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Andrew West

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Everything posted by Andrew West

  1. Andrew West

    Vray beta lighting observations

    Interior lighting and material trial: Each window has a rectangular flat light that is about the size of the window and has a blue sky color set to it. Turn off visibility of the light plane and set the intensity to about 20%. Make sure they are pointed into the room. Sun is coming from the far left and it has a size multiplier on it set to 8 to soften the shadows. Adjust camera settings to get the best result. Add a bloom effect in the Vray render settings. Not too strong. Total render time- 14 minutes at 3500 px wide. Dual processor 2.8GHZ 10 core ea . xeon machine with 64 Ram. Nvidea GTX1080. Do not turn on interactive render or GPU!
  2. Andrew West


    For cloth I use 3DS MAX. Sorry guys. It is just so much easier to create cloth and have it interact with an object. For example: I can create a quick mesh for a blanket- displace it a bit and pull some areas up and down- then use what Max calls a cloth modifier ( you designate the type of material, thickness,etc) and you then designate the collision object (in this case a bed). You place the mesh blanket above the bed and then drop it. It automatically folds itself around the mattress forming creases and such. If you don't like the outcome you just reverse the drop and do it again. Each time it will be different. That is a simple explanation but it takes about 5 minutes to set up and execute. I hope that some day Form.z can do something like that.
  3. I think it is a time saver if you do certain types of work. Like product and automotive. If you use a lot of texture maps it doesn't help. Vray on the other hand uses it quite well. I am getting really smooth noise free images in about 7 minutes compared to 8 to 9 hours with Maxwell.
  4. Rob I have tried repeatedly to use the Denoiser effect in Maxwell but it destroys my image. In particular it blurs my wood texture maps on my furniture and turns the stone pattern to something resembling melted plastic. So that effect only really works on smooth objects without maps. In Vray the denoiser works as expected and it helps the image a lot. You are correct that the Maxwell image is warmer and has more atmosphere. As stated previously the environment light in Vray is not quite working as expected. I hope they get that figured out since I use it a lot. The lack of images on this site is due to the fact that they have been working out a lot of issues with the software. No one has been producing finished renderings en mass yet. I aim to correct that shortly as I have 12 images that I have set up in Vray and can output a few tests soon. Just need to work out a few issues first. I will keep you posted. Andrew
  5. Andrew West

    Planetary gear system question

    Create a disc the exact size of the outer ring. Then create a gear that would fit inside that disc. Use Boolean difference to subtract the gear from the disc and you now have a negative ring gear.
  6. I had no interest in comparing Vray to Renderzone any more than I would compare a new Tesla to an old Ford wagon. Sorry for the bad analogy. However, I am currently comparing Maxwell to Vray as that makes a lot more sense. I have been using Maxwell for about 3 years now so I am pretty familiar with it. There was a pretty steep learning curve at first and a lot of watching tutorials about secret tips and tricks that were less than obvious. Maxwell is a fantastic program if you know what you are doing and have A LOT OF TIME to wait for a decent render. I might add that the investment in hardware and render farms can be a bit steep as well. Over the last few years it has become faster and easier to use. So now that Vray is almost here I thought I would put the two side by side on a decent size project and then check results. First off I find that once you know Maxwell or another stand alone engine it is always easier to learn another one if they approach lighting and materials in the same manner. Vray is somewhat similar so it was only a few hours of poking around before I got up to speed. If you are unfamiliar with how these programs work it might take quite a bit longer. Next off is how well integrated the two programs are within Form.z. They both have a tendency to crash the program from time to time but I have yet to really figure out whether it is Form.z that is causing the issue or the engines. Clicking on lights too quickly or moving too fast in general can lead all sorts of problems. So save often and get a good SSD to speed things up. The material palette in Maxwell is better integrated and more intuitive but Vray is still a work in progress at this point. There are a lot of little glitches in Vrays materials and some of the settings make no sense and have no real reference in the real world that I can determine. However, the real strength of an integrated render engine is how well it takes the materials you set up in Form.z and converts them over. Both programs do an excellent job with a slight advantage to Maxwell as they have had more time to work out the bugs and interface. One big difference in the future will be the fact that there are so many materials that are already created for Vray. Maxwell has a fair number of materials on the Next Limit website but every year that list gets smaller and smaller for some bizarre reason. For me I tend to create my own materials so it doesn't matter as much. I did read recently that using old materials from previous versions of Vray can cause a lot of performance issues but I have not yet tested that out. As for lighting that is where things get interesting. Maxwell has never been quite as easy as they claim when it comes to converting native Form.z lights. In fact it has never worked for me so I always create my own Maxwell lights. The best features of both programs is the ability to use HDRI images for scene lighting as that adds the most realism. In fact that is what I have spent the last two days exploring with Vray. For some reason Maxwell just handles HDRI illumination much better and I have yet to find out why. I know that Vray users use this technique all the time so maybe I am still missing something important. The other great lighting feature is the ability to use emitters. Here Maxwell has a distinct advantage as emitters work wonderfully whereas in Vray they don't seem to have much of an effect at all. The settings are way off of real world values and the sliders make no sense (to me). Both programs allow you to create hidden box or mesh lights that can add illumination in areas in the same way photographers bounce light around a room to evenly illuminate it. One thing that Vray needs badly is some sort of shadow control for its sun light. It only creates hard shadows at this time which is unfortunate since the sun renders faster. Perhaps they are working on that. Now for the kicker: TIME vs QUALITY. I did a test render on both programs and while the images are both acceptable they are both very different. I find that the Maxwell image has more atmosphere due to the better use of the HDRI light and it was easier to control. However, the Vray image rendered out to a similar quality took 14 minutes. The Maxwell image took 8 hours and 7 minutes. These were both at fairly low res by my standards. Both are attached to compare. Neither of them are close to what I would consider finished pieces. So here is my take on this so far: Maxwell has been around a lot longer within Form.z and has most of the bugs worked out. It has a slightly better material editor once you know how to use it and better control over certain types of lighting for now. It is also impossibly slow but getting a little better. Vray is a work in progress still and has some issues to work out before I would consider it for a mission critical project. It gives very acceptable results in a fraction of the time. I am sure that once I spend more time with it I could get very similar results to Maxwell. Final conclusion: I personally have been waiting for Vray for over ten years since it was first suggested as an addition to Form.z. It looks like the wait is almost over. There is no such thing as a perfect piece of software and I know they will work this out over time. The time savings and acceptable results of Vray are well worth it in order to stay competitive in this field. I will post more as I more familiar with Vray. AW
  7. Andrew West

    Vray not loading properly

    Still looking for help here. I have Vray up and running but I still can't use the material editor for Vray materials. Every time I try I get a message saying that I don't have a license or improper configuration. I have some time on my hands and would love to test our Vray but without the material editor I am stuck. Is anyone else experiencing this?
  8. Andrew West

    Vray not loading properly

    I am finally getting back to testing VRay again and having the hardest time getting it to install properly. I disabled Norton virus on install. I have downloaded the latest builds on both programs (v8.6). I can kind of get it to work a bit but it only works while Norton is turned off. Launching 8.6 with Norton on immediately crashes the program. I have gone into Norton and allowed the program to access the files. The license server seems to be installed properly but if I try to edit a material I get the same warning each time "License not installed or not configured properly". The program is also killing my computer speed and just doing something like picking a Vray material or editing a light is painfully slow. FYI: windows 7 on dual 10 core Xeon processors. 64 gigs of ram. Could someone please walk me through the installation and licensing on this. I am obviously doing something horribly wrong.
  9. Andrew West

    Mac vs PC for formZ

    I forgot to mention that Vray does run on a Mac OSX. However, for rendering it is much faster to use the GPU engine. I have tested it on a PC and GPU is great. So the real issue if speed is your main concern is whether or not you want to optimize the computer to use more cores or a better GPU. It is worth mentioning again that Form.z itself only uses one core for modeling. What other heavy programs are you using?
  10. Andrew West

    Vray not loading properly

    Tech I am still a bit lost here. The plug in is not located where you suggested. When I installed Vray it created a separate folder (Chaos Group) in my Programs folder. Should this folder or the plug in be relocated?
  11. Andrew West

    Vray not loading properly

    Tech I am still a bit lost here. The plug in is not located where you suggested. When I installed Vray it created a separate folder (Chaos Group) in my Programs folder. Should this folder be relocated or the plugin be relocated?
  12. Andrew West

    Mac vs PC for formZ

    This topic has been regularly coming up for about three decades now. It should be interesting to see what people say. Personally I think the difference between Mac and PC is more of cost consideration rather than a performance issue. The new imac pro that they just announced looked interesting but when I configured it similar to my current PC the price came in at over $9500! Now that is expensive. Can't bring myself to drink that Kool Aid.
  13. Andrew West

    Clock Speed vs Multiple Cores

    The simple answer is that for modeling you need faster clock speed. For rendering you need more cores. Especially if you use something like Maxwell to render. The best solution is to get a computer that is one or two tiers below the fastest with as many cores as you can afford. Then don't skimp on the graphics card. AW
  14. Rebuilding from scratch is unfortunately something that often needs to be done. I still occasionally find myself trying to fix something that would be easier to redo. One last solution that I sometimes find useful is to back save my model to V6.7 and open it there. To date that is still the most solid and trouble free version that they ever created. My opinion of course.
  15. When things like this happen it is almost always due to the introduction of bad geometry. Finding and fixing it is the only way forward. I routinely need to import Sketchup files that are complete garbage with missing faces, colinear points, non planar faces, etc. The first order of business is to use the object doctor on everything. Then do it again. And again. You will find that it usually corrects the geometry after three or four rounds. If that doesn't work try copying all the geometry and pasting it into a new file. If that doesn't work try exporting it out in DWG format and then re importing it into a new file. Once you get it working try using a handy script from the Form.z site called Obj-fix-reverse. This will find and invert all your inside out geometry. Every program allows you to create bad geometry. The only difference is how tolerant the program is. Moving too fast is usually the culprit.
  16. Andrew West

    Materials from materials library

    Alan I often have projects from the same architects that use very similar materials. Once I import all the plans and elevations I open the similar model and in the dialogue box at the bottom left there is a little tiny box called "add to project". Click on that and a new dialogue opens asking what you want to add. I deselect everything but the materials and lights. One point to note here is that Maxwell materials if you have them often get corrupted here. Is this what you are looking for or something else? Andrew
  17. Andrew West

    Workspace problems

    Between the workspace issue and components they have their work cut out for them. Always remember that all software programs are a work in progress.
  18. Andrew West

    Workspace problems

    One tried and true method in the past has been to rename your Form.z folder. Not sure why this works but it has saved my skin a few times.
  19. Andrew West

    Old Library Files

    Try this if you haven't figured it out yet: http://www.formz.com/forum/old/messages/16/99951.html
  20. Andrew West

    Maps in Shaded Work and Full Shaded display wrong

    If I had to guess (not being a programmer) I would say that there is an issue with cached graphics memory within the program (if there is such a thing). For instance: sometimes if I have a model in wireframe view and I go to open a new model- while the model is opening I see an old image on the screen of the last Shaded View or RZ view that I might have done 15 minutes ago. As soon as the new model opens the screen refreshes properly. There seems to be a memory leak within the graphics interface that holds onto old rendered data and I wonder if the same thing is happening with texture maps. Without getting into a really technical discussion I was wondering tech could elaborate on how the program holds data like texture maps while the program is running. I would love to get this sorted out as it has been going on for some time.
  21. Andrew West

    Longstanding palette bugs

    Reset your workspace and sometimes the icons become visible again. Never could understand why this occasionally happens.
  22. Andrew West

    Maps in Shaded Work and Full Shaded display wrong

    I have been chasing something similar for quite some time. Really can't recreate it on a regular basis but I find that from time to time I get a texture map that won't update. I change the map in my material parameters and it doesn't update on the model in any display mode. To correct this I do one of two things. You can go to File- project info- linked files and find the offending map and re link it. Or sometimes I can right click on the material and duplicate it in my material palette. Then I delete the first material and when the program tells me the material is in use I assign the duplicate material to replace it. Hope some day this gets fixed. AW
  23. Andrew West

    Formz Wishlist part 3

    Since this thread deals a bit with snapping I will add my two cents worth. I used to use snaps a lot in V6 but stopped in V8 for a few reasons. First is the unpredictability of the new snap. The second is the inability to snap to the back face of an object when in front view. This used to be an option. For some ungodly reason the snap option palette now has Project onto Reference Plane as a default every time you open a project. This needs to be turned off every time I open a project. Now if I use snap to point to build a window frame that has layers I create each piece of geometry snapping to points and then I have to go into top view and move each piece into its proper position. A complete waste of time. In V6 I could snap points to the back faces of objects and build it forward toward the camera. Please bring it back!
  24. Andrew West

    Drag and Drop material texture files

    Stacking materials on top of each other is part of the rendering engine. Correct me if I am wrong here. The antiquated Lightscape plugin will not be updated any time soon. To do what you are asking requires a third party render engine like Maxwell or Vray. Pricey options but well worth it in my opinion.
  25. Andrew West

    Nvidia Quadro K6000 question with form z

    Ariel I think I can help give you some direction. From my experience the bigger the model and more complex the geometry the more you need a better graphics card (in Form.z). When my models get huge moving the view and model around gets slower and more cumbersome. I managed in the past by constantly turning off layers and trying to keep things organized. Now that I have a better card it is a lot easier. For this matter a Nvidia gtx 1080 Ti is more than adequate. Now for the matter of Maxwell: When they announced that they introduced GPU rendering in their latest build I got very excited since speed is always an issue. I went out and paid almost $700 for the upgrade to their software and spent another $900 on a better graphics card. It didn't work. It was only through a lot of trial and error that we discovered that the GPU engine was limited to a very low resolution in Maxwell. Almost completely useless except for quick test renders of simple objects. However, I have great hopes that some day they will fix this issue and make Maxwell a much better (faster) solution. At that point hopefully my new graphics card will be adequate for the job.