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derker
11-28-2013, 08:22 AM
I Hate FiberFX AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAA
It should come with free tranquilizers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!

Ryan Roye
11-28-2013, 08:27 AM
FiberFX needs quite a bit more error checking to be artist friendly.

And yes, it should come with tranquilizers :)

Kryslin
11-28-2013, 03:27 PM
>>Hands Derker a large, cartoon style rawhide mallet. Here's your tranquilizer.

FiberFX has it's uses - it does great work with guides chains/splines. Procedural, patterned fur... Not so good. If you have solid colors for fur, it can work. However, any patterning, and things being to fall apart. To get adequate coverage of a surface, especially with short, dense fur, you'll wind up eating up RAM at a ferocious rate. And, lacking simple bias controls, getting the fur to fall where you need it is kind of painful.

UnCommonGrafx
11-29-2013, 08:04 AM
It looks so promising.
Then u try to do something fun...
Tranqs needed for sure.
And if u use a mac, learn where ur config files are.

Ryan Roye
11-29-2013, 08:36 AM
Are there any extensive commercial tutorials on using Fiberfx? I didn't notice any on Liberty3d.com, and couldn't come up with any via searches.

Not that it helps the "artistic" matter any, but perhaps in the long run it'd be worth it for someone to roll up their sleeves and help users understand what they need to do to get a clean, efficient workflow going with Fiberfx. The LW docs help a little, but users also need a fast track to this stuff too.

hrgiger
11-29-2013, 08:41 AM
I just wish there were alternatives such as a few more 3rd party developers that would create hair and fur solutions. Shave is long gone and Sasquatch is quite limited anymore with no evidence to suggest that it will ever be updated. I really hope that LW3DG have some ideas on how to address issues with FiberFx or come up with an alternative solution. Its just not easy at all to get pleasing results from it.

leandropedrouzo
11-29-2013, 10:30 AM
I Hate FiberFX AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAA
It should come with free tranquilizers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!

If you manage to make a whole project with FiberFX they send you a medal.
I have one, I received it while I was in a mental institution.

derker
11-29-2013, 01:19 PM
It's good to know I'm not the only one here who feels this. The thing is with Lightwave it has such beautiful results, it's just that FiberFX once started in a project produces soooooooooooooooooooo many crashes, that you just have to be totally dedicated to the finish line to carry on. I think that after using it quite extensively throughout the past 5 years (because I cant find anything else that works) the main problem is that once fiberfx is in use on an object then the object cannot be altered back in modler, or at your peril. So a lot of the fiberfx in my scenes is objects that have been re-done, after a crash so that they have no links to their original link that produced the crash. I have found also that guides are much more stable if you can use them, it will stop the fibers from unwanted movement in an animation and will also deform well to the guides. I've tried morphing a guide but that does not seem to work, but they do deform with bones. I hope that in future Lightwave updates that fiberfx will be smoothed out,
and given an overhaul, I know that it's very hard indeed to not have bugs but the way fiberfx is now it almost feels like it IS the BUG.

jeric_synergy
11-29-2013, 01:33 PM
I'm not sure the alpha testers do the amount of tweeking and revision that actual production artists are required to do, and hence never even see all these crashes.

IOW, the testing regimen is inadequate.

Kryslin
11-29-2013, 03:49 PM
Keep in mind that I've used Sasquatch for my hair and fiber work since picking up Lightwave in 2008, and I have tried to use FFX at nearly every release of Lightwave since 9.5, when it showed up. And now that minor problems with Sasquatch have started to creep in (Sasquatch and the new Color Picker do not work together; I've had to go back to using the system color picker, which is overridden by Jovian, and another user I know couldn't get 11.5 to get the plugin to load in Lightwave...)

There are two issues with FiberFX, as I've used it.

First is coverage - As I said, if you are using a simple solid color, or using the color mixer in FFX, you can get good results, using some of the suggestions to be found here on the forums. However, those suggestions fall apart when you have a specific pattern to the fur - like a leopard's spots. Using the computationally cheap methods of distributing fibers across a surface simply doesn't work. You are left to relaxing the distribution of the fibers (which is computationally expensive, but produces excellent results - it's the 7min wait per frame before rendering starts, and the 7min UNLOAD after rendering that kills things - and this is with relax set to a relatively low setting - 4), or upping density (which will eat RAM at a pretty good pace - run out of ram, and FFX will give you an error message, and will crash on the unload side of the render, at least on my end). A minor issue in coverage is the fact you can see the surface beneath the fur when the incidence between the camera and surface = 1 (defined as the dot product of the Camera Forward Vector and the -Surface Normal Vector). Trying to get a simple tangle effect has been rather frustrating.

Second issue is simple combing; Sasquatch has simple bias combing settings; world -Y, away from a surface, and space for two more effectors, along with being able to alter the strength via slope or texture. While not realistic, it was often good enough to give excellent results. With FFX, you have to go in an manually comb the fur - while there are many ways to do this, and in the end, gives you precise control... it means far more time spent than simply setting two parameters, and adjusting strength based on slope.

So, If FiberFX is going to be replacing Sasquatch as a fur and fiber solution, it will need to have similiar features to what it is replacing; Simple combing settings and better distribution of fibers across a surface that doesn't induce a 7-8 minute wait pre-render and post render. It will also need to offer results comparable to what it is replacing. It gets closer with every revision, but it's still not quite there. I suspect Sasquatch will stop working with LW very soon, If not with 12.0, then possibly soon after that.

Also, any tutorial series would need to cover moving from Sasquatch to FiberFX, what the differences are, and the strengths, and how to get comparable results.

FiberFX has a lot going for it, despite the problems - namely access to Nodes (Though I think that every parameter should be able to be controlled by nodes, and that the fur color mixer needs to be a node as well...).

Here are two examples... The one on the left is Sasquatch, the one on the right is FiberFX. Same model and lighting.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v636/Kryslin/Kryslin/th_krys_genoma_test_q85_zps49e32f7c.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/Kryslin/media/Kryslin/krys_genoma_test_q85_zps49e32f7c.jpg.html) http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v636/Kryslin/th_kryslin_fur_ffx_zpsdc287588.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/Kryslin/media/kryslin_fur_ffx_zpsdc287588.jpg.html)
(The FiberFX test is for Fur Only, I hadn't converted the guide chains over yet when that image was rendered).
Beyond the fact that I'm still trying to dial in settings in FFX, you can see the pattern issues I've mentioned, and the simple combing issues. I've tried using bias maps generated by FiberFX in Modeler, but it appears that they're NOT working at the moment.

I've wasted enough of everyone's time.

Greenlaw
11-30-2013, 06:02 AM
If you have solid colors for fur, it can work. However, any patterning, and things being to fall apart. To get adequate coverage of a surface, especially with short, dense fur, you'll wind up eating up RAM at a ferocious rate. And, lacking simple bias controls, getting the fur to fall where you need it is kind of painful.
To get the patterned fur for 'B2' (http://vimeo.com/channels/littlegreendog/68543424), I'm using the characters' texture maps with FiberFX. Just an opinion, but I think this is more desireable than using procedural textures if you want a specific animal pattern. Granted, the 'B2' characters are designed to be 'cartoony' but the idea is the same for more realistically designed creature fur.

For 'B2', I'm currently using FiberMesh guides with FiberFX but I did try using FiberFX Edit Guides with these characters. Edit Guides actually worked quite well with the characters' texture maps for the patterns and the styling took only a few minutes to comb their fur. The reason I abandoned this approach (about a year ago,) was because of a fiber 'popping' issue I had when rendering through BNR, a problem which I did not see when using externally modeled guides. At the time, I got a little help from artists at other studios and we determined that this was a BNR issue and not a FiberFX issue. Since that time, Liquid Dream Solutions released a patch to address this problem. Sadly, I haven't had time this year to check if the patch fixed the FiberFX Edit Guides issue yet--it's been a crazy busy year for me but I hope to get back to proper FiberFX R&D and finishing the 'B2' project soon. (BNR is still my render controller of choice--in fact, we upgraded to version 5 recently--just haven't had time to migrate to it yet.)

As for using procedural textures to 'pattern' fur, I did have success using procedural textures in early FiberFX tests (over a year ago.) I just don't use this method because it's not as specific as using a hand painted texture. Just curious but how was using procedural textures misbehaving for you?

BTW, my comments above are for using FiberFX with 11.5--I haven't had time to work with FiberFX after 11.6 came out a few weeks ago, so I'm not sure how well things work in the current release. Will get back to it soon though.

G.

Greenlaw
11-30-2013, 06:21 AM
Additional notes: some users may notice a little 'flickering' in 'B2'. This comes form using multi-sample lights with FiberFX, which is really my only significant complaint. FiberFX works fine with raytraced shadows using it's own shadow softening but when you need soft shadows from multi-sample lighting (as I do in 'B2' because the shadows need to interact with other geometry (musical instruments, hard facial features, etc.,) well, then it doesn't work so well. The problem seems to be that there is a quality threshold when using multi-sample lights that cuts off at around 20 or so, and it really needs to be higher to prevent flickering.

In many situations, you can get away with using a Distant light and cheating the soft shadows--FiberFX built-in sampling actually works quite well. But for these scenes, I really needed Dome and DP Infinite to get the look I wanted, so I decided I would just have to live with the shadow flicker issue.

LW3DG is aware of the issue and I believe they are working on it. (I should check if this has been fixed in 11.6--I don't believe it has though.)

Helpful tip: I was able to supress a lot of the flickering by using RE:Vision FX DE:Noise OFX plug-in, which runs with any software that can use OFX plug-ins. (FYI, get your RE:Vision plug-ins keyed to a USB Ethernet dongle to make it portable. This comes in handy when you have to use your own software at an offsite location.) I run it just for the character pass and it cleans up almost all of the flickering without affecting fiber detail. You need to be careful though--if you're too aggressive with DE:Noise, it can soften the overall image quality.

Hope this info is helpful.

G.

Greenlaw
11-30-2013, 06:35 AM
Oops...I just saw you're most recent post, which answers some of my questions about the procedural issues you ran into. :)

Anyway, like I said, it's been a while since I tested FiberFX with procedurals, so I'm not sure my testing results are still valid. I'll check it out again soon. FWIW, procedurals did work for me but that was over a year ago.

As for replicating Sasquatch's auto combing, yes, I greatly miss that feature too. It wasn't necessarily 'realistic' but it was really simple to use and it was almost always good enough for most creature fur--I used it all the time for creature fur 'back in the day'.

FWIW, I had really good luck styling fur with Edit Guides though. A year ago, it was really quick and easy for me to comb the fur for the Brudders characters. I also tried this using Modo's styling tools, which was a pain because Modo's guide tools did not support symmetry like Edit Guides does. (I don't know if this is still true--I had to stop upgrading Modo at version 6.)

I only switched over to FiberMesh guides for FiberFX because of the render error issue described above. I'm happy with the results but it required a lot more work than using Edit Guides, and if I had to do it again, assuming the 'popping' issue has been fixed with BNR rendering of FiberFX, I would likely be using Edit Guides now.

Sister's hair is a different case however--using FiberMesh to create the guides for her hair was definitely the way to go.

There is an important 'gotcha' when using FiberMesh guides though: the guides will not have have any VMaps applied when you import them from ZBrush. To solve this problem I had to use a third-party plug-in called DrainBGVmap (http://www.mikegreen.name/) to transfer the UV map from the cat characters' mesh (so I could apply the texture map to the fur,) the morph targets (for the face), and the weight maps (to properly deform the fur.) This tool works well but unfortunately it's x32 only, which means the number for fibers it can handle is very limited--for full body fur, you'll will certainly hit that limit quickly.

I'm still hoping that LW3DG will make a native version of this tool that works in x64. IMO, the VMap transfer features of this plug-in are absolutely necessary for making full use of FiberMesh with FiberX.

All this underscores a key advantage with using FiberFX Edit Guides: because the fibers are automatically UV mapped to take their color from the mesh textures and because they are directly anchored to the mesh vertices, you don't need to deal with transferring VMaps when using Edit Guides.

This also means Edit Guides guides deform correctly when using Subdivision Surfaces. FiberMesh guides, on the other hand, may not deform the way you might expect because they are 'free floating', meaning they are not directly attached to the mesh like Edit Guides guides. (This is true for any externally modeled guides.) To work around this for FiberMesh you need to paint explicit weight maps for the bones and not rely on LightWave's normally convenient bone influences.

G.

Greenlaw
11-30-2013, 06:55 AM
To solve the fur patterning (placement as opposed to color texture,) I use a wide Cluster Radius, which creates overlap between the Clusters. The result is a lot more randomness in fiber placement without having to use Relax. This is what I used for the short base layer of Dante's hair and for some of the other characters in last year's DmC (Devil May Cry) cinematic.

In general, I avoid using Relax because it puts a big hit on render times.

G.

Kryslin
11-30-2013, 07:15 AM
By procedural fur, I'm talking about fur generated with no guides made by the user - generated procedurally at run time.

A wide cluster radius kills a fur pattern - the model above uses a UV Mapped texture, fed into the color input of the FiberFX node. Set really wide, you do get the coverage, but the pattern gets blurred out, and everything becomes a muddy beige color. To get something vaguely resembling a pattern, cluster radius had to come down, which led to gaps in coverage, so relax had to come up. The results almost work, but it's the 7 minute pre- and post- render waits for FFX that are a deal breaker with that.

It appears that I'm dealing with FiberFX's "Achille's Heel" - a coat of short, dense fur.

Greenlaw
11-30-2013, 07:17 AM
Some more tips: just like with Sasquatch, a lot of fur/hairstyles are much easier to create and manage if you break it down into parts and layers. For the B2 characters, I've kept it fairly simple, but in other productions with more realistic characters, I typically create a base 'short fur' layer to fill out the spaces between the longer bits. And for characters with complicated hair, I will often break the hairstyles into multiple groups (separate objects or object layers) of guide chains--this make is easier to apply adjustments to fiber density and other properties, and it also makes it easier to isolate where you want to use dynamics, Bullet, SoftFX, ClothFX or whatever. (Bullet and SoftFX are my preferred way to animate hair these days--Bullet for long hair and SoftFX for short styles.)

Greenlaw
11-30-2013, 07:21 AM
A wide cluster will indeed kill the texture pattern when it's set too wide because you are creating more randomness in fiber placement (well, for appearances anyway.) The trick is to strike an acceptable balance in the number of fibers per cluster and the width. I was able to do this with the B2 fibers and still preserve the sharp graphic markings on the characters. (In the earlier version I mean, not the current FiberMesh/FiberFX version.)

That said, I agree this could be handled better--I didn't have this issue back when I was using Sasquatch.

G.

Greenlaw
11-30-2013, 07:29 AM
Have you tried multiple layers of short fur? Make two nearly identical layers--just copy and paste the layers settings--and then slightly vary some of the parameters between each layer (i.e., length, cluster number and radius, etc.) I haven't tried that trick recently but it should help make the fur more random while preserving the texture detail. Naturally, you may want to reduce the density between the two layers so it doesn't become too thick. This method might allow you to avoid using Relax.

It's a theory anyway. Let me know how it works for you.

G.

Greenlaw
11-30-2013, 07:37 AM
I guess I should put together a FiberFX training course. Between our Little Green Dog productions and my freelance gigs, it's really hard to plan anything right now but maybe after the holidays I can start designing a practical guide to FiberFX. I'll post more info when I'm ready to work on this project.

G.

chikega
11-30-2013, 08:28 AM
That would be most welcome! :D


I guess I should put together a FiberFX training course. Between our Little Green Dog productions and my freelance gigs, it's really hard to plan anything right now but maybe after the holidays I can start designing a practical guide to FiberFX. I'll post more info when I'm ready to work on this project.

G.

Ryan Roye
11-30-2013, 11:04 AM
I guess I should put together a FiberFX training course. Between our Little Green Dog productions and my freelance gigs, it's really hard to plan anything right now but maybe after the holidays I can start designing a practical guide to FiberFX. I'll post more info when I'm ready to work on this project.

G.

I am very, very certain that this would be highly lucrative for you. If you'd like help with distribution, advertising, etc, you need to get in touch with Kat at Liberty3d.com (http://www.liberty3d.com/about/contact/), otherwise, I look forward to seeing what's around the corner there :)

Greenlaw
11-30-2013, 12:00 PM
Thanks. Fellow LightWavers have asked me about creating a FFX course in the past, so it's something I've been thinking about for a while. It's a matter of making the time for it though, and it's been a very busy year for me--plus, I really need to finish 'B2' first.

Will see what I can do. :)

G.

UnCommonGrafx
11-30-2013, 04:13 PM
Show us how to get the love out of ffx. Come on, make the holidays for us all. (Chuckle, you, too, with our bucks.)

jeric_synergy
12-01-2013, 10:08 AM
No kidding: my per-word comprehension of the posts was dropping like a stone there near the end. Training would be great, you should talk to Kat.

One aside: I too had many many difficulties when attempting very short fur, like on a fox muzzle w/RW dimensions. Scaling the meshes up X10 (30ft long fox) made the look work but was a headache conceptually.

Greenlaw
12-01-2013, 04:30 PM
I mentioned the LightWave hair and fur course to Alisa (my producer,) and she thinks it's a great idea--that is, after we finish the two productions we have going on now of course. (Additionally, I'm involved with two 'non-LGD' freelance gigs so I'm stretched a bit thin at the moment.)

Tonight we're going to discuss when and how we can make this course happen. Stay tuned. :)

G.

allabulle
12-01-2013, 05:24 PM
At last!

Good to know you're finally up to it, Greenlaw. Really good news.

Greenlaw
12-01-2013, 08:07 PM
Scaling the meshes up X10 (30ft long fox) made the look work but was a headache conceptually.

Yes, changing scale after applying FiberFX can bite you. This was true when using Sasquatch too and I'm guessing it true with most hair/fur systems.

Another thing to watch out for is changes to the total size of geometry (as opposed to changing the scale of the object.) For example, early in the DmC production, I was given Dante's head to work with while another artist worked on the body. At the time, this seemed like a smart, efficient way to work. After a couple of days, I had the hair looking pretty good on the head when I received the finished body. To my surprise, when I merged the head with the body, the hair looked totally different. This was because, even though the scale of the head had not changed, the total size of geometry had increased. I mistakenly thought FiberFX would simply ignore the body since it did have any hair applied to it but FiberFX apparently has to consider the total volume of the object when it generates fibers. BTW, I'm not 100% sure but I almost certain this means the total size (bounding box) of the object, not the total surface area. Luckily fixing the fibers was mostly a matter of changing scale in FiberFX. (Well, okay, it was a little tricky because of the way I had applied some properties but in general it was not too bad to correct.)

In general, you want to avoid changing the size or scale of your character once you start working with FiberFX. If you only have a portion of the body to work with, like I did during DmC, you might want to add a proxy body to the geometry so the total size doesn't change when you replace it with a finished body later. Alternatively, you can keep the head mesh separate from the body mesh and use Use Bones From to share a skeleton--this way, FiberFX will never be aware of the extra geometry. Obviously, this approach won't work for all characters.

G.

Megalodon2.0
12-01-2013, 08:12 PM
Tonight we're going to discuss when and how we can make this course happen. Stay tuned. :)

Obviously the sooner the better.

But just knowing a FFX course will be produced by you is great. It's an automatic purchase on this end. Looking VERY MUCH forward to it. :thumbsup:

jeric_synergy
12-01-2013, 08:16 PM
Hmmmm.... When doing morphs I've seen the Bounding Box representation change in Layout: would a morph that changed the total extents of the b.box alter the way that FFX renders its effect??

That would be a nightmare.

Greenlaw
12-01-2013, 08:32 PM
FYI, if you haven't already done so, you might want to skim through the 'Brudders 2' Production Log (link below (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133274-The-Brudders-2-Production-Log-%28Well-sort-of-%29).) About year or so ago, I was documenting my progress with using FiberFX for the character hair and fur for our music video. I don't remember exactly what I wrote back then but the thread covers a lot of my mistakes, encounters with limitations with FiberFX, and describes workaround solutions. The thread isn't 'all about FiberFX' and I think some of the info there is a little outdated by now, but even so you might find some useful tips in there.

I'll start updating the thread when we get back to finishing our work on B2 later this month.

G.

Greenlaw
12-01-2013, 08:35 PM
Hmmmm.... When doing morphs I've seen the Bounding Box representation change in Layout: would a morph that changed the total extents of the b.box alter the way that FFX renders its effect??

That would be a nightmare.

No, morph changes should be fine--FiberFX properties are essentially 'frozen' before any deformation changes the 'size' of the object. Otherwise, you would certainly see a lot of problems during animation.

If you look at the 'B2' excerpt, you can see morph changes in Sergeant's face in a couple of shots, and the result is fine. Also, the characters' bones are obviously changing the bounding box sizes of the characters throughout, and the fur is fine.

(Except, of course, for the slight shadow flicker as described above--but this has nothing to do with deformation, it's caused by using sub-sample lights, like Dome and DP Infinite. In general, you should avoid using sub-sample lights with FiberFX, but in my case I decided to live with the flicker in favor of nicer fiber shading. The flicker isn't especially distracting here but I'm afraid it wouldn't pass in another production. I hope LW3DG can fix the sub-sample flicker issue in a future build. Just to be clear, non-sub-sample lights work fine with FiberFX, so you should try to use these light types if you can. But I digress...) :)

G.

Greenlaw
12-01-2013, 09:45 PM
O...just knowing a FFX course will be produced by you is great. It's an automatic purchase on this end. Looking VERY MUCH forward to it. :thumbsup:

Thanks, that's encouraging. Just be forewarned, it won't be a very technical training course--anybody who has worked with me knows I'm not a very technical artist, just a tenacious one with a big bag of tricks. But I suppose the non-technical approach isn't necessarily a bad thing--it's worked for me for anyway. :)

G.

Megalodon2.0
12-01-2013, 09:54 PM
Thanks, that's encouraging. Just be forewarned, it won't be a very technical training course--anybody who has worked with me knows I'm not a very technical artist, just a tenacious one with a big bag of tricks. But I suppose the non-technical approach isn't necessarily a bad thing--it's worked for me for anyway. :)

G.

Of course. I like both styles of approach. In fact, IMO you can't say one is better than the other - just different.

I will learn either way! The more training we have - especially in areas where training is lackin (like FFX) - the better!

jeric_synergy
12-02-2013, 12:25 AM
First Greenlaw, thanks for posting all this information, and I'll certainly try to remember to check that log (I'm about to hit the hay for tonight, but bookmarking it now.)

2nd: you may underestimate your technicaliteraciousness: the bit above about "sub-sample lights" out-teched little ol' me-- I would have thought (pixel?) sub-sampling the light would be necessary to improve shadow production, ---I rest assured that whatever level of technicality you come in with will be educational, esp away from the hothouse of animation talent in LA.