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Sebasvideo
02-20-2014, 04:28 AM
I never did anything with FiberFX before, but I was watching 3D Garage's LW 11 Signature Course, the Bat section for those who know it, and I found something odd. When Dan opens the module and activates the layer, then selects the surface (which is not on the new interface or at least not on the first tab), he says let's give it a moment to update, and after a couple of seconds it updates and he starts working.

Well, I loaded up the bat he made in Layout, launched FiberFX, selected the layer and pressed activate. Layout froze for 1 minute and 47 seconds until it let me do anything. I can press F9 and it renders, but then I add a light, render again, and when I minimize the image viewer it doesn't let me, it's frozen again.

Now considering that Dan did this on a laptop and I'm working on an i7 3930k with 32 GB of RAM, processing power is not the issue. Besides, while it's frozen, I check Task Manager and CPU is at about 9%, and RAM at around 4 GB, and it's not writing to the pagefile.

I also closed Layout a few times and tried this again, but the FiberFX module seems to stall it beyond usability. Is this a known problem?

50one
02-20-2014, 05:45 AM
FiberFX buggy? Noooooo way:)

Sebasvideo
02-20-2014, 05:56 AM
OK, just in case I cleared the cfg files, and it's still the same. So basically FiberFX in Lightwave is unusable? Because if it takes almost two minutes to activate, then after a few minutes it stalls and I have to kill Lightwave from the Task Manager, then it's useless. Is it?

50one
02-20-2014, 06:32 AM
Since the buying of FiberFx I couldn't get it be as useful as the Sasquatch was, stability deserve own thread and the issues introduced with each version just made me think that it will never get fixed and work properly.

hrgiger
02-20-2014, 06:35 AM
Well results vary but typically FiberFX has had issues since its addition in LW9. I would suggest you download the current open beta of LightWave 11.6.2 and try your project in there. If you are still having issues, then please report it to fogbugz here: https://fogbugz.newtek.com/default.asp?pg=pgEditBug&command=new

I'm going to be doing the same as FiberFX really needs improvements.

Sebasvideo
02-20-2014, 06:45 AM
Well results vary but typically FiberFX has had issues since its addition in LW9. I would suggest you download the current open beta of LightWave 11.6.2 and try your project in there. If you are still having issues, then please report it to fogbugz here: https://fogbugz.newtek.com/default.asp?pg=pgEditBug&command=new

Was this in the list of fixes in that beta? I don't plan on installing a beta and then installing the final release.

hrgiger
02-20-2014, 01:41 PM
No, I don't see any fixes for FiberFX in 11.6.2 but if you're interested in something being fixed or addressed, its best to install the latest version so that you can document what is not working in a bug report.

Sebasvideo
02-20-2014, 02:17 PM
No, I don't see any fixes for FiberFX in 11.6.2 but if you're interested in something being fixed or addressed, its best to install the latest version so that you can document what is not working in a bug report.

OK, but the latest release version is 11.6.1, so I can still report the bug.

Greenlaw
02-20-2014, 02:28 PM
I haven't tried FiberFX in 11.6.1 yet, but I got great results using FiberFX with 11.5 for the DmC (Devil May Cry) theatrical video game trailer back when I was with Rhythm & Hues, and for our own 'Brudders' work at Little Green Dog.

It's been several months since I last used FiberFX because I've been busy working on 'non-furry' productions. But this weekend, I'm finishing up 'Scareplane' (the newest Brudders cartoon,) and then it's back to working on 'Pooper' for a while. 'Pooper', some of you may recall, was making heavy use of FiberFX when I set the project aside last summer. (See a clip from the music video here: Excerpt from 'Brudders 2' (http://vimeo.com/channels/littlegreendog/68543424)).

When I get back to working on 'Pooper' next week I'll know immediately if something got broken with FiberFX in 11.6.1 or .2. Will post what I find, good or bad, in the 'B2' thread (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133274-The-Brudders-2-Production-Log-%28Well-sort-of-%29).

Regarding any FiberFX startup delays, I think it depends on how efficiently you've set up your hair/fur. I can't say I ran into any unusually slow performance with 11.5.x, and my computer is not especially 'beefy' by today's standards.

G.

Greenlaw
02-20-2014, 02:37 PM
When updating to a new release of LightWave, you should always start with clean configs. FWIW, FiberFX does seem to be more sensitive with old configs than other plug-ins.

G.

Sebasvideo
02-20-2014, 02:41 PM
When updating to a new release of LightWave, you should always start with clean configs. FWIW, FiberFX does seem to be more sensitive with old configs than other plug-ins.

G.

Well, the thing is that since I reinstalled Windows from total scratch, Lightwave 11.6.1 was the only Lightwave version ever installed on this system, so that's not a factor. Still, yesterday I deleted all the cfg files and launched and closed Modeler and Layout, so the configs are new, but the FiberFX module for me is still unusable.

Greenlaw
02-20-2014, 03:36 PM
Hmm...okay.

I'll find out for myself next week and let you know how it goes on this end.

I hope it goes well--if not, at least I can fall back on 11.5 to finish the production.

G.

Greenlaw
02-20-2014, 03:42 PM
In any case, I'd would suggest installing 11.6.2 open beta since it has the latest fixes. Better to send in bug reports for the most recent release of LightWave.

G.

Dodgy
02-20-2014, 05:56 PM
How many polys are in your object? Because the more polys, the longer FFX will take to set up the fibers.

jwiede
02-21-2014, 12:46 PM
In any case, I'd would suggest installing 11.6.2 open beta since it has the latest fixes. Better to send in bug reports for the most recent release of LightWave.

As the OP already mentioned, he has 11.6.1 installed (the most recent _release_) so should be fine on that front.

Sebasvideo
02-21-2014, 12:55 PM
Exactly, Newtek can tell you, if you want to submit a bug, install the latest release, but they can't tell you to install the latest beta. However, Just checking the log for the beta it has several fixes for FiberFX and it says it installs in its own directory without overriding 11.6.1 so I guess it would be safe to give it a try.

Sebasvideo
02-21-2014, 01:47 PM
OK, so I gave it a try, and I don't know about other problems with FiberFX because I don't know it that well, but the stalling is the same. Once I activate that bat it takes two minutes until I can work on it. Changing other parameters also renders it useless for a long time. And while this happens it's not really doing much. Task Manager shows that the CPU is being used only in physical cores, not hyperthreaded ones, but also it jumps up and down:

120293

Now, this is the same bat that Dan Ablan modeled in the LW 11 Signature Course, and in the video he's using LW 11 on a laptop and all the changes he makes get applied right away or at the most take a couple of seconds. Evidently this completely revamped FiberFX module has a lot of work needed. I just wish they would have left the one that worked until they had it working fine.

OnlineRender
02-21-2014, 06:11 PM
what did the FFX SAY ? ...

*it's just the usual ffx :D"


http://31.media.tumblr.com/7f0e3b0cd6a9c025386fa07fa7d045d2/tumblr_n1dhvh1sLH1tobz65o1_1280.jpg

Sebasvideo
02-21-2014, 06:15 PM
Another thing it does is this, you press F9 and it stays frozen for like twenty minutes with the render status dialog open, and on the progress bar it says "Normals (100%)". While this happens, the CPU usage on Task Manager shows as around 9%, going up and down. Eventually, even though the render status dialog still shows the same thing, it seems that it starts rendering, because CPU usage goes up to 100% and after a few minutes the image viewer shows up the render. This is after only changing the placement of the camera, I hadn't touch the FiberFX properties since the previous render. And sometimes, it starts rendering right up.

Needless to say, this feature is extremely buggy and they should fix it ASAP.

Greenlaw
02-21-2014, 06:31 PM
Wow, that's crazy. I haven't seen this 'bat' scene but my FiberFX character setups go through rendering pretty quickly. Most of the character passes in the B2 excerpt take about 10 to 15 minutes per frame to render after pressing f9, and that's with full lighting and AA. A few render quicker and a few a longer--I think the longest scene takes about 30 minutes per frame, which is pretty good by production standards. All of the computers on my farm are fairly modest i7 dual cores that are a few years old now.

Now I'm very curious to see how the B2 scenes render in 11.6.2. Will have to wait until next week though--just way too busy at the moment.

G.

Hieron
02-21-2014, 06:43 PM
Any chance you could post an object that shows this behavior? Kinda hard to know what is going on..
Very high poly counts, messy geometry, high CC subd's, who knows..

heh, nice test there Onlinerender

Greenlaw
02-21-2014, 06:52 PM
One thought--what version of LightWave the 'bat' scene created for? Because FiberFX has gone through many revisions in recent years, older scenes are often not directly compatible. If the scene was set up for LightWave before 11.5 sp3 or so, you may need to re-apply FiberFX and re-enter the settings.

I don't know if you still need to do this when migrating 11.5 scenes to 11.6.1 or 11.6.2 yet but if there were significant changes made to FiberFX, my guess would be that you will. I'll know for sure next week with my own scenes.

G.

Sebasvideo
02-21-2014, 06:52 PM
Wow, that's crazy. I haven't seen this 'bat' scene but my FiberFX character setups go through rendering pretty quickly. Most of the character passes in the B2 excerpt take about 10 to 15 minutes per frame to render after pressing f9, and that's with full lighting and AA. A few render quicker and a few a longer--I think the longest scene takes about 30 minutes per frame, which is pretty good by production standards. All of the computers on my farm are fairly modest i7 dual cores that are a few years old now.

Well, the problem here is that it doesn't really take that long to render, the render itself is just a few minutes since the scene doesn't have anything but the bat. And sometimes I press F9 and it starts rendering right off the bat, but sometimes it freezes up for an eternity before it starts rendering. Now for example, I pressed F9 at 8:18 PM, I ate dinner, came back to the computer, now it's 8:48 PM and it's still in the frozen state, with task manager showing that CPU usage is around 9%.

I would think perhaps there's something wrong with the mesh, but this is the model than Dan made right there on the tutorial, and he uses it with FiberFX on LW11 without a hitch, on a laptop that I assume is way slower than my computer, since he made that in early 2012.

Greenlaw
02-21-2014, 06:52 PM
what did the FFX SAY ? ...

*it's just the usual ffx :D
That's great! Got a smile out of me. :)

geo_n
02-21-2014, 06:54 PM
Is the extremely slow timeline scrubbing been fixed when ffx is checked?

Sebasvideo
02-21-2014, 06:55 PM
One thought--what version of LightWave the 'bat' scene created for? Because FiberFX has gone through many revisions in recent years, older scenes are often not directly compatible. If the scene was set up for LightWave before 11.5 sp3 or so, you may need to re-apply FiberFX and re-enter the settings.

I thought about that, that's why I didn't use the scene with the course materials. I loaded the bat into Modeler, saved it so it would be saved with version 11.6.2, then loaded it as an object onto a brand new scene in Layout 11.6.2 and applied FiberFX to it.

Yesterday I had tried with the dinosaur that comes with the content, I think for 11.5, and it gave me the same problems. I'm going to try it again in 11.6.2, but I don't have high hopes for it.

hrgiger
02-21-2014, 07:54 PM
I just fogged an issue with FFX today. Problem I was having was that if you load FFX onto a layer and then change your settings (like Fiber count for instance), it won't reflect those changes in the render until you activate draw mode (the little eye icon). Before that, 1 fiber or 100 fibers will give the same result. Deuce was able to reproduce the bug on his end and they've assigned a developer to it.

OnlineRender
02-21-2014, 08:24 PM
playin http://25.media.tumblr.com/dcfc8b80f749497abed3382232695ad6/tumblr_n1do1o6JV71tobz65o1_1280.jpg

Greenlaw
02-21-2014, 09:06 PM
Is the extremely slow timeline scrubbing been fixed when ffx is checked?

I don't think I've seen that problem for a while--maybe early last summer before Siggraph. The issue at the time had to do with disabling a FiberFX layer not disabling fully, that is, it would disable the preview but the processing remained in effect. The last time I checked, disabling a FiberFX layer also processing so scrubbing and playback was speedy but FiberFX could still 'kick in' when you rendered the scene. The last time I checked (that might have been in August,) it was fine.

As mentioned earlier, I haven't checked performance with 11.6.2 yet. Maybe I can take a quick look tonight.

G.

Dodgy
02-21-2014, 09:40 PM
@Onlinerender

LOL That's awesome!

Greenlaw
02-21-2014, 11:11 PM
Just now tried the scrubbing performance in 11.6.2 with FiberFX layer Preview disabled--works fine, no need to completely disable the layer to speed up interactivity. FYI, I tried it in 11.6.1 too and it was fine. However, performance seems just a little smoother to me in 11.5.

That said, I don't see anything like the Preview problem that occurred back in 11.0.3, so I'd say yes, this issue has been fixed.
.
I'll do further testing next week. First I want to get 'Scareplane' polished and uploaded this weekend.

G.

Edit: I just read the notes for 11.6.2--it does sound like FiberFX has gotten a lot of fixes in the current release Open Beta.

Greenlaw
02-21-2014, 11:21 PM
Oh, I guess you're talking about general OpenGL performance when FiberFX Preview is active. Yes, it can get slow with a high density of fibers active but that's when you switch off the layer Preview so you can get interactivity back without fully deactivating FiberFX. An alternative is to simply lower your fiber density until you're ready to render, or disable preview for layers you don't really need to see (like base or fill layers.)

FYI, when I'm animating, I just leave FiberFX switched off--most of the time I really don't need to see the OpenGL fibers when I'm animating. I switch it back on when I'm lighting and rendering because sometimes the preview state can affect what gets rendered. (It shouldn't but it sometimes does--at least back in 11.5.)

G.

geo_n
02-21-2014, 11:26 PM
Just checked. Looks like its fixed. Its not the ogl preview that was slow before. If any item had ffx and the check column was active on any item, scrubbing took a few seconds to move the next frame.
With ogl preview checked and ffx displaying in the viewport its acceptable slowdown.
Glad they're still doing some fixes with ffx.

geo_n
02-21-2014, 11:34 PM
Hmmm...some files still same slowdown with ogl preview off but ffx active like Furry_Giraffe.lws

Silkrooster
02-21-2014, 11:42 PM
Anybody else getting black fibers? I recall this issue a long time ago, but I thought it was fixed or there was a workaround.

geo_n
02-21-2014, 11:50 PM
New scene? With ffx its never backward compatible ime. Copy paste old ffx setting to new clean lw scene to be sure.
Lwo are also affected now I think with vmaps from ffx. I think assigning new surface will wipe them out to be clean.

hrgiger
02-22-2014, 02:52 AM
Edit: I just read the notes for 11.6.2--it does sound like FiberFX has gotten a lot of fixes in the current release Open Beta.

Might want to check again. That change log includes changes that went into 11.6.1 and 11.6 so as far as I can see, there weren't any fixes to FFX in 11.6.2.

Doing a render of a sequence I see that FFX still causes jitter. Its quite disappointing overall, especially considering this is the 3rd major revision of the software with its implementation.

OnlineRender
02-22-2014, 04:30 AM
Might want to check again. That change log includes changes that went into 11.6.1 and 11.6 so as far as I can see, there weren't any fixes to FFX in 11.6.2.

Doing a render of a sequence I see that FFX still causes jitter. Its quite disappointing overall, especially considering this is the 3rd major revision of the software with its implementation.

I am on the penultimate version of LW and I only played around with it for a few hours last night but it seemed a little more stable compared to other versions I had tried ... ie loading a scene with ffx applied will now render.
don't get me wrong it crashed maybe 3 times in the space of 2 renders but I kinda knew it was going to happen " if that makes sense, my spidy lightwave senses where tingling "

you need to be delicate with her, I would not like to use FFX in a production environment in all honesty I would actually prefer to use blender "FANBOY" , the particle / fur sculpting tools are more refined and you don't brick yourself when you run dynamics on it.


it's a shame because you can get some really nice results with FFX

OnlineRender
02-22-2014, 06:40 AM
she does work
http://youtu.be/aTgWSFvQUT0

Greenlaw
02-22-2014, 12:53 PM
I've actually used FiberFX on a couple of productions. The first time was that DmC (Devil May Cry) theater trailer we made a while back. I created the hair for all the characters on that project. The production went well but I have to admit it got a little stressful at times because: 1.) this was the first time I really used FiberFX, 2.) yes, it was buggy in the early releases of 11.0, and 3.) we were supposed to hire one or two other artists who knew FiberFX to help me out but we never found them. Somehow, I got through that project only slightly bruised (creating hair was just a part of my involvement on that job) and it turned out pretty decent. :p

After that, I applied it to our Little Green Dog music video project. This time I had 11.5 and I have to say, many of the issues I had with previous versions were fixed and it rendered very quickly and nicely here on our tiny render farm in our home studio. The only major issue I still have is that it's not fully compatible with multi-sample lights like Dome and DP Infinite (the shadow quality is clamped at around 20 or so, which I described in my B2 thread (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133274-The-Brudders-2-Production-Log-%28Well-sort-of-%29/page11) elsewhere.) I was told that LW3DG was working on this though. Apart from that, it's been working very well for me for animal and human hair, long and short.

Later on I met other guys who used it on a couple of feature films (Battle Dogs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdWW9sOXPkE), Bone Alone (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdWW9sOXPkE)) and TV shows (Terra Nova (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBb6Kyd7vAc), Grimm (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_6JYHwtuno).) We all agreed that FiberFX could be quirky at times but we also felt it was very useable for production work.

Not saying that it's the perfect tool for hair and fur but it's certainly useable for real world productions.

G.

geo_n
02-22-2014, 05:48 PM
Tells you one thing. You guys like to work on the edge. :D
I like to work in a relaxed environment and not go bald or grow white hair.
If modeller was as unpredictable or unstable as ffx I would not use it in production. But features like hair don't have as many users so there's actually only a few complaints so far.

OnlineRender
02-22-2014, 07:18 PM
I've actually used FiberFX on a couple of productions. The first time was that DmC (Devil May Cry) theater trailer we made a while back. I created the hair for all the characters on that project. The production went well but I have to admit it got a little stressful at times because: 1.) this was the first time I really used FiberFX, 2.) yes, it was buggy in the early releases of 11.0, and 3.) we were supposed to hire one or two other artists who knew FiberFX to help me out but we never found them. Somehow, I got through that project only slightly bruised (creating hair was just a part of my involvement on that job) and it turned out pretty decent. :p

After that, I applied it to our Little Green Dog music video project. This time I had 11.5 and I have to say, many of the issues I had with previous versions were fixed and it rendered very quickly and nicely here on our tiny render farm in our home studio. The only major issue I still have is that it's not fully compatible with multi-sample lights like Dome and DP Infinite (the shadow quality is clamped at around 20 or so, which I described in my B2 thread (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133274-The-Brudders-2-Production-Log-%28Well-sort-of-%29/page11) elsewhere.) I was told that LW3DG was working on this though. Apart from that, it's been working very well for me for animal and human hair, long and short.

Later on I met other guys who used it on a couple of feature films (Battle Dogs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdWW9sOXPkE), Bone Alone (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdWW9sOXPkE)) and TV shows (Terra Nova (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBb6Kyd7vAc), Grimm (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_6JYHwtuno).) We all agreed that FiberFX could be quirky at times but we also felt it was very useable for production work.

Not saying that it's the perfect tool for hair and fur but it's certainly useable for real world productions.

G.

you nailed it a few times : a) could not find other people who used FFX ! " now its 2014 and LW artist(S) are still sh!t scared to use it and deliver SOLID results" tells a story on it's own....

FFX should not be a tall story nor should it be a laughable offence, it's quirky "damn right it is " and that is not a fault of the new developer , but it does need a real kick in the arse and alas like most of LW features it has real potential but lacks the final punch.

Greenlaw
02-22-2014, 09:22 PM
Tells you one thing. You guys like to work on the edge. :D
I like to work in a relaxed environment and not go bald or grow white hair.
Did you actually find such a place in the world of visual effects? You need to keep that a secret. I know guys who would kill to work there. :D

But in my case, yeah, I think you're right--I do seem to thrive on productions where things are on the brink of chaos. I'm not going bald but I am getting a little gray though. :p

G.

Greenlaw
02-22-2014, 09:27 PM
you nailed it a few times : a) could not find other people who used FFX ! " now its 2014 and LW artist(S) are still sh!t scared to use it and deliver SOLID results" tells a story on it's own....

To be frank, we could never find people who worked with Sasquatch either--I was essentially the default 'hair' guy at the Box for every project where we needed hair and fur. I don't think this is just a LightWave thing--I think there's just not a lot of hair and fur artists in the business in general.

G.

Silkrooster
02-22-2014, 10:20 PM
Anybody else getting black fibers? I recall this issue a long time ago, but I thought it was fixed or there was a workaround.

After the above post, I noticed I am still a point version behind. Getting slow in my old age. (At least I feel old sometimes lol)

jasonwestmas
02-22-2014, 10:23 PM
Yes, even the best hair styling and rendering systems are like learning how to rig a character all over again. It's a creature that grows out of another creature in my view and requires more than a small amount of study.

Luc_Feri
02-25-2014, 03:44 AM
I too have been very frustrated by this plugin recently.

I think the results you can get from Fiber Fx are really good if you can persist with the crashes. I found the latest version to be quite stable unless I started to edit and style the guides, then it just becomes crash city.

I always closed the Fiber FX window before I did a test render and that helped with less crashes. As for the speed of the render in these later versions, I think it is like gease lightning and is very good for quick test renders.

One thing I could not get to work was saving a scene and then coming back later to find the styling I had done had disappeared, does anyone know why this would be? Do i have to save the style out as well as the objects in the scene?

Dodgy
02-25-2014, 01:58 PM
The Styling is now saved as custom Vmaps in the object itself or, if you're using 2 point poly guides, as a morph map on them, so it is necessary to save the object after editing guides otherwise you will lose the styling.

Luc_Feri
02-25-2014, 05:18 PM
The Styling is now saved as custom Vmaps in the object itself or, if you're using 2 point poly guides, as a morph map on them, so it is necessary to save the object after editing guides otherwise you will lose the styling.

Ok cheers.

I think I might have done that on a later test. I did find that coming back to a model that I had previously done a style on but maybe hadn't saved out the object after, when I tried to re-do the style on a later session, it would crash Layout everytime.

Was this constant crashing possibly due to a .ffs file that wanted to link up to an object that wasn't saved. I think I had also tried to save out the style on its own, maybe that is the .ffs I am referring to.

I did find that exported Zbrush curves used with the Fiber FX plugin were very stable and I had very few if any crashes using those guide curves instead.

Sebasvideo
03-12-2014, 07:14 PM
Well, this is not very inspiring. Let's hope 11.6.2 final version gets better.

120726

Greenlaw
03-12-2014, 08:42 PM
As Dodgy points out, like surfaces, the object needs to be saved to embed the style. I think the vmap can get corrupted is saving it interrupted, like in a crash, and maybe that's what happened to your object. If that's the case, it's better to start fresh.

To answer the question regarding saving style settings, yes, by all means do this. I use the load and save styles feature to experiment with variations of styles. It's also handy for transferring FiberFX properties to another characters and, needless to say, for recovering from a crash. :)

Regarding FiberMesh, I use this method quite a lot. For long hair, it's probably the best method available for LightWave. It works well for animal fur for too but there is a catch--you'll need to create weight and UV maps for your guides if you want to color the fur and deform it properly, and unfortunately LightWave doesn't have a convenient way to do this natively.

The best way (recommended to me by Dodgy in fact,) is a third-party plug-in called DrainBGVMap, which can transfer weights, UV and morph maps from an existing rigged LightWave character mesh to the FiberMesh guides. The drawback is that the plug-in only works in x32 bit LightWave so the number of fibers you can process is severely limited. (The cats in the 'B2' excerpt was pushing the limit for DrainBGVMap in our studio and it's really not very dense.) Unfortunately, the plug-in is an orphan so it's not likely that we'll ever see the much needed x64 version.

I keep hoping somebody will pick up where that tool left off and make a x64 version. For now, you can find it on Dodgy's website.

If anybody else finds DrainBGVMap useful, please put in a fogbugz request to LW3DG to adding this capability in a future release of LightWave. Without it, the usefulness of the FiberMesh to FiberFX workflow is seriously weakened.

G.

Greenlaw
03-12-2014, 08:45 PM
This may have been mentioned already but, old or corrupted config files can make FiberFX less stable. It's a good idea to delete your configs and then create new clean configs and save a backup in case something happens in the future. (This is good practice in general, not just for FiberFX.)

Since 11.6.2 is in beta, I recommend rebuilding the configs from scratch with each release, at least until the final version comes out.

G.

Sebasvideo
03-12-2014, 09:04 PM
For now I'm trying to make a grass hill, what is better for that? My first try (not the one that gave me all the errors above) was a plane 100x100 meters with 100x100 segments. The moment I set relax to 40 it went into intensive care and I had to pull the plug like 20 minutes later. So I thought probably the size of the plane is too big, I'm going to make it 10x10 with 10x10 segments. But then there was this pattern of squares in the grass, so I started another scene (all of this in 11.6.1) where I made the plane 10x10 meters but 100x100 segments. I think that's the one that gave me the cascade of C++ errors.

So in other words, what size should I make the plane, and how many segments? Is grass something that will instance well, or will it go into a coma the moment I make a 20x20 rectangular array?

Dodgy
03-13-2014, 01:11 AM
I would recommend poly grass instances rather than FFX instances. You can convert FFX to polys in the FFX panel (by right clicking on the item you want to convert to polys) and then instance the resulting object. You'll have to save the object like a normal poly object otherwise you'll lose it when you load the scene next time. It'll render faster and with less memory that FFX volumetric instances I think.

Sebasvideo
03-13-2014, 03:50 AM
I would recommend poly grass instances rather than FFX instances. You can convert FFX to polys in the FFX panel (by right clicking on the item you want to convert to polys) and then instance the resulting object. You'll have to save the object like a normal poly object otherwise you'll lose it when you load the scene next time. It'll render faster and with less memory that FFX volumetric instances I think.

Not so much in my test. I used the polygonize function and after stalling for a few minutes it started eating RAM so bad it went into the pagefile and the computer became useless for several minutes while the hard drive was gasping for air. And this is on a fast computer with 32 GB of RAM. Using FFX without polygonizing doesn't eat too much RAM, and certainly doesn't render the computer useless, at worst it renders Lightwave useless.

Luc_Feri
03-13-2014, 07:54 AM
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Thanks for the hints and tips Greenlaw. I will probably stick to Zbrush fibre curve exports. I don't do animations at the moment but maybe I could use Chronosculpt to some effect for hair transformations if needed.

Sebasvideo. I would use polygons and then instances. Lightwave instances are great, I actually think they perform better and are easier to set up than in Modo.

Here is a test I did a while back, I had a few clusters of grass clumps actually from the Modo preset library and then used instances. I was able to control the area of grass growth by creating polygon surface proxys and applying the instances to those surfaces. You can do this in Modo also but I thought it performed better in LW. Every blade of grass is recreated, no textures at all, just simple shading. As you can imagine there is an insane number of instances running here on this image and this test render was pretty quick if I remember rightly. You could scale down the scene size for better performance like I did, but I have tried this test at full real world size and it was certainly possible. You have twice my RAM too at 32 GB!

Yes I know the pylons are misaligned, I never finished the scene, it was just a test. :D

Sebasvideo
03-13-2014, 02:41 PM
Yea, I will try polygon instancing, I spent hours last night trying grass with FiberFX and it seems to me it's just not meant for that. Layout goes into a trance often, especially when using the Relax feature, the higher the number the more time it freezes. Set it to 40 and it will be frozen for hours.

Sebasvideo
03-13-2014, 09:01 PM
Here is a test I did a while back, I had a few clusters of grass clumps actually from the Modo preset library and then used instances. I was able to control the area of grass growth by creating polygon surface proxys and applying the instances to those surfaces. You can do this in Modo also but I thought it performed better in LW. Every blade of grass is recreated, no textures at all, just simple shading.

I can verify this and it's actually great advice for anybody having to make a long wide field. FiberFX is not reliable, and that video from Newtek that shows how to instance one blade of grass to make an entire field might work on a small field, but if you want to instance that blade to cover a 100x100 meter field, you need at least 50 million instances, which I tried, and Layout goes into coma for a minute or two at a time. Not to mention that the renders look pretty boring.

I brought the grass patch from the Modo mesh library, which I opened in Modo and saved as an lwo and it even loads the two textures in LW. But if you don't have Modo, you can make them yourself, the important thing is to have patches of grass, because then you can cover the 1000 square meter field with one million instances, which works pretty fast. It also looks way better.

Luc_Feri
03-14-2014, 07:02 AM
I'm glad the advice helped. You right one blade of grass is what I tried first and it was way to intense for a big area so then I went onto to using the grass clumps. I've posted a screenshot of my scene in layout to show the breakdown.

1. I had 3 grass clumps variations, instancing each group for clumps over the field proxy point source. Each clump had numerous blades but I modified the Modo clump presets to better suit a sports pitch.
2. The pitch alone used 12 Million instances. I modified the GL preview to show just 1% for overlay preview and that is reflected in the difference in values shown in the open windows, one window says 40000 but really it is 4M.
3. By using random settings you can add plenty of variation and this works too for coverage and you will get some nice overlap to get rid of that repeating fashion. My test render was lowish in resolution so it doesn't reflect all of the variations in the field.
4. I used a different point source for the field markings with a seperate grass clump variant with its own seperate surface shader.
5. For the grass markings, this used around 300,000 instances of the grass markings clump object again with random variations of size and rotations. All 300,000 instances are visable in layout, hence the denser coverage for the GL preview. Start by having 100% GL preview, you can begin with a lowish number of instances and then as you add more you will see the point source area gradually fill up like water in a tank until you get just the right optimum number of instances.
6. Obviously come render time it is easy to hide the point source proxies using the scene editor.

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