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View Full Version : Has anyone noted a speedup in FFX renders in 11.5.1?



Spinland
07-10-2013, 11:46 AM
Last time I did an animated sequence with a bear character of mine the frames took well over a minute apiece. Right now I'm doing some facial animation tests and getting nearly three frames a minute. Granted the close-up takes some of the fur out of the picture but that still seems very fast comparatively. Did NT speed some stuff up when they re-wrote FFX, does anyone know?

Not complaining, not by a long shot! :thumbsup:

Greenlaw
07-10-2013, 03:00 PM
Yes, rendering is much faster now.

A minor downside is that even after you disable FiberFX preview, interactivity behaves like preview is still on even though the actual preview fibers are hidden. This is an old bug that went away in 11 sp2 but somehow crept back into 11.5.1. I already reported it and it's apparently going to be fixed in the next release.

This bug is an annoyance but it's not too troublesome to work with. To get full interactivity back you have to uncheck the Active state of the layer in addition the Preview state. Un-checking the Active box won't remove your Fiber FX settings for that layer, it just temporarily disables them, but you do need to remember to check it back on to see fibers in your renders.

BTW, this is in reference to the Win version; I don't know if this bug affects the Mac version of LightWave.

G.

Spinland
07-10-2013, 03:09 PM
Thanks for the info!

I have to avoid unchecking the active box once I've saved and re-loaded a scene, because that crashes Layout (the reload results in all instances being doubled in the control window). I fogged that today. I expect it might be a Mac thing so I posted my findings there.

Greenlaw
07-10-2013, 04:26 PM
Alternatively, you might try un-checking FiberFX under Pixel Filter in the Effects panel to temporarily disable it. Hope that works for you.

G.

Spinland
07-10-2013, 04:39 PM
That's a great idea, thanks!

Ryan Roye
07-10-2013, 05:56 PM
Yeah, it even says in the LW manual that they did some work on how it operates to make it more efficient. Now if they could only make it more stable :D

Greenlaw
07-10-2013, 06:13 PM
FWIW, FiberFX has been very stable for our production. (See here: Excerpt from Brudders 2 (http://vimeo.com/channels/littlegreendog/68543424).) The big issue I'm running into now is the multi-sample light flicker described at the 'B2' Production log (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133274-The-Brudders-2-Production-Log-%28Well-sort-of-%29/page12). I think you need to go back as far as page 5 or 6 for the explanation of the issue. It's a problem I can sort of live with for 'B2' but I hope the devs can get it fixed before we start working on our next film. To be clear, this only happens with mutli-sample lights like Dome or DP Infinite--other light types work fine with FiberFX.

Apart from that, it's looking very good I think.

G.

Dodgy
07-10-2013, 07:21 PM
I tend to clone multisample lights, make them distant/spot/point lights and then disable the multisample lights for the hair object. Shadows for hair are multisampled anyway, so they're soft, and it renders a lot quicker.

Spinland
07-11-2013, 05:07 AM
I have to avoid unchecking the active box once I've saved and re-loaded a scene, because that crashes Layout (the reload results in all instances being doubled in the control window).

I mis-spoke; product of a long day and a muddled mind. I can uncheck the instances just fine, it's when I try to deactivate them that Layout crashes.

UnCommonGrafx
07-11-2013, 05:50 AM
I tend to clone multisample lights, make them distant/spot/point lights and then disable the multisample lights for the hair object. Shadows for hair are multisampled anyway, so they're soft, and it renders a lot quicker.

Real nice tip. Thanks.

Greenlaw
07-11-2013, 08:59 AM
I tend to clone multisample lights, make them distant/spot/point lights and then disable the multisample lights for the hair object. Shadows for hair are multisampled anyway, so they're soft, and it renders a lot quicker.
Hi Dodgy,

That's correct and I should have mentioned that. In many situations, Distant and Point lights can look pretty good for hair. I primarily used Distant and Point lights for the characters in the DmC cinematic last year, and normally I will recommend these too. They not only look good with FiberFX but they render faster too. Much faster.

Unfortunately, Distant/Point lights don't help for shadows being cast onto the characters' fur from 'non-furry' objects like Toullie's ukulele on his belly. For example, with a Distant light you will see a nice soft shadow on the chest and stomach coming from his arms but a very hard shadow from the uke. The difference between the two shadows, which need to look similar, is quite extreme and distracting. Another example: in extreme close ups, the shadow being cast by Sgt and Toullie's eyes, which float above the fur by design, will cast hard shadows on the fur with Distant and Point lights.

Also, in general, the MS lights do look much nicer on the cats than the other light types. That's an artistic decision of course but after comparing the difference, I really had to go with it.

For now, I'm using MS lights mainly in close up shots and dealing with the flicker using RE:VisionFX DE:Noise, which isn't perfect but it does work surprisingly well. (I'll have to post some comparison videos in the log soon.) For wider/distant shots, I do use DP Infinite and Point lights for fills--there is a difference in looks when I do this but it's manageable and it renders much faster.

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, for our next film (after 'Brudders 2',) we might not need MS lights for the hair on the two human characters in that film. But the fact remains, MS lights aren't working as well as they should with FiberFX yet and there are situations (as in the Brudders shots described,) where I do need this feature.

Here's a little more info for those who haven't been following the FiberFX/MS lights issue: MS lights do work with FiberFX but there appears to be a threshold for shadow quality. That threshold lies somewhere around 20, and if you increase the value from there, you will see longer render times but no improvement in shadow quality. This is mainly noticeable in close up but it can be seen in wide shots too (as seen in the last shot of the excerpt.) Increasing FiberFX shadow quality does not affect this flicker (it's a different shadow issue,) and it's not a GI flicker issue because there is no radiosity being used in the cat layers.

BTW, MS lights make less difference for Sister's hair so I'm not using them for her. Instead, I'm casting a soft shadow onto her body from an solid and invisible 'hair shadow caster' object parented to her head. I am using Radiosity for Sister because it's more noticeable on her geometry--radiosity doen't help with the cats because of the full fur coverage.

Anyway, this issue was reported a while ago and the devs are working on it, so I'm hopeful it will get fixed in the near future.

G.

Greenlaw
07-11-2013, 09:18 AM
One light type I haven't taken the time to experiment much with is Spot light with Shadow Map enabled. I imagine this would be similar to how shadows worked for Sasquatch, and it should give you soft cast shadows from both fur and rigid mesh geometry. Of course, there may be other issues caused by using shadow mapped lights, but it's another option that's worth exploring. At this stage in production, we don't have time to R&D this further though--right now we just want to get the movie done. ;)

G.

jasonwestmas
07-11-2013, 09:22 AM
Greenlaw if you get LW shadow maps to look good on a face, let me know. :) Of course you are working with rather flat looking faces, so it might work.

Greenlaw
07-11-2013, 10:10 AM
Yes, that's one of my concerns. When MS lights became available, I left shadow mapped lights behind. But I can see where in some situations they may still be a viable option.

Anyway, not going there on this project. :)

G.

GraphXs
07-12-2013, 08:55 AM
Really nice music video green-law! looks like ya covered all the new features in LW with that video! Amazing!

Greenlaw
07-12-2013, 10:49 AM
Thanks!

Believe it or not, when we started this project, the goal was to make a 'charmingly crappy' machinima-style music video but I guess things changed a little since preproduction. :p

Actually, I'm very serious about that. But in the course of production, the various software used on this project (obviously LightWave to name one,) kept adding one amazing feature after another and we couldn't resist including all of them. We finally drew the line on 'feature creep' a few months ago (or rather my producer/partner did,) and now we're just trying to finish the project.

I'm really happy with how it's turning out and, more importantly, the project is finally moving steadily toward the finish line and not away from it.

G.