the client didn't like that effect. Looking forward to messing around with the other maps in the future.
  16. Andrew West

    V-Ray is here!

    For all those running into issues please make sure that you turn off any virus protection software during the install. This has been true for many years now. My Norton app really hates Form.z and flags all extensions as viruses.
  17. Andrew West

    Support@formz.com not respoding emails

    I am just guessing but I think they have a lot on their plates right now trying to get the new releases out. They are very focused on the latest version of Z and the integration of V-ray. Once that is out I hope that the response times improve.
  18. Andrew West

    Step by Step tutorial on using HDRI

    If you want to use HDRI for lighting within Form.z you change your sunlight to an environment light. Then set the intensity to accurate and use a realistic lumen level ( I use around 70 as an average). Go to parameters and set the type to spherical. Under options load an HDRI image. Under samples I tend to use around 700. To get more color out of my HDRI I tend to increase the color factor to around 70% ( but this is really dependent upon the materials you are using and the HDRI). If there is a sun in your hdri you might have to change the spin in order to get the sun to light your scene from the right direction. Now if you want to create your own HDRI there are lots of tutorials on the web that help. I sometimes use an HDRI along with my sun light but only if my HDRI does not contain a sun highlight in the image. You will love using HDRI images once you get it down. Especially if you are lighting highly reflective surfaces.
  19. Andrew West

    Texture Libary

    I had that problem. I went back and removed all the old Chaos and V-ray folders and files and then I reinstalled the latest version. There was an old beta version that installed the plugin and license server in a different location. The latest build requires the Form.z build 9999 WIP to be installed in the Form.z 8 folder AND the V-ray plugin to be installed in the Plugins folder under the same FORM.z 8 folder. Then just launch license server and it should sort itself out. The material editor should then launch. Please note that you can not change the V-ray material and then just save it in the same location. You will need to either create a new material library and save it there or save it to another location.
  20. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Another test image. The final will have a floral center piece on the dining room table. This is another example of why I need a fast render engine. The client just called and wanted the fireplace completely redesigned. Luckily this only took 20 min to output at 4000 px wide.
  21. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Very nice but the floor looks like you could ice skate on it. I find that with my floors I set the diffuse reflection to be a light grey and my gloss to be about 0.6 to 0.7 to get good results. Keep up the good work.
  22. What I personally would like to see is a UI that is similar to 3ds Max or any other major modeling program. What I mean by that is I would like to do away with all the floating palettes that have to be open all the time. Picture this: you have one decent monitor but to work on your project you have to have the modeling window as big as possible. In order to use the palettes that I need I have to open the following: Lights, Layers, Materials, Views, Tool options, Material Parameters, Vray tools, Vray lights, Vray Settings, and a few floating palettes of the tools I use most like T-form, Attributes, Modify, and reshape. Now if I have one screen I can no longer see my project window. So now I buy a second monitor that is a lot larger to just hold all those floating palettes. Nuts!. Forget working on a laptop in a clients office. Hasn't anyone studied how other programs deal with this situation or are they just inventing from scratch with no reference material? I think I would be a lot less frustrated if I didn't have to constantly search for palettes totally or partially hidden all the time or if they actually displayed properly when I open a project. Now that I am done griping I must add that I am still in love with Form.z as a whole. It could just be so much better and a lot more user friendly to the new user trying to get up to speed. As a long time user (over 30 years) I have a familiarity to the way things work and I know how to work around issues. But that is exactly the problem. If they want to attract new users and survive they need to develop a program that doesn't need to be a "work around" but a "work through" without the constant diagnosing and triage. I realize there is no perfect program out there and I have crashed the best of them (photoshop) on occasion. But adding more bells and whistles to a program that is inherently flawed reminds me of my current car: Lots of new cool electronic gadgets to play with that will brake but no real difference in the way it drives. There really needs to be a fundamental redesign of the core program. Drop down Menus please! Easier said than I am sure.
  23. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Second view. Rendered in 14 minutes
  24. 12 minute test render with 5 minutes of Photoshop post process.
  25. In response to the advice above. Whenever possible I try to create my own Maxwell and Vray materials and give them reflective quality if the client asks for that. Always a time consuming process collecting all the materials for a particular architectural project and creating new materials for it. Then the client makes numerous changes and color adjustments along the way. It would be so helpful if both Maxwell and Vray played nice with Form.z in the material palette. That still isn't the case yet. After three years of using Maxwell exclusively I still have not found a way to speed up the render process significantly. I have read all the tips and tricks concerning materials and render settings. I have invested $6000 into a high end machine and another $800 into a good graphics card. In the end I still find that my renders take overnight at best. Do I like the Maxwell image more? Absolutely. Can I wait 8 to 12 hours for a decent render? Absolutely not. My clients make constant changes to these images and I need a render engine that can adapt to those requests and spit out something presentable in under 15 minutes. Enter V-ray. Now if we can just get the bugs worked out all will be well. PS. The GPU render solution for maxwell is still limited in resolution so it is not an option to increase speed. Unless of course I am missing an update on that.