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Andrew West

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Everything posted by Andrew West

  1. Andrew West

    Why form•z is not popular any more:

    It has been hard for me not to comment here so let me try to be constructive. I will stay away from technical suggestions. Everyone has something that they feel needs immediate attention and everyone has their opinion. These opinions are obviously based on how one uses the program. My priorities are certainly not those of others here, nor should they be. So how do we form some sort of consensus on what needs to be addressed first and then get that to ADS in a constructive manner? It could even be something that the users vote on individually every quarter. Just random posts griping about one thing or another seems very inefficient and I can tell that it grates the dev team the wrong way. We do need them on our side. I have used almost every other program out there since I started CAD work in 1985 at Cal Poly. Back in those days you had to type in coordinates in order to build a simple line. It also took a main frame at UCLA to calculate it (MegaCad). Fast forward to today and I can still see remnants of some of the old programs lingering around decades after they should have been abandoned. Max is a perfect example of a program that seems like a collection of plug-ins, scripts and add ons tacked onto a shell that has rarely changed. Given the work it takes to completely rethink the interface of an entire program it is obvious that it would take a lot of time and money. Otherwise others with deeper pockets would have tackled it years ago. Form.z has evolved several times over the last 30 years. Not all of us were happy with the changes but we learned to adapt (slowly sometimes). My main concern with how this is evolving is that with each additional change to the main program certain other parts and tools get corrupted. It then takes a lot of time to chase each issue and resolve them. By the time we get something really stable it seems like it's time to shake it all up again with a new release. As others have said it feels like we are on a constant Beta release. This is why I why, at the time, I refused to give up on 6.7 which was a fast production powerhouse for my office. Now, for the record I have tried many other programs thinking that maybe I might migrate over. I have not. Each has its own issues and quirks and I have crashed every one of them. It is just the nature of the beast that we will always be chasing the elusive "perfect program", whatever that may mean to you.
  2. Andrew West

    Palette Window Workaround

    Kim Because of the interface and structure of Form.z with all the floating pallets you will absolutely need two monitors to get anything done in an efficient manner. Occasionally I need to travel with my laptop but I am forced to carry an extra monitor anywhere I go. All you need is a cheap and light one to unclutter your main screen. Thank god we no longer use those 75lb monitors of days gone by! Justin actually uses three monitors so that he can keep his design inspiration images on the third.
  3. Andrew West

    Point lights

    You are experiencing one of my great frustrations with Form.z. Namely, things that should work but don't. Knowing when to abandon something and find another "work around" is key to keeping your sanity. For me sometimes that "work around" means literally going to another program rather than finding another tool. V-ray proxy, caustic affects, scene files and such are perfect examples of things that I abandoned. Thankfully, they are aware of these issues and they are working on them. I learned this week that in 9.1 Reference files are now working properly! As for your imager issue I find that V-ray is so fast at rendering I don't ever use it. It does not surprise me that you are having issue with it. The integration might not be complete yet. I have a similar issue with rendering via GPU where certain render elements don't work at all. The most important one being Alpha Channels. I don't know anyone who can work without that function. Good luck and really stick to mesh lights for your scenes. They are great to work with and much more predictable. Just don't let them touch any objects in your model.
  4. Andrew West

    Stitch Round

    There are a few tools to do what you are trying to accomplish, but upon first glance I would head to the lofting tools. That should allow you to have greater control of the blending.
  5. Andrew West

    Point lights

    Forget about point lights. They don't work. Change it to a sphere light and be VERY careful about your intensity and camera settings. They are very difficult to control. I would seriously suggest you use mesh lights with v-ray and if I need the light to be visible I do that through emitter materials at the source. Add the glare effect in Vray and it is pretty convincing.
  6. Andrew West

    Why isn't formz more popular?

    Over the years I have made many comments about where I think Form.z should focus their attention. The one thing I never mentioned was social media marketing since that is beyond my level of expertise (which shows in my shrinking client list). All I hear lately is how social media is the only thing people use to discover new products. I am not sure if that applies to technical software but it certainly wouldn't hurt to try. How to create "buzz" about your product in the media world seems to be done by specialists now. While I am not one, I would be more than happy to get paid to be a social media influencer or a Youtube star. That kind of shallow meaningless existence is something I just haven't tried yet. On the other hand, I still believe that having a stellar reputation for support and rock solid software are indispensable to old timers like me. Those are the areas that I feel have been the most challenging over the last decade. However, every once and a while, they introduce something that I think will really help expand their base. The two that come to mind immediately are V-ray and TwinMotion/ Unreal. I just hope that they can aggressively promote these new features to people outside this forum. Furthermore, adding more direct integration with other third party software will be the key to survival for any 3d software. Unfortunately, that is probably going to be expensive.
  7. Andrew West

    Hidden lines / Draft layouts

    Cobrien For one of my multi story buildings: In modeling I go to top view- then I create a clipping plane, Move it to the middle of the floor that I want to import to drafting (so that I have my windows and doors), Launch Draft Layout-go to Import from modeling- Use Current View- and then I have my top floor. Then I move the clipping plane to each subsequent floor in order to see the one below and do the same. Pretty simple in theory. However, if you have things like complicated furniture in your model you can expect long import times and little glitches. Nothing that you can't clean up in drafting. Elevation views don't use the clipping plane but obviously section views do. It is worth adding here that sometimes programers make things so simple and obvious that they are easily overlooked. This is why I have such a tough time with Apple products. As Form.z develops it seems like they are trying to automate as much as possible and create standard base points from experience and feedback from us. It would definitely help if there was more documentation on the changes when they occur. And as has been said before, more webinars and youtube videos. Thankfully we have a good forum to rely on. Most of the time.
  8. Imported one of my big models into Twin Motion this afternoon. It took all of about 30 minutes to get up to speed and produce some stunning real time images with their landscaping painted in. Pretty cool technique which is similar to what I was doing before in Vue. I can see how this could be a real benefit to some of my clients. While I usually aim for true photorealistic images in my work this definitely has its place in my quiver of tools. Now if only we could get Vray 5 we would really have something to rejoice about. Here to hoping it happens sometime soon.
  9. Andrew West

    Hidden lines / Draft layouts

    After 6.5 everything changed. The process actually changed a few times since then. You no longer use that method for importing into a draft 2D document. The tutorials on the new method are pretty straightforward. Here is a thread where some of us old timers were chiming in on the new method.
  10. Just an FYI the Check Update tab in 9.1 does not recognize the new release from a previous version of 9.1. I had build 394 on my system and the new release is 399. Installing now.
  11. Andrew West

    V-Ray update

    I am told that we will be testing it soon.
  12. Andrew West


    To apply a texture map to one specific face and not the whole object you need to hold down the control key while dropping the texture onto that face. Then to properly map that face you need to use the Map Texture tool while holding down the control key again and just click on that face. Now the program sees that face as independent of the object. You can now use the Edit texture tool to adjust the size and position of that map on that face. I have been trying for years to get them to combine all the mapping tools into one tool rather than three. Perhaps one day they will. As for making a non repeating texture in V-ray you need to go to the Vray editor- Basic- Diffuse- Click on your texture map to edit it- Placement- Uncheck the Tile box. Or you could apply your texture as a Decal. I personally haven't tried this but Justin has experience there. Perhaps you could ask him.
  13. Andrew West

    v9 performance issues

    Yes, it is a work in progress. Please be patient. I am not sure why material properties is not popping up, that is weird. Please be sure to go to your project settings and make sure that you set the program to Opens Fast and keep Textures. That does help, especially when saving. Unfortunately, the one issue you did bring up is the edit cone of vision. That is a real mess at the moment and has been for a while. However, from my standpoint the new version solves a lot of issues that I was having in the previous version. Mainly the glitchy key shortcuts cutting in and out. As for the lag in general sometimes it helps to delete your preference folder to get the program to refresh from a base point without any alterations. If you need to find that there are a few posts that explain the process. AW
  14. Andrew West

    Please, please...FIX THIS!!

    Trick I am having a real problem with my keyboard shortcuts. If I understand you correctly your shortcuts, including defaults, don't work because the x-input is activated. I am not sure what that means exactly. However, every time I use a tool to create something my default keyboard shortcuts stop working. I need to click inside my Tool Options palette to get them to work again. Each and every time. This gets real old in a hurry. Is this what you are referring to? If so Tech has said that no one but me is experiencing this. Version 9.0.6 Windows 10
  15. Andrew West

    New v9 user questions

    I just opened a 6.7 file from 1998 in version 9 and I immediately get a warning that shows a list of missing textures. At the bottom of the window you have a tab to relink and to recreate them. Recreate will not work very well so you have to relink them. If you keep all your textures in a single location the program will automatically find the other textures in that folder. For instance, I had 4 different masonry textures and once I linked one of them all the other masonry textures were linked. I had to go to four different folders to get my 30 or so texture maps in. Then my model displayed the correct maps all properly aligned and they rendered perfectly in V-ray. Check your file search paths under your preferences as well. Then things might work better. You will have to exercise a lot of patience while you transition over to 9 but it is worth it in so many ways. FYI converting my model over took about 15 min.
  16. Andrew West

    V-Ray Clipper - does this actually work ?

    It does nothing. Played around with a simple cube using a Form.z clipping plane instead. It worked a well in shaded mode. Then I tried it using V-ray render. I stopped the render but the program kept thinking that the render was ongoing. Could not quit or use any tools. Had to force quit using the task manager. Another frustrating experience.
  17. Andrew West

    New v9 user questions

    Oh boy, where to begin. It is going to be hard for you to learn the new modeling and texturing without going through the tutorial videos. However, for starters let me give you a few pointers. As you probably have noticed the new method of texturing is in shaded mode using a few different tools that replaced the old 6.7 mapping tool. When you create any geometry the program automatically assigns a mapping method to it. Personally I hate this as it almost always creates the wrong mapping for my purposes (which are architectural). So what I do is to first use the Map Texture tool set to cubic in order to clear the assigned mapping. Then I go to the EditTexture tool to move, scale, rotate, etc. As Des said, to assign a different material to a face you just hold down the control key to highlight it. Then you can also drag and drop the material onto that face or object. I have found that the Copy Texture tool which worked wonderfully in 6.7 is now a bit of a pain. If you use it be sure to clear the default mapping from your object with the MapTexture tool first. Otherwise you will get strange results. Lastly, one of the best features of v9 is your ability to isolate an object to work on it in real time. Just right click on that object to isolate it or reveal everything back. Makes mapping much easier. One thing to keep in mind is the addition of the Inspector Palette. It is important in the new methodology. You will find it under the pick tool. It has the attributes of your object and all relevant info which you can change. It pops open with the Basic tab but if you click on that you will find other attributes associated with your object. The palette itself is a little buggy so if you are finding that the program is glitchy close it down. As for multiple views you now have a Scene palette which will store everything from each view (sun, lights, camera, etc.). Be aware that if you click to add a new scene the program starts recording as highlighted by a red dot next to your scene. If you change views or lights that will be recorded. So set your scene exactly as you want it, add a scene entry and then immediately click on the red dot to stop recording. Kind of a strange method to say the least. I have not found a way to run the imager on multiple V-ray scenes yet. Perhaps others could help on that one. However, I find that V-ray is so much faster than Renderzone that I rarely need to let things run overnight. There is also an Autosave feature in V-ray in the V-ray Settings palette which you should explore fully. That is where you can find all your performance features to speed things up or adjust quality. There are many youtube videos showing various methods of using Vray and most are very similar to using it in Form.z. Transparent backgrounds are easy in VR and you should examine the Environment (for background) and Render Elements tabs to see how they work. Probably the single best feature in V-ray settings is under the Render Elements. It is called ID Management and you get it by clicking on that tiny down arrow next to it. There you can assign a unique material color ID to each material in your project. Be sure to put a check next to the Material ID channel in Render Elements. After you complete your v-ray render you can save each channel independently to work on them separately. By doing this you can easily isolate any material in your scene Post Process in Photoshop and work on it without re rendering the scene. Example: I render out my scene with a Reflection Channel, an Alpha channel, a Material ID channel, a Depth channel, and a Reflection Glossiness channel. Then I load each channel into my PS file to work on each. One other thing to note is that by selecting Use GPU you will get faster render times, especially if you have a good card. The scene will look slightly different than a scene rendered using your CPU. Selecting Denoiser will speed things up considerably as well. You can stop your render any time you think it looks okay and the Denoiser smooths out imperfections. Well that is a start. Good luck.
  18. Andrew West

    FormZ License

    You can install it on as many computers as you like but you can only run one copy of the program at a time.
  19. Andrew West

    V-Ray Clipper - does this actually work ?

    Unfortunately, I just lost another job because I could not get this to work. This is getting all too familiar.
  20. Andrew West

    FormZ Free and QuickStart Tutorial 2…

    I have never used the free version but in my full version there are several tools you are missing. As for the ellipse tool she can always draw a circle and then scale it in one direction to fake it.
  21. Andrew West

    Dimension tool sooooo slow

    Not sure about the dimension tool but when one of my tools starts to really slow down I find closing the inspector palette fixes the problem. This is well know to tech and they are working on it.
  22. Andrew West

    V-Ray Clipper - does this actually work ?

    I know this is an old post but it is the only one that relates to what I am doing. Trying to create a section view in plan. I have my complete geometry. I created a plane that is in the middle of the room as the clipper. Click on the clipping tool and then the plane. Hit render. Doesn't work at all. What am I missing here? Am I getting dense?
  23. Andrew West

    New update 9.0.6

    Those are excellent suggestions. It does seem that social media is everything these days. I too am struggling to figure out how to use it for my business. I wonder how ADS could use it to their advantage. As for YouTube I only wish that there were some dedicated individuals here that could make that happen. I don't know if other platforms pay people to make those videos or if there is a different incentive but Form.z is certainly lacking when it comes to this. Since so many people rely on these videos to learn it would make more sense to put some serious effort here. For what its worth I have a neighbor who is a surgeon. He told me he learns new techniques and tricks by YouTube. Seriously.
  24. Andrew West

    New update 9.0.6

    I think that Autodessys is in a "catch 22" situation with these releases. In order to raise revenue to pay for future development they need to release software that people will want to buy. But to create that software they need to raise revenue through sales. In the end the company probably took it as far as they could before they released it in Beta format. Hopefully that translated into enough sales for them to debug the subsequent releases. So the pattern over the years seems to be like this: Use the sales proceeds of the current release to create a new version that feels and looks significantly different than the previous release. Then as quickly as possible debug these releases so the program is more stable. It just always feels like they are playing catch up with this method. Perhaps a different approach might yield better results. Like focusing on marketing or trying to get Form.z taught more broadly in the architecture schools. Maybe a partnership with another company or an angel investor? I don't know. Either way they desperately need to expand their base somehow so that R&D can get some breathing room. I also imagine that all the negative comments here about the current release are probably hurting their sales. Which in turn hurts their ability to address all these issues. Around and around we go.
  25. Andrew West

    OBJ import problems

    I use TurboSquid and 3dsky OBJ models all the time. If you look at the bottom of your obj import options you will see one for "invert transparencies". That it the ticket.