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Andrew West

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  1. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Jaakko in Is there a shadow catcher in VRay?   
    I would like to add that post processing is helped tremendously by assigning a unique material ID to each material.  Then output that channel separately.   I do this all the time to tweak materials in PS and add shadows and such.  
  2. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in Can you make a way for VRay to reduce render time?   
    I have been trying not to look at all the new and exciting things available for all the other programs out there.  It just gets me frustrated.  I do know that Vray 5 is coming to FMZ and I hope that it has all the features that are shown in your videos.  But the question persists-When?  Things have grown very quiet again at ADS and I hope that it means they have been working diligently on the new release.   
    As for your animation needs I have found that TwinMotion is lighting fast and the integration with FMZ is very good.  It will probably never be up to the quality of V-ray but sometimes speed is more important.  Especially when they ask for real time VR.  Until I get a chance to experiment with Vray5 I will continue to play with TM to see how far I can take it.  
    One important thing to note for now is that if you set up your model with V-ray materials they will not translate over to Twin Motion.  In my case I needed a still shot using V-ray and then an animation in TM.  It was a bit more work to redo the materials on many different objects.  Luckily the material editor in TM is pretty fast even if it lacks a lot of the V-ray depth.  
  3. Sad
    Andrew West got a reaction from AHTOH in Layout   
    I have been really struggling with Layout Draft mode this week.   This morning I had my project open and I hadn't saved in a while since it takes almost 6 minutes to save a simple 2D drawing.  Then by mistake I accidentally hit the Sheet 1 name in the Sheet Palette.  All my work disappeared and I can not figure out how to get it back.  Where did it go?  There are no other sheets, just that one.  The file itself is still 280MB and all the layers are there and organized.  I have read the manual but I am totally lost.  And, of course the contractor is screaming for this drawing right now.  So frustrating.
  4. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Des in 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.  
  5. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from -andrew- in Can't draw with line on a surface...   
    I was able to do it by deselecting "lock plane through first point".  Your object is obviously not exactly planar to the world coordinates.  
  6. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Des in Why form•z is not popular any more:   
    I have been equally as nervous for years now.  But somehow this software seems to keep slowly developing a little at a time.  For those of us that used it from the beginning we experienced a lot of activity and interaction that came fairly rapidly.  Then things changed for a while.  Now it seems like things come in fits and starts with long periods of inactivity perceived on our part.    It should be noted that their latest addition of Twin Motion and Unreal are a major step toward keeping Form.z relevant in today's world.  They are obviously listening to our requests and I am sure they are working on this interface issue.  It just might not be their top priority for now.  Personally, for me it is more important to have a rock solid program (which includes these issues) and the latest rendering engine so that I can keep my work relevant and competitive.  Not more bells and whistles or a pretty interface.   Those are the things that I convey to ADS, for now.  As long as I can get my work done in an efficient manner I am willing to be patient.  However, I am also not naive, so I do work on other programs just so that I can switch over if need be, which happens now from time to time as I use more outside assets in my work.
  7. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from f700es in A way to make formZ more popular (but you won't like it...)   
    I agree completely, but man are you going to get some flak for saying this.  Apple products continue their cult like following in spite of everything.
  8. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Des in Why form•z is not popular any more:   
    I have been equally as nervous for years now.  But somehow this software seems to keep slowly developing a little at a time.  For those of us that used it from the beginning we experienced a lot of activity and interaction that came fairly rapidly.  Then things changed for a while.  Now it seems like things come in fits and starts with long periods of inactivity perceived on our part.    It should be noted that their latest addition of Twin Motion and Unreal are a major step toward keeping Form.z relevant in today's world.  They are obviously listening to our requests and I am sure they are working on this interface issue.  It just might not be their top priority for now.  Personally, for me it is more important to have a rock solid program (which includes these issues) and the latest rendering engine so that I can keep my work relevant and competitive.  Not more bells and whistles or a pretty interface.   Those are the things that I convey to ADS, for now.  As long as I can get my work done in an efficient manner I am willing to be patient.  However, I am also not naive, so I do work on other programs just so that I can switch over if need be, which happens now from time to time as I use more outside assets in my work.
  9. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Des in Why form•z is not popular any more:   
    I have been equally as nervous for years now.  But somehow this software seems to keep slowly developing a little at a time.  For those of us that used it from the beginning we experienced a lot of activity and interaction that came fairly rapidly.  Then things changed for a while.  Now it seems like things come in fits and starts with long periods of inactivity perceived on our part.    It should be noted that their latest addition of Twin Motion and Unreal are a major step toward keeping Form.z relevant in today's world.  They are obviously listening to our requests and I am sure they are working on this interface issue.  It just might not be their top priority for now.  Personally, for me it is more important to have a rock solid program (which includes these issues) and the latest rendering engine so that I can keep my work relevant and competitive.  Not more bells and whistles or a pretty interface.   Those are the things that I convey to ADS, for now.  As long as I can get my work done in an efficient manner I am willing to be patient.  However, I am also not naive, so I do work on other programs just so that I can switch over if need be, which happens now from time to time as I use more outside assets in my work.
  10. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Des in Why form•z is not popular any more:   
    I have been equally as nervous for years now.  But somehow this software seems to keep slowly developing a little at a time.  For those of us that used it from the beginning we experienced a lot of activity and interaction that came fairly rapidly.  Then things changed for a while.  Now it seems like things come in fits and starts with long periods of inactivity perceived on our part.    It should be noted that their latest addition of Twin Motion and Unreal are a major step toward keeping Form.z relevant in today's world.  They are obviously listening to our requests and I am sure they are working on this interface issue.  It just might not be their top priority for now.  Personally, for me it is more important to have a rock solid program (which includes these issues) and the latest rendering engine so that I can keep my work relevant and competitive.  Not more bells and whistles or a pretty interface.   Those are the things that I convey to ADS, for now.  As long as I can get my work done in an efficient manner I am willing to be patient.  However, I am also not naive, so I do work on other programs just so that I can switch over if need be, which happens now from time to time as I use more outside assets in my work.
  11. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Des in 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.  
  12. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Des in 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.  
  13. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Jaakko in 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.
  14. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Jaakko in 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.
  15. Sad
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in 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. 
  16. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in 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.
  17. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from archigraphica in 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.   
  18. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in 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.
  19. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from graham_g in New update 9.0.6   
    That seems a bit harsh.  Some of us are beta testers by choice and some are by default.  However, I challenge anyone out there to find a perfect piece of software in this industry.  I have used many of them and they can all be buggy.   I have even crashed Photoshop which in my opinion is the most stable software on my machine.   Autodessys, with all its challenges, seems to be a bit more on the buggy side from time to time.  What interests me, and has been stated previously, is stability first and new tools second.  We already have so many ways to achieve the same results that focusing on stability seems to me where the future should be.   That and the seamless integration of outside models, but that is a rolling target.   For what it's worth I still find Form.z tech support to be outstanding compared to other software where the forum is often your only option.  
  20. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from graham_g in New update 9.0.6   
    That seems a bit harsh.  Some of us are beta testers by choice and some are by default.  However, I challenge anyone out there to find a perfect piece of software in this industry.  I have used many of them and they can all be buggy.   I have even crashed Photoshop which in my opinion is the most stable software on my machine.   Autodessys, with all its challenges, seems to be a bit more on the buggy side from time to time.  What interests me, and has been stated previously, is stability first and new tools second.  We already have so many ways to achieve the same results that focusing on stability seems to me where the future should be.   That and the seamless integration of outside models, but that is a rolling target.   For what it's worth I still find Form.z tech support to be outstanding compared to other software where the forum is often your only option.  
  21. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from archigraphica in facetted arc segments   
    Well you have me stumped.  I remember being able to type in the number of segments in a curve in past releases.  That seems to be either discontinued or hidden so deep I can't find it.  Wish I could be of help here and I hope that Tech can chime in on this.  It would be very useful in certain situations.  
  22. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from archigraphica in facetted arc segments   
    Well you have me stumped.  I remember being able to type in the number of segments in a curve in past releases.  That seems to be either discontinued or hidden so deep I can't find it.  Wish I could be of help here and I hope that Tech can chime in on this.  It would be very useful in certain situations.  
  23. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in Importing 3rd party models   
    I seem to be at a crossroads once again in my career.  I have tried many other programs over the years and for various reasons I keep on coming back to Form.z.  Years ago I tried Electric Image, 3DS MAX, Cinema 4D, Vue, etc etc.  None of them had the speed and agility of Form.z for my quick turn around projects.  Then the other programs got better and better and added a lot of third party plugins and rendering engines that gave stunning results.  So I resigned myself to owning several programs to get the results I needed.  Hardly ideal for a small studio to maintain.  But here is the catch.  Form.z does not play well with others so transferring back and forth between programs became extremely laborious and slow.  This is especially true with projects that require a lot of client feedback, revisions and transfers of geometry.  So, every time I started a new project I felt like I had to reinvent the wheel and assess what the best path forward will be for this project.  Sometimes I guess wrong and pay for it dearly in wasted time. 
    In the last few years I have personally felt that Form.z is getting slower and buggier and certainly more  unpredictable.  One step forward and two steps sideways away from my goal of a one stop shop.  I am not sure that I am ready to abandon Form.z any time soon so for me it will still be a combination of programs to achieve what I want.  My current direction is to model in Form.z as much as possible and then transfer over to Rhino for the last 50% of the job.  For instance, on my current interior project I modeled most of the plane geometry in Z and apply my texture maps.  Then I move over to Rhino to import all my furniture, set up my lighting and do my renders in Vray.  Moving back and forth between the two seems to be fairly fluid and my maps all come in perfectly except for the Vray materials.  Those need to be redone so I don't even bother with them until I am in Rhino.  Why this method you might ask?  Simple, the more you bring in 3rd party models into Z the more likely that things will fall apart and you will spend a LOT of time troubleshooting.   You can just feel the program starting to  bog down and become increasingly less responsive, so then you know it's time  to transfer over.  
    As for learning Rhino it is pretty simple but very important to understand their philosophy first.  Dave Shultz on Lynda.com gives a very detailed explanation of how to approach the program and where to keep your attention focused.  There are a daunting number of tools and options available, most of them somewhat repetitive, so being given a general direction is imperative to limit frustration.  Once you understand that things go pretty smoothly.  
    Hope this helps give some direction to anyone else who is struggling out there.  Sorry that there isn't a better solution.  At least not one I am aware of yet.
  24. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in Importing 3rd party models   
    I seem to be at a crossroads once again in my career.  I have tried many other programs over the years and for various reasons I keep on coming back to Form.z.  Years ago I tried Electric Image, 3DS MAX, Cinema 4D, Vue, etc etc.  None of them had the speed and agility of Form.z for my quick turn around projects.  Then the other programs got better and better and added a lot of third party plugins and rendering engines that gave stunning results.  So I resigned myself to owning several programs to get the results I needed.  Hardly ideal for a small studio to maintain.  But here is the catch.  Form.z does not play well with others so transferring back and forth between programs became extremely laborious and slow.  This is especially true with projects that require a lot of client feedback, revisions and transfers of geometry.  So, every time I started a new project I felt like I had to reinvent the wheel and assess what the best path forward will be for this project.  Sometimes I guess wrong and pay for it dearly in wasted time. 
    In the last few years I have personally felt that Form.z is getting slower and buggier and certainly more  unpredictable.  One step forward and two steps sideways away from my goal of a one stop shop.  I am not sure that I am ready to abandon Form.z any time soon so for me it will still be a combination of programs to achieve what I want.  My current direction is to model in Form.z as much as possible and then transfer over to Rhino for the last 50% of the job.  For instance, on my current interior project I modeled most of the plane geometry in Z and apply my texture maps.  Then I move over to Rhino to import all my furniture, set up my lighting and do my renders in Vray.  Moving back and forth between the two seems to be fairly fluid and my maps all come in perfectly except for the Vray materials.  Those need to be redone so I don't even bother with them until I am in Rhino.  Why this method you might ask?  Simple, the more you bring in 3rd party models into Z the more likely that things will fall apart and you will spend a LOT of time troubleshooting.   You can just feel the program starting to  bog down and become increasingly less responsive, so then you know it's time  to transfer over.  
    As for learning Rhino it is pretty simple but very important to understand their philosophy first.  Dave Shultz on Lynda.com gives a very detailed explanation of how to approach the program and where to keep your attention focused.  There are a daunting number of tools and options available, most of them somewhat repetitive, so being given a general direction is imperative to limit frustration.  Once you understand that things go pretty smoothly.  
    Hope this helps give some direction to anyone else who is struggling out there.  Sorry that there isn't a better solution.  At least not one I am aware of yet.
  25. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Jaakko in V-ray Scene Files   
    I am posting this as a favor to anyone who is thinking of using Scene files in their models.  Don't.  They are more trouble than they are worth.  First is the issue of lighting.  Each scene file creates a sun light that automatically comes in with the file whether you turn off that option on import or not.  Then you have to go into the attributes tab in the inspector to make sure its off.  If your lighting is totally messed up this is the reason.  Next there is the issue of Alpha Channels.  I use them A LOT!  The scene file will corrupt your alpha channel completely as it renders as pure white.  If like me you render out a building you would expect to have it separate from the background for compositing.  Or if you do an interior model that has a view outside the window you might want to place an image behind the glass.  The scene file makes this impossible.  I spent a day and a half chasing down this problem so save yourself the trouble and don't use them (unless you don't use alpha channels).  I am aware that the development team is working on this issue for the next release.  Lets hope it is sooner rather than later.  
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