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Andrew West

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Everything posted by Andrew West

  1. Andrew West

    Ready to use plants FormZ/VRay

    For inexpensive models I often go to 3DSky, download a few plants and then make Vray scene files from them. You just have to remember to turn off the option to import the light with the scene file since each file automatically creates a sun light when saved. They render pretty quickly.
  2. Andrew West

    optimising PC performance

    Most of my issues with speed and fluidity tend to get compounded by the importation of outside models. That is a constant concern for me because it is absolutely necessary to my work. Just importing the model can be a painful experience, especially when compared to other programs. We are working with Tech to try to improve this in the future and hopefully it will get better. I imagine that as all the other programs evolve it becomes harder to keep up with the cross platform translations. It is worth reminding everyone that you should keep a journal handy to jot down when things start to lag and get buggy so that you can retrace your steps to find the culprit. Kind of old school but that is just me. There are certainly a few tools in Form.z that can be problematic as well but I have learned to work around them for the most part. Sometimes it is necessary to get pretty creative in my technique. Just don't waste much time on something that is not working out for you and find a different path.
  3. Andrew West

    optimising PC performance

    One thing to think about is keeping your textures small if possible and then go to Preferences-Project Files-and turn off Keep Textures. I would also consider upgrading your graphics card. Form.z tends to really lag in shaded mode without a good card and navigating around can be painful. I must admit that when I demo other programs they do seem a lot smoother and snappier in most aspects. Hopefully that will be improved in future releases.
  4. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Okay folks. We are getting close to the release date and we all want to see what people have been creating with V-ray. I thought perhaps I would get the ball rolling. Post away.
  5. Andrew West

    Example Images

    For those of you who are not aware the ability to use Material IDs is only available through CPU and it is not supported in GPU rendering. I wish I could use GPU since it is so much faster but it doesn't even support alpha channels without which the above image would have been impossible.
  6. Andrew West

    vray image autosave

    Allen I can verify an important issue when using bump maps in V-ray. In form.z version 8.6 you must use a grey scale image in the bump channel or it will alter the color of the original texture map. Now in V9 use MUST use an RGB image in the bump channel or it will not load at all. So my choice was to either change all of my bump maps back to RGB or go back to 8.6. Neither option thrills me. I have been told by Tech that they made this a priority fix. AW
  7. Andrew West

    Rounding Question

    I will second the comment that you should always save before you round. This is true of several tools that are particularly finicky. This goes all the way back to when I first started with FMZ in 1990. As long as your model isn't too large and you have a SSD drive it is very easy to just get in the habit of hitting control S on a regular basis. What is funny to me is that when I do things like draw with an actual pen I still find my left hand hitting the desk where those keys should be.
  8. Andrew West

    Ambient Occlusion

    Something is not right there. I think you might have shadow casting turned off for that object or it might be a material issue. When I test it on my system the only time I lose AO is when the object is very transparent. Yours is not. Then if I go into my vray AO settings and really bump up the values I get a tremendous amount of AO from my glass.
  9. Andrew West

    Polygon cages for smoothing

    One tool that I really wish FMZ had is what 3DS Max calls TurboSmooth. It does a great job of taking a basic rough object and smoothing out all the edges. All you ;have to do is make a rough approximation of anything you want which saves a lot of time.
  10. Andrew West

    Polygon cages for smoothing

    If it were me making that bottle I would start with either the Revolve tool or one of the Loft tools and then refine. You could also start with a basic shape and then Boolean difference out the recessed areas. With so many different tools to choose from everyone will have a different approach. That is the beauty of Form.z and solid modeling. I get in the habit of always going to my favorite tools and once in a while I have to remember to look through some of the others when I get stuck on something.
  11. Andrew West

    vray image autosave

    Further clarification needed: I went to load my bump map back in to my material and the program would not let me do it. I tried in both the Shaded bump slot and in the RZ bump slot but all I got was a FMZ logo. I could however load any other bump map in except the one I removed. Then I tried to load it into the V-ray bump slot and it worked! It still appears as the Logo in the other slots but I guess that doesn't matter. One more weird one for the records.
  12. Andrew West

    vray image autosave

    I can verify that V-ray autosave does not work in V9. Furthermore, for some reason I was experiencing very long render times with it turned on. Once I turned it off everything was 100 times faster which I find totally strange. It is also worth noting that displacement no longer works and can lead to some very strange results and crashes. One other important note for those of you using V9 is that you can not leave your material parameters palette open all the time. If you do you can no longer right click on a material in the material palette. I also find that closing the inspector palette helps as well. Next issue is with bump maps in the V-ray palette: from time to time my texture maps disappear in Shaded view once the material has a bump map in the V-ray slot. Eliminating the bump map and re opening the program makes the maps appear again. Once you get your maps properly aligned you can add the bump map back in again for your final render. I hope this helps people who are struggling a bit with the latest release. All in all I am very happy with it but it still needs some work.
  13. Andrew West

    Maxwell 5.1 Released!

    To all, I was a regular Maxwell user for several years until V-ray came out with their plugin. I own both but I found that to make an actual living I needed the speed of V-ray even if it meant I had to give up the quality and flexibility of Maxwell. In a perfect world those two companies would combine forces and make a program that had the best features of each. But that is not reality. Recently I have becoming increasingly frustrated with the material editor in V-ray and how the materials integrate with Form.z. I have experienced enough issues that I am considering switching back to Maxwell again. However, there is still the issue of speed. To my point now, what has been your experience with the new GPU rendering with the new release and what upgrades to your systems did you have to make in order to take advantage of this?. Are you stacking several $1K cards? Have the speeds been cut in half or more? What kind of projects are you working on for reference? I read a lot of posts on the forum and it seemed like there were a lot of issues and I am also curious if these have been largely resolved? Thanks Andrew
  14. Andrew West

    RenderZone in 8.5.7 Pro is missing

    Jeff When you got your FMZ registration codes they came with two sets of numbers. One for form.z and one for Renderzone. If you have a license for Renderzone and can't find the email link for it then contact Tech and they will resend it.
  15. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Indeed it does. But with a little bit of work this is the end result. There were dozens of color tweaks and some dodge and burn which were made pretty easy by isolating those materials.
  16. Andrew West

    In Search of.... Landscape

    For cutouts I often go to MrCutout.com and I have an annual subscription. When it comes to cars I routinely go to 3dSky. They don't have the greatest selection of vehicles but at $6 a piece they are a bargain. Look for ones that have an OBJ file format instead of the FBX which can explode the model in weird ways. Of course there is always TurboSquid but those models can get pretty pricey. Packages of models or can be purchased from Evermotion as well as individual models and textures. Evermotion has a lot of nice tutorials on process as well. It all depends on what your budget is. On another note you can also get models translated into other formats using a free online service file converter. There seem to be a lot of them out there and most are limiting the file size they will do for free. Of course there is not one that will convert to FMZ. One that I forgot to mention for 2d bundles is ImageCel from Vectorworks.net.
  17. Andrew West

    Example Images

    Richard That is exactly correct. For my interiors I generate a unique ID color for each material by using that drop down tab in the V-ray settings. You will end up with a hideous image like this one. Bring it into photoshop and whip out your magic wand to select the color. Then switch to your RGB image and do your color adjustments.
  18. Andrew West

    formZ v9.0.4 Now available

    I can verify that the scripts are now working properly. Just make sure to download the correct version for your system.
  19. Andrew West

    Suface solid (two sides)

    Tech, you just made my day. Thank you!
  20. Andrew West

    is this a bug or my inadequacy?!

    The words "work around" get used a lot these days. Fortunately there are many ways to create things in Form.z and each of us has our own method of doing things. This is not uncommon in many programs and sometimes the logic that engineers use to create these tools escapes us end users. I am not saying that this is the case here but you will need to keep an open mind when re learning 8.6 which was a major departure from the old 6.7.
  21. Andrew West

    Suface solid (two sides)

    I will add one more piece to this puzzle by recounting a recent experience. There is a ski resort that was half finished when the recession hit in 08. The buildings sat for over ten years wrapped in Tyvec. The owners hired me to take all the Revit models and update them with the new designs and add all the materials. After spending dozens of hours trying to import the models in any single program I gave up. Revit couldn't even get them to work from their corporate office. No one could figure out why and the original architects went bankrupt so they were gone. So next they hired a company that did a complete 3D scan of the village using Leica software and they created a point cloud for me. That is when the real fun began as I tried for weeks to do something with it that would allow me to complete the unfinished buildings. I used every tool I could find. I even sent it off to a company in India that said they could convert it into a planar model. It was a complete failure and waste of time and money for many reasons that I won't go into. Eventually I gave up and rebuilt all the buildings from scratch in Form.z. In the end I lost a tremendous amount of money pursuing this. The point of this story is to highlight what is going on outside of our little universe when it comes to developing technologies and the evolution of the CGI community. In short it involves using the huge library of outside models and 3D scans that is growing exponentially these days. Ignoring them as a resource would be a big mistake. The fact that I can buy a highly detailed Jaguar E Type for $6 or download furniture, appliances and lighting from the manufacturers for free should demonstrate my point. Anything that Form.z could do to facilitate the import and manipulation of these resources would be a huge benefit and it would help make the program more attractive to others. Just my two cents. AW
  22. Andrew West

    Texture mapping

    I am struggling a bit with version 9 and the texture mapping and I discovered something new that might help save people some time. We should be aware that loading a bump map into the V-ray channel can lead to some really strange results. I was trying to figure out why my materials were not displaying in shaded mode and just showing a solid color. Once I trashed the bump map my materials suddenly showed up so that I could properly texture map them. Once I had them aligned properly I could then reload my bump map so that it would work in the final render. Just another one of those "work arounds". Hope this helps AW
  23. Andrew West

    Texture mapping

    Here is the basics of my problem which is erratic at best. It is worth noting that my issue is only in Shaded and Full shaded mode. The maps always appear correctly in my render. I create a material in either the Renderzone slot or Shaded slot that easily loads the texture map and then I add the bump map in the same area. I switch over to the V-ray slot (generic) and adjust the reflections and bump parameters. The material is applied to my geometry using the paint bucket obviously (shaded mode). Sometimes the material appears on the geometry, sometimes it doesn't. Some days I start the program and the maps are there, some days they aren't. Two days ago I discovered that if I eliminate the bump map my textures magically appear on the geometry. Whoo hoo problem solved. Yesterday I opened the model and the maps disappeared again. So I checked my material and the bump map was back on two of my materials. Now that makes me think that either someone is breaking into my office at night and messing with me or I might have a ghost in the machine. I know some of you might think I am just getting senile but my wife tells me that only happens when she tells me what to do.
  24. Andrew West

    Being optimistic

    Des Funny thing, I started to write almost the exact same thing last night in regards to a recent post. I know that people are frustrated at times when they feel that they are not being heard or that their suggestions are being ignored. That is normal but I also feel that there are a few factors here worth mentioning. First is that years ago when Paul was around we experienced a level of support that was quite frankly astonishing in our field. I have used many programs over the years and even Max with its huge following was pathetic in their support. I usually had to resort to the forum for any advice. In other words we got spoiled. Tech is still listening to your reports and advice but they probably do not have the manpower or budget to spend time responding to every single email. From what I gather they are compiling these issues and trying their best to address them as quickly as possible and we need to exercise a bit more patience. If you are waiting for a piece of software that is perfect in every way and precisely geared toward your style of work then I am afraid you are in for a world of constant disappointment. Some of you have felt that the release of V9 was premature and I too felt that it could have used a bit more time to cook. However, economics and reality might have had to take precedence over perfection. Now it is out and I am trying my best to adapt to what I have in front of me with as little complaining as possible. Every piece of software is a work in progress so lets do our best to make this one better. They are working on it. Patience is in short supply these days but it would do us all well to try to stay a bit more positive with our comments.
  25. Andrew West

    Suface solid (two sides)

    If the issue is to deal with the lousy geometry that often comes in with Sketchup models then there is an easy solution that I have mentioned before. In order to deal with geometry that has multiple textures applied to different faces first use the separate tool on it and then use the Script "separate by color" which is still available for v8.6 but is not working in v9. This works beautifully on those garbage models and cleans them up nicely. Once you get the faces separated I then delete unnecessary faces and extrude the others back to solids. It sounds like more work but it actually goes pretty quickly. Tech: could you please make the previous scripts functional in the latest build.
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