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Andrew West

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  1. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in Vray displacement, caustics and subsurface scattering   
    After struggling for a long time to create a glowing lamp shade Justin and I have finally figured it out using SSS materials.  It was a little quirky at first and hard to get it to show properly.  When we first created the material it was small and then scaling it up caused the SSS to disappear again.  Eventually i got it right.  It all lies in the scatter distance setting.  DON"T MAKE IT TOO LARGE or TOO SMALL!  In my model I placed a v-ray sphere light inside my lamp shade and made it so that it does not touch any physical geometry.  I also tried this with a mesh light but that left strange shadows on the shade.  So I thought I would save everyone some time and load the vrmat material and map  here:
    Maybe some day we can set up a material sharing site similar to what Anton has set up for models
    lamp shade 2.vrmat


  2. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in Vray displacement, caustics and subsurface scattering   
    After struggling for a long time to create a glowing lamp shade Justin and I have finally figured it out using SSS materials.  It was a little quirky at first and hard to get it to show properly.  When we first created the material it was small and then scaling it up caused the SSS to disappear again.  Eventually i got it right.  It all lies in the scatter distance setting.  DON"T MAKE IT TOO LARGE or TOO SMALL!  In my model I placed a v-ray sphere light inside my lamp shade and made it so that it does not touch any physical geometry.  I also tried this with a mesh light but that left strange shadows on the shade.  So I thought I would save everyone some time and load the vrmat material and map  here:
    Maybe some day we can set up a material sharing site similar to what Anton has set up for models
    lamp shade 2.vrmat


  3. Thanks
    Andrew West got a reaction from -andrew- in How do I get a bigger grid?   
    Something is terribly wrong with the grid system when I try to do this.  You are not doing anything wrong from what I can tell.  I bumped up the numerical accuracy thinking that might have an effect but it did not.  Out of curiosity what are you trying to build that is so tiny?  I work in architecture so I never need to get that small.  
  4. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Spannerhead in Glass Opaque when using Alpha Channel Background in RenderZone   
    While I have not used Renderzone now for years since Maxwell and Vray came out I still remember the good old solution that I used to use.  This is really quite simple.
    Create a solid 1/2" thick plane.  Use material Glass Accurate in the  reflections channel.  Within the Reflection channel set reflection to 90%.  Set the transparency to 0.  Leave the other settings alone.
    Then below the Reflection channel you have your transparency channel.  Open that and set it to your desired amount.  I use 85% for most windows. 
    Make sure you to to your glass objects and turn off shadow casting and shadow receiving. 
    Now go to your Display Options palette and under Renderzone options go to Scene and change your background tab to Alpha Channel. 
    Now export out your renderzone image as a TIFF file.  Open it in Photoshop and under your Channels tab you will see your alpha channel. 
    Does that do what you want it to? 
    Andrew
    PS. For those of you who might say that I am  creating a double transparency object I say so what.  It has never given me any issues over 30 years.  
  5. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from andrew in Why isn't formz more popular?   
    If you want more people to use this program the company needs to get it taught in schools.  Right now it is not in any meaningful way.  Part of the problem is what happened when Chris Yessios decided to let the program die several years ago and also when the main programmer Paul Helm  actually died.   If it weren't for a single  programmer that wanted to keep it alive it would have ended a while back.  Now it is a challenge to both keep it going and create new and exciting buzz about its capabilities and its future.  The introduction of V-ray was an important first step but it does feel that it might be too little too late.  I personally am doing everything I can to promote Form.z through the images I submit to the website along with tagging it everywhere I can.  All of us can help in that regard.  
  6. Thanks
    Andrew West got a reaction from AHTOH in Why isn't formz more popular?   
    To all
    I apologize if I made a wrong assumption about Paul and Chris.  I was told not long ago that "the main developer was willing to let this program die but another developer decided to step in to keep it alive".  That was obviously David stepping in.  Over the years Paul was an invaluable help to me in both technical know how and guidance on how to improve the program.  I falsely assumed that he was also a main developer.  His knowledge of the program was unmatched by anyone I encountered.  After he was gone things got real quiet for quite a while which was unfortunate and led to a lot of assumptions.  
    Moving forward with suggestions on how to improve Form.z I have a general question for everyone.  One thing that makes programs like 3DS stand out to me are the plethora of third party plugins available that can be integrated directly into the interface.  Plants (x-frog) Environments (like Vue) Smoke, fire, particle systems, Rendering engines, etc.  I don't know how one would even go about convincing third parties to expand their offering to include Form.z but it is worth discussing here.  I also can't help but wonder if Autodesk has any legal restrictions on these third party plugins that make it exclusive to their platform.  Given how aggressive they can be it wouldn't surprise me a bit.   It is also worth noting that many of the features in Max were actually introduced as plugins before they were totally integrated into the main program.  This is actually one of their great short comings as the program certainly feels like a collection of plugins.  
    Here are a few  that I would love to see in the future in my perfect program:
    Any plant generator along with an environment generation tool similar to Vue x-stream
    A cloth generator similar to the one in Max
    A gravity tool that allows one to drop an object onto any surface below.
    A  tool for creating UVW maps directly
    Integration into Unreal or Keyshot that maintains all texture maps properly
    A tool similar to Turbo Smooth in Max that can smooth out any geometry and optimize it.  It would also need a Pro Optimizer tool for reducing geometry interactively by the number of points
    A tool to "paint" texture maps directly onto geometry in selective areas.  
    A tool for sculpting meshes with a touch sensitive brush (similar to Vue and Z-brush).  We had something somewhat similar in 6.7 where we could push and pull meshes a bit more interactively.  
    And the list goes on and on but those are the ones that I use outside of Z most regularly.  
    Open to suggestions
    Andrew
  7. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from archigraphica in slope a spline   
    I use the ramp tool (stair) when I have a uniform width slope.  When the width or shape of the ramp is non uniform then I create a spline on the XY plane, move the control points up to their desired positions,  offset the spline for the inside of the curve, adjust the control points to where I need them,  Then form a nurbz plane between the two splines.  Now that I have my nurbs plane I can extend and add onto it pretty easily to complete my roadways.  The terrain tool works as well but it feels so antiquated.  Probably because it has been around for at least 25 years in its current state.
  8. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from setz in Offset Nurbs Edge Like in Rhino   
    Like this?

  9. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in 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. 
  10. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in 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. 
  11. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Des in 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. 

  12. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Des in 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. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Des in 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. 

  14. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Jaakko in Example Images   
    It has been a while since posting anything here so I want to see if we can keep this going.  The point being that the more we show people what the capabilities of Form.z and V-ray are the more attention the program will get.  That in turn could lead to more sales and money for development.  So here is another little project I have been working on lately. 
     

  15. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Jaakko in Example Images   
    It has been a while since posting anything here so I want to see if we can keep this going.  The point being that the more we show people what the capabilities of Form.z and V-ray are the more attention the program will get.  That in turn could lead to more sales and money for development.  So here is another little project I have been working on lately. 
     

  16. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Jaakko in Example Images   
    It has been a while since posting anything here so I want to see if we can keep this going.  The point being that the more we show people what the capabilities of Form.z and V-ray are the more attention the program will get.  That in turn could lead to more sales and money for development.  So here is another little project I have been working on lately. 
     

  17. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Jaakko in Example Images   
    It has been a while since posting anything here so I want to see if we can keep this going.  The point being that the more we show people what the capabilities of Form.z and V-ray are the more attention the program will get.  That in turn could lead to more sales and money for development.  So here is another little project I have been working on lately. 
     

  18. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from 3dworks in export vrscene?   
    It is worth reminding everyone that when you create a VRscene file it includes a vray sun.  When importing this file back into your project be sure to turn off the option to include lights.  If you don't then there will be an additional sun in your scene that you can not turn off or edit.  It does not show up in your light palette because it is in an outside asset.  I have made this mistake several times and my first clue is that the exposure on my image is completely off. 
     
  19. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from The Q in How do I create a Clear plastic Shrink wrap around 2 bottles?   
    Take one of your containers and use the Thicken Tool set to Out and a distance of 1/8".  Select the new object.  Slice off the side facing the other container and the top and bottom. Mirror it.   Now use the extend face tool to join the two halves of the shrink wrap.  Apply an appropriate dirt map to the bump channel to make the plastic look more realistic.  Does this get you close?
  20. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in export vrscene?   
    Justin
    When you go to export your scene object Vray automatically creates a sun by default.  The only option is to disable the light when importing it back in.  If you forget you have to start over.   When discussing this with tech they say that including lights in a scene file is for scenes like a glowing light fixture which kind of makes sense if it was only limited to things like point and cone lights.  Including a sun in a scene file makes  no sense to me.  For me I use scene files for plants, trees, and complex furniture.   If you are not careful importing a dozen plants can give you a dozen suns which can not be turned off.  Tech, if you are listening the obvious fix is to have the lights disabled on import as a Default and then you can choose to enable it for your light fixtures when needed.  Just a thought.
    AW
  21. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in Example Images   
    Tim
    Thanks for the tip on the Adobe models.  I took a look at those and found them to be pretty primitive.  Even the premium ones seem a little crude, especially for $20 each.  I like to use 3D Sky for most of my imported models.  They are all $6 each and some are really fantastic.    When I absolutely can't find what I need there I will go to TurboSquid which is pricey but excellent.  Now it is worth reminding everyone that Anton has been trying to put together a 3D model site for us here using Form.z.  I have put a few in there but it would really take the whole community chipping in to fill that site with a wide variety of usable models.  It is just a bit of a time commitment to package things up and upload them.  Maybe I can add a lot more during the next major recession. 
    AW
  22. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from timgarner_10 in Example Images   
    I can answer that for you.  When a 3 d person is absolutely necessary I go to either 3D Sky or TurboSquid.  The Sky models are a lot less expensive.  https://3dsky.org/3dmodels/category/zhvie_sushestva?page=3
    Really pay attention to the export options on their models to make sure that they are compatible.  I usually use OBJ if available. 
    Andrew
  23. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in VRay fur - save to preset option   
    I agree 100% and I will talk to Tech about this.  When things get complicated in my models I tend to take screen shots of my settings once I get them to work properly.  One annoying feature of the fur tool is that if you get it just right and then open the project the next day your Blade Count defaults back to Zero.  No fur.  I then go back into the dreaded Attributes Palette and scroll down to Vray Fur Attributes to re enter the blade count.  So my solution is to always set my fur to Per Area, make the area the same size for all future fur materials and then always use the same blade count so that I remember.  For me that means 6 sq inches and a blade count of 50 which gets me grass, fur and shag carpet as a starting point. 
  24. Thanks
    Andrew West got a reaction from Justin Montoya in Request for V-Ray Tutorial or Example Scene   
    I probably have done more interiors than most on this so I will chime in here. 
    There is really no set way to do an interior as the lighting will be different depending on the situation.  Unlike exteriors that rely on a simple sun position or a dome light.  However, there is a process that I use that I will share.
    First off set your exterior sun to the desired position for interior shadows. Go to the suns override settings and make the size of it 5 so that the shadows are softer.  Make sure your glass is not casting or receiving shadows.
    Now place a light plane that is the size of your window just outside your glass and make it a portal light.  I often give this light a texture map (hdri) so that it adds atmosphere to the image.  Set the intensity to about 50.  Parameters: invisible and does not affect reflections.
    Place a rectangular box area light in the middle of the room and make sure it does not touch anything.  Set it to about 30 and make sure that under Parameters it is invisible and does not affect reflections.  This is true for any other interior lights you might add.
    Then I go to my camera settings and adjust the exposure to get it close.  It does not need to be exact since you can always adjust exposure during the render process.  I will then turn on AO, adjust the shading rate up, set my render elements and adjust everything else in the V-ray settings while I am there. 
    Once I get the lighting about right I can then add specific cone, spot or line lights depending upon the architecture.  These don't seem to add much to the overall exposure but they help to add realism to the scene. 
    One thing that I would like to comment on in your scenes is the lack of gloss on many of your materials.  All materials have a certain amount of gloss to them.  For some reason the default for V-ray is set to a black color and a value of 1.  For me I start with a white color.  For dull materials like rough plaster I will set the gloss to 0.2 and for high gloss I will set it to 0.85. 
    While we are on the subject of materials I also find it very useful to assign a Material ID color to my most important materials.  If you then enable Material ID in your render elements you can adjust color and isolate the materials very easily post process.  This saves a lot of time later.  It also allows me to place my window reflections perfectly on my exterior scenes since I have my glass isolated.
    Finally, for true realism I also use the Glare effect in the render window and sometimes I will even use the Bloom tab.   Some clients hate these and some love them so use them cautiously. 
    Hope this helps.  As always there are many ways to set up a scene and this is just my down and dirty approach for a starting point.
  25. Like
    Andrew West got a reaction from andrew in VRAY - Huge Material Problem!   
    The native format for Form.z materials for V-ray is VRMAT.  However, I have been able to download VISMAT materials from various sites and then open them in the material editor.  Then I save them as VRMAT so that I can use them.    I have not been able to use any other formats. 
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