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VRay formZ 8 Animation


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Hi All,

I have uploaded the animation I created with form.Z and VRay. We decided to use a bit of humor explain the problem the product "fixes" in addition to an overview of how our NOISEBLOCK™ enclosure goes together. I also used After Effects for the text and logo stuff. Sound was mostly from Soundsnap, except Rancho Des Vaches, of course. I used Poser to drop some figures in there. I used the Imager extensively to render over night and weekends. 2:22 running time.

I am now working on more animations, but they are more traditional technical animations without the narrative element.



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Thanks for sharing John!  Interesting solution to the problem.  I think the animation is great, showing how the system works.

I think with the VRay setup, you could push some of the lighting and materials a bit further, but that's probably a compromise due to rendering time?  Are you using the VRay GPU + Hybrid engine?  The newest version of VRay NEXT GPU is going to offer on avg of 40% faster rendering times when using the newer Nvidia RTX engine and GPUs.  Hopefully we will get to see this option in FormZ soon.  


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Hi Justin,

This was the first longer animation I have tried, so lots of things happened along the way, and I remember needing to go with CPU alone for some reason. I think it was because I had rendered some of the clips without already, and the clips wouldn't match. Rendering time wasn't such a big deal though, as after I was done, it took the sales dept longer to write the slides that it did me to render all the clips. On the textures I was encouraged not to push for as much realism as I could get. Part of the reason for the tan color choice, I wanted that saturated look of the Pixar animations, but found dealing with so many different surfaces that had nothing to do with selling our enclosure prohibitive. Plus I would have kept wanting to change the materials after I had rendered some of the clips. First big animation, learned a lot. Also, found out you need lots of frames to make smooth animation. If something moves too much too quickly, especially a camera, you get jerky animation. I have found it better to render out more frames and re-time the clip to be shorter in After Effects.

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Good Info!

I've also noticed that you need close to 60FPS to keep things smooth.  I'm not sure why, as our screens are really only displaying 30fps, I think, but that's a trick I learned a while back.  It makes the animation rendering twice as long though!

I like the playful Pixar style.  The people models are especially nice for that.  If you need people outside of Poser, I've found the Render People import nicely in the SKP format or converted from Max if you have that. - https://renderpeople.com/free-3d-people/

I hope one day we can use pre animated 3D people in our FormZ animations.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great animation johnalexander1571!

In regards to the Render People, I'm not able to get the texture maps to import into formZ. I have the option checked when I'm importing & have tried both .skp & .obj formats. When they open in formZ, the materials are generic colors and only a couple - with no links to the texture maps.

Also, I'd love to learn formZ animation, especially using Vray. Any suggestions as to the best (most efficient) way to learn? Been debating signing up to do an online class with formZ. Just want to learn the basics for now - like camera along a path for walk thru's (everytime I try the speed varies and the camera is looking all over the place while moving along the path, etc.), lights turning on/off, maybe even some videos playing on tv screens during the animation, and some basic moving parts. The addition of animated people, sound, etc. would be the icing on the cake, but not needed for now. I think once I watch someone do it and then I do it myself a couple times, it'll click and I'll be off and running.

On a side note with animations, I can't be without formZ when it'd be generating a vray animation for hours & hours. Can they be generated using the formZ imager yet? I think I tried a while back and it didn't work or something, been too long to remember exactly what the issue was. Going to be honest here, all the GPU + hybrid & Nvidia RTX engine talk is all over my head, not positive what it all means. I'm assuming it all relates to rendering locally on your computer vs on a server or render farm & the graphics cards used? I currently have the MacPro desktop "trash can" computer (Late 2013) running OS Catalina, 64GB memory, AMD FirePro D500 3GB graphics card. BUT - we're in the process of looking into getting the new MacPro computers but they're super expensive. Is there an "ideal" setup for running formz with vray & especially if we're going to be doing animations? As in is there a particular graphics card that we should be using and anything else? Within reason that is, we won't be able to get a $20,000 computer approved here at work, as much as I'd love to haha.

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Hi Tim,

I have been able to use the Imager to render animation and form.Z itself to model at the same time. In theory I can animate all the time if I plan well enough. In practice, I am rendering about one clip per night, I find I am rarely forced to try and do both at once. I do have really loose deadlines, however.

I did find the very short tutorials in the formZ manual a huge help in understanding formZ animation. Learning and using the editor is a huge help. Motion/time graph allows precise control.

I do this on one semi-nice Windows 10 machine. It was around $3,500.00 USD 6 months ago. If you are not stuck with OS Mac you should be able to really get a much more effective deal. I am finding still that I wish it would render much faster, but that is the way it has always been! I am only doing 1080p resolution. As soon as I started to look at the the file sizes needed to produce in 4K, I realized it was prohibitive. Renders too long... file sizes beyond huge...


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Thanks for the information John!

I've slowly been working thru the animation part of the online formz manual. To me though, an informational video is worth a thousand words. I watched the youtube video by formz titled "The hidden power of animation in form•Z" a few times now and it's definitely a great start. But there's always questions along the way that I guess I'll slowly have to learn the answers to as I go.

So last night I setup a very quick scene & animation of a ball moving along a path (here's a link to it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/dvXWnz0vuXE ). It took 20 hours to complete this 12 second animation. Now I'm sure theres a few settings that I have wrong which could definitely help speedup the animation time. When it comes to the animation settings, does it go by the formz - display - "image options" settings OR does it go by the vray render output settings? I've attached screenshots of my settings for both & also the "Generate Animation" screen settings I had. Maybe these settings are ok because the animation does play smooth for me. 1 light in the scene and it's the stock vray dome light. Vray stock materials on very basic shapes.

For the foreseeable future we will be staying with Mac OS here in the creative department. Which I'm perfectly fine with since I've been using Macs for like 15 years now, just wish they weren't so expensive.

Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 1.52.46 PM.png

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Hi Tim,

Render People works fine for me here importing the provided SKP format.  I have also successfully used their MAX files and converted them to 3DS or FBX from within 3dsMax.  OBJ does not work for me either and has always been a difficult format for me to use successfully in FormZ so I avoid it.  Sometimes you will have to manually add the provided texture map in to the correct material in FormZ, but it doesn't require any remapping, which is good because we cannot adjust the provided UV mapping.  Let's make a separate topic if you need more help here.

In regards to hardware for VRay animations:

If you use Mac hardware, you will be stuck running on the CPU render of VRay, which can be much slower than the GPU renderer depending on the scene (and especially after 1000s of clips in an animation!).  The often faster, VRay GPU rendering engine requires Nvidia GPU's (CUDA), which Apple has completely cut off support.  So you would need to buy the most expensive CPU upgrade Apple offers for their MacPro to efficiently render animations in VRay on your workstation.  This is really unfortunate, and has been the reason why most of the 3D professionals are using Windows workstations.  You can buy a faster and much more cost effective rendering machine for a fraction of the price compared to Apple.  You can then easily choose whether you want to use the CPU or GPU engine.  Even for strictly CPU rendering, Apple cannot compete in this realm with their newest, highest priced 28 core machine.  Take a look at how poorly the new MacPro renders compared to the new higher performing and MUCH cheaper AMD Threadripper 3960x and 3970x CPUs:


That's just what you will be stuck with using Apple hardware for VRay CPU rendering.  Overpaying for worse performance.  Compounded by thousands of frames in an animation, it just doesn't make any sense to purchase a new Mac Pro for that purpose.

Switching to the VRay GPU engine, you don't need the highest multi core CPU if you use the GPU engine, only using 2 or more NVIDIA GPUs to really see a nice speed increase.  RTX 2060 Super is the current sweet spot with current Nvidia GPUs and VRay.  At $400 ea, you can often put 4 GPUs (blower style) in a workstation for a really powerful GPU rendering machine.  It's time to kick Apple to the curb since they stopped supporting 3D Design professionals.   I was a huge Apple supporter and user for more than 15 years as well, but they just don't offer competitive hardware for 3D professionals anymore.  Windows 10 and Android works great and I don't miss Apple at all.


V-Ray Next Benchmark 4.10.06 NVIDIA GeForce RTX, RTX SUPER, and TITAN RTX rendering performance

V-Ray Next 4.10.06 Multi-GPU Performance with 1 to 4 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Video Cards








If Animations are a priority, you could always add a dedicated Render Node or two.  A high powered Windows based machine that would handle the heavy lifting for animations using FormZ Imager.  Then you could keep using Apple hardware as your workstation.  I'm not sure how well this cross compatibility works with VRay for FormZ, so you'll need to reach out to tech to even see if it would be possible to run a VRay GPU rendering from a Mac based FormZ Imager.

I hope this information helps quantify my answers to your questions.  Hardware is a passion of mine and I wish Apple were more competitive there, as I always loved their OS.  Unfortunately, their offerings make little sense for most 3D professionals these days.



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Wow thank you for all the detailed info Justin! And here I was still thinking Macs were the best and you always get what you pay for 😕 I'll be sure to share all this info with our creative director as he will surely find it informative as well. The thought of switching my computer (& life) back to PC gives me anxiety already but if that's what will make my work life easier it just might be time for the switch again. Thanks again, I'll be in touch if I have further questions. I just might get a budget number and ask you what the right build would be in your opinion if you're ok with that? 

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