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Rudy Daverveld

Render Capabilities Form Z

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Hi All, ZWeb,

 

After the major upgrade from 6 to 7 and 8 I was hoping to see some development in the rendering and surface styles department. Off course the third party plugins are welcome for some of us and I purchased a version of maxwell aswel. But the workflow and render times are not to my satisfactory. Also it brings another application which has upgrades and costs and so. Not my first choice.

It has been many years that we have seen some new developments in that area. So now the modeling and interface possibilities have been updated I am hoping to see som steps being made in the rendering and surface styles department. 

I am thinking:

 

Surface styles:

- glowing and light emitting materials

- displacement materials

- fresnell effects

- refraction

- translucency

 

Rendering and other

- issues resolved like the ambient occlusion not being catched by a catcher material in combination with alpha background

- multi pass layer rendering (Alpha, shadow, specular, reflection)

- 360 spherical or cube maps camera for VR is a must now, we had this and now it is really useful it is gone.

- natural lighting system

- VR AR export options

 

Lightworks, the renderzone engine partner, is now heavily moving towards iRay, is the development of Lightworks still going? And if so what is to be expected in this area.

I know this always difficult to talk about, but since we have not seen any progress in the last 4 or 5 years I think it is a relevant question for Zweb. If the path is not to develop the render options in Form Z this would be good to know too, then I have to set my view to working with one of the third party solutions.

 

Kind regards

20 years plus user! and still loving it!

 

Rudy Daverveld

Visual 8

 

 

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Hi Rudy,

 

I just wanted to point out that every feature on your list is available today through the Maxwell render plugin.

 

If you are having issues with the Maxwell workflow or scene optimization, please post to the Maxwell forum on this site. We're happy to help.

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Hi Pylon,

 

Yes I know, that's why I purchased the plug in, but when you want to render 15 views of an interior at 3500 pixels, with 2 revision rounds in the same day, the rendertimes I get then, just don't work for me. 

It would be so great to see some of the features which are now common in most 3d applications appear in the overall great Form Z. Autodessys must have some kind of roadmap for the future of renderzone, and if they are dependant on Lightworks, they should be able to give some insights. No intern render quality improvement or development for 5 years just seems like an eternity for me waiting on the good stuff!

 

Rudy

 

 

 

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For what its worth it appears that most modeling programs rely on third party plugins for their render engines.  I have used 3ds max on occasion and it comes with Mental Ray.  To get good quality I had to purchase Vray separately.   In the case of Form.z one of its bigger issues in the past was a lack of 3rd party render plugins.  That has finally changed with the addition of Maxwell, Thea, and in the near future Vray.  If speed is of the essence (when isn't it?) then I might suggest Thea.  I might also add that the newest version of Maxwell is a lot faster but there is still no way you are going to get 15 high res views in one day without an expensive render farm.

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Sketchup has a plethora of very fast renderers for around $99. I almost went that direction just because of this.  I can get a very quick sense of how something will look using a $99 renderer.  Different construction materials require different shapes such as metal vs wood.  If these could be modified for use with FormZ, it would be awesome.  I also look for details such as this, (With Brighter3D PRO version you get FREE LIFETIME PRODUCT UPGRADES!!!), since 3D is not where I make my money.  Raylectron CPU&GPU is another $99 one that I tried. 

I've been trying for 6 months to get a price to upgrade my Maxwell non-commercial version, so I've given up on them.

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Agree with this notion that it's long overdue for an update of the Lightworks (or other) render engine. I also tried to update to Maxwell 4, however they want me to purchase two plugins, when I only need one. What's up with that? Is Thea plugin going to be abandoned by the new ownership??

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Ok thanks for your input all, the problem with the external render engines are that once I go that way, I pretty much have to to do all my work in there, a lot of my clients have continuing work, so once I introduce them to the new style, I can't deliver the old style anymore. I can only make that step if this is not creating rendertimes 10 times higher. When renderzone should progresse to these functions en qualities, you can grow into this, and use these options when fitting to the project. Not to mention several things which are not compatible between Form Z and Maxwell for instance. Decals, Parametric surface styles are not useable, and open GL for quick drafts looks not at all presentable. 

 

 

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Hi eyeclick, Shibui design,

 

I am sorry to hear that you were not able to get a satisfactory response from Next Limit sales about your respective issues. I contacted Next Limit on your behalf and explained that I have two users that need upgrade questions answered (correctly, in the case of Shibu- you don't need to buy more than one plugin if you don't want to).  They said they will get in touch with you immediately, but need your email addresses.

 

Please provide your email addresses to me privately at pylon_support.jpg and I will forward them to the NL account manager; he will get you the answers you need.

 

 

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Hi Rudy,

 

I just want to add a bit more information for the sake of clarity... I'm not arguing :)

Regarding rendering speed: Next Limit is working very hard on this through the new GPU engine in v4. Also, for product design and trade show type scenes, I have been able to get good times with the CPU renderer using an HDRI or Sky Dome to light the scene.

Regarding compatibility with Decals and Renderzone Parametric Surface Styles- these are features of the Renderzone rendering plugin, which Maxwell does not have access to-- so it's not that they are not compatible, it's that there is no relationship to build upon to make them compatible. Maxwell does have its own parametric textures, however, which you can access through the Maxwell material editor.

 

Regarding "open GL for quick drafts": Can you clarify what you mean? (Maxwell does not use openGL.)

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Hi Pylon,

 

Thanks for arguing ;-) I now that compatibility is due to the accessibilities of Renderzone engine, the fact that the plugins don't work seamlessly is why I don't like them....

 

I'm curious on the results of that technique with domes or HDRI, can you show something with specs on machine, rendertime and imagesize?

 

Regarding the open GL: When you are using Maxwell lights in your scene, the light is not used in the Open GL function and your model looks something like the attached image. not very handy or appealing.

 

Also curious to what other people are using for most of their work, and proces.My projects are mostly between 10 and 20 hours work in modeling texturing and lighting. On an average project I create say 8 camerapoints in that project. If I have to render approx 8 hours for an HR 1 image out of that model, I simply can't fit that in my workflow.

 

Curious how other people do that.

 

Kind regards

 

Rudy

 

 

 

 

 

post-753-0-99364700-1484318227_thumb.png

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Hi Rudy,

I've integrated Maxwell into my workflow over the past couple of years. I've been able to build a library of maxwell materials which I reference into the project I'm working on.

If I have to render out say eight images and time is tight, I would render low resolution images first, not spending more than 15 minutes each (although Maxwell Fire is also great for previews) to make sure all is well.

Once I'm happy with my lighting etc., I use the MaxwellZ plugin to "Package for Renderfarm" into a folder and upload it to a renderfarm (say Rebus for example).

Depending on the size of the files (& textures/references) and upload/download times (and if there is a queue on the farm), I can get the image within a couple of hours ready for post processing.

The cost is not that much, I usually get a 5000 x 3333 pixel image done from between €10 to €20, that all really depends on the size of the files etc. I have gotten images done for €5 in the past.

So if you factor in the cost when you price a job, the whole process is pretty seamless.

 

I do render my own if I have the time or I'm only doing a couple of images.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Des

 

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Hi Rudy-

 

I've created a work flow very similar to what Des describes above. Not all my projects can support this type of physical rendering method, as many have very short turnaround times. I've found Rebusfarm to work best for quick and affordable turnaround. Many renders I've been able to get for around 5 euro. I've also spent considerable time and money trying to find a happy balance for render times, quality of images and easy integration into a formZ workflow. In my opinion, Maxwell Render does this best and I use this solution only when the project can afford it in either time or $$ for renderfarm. For other projects, I've settled on using FormZ to model, transport to Cinema 4D via .fbx and render from that application. The .fbx format has made this very seamless. Only tweaking of materials and then setting up cameras and lighting. I've experimented with Thea for a while and struggle to find how to make it work for me and furthermore, find the implementation into FormZ less than elegant. Obviously Thea is a workable solution, simply look at the work of Anton and others for great examples. How about a tutorial on this- anyone???

 

NOTHING beats an all FormZ workflow, however Lightworks simply has not kept pace with the current suite of render engines out there. I'm curious to hear others weigh in on this topic.

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I agree completely regarding the aging RenderZone Lightworks engine.  I hope the coming FormZ 9 has an updated, modern, default engine.  CPU & GPU accelerated, Progressive rendering, and Emitter materials are my top 3 updates for the FormZ rendering engine.  FormZ is tough to beat for fast, accurate, solid and surface modeling.  We just need a better GUI and rendering engine!  I hope somebody is listening!  :)

 

The workflow discussion is also extremely important.  I know some industries like Archviz do not need integrated rendering engines in their workflow and are fine to package them up for rendering in another software package.  That does NOT work for us.  We need to be able to make quick changes, quickly render multiple views, and send to the client with little to no post processing.  The only way to do this is with an fast integrated rendering engine workflow.  

 

While I admit Thea render has some quirks still to work out, it is the best option we have right now and totally workable.  The speed of the Presto engines is quite remarkable compared to Maxwell.  Being able to use all 24 CPU threads + GPU makes it very very fast.  I liked it so much, I went ahead and bought it during the Beta.  After years of only using FormZ and RenderZone, it took some time to wrap my head around all of the options Thea has available.  But once I got a suitable environment HDRI and figured out some base settings that work well for Trade show exhibit design, it's hard to even use RenderZone now.

 

Here is an excellent resource for learning Thea. - https://archvisfangxu.wordpress.com/fundamentals/

While he specifically talks about using the Thea plugin for Rhino, most all of the plugin settings are the same for FormZ, so it's pretty easy to follow.  He also shares over a thousand of his own Thea materials which work really well with the new default scene we are working from.

 

That being said, the Thea plugin needs to be updated to allow batch rendering, animation, and fully implement the new material handling system within FormZ.  Once those are complete, I think many people used to the ridiculous render times of Maxwell will be pleasantly surprised and impressed with the quality and speed of Thea.  All for less than half the cost as well!

 

If you've downloaded the Thea plugin demo and are having trouble figuring it out, feel free to reach out on the Thea forums, they are usually really quick to respond there or try the FormZ / Thea sub forum. - https://thearender.com/forum/

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Hello Gentleman,

 

This is great info. Makes me want to dive into Maxwell again a little... ;-) Good to hear that most of you also would like to see more render and material possibilities in the now dated Renderzone engine. 

Should be possible to get some insights from Form Z on their wishlist and roadmap regarding to these parts of Form Z. 

 

So I'll reserve the next post for them :-)

 

Kind regards

Rudy

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I'm torn between upgrading my Maxwell 3 to v4 or moving over to Thea. I was impressed with Thea in Sketchup, but have be heavily using FormZ in the past few years. While I love Maxwells quality and real world mechanics, it is difficult to meet client demands that are fast turn around.

 

I'd like to hear more about what Thea is doing with ADS, and at the same time thank Ben at Pylon for his dedication to FormZ.

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Agreed with you Andrew; I'm curious about updating to Maxwell V4 but would like to know what others have to say about speed improvements. Can anyone comment?

 

Having also recently incorporated Cinema 4D into my workflow, I'm experimenting with using other render engines. I've been very impressed with both Octane and Corona Render. They are both very fast and deliver excellent results. The trouble is I now have three major applications to design and render. It's not too bad to manage design changes, but it would be great to have everything in one tidy package!

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I've bought the upgrade Maxwell v3 to v4, but for me working on Mac only, it had no benefits at all. Thea Render I bought too, but have to learn how to use. At this moment, with 3 computers rendering Maxwell v4 in my network, I am satisfied. Not using Renderzone anymore, only Maxwell v4.

 

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...from the current sales team at Thea, today. I've replied asking for further insight. I find that Renderzone covers alot of bases, but these days I almost prefer the Full Shaded level with AO turned on and edges shown. It makes things look a bit less 'realistic' and more architectural. To get realism, I think Maxwell really shines, however my tests with Thea have me wanting to use that over Maxwell. The results and the interaction seems much more fluid with my Mac setup.

 

Dear Andrew,

 

thank you for your interest.

 

Unfortunately, Thea for formZis not available at the moment for purchasing. We continue support and maintenance of the integration, that you can download from our corresponding landing page.

 

Kind regards,

 

Thea Render Team

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Sure. Keep in mind part of my change in focus is that Maxwell went to v4 and changed the upgrade-costing structure. I probably wouldn't be looking at Thea if I did feel compelled to stay current with Maxwell and now have to choose plugins vs. have them for any of the supported applications out there.

 

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who appreciates NextLimits and Pylons work towards formZ.

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