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Chris Jones
12-30-2013, 06:18 AM
I've just spent a couple of hours gritting my teeth through interminable crashing, repeated loss of settings, scene corruption and an incessant "out of memory to create fibers" message on a 358 poly object with 1% Max Fiber Density. Is Fiber FX worth persevering with, or should I go back to modelling fibers by hand?

Thx.

(c:

Ryan Roye
12-30-2013, 08:36 AM
The good news is that you're not alone! Many people including myself been ripping out their own hair trying to get hair on their digital characters with FiberFX, and that a growing community of balding folks who have gone through the same frustration will understand what you're going through :D

The bad news is I'm not sure the amount of effort required to utilize FiberFX in a usable fashion is really worth the time investment. It is probably among the most user-unfriendly tools in the Lightwave toolset, and I don't say that lightly.

Greenlaw
12-30-2013, 03:43 PM
FWIW, I've used FiberFX successfully on a few productions since LW 11 sp2, both large scale ('DmC (Devil May Cry)' Theatrical Trailer) and small (our 'Brudders 2' (http://vimeo.com/channels/littlegreendog/68543424) excerpt,) and I have friends who have used it for TV episodics and theatrical films, including fantasy monsters and realistic talking dogs. I can't say FiberFX is a perfect tool but it's gotten me through some big projects, and it's become much more useful after motion vector support was added.

Many of the issues I've had with FiberFX in the past were solved in 11.5. The one issue that still messes me up is that it doesn't work well with multi-sample lights like DP Infinite and Dome (LW3DG is aware of this and I believe they're working on it.) It renders fine with regular raytraced lights and its built-in sampling though--this should be suitable for many situations. Other than that, it's been very stable and usable for me.

I haven't used FiberFX after LW 11.5 though...maybe I need to see if anything got broken in 11.6.1? Hope not--I still have 'B2' to finish and I was going to migrate that project to 11.6.1 when we get back to it. (I've already been using 11.6.1 for work but not with FiberFX yet.)

G.

Greenlaw
12-30-2013, 03:49 PM
If FiberFX is crashing a lot and you recently updated or upgraded LightWave you might want to refresh your configs. Many LightWave plug-ins are sensitive to config changes from version to version, and FiberFX seems to be more sensitive than others. Just a thought.

G.

Chris Jones
12-30-2013, 05:44 PM
Thanks for the replies. I did manage to get somewhere with it an update or two ago (probably 11.6), but it was a struggle. Maybe something has changed for the worse again in 11.6.1. Edit Guides seems to be particularly buggy - my first attempt has produced a "Style" that I can't even select or delete without it crashing or bringing up an "out of memory to create fibers" message.

What's the recommended way to refresh the configs?

Edit: I just loaded an object, applied Fiber FX, edited guides, saved the scene, reloaded the scene, and the guides have reverted to default. Same thing in 11.6.1 and 11.6. There appears to be no way to save settings. :(

Greenlaw
12-30-2013, 08:06 PM
Hmm...I'll take a look here. FWIW, I was able to use edit guides with 11.5. I do recall having problems with multiple styles early on when the feature was introduced but I thought that was fixed.

Oh, I just remembered something--are you saving your .lwo file after styling? Styles are saved in the .lwo file now because they're vmaps. Just to be safe, be sure save iterations.

Hope this helps.

G.

Greenlaw
12-30-2013, 08:14 PM
When I get a new version of LightWave, I build the configs from scratch. What I do is delete the configs, and then launch LightWave. Next, scan all your plug-ins, then set your menus and keyboard shortcut. I like to use the default because it contains all the new features that were added. Then, I start customizing my menus and key commands. Then, quit Layout--this saves the configs for Layout. Launch Modeler, and repeat the steps for menus and keyboard shortcuts--you don't need to rescan the plug-ins because the file is shared between Layout and Modeler. Quite Modeler to save its new config.

At this point, I like to save backup copies of the configs. This way, if I mess them up or they otherwise get corrupted, all I need to do is copy the backups back into the configs directory.

G.

Chris Jones
12-30-2013, 08:33 PM
Aha! I checked the 10.1 manual and it said the settings are saved with the scene file, but you're right, they're saved with the object. I expect that's mentioned in one of the addendum manuals somewhere... it's high time they consolidated all these updates into the manual proper I reckon.

I don't bother much with customisations nowadays (got tired of setting them up again after every update), so my configs should be in good order I expect. I cleaned them out just to make sure though.

Thanks for the help!

Chris Jones
12-30-2013, 08:55 PM
Any idea how to remove all Fiber FX references from an object? Removing an Edit Guides Style from within Fiber FX causes crashes, and I can see the Style name in the obj file, but I'm not game to delete anything in there.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 01:23 AM
Oh, yes, by all means read the current FiberFX manual in the 11.6 addendum. Lots of new features are described, plus the FiberFX panels have changed a bit since the 'ancient' LightWave 10 manuals were written. :)

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 02:25 AM
I just tried it in 11.6. In Edit Guides, I created a style called 'test', then saved the object and scene and quit LightWave. Then I launched LightWave and opened the scene and the FiberFX panel. Then I went back into Edit Guides, selected the style 'test' and clicked Remove. The style was removed without crashing.

Sorry, I'm not sure why it's crashing for you when you delete a style. Just curious--was the FiberFx plugin applied in an earlier version of LightWave, like LightWave 10 or earlier? In general, FiberFX settings from earlier versions are not compatible with more recent releases and will likely cause strange render results or crashing. This is because FiberFX has changed drastically since version 10. If the object was styled with a more recent version (like 11 sp3 or 11.5,) it should be okay--but I can't personally guarantee this because I haven't used FiberFX extensively since 11.5.

G.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 02:31 AM
Also, are you using x32 or x64 LightWave? If your fiber coverage is really dense and you're using x32 LightWave, you may be hitting a memory ceiling. That's one of the downsides with FiberFX I've found, it can be quite memory intensive. For example, you wouldn't want to use it to cover a large landscape. (For grassy fields you'll probably want to use Instancer instead, or maybe fall back on Sasquatch and an older version of LightWave.)

G.

Chris Jones
12-31-2013, 02:41 AM
x64. I'm doing the fibers afresh in 11.6.1.

I can get rid of styles with a simple object, but the object I'm working on causes it to hang or crash. Here's a poly from it which brings up the error message and/or crashes: 119016 Just select "poly" in Fiber FX and Peach Fuzz under Style. I can still remove styles on this one, but not so on the full object.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 02:56 AM
Wow! Yes, this polygon you posted is totally blowing up FiberFX here too. Not sure why though--I haven't seen this before, certainly not with a single polygon. I'll poke it around a bit and see if I learn anything.

In the meantime, you should fogbugz this one and be sure to send LW3DG this content.

G.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 03:07 AM
It crashes when I simply select the style, just as you describe. I tried reducing density to 1%, made sure gravity was completely off and zeroed out (it shouldn't be on when using Edit Guides,) and 'dumbed down' all settings, but still no good--selecting this style crashes my LightWave. I tried it in 11.5 too--same results.

I don't know how to fix this but I think your vmap got corrupted somehow. I hope you had an earlier iteration of the full object. FWIW, I never saw this problem when I set up the earlier 'Edit Guides' version of the cats for our 'B2' film. (We later switched to FiberMesh guides for FiberFX but this wasn't the reason why we did that.)

G.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 03:23 AM
Ah, okay. I was finally able to remove the style. Just wondering, is this polygon from a previously sub-patched object? I converted the polygon to a sub-patch and then Layout allowed me to open the Edit Guides panel to remove the Peachfuzz style. I still got the memory errors but no crashing this time.

Before I removed the style, I noticed there were 40,000 fibers with 320,000 edges on this single polygon. That seemed a bit high, especially considering how tiny this polygon is (about 15mm diagonal.) I'm not sure but maybe that has something to do with the memory error--FiberFX is probably not optimal for this many fibers at this small a scale. Just a thought.

Also, be careful about changing the edges setting when using Edit Guides--Edit Guides does not work with such changes. It's probably not a good idea to change polygon density or scale the mesh (in Modeler) either--this can totally change fiber density and distribution. This is why it's good to save iterations during the initial setups when using Edit Guides. In fact, during DmC, I found that it can easily be a waste of time to develop a hairstyle for a character if the mesh is not yet final. (That's not a FiberFX specific problem--I know that such changes could create a problem for Sasquatch too, although Sasquatch could be more forgiving about it.)

Also, remember that Edit Guides uses vmaps for styles, so certain changes to the mesh in Modeler might really mess it up. I don't know that for a fact but I think it makes sense. (If the polygon was previously a sub-patch, this might explain the crashing.) I'm just guessing though--I don't really know what goes on under the hood.

Hope this helps.

G.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 03:42 AM
BTW, I'm doing this on an old dual core tablet PC with 4GB RAM, so not a lot of horsepower to begin with. But I think the above might task my workstation too. I'll take a look at the file on that system tomorrow.

In the meantime, get the file to LW3DG and see what they think. I'm still not sure if it's a scale issue or a corrupted vmap. Possibly both.

G.

Chris Jones
12-31-2013, 04:25 AM
Yeah it was a subpatch object, but I wanted to strip it down to bare essentials to try and isolate the problem. I removed all the morphs, weight maps etc as well, but while this single quad is more stable than the full mesh there's obviously something still inherently wrong with it. The fiber numbers are left over from the full mesh, but it still has issues at 1% density.

I also found out the hard way about not changing the mesh a few weeks ago, so I've been avoiding that this time around.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 09:45 AM
Is this for animal fur or human hair? Just wondering.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 10:16 AM
One thing to be aware of with FiberFX is that the total size of the object (in Modeler) has a significant impact on how the fibers are created. In other words, you can't design hair for a human head that's meant to be seamlessly merged to a body later, and expect the hair to look anything like what you designed. That was one big problem I ran into during DmC because I received the head first from an artist, who then continued to work on the body separately while I worked on the hair. Once I realized what had happened, I had the artist give me a merged character to work with for the other characters. What I think found was that the FiberFX results did not differ if I removed polygons from the body but let the points--the scale for the fibers and their settings was determined by the total size (i.e. bounding box) of the object and not the surface area, even if the hair is only grown on a small surface or masked area. So, in other words, you can make some geometry changes without affecting FiberFX too much--it's the total size of the geometry by vertices, not polygons, that has the greatest impact. You really need to keep this in mind when working with hair/fur.

Naturally, you can work around some of these issue by keeping the head (or other extremity) separate and using Use Bones From to deform the object. Of course, this only works if the extremity's 'cut off' end can be hidden under clothing or some other occluding item.

In the case of DmC, I had the additional problem of not having bones in LightWave because the characters were animated in Rhythm's proprietary animation program. To solve this, I used FX Metalink to link the FiberFX layers (meshes and/or guide chains depending on the character) to the original character mesh with MDD applied, and baked a new MDD files for the fiberFX objects (meshes and guide chains.) If you're working entirely within LightWave though, you shouldn't have to deal with any of that.

Hmm...I think this FiberFX thread is becoming way more than what it was meant to be. Sorry 'bout that. :p

G.

jeric_synergy
12-31-2013, 11:29 AM
I ran into the "FFX relates to the total scale of the object" issue when trying to do a fox mesh. The short hairs on the muzzle were impossible with RW dimensions, but if I enlarged to fox to be 10 meters/30 feet long, it worked fine.

The question is: WHY THE F**K is this so? Why does FFX even "look" at the total size of the mesh? (And is this ever mentioned anywhere?)

I also find the FFX UI labels (i.e, the actual terminology) to be poorly chosen and a hindrance to learning/comprehension, and the UI 'style' to be less than elegant (and unfortunately it appears to have become a model for other parts of Lightwave such as, IIRC, Instances).

It'd be nice if the FFX rendering system could be divorced from its VERY less-than-mediocre UI-- when you can get it to work it can make pretty pictures, but by then you've shot yourself in the head.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 02:44 PM
The question is: WHY THE F**K is this so? Why does FFX even "look" at the total size of the mesh? (And is this ever mentioned anywhere?)
Not sure. FWIW, Sasquatch was affected by the size of the object too--must be a hair thing. I don't know--I've only ever used Sasquatch and FiberFX for hair and fur.

I think this info is mentioned in the manual. Okay, just checked--yes, it's mentioned in a couple of places in the current 11.6 addendum.

Page 219 "Fiber Width - Sets the thickness of fibers. Thinner fibers are more transparent and build up density more slowly, whereas thick fibers are less transparent and build up density faster. Model scale has an effect on fiber width, as does the distance to camera. Fibers further away are smaller in screen space and are more transparent."

Page 220 "The percentage is based on human hair which has been measured at 0.017mm to 0.181mm with blond hair being the thinnest and black hair the thickest. At 100% width a fiber is calculated using a median value of 0.05mm. Depending on the size of your object you may need to increase or decrease this value for a realistic effect. By default Solid fibers have an equal thickness across their length.

Page 222 "Scale - Gives a length to fibers. Scale is based on the size of the object - 100 % long fibers on a mammoth built to scale will be a lot longer than similar 100 % fibers on a fly modeled to scale.

To be honest, I haven't had much difficulty with the interface--in fact, I like that the FiberFX panel is more or less consistent with other FX tools like Bullet, Instancer, and HyperVoxels. I don't like that there still exist some inconsistencies between the tools though, like why some of these tools only allow you to save settings in the presets panel and others only allow settings to be saved as a settings file. FiberFX only allows you to save and load settings file--IMO, all these tools should offer both methods, like the Surface Editor. (BTW, it also bugs me that the Clip Map panel, which is nearly identical to the Surface Editor, still does not allow you save any settings at all. Ugh! That one missing button has been a pain in the butt for over a decade.)

I also like that some of the FiberFX panels have been consolidated and simplified from earlier versions of FiberFX--I find it much easier to understand than back in 9.6 days, and even 10 I think. (Though admittedly, the tool wasn't very usable back in 9.6 days, and it was only starting to become usable in LW 10.)

That said, yeah, all the tools in LightWave can stand some more improvements in conformity and simplification. Hopefully we'll see more of it in LightWave 12.

Just wondering, is anybody else successfully using FiberFX? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one using it without a lot of difficulty. (Okay, I mean 'now', not way back 'then'.) :p Would love to hear from other who use FiberFX in production and compare notes.

G.

jeric_synergy
12-31-2013, 02:48 PM
I think this info is mentioned in the manual. Okay, just checked--yes, it's mentioned in a couple of places in the current 11.6 addendum.

Page 219 "Fiber Width - Sets th

Ok, just so I'm not CONSTANTLY b!tching, I'll say that notification is EXCELLENT. I h8 the fact that it's necessary, but I LOVE the fact that it is documented. :thumbsup:

Conformity is better than pure arbitrariness, I guess, but conformity to a bad standard is only marginally better. It's been a while, but IIRC there's a LOT of 'clickiness' going on with those interfaces. But I've given up on making mockups to be ignored.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 02:51 PM
That said, it does seem strange that you had to scale the fox so huge to get the fibers to look right. Just wondering, did you try decreasing FiberFX scale to fit the fox at real world size? Scale is on the Styling panel, and it scales all the properties. This option appears only when you use surface based FiberFX. If you're using Edit Guides or externally modeled guides like FiberMesh, then the guides themselves determine the size (although length along the guide can be controlled separately in the panel settings.)

G.

- - - Updated - - -


Ok, just so I'm not CONSTANTLY b!tching, I'll say that notification is EXCELLENT. I h8 the fact that it's necessary, but I LOVE the fact that it is documented. :thumbsup:

:)

G.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 03:01 PM
Just a couple of ideas to share:

One trick I use often is to apply fur/hair in layers. I used this method with FiberFX for DmC and all the time back when I used Sasquatch. The idea is to break the hair effect into multiple parts so you can mix styles and better control density. For example, for many humans and furry creatures, I create a long hair layer, which is mostly defined by locks of hair and is less dense. By itself, this layer may reveal patches of scalp, but beneath that I make a shorter, denser 'carpet' of fibers to fill in these bare areas. Because this layer is short, it renders quickly, and the longer bits also render quickly because they're not so dense. (BTW, the 'long' layer can be surface based or guides based--doesn't matter, it's just longer.) Dante, in the DmC trailer, is a good 'simple' example of this technique.

I like to break out other hair elements as separate FiberFX or Sasquatch layers too, like maybe facial hair or fancy hair pieces like braids or pony tails. In the Crash Bandicoot commercial we did several years ago, I used multiple layers of Sasquatch in the fur for a couple of the mutants so that I could separate the dynamics effects.

Back in Sasquatch days, you had to add multiple instances of the plug-in to create layers, which could get unwieldy because the object panel only allows you to see two instances at a time, and some of my characters had as many as eight instances of Sasquatch. This is easier now with FiberFX because you can just right-click a layer to clone it and give the cloned layer completely different FiberFX settings.

G.

hrgiger
12-31-2013, 03:06 PM
Every time I think I'm getting somewhere with FiberFX, it reminds me that I'm not. I find it frustratingly challenging to get workable results with settings that make any kind of sense. On the latest Newtek Survey, I checked 'unacceptable' when it came to FiberFX. It was the only thing I rated that low.

jeric_synergy
12-31-2013, 03:08 PM
That said, it does seem strange that you had to scale the fox so huge to get the fibers to look right. Just wondering, did you try decreasing FiberFX scale to fit the fox at real world size? Scale is on the Styling panel, and it scales all the properties. This option appears only when you use surface based FiberFX. If you're using Edit Guides or externally modeled guides like FiberMesh, then the guides themselves determine the size (although length along the guide can be controlled separately in the panel settings.)
G.

GL, it's been a couple years-- I don't recall. The issue was the very short hairs on the muzzle, like 2-4 mm long. The longer hairs looked great. That's the frustrating thing, no?

But at 30feet, everything worked. I just had to remember that everything was 10x bigger than it should be. Which was surprisingly aggravating.

EDIT: what hrgiger said: even when you manage to get something you find acceptable, the PROCESS is so unintuitive that it's barely worth the candle. I think some of that is just very poor terminology selection. I'd be interested in knowing if the FFX coder is a native English speaker.

Greenlaw
12-31-2013, 03:21 PM
P.S., in spite of what I just wrote, I'm not layering FiberFX in 'B2'. My thinking at the time was that I wanted to keep everything simple so that I could just push through this project quickly. I didn't even render the fur in a separate layer, which is something I have always done in the past, when using either FiberFX or Sasquatch. In retrospect, some things might actually have been easier if I stuck to my normal 'layering' system. By keeping everything in my LightWave scenes 'simple', I actually complicated a few things for me in the compositing stage. Oh, well, at least I have a mostly fool proof workflow in place and the project will get done...eventually. :p

G.

Chris Jones
01-01-2014, 01:03 AM
Miraculously I managed to get FFX to stop crashing for long enough to render some peach fuzz (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?137719-Human-Progress&p=1360665&viewfull=1#post1360665).

Thanks for all the info, I'll try to remember some of it when I move on to head hair (which I'm now dreading...).

(c:

bobakabob
01-01-2014, 04:54 AM
Chris, sorry if you've thought of this simple workaround and I've missed something. How about using a 'wig' based on copied and pasted polys of the cranium in a different layer? I tried this back in the old Shave and Haircut days. That way you can still edit the original model and apply morphs without fear of any impending disasters.
Wish there were more FiberFX tutorials, I must admit to defeat in achieving any decent results. Greenlaw, thanks for all this incredible detailed info. I really hope you have time someday to write a basic step by step tutorial :)

Chris Jones
01-01-2014, 05:08 AM
I did actually try that briefly on the face using DP Meta Fit to lock it to the facial motion, but it couldn't distinguish between eyelid and brow and consequently dragged the brow down with the eyelid. That was before I realised I could just isolate the face with a separate surface. I'll probably do the same for the scalp unless that gives me problems, in which case, wig it is!

UnCommonGrafx
01-01-2014, 06:50 AM
Peach fuzz... That has got to be some kind of grail...

Ha, though I guess that whole thread is about The Grails.

Awesome work.

Greenlaw
01-01-2014, 09:43 AM
Wow, that's amazing work Chris...as usual. :)

Greenlaw
01-01-2014, 10:22 AM
I tried DP_MetaFit, normally it works well and, unlike FX_MetaLink, you don't need to pre-scan it in ClothFX. The main issue I had with DP_MetaFit was the pre-processing can take a long time to resolve (this is MetaFit's version of the prescan.) Once it's done, it becomes very responsive, but every time I open the scene, it goes through the process again--apparently, MetaFit doesn't cache it's data on disk, or if it does, maybe it just takes a while to load it. The workaround for that is to bake to MDD. Of course, that doesn't help with the issue you described.

An alternative (the one I use,) is an orphaned plug-in called DrainBGVmap. This is a Modeler tool that allows you to transfer VMaps from your character to guide chains in another layer. This is how I transferred the uv, weight and morph maps from my cat characters to the FiberMesh guides. If you want to use FiberMesh in LightWave, this tool is absolutely essential because the guides do not come in with any VMaps. For example, if you want to use your creature's skin texture map to color its fur, DrainBGVmap is the only way to apply it to FiberMesh for FiberFX to be able to read it. Unfortunately, the plug-in is only available in x32 so the available RAM is severely limited for full fur coverage. I was able to use this for Sergeant and Toullie in 'B2' but just barely. Anyway, I highly recommend it if you externally modeled guide chains with FiberFX. You can get it from Mike Green's (Dodgy's) website.

http://www.mikegreen.name/

I keep hoping LW3DG will create a x64 bit equivalent for LightWave. If they're serious about FiberMesh/FiberFX compatibility, it's really needed. (Of course, this tool has many other uses beyond supporting FiberMesh.)

If you're using Edit Guides, transferring texture UV isn't an issue because the fur is bound directly to the mesh so FiberFX can read what's 'under the roots'. That's one of the compelling reasons to use Edit Guides--in this case, Edit Guides is a much simpler method.

Just a couple of tips that I thought might be useful.

G.

jasonwestmas
01-01-2014, 10:40 AM
Chris, sorry if you've thought of this simple workaround and I've missed something. How about using a 'wig' based on copied and pasted polys of the cranium in a different layer? I tried this back in the old Shave and Haircut days. That way you can still edit the original model and apply morphs without fear of any impending disasters.
Wish there were more FiberFX tutorials, I must admit to defeat in achieving any decent results. Greenlaw, thanks for all this incredible detailed info. I really hope you have time someday to write a basic step by step tutorial :)

Here's a short examination of the shading in ffx I did, maybe it might help you think about FFX in a different way. https://vimeo.com/73548189

ime the crashing of ffx is usually related to changing your guides in modeler after you have them setup in layout and also directly related to corrupted config files or using the configs from an older version of ffx.

jeric_synergy
01-01-2014, 11:17 AM
Is it doing something more complex than just copying Vmaps???

Greenlaw
01-01-2014, 03:34 PM
Is it doing something more complex than just copying Vmaps???

You mean DrainBGVMap? Yes. If you just copied the VMaps directly, you would wind up with a big useless mess because there are no corresponding points between the FiberMesh guide chains and the character mesh.

DrainBGVmap generates a field of influence based on the UV's of the source and applies values to the nearest points it can find in the destination (that's probably not completely accurate but something like that.) This is especially useful with morph targets and UV maps since these would be more or less impossible to recreate on for the guides manually.

There are a couple of similar plug-ins out there, most notably Alexandre Labedade wonderful Weighter 2 (http://www.alesk.fr/lscript/weighter2/) (also recommended,) but none of them do quite the same thing for FiberMesh guides that DrainBGVMap does.

G.

Greenlaw
01-01-2014, 03:45 PM
BTW, if you use DrainBGVMap, you need to make different selections in the guides depending on what it is you want to transfer. For weight maps, you want the weights to transfer to the whole guides, so you need a wide influence--note that this may become less effective for really long hair, but if the hair is that long you may want to deform it with dynamics anyway. If you're transferring a UV map for texturing, then obviously you only want to select the root points of the FiberMesh guides to receive the coordinates data before you run DrainBGVmap.

Hope this clarifies how I use it and why I think it's such an important tool. It's sad that the plug-in is currently an unsupported orphan. I'm concerned that it will break one day soon and there won't be a replacement. For example, I'm noticing a trend these days to release programs in x64 only (Sony Vegas Pro 12 and Adobe After Effects CC for example,) and if that happens with LightWave it would mean losing x32 tools like this one. Also, the true potential of this plug-in is seriously hampered because it's x32 only.

I hope other FiberFx users will find it as useful as I have and submit a Fogbugz request for an equivalent native tool in a future version of LightWave.

G.

Greenlaw
01-01-2014, 04:00 PM
You know, I should look at Weighter 2 again. It seemed like there was something about the way it worked that kept it from doing what I needed the way DrainBGVmap does, but right now I can't remember what that was. (Goodness! It's been a year since I R&D'd this stuff for 'B2'.) BRB with more info.

G.

geo_n
01-01-2014, 08:04 PM
The question is: WHY THE F**K is this so? Why does FFX even "look" at the total size of the mesh? (And is this ever mentioned anywhere?)


That's how hair systems work. They are based on the size quad patches of a mesh. Changing the scale of a mesh or increasing or decreasing the subdivision will change the look of the hair.

I hope there's a feature STOP on ffx and instead they try to make it is stable and less crashy and buggy. They've added a lot of features but its still unnerving to use it.
Compared to sas you can try very hard to crash it and it will not crash.

geo_n
01-01-2014, 08:08 PM
Yeah I listed drainbgvmap as must have 64bit plugin as well. One of the reasons I keep 32bit around.
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?132545-missing-64-bit-modeler-plugin-please-help

geo_n
01-01-2014, 08:11 PM
Based on this poll in octane forums the number one request by users for octane renderer is hair and fur.
Its an essential part of character work. It has to be one of the toolset for renderers.
http://render.otoy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=37045

jeric_synergy
01-01-2014, 08:42 PM
That's how hair systems work. They are based on the size quad patches of a mesh. Changing the scale of a mesh or increasing or decreasing the subdivision will change the look of the hair.
Does it actually require geometry? My impression (fwiw) was that it was based on the bounding box of the mesh.

If it does NOT, for the users' sake it should A) inform them of the size it is using, and B) allow them to set a specific size.

What I'm hearing, possibly incorrectly, from you is that it is essentially automatic. This should be made defeat-able as much as possible. It's like the hair system is off in its own little universe. Feh.

geo_n
01-01-2014, 08:55 PM
Not sure about the bounding box of a mesh but from the hair systems I used in max - hairtrix, vrayfur, hairfx, and lw - sas, fiberfx, if you scale your mesh which makes the quad polys small or big when you scale it, or if you change subdivision which also changes the sizes of quads, the hair will change. Thats typical behavior. That's why hair is usually applied to a second layer that is fxlinked/skinwrapped/binded to the deforming character mesh so regardless if you change your character mesh, the hair will not change because its on a second layer.

Greenlaw
01-01-2014, 10:19 PM
It's based on the total untransformed size of the object, which can also mean bounding box. I've found that if I kill all the 'non-hairy' polygons in an object but kept all the points, the hair on the existing polygons will look the same as it did when all the polygons existed, scalewise anyway--the arrangement of the fibers may change a little, which I think is to be expected, but the scale and general properties will be unchanged. At least, that's how it worked a while back when I was R&D-ing FiberFX for DmC and 'B2'.

I think geo_n is correct though, that all hair systems depend on the size of the object. My personal experience is limited to Sasquatch, FiberFX and a little bit in Modo, but during my R&D period I read that about hair for some other systems too.

G.

jeric_synergy
01-01-2014, 10:30 PM
If all they are doing is calculating the bounding box, it should also be possible to put in "fake" numbers that are used in the calculations.

IOW, it could be under user control.

Greenlaw
01-01-2014, 10:49 PM
Clarification: I wrote untransformed size but I'm actually a little fuzzy about this at the moment. I know that if you change the scale in Modeler and then replaced the object in Layout, FiberFX will most definitely look 'wrong'. The example in the manual of the mammoth vs. the fly illustrates this well.

What I'm unsure about is how scaling in Layout affects FiberFX. You would think FiberFX scales proportionately when scaled in Layout but based on what Jeric wrote about his fox model, it sounds like it scales on some other ratio, so it's best to just pick a size and stick with it. I try to keep to real world rigs and models unless there's a compelling reason not to, but so far I haven't had to do this with FiberFX thus I have no experience there. I want to check it out though.

I do know that if the scale of the hair/fur changes for some reason, like after some large accessory has been added to a character's mesh, you can compensate for the difference by adjusting the Scale property inside FiberFX.

G.

Kryslin
01-01-2014, 10:53 PM
My experience with using FiberFX has been an unpleasant experience, overall. Trying to get a dense coat of fur on an object - like a lynx - has proven to be nearly an impossible task at normal scales. Any fur pattern will be broken up by any of the fast methods used to get decent fur coverage, and you are forced to wait additional 7-10 (or more) minutes as relax does it's job. You also stand a very good chance of running out of memory - for instance, I can duplicate the results I get from Sasquatch, but it requires nearly all of the RAM (21GB out of 24GB total) to do... (Sasquatch was using 500MB), and the system tends to be unstable after that point.

FiberFX works really well on modeled guides, and the results for guide chain hair are excellent. For procedurally generated fur, using UV texture maps for pattern or procedural textures... It still needs a lot of work.

Greenlaw
01-01-2014, 11:04 PM
Another tip: be sure to save your FiberFX settings and give the settings good descriptive names. Like Sasquatch, FiberFX can sometimes look different under specific lighting or distance, and you may want to tweak the settings. Sometimes, I'll make settings with different densities to optimize render times for different camera distances. If you do tweak your settings, be sure to save the settings so you can reuse them for similar scenes--this can be a big timesaver if you have a lot of shots to work on.

Note that if you can Load/Save saved the state of the entire FiberFX panel. There have been times when I wished you could save settings by layers or panels--I think I put in a request for this.

Also, remember that, just like in Surface Editor, you can quickly transfer colors from one property to another by right-mouse click on a tile to copy the color and Ctrl right-mouse click on a tile to paste the color. This is very useful in the Color panel when you're tweaking gradations and salt/pepper looks.

G.

geo_n
01-02-2014, 04:53 AM
Also about the quad patch scale issue with ffx, I remember if you modelled a character without a tail for example then later added it in modeller, this essentially changes the surface distribution of ffx so it will change the look of the hair on render time because its now distributing to more quad polys when you added the tail.
Might catch people offguard. Caused me trouble when I was asked to edit a character and ffx just changed how it looked. Its better to add hair when model is 99% final.

I hope they fix ffx really really soon. Especially the speed issue when ffx is on, scrubbing is 1-2fps with a simple object, and after a render it takes almost a minute before layout recovers.

jeric_synergy
01-02-2014, 10:09 AM
geo_n, did the editing change the bbox dimensions significantly? I'm interested in if the quad #s or the length has a greater impact on the distribution of fibers. --Wouldn't subdivision changes then alter the look hugely?

Greenlaw, it's been so long I'm fuzzy (ha!) on the details, but I remember one test I devised to explore the issues was, I think, I made a 'scaling endomorph' so I could shrink the mesh without using Scale itself. It was quite informative, but dueced if I can remember what it told me.

It sounds like Guides are the way to go, so the system doesn't have to be quite as telepathic as we'd like.

What I think would help LW3dG would be a video recording of a user working their way thru an FFX project, narrating his/her confusion/issues as s/he goes. I used to hang with heavy-hitter UI folks and that's what they did to pinpoint user issues. It's tedious, but ten such recordings can reveal common/universal sticking points that developers are often quite blind to. As in "of course it works that way, it's only logical!". *cough*

Greenlaw
01-02-2014, 12:23 PM
When I'm scrubbing, I just disable the OGL preview button (the eyeball column) in each FiberFX layer, or at least the ones that puts the hardest hit on OpenGL. I know this was broken a while back but I think disabling preview is working again. Let me check on that.

If Preview disabling is still broken then you need to disable the layer(s) altogether (the checkbox column. Don't Deactivate the FiberFX panel--this removes all your settings.) Disabling the layer(s) of course prevents rendering, so remember to re-enable them before submitting a render. (Note: It's not broken. See note below.)

G.

Greenlaw
01-02-2014, 12:50 PM
Okay, just checked in 11.6 and disabling FiberFX OGL Preview is working fine--disabling should allow you to scrub normally. BTW, this only disables the OGL preview--with Preview disabled you can still render FiberFX in VPR and f9. Hope this helps.

G.

geo_n
01-02-2014, 07:51 PM
geo_n, did the editing change the bbox dimensions significantly?

Not really but since you added new polys, the hair will ofcourse take into account the added geometry so the original values of ffx does not apply anymore. You need to tweak it.



Okay, just checked in 11.6 and disabling FiberFX OGL Preview is working fine--disabling should allow you to scrub normally. BTW, this only disables the OGL preview--with Preview disabled you can still render FiberFX in VPR and f9. Hope this helps.

G.

I did that since this bug was introduced but you lose the ogl feature of ffx. And sometimes you really can't turn it off because you want to preview the hair as it deforms without having to render.
And there's also some serious memory leak issues with ffx.

geo_n
01-02-2014, 07:57 PM
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?139378-Lino-or-someone-at-Newtek-can-you-answer-this-please

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?139378-Lino-or-someone-at-Newtek-can-you-answer-this-please/page2