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View Full Version : Thea Render 1.2 released - introductory offer...



Thomas Helzle
06-20-2013, 12:05 PM
Hey,

although there is no direct integration with Lightwave, I thought I post this news anyway:
Thea Render 1.2 Announcement (http://thearender.com/cms/index.php?option=com_acymailing&ctrl=archive&task=view)

115090

Thea is my personal favourite renderer for photorealism.

It comes with different render engines, biased and unbiased which sets it apart from most other engines that are either biased or unbiased.

Since the results are very close across the engines, you can do previews with fast biased modes or on the GPU and then switch to CPU/unbiased for a huge final rendering if needed (10,000 pixels square was my largest rendering so far, but it wasn't the limit).

The newest additions in 1.2 are
a.) Presto, a Cuda based GPU renderer.
b.) Field Mapping, a new biased GI render method developed by Solid Iris, that does away with many of the problems that Photon- and Final Gather based algorithms show.

I just export my objects from whatever software I work with for a job as uv-mapped obj, import it into Thea Studio and do all my texturing there.

The material system is very powerful and easy to grasp - since Thea comes as a "Studio" application, it is a bit similar in use to a third application for only rendering ;-)

The networkrendering is the best, easiest to setup and most reliable I've worked with in my almost 20 years of 3D.
Render nodes are very affordable.

The preview renderer is extremely fast, even with the CPU.
Perfect for tweaking lights and materials.

It's not the best solution for animation ATM, but for stills I like the workflow a lot, even without full integration.

I don't know if there are plans to support Lightwave natively, so if that is important to you, it may not be your renderer of choice.

The Promotional discount is valid until 10th July.

The demo version is still the previous version, I don't know when 1.2 will be available for everybody.
The update is free for current users.

I am not affiliated with Solid Iris, just a happy user :-)

Cheers,

Tom

Thomas Helzle
06-21-2013, 07:44 AM
And a very nice release Video with animations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SOw3IcxQD_0

Love it :-)

Cheers,

Tom

alexos
06-21-2013, 09:27 AM
I tried the demo when it first came out and I remember that the colour picker was absolutely sensational; it seemed however rather slow when rendering - Maxwell-slow, I mean - which doesn't sit well with my usual workflow. How are you finding it now, compared to the LW engine?

ADP.

zapper1998
06-21-2013, 10:10 AM
all software listed but "Lightwave" ??? .... wtf .... what....

Why is that, I wonder .... ????????????

Thomas Helzle
06-21-2013, 10:38 AM
alexos:
I guess you tried it in unbiased mode - that is the mode maxwell also renders in -> fully physically based, a light simulation.
This is much slower in many cases than Lightwave, but you get a quality LW can't reach. And it is very easy to work with physically correct materials, like measured IES lights and perfect glass, metals etc. Rendering may take longer, but I often find that setup and scene preparation is much faster because stuff simply works right away.
If you don't need that it's not for you ;-)

In biased mode you get very very good GI with much faster speed and can enjoy the same materials as in unbiased mode. The new Field Mapping is very clean but still able to preserve those little details we love so much.

I would mainly recommend Thea for architecture, visualization and other such areas that benefit from extreme high quality.



zapper1998:
Yeah, it's a pity. There aren't enough LW users to make them embrace it I fear. But there are several voices on the forum asking for LW integration, so maybe one day it will happen. I personally don't mind that much ATM. I use Thea as a collector for objects and models and do the render setup and materialization there.



IMO, Thea is one of the most interesting (unbiased-) renderers since Ioannis, the main developer, has a very brilliant mind and is open for users ideas instead of being a total purist like some other unbiased developers.

Here is a best-off gallery: http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/gallery/album/10-best-of-thea-.html

And the lighting-studies gallery: http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/gallery/album/5-lighting-studies.html

Those lasers are actually built from a very tiny emitter and a tube with a tiny hole in it - almost like the real laser. Visibility of the lasers is done with the "medium" in Thea, where you can set a visibility/density of the air. And those colorbands through the prism aren't faked... :-)

What I also totally love are the razor-sharp caustics you get almost for free with the unbiased modes. Just love them.

But again, this is not for everybody and if you are fine with LWs own renderer or one of the other available options, it may not be interesting.

Cheers,

Tom

chikega
06-21-2013, 08:04 PM
I remember you mentioning this renderer to me. Fantastic renders and a good price point. The hybrid aspect reminds me somewhat of Houdini's Mantra.

Thomas Helzle
06-22-2013, 03:47 AM
Hey Chikega :-)

I never worked with Mantra so I can't comment on how they compare.

I guess Thea is a bit of a pet-love of mine.
Rendering with it puts me in a Zen vibe.

After all those decades where we tried to get realistic results in standard "fake" renderers, it's very relaxing to have the realistic part down pat and go exploring how to use that in interesting ways. Pure realism can be "boring" in a way (it "just" looks real like everything around us does anyway) but I find it interesting to approach images from this side for a change and for instance render "unreal" things very realistic.

Or in this image, I first rendered the perfect caustics through the waterglass with Thea and then put it through Photoshop and Lightroom for a totally different look from "Photoreal" although it keeps all the wonderful details of the light and caustics:

http://www.screendream.de/Site/assets/site/3D/Graphics/Wasserglas_PainterlyBlue.jpg

In context of my website: Wasserglas (http://www.screendream.de/Site/3d-design/graphics.html#/0)

In Thea, you can really "paint" with light.
It feels like photography but with all the added options that 3D gives us.

Cheers,

Tom

chikega
11-26-2013, 09:51 AM
Very cool image ... looks like an illustration from the turn of the last century ... industrial themes with an airbrush and friskets. :)

Thomas Helzle
11-26-2013, 10:12 AM
Very cool image ... looks like an illustration from the turn of the last century ... industrial themes with an airbrush and friskets. :)

Ha - yeah, now that you say it I know exactly what you mean ;-)

BTW. More updates came out in the meantime and Thea 1.3 is announced for December with nice new stuff added:
http://www.thearender.com/cms/

And GPU rendering rocks, even on my modest GTX 660 TI ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
11-27-2013, 12:45 AM
OK. Invested the afternoon going through most of the site, videos and all. A few questions:

Are there any render benchmarks that compare the three render methods to other renderers? Just want to get some idea of its speed.

Do the IES lights work like we would want them to in LW? IOW, setting an IES light to 100% IS 100% for that light; not having to set it to 1,000+% like Lewis has described to get the light to emit the "proper" amount of energy?

Do you find anything lacking in the renderer, darkroom or workflow in general?

Thomas Helzle
11-27-2013, 04:40 AM
- I never was interested in Benchmarks personally, so I can't help there. Since Thea has so many rendermodes, it would be complicated to do anyway. But you can do your own tests with the demo version to see if it works for you and your needs and scenes.

- IES lights are physical accurate to a point where you can actually plan your lighting solutions with them. IIRC there wasn't even a multiplier originally, only when people asked for more creative freedom (sometimes it's cool to have the interesting light structures from IES for non-realistic situations) it was added I think. There is even a light measuring mode in the renderer. I think you need to use one of the unbiased modes TR1 or TR2 for full accuracy.

- What's lacking: The renderer itself isn't lacking much, it's clearly the centre of development and Ioannis is very very good.
Overall the Thea Studio GUI needs a bit of getting used to. As cool as the renderer is, the GUI isn't completely up to that standard IMO. Small things like TAB from one field to the next needs four TABs for unclear reasons, sometimes numerical values aren't refreshed right away when you change something elsewhere. Some numerical values are presented in unusual ways.
Camera logic is funny and one of my bigger (regular) complaints. It can be annoying sometimes to keep a clear overview of when a camera is selected in what mode and overall camera movement isn't as straight forward as for instance in LW or XSI. Quad view is not well implemented either.

That's countered with many very good solutions though, so you get for instance little preview icons for IES lights in the library that show the light cone, saving a sky environment creates an icon with a small render of it for easy recall, the whole material library is very well implemented and the possibilities with materials are very deep.

For my use, some unbiased renderers are too much into perfection of the pure idea of physical accuracy, Thea also allows for fake and unrealistic things - if you decide to do so.

I recommend trying the demo, the docs are pretty good to show how stuff works. And IMO Thea is worth the few niggles with the GUI.

But that is very personal of course - YMMV ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
11-27-2013, 08:11 PM
- I never was interested in Benchmarks personally, so I can't help there. Since Thea has so many rendermodes, it would be complicated to do anyway. But you can do your own tests with the demo version to see if it works for you and your needs and scenes.

A benchmark, per se, isn't what I'm after; just a reference more than anything else. Is it painfully slow? I have already DL'd the applications, so will give it a run. Problem is, in getting a decent reading on how much slower it may be, I'll be having to set up a complex scene to be able to compare oranges and oranges. That'll require learning as much about Thea as I know about LW, which could take considerable time; just to find out if it comes anywhere close. Knowing more is always good but it's also another $500USD that I'm considering investing that may or may not replace part of LW.


- IES lights are physical accurate to a point where you can actually plan your lighting solutions with them. IIRC there wasn't even a multiplier originally, only when people asked for more creative freedom (sometimes it's cool to have the interesting light structures from IES for non-realistic situations) it was added I think. There is even a light measuring mode in the renderer. I think you need to use one of the unbiased modes TR1 or TR2 for full accuracy.

Good. This is what I'm looking for. Part of our LW use is product design of one-off commissions. We fully model the design prior to working IRL. Most of them employ blown glass in one way or another. Many need to be dimensionally accurate, so that we know that component parts will fit each other. In the case of light fixtures, having a reliable lighting distribution sim is desired. I attempted this with a current commission in LW by flying by the seat of my pants; just guessing at values by gut feeling and relationship to other sources more than anything else. Then I learned that the IES implementation in LW is all over the map and what I have may very well be completely off.


Overall the Thea Studio GUI needs a bit of getting used to. <SNIP> Quad view is not well implemented either.

Why does it always come down to the UI being the stumbling block to an otherwise brilliant application? From watching the videos, I felt that the sizes of panels and fonts could easily have been less, without sacrificing readability/useability.

Thanks for the insight. I had looked at other renderers previous but had not run across Thea.

Thomas Helzle
11-28-2013, 04:53 AM
Hey Spherical,

the problem with any kind of benchmark is, that for instance in Thea you can get absolutely tack sharp, highly detailed caustics of a quality that LW simply can't reach. It may take longer, but you get a totally different quality. Also, you can use laboratory measured materials using .ior files, so if you have such a file for the type of glass you are using, you get VERY accurate results including real dispersion.
Same with the IES - maybe it takes a bit longer to render, but you don't have to fiddle about with a "fake" renderer like LWs which was never built for physical accuracy.
Lights in Thea have their measurements in Watts, Candelas and many other physical relevant scales, not some arbitrary %.

Heck, in the beginning I struggled with how to make the sun brighter or darker until I realized I simply had to set my ISO to a value that fits the scene. Since I'm a photographer too, that came very natural to me once I groked it.

When I first started with unbiased rendering, I became aware that I had to unlearn a ton of the totally unreal stuff we have to learn to work in non-physical renderers. In reality you don't have specular separated from diffuse or reflection. Everything is reflection of light, only the roughness of the surface differs...

Yes, you need a certain amount of knowledge to optimize renders in Thea and make a real comparison, but IMO it's worth it and that knowledge can be transferred to similar renderers like Maxwell etc.

When I read what you struggle with in LW, I'd say you could benefit a lot from a physical accurate renderer, possibly even more so than I do.

The new GPU renderer doesn't support everything yet, but it's in constant development and 1.3 will for instance add SSS which was missing in 1.2. That would be one way to speed up rendering.

But one thing I personally find totally amazing: I do 3D for about 20 years now and up to this day I haven't seen another renderer where networkrendering works as simple, reliable and efficient as in Thea. I did projects where I started and stopped renderings 50 times a day, often I had two or three instances of Thea open on my main machine and not once did I have as much as a hiccup. You simply tell Thea you want to use networkrendering, set up your network clients once (takes about 1 minute) and then you simply hit render in the darkroom. Thea prepares a package for the clients and then all machines render full stop and you can tell the clients how often they should send their results to the master, so you see the updates on your main machine and can stop the rendering when it's good enough.

You can also save the current state into a special image format (pretty large file) and continue rendering later.

When Thea is set to low priority, you can happily work on other stuff on the same machine that is rendering with very little perceived impact.

Networkrendering is what I personally use ATM to get good speeds on more complex scenes, especially interiors can be taxing, depending on the rooms.

I don't use Thea for everything of course, but when I want accuracy, it's Thea.


As far as the UI goes: Yeah, I know what you mean, but on the other hand it's not that bad and constantly improving. I personally take the good, work around the bad and ignore the ugly ;-) The balance works in favour in my case.

If you have any specific questions, let me know.


Cheers,

Tom

Thomas Helzle
11-28-2013, 05:02 AM
BTW. Thea has Colimo integration:
http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/features/colimo-integration.html
http://www.motivacg.com/en/

You can render your scene in a special mode and have for instance the floor with white marble. Then in Colimo you can replace the textures you flagged as "repaintable" in Thea with other stone or wood materials in more or less realtime.
The initial rendering takes a bit longer, but afterwards you can go through stuff like different wallpapers etc. very fast.
It doesn't support everything, but for stuff like labels on bottles, wallpapers or surface materials on objects without displacement, it's quite impressive.

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
11-28-2013, 05:58 PM
OK, thanks for the extra info.


the problem with any kind of benchmark is, that for instance in Thea you can get absolutely tack sharp, highly detailed caustics of a quality that LW simply can't reach. It may take longer, but you get a totally different quality.

Well, I'm just looking for: "Half as fast, a third as fast, I can go make a sandwich fast, it'll be done when I wake up fast, it'll take until next week fast."


I don't use Thea for everything of course, but when I want accuracy, it's Thea.

So, it's more on a plane with Maxwell? Any preferences between the two?


so you see the updates on your main machine and can stop the rendering when it's good enough.
You can also save the current state into a special image format (pretty large file) and continue rendering later.

So, in this regard it works as Fprime does. Cool. I'm checking out some of the other external forum discussions that showed up in search to get a wider impression and, of course, that generates more questions.

There are a lot of really great renderers out there. Too bad most of them don't think that LightWave is worth their time to code a plugin for it. What are we, chopped liver, hunk of $#!t on a rock!? :\ Geez, it gets depressing after a while....

Thanks!

chikega
11-29-2013, 11:12 PM
I've downloaded the demo Thomas and I've been going through the manual and setting up some basic scenes. All I can say is Wow! I wonder how Thea Render 1.3 compares to Keyshot 4 or Arion 2(Fryrender).

OFF
11-30-2013, 12:28 AM
I played with Thea couple days and got a very pleasant experience! Firstly, compared with other side Renderers, Thea allows you to create animations own means, to change the position of objects, light sources, etc. there are even volumetrics, but I have he reached to them. Lately I've been thinking about purchasing for Arnold LW; LW as means rather problematic to create animations with noiseless global illumination - MC non interpolated method of GI takes much more time than in the modern unbiased renderers. So maybe I'll think about purchasing Thea, which is about three times cheaper than the license for Arnold.

chikega
11-30-2013, 08:45 AM
Can an individual even purchase Arnold? I thought it was closed to the public. Thomas worked with Arnold extensively and could share with you the pros and cons.

OFF
11-30-2013, 09:36 AM
I talked with the manager of Solid Works and he told me in the end:

Arnold prices start from 1000 + 225 annual maintenance & support per license per machine and we offer great discounts on volume above 10,50 and 100 licenses.
Our minimum sale is 5 seats but we occasionally waive that rule.
Accordingly, the question of the purchase of the license until hung in the air as much as 5 licenses costs 1225 euros each for me excessively.
But Thea price looks very attractive, although work with Thea and not as comfortable as it demonstrates Juan, its plug-in integration Arnold in to LW, because there is no plugin for Lightwave, nor the ability to use Thea in Lightwave directly.

Thomas Helzle
12-01-2013, 07:34 AM
OK, thanks for the extra info.



Well, I'm just looking for: "Half as fast, a third as fast, I can go make a sandwich fast, it'll be done when I wake up fast, it'll take until next week fast."



So, it's more on a plane with Maxwell? Any preferences between the two?



So, in this regard it works as Fprime does. Cool. I'm checking out some of the other external forum discussions that showed up in search to get a wider impression and, of course, that generates more questions.

There are a lot of really great renderers out there. Too bad most of them don't think that LightWave is worth their time to code a plugin for it. What are we, chopped liver, hunk of $#!t on a rock!? :\ Geez, it gets depressing after a while....

Thanks!

Sorry, I can not give you anything useful regarding benchmarks. If you're seriously interested, the only thing that makes sense is testing your own, really. I wouldn't hold back if I would see any point in doing a benchmark but this is a different kind of rendering, not just another renderer. And yes, it's similar to maxwell, but has several render engines, from biased to unbiased to GPU.

I only used maxwell many years ago when it was still in beta and they made some very weird jumps in development then that made me avoid them since.

I started out myself with unbiased with Fryrender, but this company is so unreliable, it's beyond funny. They made totally haphazard decisions, dropped great features, let their users hang for years with "it's done when it's done" and then dropped support for most applications ... even if Arion would do the laundry and make coffee I wouldn't touch anything from them ever again. I burned 800.- Euro just to be left with abandonware that can't even be sold.

As far as Lightwave support: You can't blame 3rd party developers for this. After all the stunts the LW team has made over the years after Luxology left, nobody knew if it would ever come back again or simply fold. Now it IS coming back and we see the first new products like Octane released, but there still is a lot of work ahead before LW will be seen as serious contender again. Core left a huge crater in confidence throughout the industry.

Cheers,

Tom

Thomas Helzle
12-01-2013, 08:10 AM
I talked with the manager of Solid Works and he told me in the end:

Accordingly, the question of the purchase of the license until hung in the air as much as 5 licenses costs 1225 euros each for me excessively.
But Thea price looks very attractive, although work with Thea and not as comfortable as it demonstrates Juan, its plug-in integration Arnold in to LW, because there is no plugin for Lightwave, nor the ability to use Thea in Lightwave directly.

Arnold is a very good renderer for big movie companies like sony. If money is of no concern and you have a good team of TDs I would guess it can be a joy to work with.

For the individual artist or small studio it may work if you do high-profile work or need exactly that look and that feature set and have the money to spend.

For me personally it's far too expensive and also was too limited out of the box back when I used it some years ago. I no longer follow it's development so that may have changed, but it was always targeted at bigger studios and making movies - which I don't do.

As for the price:
A render client for Thea costs 45 Euro ... ;-)
http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/buy.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=2&category_id=1

Arnold doesn't know a client concept and you basically pay the same price for every license....


But Arnold isn't really physical nor unbiased, so the main point of Thea is really if you are after physically correct, photoreal images, primarily stills, complex materials, perfect lighting with unlimited bounces, perfect caustics, dispersion, physical SSS etc. And if you care for the developer you work with, Ioannis is a pure pleasure to deal with, you get a lot of updates out of the investment (point updates are free and that included huge things like GPU rendering just recently - and we're at 1.2 / 1.3 only - and there is a very active, friendly community.

I could imagine if enough LW users bug them, a LW integration may come about given some time.

But don't get me wrong: Thea isn't for everybody and I don't want to create the impression that it is perfect. It just happens to be my favourite renderer. Ever. :-)

I prefer it over modo, mental ray, arnold, octane, vray and sadly Fprime since it no longer works. The only other renderer I like as much is actually LWs, mostly for it's versatility, VPR and NPR options.

But again, I mostly do stills so YMMV.

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
12-01-2013, 07:17 PM
Now if only they would have a sale.... :)

Emmanuel
12-03-2013, 02:49 AM
Went to their gallery with high exspactions only to find nothing spectacular :( I have seen more stunning things made with Cycles to be honest.

Thomas Helzle
12-03-2013, 03:52 AM
Went to their gallery with high exspactions only to find nothing spectacular :( I have seen more stunning things made with Cycles to be honest.

Yeah, cycles is growing stronger with every release.
Do you use Blender yourself?

Cheers,

Tom

Thomas Helzle
12-17-2013, 08:44 AM
Just a heads up: Version 1.3 was released today with great new additions:
http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/news/edition-13.html
And there's a promotional offer as well:
http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/news/promotional-offer.html

Cheers,

Tom

AbnRanger
12-17-2013, 12:39 PM
Just a heads up: Version 1.3 was released today with great new additions:
http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/news/edition-13.html
And there's a promotional offer as well:
http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/news/promotional-offer.html

Cheers,

TomThanks for the Heads up. I've been keeping an eye on it lately. Tested it (demo version) inside Max and was pleasantly surprised. The Interactive rendering mode was rock solid and wicked fast. Glad you mentioned the sale. Was thinking hard about the purchase beforehand. This should make the decision easy.

Thomas Helzle
12-17-2013, 01:18 PM
Cool!

Yeah, stability is great with Thea. I can work for weeks without a crash (Thea Studio though, my software doesn't have full integration yet).

The new CPU + GPU mode is wicked and the improvements in GPU rendering/Presto make it much more versatile. Micro Roughness looks awesome too.

I hope you will enjoy Thea as much as I do ;-)

I currently work on a job where I recreate very complex high-end paint materials: First a reflective mirror paint layer as a base, then a transparent colour layer and then a high gloss transparent paint layer. I am able to model this absolutely perfect with Thea. You can set how thick coat layers are, how high their absorption is etc.
The customer was very surprised how close to reality I came.
And it still renders very quickly, now even more so with my Nvidia GTX660TI together with my 6 core i7 @ 4.1 Ghz.
Nice! :-)

Cheers,

Tom

P.S. and don't forget to bug (friendly) Ioannis the developer every now and then with a LW plugin ;-)

spherical
12-18-2013, 04:22 PM
Just a heads up: Version 1.3 was released today with great new additions:

The Downloads page still lists 1.2.09. Did I miss something?

Thomas Helzle
12-19-2013, 03:45 AM
Yeah, the demo lags slightly behind, because Ioannis usually waits for some time before he releases it to the masses.
Customers can download it from a special forum page until he is satisfied that there are no hidden bugs or problems left.

Cheers,

Tom

allabulle
01-16-2014, 05:50 PM
I'm playing with the demo and I think I'll buy it before the 31st (end of the promotion). I won't be using it for everything but for some of the things I do it will fit perfectly. I imagined it to be slower than it actually is. Anyone using it for animations?

Thomas Helzle
01-17-2014, 03:19 AM
Great you like it! :-)

Yeah, in my experience speed can be very fast for objects with not much surrounding them, like Logos in Space.
Objects on a studio background take a bit longer as do outdoor scenes and the slowest it can be with indoors stuff - pretty much like most GI renderers in the end. I once had a job rendering a complex room where the dark version took about 2 hours in high rez while the totally white version took 11 hours until it was clean enough - the faster rays can settle or fade out, the faster it goes, in a white room rays bounce around for a long time...
That was some versions and a computer update away though.

I especially find the very fast preview render (similar to VPR) is a godsend that allows me to work rather fast, even if final rendering takes longer.

I don't really do animations these days and I'm not sure if I would do it with Thea without 4 blastingly fast Titans ;-)
I guess I'll try as soon as one of my hosts is getting an integrated plugin - XSI seems close enough, maybe modo...

Cheers,

Tom

vipvip242
01-17-2014, 03:37 AM
I've bought a licence 1 week ago and i'm totally satisfied.
As Octane-render user too, Thea has other qualities, octane remains perfect for GI animation with lightwave ( there is actually no LW plugin for Thea but the standalone app is quite good ).

IMPORTANT: Note that when you register Thea you have acces to the last version, 1.3, which works much more well than the 1.2 demo version and is much more powerfull too ( with cuda support ).

Cheers

spherical
01-29-2014, 10:15 PM
Just bought in. Thomas, I'll be picking your brain when I get stuck. :)

Not having a LW OR Modo plugin makes it less appealing, but it will up my game nonetheless; just will be more hassle. I read that they were thinking about plugins but they would not be full integration varieties; like are available for the apparently "more desirable" apps.

Been working with Octane demo as well and really like it. Also like the plugins available. Makes things far more intuitive and hassle-free. What with all of the purchases, upgrades and expansion, though, I'll have to wait for a sale to come along. Does OTOY ever put Octane on special?

Thomas Helzle
01-30-2014, 03:40 AM
Hehehe - I bought octane when it was 49$ once a long time ago in beta. I never really liked it, but for the price it was okay. Then later I bought the Lightwave Plugin for 99$ and I'm still not too hot on Octane itself, although Juanjo did the best possible job on the integration IMO.
To me it feels way more complicated and restricted, and the price is high, especially for render nodes where no other system seems to exist at the moment than buying a full octane license and a full LW Plugin for each machine...

You are very welcome to pick my brain and I hope Thea will work well for you.
If you already know how unbiased/physical rendering thinks it should be easy to get into, if not, it pays to really understand the differences first - the manual is quite good.
The most important thing for me was, to unlearn all the crap we learned for the usual fake renderers, like highlights etc. and get back to how reality works ;-)


- The Thea forum is very good and very helpful, if you are a licensed user you can see more forums and there are some really cool resources to be found, like materials and scenes and a lot of knowledge.


- In Thea 1.3, there is a new update manager (Menu->Help->Check for Updates) which isn't just for software updates but also is able to install all the content, so you don't have to install it via the forum downloads. Many testscenes, benchmark scenes for Presto/GPU, trees, textures/materials, some skies...


- If you have multiple machines, you should love the network rendering... :-)

Cheers and best regards,

Tom

allabulle
01-30-2014, 07:15 AM
I finally bought it too.

I wonder how many lightwavers have it already. I asked for a LightWave plug-in in the purchasing questionnaire (with no hope whatsoever but, hey!, it doesn't hurt to ask for it, right?)

Thomas Helzle
01-30-2014, 07:33 AM
Hehehe - that's the spirit ;-)

Writing host integrations is a lot of work. When I demoed the Vray Integration in XSI many years ago I was told that creating the Host-Plugins is actually much more work than creating the renderer and I actually believe that. You are not in control of changes in the hosts, you may need to support a broad range of versions with all their special bugs or problems, you have to fit your renderer into totally different philosophies, node based, layer based, whatever...
So I don't know if and when a LW plugin (exporter or integrated) may become available, but I'll keep my hope up anyway.

And if anybody in the community should be interested in doing even a basic exporter, I'm sure Solid Iris/Ioannis would be happy to help him or her!

Cheers,

Tom

P.S. Let me know what your impressions are! I'm curious ;-)

OFF
01-30-2014, 07:37 AM
Vote for Lightwave plugin:
http://www.thearender.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1549&start=10

allabulle
01-30-2014, 08:03 AM
Hehehe - that's the spirit ;-)

Writing host integrations is a lot of work. When I demoed the Vray Integration in XSI many years ago I was told that creating the Host-Plugins is actually much more work than creating the renderer and I actually believe that. You are not in control of changes in the hosts, you may need to support a broad range of versions with all their special bugs or problems, you have to fit your renderer into totally different philosophies, node based, layer based, whatever...
So I don't know if and when a LW plugin (exporter or integrated) may become available, but I'll keep my hope up anyway.

And if anybody in the community should be interested in doing even a basic exporter, I'm sure Solid Iris/Ioannis would be happy to help him or her!

Cheers,

Tom

P.S. Let me know what your impressions are! I'm curious ;-)

I don't usually rely much on hope to carry on. So I'll do fine. However, I'll be so happy if the plug-in finally appears!

Now, let's see what can I do with the renderer. I'll try to comment on my findings and impressions, (almost) promise. :)

By the way, in less than an hour I received the license e-mail. That was quicker than expected too. Nice!

- - - Updated - - -


Vote for Lightwave plugin:
http://www.thearender.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1549&start=10

Done!

spherical
01-30-2014, 04:41 PM
I'm sure there is a preferred method but I found that the physical sky adjustments in Octane were more intuitive and quick to refine. I was really impressed by the feedback and number of controls in it. Took me a while but I finally found most of the functionality in Thea but, in 1.2 anyway, it doesn't have the same continuous adjustability on all controls. I'm probably missing something... and that would be a clue. :)

The manual is nice. Well written. It, and the price, were what caused me to lean in Thea's direction, as I was able to determine that Thea has what I need. Octane does, too, and I'll likely get it one day, if for no other reason than the plugins that it has to work with applications that I have.

Thomas Helzle
01-30-2014, 04:55 PM
Yeah, the integration is a strong point for Octane, but Thea is far more versatile IMO, since if need should be, you can render huge images (my largest was 10,000 x 10,000 pixels) without needing super expensive graphics cards.
And since it also supports biased rendering, I find it easier to adapt it to whatever the project needs.
Certain metal- and reflection-heavy scenes simply don't need unbiased and can render very fast that way.

The physical sky was updated in 1.3 (you should have 1.3 if you bought it?) and should be easier to work with. I hardly use it since I mostly prefer HDRIs but I look forward to check the enhancements in 1.3.

Cheers,

Tom

djwaterman
01-30-2014, 05:58 PM
Just a question, does it handle subD's?

Thomas Helzle
01-31-2014, 03:41 AM
Just a question, does it handle subD's?

No, like all renderengines I know it needs the meshes to be frozen and possibly triangulated. SubDs are still not standardized enough to guarantee that your meshes will look identical if another app does the calculation and freezing. Especially edge-weighting seems to differ widely between apps. That is one thing an exporter usually does for you ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

jwiede
01-31-2014, 04:35 AM
No, like all renderengines I know it needs the meshes to be frozen and possibly triangulated.

Just a quick correction, Pixar's pRenderMan (obviously) supports equivalent technology to OpenSubDiv, and Maxwell V3 includes native OpenSubDiv support -- that's two biggies, with more coming.

I picked up a Thea license during the recent holiday sale, and have been quite impressed so far. Mac support for plugins lags Windows a bit, but the C4D plugin looks quite nice, and a good sign of where Thea integration is going. I have an Octane license as well, and when it comes to LW integration it clearly has an edge over Thea, but I find Thea more generally interesting because of the flexibility it offers in render solutions available within the package -- esp. the ability to switch between the different unbiased implementations across CPU and GPU. My one big wish would be for Thea to get deeper integration with LW (and modo), but for now I can either use Studio or move stuff through C4D.

OFF
01-31-2014, 05:29 AM
Thea subdiv options:
119771

Thomas Helzle
01-31-2014, 05:35 AM
Thea subdiv options:
119771

Yeah, but the first is just linear subdivision and the second is some non-Catmul-Clark smoothing Algorithm. Helpful in some rare cases but not helpful if you want to get the same result as in Lightwave from a cage model.

Cheers,

Tom

Thomas Helzle
01-31-2014, 06:09 AM
Just a quick correction, Pixar's pRenderMan (obviously) supports equivalent technology to OpenSubDiv, and Maxwell V3 includes native OpenSubDiv support -- that's two biggies, with more coming.

I picked up a Thea license during the recent holiday sale, and have been quite impressed so far. Mac support for plugins lags Windows a bit, but the C4D plugin looks quite nice, and a good sign of where Thea integration is going. I have an Octane license as well, and when it comes to LW integration it clearly has an edge over Thea, but I find Thea more generally interesting because of the flexibility it offers in render solutions available within the package -- esp. the ability to switch between the different unbiased implementations across CPU and GPU. My one big wish would be for Thea to get deeper integration with LW (and modo), but for now I can either use Studio or move stuff through C4D.

Yeah, you are right, my statement in the absolute form I used was wrong without more context.

I know about those, Mental Ray also has some internal SubDees (which in XSI are disabled AFAIK for the reasons below), but
a.) I don't have any application with OpenSubDiv export and
b.) most of the time something or other is different in the implementations, especially with edge weighting which I tend to use heavily.
c.) what I actually meant is: the renderer needs a frozen and triangulated mesh before rendering - only difference is who is doing the work. ;-)

My main point being: when you want your mesh to look _exactly_ like in your modelling app, the best bet still is exporting a frozen mesh until maybe one day every app is using something like OpenSubDiv and there are clear ways how to transport them between apps... ;-)

Basically for the stuff I'm doing with Thea it doesn't matter anyway. I don't render animations with it.
And Thea eats polygons like there is no tomorrow. :-)


The suboptimal plugin situation came about like this (for those who don't know the history of Thea):
The Kerkythea renderer from the same developer was and is a free GI renderer that was quite highly regarded for Blender etc.
When the new commercial incarnation "Thea Render" came about, the initial idea was, to let external developers who were specialists in their respective packages create the plugins. This worked great in some cases but in other cases didn't work at all, since after an initial interest, the external developers had other stuff to do and the support for the Thea plugins went weaker and weaker or even ended. This happened with the softimage plugin (which mostly works) as well as with modo (works only for 501) and C4D (new integrated plugin in beta).

At one point it became clear that
a.) Solid Iris had to create the plugins themself to be able to deliver reliable solutions for their customers and
b.) Almost all hosts had opened up their SDKs to enable integrated render solutions in the meantime, so mere exporters didn't cut it anymore.
But coding a renderer is a completely different process from doing a full host integration, so it took them much much longer than anticipated.

They are at it and there is for instance an alpha for a fully integrated XSI soon to be started, but overall we need some patience.

Although I have some gripes with the GUI of Thea Studio, I still love to work with it for still renderings and hope it will improve some more over time.


BTW. the fully integrated Thea Blender Plugin is free and open source if anybody should be interested.

Cheers,

Tom

AbnRanger
01-31-2014, 09:14 AM
Yeah, but the first is just linear subdivision and the second is some non-Catmul-Clark smoothing Algorithm. Helpful in some rare cases but not helpful if you want to get the same result as in Lightwave from a cage model.

Cheers,

TomThe Loop Subdivision is to triangular SubD as Catmull Clark is in Quads. 3D Coat gives you the option to choose Loop Subdivision when sculpting in Surface mode. Just bought in before the deadline is up. Can't wait to start playing with 1.3. They really should have made that available for trial downloads, during this sale. Could make a lot of difference in one's decision-making process. Why? Cause of the SSS and Atmospherics in Presto GPU. Not sure if it will play well in Max.

Thomas Helzle
01-31-2014, 09:48 AM
Yeah, would have been better to have 1.3 as a demo.
I have no problems with 1.3 so I'm not sure why they didn't release it to the public already.

Sorry, I don't understand what you are saying about the Subdivision.

Cheers,

Tom

AbnRanger
01-31-2014, 11:35 AM
Yeah, would have been better to have 1.3 as a demo.
I have no problems with 1.3 so I'm not sure why they didn't release it to the public already.

Sorry, I don't understand what you are saying about the Subdivision.

Cheers,

TomI was just saying that the LOOP Subdivision option in the Thea Standalone, is a common triangular SubD algorithm...as common as Catmull Clark is to Quad Subdivision. It works good in 3D Coat, so it should work fine, IMHO. Btw, what is the deal with Messiah? I know you were a forum contributor there, for a while (AON). I really don't want to be using something I strongly feel is a dead product...the renderer seems to have so much potential, but I don't know if Fori threw in the towel long ago, or what.

Thomas Helzle
01-31-2014, 12:15 PM
Yeah, messiah was extremely promising back in the day.

The renderer in messiah is an early version of Arnold, since Marcos worked in the same company as the other guys at the time when he developed it (together with Fori, Taron, Lyle etc.) - messiah started out as an inhouse tool.
In the meantime messiahs renderer developed in a different direction though and is able to use interpolated GI as well, something that Arnold doesn't do.

I no longer follow the messiah development though.
Fori together with the die-hard messiah supporters seems to crunch out a new version every couple of years but I stopped updating with version 4 since I don't use it anymore - I don't even have it installed on my new machine.

I did set the AoN:Studio and TLH:Pro shaders free for members of the Setuptab forum some time ago since I no longer support them - they still seem to work with version 6 though.

It's one of my deepest regrets when it comes to software :-(
It had a very bright future at one point in time.

Well, can't be helped.

Cheers,

Tom

AbnRanger
02-01-2014, 12:06 PM
Man, they are killing me with this waiting game. I ordered it first thing yesterday morning, and it's looking like I'm going to be left hanging over the weekend. When you buy a kid a new toy, you don't make him wait over the weekend to play with it. :) Plus, the whole trial thing, where they claim that 1.3 is supposed to work with atmospherics. That was one of the reasons I was considering the purchase. The least they could have done was show a demonstration of it working. Been itching to test and see, myself. I feel like a drug addict, waiting on his next "fix." :D

vipvip242
02-01-2014, 12:22 PM
i've just sent my vore for the LW-thea plugin

Thomas Helzle
02-01-2014, 12:22 PM
hehehe - I guess they process it by hand and may have had a larger number of orders on the last day of the offer ;-)
Back when I ordered it I got my serials within some hours, but it was a Wednesday.

If you have a forum registration and sent it in with your order, you may already be able to download 1.3 from the licensed users forums when logged in - may be worth checking out and refresh your browser cache.

Atmospherics ("Medium" in Thea) exist and work for a long time. What was improved was the physical sky AFAIK, but the Atmospherics (the volumetric sun rays) use a volume (a simple box AFAIK) with trees in it to throw shadows into the medium. It isn't a weather or cloud simulation.

I hope you will get your "fix" soon ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

Thomas Helzle
02-01-2014, 12:26 PM
http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/resources/studio-scenes.html
P.S. The laser lab scene also uses medium to make the laser visible - can be very slow though, since it actually works more or less like a real laser ...

Cheers,

Tom

AbnRanger
02-01-2014, 02:01 PM
hehehe - I guess they process it by hand and may have had a larger number of orders on the last day of the offer ;-)
Back when I ordered it I got my serials within some hours, but it was a Wednesday.

If you have a forum registration and sent it in with your order, you may already be able to download 1.3 from the licensed users forums when logged in - may be worth checking out and refresh your browser cache.

Atmospherics ("Medium" in Thea) exist and work for a long time. What was improved was the physical sky AFAIK, but the Atmospherics (the volumetric sun rays) use a volume (a simple box AFAIK) with trees in it to throw shadows into the medium. It isn't a weather or cloud simulation.

I hope you will get your "fix" soon ;-)

Cheers,

TomOh, I see. I have a license of finalRender (3.5) and it comes with a Volumetric system (PyroCluster), similar to Hypervoxels, or Afterburn (another Max plugin)...and it can be used with the Interactive Render. Even VRay's RT or iRay can't do that. Only problem is...the Interactive Render (for FR) is very crash prone. So, this is one reason why I've been waiting on something with an IPR that isn't so limited. Hearing that 1.3 worked with SSS (VRay RT still doesn't support SSS) and volumetrics, I was hopeful this was it. Guess not. Bummer.

I still liked the IPR. Smoothest I've seen anywhere. I think they are onto something.

spherical
02-01-2014, 02:29 PM
One thing that confuses me is that there are posts stating that Presto is an "add-on" renderer. Isn't 1.3 everything in one suite? Presto AO and Presto MC appear in the Presets drop-down, as they did in 1.2 Demo. The passes fly by when they are selected but, other than that, I see no indicator that I'm actually using GPU+CPU. Also haven't been able to get caustics to work when Presto is selected. The pool scene looks like the Sargasso Sea. Can't seem to find anything relevant on the forums, so lots of RTFM ahead. Good thing it is well written.

Thomas Helzle
02-01-2014, 03:00 PM
One thing that confuses me is that there are posts stating that Presto is an "add-on" renderer. Isn't 1.3 everything in one suite? Presto AO and Presto MC appear in the Presets drop-down, as they did in 1.2 Demo. The passes fly by when they are selected but, other than that, I see no indicator that I'm actually using GPU+CPU. Also haven't been able to get caustics to work when Presto is selected. The pool scene looks like the Sargasso Sea. Can't seem to find anything relevant on the forums, so lots of RTFM ahead. Good thing it is well written.

In version 1.2 Presto had to be installed separately and was a kind of plugin. In V 1.3 it's part of Theas main installer. Not sure what the idea with splitting in 1.2 was.

I don't think Presto supports the pool caustics yet, AFAIK only TR1 and TR2 do.
Regarding Supported Features in each Render Engine: there is a comparison table in the docs.

You can see what's used in the "Console" (third tab after Viewport and Darkroom).
I recommend the benchmark scenes to get a feel for the speed you get.
http://www.thearender.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=13845 (I don't know if you need to be licensed to see this).
There's also info about the priority settings for CPU and GPU in this thread. (Menu Customize -> Devices)


Some days ago I wrote a longer complaint in the Forum about the non-logical layout of how one selects the renderer, your confusion is totally normal IMO. ;-)
You select Biased and Unbiased for the Darkroom with the Biased and Unbiased Tabs on the Left - if the green LED is on it's on. So far so good.
But the system for Interactive/Presto is nuts: You have to click on that little Thea Logo between "Interactive" and the green LED to enable Presto.
If this logo is Red, you are using Presto and can select Presto (AC) or Presto (MC). The settings for the Darkroom usage of Presto are on the Darkroom tab in this column too.
Rather idiotic, but I got the response that the beta testers share my sentiment so the layout may improve over time. ;-)

I hope this helps! :-)

Cheers,

Tom

Thomas Helzle
02-01-2014, 03:12 PM
Oh, I see. I have a license of finalRender (3.5) and it comes with a Volumetric system (PyroCluster), similar to Hypervoxels, or Afterburn (another Max plugin)...and it can be used with the Interactive Render. Even VRay's RT or iRay can't do that. Only problem is...the Interactive Render (for FR) is very crash prone. So, this is one reason why I've been waiting on something with an IPR that isn't so limited. Hearing that 1.3 worked with SSS (VRay RT still doesn't support SSS) and volumetrics, I was hopeful this was it. Guess not. Bummer.

I still liked the IPR. Smoothest I've seen anywhere. I think they are onto something.

Well, it has real volumetrics, but I guess you where looking for something like Hypervoxels and particles, which it doesn't have yet. But you can enable the "Medium" for any object or globally and use the (not so many) procedural textures with it (not in Presto yet though).

Thea isn't a production renderer for Film like Vray etc. and rendering Volumetrics with unbiased is still a bit out of reach for normal humans, so I don't think this is a priority yet, although it's on the longterm roadmap.

Yeah, the IPR is gold :-)

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-01-2014, 03:50 PM
Thanks. Yeah, that renderer selection could use some work. I suppose that it is good that they are separated, in case the user wishes to use a different method and devices for final, apart from interactive in the viewport. Makes sense now. Now that I know where they all are, it isn't a big deal.

Also helps to run the 64-bit version. :) I installed the 32-bit after the 64-bit and the installer overwrote the shortcuts, unbeknownst to me. I happily fired it up, registered and began learning. That which clued me in today was the icon sitting n the desktop. Before deleting it, I checked the path, as it may have been the demo. (x86) was in there. AhHa! This should be fun. Created a set of 64-bit icons, registered that and away we go!

If you could, either via PM or here if you want to share with others, do a mountaintop sequence of how you get from LightWave into Thea, please? Without any plugin to even do the export/import (and I think the manual uses 3DMAX as an example?), I could be taking a lot of unnecessary steps. Is it all OBJ exports and then (re)surface & (re)build everything in Thea? I have a fairly complex interior scene that employs IES lights and I thought I was going to get a simulation of the light levels using them in LW. Not. Everything is arbitrary, including those, and hence, useless for determining meaningful data in this regard.

Thanks.

Thomas Helzle
02-01-2014, 05:10 PM
Ah - good you found your way ;-)

Yeah, 64 Bit is the way to go, I don't even install the 32 Bit version - makes no sense anymore IMO.

As for export: Yeah, I do it all via OBJ, UVmapped and cleaned, if necessary frozen.
I often create my objects in Moment of Inspiration (http://moi3d.com/) which also has no exporter.

I can imagine that it's a pain if you have complex scenes and everything set up already in LW. Maybe that isn't the best thing to start with ;-)

I usually plan what renderer I'm going to use and then prepare accordingly. In that case it makes not that much difference to me, since I enjoy working in Thea Studio for texturing and lighting.
Maybe start out with something more simple so you first get a feeling for how to best do things?
One of your glass objects with some nice caustics maybe?
Would be bad if you get completely frustrated since the first project is too complex?

Some Basics:
- If you want to use unbiased, lights need to be physical objects with as little polygons as possible (renders faster). A single triangle is the fastest.
- You can attach IES files to any object.
- The Thea Browser can show previews of IES-Lights if you add their folder.
- You need to work to scale with Thea, otherwise your light simulation will not be correct (as well as other stuff, like cameras/DOF etc.)


Export from LW:
- In the case you know you want to go to Thea, it makes sense to have your scene assembled and in place in Modeller in Layers (so that you don't need to position everything in Thea which is a bit more clumsy for that), with dummy materials assigned so you get the respective surfaces in Thea.
- Name your layers since that will be the object names in Thea.
- In Lightwave 11.6 OBJ-Options I only have "One Vmap" enabled, all others are off or you get weird results in Thea.
- I have everything in Meters since by default that is what Thea uses too.


On Thea Open/Merge (the latter being Import):
- Leave Scale at 1.0 - should work fine.
- Disable "Move to Origin" and "Move to Ground" on Thea Import so your original positions are kept.
- Select swap Y-Z (Thea is Z up, Lightwave Y up).
- I don't use "Group by Material" but you can if you prepared your object that way.
- Weld Vertices if you want - I do it on export or by hand.
- Smooth Normals if needed, can be done later per Object in the right mouse menu.


Something you need to get used to: Thea can't have multiple surfaces on one Object.
Don't get me started, it IS weird ;-)
Therefore objects are split into their material parts on import, sadly without the material names when coming from LW (works with other software).
- May be a good idea to group objects together so you can move them around without them getting separated.
- Layer names in Lightwave are used as object names in Thea.

From there on it's bliss, drag and drop materials from the library and then tweak them, set your lights etc.

- In the Material Lab Preview Options, you may want to set "High Resolution" to get a big material ball that really shows a good preview of the material.
- You can use different preview-objects and scenes for the preview ("Room").
- Increase the render quality for the ball if you want - I set it to 15-20
- If you have a nice material, drag the preview in your library to build it up with your own stuff.

- Since you usually need Layer, Scatter and Struct visible at once in the Material Lab, you can Click on their Icons one after the other while holding down CTRL.
This way, all three will open up in the future if you click on any of the three icons below the layer window.

- Going from one entry field to the next needs pressing the Tab key 4 times (...) but sometimes this is still faster than clicking, so just that you know your aren't crazy ;-)

Well, I hope this will get you started :-)

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-01-2014, 07:15 PM
Yeah, 64 Bit is the way to go, I don't even install the 32 Bit version - makes no sense anymore IMO.

Being a racing engineer, having spares is pretty much standard operating procedure.


I can imagine that it's a pain if you have complex scenes and everything set up already in LW. Maybe that isn't the best thing to start with ;-) Would be bad if you get completely frustrated since the first project is too complex?

Usually, I start with something basic and then jump to the complex and figure it out along the way.

Thank you for the concise road map. It helps a lot. A couple of comments and questions for clarification:


- If you want to use unbiased, lights need to be physical objects with as little polygons as possible (renders faster). A single triangle is the fastest.

I read that in the forums. This then acts like a two-sided area light, or the shape doesn't matter? I was thinking that it was a four-poly pyramid that they were discussing.


- You can attach IES files to any object.

I'm sure I'll see how this works but it sounds weird. No wonder I couldn't get the IES light to show up anywhere.


- The Thea Browser can show previews of IES-Lights if you add their folder.
- You need to work to scale with Thea, otherwise your light simulation will not be correct (as well as other stuff, like cameras/DOF etc.)

Found those but hadn't yet figured out how to add one. I always work to real-world scale, so that fits.


Export from LW:
- In the case you know you want to go to Thea, it makes sense to have your scene assembled and in place in Modeller in Layers (so that you don't need to position everything in Thea which is a bit more clumsy for that), with dummy materials assigned so you get the respective surfaces in Thea.
- Name your layers since that will be the object names in Thea.

So the whole scene is one big OBJ having multiple connected and disconnected meshes? Has this ever choked the exporter?


- Select swap Y-Z (Thea is Z up, Lightwave Y up).

Why can't everyone just agree on a coordinate system?


Something you need to get used to: Thea can't have multiple surfaces on one Object.
Don't get me started, it IS weird ;-)
Therefore objects are split into their material parts on import, sadly without the material names when coming from LW (works with other software).

Hmmmm, this is a possible problem. Rather than deal with UV mapped textures, I sometimes have taken what may be a fool's shortcut and applied different textures to poly sets. A table, for example, has an overall wood procedural that is scaled in X, Y or Z in order to create the long grain in the proper direction. This, now, isn't possible. Any workaround, other than UV mapping everything or, as asked below, splitting up an object into parts flying in formation and texturing each part?


- Layer names in Lightwave are used as object names in Thea.

If I'm getting this straight:

I put all of the objects in a LW scene into one object in Modeler; one layer each.
I also put portions of models on different layers if they will have different surfaces. Grouping will keep these parts all together as one object.
Thea explodes the single model into discreet objects, based upon the layers contained in the scene file model.


Do like the updater that goes and gets the material presets & environments, etc. Nice feature. Did see the Xfrog plants in there. We bought the whole 2 set bundle, so will place those manually and hope I don't screw the pooch.

Now that I know how to set the render engines in at least a basic manner, the Interactive Viewport is just plain silly fast.

Thanks, again. I'm sure I'll find a sweet spot in many of these areas after mucking around for a while. :)

spherical
02-01-2014, 09:00 PM
Ok. Just ran into a snag. Have you any experience with Xfrog plants in Thea? We bought the whole enchilada before the special ran out, not knowing at the time that there is always a 50% off special running, and see that Thea has a small sampling of Xfrog plants that show up in the updater. Figuring that we already have all of them, I'd just DL one through the Thea updater, see where it goes, then install all of the others that we purchased into that location.

Well, there is no Thea format available in the Xfrog purchase selections; yet the one I downloaded has a .mod.thea extension. Is it OBJ renamed or....?

<rant>On a side note, a little feedback for people considering Xfrog, you specify the formats that you want at purchase and a mixed-up list is produced as both an email and an html page. Not very efficient. There is no order. So, I took the file and made another that is ordered according to format and then alphabetical. Now, when I go to get another library, it says: "404 - link has expired". Huh? How about securing your assets by giving customers a login to their own area, so that they can download according to their schedule--not yours?

They warn that if you use a downloader, you will be banned. Ummm.... ok, then give me enough time to get the darn files, like a year. Using a downloader, I can schedule transfers for a time in the future; like when I'm sleeping.

Then, there is a Rendering section in their support area. No Thea Render to be found, even though they are supplying free plants for it. Shortsighted doesn't even begin to describe how they're running this; especially not for that price.</rant>

Thomas Helzle
02-02-2014, 06:44 AM
Ok. Just ran into a snag. Have you any experience with Xfrog plants in Thea? We bought the whole enchilada before the special ran out, not knowing at the time that there is always a 50% off special running, and see that Thea has a small sampling of Xfrog plants that show up in the updater. Figuring that we already have all of them, I'd just DL one through the Thea updater, see where it goes, then install all of the others that we purchased into that location.

Well, there is no Thea format available in the Xfrog purchase selections; yet the one I downloaded has a .mod.thea extension. Is it OBJ renamed or....?

<rant>On a side note, a little feedback for people considering Xfrog, you specify the formats that you want at purchase and a mixed-up list is produced as both an email and an html page. Not very efficient. There is no order. So, I took the file and made another that is ordered according to format and then alphabetical. Now, when I go to get another library, it says: "404 - link has expired". Huh? How about securing your assets by giving customers a login to their own area, so that they can download according to their schedule--not yours?

They warn that if you use a downloader, you will be banned. Ummm.... ok, then give me enough time to get the darn files, like a year. Using a downloader, I can schedule transfers for a time in the future; like when I'm sleeping.

Then, there is a Rendering section in their support area. No Thea Render to be found, even though they are supplying free plants for it. Shortsighted doesn't even begin to describe how they're running this; especially not for that price.</rant>

As for Xfrog: I always found them annoying in how they present their stuff. They make you download their free examples one by one very tediously and it seems they handle customers the same. Not cool. They seem to be stuck in their very old ways...
I was under the impression that there are specific versions for Thea to be bought? But I never investigated further...
The Thea forum my be a more helpful place for this.

Cheers,

Tom

Thomas Helzle
02-02-2014, 07:48 AM
Crap, just lost an elaborate reply with a browser hickup. Here I go again...

- A light emitting geometry is single sided if it's Material is set to single sided in the Material Labs General Settings, otherwise it's double sided. This is for normal emittance, IES lights define that by their respective profile.

- You attach an IES light to a material by either dragging the IES file from the library onto the material lab preview or by browsing from the Emitter page -> IES File to where your IES file is located. This overwrites most of the other Emittance-Settings. Multiplier needs to be at 1.0 if you need the IES file to be accurate. It's there for people who don't care about accurate and just want an IES light for it's effect.

- The size of an IES-light holding geometry matters. If you attach it to (for instance) a tiny triangle, you get accurate, hard light rays and shadows, if you scale up the emitting geometry, it's getting more blurry.

- It's good to have such a tiny triangle in your library. Just drag one from the Models-Tab into the library folder where you want it to be.

- To reduce geometry for emitters, in some cases it can make sense to have a low geometry inside a high geometry. Making the high geometry not throw shadows and the low geometry (if needed) invisible (but still "Enabled") can be a solution for that. Thea allows for more such "tweaks" than most other unbiased renderers.

- You can have multiple OBJs of course. LW only exports visible layers so you can split however you like and then merge the parts in in Thea. I just find it easier to place stuff in modeller. You can of course also do it in Thea, but navigation is a bit clumsier there ;-)

- Z up is what all engineers use and most CAD apps. The reasoning behind it is, that if you lay a floor plan on the table (representing X and Y), Z is up. All screen-based apps use Y up instead, since that makes more sense then. But yeah, as much a pain as every app using a different scheme for viewport navigation ;-)


- Having multiple surfaces on an object is not a problem - Thea splits it automatically on import into the different materials, you don't have to do that yourself. It's just something I've never seen before in any other software and found very weird at first. I got used to it in the meantime and Ioannis is contemplating a different system for the future.
So your table is doable, you just have to group the parts after import so you can move them as a group and don't get parts flying off. This is something that the exporter plugins for other software usually do automatically.

- UV mapping everything is the best, since you have more control and options in Modeller - depends on what's more to your taste and what you want/need.
But for the table, cubic mapping in Thea may work as well, with different materials on top and sides.


It's funny, when I write all those things down, some of it feels much weirder as it actually is when you get into the flow with Thea.

As I wrote before, one of the hardest things is getting rid of some of the stuff we had to learn to deal with biased rendering.
"Specular Highlights" don't exist in nature - everything is reflection, only the roughness of the surface defines if something is "reflective" (smooth surface) or "diffuse" (rough surface). Thea isn't as hardcore in this regard as some other software (the old Fryrender for instance). So it actually has a diffuse setting which renders faster than having Reflectance with a high Roughness value (which would give a similar result but much slower).

The same with Lights. In reality, every light has a "form" and a size where the old style CG lights have no size and no form. So in Thea, the reflection of such a light is what you would get in reality instead of the ugly round dots we get from specular highlights ;-)
A big light is soft, a small light is hard...

Or scene lightness: If the image is too dark, you don't increase your lights (and lose their accurateness), but you increase the camera ISO. Just like in real life ;-)

I love photography and Thea for me is like using a camera into a virtual world, something I didn't feel as much with the average CGI renderer.

All the best for your journey!

Cheers,

Tom

Thomas Helzle
02-02-2014, 11:57 AM
http://www.screendream.de/stuff/TheaRender/Wasserglas_Test.jpg

That's why I think Thea should making somebody into glass-works rather happy ;-)
One tiny triangle as emitter light...

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-02-2014, 04:08 PM
As for Xfrog: I always found them annoying in how they present their stuff. They make you download their free examples one by one very tediously and it seems they handle customers the same. Not cool. They seem to be stuck in their very old ways...

I was under the impression that there are specific versions for Thea to be bought? But I never investigated further...

We bought the Volume Bundle that is all of their plants. So, if you choose 3DS, LWO, LXO, OBJ, TGO, VUE & XFR (they also have Maya, MicroStation, C4D, Unity) you're downloading each of the plant library ZIP archives that many times. That's 200 downloads & some of them are 2.6GB+.

They specify that you cannot use a downloader or make multiple connections to their server, it can't keep up. This means that you cannot schedule anything but instead have to do them all manually, one at a time. 30 Days isn't enough time if you have other stuff to do.


The Thea forum my be a more helpful place for this.

Did that, too. Here's what I got:


3DS is the way to go,
import the model
Check the scale is correct, 1 thea small grid square equals 1 metre
adjust the textures; apply clipping if needed, bump and translucency
do a test render
If everything looks right select all the meshes and group and rename it to your plant
select the group and press "p"
Move the axis to the base of the object
click the axis icon in workspace
click the model tab and select the group
build preview
right click and export as a pack, this will gather all the textures
go to the browser at the bottom of thea studio, select the models tab
create a folder and import your mod.pack thea
job done

Job Done. Heh, with 3,000+ plants, it's more like Job Neverending. :cursin:

What puzzles me is that Thea has sample plants available already in Thea format. Why Xfrog doesn't offer this as a format option is another anomaly, I guess. It'd be great if you could enter a login in Thea's updater and it would go to Xfrog, get your stuff and install them. The ones that I got that appeared in there all installed effortlessly. Pretty slick.

Xfrog isn't paying attention, however. The Planetside site put up an image a couple of days after the Xfrog sale had supposedly ended on 12/31 that said: AUTUMN SALE 50% OFF until October 31st! I thought it was an error but it's stayed. Go to Xfrog's site and they still show the sale, but now it's a new Year's sale ending on 1/31. Check the store and everything is still the sale price that we paid. So, the stretch to get the big bundle before the deadline was a red herring. Could have eased the finances a bit and gotten them anytime between then and my Birthday... probably after.

Thomas Helzle
02-02-2014, 04:28 PM
Well, that confirms the feeling I always had about them (Xfrog I mean).
AFAIK there are downloaders that only load one file at a time...
And I guess part of it could be automated but that's not why you buy such a library...
Could be worth a try though if it goes any faster if you process them with Blender and it's integrated Thea plugin?

Good luck!

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-02-2014, 04:35 PM
Crap, just lost an elaborate reply with a browser hickup. Here I go again...

<Beetlejuice>"Doncha just hate it when that happens?"</Beetlejuice> I've had the browser pack up before and when I restarted, the edit came back, as it was auto-saved on the NT server.


- The size of an IES-light holding geometry matters. If you attach it to (for instance) a tiny triangle, you get accurate, hard light rays and shadows, if you scale up the emitting geometry, it's getting more blurry.

So the former exhibits the IES data and the latter is a fake? If yes, then how small should the geo be to be faithful?


- Z up is what all engineers use and most CAD apps. The reasoning behind it is, that if you lay a floor plan on the table (representing X and Y), Z is up. All screen-based apps use Y up instead, since that makes more sense then. But yeah, as much a pain as every app using a different scheme for viewport navigation ;-)

Then there's different coordinate systems for orbital mechanics...


- Having multiple surfaces on an object is not a problem - Thea splits it automatically on import into the different materials, you don't have to do that yourself. It's just something I've never seen before in any other software and found very weird at first. I got used to it in the meantime and Ioannis is contemplating a different system for the future.
So your table is doable, you just have to group the parts after import so you can move them as a group and don't get parts flying off. This is something that the exporter plugins for other software usually do automatically.

OK, I'll give that a shot.


It's funny, when I write all those things down, some of it feels much weirder as it actually is when you get into the flow with Thea.

Yes. Similar to reading out loud something that you wrote. Wouldn't think that it would make much difference but sometimes it is striking and an edit is in order.


Or scene lightness: If the image is too dark, you don't increase your lights (and lose their accurateness), but you increase the camera ISO. Just like in real life ;-)

I love photography and Thea for me is like using a camera into a virtual world, something I didn't feel as much with the average CGI renderer.

YES! When I saw that, alone, I was sold. I've understood the camera/film plane/lens dynamic for so long that having it back again is a real benefit.

Thank You for taking the time to give myself and others who may come by a serious leg up. :)

Thomas Helzle
02-02-2014, 04:49 PM
As for IES and "faithful": I guess that is a question for lighting engineers in the Thea forum or for Ioannis.
My personal answer would be: as large as the original bulb/wire (don't know the correct word in english).

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-02-2014, 05:22 PM
Ah, OK, that makes sense in alignment with many of the other concepts that you've shared. One high output LED emitter that I have here has multiple chips all clustered under a solid hemisphere of clear resin that is 9.5mm diameter. The lens that focuses the beam is 44.4mm diameter. I'd guess that the lens would be what I'd emulate, as that dimension will determine the shadow softness and the output of the lens is what was measured. Cool. Thanks.

Thomas Helzle
02-03-2014, 03:19 AM
That was my thinking as well. ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

allabulle
02-03-2014, 05:06 AM
Very helpful tips and info for beginners, Thomas. Thanks!

spherical
02-03-2014, 04:34 PM
Rewatched all of the n00b videos yesterday. Penetrated more, now that I have the benefit of Thomas' startup data and then playing around some more with the example scenes.

I'm starting with my Dielectric test scene that was created back in the 9.6 beta period, when the node was being developed. One thing I will be looking at is the inability of Thea to select poly groups and surface them; only entire objects. The question is, what will happen to refraction of a dielectric when the object isn't welded because I need to apply a different surface in specific areas.

Take solar control windows as an example. The outside surface has a coating. In order to apply the coating to only the outward facing poly, I need to separate that poly from the rest of the model and apply two different versions of Glossy Material to them. With LightWave, you just select the poly and apply the different version, while the model remains welded.

The next investigation will be Partial Internal Reflections. I see something that looks as if it may be that in the Thin Film Material ball, where a surface has been applied that imparts iridescence, but the PIR (if that is what it is) looks to be too strong.

Thomas Helzle
02-03-2014, 05:06 PM
Ok, I only talk unbiased (TR1 and TR2) here, since that is what I use and what supports all the features:

- Having the mesh parts separately/non-welded has never given me trouble in Thea. It should work just fine if you have the outer window faces as one material and the inner as another. I personally almost always create windows as single polygons since normal windows don't benefit enough from having a thickness to make the additional rendertime worthwhile in most cases, but if it's needed it should work. Since Thea does it automatically on import if you assign your materials in Modeller, it's rather easy to do.
But yeah, polygon selection in Thea Studio and Material assignment has been a much debated topic, although with the advent of fully integrated plugins, people don't care as much anymore, since the process if full transparent in that case.

- I don't follow what you are getting at with the TIR/PIR. Since everything is physical based, you control the effects via the IOR and the other settings there. So far I don't think I've found errors in the calculations but you are a glass-man so you may have more experience than I do.
It is just my impression that most oldschool renderers dismiss TIR to speed things up while Thea doesn't, so it may look stronger?
When I coded the TLHPro - EasyGlass shader for messiah:studio I learned a lot about this and was surprised to find that TIR is absent in most renderers.

- You may also want to look into the "Medium" concept in Thea.

- You may have seen it already, but if not, you can use laboratory-measured surfaces in the glossy shader. Glasses and crystals with perfect diffusion (is that the right word? wavelength based refraction?), obscure metals with partial transparency... fun :-)

- I personally hate the dielectric and similar nodes in Lightwave, since they are hardcoded, totally inflexible blackboxes. Too stupid for REAL physical rendering and too inflexible for the typical "make it look good" CGI ;-) I avoid them at all costs.

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-03-2014, 06:50 PM
I personally almost always create windows as single polygons since normal windows don't benefit enough from having a thickness to make the additional rendertime worthwhile in most cases, but if it's needed it should work.

In the case of solar control windows, used as an example--most objects would be far thicker, the reflective properties of the outside should not be visible from the inside. All the outer coating would do is alter the transmission level by removing some wavelengths. The glass won't appear as a metallic blue, for example.

[QUOTE=Thomas Helzle;1365881]Since Thea does it automatically on import if you assign your materials in Modeller, it's rather easy to do.

Ok, bit of confusion, here. I thought that LW materials don't translate. The way to have different materials on some polys of an object is to put those polys on a separate layer.


But yeah, polygon selection in Thea Studio and Material assignment has been a much debated topic, although with the advent of fully integrated plugins, people don't care as much anymore, since the process if full transparent in that case.

Time to go vote up an integrated plugin for LightWave and an updated one for Modo, 'cuz we don't have any, so do care.


It is just my impression that most oldschool renderers dismiss TIR to speed things up while Thea doesn't, so it may look stronger?
When I coded the TLHPro - EasyGlass shader for messiah:studio I learned a lot about this and was surprised to find that TIR is absent in most renderers.

May have the two acronyms interchanged. Total Internal Reflection should be strong. I don't see how any renderer could leave it absent. Partial Internal Reflection is always very weak. That is why I suggested that they can be turned off in LW Dielectric, resulting in Fast Dielectric. If you are far enough away or the object small, there's no real benefit in computing them. The speed gain was remarkable.


- You may also want to look into the "Medium" concept in Thea.

Yes, this was one of the things that really got my attention. Often times, we introduce "stuff" into the glass. Having a procedural in the medium should get us close to reproducing that. I have wanted to devote some time to exploring SSS in LW to do this.


- I personally hate the dielectric and similar nodes in Lightwave, since they are hardcoded, totally inflexible blackboxes. Too stupid for REAL physical rendering and too inflexible for the typical "make it look good" CGI ;-) I avoid them at all costs.

To each his own. I may come to the same conclusion after working with Thea for some time but developing Dielectric to the state that it is was a real mission for me. The old methods of getting proper refraction were slow and way wrong. Sometimes, I still fall back on them in order to get a look that I was expecting, but those times are rare.

Thomas Helzle
02-04-2014, 03:14 AM
I understand what you are after with the window, I personally just didn't have such a case yet. Should work - if not -> Ioannis ;-)

The LW materials as such DON'T translate and sadly the material names don't either, but Thea separates objects into their respective material parts on import (Layer name & a number). These parts are disconnected but that normally doesn't create problems. That's why I said to group those after import - to be able to for instance move your outer glass together with your inner glass.

Yeah Dielectric etc. were a step forward for LW back then, but at that time I was using XSI mostly and Mental Ray had just got the Architectural shader which I found very very flexible in comparison but at the same time able to cover a broad range of effects and looks. I personally prefer such a concept over one tiny shader for each and every phenomenon which don't talk to each other.
I am comfortable with node systems, very much so really, from messiah:studios cool node concept to XSI/MentalRay/Arnold/Vray etc, but the LW material nodes aren't totally there yet, since they expose too little of what they are doing. Mixing them in a meaningful way also isn't always giving me what I need.

Funny enough I don't miss nodes much in Thea - the only such case really, it just works for me. ;-)

Modos layered shading on the other is a total pain in my opinion - as soon as I had more than 10 materials in a scene it started to become messy and almost impossible to debug. While it has some fascinating features it's totally not my thing ;-)
I only ever bought 601 which is now collecting dust.

Cheers,

Tom

OFF
02-04-2014, 05:06 AM
Thea Render Edition 1.3 Trailer
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=815131108512698&notif_t=notify_me

A brand new trailer for our 1.3 Presto Square Edition is now available. Furthermore, we have decided to extend our promotional period until 17th February; 2 weeks more to benefit from our discounted offers. Find out more: http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/news/promotional-offer.html

Thomas Helzle
02-04-2014, 05:41 AM
Good stuff OFF!

Is the 1.3 Demo now available to non-users? I found that a bit problematic, having a sale for a version that can't be tested?

Now let's see that Lightwave Exporter ;-)
I think even a simple one would make quite a difference...

Cheers,

Tom

AbnRanger
02-04-2014, 12:10 PM
Yeah...I'm really digging it thus far, but they need to add support for some of the more common volumetric engines within the integrated apps. Like Afterburn, PyroCluster, and FumeFX, for Max. Pyrocluster is C4D's volumetrics engine, so they'd kill two birds with one stone, there. FumeFX is also available for Maya, now. Furryball was one other 3rd party app I was considering, and it has support for Maya's fluids...even though it's a GPU renderer. So, it can be done...and it opens up the entire VFX market to them if they do.

BTW, I noticed some small updates/bugfixes on the forums, but I am seeing a "You are not authorized" message when I click on the Download link. What gives? I've already registered for the forums and such.

Thomas Helzle
02-04-2014, 12:20 PM
Well, I don't think they are really that much after the VFX Market.
There would be MUCH more needed than volumetrics to make it appeal to that industry...

As for the downloads: yes there is an 1.3 bugfix update that you should be able to download from the forum.
If you can't, maybe your forum name isn't connected correctly to your shopping account?
Best to write to support I guess ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

AbnRanger
02-04-2014, 02:45 PM
Well, I don't think they are really that much after the VFX Market.
There would be MUCH more needed than volumetrics to make it appeal to that industry...

As for the downloads: yes there is an 1.3 bugfix update that you should be able to download from the forum.
If you can't, maybe your forum name isn't connected correctly to your shopping account?
Best to write to support I guess ;-)

Cheers,

TomThat may be true, but if it supports Volumetric Effect engines...there will be a lot of interest, as there just aren't many GPU or GPU/CPU hybrid renderers out there with that kind of support. Some of these systems have a nice preview, but I can't think of any (outside of maybe Furryball for Maya) that utilize the GPU yet. So, most VFX artists HAVE to rely on CPU muscle. And Intel has really put on the brakes in CPU development, over the past 3-4yrs. That's because AMD was so far behind, after the 1st Generation of i7's...and they publicly announced, about 2-3yrs ago, that they were throwing in the towel in the high end/enthusiast market.

So, the GPU is where it's at for the foreseeable future, IMHO.

geo_n
02-04-2014, 06:05 PM
Is there development with a lw thea plugin? I would be interested if there was some development in there. Not a fan of stand alone renderers too many issues and I/O voodoo like it was for octane when there wasn't any lw octane plugin.
I read this at Foundry.
http://community.thefoundry.co.uk/discussion/topic.aspx?f=4&t=83612&page=1
Good reviews for the renderer but negative review for development.

spherical
02-04-2014, 06:14 PM
The LW materials as such DON'T translate and sadly the material names don't either, but Thea separates objects into their respective material parts on import (Layer name & a number).

I started last night with the Dielectric test scene, as it is relatively simple, as scenes go, and would tell me about how Thea glass works. Finally hit the sack as the Sun came up. Time flies when you're having fun. Created a "scene" model that matched the actual scene, with every model on a separate layer. Export as OBJ, imported and some of the models didn't end up on their own layers, as I expected. Set different names for the materials and they did go to discreet layers. Later found the Group According to Material checkbox, so that is probably why, but have yet to test that.

As expected, Thea glass is different. May be the same formulae but different coders produce differing results using them.

Happy to find that Partial Internal Reflections are there, but they are pretty weak. Further, they seem to come and go, or probably just grow more weak. Have yet to determine what is changing. It'd be great if loading an IOR file would change the manually set values that are greyed out, so you could see what is in the IOR spec.

A couple of things raised questions. Thea's Clear Glass preset produces essentially the same output as when loading a glass IOR file, but the latter preview takes 2x - 3X times longer to render. Unsure what the benefit may be by loading the file. Perhaps on a more complex shape, I'll see differences.

In LW, I'm used to specifying a color, then setting the Diffuse, Refl, Spec, Roughness & IOR separately. In Thea, these are in some ways tied together. Trying to reproduce the look of a material between LW and TR took a lot of experimentation and I most probably got some things wrong... 'cuz I'm a n00b.

Achieving soft specular highlights on a semi-matte surface proved to be difficult. Finally arrived at increasing the IOR to 1.4 and the Roughness to 40%, significantly different from the 10% Glossiness in LW, to obtain a similar look. It is a new way of understanding materials; probably better, as we know that LW has a lot of unconventional approaches to things.

I'll have a couple of comparison renders in a bit. There's something going on there that I really don't get.


Yeah Dielectric etc. were a step forward for LW back then, but at that time I was using XSI mostly and Mental Ray had just got the Architectural shader which I found very very flexible in comparison but at the same time able to cover a broad range of effects and looks. I personally prefer such a concept over one tiny shader for each and every phenomenon which don't talk to each other.

Yes, I use LightWolf's Material Blender, Material Booster and Material Tweaker for that. I agree that having flexibility is good but I also want a definitive standard to go by. Just like IES lights; what those files contain should be exhibited in the render. Messing around and creating results that go farther and farther away from that which can be produced in the real world is cool for effect, but not of much use and can be misleading if you are doing analysis. It's the difference between painting that which is and painting what the mind expects to see. The latter may be sexy but wrong. It all depends upon the goal.

Thomas Helzle
02-05-2014, 01:58 AM
LOL "welcome to the real world, Neo" comes to mind LOL

Again I assume that you are using TR1 or TR2 in Darkroom (the interactive preview is tuned for speed and not 100% accurate).

- You may have never before used a renderer with basically unlimited raydepth. ;-)

- IOR files can't change the settings in the panel since they contain a huge amount of data, different values depending on Angle and Wavelength. That's their whole point...

- You see the difference for instance when you use a diamond material on a diamond cut... Rainbows all over :-)

- Again, in reality there are no such separate things as diffuse, specular, reflection etc. All Light is either reflected, absorbed or goes through the material (transparency) - the roughness of the surface determines if the eye sees something as a mirror or as a chalked wall - both reflect a lot of light, one with a smooth and one with a rough surface. That's the main thing to learn/unlearn/relearn if you go unbiased.

- Reproducing the look in Lightwave with Thea is a rather funny thing to do. I'd rather reproduce something real, otherwise you can use LW ;-)

- Glass usually is in the IOR 1.5 range?

- Glossiness and all that crap has NOTHING TO DO with any real phenomenon numerically. It was invented so we can render something on a slow machine that looks similar to some real phenomenon ;-)

- It's not so much LW specific - Phong in Mental Ray is the same crap, simplified beyond recognition ;-)

- The sooner you let go of the fake-render-concepts and just look at real world stuff and how it behaves, the sooner you will have fun with Thea.

- For mixed surfaces like painted wood, it's usually a good idea to have a totally diffuse layer and a thin coat layer on top. This also works for ceramics and other such stuff. Even Glass may have a thin smooth melted coating on top of a more diffuse base...

Cool that you dig in!!!! :-)

Cheers,

Tom

Thomas Helzle
02-05-2014, 02:08 AM
Is there development with a lw thea plugin? I would be interested if there was some development in there. Not a fan of stand alone renderers too many issues and I/O voodoo like it was for octane when there wasn't any lw octane plugin.
I read this at Foundry.
http://community.thefoundry.co.uk/discussion/topic.aspx?f=4&t=83612&page=1
Good reviews for the renderer but negative review for development.

Not officially, no.
I got some encouraging replies to inquiries but that may or may not happen and isn't a short term commitment.

But Thea Studio is IMO a much more fun place to render in than Octane Standalone (may be my personal preference though).
(I personally hate Octanes GUI).

Yeah, the modo plugin is a bit of a sad case. The (external) developer who did the plugin left them hanging in limbo...
Since I know that they are on it and are themself very unhappy about the current state (which wasn't their doing) I cut them some slack.

But if an exporter is important for you, I would not advise to get Thea at this point in time.

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-05-2014, 03:14 AM
LOL "welcome to the real world, Neo" comes to mind LOL

Again I assume that you are using TR1 or TR2 in Darkroom (the interactive preview is tuned for speed and not 100% accurate).

Yes. That's a given. IPR is, well, for IPR; nothing more. I wish that Presto did Unbiased. I know it will come in time....


- You may have never before used a renderer with basically unlimited raydepth.

I have an example coming along that may raise your eyebrows. It'll be interesting to see what you make of it.


- IOR files can't change the settings in the panel since they contain a huge amount of data, different values depending on Angle and Wavelength. That's their whole point...

Gathered that, hence the significant increase in preview render time. Still, it would be good to send that which does fit, no?


- Again, in reality there are no such separate things as diffuse, specular, reflection etc. All Light is either reflected, absorbed or goes through the material (transparency) - the roughness of the surface determines if the eye sees something as a mirror or as a chalked wall - both reflect a lot of light, one with a smooth and one with a rough surface. That's the main thing to learn/unlearn/relearn if you go unbiased.

I know. Having to bend over backwards to approximate real-world using LW's controls seriously screws with one's logic.


- Reproducing the look in Lightwave with Thea is a rather funny thing to do. I'd rather reproduce something real, otherwise you can use LW ;-)

This is an attempt to start with an apples/applesauce test. Nothing more. Otherwise, you're just flapping in the wind, with no bearings or basis of reference to anything and you're right smack into a different flavor of "fake".

It seems that, quite possibly, you are missing my intent, here. I'm not trying to reproduce LW. I am trying to reproduce surfaces and materials that I know exist in the real world in Thea that I have already reproduced in LW by doing a bazzilion F9s an tweaking controls that don't always make the best relevant sense. Figuring out what Thea wants and has available to do the same reproduction is the point; not mimicing LW.


- Glass usually is in the IOR 1.5 range?

True. Wasn't referring to glass. It was the opaque materials that needed adjusting by using values that didn't make much sense at first. There may be a different method that I have yet to discover but adjusting the IOR, and hence the Fresnel answer, achieved something of a similar result. I just need to find a wider range of materials' IOR values to refer to as a starting point.


- Glossiness and all that crap has NOTHING TO DO with any real phenomenon numerically. It was invented so we can render something on a slow machine that looks similar to some real phenomenon

I know. I believe I said that. Again, it's an attempt to create a conversion across paradigms, so as to better understand what is and what is not happening/possible between the two. I'm an artist/engineer/scientist. I look at everything.


- The sooner you let go of the fake-render-concepts and just look at real world stuff and how it behaves, the sooner you will have fun with Thea.

I've already long since "let go". Actually never "grabbed on". Figuring out what an arbitrary system uses to emulate the real world by a plethora of controls (many of which do not make any sens in physics) is daunting, to say the least, but you learn it. I deal with that which I have at hand and am often frustrated by the constraints of same. At present, I am trying to grok the Thea UI and how the settings that are available alter the output. Same as LW, but a bit more in line with real-world. Not exactly in line with real-world, mind you. Don't be lulled into that for a minute. It's just a better "fake". The closer, the better; but still fake.


- For mixed surfaces like painted wood, it's usually a good idea to have a totally diffuse layer and a thin coat layer on top. This also works for ceramics and other such stuff. Even Glass may have a thin smooth melted coating on top of a more diffuse base...

Yes. We do this all the time IRL, so not a new concept. Glad that there is a renderer that handles these in a more proper manner. This is part of the introducing "stuff" into the glass that we want to do that is, so far as we have been able to determine, impossible in LW.

Thomas Helzle
02-05-2014, 04:29 AM
As for IOR files: look at some of them in a text editor (some are binary but many are text and on the web one can find much more, some with a .nk ending that Thea can also read) and it should become clearer why the content isn't shown in the GUI ;-)

Yeah, Thea isn't as "pure" as some other renderers and of course it's all still fake.

For instance the "diffuse" parameter in the basic material was only re-introduced to speed up rendering, normally you would only have reflectivity and roughness, but high roughness-values render very slow if they are done the "real" way, so that was a compromise.
But you don't have to use it. You can delete the colour from the diffuse slot and just go with reflectivity/roughness if you want.

Cool, looking forward to what you come up with :-)

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-05-2014, 04:07 PM
Ahh, so sliding into the LW way.... :) Let's hope it doesn't go too far.

After having some sleep, I wanted to clarify my approach. Comparatively and figuratively speaking:

To emulate a surface in LW, you set: this, this, this, this, this, this, this & flip this switch.
To emulate a surface in Thea, you set: that and that.

What I am doing is creating a Rosetta Stone, translating one method to the other, so that I know what to expect and what not to expect. Sometimes, you can't get there from here. That could be a limitation of either application; because it's all smoke and mirrors, but one of the mirrors is clearer.

Thomas Helzle
02-05-2014, 04:27 PM
hehehe

Well, for realistic images I find Thea much faster and easier to set up in the meantime.
My material library has grown quite a lot and even the factory library is a solid base, the forum has some real gems too, so I often start with one of those bases and modify from there to taste and scale.

What you can't really do that well in Thea is every kind of trickery with the node tree, NPR and advanced procedurals.

But displacement is very good, there's clipmapping and alpha for leaves and trickery and the texture editor, while a bit weird at first and having some room for improvements, can do some useful stuff too.
Texture layering works very well and the render-penalty isn't really that high for multilayer materials.

So Thea became my main renderer and LW I use for special stuff and animations etc.

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-05-2014, 11:30 PM
Apologies for the length of this but it's complex. I know I'll get a lot of tl;dr but there's no other way.

OK. Here's the Dielectric set. I placed the objects and cameras as closely as I could. Turns out that the HDR sky image had to be flopped horizontally in order to match Textured Environment. I was going nuts trying to find the azimuth degree. Failing, I set a camera in both apps looking at the Sun light. Then it became clear why the horizon never matched.

First Surface Reflections, Total Internal Reflections, Partial Internal Reflections and Refraction are all fairly comparable. Absorption is different and this isn't a surprise. Environment color balance is different, as is the saturation and contrast of the HDR. Didn't enable any of the BG, Refl, Refr maps.

These two scenes point up something that I was trying to get across back when LW Dielectric was being developed, but had no example to cite to get the point across. I'd link to those threads but, while they may be in here somewhere, forum search and Google search don't turn them up. Can't seem to remember a unique enough string in order to get any meaningful results. Too bad, there was a lot of good stuff in those 9.x forums; certainly not just mine by any means.

LW Dielectric works great for what the camera sees of and through it. It doesn't work correctly on rays that pass through and fall upon other objects. The TIRs work on the rays that are fired from the camera. They do not work correctly on rays coming from a light source. I'll probably get into a ray path diagram at some point (should be in a dedicated thread when it gets that technical... we're drifting a bit), but these images should at least illustrate the concept. (The lefthand and righthand internal spheres in the LightWave render are made with HyperVoxels, so not in the Thea model.)

Camera views first, overhead views second, so you can see what is where, Left = Thea, Right = LightWave.:

119935 119936

When a dielectric cube is viewed or illuminated at roughly a 45 angle to the flats, TIRs will prevent transmission on all but the center portion; where refraction displays the opposite parallel side. In the case of a cube, adjacent 90 degree surfaces always exhibit TIR. If there is TIR, by definition, zero rays pass through to the outside. Opposing parallel surfaces always pass rays through, although refracted. In this case extremely refracted, as the cube is thick.

The Thea render shows the light passing through the "center portion" of the cube when viewed at and/or rays come from a near 45 angle to two sides. When it is proper, the center portion of its shadow is illuminated.

The LightWave render shows the cube shadow as being uniformly dark. Rays should be passing through the cube center portion on a roughly 45 angle and illuminating the ground plane, but they are not. It's as if the glass cube were entirely opaque. At that angle, the "center 50%" should pass rays, as the refraction "sees" the opposite parallel side and allows the rays to escape. This isn't happening.

As Pink Floyd wrote: "It's all dark."

Additionally, you can see the external Fresnel near-total reflections on the ground plane in the Thea render. Fresnel equations dictate that severe glancing angles increase reflection. This isn't happening in the LightWave scene.

The real kicker is, the small white spheres inside the cube did not render this way in Thea as expected; at least not right away. They all started out as flat grey disks, when they should be fully lit by the sun and have shape. As the render progressed, white specks began to appear in them and also faint grey specks in the small black spheres. As I watched, it became apparent that there was a process ongoing that would reveal the spherical shape. I decided to let it run and hit the sack. 18h 45m later, the Thea image was stopped at 3737/10000 passes, 44,958.07 s/p. Still not complete in those areas but it proved my assumption. Why these few areas took so long is puzzling, and they're still not done. Why do those spheres not just render immediately? I'm guessing it is because they are floating inside another material and Thea doesn't know what to do with them. Probably the same reason that I had to alter the IOR of the central sphere to make it show up. It was a 1.0, as it was an air bubble inside the Dielectric, as a separate object, not booleaned out.

I was curious as to the orange glow under the center of the LightWave cube, so positioned a camera looking at the center sphere from below. Turns out, it is the refraction of the orange rod through the central sphere and the right hand sphere focusing a beam of orange light reflected from the rod. The sphere in Thea doesn't act the same way, as the IOR is different and the second sphere is missing.

119937

Still, it's good to find out. The quest continues.....

Thomas Helzle
02-06-2014, 08:00 AM
As far as air bubbles inside of glass: I think if you have the exact same glass-material on both the cube and the bubbles, Thea automatically assumes that they are holes in the glass. I just tried and got the expected result.
If you have a different material on the bubbles, you (should) need to make it IOR 1.0.
I tried with small copies of a sphere inside a larger one and that was what I got.
I didn't flip the normals though.

With "same material" I mean an instance of the same material definition, not another material with the same parameters.


As for light inside glass/your white spheres:
In unbiased rendering, glass is basically 100% opaque and only what we call caustic rays go through, they are the re-routed light so to say.
So glass throws a very dark shadow that is then lightened up by the "caustics" (of course this is realtime and inseparable in reality).
Or in other words: objects inside of glass are lighted by caustic rays only, which can take longer to clear up.
Your rendertimes sound excessive though.
In my "spheres inside a larger sphere"-scene the white sphere was clean very fast.

For really complex scenes of this kind you may want to try TR2 BTW.

Cool to see your progress! :-)

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-07-2014, 06:48 AM
As far as air bubbles inside of glass: I think if you have the exact same glass-material on both the cube and the bubbles, Thea automatically assumes that they are holes in the glass.
If you have a different material on the bubbles, you (should) need to make it IOR 1.0.

The original sphere, as rendered by LW, is IOR = 1. In Thea, it disappears. I'll try going back to 1 and flip the polys and see what happens.


With "same material" I mean an instance of the same material definition, not another material with the same parameters.

Aaaaannnnnnddd.. the difference being?


Or in other words: objects inside of glass are lighted by caustic rays only, which can take longer to clear up.

Yes, that is what I was concluding when the specks began to build up and show the form. Got to find out why they take so long. Even at the low resolution, you can see that they weren't finished. I was figuring that I'd just to a limited region on just the problem areas, as there is no point in polishing the rest of the frame that is essentially done.


Your rendertimes sound excessive though.
In my "spheres inside a larger sphere"-scene the white sphere was clean very fast.

In researching what is what, I set a camera in both LW and TR that looks from the Sun position. In that, the TR white spheres are immediately white and, of course disks, as they are front-lit. I expected them to be grey. Why looking through the front of the cube would make any difference is puzzling.


For really complex scenes of this kind you may want to try TR2 BTW.

Tried both.

Back to LightWave, Caustics and Dielectric: I tried all manner of HDRs, lights. Distant and DP Infinite don't produce a solid shadow at all; more like looking through aerogel. I pulled a DP Flood way back to get more parallel rays but, even though it has an Affect Caustics switch, it produces a solid shadow; no caustics rays exit. The only source so far that shows defined transmission through the cube is an area light.

First image is an area light set way off and sized to be Sun diameter, so as to come close to parallel rays and emulate soft shadows. Not very satisfying caustics. Second image is more on the order of what came out of Thea. This area light is close but sized to be the same angular diameter as the far one. The caustics are at least more defined, but the rays are all splayed out. Can't have everything, I guess. Why distance makes any difference, I have no idea. Light samples are cranked way up to eliminate that as a possibility, as is Caustics accuracy.

119959 119960

So, LW Dielectric does work, but not to the degree that it perhaps could. But then, this is one reason why I'm using Thea Render for more critical projects. Now, if I could just get the hang of using the Viewport navigation....

Thomas Helzle
02-07-2014, 07:13 AM
Aaaaaannd the difference being:
If you drag a material into the scene, Thea creates an "instance" of that material in the scene (let's call it Glass_1) which then can be applied to _several_ objects per drag and drop or right mouse menu. If you change anything in the material Glass_1, it is changed on every object using this material. More like Cinema 4D than LWs default behaviour (unless set it to "scene" in material editor).

If on the other hand you either duplicate said material or rightclick on one of the objects using Glass_1 and select Material->Make unique, a new material is created - Let's call it Glass_2.

Now if in my example with one large sphere and copies of the same sphere scaled down inside of it all used Glass_1, it looked correct. If the outer Sphere used Glass_1 and the inner small ones used Glass_2 (still having the exact same settings) the inner spheres vanished. They re-appeared and looked correct again after I set Glass_2 to use IOR 1.0.
So I assume that if several objects use the same material, Thea treats them as one entity and calculates inside and outside accordingly. Would make sense to me.

Since Lightwave uses a fixed number of Caustics, the further away your light is, the worse it their "resolution" - less caustic rays actually hit your glass object. It's the same in basically all biased renderers that work with this kind of interpolation.

That's why the perfect caustics in Thea are such a joy for me, even if they may take a bit longer to calculate :-)

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-07-2014, 04:22 PM
Got it. <light bulb> Interesting that the relationship of stacked materials is considered. So, essentially, material instances are grouped and if the objects are grouped it makes a difference, but if the objects are separated, it does not. IOW, an instance applied to a sphere not inside the cube would act the same as a duplicate material.

I'll check today. after I install the 1333 update, to see how I have the cube and sphere set. For some reason, the updater doesn't want to get it, so I have to do a manual install.


Since Lightwave uses a fixed number of Caustics, the further away your light is, the worse it their "resolution" - less caustic rays actually hit your glass object.

So, the Accuracy setting doesn't do what one would expect.

EDIT: OK, so I keep running this through my logic chip and keep coming up with different, though similar, answers. The closest one that seems to have the Ring of Truth is that caustics rays go off in all vectors, so the farther away a source is, the fewer will reach the target. This is true for an area light, and that is why I first chose DP Flood, so as to focus the beam tightly upon the target. It produces a solid shadow, where the lights that do not have caustics capability do not; but no rays exit the other side. I always hesitate to quickly assume, as so many people do, that it's a bug. Unless I'm really missing something, this appears to be at least a possible conclusion as to the problem. But, then, the question comes up; if caustics isn't working, why is the shadow solid in the first place? Rinse, repeat....

Thomas Helzle
02-08-2014, 02:41 AM
Caustics work basically the same in Mental Ray. I was able to get the best results there with as many rays as possible from a spotlight that only lights the needed target. It also got a bit better by reducing the interpolation amount ("softness" in LW) - more noise but less blurry. But in the end it is still a joke compared to Theas Caustics.
And that's why it's so slow - you need a brutal amount of rays to go through those objects to create the beautiful light effects we are used to from RL.

Since in Thea rays are created continuously, this isn't much of a problem, it just takes longer. In Mental Ray and LW, it's a one-off process similar to the pre-generation of GI samples for Final Gathering...

In a scene like the glass I posted above, while some areas on the table get a huge amount of rays, others don't, so even if you start with an even spread of light samples, caustics "redistribute" them unevenly which makes the whole thing take longer to be clean everywhere.


Yeah, Ioannis seems a bit overly cautious with putting stuff up on the website or in the downloader. First it's only available in the Forums and only when no bigger problems are found, it goes fully public...


Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-08-2014, 03:47 AM
Ok, caustics are becoming clearer, not to make a pun. They're important for some of our sims, so appreciate the insight.

Got it on the updater. Makes sense.

BTW, what's with Frederik, anyway? Geez.

Thomas Helzle
02-08-2014, 04:05 AM
Ok, caustics are becoming clearer, not to make a pun. They're important for some of our sims, so appreciate the insight.

Got it on the updater. Makes sense.

BTW, what's with Frederik, anyway? Geez.

Ah - great it helped - and I love puns ;-)

Who's Frederik and what's wrong with him? I fear I don't follow?

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-08-2014, 10:13 PM
I developed a workaround to get LW caustics to appear, be cleaner and still have shadows that are near to being at correct angles when using a Sun light. Place an area light relatively close to the glass (compared to the Sun light), set it to Affect Caustics only and exclude all objects but the glass, objects with in the glass and ground plane. Exclude the opposite for the Sun light. What's interesting, is that the two white spheres inside the cube are now showing as grey disks; just like they first show up in Thea. Note that the one near the small black sphere inside the cube at the back is outside the cube, but in the cube's shadow.

Caustics Intensity = 5,000%
Accuracy = 500,000
Softening = 20
Whaddyathink?

119993 119994

Shadow angles on the sides don't match each other, so a little fudging on position can help to make that not so noticeable. But objects that are are far off center, such as the sphere in front of the blue-rod/black-sphere give it away. For something like this, it would require multiple caustics-dedicated lights; one for each object. Not really a Big Deal, but we shouldn't have to go through this. Can't have everything I guess; at least in LightWave. That's why there's Thea!

I guess that this then further begs the question: Is there a bug in DP Flood, in that it doesn't produce the expected caustics?

On the other question, it's a thread over in the Thea forums on Xfrog plant conversion that augured in when the person evidently didn't grok the overall intent and got in my face. You post a bit over there, so thought you may have crossed, errr..., paths. Welcome to the Thea forums. Not sure if I want to ask any more questions there.

AbnRanger
02-11-2014, 02:50 AM
Thomas, can you try to explain the whole Medium/Global Medium thing?....this is like a foreign language to me. Nothing I have seen in Max of LW uses this terminology. If you want Volumetric light, you just check it in the render dialog...in Max, you enable Volume Light or Volume fog in the environment panel, under Effects. I looked around on the forum and couldn't find anything that mentioned the how and why or what. This is the problem with small vendors...very little training available. Cebas is the same way, as a developer of the finalRender plugin for 3ds Max. If you could even record a little something showing how it works, that would be greatly appreciated.

OFF
02-11-2014, 03:10 AM
+1 for Medium/Global Medium.

Thomas Helzle
02-11-2014, 03:56 AM
Medium is very simple in principle, but can be very very slow to render.
There is global medium (even slower since it fills the whole scene) or local medium inside an object (faster since it's contained).
It defines an "atmoshphere" that allows you to make your light visible/interact with it.
Check the Laser Example scene, there it is used to make the laser beam visible.
Check also the documentation and otherwise, experiment with some simple objects to get a feel for it.

Background:
Normal 3D rendering only concerns itself with surfaces and hitting them or not, being reflected by them or not, going through them and be refracted or not. This is mostly so that we live to see the final rendering ;-)
In so called reality inside an atmosphere, there's always "stuff" that also interacts with the light. Vapor, dust, mist, smoke, sand, whatever.
So in theory, every rendering would need to be 100% volume based, not surface based.
Since most such mediums are of very thin consistence, we can ignore it and gain a lot of speed.
But for stuff like above lasers it's very cool to have, or for atmospheric effects like a sundown.

You can use the Thea Procedurals with it to create variance in the density/absorption.

I would be rather reluctant to "just switch it on to get volumetric lights" - the render time penalty is rather high. ;-)

But basic usage is simple, you basically define the amount/colour of light that is getting absorbed and scattered and the density of those two.

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-11-2014, 05:21 AM
Medium is one of the reasons we got Thea. Some of our glass projects have "stuff" in the glass. Usually, you want the glass free of bubbles, clouds and such structures, but we introduce them intentionally sometimes. Have yet to develop a way to get LW do do it convincingly; especially when animated.

spherical
02-23-2014, 10:28 PM
OK, after getting zero response in the Thea forums, what may be the issue in exporting a model to some format that some other application may be able to understand and convert? All I'm getting, as have others but no one seems to care, is the decidedly less than informative: "There was an error during exporting library package." Wonderful.... This happens with supplied example data as well as my own. Nothing works. Using the latest: v1.3.03.1033. What am I missing, here?

Thomas Helzle
02-24-2014, 02:32 AM
I don't understand the question. What is it you are trying to do?

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-24-2014, 03:26 PM
Select a model/mesh and export it.

Thomas Helzle
02-24-2014, 03:32 PM
I never used that ever, I only import into Thea. ;-)
What is it you are trying to do with the export?

I just drag models into my libray from the models tab if I want to re-use them somewhere else...

Sorry, can't help you there I fear.

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-24-2014, 08:42 PM
Ah, OK. Well, I'm out of luck. Still seems that when you select a mesh in the Models tab, right-click and select Export... in the cursor menu that pops up, it should export; not throw an unhelpful error message.

What I was trying to do was convert the SSS simball to OBJ, so I could use it in LW for material/shading tests. Thought it may be only that model but it does the same on anything, even models I brought in.

Thanks for looking.

BTW, I like and agree with everything in the My Issues With Thea Studio... thread. Very well written. It is also good to see that Devs reading and apparently working on some of them.

allabulle
02-24-2014, 11:58 PM
(...) BTW, I like and agree with everything in the My Issues With Thea Studio... thread. Very well written. It is also good to see that Devs reading and apparently working on some of them.

I agree.

Thomas Helzle
02-25-2014, 04:53 AM
Thanks guys :-)

Yeah, I was also happy that the developers and testers seem to agree.
I fully understand that integrated plugins make Thea Studio less important and that they first have to get all the plugins up and running since people wait for a long time for them, but wanted to write up all the things that make the otherwise really nice software much harder to use than it needs to be - and a lot of it should be easy to fix actually.


As for export: When I select Export from the right mouse menu in the object tab, I get a file dialogue, but I can only export as Thea scene package, not as OBJ. And the export works as expected here.
Where do you see the option to export to OBJ? I didn't know it was supposed to be able to do that - that's why I at first didn't understand your question ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-25-2014, 04:18 PM
OBJ, or any interchange format, is the ultimate goal. However, NO export happens, not even to .mod.thea. And, what's the point of export to only thea? Save As... should save as thea. Export should.... export.

Thomas Helzle
02-25-2014, 04:37 PM
As I said, I don't get that error here.
Not sure what's happening for you.

While I understand what you are trying to do, I don't think many people will need an export function from a renderer ;-)
I never wanted to export anything in the years I'm using Thea since I have the original models anyway...

The difference seems to be you "export" a single object for later re-use or "save as" the whole scene - at least that's how it looks to me.
The wording may be slightly less than optimal, but I can't see it as much of a problem in practice?

The multiple formats Thea has for packaging are a science in itself which I also never went deeper into.
My needs are met by drag and drop into the library ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-25-2014, 08:09 PM
OK. Thanks for looking at this. Wish that the Export function worked, even if it didn't get me to where I wanted to go. Don't like having sections of an application not working. Makes me wonder what else may be Borked.

All I wanted to do was get the simball, anyway. I guess I'll just reinvent the wheel and make my own. I searched for too many hours trying to find some. Did locate one by a user who used to be here in the LW forums, Intuition, over in the Modo forums. His last post was 8-05-12, saying that he's in Maya/Vray now and getting rid of his LW boxes. He made a really good simball and shared it, but all of the links are now 404s, as it was back in 2008.

Silver Lining: It'll be a good project upon which to learn MeshFusion and Modo. I have some good things planned for it.

EDIT: While keeping up-to-date with the modelers/renderers we have, I learned just now that Octane has OBJ Export. Why not Thea? It Imports OBJ, Export should be by default.

Also ran across kerkythea in my search for simball models. Didn't know that existed.

Thomas Helzle
02-26-2014, 02:33 AM
If you really want it, I guess you could just ask Ioannis if you can somehow get the obj of the material ball.
I somehow seem to remember one for octane too.

As for the export problems: You would be better off in the Thea bug report forum - I don't get that error here.

As I said, export functions are the last thing I personally look for in a renderer ;-)
Although the translation to alembic in octane sounds interesting, I still don't really understand why it's there.

Yeah, Kerky was the predecessor of Thea - same developer and pretty amazing for a free tool.

Cheers,

Tom

spherical
02-26-2014, 02:37 AM
Already asked by replying to an existing thread, rather than uselessly starting another. Nothing...