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Werner
05-28-2006, 02:11 AM
Hi, I'm really interested to see some SSS renders and some nodal screenshots. What do you guys think?
Is the SSS shaders in LW 9 up to scratch when compared with other applications out there?
How fast does it render, and will we be able to create nice human skin effects with it?

parm
05-28-2006, 02:27 AM
Here's something, just to show off two of the most dramatic texturing additions that come with nodal.

The red vase uses a simple network with the Omega SSS node, and the tabletop shows what can be done with the new Anisotropic nodes.

Werner
05-28-2006, 03:00 AM
thanks parm!

Would you say it is usable from a speed point of view? Would you mind posting a screencap of the nodes. I would really like to see what contol the SSS shader gives.

duke
05-28-2006, 03:39 AM
http://dukecg.net/9/skin2_flow_B.jpg

Werner
05-28-2006, 03:54 AM
Jeeeepers! I suppose I asked for it :)

Thanks duke. I would still like to know what the speed is like tho. Any comments?

BazC
05-28-2006, 04:23 AM
LOL! Now don't go frightening people Duke! Don't worry folks, it can be much simpler than that!

I'd say the speed is pretty good with Kappa which is actually a fake SSS shader but a very good one. I don't have that much experience with SSS though I'll admit.

Omega is a true SSS shader and is slower. I haven't really played with it yet though.

Werner
05-28-2006, 04:29 AM
I heard that "air polys" are needed to get the SSS to work the right way. Is this true?

BazC
05-28-2006, 04:34 AM
I heard that "air polys" are needed to get the SSS to work the right way. Is this true?

That was true of Omega but there was some talk of working round the need, I'm not sure if it was ever figured out though. You don't need air polys for Kappa.

duke
05-28-2006, 04:35 AM
I don't think I was using air polys. There's a front/back node anyway so people no longer need to do that. The speed is quite fast - faster than an ambient occlusion render - maybe comparable to using an area light on the object? - probably even faster than that.

T-Light
05-28-2006, 04:45 AM
Quick play - simple ball (2772 poly's)

Kappa node. 2 point lights. (One behind the ball, one in front): Render times are 1 pass - no aliasing.

Shadows off : Raytracing off : Refraction off : Reflection off
1.2 seconds
Shadows on : Raytracing on: Refraction on : Reflection on
3.2 seconds

Machine used,
1.6Ghz centrino
Windows Xp Pro
512MB Ram
60GB HD
Ati 9200 Pro Gfx

Any use?

Werner
05-28-2006, 04:57 AM
sounds good! That makes me a happy man :)

Com on guys. Post more SSS renders. We waited long enough for this.

duke
05-28-2006, 04:59 AM
Diffuse only, 13.9secs:
http://dukecg.net/9/sssTest_diffuseOnly_13.9secs.jpg

SSS only, 58.5secs:
http://dukecg.net/9/sssTest_kappaOnly_58.5secs.jpg

Both (25% SSS, 75% diffuse), 1min3secs:
http://dukecg.net/9/sssTest_both_1min3secs.jpg

AMD x2 3800+ / rendering with 4 threads
2gig ram

duke
05-28-2006, 05:00 AM
If anyone wants to part with a head or something, I can setup sss, render it and post the result and give it back to you ready for 9 :P

T-Light
05-28-2006, 05:05 AM
More detail with pics.

The problem with sss is if you don't see it in a proper scene it can be difficult to see what the shaders are up to, or in fact if there's any shader in use at all.
Here's more times with images. The difference is I've added 5 pass aliasing (gaussian - soft). All other parameters as per my last post.

Raytracing on: Shadows on: Refraction on: Reflection on

Nodal off.
4.5 seconds

Nodal On - Kappa
8.8 seconds

Nodal On Kappa + Cook Torrence Specular
10 seconds

T-Light
05-28-2006, 05:08 AM
duke that's an excellent example :)

Werner
05-28-2006, 05:12 AM
If anyone wants to part with a head or something, I can setup sss, render it and post the result and give it back to you ready for 9 :P

that would be cool duke. Can you upload the file for everybody to download please.

oDDity
05-28-2006, 05:12 AM
I have to say it doesn't look very convincing in any of the LW9 skin sss renders I've seen. It makes surfaces look more like wax than skin.

T-Light
05-28-2006, 05:17 AM
oddity-

It makes surfaces look more like wax than skin
It's pretty darned amazing oddity, you can create pretty much any look you want, how it looks is up to you, you don't need to go waxy, this is just a speed / example thread:)

oDDity
05-28-2006, 05:32 AM
I would like to see a decent sss skin render though, that is the most important function of sss.

Mattoo
05-28-2006, 05:56 AM
I would like to see a decent sss skin render though, that is the most important function of sss.


To be fair, what we have in LW9 is a very generic SSS approach that needs a lot of manual input to get it to look like a specific material, such as skin. In other apps with a more mature heritage with SSS there's plenty of pre-built skin shaders.

That's not a complaint exactly, I'd much rather it was this way than if we got a skin shader and then a wax shader etc. It's much more powerful this way.

I think it'll take a little time (not too long) for people to get to grips with these generic shaders to get some good results.

mav3rick
05-28-2006, 07:01 AM
never satisfy artists ..... i see more plug and play artists nowadays......

MooseDog
05-28-2006, 07:25 AM
I think it'll take a little time (not too long) for people to get to grips with these generic shaders to get some good results.

the building blocks w/in nodal are there, it's now up to users to put them to use:D

there was some discussion w/in the betas forums about well, why didn't newtek just give us this or that shader in question, and the response from newtek was as i said above. we gave you the tools, now build it! already there have been nodes programmed to fit a particular need, and as 9 goes out into the public realm, this is going to explode imho.

all in all, an amazingly powerful addition to lw:lwicon:

duke
05-28-2006, 07:57 AM
Yeah it's more about the settings and such. I might try to find a screenshot of that fastSkin MR shader interface in max and see if i can copy the default values/result..

Mercuryrex
05-28-2006, 10:35 AM
the building blocks w/in nodal are there, it's now up to users to put them to use:D

there was some discussion w/in the betas forums about well, why didn't newtek just give us this or that shader in question, and the response from newtek was as i said above. we gave you the tools, now build it! already there have been nodes programmed to fit a particular need, and as 9 goes out into the public realm, this is going to explode imho.

all in all, an amazingly powerful addition to lw:lwicon:

I think it's more about people seeing it and what it's capable of....and then believing.

Often with some program somebody might tell you "Yes it can do anything". But you have to just take their word for it.
If it can do what people want it to do, then surely this must be based on some imagery that they've seen? And if the imagery exists, I think people just want to see it.

It's just that sometimes it's good to see the imagery to allow you to have confidence in what they're telling you.

A great example of the use of SSS for skin of a human face would be a great advertisement for many.

duke
05-28-2006, 11:22 AM
I started on Werner's head, however there are a few more things I want to do to it (tweak spec, oren-nayer, get some sweet ear action going).

http://dukecg.net/9/werner_head_spin_A.gif

wacom
05-28-2006, 03:21 PM
I think the SSS is fairly good- and fast. As time goes by we'll most likely get a more complex node from either newtek or a 3rd party, but for now this is worlds better than anything we've had yet in terms speed and flexability along with ease of use.

That being said there is room for improvement- but some very good results have been shown in the beta forum on this.

Here are some of my fairly simple and primative tests early on.

erikals
05-28-2006, 04:43 PM
Wondering, does this require an additional "air-object"? or can you simply use only one object?

Celshader
05-28-2006, 05:29 PM
Wondering, does this require an additional "air-object"? or can you simply use only one object?

I noticed something in the Node Editor recently that might allow artists do away with "air polys" entirely. The Spot Info node has a new information output called "Polygon Side."

erikals
05-28-2006, 05:58 PM
Cool, crossing fingers and toes :)

wacom
05-28-2006, 06:55 PM
One version- the "simple- not real" version doesn't need any air polys and hasn't since it came out. I think for many people this one will be more than useful for 80% of tasks. My simplistic tests above are using this version- Kappa. Also there is work on a "double sided" polygon kind of node that does away with air polys as well. Then again I hope what Cell shader is pointing to is the real deal already in there!

Really folks- they keep adding cool little features like this so quickly that it's hard to keep up with them!

As said other places- the node editor alone is worth the upgrade IMHO.

Werner
05-29-2006, 05:04 PM
Here's something, just to show off two of the most dramatic texturing additions that come with nodal.

The red vase uses a simple network with the Omega SSS node, and the tabletop shows what can be done with the new Anisotropic nodes.

Hey parm, that is one [email protected] polished metal surface you got there. Would you care to explain how it was done?

parm
05-29-2006, 11:26 PM
Thanks Werner.

The "scalloped Anisotropic" surface. Is achieved, by the cunning use of a lot of simple maths nodes to control the way the new Anisotropic shader displays on an objects' surface.

Weepul came up with this solution very early on in the Beta program. And generously shared it with the community. Which is a good thing, since I don't properly understand how it works. Since then, Medi8or has condensed all the maths nodes into a single node to control the effect. Also freely shared.

In fact by now there are a real lot of very cool surfaces that have been created and made available to use and learn from.:)

Werner
05-30-2006, 12:55 AM
that is great news. Can you share it here or is this only avalable to beta testers.
My upgradable LW is somewhere between France and South Africa...been waiting for a week now, to get onto the bea forums. I suppose it does not matter now...will have to be patient.

anyway, thanks for the feedback. I'm realy excited about the nodal stuff.

DogBoy
05-30-2006, 02:46 AM
that is great news. Can you share it here or is this only avalable to beta testers.

I think some of them will be shipping with [9], if so I really hope they put in Simons' lava scene as it probably the best setup I've seen (it knocks what is in the 9 gallery into a cocked hat in my opinion, it is beautiful).

oDDity: As for the wax look, I think there is a tendency to over-ramp the SSS effect. If you want realism then you should use the Omega SSS node. It requires a lot more work in a lot of ways not least in to get to work perfectly you (used to at least) need air polys PLUS subcutaneous geometry i.e. inside polys to roughly provide bone and muscle mass. This is not for everyone, in fact most folks on the OB stopped trying it quickly as Kappa gave much faster results. I did play around with a fair amount my self, but haven't got any images to show right now, but I'm sure you can outstanding results at the cost of loooong rendertimes. If I get a chance I'll try and post something later (I don't have the Beta at work).

I liked Dukes' system, personally, and found it was quicker to test render then
the using the "real SSS" of Omega. Here are a couple of my earlier attempts. I was really only using it soften the image.

erikals
05-30-2006, 06:23 AM
"Multi-layer scattering" supposedly gives an even better result, is this supported?
(http://graphics.ucsd.edu/papers/layered/)
I'm happy anyway :)

(Hope Omega is not "OGO_Hikari" slow) :)

Edit: almost forgot, if using air polys plus subcutaneous polys is necesarry when using Omega (I guess this is somewhat like Hikari), then won't it be hard to animate as one had to tweak all the 3 objects when making e.g. morphs for a face?

Werner
05-30-2006, 06:43 AM
that is a good question erikals!

I hope someone can come up with something similar to the Fast Skin shader for Mental ray. Would this be a ****** to port to LW...does anyone know?

wacom
05-30-2006, 07:51 AM
Why does everyone want such a "physicaly acurate" SSS system? They had it in mr for a long time, problem was very few people used it for animation- now they have very complex "fake" ones that are super stars. My point isn't so much that mr is so good, just that a "fake" version IMHO is THE way to go. Kappa is pree-tee darn good at what it does considering how fast it is, and how simple the controls are. After your 50th jade dragon you realize that for most production/project renders you're only going to do things like that maybe twice in a lifetime...the vast majority of your stuff is going to be way more subtle.

Besides 90% of SSS situations are very subtle, even the Icredibles is over done for effect and you can probably get there with oren nayer and the new 180 degree nodes.

Here is a very small and quick APS test I did for a project. It's not the best, but the Divx codec compression scheme takes away some of the color detail (which is kind of essential for SSS). Change the .zip to .avi The second image is ray traced the first is not.

DogBoy
05-30-2006, 09:13 AM
Wacom, I was more meaning if oDDity didn't like it he could try Omega. I agree with you, Kappa is the way to go most of the time. I do see times when Omega would be really useful, but not so much for animating.
I posted my version of using Dukes node-tree as it made a lot of sense to me the way he had structured it, but I didn't want such strong effects, just a way to warm up my shadows and soften the image in a way that I thought looked natural.

You're right, SSS should be hella lot more subtle then it is most of the times it's applied in CG. At least when it comes to skin.

ODDity, I'd say you're wrong about SSS being mainly used for skin, if you look at how it was developed I'd guess it was mostly worked around things like alabaster or jade, materials where the effect is near constant and you don't have to define rubbish like muscle/fat/bone density. Unfortunately those dang cg artistes wanted to use it for their characters.

As for subsurface geometry, the only time I found it useful was for an arachnoid model I had where I wanted the subtle shadowing of it through the carapace. I was able to get render time down to acceptable amounts wi' a bit of tweaking. So let's not write Omega off completely yet :D. It will have it's uses.

wacom
05-30-2006, 09:25 AM
Yeah I in no way ment that we didn't need SSS like Omega, just that the quest for reality often comes up against deadlines and huge rendertimes. Omega really isn't that bad either when it comes down to it.

Regardless of the shader though it's going to take tweaking and more input than a simple click and go to get it looking "right".

DogBoy
05-30-2006, 11:34 AM
:agree: :thumbsup: I think if you want an "off the shelf make my skin look golden" solution without investment in time then you're :screwy: ier then me :D . Werner, I think you'll like what you can do with this and your characters will be improved by the time you put into learning nodal (not that they need much improving you jammy bugger :D ).

erikals
05-30-2006, 12:35 PM
Don't get me wrong, asking for Multi-layer scattering was merely something that I though could be cool/nice to have. True, if the render looks good then I don't care :) From what I've see in this thread Omega looks allright.


I think if you want an "off the shelf make my skin look golden" solution without investment in time then you're http://www.newtek.com/forums/images/smilies/brians/screwy.gif

Hehe, I'm http://www.newtek.com/forums/images/smilies/brians/screwy.gif :)

ThriJ
05-30-2006, 01:23 PM
Well here is an early SIMPLE test I did with Kappa.

erikals
05-30-2006, 01:46 PM
That's a nice render ThriJ, do you remember the rendertime? (circa)

mav3rick
05-30-2006, 04:41 PM
it looks simple

erikals
05-30-2006, 05:18 PM
R U Sure? :) Color adjustment. LOTR style.

Mattoo
05-30-2006, 05:38 PM
erikals: Many achieved multi-layer SSS effects merely by combining a few Kappa nodes set to different colours and apparent depths. Layered up with the correct blend modes you would be able to achieve epidermal and subdermal style layering.

I was initially very enthused by Omega because of it's accuracy, I had some models from Hikari tests I did a long while back, with internal bone and muscle mesh, and they worked very similarly but quite a bit faster than Hikari, which was good news.

However, when I get around to more character based stuff I'll most likely be using a multi-layerd kappa setup. I'm used to G2 and this is it's equivalent.

duke
05-31-2006, 12:38 AM
http://dukecg.net/9/werner_head_spin_B.gif

http://dukecg.net/9/werner_male_head.zip

Intuition
05-31-2006, 01:26 AM
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51503

Check my Buddha in post # 13 in that thread ;)

parm
05-31-2006, 03:10 AM
I noticed something in the Node Editor recently that might allow artists do away with "air polys" entirely. The Spot Info node has a new information output called "Polygon Side."

On the left "Omega" with air polys. On the right, Double sided checked in the Surface editor:

erikals
05-31-2006, 10:24 AM
That looks promising. : )

Celshader
05-31-2006, 10:53 AM
On the left "Omega" with air polys. On the right, Double sided checked in the Surface editor:

Nice! What if you used a gradient to affect the Refraction Index? Plug the "Polygon Side" into a Gradient, and set two keys at 0 and 1 with different refraction values.

This does look promising!

DogBoy
05-31-2006, 11:18 AM
Nice! What if you used a gradient to affect the Refraction Index? Plug the "Polygon Side" into a Gradient, and set two keys at 0 and 1 with different refraction values.

This does look promising!

LOL, Celshader, you tease :D :D . That's neat, so you could forget having to use air polies. Let's hope those CGTalk entrants are using this trick.

:thumbsup:

ThriJ
05-31-2006, 02:34 PM
I remembered my scene rendering in about a minute. I couldn’t be sure so I found the scene and rendered it in the current beta. Render time 17.2 seconds:thumbsup:



erikals, were you suggesting that I edited the face color in post or something:tsktsk:

parm
05-31-2006, 02:37 PM
I thought I'd give SSS skin a try, using Omega and the Spot Info, Polygon Side Node. A few others as well..:)

erikals
05-31-2006, 04:12 PM
erikals, were you suggesting that I edited the face color in post or something:tsktsk:

Yepp, why not, did this in PhotoShop though.
I guess maybe exagerated a little with the tweak, so if there were clothes, furniture etc in that render it would be color-distored somewhat.

I was going for "old-film-look" in this case, and yes, that is cheating, though color adjustments for renders done in post is common afaik :)

Though of course, this can't improve the SSS effect, but on the other hand it can improve the look of the render so that it emitts the look of a given style, in this case I tried to go for "old film".

If you thought the edit I made looked bad on the other hand, well, that's something else :D

Karmacop
06-01-2006, 03:02 AM
Although nodes let you do a lot of stuff, I thought I'd post some tips on how to get it working the way it's meant to.


Use air polygons so that the rays know when they are leaving the volume. I find making the surface double sided and using the polygon side attribute with a mixer node is the best way of doing this.
Make sure the backside surface (air polygons) have a refraction index of 1.0
Make the backside polygons 100% transparent and the front side 0% transparent
Turn raytraced shadows on. Without this there's not much point to using SSS

oDDity
06-01-2006, 12:48 PM
Well, I still haven't seen any better sss than g2 can achive, or even as good as g2 can do (even in the hands of a noob like me)
This is one I did today. It's my opinon obviously, but I thnk it looks much more convincing than any LW9 sss render so far.

ThriJ
06-01-2006, 01:26 PM
Yepp, why not, did this in PhotoShop though.
I guess maybe exagerated a little with the tweak, so if there were clothes, furniture etc in that render it would be color-distored somewhat.

I was going for "old-film-look" in this case, and yes, that is cheating, though color adjustments for renders done in post is common afaik :)

Though of course, this can't improve the SSS effect, but on the other hand it can improve the look of the render so that it emitts the look of a given style, in this case I tried to go for "old film".

If you thought the edit I made looked bad on the other hand, well, that's something else :D

It's not bad. Yeah, you can do a lot of great stuff in photoshop to enhance a render. Although in my post all I did was add text and put the two renders side by side to show the affects of SSS.



BTW, Wild render oDDity.:thumbsup:

Oh no it has begun… the march of the SSS wax people!:D

parm
06-01-2006, 02:07 PM
Well, I still haven't seen any better sss than g2 can achive, or even as good as g2 can do (even in the hands of a noob like me)
This is one I did today. It's my opinon obviously, but I thnk it looks much more convincing than any LW9 sss render so far.

For skin? I don't think it is more convincing. It still looks very waxy.

I haven't seen the controls for g2. But the Lightwave system certainly allows huge flexibility, for combining the SSS effect with the diffuse, as well as being able to control it with procedurals or texture maps. On top of everything else, it's not an extra.

Users have only had a very short time to play with it yet. And mostly without any documentation to follow. It's a very different way of working than the old layers system. But I'm certain that very soon we we'll see some very convincing skin shaders with nodal.

I like your model.

oDDity
06-01-2006, 02:10 PM
Lol.. obviously its not meant to be skin, look at the outrageous specular on it, it's jade/marble type materal. Skin takes a lot more time and trouble to set up, you can't just throw sss on a surface and expect it to look like skin.

wacom
06-01-2006, 06:14 PM
Oddity- are you using LW9 yet? Have you seen all of the SSS images made with it so far? It's far more flexable than you think- and it's fairly easy to use. Give it time. And as much as I love worley's stuff G2s SSS, by todays standards, is weak.

oDDity
06-02-2006, 02:15 AM
That's my point. I have seen killer SSS renders coming out of other renderers, but I have yet to see a single Oh. My. God. render from LW9, and I have not been impressed by it. NOt jst sss, but any renders.
I don't know what you mean by 'give it time'. Surely the nodal system can't be that much different or difficult to learn than it is in other apps?
Are all the beta testers guys who've never seen a nodal system before?
I think newtek should actually pay a few top notch artists to get get some beautiful 'wow' renders out of LW9, because that sort of thing does impress people.
I'm a very visual person, so listing a bunch of technical jargon about nodes does nothing for me, but showing me a great image of what you can do with a nodal system does.

BazC
06-02-2006, 02:40 AM
That's my point. I have seen killer SSS renders coming out of other renderers, but I have yet to see a single Oh. My. God. render from LW9,

You will I'm sure, I don't think there's much if any polished work coming out of 9, apart from commercial work which people aren't prepared to show. Most Beta testers are fooling around, trying to figure how everything works (the manual is a WIP too remember, we're working by guesswork a lot of the time) I'm not particularly skilled with materials and I've never touched a node editor before but LW9 SSS is as good as anything I've used before. Once 3rd parties start releasing stuff I suspect you will see some specialist skin shaders appearing too. Give LW9 a chance it's not even at 9.0 yet!

parm
06-02-2006, 02:59 AM
That's my point. I have seen killer SSS renders coming out of other renderers, but I have yet to see a single Oh. My. God. render from LW9, and I have not been impressed by it. NOt jst sss, but any renders.
I don't know what you mean by 'give it time'. Surely the nodal system can't be that much different or difficult to learn than it is in other apps?
Are all the beta testers guys who've never seen a nodal system before?
I think newtek should actually pay a few top notch artists to get get some beautiful 'wow' renders out of LW9, because that sort of thing does impress people.
I'm a very visual person, so listing a bunch of technical jargon about nodes does nothing for me, but showing me a great image of what you can do with a nodal system does.

You'll not be upgrading to LW9 then?

I agree with BasC. At this stage, it's recognising the potential opened up by adding nodal, that is key.

lw3d23
06-02-2006, 11:50 AM
g2 'sss is suck, it does not even support front scattering and multilayer scattering. btw, the skin shading does not looks like skin at all.

I haven't seen any nice image with G2's SSS so far(well I would like to see a good sample if anyone knows).I could not understand why they used these images (http://www.worley.com/G2/g2_skin.html) as sample images.

Mattoo
06-02-2006, 12:14 PM
g2 'sss is suck, it does not even support front scattering and multilayer scattering. btw, the skin shading does not looks like skin at all.

I haven't seen any nice image with G2's SSS so far(well I would like to see a good sample if anyone knows).I could not understand why they used these images (http://www.worley.com/G2/g2_skin.html) as sample images.


G2 isn't the greatest, but it's better than nothing - which was certainly the case at the time (if you don't count SKA). Remember, G2 is 4 years old, that's pretty old in software terms.

Edit: Just checked, G2 actually came out in '02. Crikey... feels like yesterday!

darkChief
06-02-2006, 12:26 PM
oddity you should give some examples of "oh my god renders" so the more talented beta testers have some sort of goal to aim for, if they are up to the challenge.:D

Does anybody know how this skin texturing was done, great LW none the less
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=327194&page=1&pp=15

Mattoo
06-02-2006, 12:36 PM
Does anybody know how this skin texturing was done, great LW none the less
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=327194&page=1&pp=15

G2 apparently :thumbsup:

oDDity
06-02-2006, 12:39 PM
That image is a great model, great textures and great lighting, getting good realistic skin is not all about sss, there's a lot of other work to do first.
It's probably g2 though.
How about recreating that with the LW9 nodes if you want a challenge)
There are lots of examples of great skin in that CG talk showcase gallery.

wacom
06-02-2006, 06:44 PM
The mr SSS shaders are great- but that doesn't mean they're any easier to get "real" looking skin out of than say LW9's nodes. Like others have stated, we're BETA testing. I'm trying to do as much as I can as fast as I can to find problems- not make purdie-pictures.

I'm no LW fan-club member (just look at any newer CA thread) but if I feeling something is going right I stand up for it. LW9 SSS is much beter than you're giving it credit for- and SSS is much harder to setup in any package then you're giving credit for.

Mattoo
06-02-2006, 07:40 PM
I totally agree with Mr Wacom. I'm entirely confident that great results are possible - far better than what is achievable with any previous SSS and skin shading solutions available for Lightwave.
Lightwave now has the same capabilities and drawbacks that are available in all other renderer/shading combo's off the shelf.

Intuition
06-02-2006, 08:44 PM
In my professional opinion, Lightwave 9 is far more capable then we have seen yet in these forums. I think the problem of not seeing many high quality renderrs as opposed to many tests is that people are trying to learn the nodal system and the new cameras.

After 3 months of messing around I have a good idea and have been making good progress. What will be key is when we start seeing tutorials that will help people decrypt many of the new features. When to use what and why. Currently the manual explains the technical aspect of teh nodes but I think examples of the result of such use would help clarify each nodes function better.

I am actually in the middle of trying three different scenes in Lw9.

One is a still frame SSS Buddha with a cup of tea, a samurai sword that utilizes anistropy, rosary beads all on a wood stand with some bamboo nearby. I think this will stretch Lw9's modelling, surfacing, rendering capabilities.

Another is a full on Bird skeleton being animated trying to open up a bottle of beer in a kitchen surrounding.

Then a classic Mouse trap / Marble madness physics test with shiny marbles running through tubes and bouncing around.

Hopefully it will help put 9 through the ringer. :D

Werner
06-03-2006, 02:05 AM
I played around with LW 9 at a friends house till late last night. Here is something I came up with...with allot of nodal help from my friend.

I needs allot of work, but I'm happy to say that LW 9 SSS is very capable and will suit my needs in future. As soon as my upgrade arrives, will I be posting more on this forum.

parm
06-03-2006, 11:52 AM
Werner. That looks really good.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. It won't be long, before we see some excellent and varied skin texturing, with 'Nodal.'
.

connerh
06-03-2006, 12:24 PM
Here's an update of a test of mine...

Werner: can you post your network? I want to know if there's a better way of getting accurate coloring than the way I'm using? I'm having to use 2 SSS instances, one to give proper gradient coloring and the second to to the actual SSS.

lw3d23
06-03-2006, 01:01 PM
LW9'sss is not bad, but it needs some further improvements for skin shading, such as multi-layer scattering. Speed improvement is also necessary.
Laforutune is also helpful for skin sading

Werner
06-03-2006, 03:08 PM
Here is the network setup connerh. It took a couple of minutes to render.

It is very straight forward...it was the first time I played with the new nodal system. I'm sure with a little knowledge one would be able to get the desired results.
Look at some of the more intense nodal setups from other applications...we need to dig deeper before we will get something similar. It does take a bit of work, but Newtek just made it a bit easier for us.

radams
06-03-2006, 04:14 PM
Hi all,

Well LW 9's nodal UI looks like it will need its own monitor...wow that it going to take alot of space.

Can Nodal connections be also mapped in time with each other ? Each Node should be animatable...but what about the connections to other nodes ?

Cheers,

connerh
06-03-2006, 06:22 PM
There has been a time node that's been released in the beta forums. I haven't been able to get around to playing with it yet, but it sounds very very capable.

Werner: Thank you for posting your node layout. You say it's pretty straight forward, but it eluded me. I had all sorts of crazy complexity going on, with multiple instances of Omega, many many gradients based on incidence angle, light incidence, surface thickness etc. I had an overpowering need to slap myself in the face when I saw your layout. This brings about a word of warning to everyone: think about your layouts and about what you're doing. It's VERY easy to make a surface overly complex.

Anyhoo. Oddity: what do you think about this? We getting there?

BazC
06-04-2006, 12:59 AM
Werner - You appear to have two bitmaps driving the specular channel, can you explain why? Thanks :D

Karmacop
06-04-2006, 01:12 AM
Can Nodal connections be also mapped in time with each other ? Each Node should be animatable...but what about the connections to other nodes ?

Just hook the nodes into a mixer node and animate the opacity, that way it'll animate from one node to another.

duke
06-04-2006, 01:23 AM
Werner - You appear to have two bitmaps driving the specular channel, can you explain why? Thanks :D

spec level and spec glossiness

BazC
06-04-2006, 01:39 AM
Ah! Of course, thanks Duke!

Werner
06-04-2006, 02:35 AM
that is looking good connerh! Post you node layout please.
I always try to keep things as simple as posible. Get the effect you want then build on top of that to get the final look. In good time will we see some good skin settups.

BazC>> Duke was right about the two images driving specular and glossiness.

oDDity
06-04-2006, 03:27 AM
There has been a time node that's been released in the beta forums. I haven't been able to get around to playing with it yet, but it sounds very very capable.

Werner: Thank you for posting your node layout. You say it's pretty straight forward, but it eluded me. I had all sorts of crazy complexity going on, with multiple instances of Omega, many many gradients based on incidence angle, light incidence, surface thickness etc. I had an overpowering need to slap myself in the face when I saw your layout. This brings about a word of warning to everyone: think about your layouts and about what you're doing. It's VERY easy to make a surface overly complex.

Anyhoo. Oddity: what do you think about this? We getting there?


Yeah, that looks great, a bit too shiny, and just a tiny bit waxy, but with some more tweaking, proper texture maps etc, I'm sure LW9 can handle it, also that alien head that was posted in the LW9 gallery had some great sss on it.

BazC
06-04-2006, 03:35 AM
BazC>> Duke was right about the two images driving specular and glossiness.


Thanks Werner!

connerh
06-04-2006, 09:17 AM
Alright, another test, trying to get rid of that last little "wax" look, but I don't think I've done it. I'm going to need to paint another weight map it would seem, so... once I do that, I'll post the next image. BTW, huge thanks to Werner for this model, as well as for already having the thing ready for UV painting etc.

Compare this current render with the first one that I posted, I think it's head and shoulders (smirk) beyond the first one.

Karmacop
06-04-2006, 11:05 AM
The wax look usually comes from the light traveling too far through the object. Omega is a very basic SSS shader and isn't meant for doing skin.You should probably add a texture/weight map so that the light travels further through the ears and nose, and less throught more boney parts of the head.

Werner
06-04-2006, 11:29 AM
Wow! great tests connerh :thumbsup:

What distance did you put into the penetration field of the last test you did?

I found quite different results with Shadow map Spot lights. The SSS effect seems to be much brighter.

parm
06-04-2006, 11:36 AM
The wax look usually comes from the light traveling too far through the object. Omega is a very basic SSS shader and isn't meant for doing skin.You should probably add a texture/weight map so that the light travels further through the ears and nose, and less throught more boney parts of the head.

That's a good idea. How would you go about using a weight map with nodes?

connerh
06-04-2006, 11:49 AM
Actually, parm, it's quite simple. Always remember that you have complete access to LWs normal layering system WITHIN nodal. There is a set of options under "layers," one color, one scalar, and one bump. All of those scalar layers in my node setup use scalar values that are derived from a gradient weightmap.

Werner: I believe it's at 20mm, with a gradient controlling the amount in certain places. I'll do some more work, and paint another weight map to try to get it to look more accurate.

Karma: yeah, I know what's causing the wax effect, which is why I'm starting to use weightmaps to drive the amount of SSS. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize I'm probably going to have to use weightmaps to drive both the amount as well as the depth...

wacom
06-04-2006, 12:08 PM
That's a good idea. How would you go about using a weight map with nodes?

Wouldn't you just use them as a scalar input? You could then add them to another input. This could be used on the strength input etc.

Correction! I don't know how to get it working for range...it works well for amount...hmmm

Karmacop
06-04-2006, 12:33 PM
That's a good idea. How would you go about using a weight map with nodes?
add node>vertex map>weight map
It gives you a scalar output to plug into things :)


Karma: yeah, I know what's causing the wax effect, which is why I'm starting to use weightmaps to drive the amount of SSS. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize I'm probably going to have to use weightmaps to drive both the amount as well as the depth...
I haven't tested this, but I'd concentrate more on the depth than the amount. The amount would be fairly similar across the surface as it's all just skin, and the same amount of light will travel through each bit of skin, the main difference if how far it travels through because of bone etc.

Karmacop
06-04-2006, 12:40 PM
Correction! I don't know how to get it working for range...it works well for amount...hmmm
Are you using the right scale? A weight map with the value of 100% would actually be a range of 1m. If you want if to go 20mm as connerh said (which is a long way, my finger is 20mm wide) then you're weight map would have to be 2%. Or you could make your weightmap using values from 0% - 100%, and then use a multiply node and multiply your weight map by 0.02, it just depends how you want to work. You could even hook it into a gradient for more control.

oDDity
06-04-2006, 02:49 PM
Bloody ****, you need a degree in mathmatics to texture properly in LW9?

wacom
06-04-2006, 05:53 PM
I was also thinking you could use a simpler way and just control a mix value between two SSS nodes via the weight map...maybe...time to test.

wacom
06-04-2006, 07:22 PM
Well this is a quick and dirty test, but I think it works. I over did the ear and nose SSS just to show it's effects localized via the weight map. I'm sure if you got crafty with some math nodes you could use only one SSS node and maybe speed things up. Anyway here is my first test.

Also you'd need to use something to blend/smooth the map out. I think there is a free plug but I hope newtek includes one in LW9 or makes it an airbrush option etc.

The second image shows the head with no weight control just to show how much control it gives you. I hope that makes sense!:D

Oddity- I'm a logic/math idiot- no really. If I can even get nodes to some degree I'm sure you can do even better. Treating the nodes like a flow chart and saying "this is added to this...take away this...plus this" is how I work. Once you understand what you want to do you just translate it to "math speak". At least that's how this back of the school room, spit ball, student thinks about it. It also makes more sense when YOU try to do something, analizing someone elses logic is another step beyond.

Captain Obvious
06-04-2006, 07:46 PM
Bloody ****, you need a degree in mathmatics to texture properly in LW9?
That depends, really. To take full advantage of node trees, you do need some mathematics knowledge. But if you don't have that, you can still do an awful lot. Making sure that the scales are correct is something you have to do with LW8 as well, you know. ;)





And if you want really good skin shading with SSS, you should really put bones underneath.

connerh
06-04-2006, 07:57 PM
Alright... still trying to improve the look more. The problem with good SSS is that it's only really awesome if you don't notice it.

Wacom: that's what I'm doing as well, using mixers and weightmaps to localize the effect. I'll try with kappa soon.

Obvious: weightmaps can handle the effect pretty well... I think bones are an unnecessary waste of polys.

wacom
06-04-2006, 08:24 PM
That's looking really good. I think if the guy had some hair (or a peach fuzz effect) and a color map you'd be 99% there.

It's easy to crit SSS when it's straight up outside a scene etc. with no color maps etc. If this had those elements I think you'd be there IMHO.

Karmacop
06-04-2006, 08:56 PM
I was also thinking you could use a simpler way and just control a mix value between two SSS nodes via the weight map...maybe...time to test.
The problem with doing it that way is that you need to take twice as many samples as you have 2 SSS nodes, and that would be slow.

connerh
06-04-2006, 09:37 PM
Ok, this is it for tonight. Those little red blocks are showing up because I don't have enough rays going through it.

wacom
06-04-2006, 09:43 PM
The problem with doing it that way is that you need to take twice as many samples as you have 2 SSS nodes, and that would be slow.

I'm confused then. I get the double nodes = double times, at least in theory, but how then do I really get control over the more "solid" parts and the thinner parts? I guess the way you're suggesting would be more akin to a manual setting of the thickness but what about controling color etc? I guess you'd just re rout it...

thanks- I'll look into it.

wacom
06-04-2006, 09:47 PM
Ok, this is it for tonight. Those little red blocks are showing up because I don't have enough rays going through it.

Looking good! What kind of machine do you have and what are the render times/size etc. if you don't mind me asking?

wacom
06-04-2006, 11:50 PM
OK, gott it to work with one node! I used the add node to give the over all result for the rest of the head.

The colors are silly on the first one, but I thought the helped show where and at wat level the SSS is taking place via the weights.

Not sure I'm on the right track though.

Karmacop
06-05-2006, 12:42 AM
OK, gott it to work with one node! I used the add node to give the over all result for the rest of the head.

The colors are silly on the first one, but I thought the helped show where and at wat level the SSS is taking place via the weights.

Not sure I'm on the right track though.

You're getting much closer :) You're plugging the weight map into the opacity of a mixer, but what I'm suggesting it pluggin your weight map into the range of the Kappa node. What you're doing does look good though :)

wacom
06-05-2006, 12:58 AM
You're getting much closer :) You're plugging the weight map into the opacity of a mixer, but what I'm suggesting it pluggin your weight map into the range of the Kappa node. What you're doing does look good though :)

I know...but I just can't get it to work via the range...things get fairly funky fairly quickly...

Man you're going to make me do this the "right" way aren't you?!:)

Karmacop
06-05-2006, 01:16 AM
I know...but I just can't get it to work via the range...things get fairly funky fairly quickly...

Man you're going to make me do this the "right" way aren't you?!:)
LOL. I'm just trying to show you another way of doing it :) What do you mean by funky? Kappa is fast because it works on the light at each vertex, so if your range is too small (ie if your weight map goes to 0) then you can get some bad artifacts. If t his is the case you can always use a gradient to map the incoming weight map values to better distance values, or just use scalar math nodes as you've already done.

connerh
06-05-2006, 05:27 AM
Starting to look better wacom.

The rendertime for that last one was 6 minutes, but keep in mind that that's also with soft reflections on... I'm sure that I could just fake them with some raytrace nodes and just get the color from the environment...

Wacom: it's not working with a weightmap on the range? Hmm... Omega is working fine with that kind of control...

Also, I'm using an AMD64 4400+ X2 with 2 gigs of ram.

connerh
06-05-2006, 06:34 AM
Ok, 6 minutes 33s. This is actually a big change, as some of those other tests took upwards of 10 minutes. Soft reflections really eats up render time.

Mercuryrex
06-05-2006, 08:52 AM
That's starting to look pretty good now connerh:)

Do you think that maybe the shadows are too harsh and dark, and go too near to black?
I'm not sure myself and am just asking to see what you think?

But it looks like you're getting closer to getting some really nice looking skin.

Karmacop
06-05-2006, 09:55 AM
Do you think that maybe the shadows are too harsh and dark, and go too near to black?

I think the shadows are so black because there's only one light in the scene. Using one light lets you see the SSS effect better and I think it's the best way to test SSS. THat said, the surface is getting really good and maybe connerh should add some more lights :)

connerh
06-05-2006, 12:27 PM
Here are some more lights. I have a quick bumpmap and color map painted out, but I really need proper ones made out. Would any of you be willing to take a whack at making some higher quality maps than I have? The model is posted around page 4 or 5.

Tesselator
06-05-2006, 12:35 PM
I noticed something in the Node Editor recently that might allow artists do away with "air polys" entirely. The Spot Info node has a new information output called "Polygon Side."

Yup! that's what that's for. Good eye Celshader!

Werner
06-05-2006, 12:47 PM
Here is one more. I tried the weightmap idea and it gives you nice contol. Don't mind the crap Photoshop Dof. The render with SSS took slightly over 6 minutes with Kappa.

ThriJ
06-05-2006, 01:52 PM
VERY cool Werner.

Werner
06-05-2006, 01:52 PM
One with less specular.

mav3rick
06-05-2006, 04:04 PM
warner:) well nothin:)


no comment

wacom
06-05-2006, 04:55 PM
Though my way of doing it still needs a lot of work (as Karmacop has point out) I've been getting very good render times with Kappa. It varies from 16 sec to 28sec depending on the view at 640x480 with no AA, 4 ray traced recursions and the perspective camera. I'm using a dual core 820 at 2.8Ghz BTW. The model is using CC's which I doubt make a difference, but you never know.

If people would be so kind as to give us a screen capture of their trees as a .gif that would be cool- it really helps me learn.

connerh: It's looking good but I swear you've re-created the old MediaStudio Pro 6.5 Guy!

jameswillmott
06-05-2006, 05:50 PM
One with less specular.

Wow! What's her phone number? :)

Very nice surfacing job!

MAUROCOR
06-06-2006, 08:05 PM
that is a good question erikals!

I hope someone can come up with something similar to the Fast Skin shader for Mental ray. Would this be a ****** to port to LW...does anyone know?


That is everything I want. A lot of people say that I create good models and good texture but in the end there is that question: "Why donīt you use the SSS skin effect?" I know other people got good results using external plugins but I didnīt get. I was anxious waiting forthis in LW and now I am praying that there is a way to get a fast SSS effect like Fast Skin shader for Mental Ray. And I would love if Newtek put some good and fast Skin SSS effects in the presets. I am really anxious.

IZZE
06-14-2006, 10:38 PM
BUMP

This still needs a lot of work. The SSS is a little over exaggerated, but easy enough to tone down. This is my first attempt at nodes. Thanks for all the node screen grabs, they help a lot.

[IMAGE REMOVED]

Pavlov
06-15-2006, 02:16 AM
very good tests, all.
A question: SSS makes skin look better, but this effect is "fully working" only on ears; on the rest of the faces, it seems SSS is very easily replaceable just boosting saturation, lowering glosiness and adding a bit of incidence-based luminosity.
Sure using SSS is way cooler, but has anyone tried this way ?

Paolo

wacom
06-15-2006, 02:13 PM
I'd say the man difference is the way it works with multipul lights and how easy it is to control with multipul lights. There are many other situations where it's better too, but these are the obviouse ones off my non-TD minded head.

bobakabob
06-20-2006, 06:44 PM
Werner,

Thanks for sharing the SSS R & D. Your latest results are very impressive and convincingly subtle. A world away from the waxy heads with luminous red ears that tend to crowd the CG galleries.

Hope you have the time and inclination to put this together as a tutorial, it would be much appreciated by the Lightwave community.

:offtopic: Btw, your model is excellent. Oddity's rants have made for amusing reading, but to suggest sculpting such a convincing well crafted model is 'easy' is just silly. It's clearly the result of talent, hard won knowledge and focused observation.

Shulmanator
07-21-2006, 06:59 PM
That's my point. I have seen killer SSS renders coming out of other renderers, but I have yet to see a single Oh. My. God. render from LW9, and I have not been impressed by it.

I'm a very visual person, so listing a bunch of technical jargon about nodes does nothing for me, but showing me a great image of what you can do with a nodal system does.

I agree on both counts. I've spent all day trying to make my creature's skin look like the SSS we all saw in "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" and I can't find anything that comes close, and I've pretty much gotten the hang of how the nodal system works.

I want to be able to create a skin surface that looks like there's a checkerboard pattern 5 mm under the epidermis, and for it to fill up with light whenever it sticks out. So far, the only thing that's looked right for making thin parts light up more than thick parts is the "Ska" shader plugin that we had in older versions of LW. I suppose I could blur whatever texture is supposed to be under the skin, but would it appear to be volumetrically below the skin, or would it appear to be a blurry pattern on the surface?

Ramon
08-05-2006, 09:01 AM
On the left "Omega" with air polys. On the right, Double sided checked in the Surface editor:

Hey Parm, I'm not seeing an images on your posts on this thread. Have they been taken off for some reason?

parm
08-05-2006, 09:30 AM
Hmm. That's interesting. I didn't remove them.

Ramon
08-05-2006, 12:19 PM
Hmm. That's interesting. I didn't remove them.
Hmmm, I think it has also happened to several other posts and to other people as well. I think the Newtek server must have had a problem with image files - the srever could possibly have deleted them. Someone else on another post in the (in progress gallery) had the same problem and had to re upload the images into each individual post they did. Stinks but, I'd love too see the images you've posted. Hope it wouldn't be to much trouble to reupload them.

Bog
08-05-2006, 01:56 PM
We seem to have lost a load of attachments recently, it's made a lot of threads pretty impenetrable.

Ramon
08-05-2006, 03:00 PM
DOHH!!!:thumbsdow