View Full Version : loves me some HD instance

02-17-2010, 04:08 PM
I did this yesterday for fun, about an hour to setup, HD instanced like crazy. a little color correction in photoshop, anyway, thought it turned out pretty good,


02-17-2010, 04:12 PM
Looks like a vue scene.
HDInstance is a pretty boss lil'plugin.

02-17-2010, 05:08 PM
I'de like being able to do that in an hour! Is HD instance driven bit a bitmap picture, weightmap or maybe gradient texture? Anyway, that's a really good result!:)

02-17-2010, 05:27 PM
weight maps. but you get pretty used to using textured point to convert bitmaps and other things into weight maps. like on this, I baked a slope type setup into a bitmap then converted it to a weight.

02-17-2010, 11:24 PM
Very impressive.

02-18-2010, 12:18 AM
Very good result. I like the details on the rock. How did you manage the terrain and the little displacement ? procedural displacement and APS perhap's ?
It look as good as some VUE result. Congratulations.

02-18-2010, 12:41 AM
thanks for the kind words guys, so I basically had a plane, 50x50 grid if I remember, I roughed in where I wanted mountains and valleys. jittered it a little, sent it to layout. displaced it like crazy, saved that out to bake the weightmap. and it was higher resolution of course. then I made a jagged typed rock and instanced that all over the surface. I am displacing it a lot but all the rocky detail is actual rocks ;) actually the same rock, just random scaling and rotation. but on on certain axis you will notice for the most part they are tall and skinny. it made it really feel like it was rocky and individual rocks, not like displacements. so the surface of the underlying mesh is almost 100% covered in instanced rocks. and then of course the trees. well, again, 1 tree same form of randomness. but with a shader variance. for subtle color changes.

anyway it was a fun exploration.

02-18-2010, 02:05 AM
awesome result, really for on hour thats really impressive !!! so you modeled a tree and used hd instance and weight maps to distribute the copies of it and randomize them ? same concept with the stones ?

02-18-2010, 10:35 AM
yes, except I had a tree already so I didn't model the tree.

here's a close up of a section of the image. I think any closer and I would need to tweak the rocks, they don't hold up as well as I would like closeup,

Boris Goreta
02-19-2010, 09:18 AM
I like it a lot. How did you do the foggy part ?

02-19-2010, 10:22 AM
the fog is the old "procedural texture in world space, to a card that is animated top to bottom, and set to repeat each frame with motion blur" trick.

works really well,

02-19-2010, 01:28 PM
Looks like a vue scene.
HDInstance is a pretty boss lil'plugin.

amazing. when I saw it I thought it was a scene done in Vue also

render time?

good luck


02-19-2010, 01:41 PM
Great shot, how did you light it?

02-19-2010, 01:50 PM
Very nice. Very Vue like. Render times?

02-19-2010, 02:01 PM
render times. at 1920X1080 --- 51 mins on a 8 core macpro running at 2.8ghz

lighting - it's essentially one sun/distant light, and background gradient with GI you have to put a lot of samples to clean up all the geometry and the motion blured fog trick so my montecarlo was set to really low samples, 1 or 2 and only one bounce, not interpolated mind you, but AA was silly high like 96 which cleaned up everything. also the fog is seen by radiosity but not using it itself.

02-19-2010, 03:29 PM
dang... that's a serious amount of AA :)

Higher MC/FG count and Interpolated didn't work?

02-19-2010, 04:59 PM
that's the difficulty, because with interpolated, you set a min and max. but as you'll notice it's a crazy amount of detail. so most everything it reads as needing small samples, because there is detail everywhere. also the vegetation and fog require a lot of AA anyway. I have been working on a project for a while now doing this type of thing a lot, and have done a lot of testing. and to get it to work with animation, and keep render times down this is the best option I have found. on some other shots I've done I could just do a distant light and a big area light for a sky and a distant no shadows, for a bounce, for the vegetation, then GI on buildings and what not. and you can do interpolated on the buildings and bake it, and that was faster. but on this I wanted the cliff faces to bounce light off and illuminate the trees so I couldn't cheat. it. well I could but not in the same setup time. this was just a test for fun to see how fast I could crank out something I was happy with. after having weeks of really using HD instance. I'd be curious to see what other HD instance junkies would do. considering you'd want to animate it. and giving some play to do post noise reduction. I did the render today at 1080, and 51 mins I didn't think was bad, for all that's in the scene.

HD instance is awesome, but it takes some playing to get it just right.

Boris Goreta
02-19-2010, 06:09 PM

I have plenty experience with HD Instance myself.

I used interpolated Final Gather and it works great and fast. You need to check volumetric radiosity

in order for HD Instance to pick up radiosity lighting. You can also cache the solution so it works

great in animation too. One thing that speeds up the render significantly is clip maps for leaves.

Transparency channel of the leaves must be clear and set to 0%.

The frame above is an example from the animation where trees and buildings grow and decay through

several eras. I've used interpolated non cached method here, it does flicker a bit due to low number

of interpolated samples but since it is supposed to be time laps style animation it is ok.

Oh and you also need to uncheck use behind test because it slows down radiosity when you heave many

irregular polys in the scene like leaves.

But if you only animate the camera the interpolated method should work great. Yes, caching the first

frame might take a while but then it's all roses.

02-19-2010, 06:37 PM
yeah, I already do the clips maps instead of transparency. but with regard to the cacheing, if you have a scene that is flying through trees, up close you have to cache the whole scene, and because you're revealing new geometry almost every frame you can't space out your cacheing steps because you need new samples for the newly visible objects. anyway, in the shots I've been working on, interpolated hasn't really worked, in this scene, depending on what the camera does it could be a good option, there are times when it is useful, if the camera is slow, and not revealing a lot of new geometry. actually it wouldn't work in this scene because of the way I'm doing the fog. and having the fog affect the the GI. it shadows the backdrop in a way that I liked, if that wasn't the case then I could.

How have you handled you AA. I started off putting a lot of the weight on the adaptive sampling, but then found it was actually faster to put a lot of the samples just upfront and not do adaptive sampling. but I would like to know what your experience has been. thanks for your feedback and suggestions!


Boris Goreta
02-20-2010, 06:46 PM
radiosity settings:


camera settings:


Render time for posted image was 3 min on W5590.

Times for most of other frames were around 2 min. since vegetation didn't occupy that much screen space ( more sky, less ground ).

02-20-2010, 10:30 PM
Hey Chris, thx for the extra info.
Not really sure what you are saying with the caching and interpolation though? Being a static scene, you could just static cache it. (Put interpolation on but samples to 0 or 1 pixel spaced I guess) Not really sure how the fog trick would influence it.. but it should be fine. If rendering on a single machine, just let it keep updating the cache while it goes, no reason to do a cache pass in advance.

I really like the shot... the stone trick you did works really well.. I'll try to remember :)

And indeed, HD Instance is great... I use it on almost all projects.. I would only really prefer if it would read out the GI settings per Object properties. That would truly help alot. On top of that, LW should allow per object GI caching/files.. and some other stuff :)

Last: I agree about AS. Hardly ever is it faster than just normal increase of AA in my scenes.

02-22-2010, 08:44 AM
How have you handled you AA. I started off putting a lot of the weight on the adaptive sampling, but then found it was actually faster to put a lot of the samples just upfront and not do adaptive sampling. but I would like to know what your experience has been. thanks for your feedback and suggestions! thanks

I've had the same problem Chris, I always try to use adaptive sampling, but in the end I find just giving more samples up front and not using adaptive sampling gives me faster and better results. In most cases anyway.

02-22-2010, 04:47 PM
That's a really nice scene wellsichris. I just got HD Instance yesterday and am playing around with it tonight. Just out of interest, did you use clipping masks on your trees or are they fully modelled?

Also I am finding it hard to find a nice tree model that looks organic from a distance. Did you make yours or buy from somewhere? It looks alot nicer than mine.

02-23-2010, 05:01 PM
Treesdesigner by Polas is pretty nice if you want to be able to design some custom or even "weird" trees etc. Also got the Evermotion Arch Viz -1 trees for LW, while they are very poly heavy, they do look very nice.

About the Evermotion Arch Viz - 1 dataset:
Couldn't they have spent some time to tidy stuff up? First of all it sucks to have to download masses of rar's, then they sort of randomly use .lwo's .obj's and naming conventions. And use a pretty stupid scene setup. So it is not "plug and play" at all.. missed chance I think..

(still happy with them, but they need tidying up)

ps: HDi is great! You'll love it.

02-23-2010, 05:10 PM
Darn, on a Mac here. Treedesigner Windows only. Any other suggestions for good looking trees? Having trouble finding the Evermotion Arch Viz -1 trees for some reason.

02-24-2010, 10:23 AM
Darn, on a Mac here. Treedesigner Windows only. Any other suggestions for good looking trees? Having trouble finding the Evermotion Arch Viz -1 trees for some reason.

onyx tree (http://www.onyxtree.com/) is still one of the best tree modelers out there. unfortunately, they are slowly fading out mac support (what a shame for a company that started mac only!), but the current tree suite still runs well even under snow leopard.

on the big plus side, LWO output support is great (you can specify all sorts of optimization options)! a weak point is that the conifer application will generate quite huge geometry - in this case models from xfrog are a way better choice. their latest products, flower and grass, will not be released for OSX, they dropped it last year after a long period of silence. but i can really recommend bamboo, palm and broadleaf.

for very low poly counts, have also a look at marlin's trees (http://www.marlinstudios.com/products/treefarm/treefarm.html), not botanically correct like onyx's, but they are great for mass scenes, medium to far distance!



02-24-2010, 12:27 PM
I never tried Onyx.. not that cheap and the site is a bit... ehm.

Not sure if it can do what Treesdesigner can: shape trees based on polys. Which is quite handy sometimes... some forms just can't be had by pure parameters alone. But I guess most will work.

I meant this Evermotion pack:

Note: it is roughly 400k poly's per tree on average and it does need some tidying. But they are quite nice. Works like a charm with HDI

02-24-2010, 03:22 PM
Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. I'm spending this weekend modelling a fantasy style epic forested Vista, I'll post my results when they are done. :)

EDIT: Just out of interest, are there any decent tutorials out there on how to build your own trees in Lightwave. Ideally I'd like to have control over everything. And by the looks of it on Mac I either need to to this or buy models as the tree gen apps are PC only.

02-25-2010, 03:44 PM
All I want to do is experiment without spending a ton of cash! I downloaded the following tree....


It renders real fast and looks nice, but it's on around 16 layers. The leafs are on around 7 layers and all have clip maps in the scene file. Does anyone know how I can get this object onto 1 layer so I can instance it, whilst retaining the clip maps?

Either that or recommend me a good tree that is not going to cost me $120 just to experiment with?

03-16-2010, 12:44 AM
Slick, and here I am using Vue. This looks really good.


03-16-2010, 06:39 AM
its really nice.. however the lighting is off..

you have dark shadows which indicate a bright light source (sun) however the sky is dark which indicates dusk or early evening..(no sun)

choose a brighter clearer sky map and it will improve a lot..or lower the light amount and add some radiosity..

great work

03-22-2010, 12:33 PM
I'm getting the impression that HD Instance is one of those "must-have" tools.


Just when I thought I'd filled out my toolset. :) (Well, not entirely true -- I still have to get LWCad.)

03-23-2010, 06:20 AM
(Well, not entirely true -- I still have to get LWCad.)

Then run, RUN to get it! :--)

It's truly a must have if you model often: saves time and makes modeling a funnier matter, really.