View Full Version : Skytracer LW 11.5 crashes VPR

11-09-2013, 05:45 PM
Like the title says. I'm on LW 11.5. Whenever I use Skytracer for a model that renders fine and never crashed layout before it crashes layout.

To be exact, I can add Skytracer (Not talking about Skytracer II, haven't try that one yet) to the scene and it will render fine.

There are two problems though. When I am in the Skytracer option with VPR on and click [REFRESH] button to generate the skytracer preview it results in a crash of Layout (it does give that preview though :<)

When I'm trying to change some options without clicking preview and just click "OK" to close the window... the changes aren't applied, and when I go back I see the values or for example the change from sun to moon has reverted back.

Is it like Skytracer is old and expect to work so problematically in new LW and VPR or am I missing something?

Thanks for the help.

EDIT1: I've made a new EMPTY scene and tried applying Skytracer and it works fine. Then again, this isn't much use to me, why does it crash on an object (that is hardly complex) I've been rendering for a past month on different settings with different adjustments to it and it never happened prior to using Skytracer?

EDIT2: I've loaded the scene where it crashes, lowered the resolution from 5k to 1920x1080 and turned off radiosity... loaded the skytracer and changed from sun to moon, clicked "refresh"... and it actually started working on it... but it still crashed after few seconds. Maybe I'm running out of RAM or sth? The whole layout is taking like 6GB or my mem and I'm on a 8GB laptop W7 64bit. That's becuase I'm using some hi res textures for the model like 8kx8k ones and they all take a lot of memory to buffer. I will try to do the same without the textures loaded into the scene.

EDIT3: I've loaded the scene, saved it again under new name, deleted/unloaded all the textures so that it was taking just 200MB of the memory according to process manager. And yet, same crash, and with radiosity and 5k res it wouldn't even start the refresh in VPR viewport. So I'm guessing it must be sth with scene settings.

11-10-2013, 04:13 AM
I have spent few hours today testing the Skytracer on different models and in different scenarios. Here are the results.


Seems that the more complex the scene the more possible it is that Skytracer will crash layout when we turn the viewport to VPR.

The crash says that layout crashed, gives some obscure numbers and indicates that ntdll.dll was the "faulty module".
The crash happens when both of these conditions are met:

1. We have at least once turned on the VPR, which is the preview mode in the viewport.
2. We have clicked "refresh" button to generate the preview in skytracer's window.

The workaround to avoid crash and still use Skytracer (as it renders just fine, or so it seems).

A. One way is to set the Skytracer using its built-in preview but NOT switching to VPR viewport. Then saving the scene. Closing Layout and loading the scene. Now VPR will work again.
B. Another way is to not use the built-in preview in Skytracer's window and refresh the VPR simply by unfocusing the layout window (aka clicking somewhere else on your desktop, say on the taskbar). For example, the light1 in skytracer is set to sun. Open the Skytracer's properties with VPR on, change the light1 setting to moon, click "ok", click on the taskbar, click on "camera" as if to choose which camera in the scene we want to select, right next to "light", and viola, the VPR refreshes Skytracer and there's no crash.

Note. If we use the Skytracer's preview AND click on taskbar before doing anything in VPR this SOMETIMES avoids the crash, aka works say once, but then when I repeat the same procedure aka Skytracer's preview but I didn't click taskbar last time... then it crashes O_o... I suppose it's sth related to how they share resources and focusing windows shifts those resources between them. That's why unfocusing helps here. I'm no programmer xD. Hope this small research will prove useful to someone.

Also, Skytracer II works without any problems for me in any of the scenarios that would crash the original Skytracer.

11-10-2013, 05:35 PM
Why do you prefer skytracer before skytracer II? isnīt skytracer II better? I would reckon the old skytracer isnīt updated to work properly with VPR.

I would actually skip skytracer completly, and use dpontīs sunsky instead, faster and more accurate sky model, if you want clouds in there, I would throw in particle fields or point clusters and add hypervoxels to them.

Sky tracer canīt cast any shadows on the ground ..which is in fact a very poor feature in skytracer:) if you use true volumetrics(hypervoxels) and sunsky you will get clouds casting shadows.
other better tools for clouds would be a cheap volumetric atmosphere plugin called ogo taiki, or the more expensive ozone plugin for lightwave.

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11-10-2013, 06:53 PM
Hi Prometheus.

Well, to be honest I haven't really needed any sky before so it's just me experiencing with different modules. Skytracer seemed like a reasonable thing to start.

Skytracer II is waaaaay slower (or maybe I'm just cranking the quality much higher in it than in the original Skytracer). Yesterday it took me 7h to render one frame on 5k res with it. Although like you said, the result wasn't that fancy for all the time it took to render it.

I will surely look into the way you've suggested and probably when I will need to make the sky for a project will consult the community here.

I also want to point out here that I have got some really weird renders when using Skytracer II. Some parts were waaaay too dark/black (not sure why, was it that they rely on reflection of light or becuase one material used alpha - well was basically 3 layers of image map and some procedurals layed over each other with alpha. They work fine when I'm not using Skytracer II, even in the org Skytracer it works good). And most worryingly I have got few "red dots" O_o rendered on one texture... an artifact perhaps?

Gonna check out the Sunsky... as for Ozone and ogo taiki... just WOW! Those are some immense plugs! O_O

I also see that e-on makes Vue and other modules to generate some really awesome stuff! Thanks for the reference :< I will dl their demos and try them out too. Seems like a lot of fun!

11-10-2013, 07:11 PM
The images I posted are only the sunsky plug and hypervoxels on particles, it will of course come to a cost too, depending on quality and how much particles and how large the hvīs sizes are.

skytracer is extremly slow when you use textured shadows on the clouds, and that is really reuired if you want good shadows and silverlining in the clouds, otherwise skytracer clouds looks horrible.
So your stuck with slow render, and clouds that arenīt fully volumetric, you cant go over the clouds to render etc, and it doesnīt cast shadows from the sunglight, I hope that they sometime soon replace
it with something better.

ogo taiki, is sweet, but it is tricky to get the quality right, much easier to set up hv clouds and get nice shadows and better quality than dealing with ogo taikiīs multitude of quality settings.
ogo taiki is a bit too complex and confusing when dealing with setting up the sky/air, and also switching between cloud layers so you might end up tweaking wrong layers.
at the desired quality you would like in ogo taiki, that will come at high render times too.

I havent been a fan of ozone ..partly because you canīt tweak the settings with VPR open as you can with ogo taiki and sunsky, sunsky even has opengl feedback.
and ozone can not acess the density functions to tweak the clouds as it can be done in vue, and it is missing the cloud detail tab as it is in vue, and you can not get
a planetary view as you can with ogo taiki, and as you can with vue itself.
I managed to get the attention from one of the developers of vue/ozone..and he thanked and would pass on my point of views on why I havenīt purchased the ozone plugin for lighwave..
maybe..just maybe they can improve on it.

Ozone and vue is stuck with the functions provided from e-on and those noise functions for clouds, and those are in my point of view the worst of them all, and not designed for clouds like
terragen functions, and lightwave procedurals suck as gardner clouds,weather procedurals from dpont.
Terragen the new version was said to be much faster, but to my dissapointment..the previewer was pretty much the same in speed..thus unusable for a good tweaking session of clouds, unfortunatly
that is one of the major downsides,along with the ui for terragen.

there is a seperate addon that might be coming, called helios, that will bring some improvement on cloud functions, and look overall for vue, but it havenīt been released yet.

ogo taiki link...
and check erikals videos on ogo taiki..

11-10-2013, 11:32 PM
otherwise skytracer clouds looks horrible. <- I agree... they look like coffee cream :<

I havent been a fan of ozone ..partly because you canīt tweak the settings with VPR open as you can with ogo taiki and sunsky, sunsky even has opengl feedback. <- Valuable info!

All in all you've really explained some significant differences of those packages in great detail! Reading such first hand user experience as opposed to checking websites alone really turns the table. As in, this info here goes above the marketing tricks :<

Thanks again and have a nice day/night.

11-11-2013, 06:42 AM
I'm not up to speed with the latest free version, but Eon Vue, (same people behind Ozone), normally has a free version in their insanely complex product lineup. This can export to 360x180 degree maps, which work great with Lightwave's textured background. Plus you only render them once and can then re-use the image!

I gave away a whole bunch of 8k x 4k maps done this way over on Foundation 3d...

11-11-2013, 09:01 AM
I'm not up to speed with the latest free version, but Eon Vue, (same people behind Ozone), normally has a free version in their insanely complex product lineup. This can export to 360x180 degree maps, which work great with Lightwave's textured background. Plus you only render them once and can then re-use the image!

I gave away a whole bunch of 8k x 4k maps done this way over on Foundation 3d...

Skytracer can also render out maps...but
real photage of skies and clouds in 360 panoramic views are more realistic, rather then exporting out from vue.:)

the difference between approaching these two might be..
you can get true shadows from a volumetric system which you have to fake with image maps.
you also miss out on atmospherics and matching light dynamicly with how you set the sunlight.

but ..both using volumetric and image map for environment has these disadvantages of introducing the look of not being real, generally it is the shape of
how clouds look like in the volumetric system, while itīs lighting interaction with the scene is superior to photo backdrops, and vice versa, it is the lack of light matching and
interaction from photomaps that isnīt super, while the actual cloud formation and look of backdrop in photos is superior to anything else.

Since photos renders fast, you would first have to ask yourself if I can get away with that, if you want more creative design look after your own eye, and needs shadow
and light behaving in a certain way,and even moving clouds, photos will not do so good.

Image sample ...light interaction from clouds obscuring light,some light hitting rocks, and the rest is casting shadows from hypervoxels clouds, a little grainy image since it was a draft render straight from VPR:)



11-11-2013, 10:33 AM
Well, one of the nice things about the Vue export route is that you can also make HDRI maps, and the combination of a low res HDRI with a higher res simple image works very well in my experience.

I agree about photos, but it's hard to find really high res maps, (particularly for a good price).