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Andrew West

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Everything posted by Andrew West

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Andrew West

    Layout fonts outlined

    Anton Drafting has never been a form.z strength, especially when you compare it to a true drafting program like Autocad. However, I have on occasion used it for drafting and I find that the font you use is critical to a nice clean look. I personally like to use City Blueprint for my font which is a little old school but comes across well.
  7. Andrew West

    Example Images

    For me the reflection channel seems to handle gloss more than reflections. Add that channel into your photoshop image over the base png file and set blending to Screen mode. It will tend to lighten an image and add more realism. The reflections in Vray are a bit difficult to control compared to Maxwell. Some people are adding spheres around their models with hdri images inside and some are using dome lights. I wish I had a set way of doing things but it really depends on the materials, models, environment lights, etc. One of my bigger disappointments with Vray has been the reflection issue which really should be easier to control and more intuitive. Going back to the Material ID channel in PS still seems to me to be the easiest way to get total control of this. Hope this helps. AW
  8. Andrew West

    Example Images

    The short answer is yes and no. Maxwell has that wonderful feature called Multilight that allows you to turn lights on and off and adjust intensity post process. Amazing stuff. However, in Vray there are a few channels that you can output called Global illumination, Self Illumination, and lighting. Along with the reflection channel you can really adjust the way light is handled post process. Still nothing like Maxwell but a huge improvement over RenderZone.
  9. Andrew West

    Example Images

    John I can help you and everyone else out on the material ID feature. This is a very important feature of Vray that everyone should use. I can't tell you how many times in my work I get asked to tweak a material color after the image has finished rendering. Or perhaps you want to work on a particular piece to dodge, burn, blur, or fix a map without affecting the areas around it. Rather than re render the image a material ID channel allow you to do all your color management Post Process by isolating that material in your image. Its really quite simple: Double click on your material to pull up the material parameters. Go to the Vray tab of that material. Below IOR is a Material Options button. Open that and you will see a new palette with the Material ID button already highlighted. Type in a number from 1 to whatever. That number corresponds to a base color that will be assigned to that material in a separate channel during the final render. Now in your Vray settings palette scroll down through your Render Elements and select Material ID. I also select Reflection, Depth of Field, Denoiser and a few others. When you render your final image you will get each of these in a separate channel to be loaded in PS. To save those separate channels just choose that option at the top of the render window rather than just saving the current channel. There is also the option to save out as an EXR which should have the channels all loaded into one file but that has never worked for me. Tech, if you are listening I have suggested before that it would be very convenient for us if the program just automatically assigned a Material ID number/color for every new material created. Easier said than done I suppose. Hope this helps improve your workflow AW
  10. Andrew West

    Example Images

    I will add one more piece of information to this. I have found that when using the environment override tabs the default multiplier of 1 needs to be bumped up considerably. Sometimes I set it to 8 or more. But the results are not great as I find the reflections to be pretty blurry. When mapping a sphere for reflections in my scene you can control exactly how the map is positioned for your reflections. Speaking of reflections, I always set a material ID color and use that channel to adjust in Photoshop later. This is how I place reflections on glass for architectural scenes. Much more accurate Also, with HDRI lighting to get good atmospheric light I set light planes around my scene and really bump up the intensity of the light to 80 or so.
  11. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Very nice image and effect. Could you share your settings on this for everyone else? Thanks
  12. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Nice images. How are you applying the decals? More examples will hopefully help build our little community. Here is one of mine. The nice thing about this image is that no matter how many lights I throw in the mix it still renders fairly quickly.
  13. Andrew West

    Vray

    Just to clarify my statement above. V-ray reads the information from the RZ tab so that you only need to set up your materials once.
  14. Andrew West

    Vray

    You can certainly use regular form.z textures and materials. Understand that Renderzone was a plugin that worked in the exact same manner way back when it was first introduced. With V-ray you will have a shaded tab, a renderzone tab, and now a V-ray tab all in your material editor. You just set up your material as always and then go to the vray tab and set the new parameters for that. Usually just adjusting the glossiness of a material is all that is necessary. Using outside materials from other sources is just nice to save time for complex materials. There are just so many already created online. V-ray also comes with a lot of baseline materials when installed but I have found them to be of limited use. As for setting up in RZ for faster renders you will actually find that V-ray is faster to do test renders. I go straight from shaded view to V-ray for speed. If you have a good graphics card that really helps. I have not hit the RZ render button in years now and I don't miss it a bit.
  15. Andrew West

    Vray

    The short answer is yes, it has the same functionality. That said there are some missing features that I would still like to see. One thing they did do on this plugin is to try to optimize the settings to something baseline that would work for most users. This helps simplify the learning curve for some. Deviating from those settings is fairly easy but might give you some very unexpected results. So my only suggestion would be to try to take baby steps one at a time when adjusting parameters. One disappointment in this plugin is that it only uses .vrmt materials. There are literally thousands of other outside materials that you can download for free that would be so very helpful. However, they are in .vsmt or .mat or other formats that the current build can not recognize. There are also some materials that are disabled in the current build for some reason. So, hopefully that will be resolved in the future.
  16. Andrew West

    Vray

    If you go to the Form.z for Vray forum you will see a post of Example Images that help to show the capabilities. I personally use V-ray now after switching from Maxwell. I found the quality of Maxwell to be a bit better but at a time cost that was unacceptable. Now Maxwell has released a new version that is supposedly a lot faster. It does require a stack of GPUs to run it efficiently though which adds significantly to the cost of upgrading. There is also a new V-ray plugin for Z that should be out shortly and may include added features that were missing in the first release. Or so I am told. So for now I am sticking with V-ray to see where it goes. BTW the speed is really fantastic for the quality that it can produce.
  17. Andrew West

    texture scaling

    I miss the texture groups from 6 as well. For what its worth there are a few more little ways to improve editing textures of multiple objects. One is to use a palette that I rarely use which is Selection Sets. You can right click on an object, click on "select all objects using this material", then create a selection set for future editing. If you want to drop or add an object from that set then deselect or select that object and create a new set. Another useful tool is a script named "separate object faces by color" which I use quite often. If you model by applying different materials to different faces of an object this can come in very handy. As for different sizes of materials being applied just right click the material and duplicate it. Then rename the material something like "tile large". In my work I might create one wood pattern for vertical wood, one for horizontal wood, one for sloped wood, etc. using this method. Hope this helps.
  18. Andrew West

    'Burling'

    In V9 being tested now there are even more ways to create what you are after. There is a new Rad Array tool and several point deform tools. FYI
  19. Andrew West

    'Burling'

    Do you need physical geometry or can you fake it with a bump map? If physical geometry is needed for a close up then I would just create a small low poly "bump" and in plan view do a radial multi copy. Select the bumps, move a copy of them up slightly and rotate them slightly to get your offset. Now select all the bumps and multicopy upward as many times as needed. Another option is to use displacement mapping but that can be a bit unpredictable. Then there is the Place On tool (under t-form) that would allow you to mesh your handle and then place "bumps" at the face centers, points, etc.. For more random bumps there are always the scatter tools. There are many ways to create geometry in Form.z. Sometimes I forget about certain tools that I don't use often. Every once in a while I scroll through some of those tools to remind myself of their capabilities. Cheers AW
  20. Andrew West

    Intel UHD 620 graphics?

    Vray was added last year as a rendering engine that can be used in place of Renderzone. Renderzone was added as a default rendering engine about 3 decades ago and has not kept up with the current quality of engines available for all other modeling programs. Maxwell is another option that provides far superior images. Both of these can now be seamlessly added to the core of Form.z but they must be purchased separately. The reason I asked was because these engines run faster on a GPU which is where all rendering engines seem to be headed. If you run Vray you will need a better graphics card.
  21. Andrew West

    Intel UHD 620 graphics?

    Will you be using Vray?
  22. Andrew West

    Import Rhino 3dm files broken?

    send it over and let me take a crack at it. I might be able to do the old Rhino to Max to FMZ conversion trick. Riding at Noon today?
  23. Andrew West

    Import Rhino 3dm files broken?

    It is still listed as a viable import option in 8.6. Is your program just not accepting the file?
  24. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Thanks It is the subtle little details that are always the difference in photo realism. Dirt and defects being the major one. Texture alignment and repetition is the other. It takes surprisingly little time to dirty up a model using the right PS brushes
  25. Andrew West

    wip & recent renders

    Very true. However, the power of V-ray allows me to show them fairly high quality renders pretty quickly during the whole modeling process. With Maxwell that was not possible unless I dumbed down all the materials and lighting and rendered the image very small. Then I would have to spend time explaining to my client why the image looked so awful. When we would finally get the model complete and the proper materials applied I would show them a much better image that would render all night. That is when the bigger problems would arise since they are now seeing it in a completely different manner. Re renders were just so painfully slow. But as I stated before, I really miss a lot of the features of Maxwell.
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