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jboudreau
09-24-2015, 08:37 AM
Hi Guys

Are you able to bring in a 2 point polychain into layout to work with FiberFX or does FiberFX not work with 2 point polychains. The reason I'm asking is because when I bring in a 2 point polychain like this image below:

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as soon as I activate it in the Fiber FX panel immediate crash!

If I have a mix of them like this image below it works in layout 11.6.3 but crashes in layout 2015 - 2015.3

129871

So just wondering if this is a bug or if this is user error

129872
129873

Thanks,
Jason

Greenlaw
09-24-2015, 09:12 AM
Have you defined a root point? FiberFX (or Sasquatch for that matter,) needs to know which end to start growing the fibers from.

The easiest way to create a FiberFX compliant guide chain is to draw a curve in Modeler and then convert it by using Strand Maker. If you want to do it manually though, select the vertex that you want as the root and invoke the Single-Point Polygon command. You might notice in the viewport that the point is now highlighted.

BTW, FiberFX can also recognize Curves directly and it sees the first point in the curve as the root. I think the advantage is that curves are less memory intensive...but if you want dynamics or need to use morphs, you'll need to convert the curves to polygon guides.

G.

Greenlaw
09-24-2015, 09:41 AM
A little more info about guides:

Edit Guides uses its own system--it grows its guides form the vertices of the mesh so there is no need to define the root. If you need to use Bullet, you can convert the guides into regular polygon chains using the Polygonize Mixed command. (I know that works in 2015.3 because I put together a quick proof-of-concept 'underwater hair' setup for a movie production just a couple of months ago and it did exactly what they needed.)

ZBrush FiberMesh exports LightWave curves so it requires the use of Strand Maker if you want to use dynamics or create vMaps (UV, Weight, Morph) for it. If you don't need any of that stuff, I think you can use the curves directly. (It's been a couple of years since I last tried using FiberMesh curves for guides so I'm not 100% certain about that.)

Modo's hair guides also imports as curves. But be advised that the guides are grown from the mesh vertices like Edit Guides so the distribution of the fibers may not be what you want since they won't be growing from the mesh surface. (It's been a few years since I've done that too, so this info may be dated by now.)

The old FiberFX Modeler also outputs proper FiberFX guides. I've used it for short hair guides in video game commercials like The Bourne Conspiracy and DmC. I still like to use it sometimes because it's quick and does a pretty good job of randomly distributing guides. I'm starting to use Edit Guides more though since it's gotten more stable.

G.

hdace
09-24-2015, 10:47 AM
You know, it would be really nice if FiberFX would issue clearly written error notifications instead of crashing Layout. Yeah. That would be really nice.

jboudreau
09-24-2015, 10:51 AM
Thanks Greenlaw for this great information. As soon as I took the 2 point polygon and used the strand maker tool that fixed the issue with the crashes.

- - - Updated - - -


You know, it would be really nice if FiberFX would issue clearly written error notifications instead of crashing Layout. Yeah. That would be really nice.

I completely agree. Without a notification error message, the user thinks it could be a bug instead of user error

Thanks,
Jason

Greenlaw
09-24-2015, 11:13 AM
I agree, especially for new users. By now, I've probably developed an instinct for avoiding most 'crash triggers' in LightWave but I see new FiberFX users posting about this particular one from time to time.

G.

jeric_synergy
09-24-2015, 12:06 PM
:devil: There should be ZERO possibilities of users crashing the app. Crashing the app is NEVER a user error, because the user should not be ABLE to crash the app. :devil:

I'm a little bit mad that anyone would imply that "it's my fault" when the app crashes. NO! It's a huge bug! WE ARE the victims here! Please submit examples thru your account page.

Greenlaw
09-24-2015, 12:15 PM
I'm a little bit mad that anyone would imply that "it's my fault" when the app crashes. NO! It's a huge bug! WE ARE the victims here! Please submit examples thru your account page.
I don't think anybody's implying that but, yes, everybody should be submitting content that can repeatedly demonstrate problems along with clear explanations through their user account.

(I have to confess I've been bad about submitting reports myself lately. Need to get back on that ball.) :p

G.

jeric_synergy
09-24-2015, 12:44 PM
The repeated comments on "user error" is why I use the word "imply".

On reporting: it's a little bit of work to create a FOR SURE failing test case, which is what the devs really need. But this one sounds like a slam-dunk, as explained.
In this case, it sounds like a simple TEST for 2pt polys would avert the crash, and a status line alert (underused!!!) could be issued to the user.

I wish there were a forum for NON-repeatable bugs-- I fully understand and sympathize w/the devs for requiring repeatable cases, but feel that if a significant # of users are reporting issues in a particular feature, some light needs to be directed that way to figure out what's happening. That kind of event is indicative, IMO, of dodgy code. So, this would be a stochastic thing, as soon as a threshold of reports came in, some resources would be directed that way.

IIRC, I submitted a report for a different, modeling, command that would crash on 1pt (and 2pt?) polys, and it was promptly addressed. But if it don't get reported, it don't get fixed.

Test sets should have properly revealed this for correction in alpha testing. Once again, I fear the LW test sets are not adequate to the needs of the devs.

prometheus
09-24-2015, 04:46 PM
I also get crashes a lot if I extend 1point polys to a two point polychain, especially when extending from points on a scalp for instance, to ensure it comes right, simply use modelers strandmaker and convert it more properly and will copy all the chains to another layer..and that will be working better in layout without crashes, but before sending to layout..simply delete the layer that you used for extending two point chains...and use only the one that strandmaker converted.

Strandmaker seem to be there for a reason..and itīs best to use it rather than extending points or extruding etc the old way and use that directly..and then correct point or poly errors.
so you can extend the old way..but use strandmaker to convert it to proper fx chain guides.

Michael

jeric_synergy
09-24-2015, 05:11 PM
Are the crashes related to a ABSENCE of the one-point poly at the base of the strand?

prometheus
09-24-2015, 05:17 PM
Are the crashes related to a ABSENCE of the one-point poly at the base of the strand?

Could be..havenīt investigated it further, I simple try and follow the route to just use strandmaker to convert whatever I have modeled/extended before...no crashes since then I think.

jboudreau
09-25-2015, 06:27 AM
I'm definitely going to report the bug, Because the developer should have code in there to catch this and send out a notification error at least not just crash the program.

I will say this though FiberFX in 11.6.3 was very unstable for me, It seemed anything you touched or did could caused a crash. But in 2015.3 once I started using the strand maker like greenlaw and others suggested I had no more issues. Actually I used FiberFX all day yesterday and not one crash. I was editing guides, adding new styles, changing them back and forth from one style to the next, Changed all the styling and geometry parameters, textures, colors etc. making all these changes while viewing the fibers in OpenGL. It worked great. I was actually quite shocked it never crashed once.

I'm not sure if this was a coincident or not but I also very rarely used the VPR window if not at all while using FiberFX. I just used the OpenGL window and did F9 renders which took anywhere from 1 - 8sec / frame, which was really fast for what I was doing. So maybe the VPR window is taking up so much ram which is causing some of these crashes in FiberFX

If anyone knows of any way to reproduce a crash, please let me know I'd love to test it here

Hope this helps

Thanks,
Jason

Luc_Feri
09-25-2015, 06:34 AM
Yes 2015 is definitely much more stable as I was explaining to Prometheus and I too have spent hours without a single crash on sessions.

Sometimes unwelded vertices in a strand will cause FFX to crash but not all the time ;)

Modo as Greenlaw says is weird with curves exported as it joins the curves as one loop or at least it did for me in 801. Again not good but also maybe is good :D, just another hint to others those joined curves with some of the bundle or braid settings make a rather nice permed haircut :)

Greenlaw
09-25-2015, 09:07 AM
Glad it's working out for you.

Some more tips:

Using VPR with FiberFX can be useful but, yes, you may need to be careful about when you use it. VPR is awesome for previewing lighting, shading and volumetric effect but it can get unstable when geometry is drastically changed out while it's trying to render and it will probably crash LightWave. This can happen when you swap out objects, import objects, delete a bunch of objects, switch between the hub and, as you might expect, when you greatly increase or decrease the number fibers in FiberFX. (Good old FPrime would crash with big changes in geometry while rendering too. I imagine swapping geometry on Lightwave while it's trying to fully ray trace a scene is like pulling the carpet from under it--sometimes it recovers and sometimes fall down.)

In general, I only use VPR with FiberFX when I'm making shading and lighting changes, and even then I'll use Limited Region or temporarily reduce the number of fibers; VPR can be fairly reliable then. But most of the time, I just use Limited Region and F9 for doing spot checks for FiberFX...with proper FiberFX and Lighting settings, F9 can actually be faster and the result is going to look more accurate to the final render anyway.

Is the VPR/object chaning crash a bug? Probably. But the current release of LightWave is the best we have to work with at this time and I'm just sharing tips for how I avoid the crashes and get work done. Formal complaints should be addressed to the management. ;)

G.

jboudreau
09-25-2015, 09:22 AM
Glad it's working out for you.

Some more tips:

Using VPR with FiberFX can be useful but, yes, you may need to be careful about when you use it. VPR is awesome for previewing lighting, shading and volumetric effect but it can get unstable when geometry is drastically changed out while it's trying to render and it will probably crash LightWave. This can happen when you swap out objects, import objects, delete a bunch of objects, switch between the hub and, as you might expect, when you greatly increase or decrease the number fibers in FiberFX. (Good old FPrime would crash with big changes in geometry while rendering too. I imagine swapping geometry on Lightwave while it's trying to fully ray trace a scene is like pulling the carpet from under it--sometimes it recovers and sometimes fall down.)

In general, I only use VPR with FiberFX when I'm making shading and lighting changes, and even then I'll use Limited Region or temporarily reduce the number of fibers; VPR can be fairly reliable then. But most of the time, I just use Limited Region and F9 for doing spot checks for FiberFX...with proper FiberFX and Lighting settings, F9 can actually be faster and the result is going to look more accurate to the final render anyway.

Is the VPR/object chaning crash a bug? Probably. But the current release of LightWave is the best we have to work with at this time and I'm just sharing tips for how I avoid the crashes and get work done. Formal complaints should be addressed to the management. ;)

G.


Thanks for all the great tips Greenlaw, That's pretty much my workflow too, In regards to the VPR with FiberFX I have seen it crash when just turning it on to change the color or shading. The crashes are rare and random and you never know when it's going to happen, so I try and avoid it now as much as possible. Yes you're right F9 is way faster and much more accurate.

Thanks,
Jason

Greenlaw
09-25-2015, 09:55 AM
It's probably needless to say this but save often and save many iterations. I do this as a general rule of thumb in any program. (LightWave, Maya, Modo...you name it, they can all get crashy in their own way. At work last week, I crashed Maya way more times than I did LightWave and I was actually using Lightwave for many more hours.)

With FiberFX, I also make sure to save multiple FiberFX Settings files. Sometimes I'll find a look I really like and I'll save it immediately because there's a good chance that I'll muck it up while trying to make it 'better'. :)

Sometimes I'll make variations of the same fiber settings optimized for distance (close up hair, distant hair, etc.) or certain lighting conditions. This can speed up rendering some scenes without sacrificing quality.

G.

jboudreau
09-25-2015, 10:19 AM
It's probably needless to say this but save often and save many iterations. I do this as a general rule of thumb in any program. (LightWave, Maya, Modo...you name it, they can all get crashy in their own way. At work last week, I crashed Maya way more times than I did LightWave and I was actually using Lightwave for many more hours.)

With FiberFX, I also make sure to save multiple FiberFX Settings files. Sometimes I'll find a look I really like and I'll save it immediately because there's a good chance that I'll muck it up while trying to make it 'better'. :)

Sometimes I'll make variations of the same fiber settings optimized for distance (close up hair, distant hair, etc.) or certain lighting conditions. This can speed up rendering some scenes without sacrificing quality.

G.

Yes I try and save as often as possible. It's just some times when you are in the groove you completely forget and it's those times that really bite you in the ***. Yes I have to get better at saving my FiberFX settings becasue I usually get the look right away that I'm looking for but I never know when to say okay that's great!! and just leave it alone. I always think I can make it that much better and usually destroy what I had in the first place.

I'll definitely use a lot of these tips from now on

Thanks,
Jason

jeric_synergy
09-25-2015, 11:37 AM
There's always Auto-Save.... isn't there??

Greenlaw
09-25-2015, 12:32 PM
Yes, I sometimes use that at home but it has been an annoyance at some studios where I've worked. I find AutoSave can get disruptive to my workflow when it's frequently saving huge scenes across a Network--everything may stall for a minute or longer until it's done saving. I prefer to let it do that only when I want it to do that. But then there have been times when I regretted turning AutoSave off.

Guess I can't have everything. :p

jeric_synergy
09-25-2015, 01:08 PM
Feature request time: local auto-saving. --That said, I'd think each animator would have to make that trade-off decision. Here's a thought: "OPTIONAL auto-saves" A dialog pops up reminding you "Hey, punk, you feelin' lucky? It's been NNN minutes since you last saved. You want the client in your face AGAIN? --[Save] [I'm a rebel, Dottie]"

Who am I kidding? It's always feature request time here.


SO, 1) local saves for avoiding network traffic-- big shops only. 2) Save reminders for those without a timer.

hdace
09-25-2015, 02:42 PM
We use Bittorent Sync. That way all the animators can save locally, but each updated scene file automatically gets copied to all the other workstations. The project directories will always be identical on all workstations. But not only that, each workstation keeps a special archive of all previous saved versions of each file. I incrementally save project files occasionally, but sometimes I seriously screw up a project file and desperately need to dig out the previously saved version. It's not on my hard disk, but it is in the special archive folder on all of the other workstations! Saved my behind many times... So don't really need auto save either.

Who is Dottie?

Greenlaw
09-25-2015, 03:27 PM
Jeric, Local AutoSave sounds really good to me. Even at home, when I'm often using a tablet with Wifi connection to our NAS, local AutoSave would be a huge time and stress saver.

G.

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Who is Dottie?
I think that's a P.W. Herman reference.

jeric_synergy
09-25-2015, 03:30 PM
Who is Dottie?
It has to be done:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKLizztikRk

++++++++++
BitTorrent Sync sounds like an excellent product, and it's a solution that's available now! Good find, hdace! :thumbsup:

Were I running a shop, I think I'd jump on that like a starving puma.
++++++++++

Jeric, Local AutoSave sounds really good to me. Even at home, when I'm often using a tablet with Wifi connection to our NAS, local AutoSave would be a huge time and stress saver.
Greenlaw, maybe you should make that Feature Request: LW3dG is tired of me.

hdace
09-25-2015, 03:39 PM
I don't understand.