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starbase1
06-01-2006, 02:20 AM
Can someone tell me if LW9 is any better at big images? With 8.5 it seems that there is a limit at round about 4000x2000 regardless of available memory.

Particularly annoying when it doesn't prevent you loading them in, but then grinds to a locked up halt. (Especially if you have texture preview showing, and it uses a large image...)

Nick

BeeVee
06-01-2006, 03:04 AM
Images of that kind of size are perfectly possible in LightWave, but you need to be careful about how you make them, especially since render times will necessarily be long...

If you, presumably are making renders for print, you don't need mip maps at all, for instance, and using coloured images for channels other than the colour one is a waste of memory. Have a look at the attached tutorial and you should get some ideas on where to shave memory to make sure you render at the size you want.

B

starbase1
06-01-2006, 04:26 AM
Sorry, I think I was not clear. I have produced VERY big images for output without problems.

I was refering to the use of large images as textures, where its all wobbly in 8.5

BazC
06-01-2006, 04:32 AM
Ah there I think I can help! :D I've been using multiple 4096x4096 textures and I've no reason to think you couldn't go higher than that. I didn't experience any problems, I'm using a low spec machine too! I've never tried using big textures in LW8 though so I can't tell you if there's a major improvement in this area! - Baz

starbase1
06-01-2006, 04:36 AM
That's a useful document actually, thanks!

It does suggest that I tell you what sorts of things I am using the large images for...

The two main ones are:

1. Stitched panoramic image maps, as an environment. With these only a small portion is used to fill the screen as the camera pans around.

2. Planet maps. In particular the NASA high res image maps of Earth. I realise that I would need terabytes of memory to cope with the full next generation blue marble images, but 8000x4000 would seem reasonable, (and double that would be superb).

Thanks,
Nick

starbase1
06-01-2006, 04:45 AM
Ah there I think I can help! :D I've been using multiple 4096x4096 textures and I've no reason to think you couldn't go higher than that. I didn't experience any problems, I'm using a low spec machine too! I've never tried using big textures in LW8 though so I can't tell you if there's a major improvement in this area! - Baz

That sounds VERY good then. (It was always a per image limit though...)

Thanks Baz, that sounds like the single biggest constraint on my LW use is greatly improved!

If anyone wants to stress test this, take a look here:
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=7100

Where you can get a 22000x22000 image map to play with.

Nick

BeeVee
06-01-2006, 04:49 AM
Starbase1, you should really take a look at LightWolf's Infinimap (http://www.infinimap.com/)! It would allow you to use the full res blue marble map and fly in from outerspace to a single town without having to break, all on a low ram machine!

B

zapper1998
06-01-2006, 04:54 AM
That sounds VERY good then. (It was always a per image limit though...)

Thanks Baz, that sounds like the single biggest constraint on my LW use is greatly improved!

If anyone wants to stress test this, take a look here:
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=7100

Where you can get a 22000x22000 image map to play with.

Nick
22000x22000, wow thats a BIG image, holey camoley, wow..
I had to download it, to check it out, wow, Why they so BIG, ????????

Michael

Lightwolf
06-01-2006, 05:13 AM
22000x22000, wow thats a BIG image, holey camoley, wow..

22kx22k? That's tiny ;)

Have a look at these: http://www.geotorrent.org/details.php?id=59 - 86400x43200 pixels (roughly 10GB uncompressed) and you can render them using infiniMap on a 512 MB box!

I've rendered an image that has a raw size of 2TB on a 1GB box...

Feel free to PM me, or mail me at [email protected] if you have any further questions.

Cheers,
Mike

starbase1
06-01-2006, 05:15 AM
BeeVee - Yes, I am aware of Infinimap, and it looks very good. But I am (mainly) amateur, and it is outside my budget.

Zapper - If you poke around that web site, you will find MUCH bigger versions!

If you want to do space station style viewpoints, you need seriously large maps. The shuttle / ISS are only a few hundred miles up, if you think about it in pixels per mile, a 21000 pixel image is, er, 1 pixel per mile! Not a lot at all...

Nick

Lightwolf
06-01-2006, 05:17 AM
BeeVee - Yes, I am aware of Infinimap, and it looks very good. But I am (mainly) amateur, and it is outside my budget.

Hehe... I thought you knew about it as well ;)

Cheers,
Mike

BeeVee
06-01-2006, 05:21 AM
If Infinimap Pro is outside your range, then you need to create several maps of a smaller size and fade between them, sorry...

B

DogBoy
06-01-2006, 05:41 AM
or slice it up in photoshop/paintshop/gimp and work out the UVs.
Doesn't Infinimap let you use Planar projection for free?

pantone
06-01-2006, 07:05 AM
If anyone wants to stress test this, take a look here:
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=7100

Where you can get a 22000x22000 image map to play with.

Nick

I've done animations in LW 9 using those maps converted to 4K without any issues at all, and I was using bump displacement with APS to pop the continents a little. The overall poly count was something like 3 million.

starbase1
06-01-2006, 09:56 AM
or slice it up in photoshop/paintshop/gimp and work out the UVs.


It's the 'work out the UV's' that has defeated me! I have frequently tried to think of a simple way of assigning 1/8th of the big image to 1/8th of a sphere without ever loading the whole thing, but it has defeated me so far...

Nick

wacom
06-01-2006, 11:05 AM
BeeVee - Yes, I am aware of Infinimap, and it looks very good. But I am (mainly) amateur, and it is outside my budget.

Zapper - If you poke around that web site, you will find MUCH bigger versions!

If you want to do space station style viewpoints, you need seriously large maps. The shuttle / ISS are only a few hundred miles up, if you think about it in pixels per mile, a 21000 pixel image is, er, 1 pixel per mile! Not a lot at all...

Nick

So an amateur needs maps of this size? Man I must be a freaking uber noob. Just kidding though- can we/I ask what you're using these images for?

starbase1
06-01-2006, 12:38 PM
Well, a little earlier this year I was selected as an artist member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists, I studied astronomy at University, so the subject is something of a passion!

I did my first decent Earth model use Dave Jerrards tutorials from his books.

But like I said if you want views from low Earth orbit, even at DVD resolution, you need seriously large amounts of detail in your image maps.

And personally I find the NASA low earth orbit images absolutely stunningly beautiful.

The immedate project is a space ship taking off from Scotland and swooping over the mediteranean before ascending to orbit. But I'd also like to recreate images like this one I did:

http://www.starbase1.co.uk/galleries/Graphics/Astro%20%20Space/slides/dockbigger.html

without resorting to NASA photos as backdrops!

Nick

wacom
06-01-2006, 04:34 PM
I figured you had to be doing something like this. Maybe we can all figure out a way to get things working for you until you can afford LightWolf's handy and dandy plugin.

Cool images BTW.

wacom
06-01-2006, 04:38 PM
It's the 'work out the UV's' that has defeated me! I have frequently tried to think of a simple way of assigning 1/8th of the big image to 1/8th of a sphere without ever loading the whole thing, but it has defeated me so far...

Nick

Couldn't you localize those faces and use two seperate UV maps for the job?
So you'd pick the area with the location you want, and select it, then make UVs out of it. Then you'd make a UV for the whole sphere. You'd then have to take the image into PS and produce two images- one high res of that portion and one lower res of the rest right? Maybe the hi-res one would have fadded out edges. Then you'd apply those two textures with the hi-res over the low res using the UVs?

More asking then telling here...need to run some tests...

Silkrooster
06-01-2006, 05:14 PM
Man that image is awesome. But then again most of yours are anyway.:rock:
Silk

starbase1
06-02-2006, 12:32 AM
OK, let's try a specific exmple. You can only see a small part of Earth so we dont need the whole thing.

Take the chunk from equator to north pole, 0 degrees latitude to 90 degrees east, so you are roughly centred on the mediteranean.

Lets also assume that the correct chunk of cylindrical map has been cut out.

The two obvious ways forward to me seem to be...

1. Start with the correctly shaped chunk of sphere, and find a trick to map the image on correctly.

2. Start with a flat square of polygons, (maps easily), and find a way to distort it into a segment of sphere.

Any ideas?

Nick

Lightwolf
06-02-2006, 01:50 AM
Lets also assume that the correct chunk of cylindrical map has been cut out.

The two obvious ways forward to me seem to be...

1. Start with the correctly shaped chunk of sphere, and find a trick to map the image on correctly.

You'd want a spherical map.
Make your horizontal and vertical segments of the sphere multiples of 36 and 18 (this allows you to easily calculate the degrees covered per polygon).
Create the sphere with UVs.
Count the polygons you don't need (by counting the degrees) and delete them.
Stretch the remainder of the UV to fit into 0,0 - 1,1 again.
Apply your image using the UV Map.

You could also use sphercial mapping and adjust the wrap amounts accordingly (i.e. an image that is 10 wide should have a wrap amount of 36 - since it fits 36 times into 360 degrees). Then us the rotation settings for the texture layer to position it.

And then again, using infiniMap (unregistered), you could morph a plane into a sphere (using the bend tool as a start), apply the map to the plane and morph it into shape in Layout.

Cheers,
Mike

starbase1
06-02-2006, 02:00 AM
Thanks Lightwolf - very decent of you to explain how to avoid your (excellent) product!
:D :D :D

The wrap and spherical mapping sounds like by far the simplest option to me. (I had the nagging feeling I was missing something obvious).

I'm sure it should not be too difficult to convert between spherical and polar mapping, with a bit of googling!

Nick

Lightwolf
06-02-2006, 02:07 AM
Thanks Lightwolf - very decent of you to explain how to avoid your (excellent) product!
:D :D :D

Hehe... :D I just like your work too much ....

Cheers,
Mike

starbase1
06-02-2006, 02:32 PM
OK! Thanks to the tips I now have high res Europe chunk of Earth, so it only seems fair to share it. Done as suggested by setting repeat on a 1/8th chunk of a sphere.

The file is about 7mb, and you can find it here:
http://www.starbase1.co.uk/europe_quadrant.zip

A couple of notes:

I have not done the specular or bump or airglow channels.

I only got the image in at this size (On LW 8.5) by loading and setting up the texture with a smaller image, setting up the texture, then replacing the image in the image editor. (The texture preview gets upset with such big images).

If you want to use a different image, or tweak the textures, I suggest you use a smaller one until ready too.

Here's an image I made - I have deliberately zoomed in enough to show the limits of the map.

Err...
:stumped:
How can I make it relevant to LW9?

Ah!
:foreheads

Maybe someone with LW9 can try it with a larger chunk of Blue Marble?

Anyway, here's the image.

starbase1
06-03-2006, 01:58 AM
And another looking across the straits of Gibraltar.

nlightuk
06-03-2006, 03:51 AM
This is why I stopped using LW for this sort of thing, and started using Visual Nature Studio from 3DNature.

Saves me having to worry about "mix and match" projection issues (the Blue Marble data is in Geographic WGS84, but most of the UK terrain data is in UK National grid). It also means you don't have to worry about the fact that the earth is not a sphere. I can load the 1km Bluemarble imagery as one into it, and have image management (a la Infinimap) automatically applied. I can also push poly levels way beyond anything that the 32 bit version of LW can handle (and theoretically the 64 bit build too).

Not a cheap solution, but if you do enough of this sort of thing and accuracy is an issue, it can be a life-saver (as can Infinimap, if you want to do it all in Lightwave).

Here's an image I did of the Med with Bathymetry (subsea elevations), in which the terrain model has been vertically rescaled by a factor of 250%. was a simple job - Import terrain, import image (both georeferenced, but in different projections), set light manually or by time, and render :)

Paul Brunson
06-03-2006, 02:11 PM
This thread is awesome, I've been wondering where people get such high resolution images of earth for years. My google searches have never turned up anything even close to the resolution of the image links posted here. Thanks guys!

I am curious though, this is just the color map. What do you guys use for the other maps. IE- Diffuse, Luminosity (city lights for the night side), Spectular, Reflection, and Bump? And how about cloud maps?

nlightuk
06-03-2006, 02:27 PM
Paul,

Dunno about the diffuse, spec etc but the night light map to which you refer can be found here:
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=1438
and here:
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_set.php?categoryID=2364

starbase1
06-03-2006, 02:35 PM
NASA blue marble also provie a height map, which covers your bump.

Specular is easy to make with just about any graphics prog that lets you select by colour - just select the sea and set to black, invert selection and set to white, invert whole image... That will give you a mask to play with.

Clouds are more problematic, and I am currently trying to find a good high res version. Best I have seen was not free, but with Dave Jerrards old lightwave book. A great trick he uses is to take a second copy of the cloud map and edge in the clouds by a few pixels, (so there is less of them). This secondslightly higher cloud layer gives a subtle but very effective 3d effect on the clouds.

See:
http://www.starbase1.co.uk/galleries/Graphics/Astro%20%20Space/slides/earth_new3.html

I highly recommend you take a lok at the demon lord of planetary maps,
Bjorn Jonsson:
http://www.mmedia.is/bjj/planetary_maps.html

His galilean satellite maps are the best available anywhere. (Including NASA).

Oh, and the other problem with cloud maps is that they are generally built at different times of the day, so there are sam and blending problems in the raw image...

Nick

Lewis
06-03-2006, 04:25 PM
Hmm what is problem with big images/textures ? I rendered few renders with 360 panoramas and maped to half speher to simulate panoramic look and photos were 10 000 * 2200 and 12 000 * 1600 and no problems on my 2GB machine ? I even had 2-3 of them loaded at once while i was testing which one suits me best. Files wer ein TIFF format and size is form 15MB to 26MB each.

avkills
06-03-2006, 08:24 PM
Starbase1,

I have been working for about a month creating a good hi-res earth in Lightwave. Although I am only currently using 8.5, I am looking forward to re-working my textures and surfacing in V9 using the nodal system.

Here are all the image maps I am using from NASA's blue marble project:

Colormap is 5400x2700 pixels; Land Surface, Ocean Color and Sea Ice (I am using a different one than you, I was originally using the Land Surface, Shallow Water, and Shaded Topography map but switched over since I noticed it was missing the polar ice regions) The max image size for this map is unfortunately 8192x4096.

My luma map is 10800x5400; Earth City Lights. I changed this to a grayscale and did some levels tweaking in photoshop. The color is maintained through some texture map layering and procedural textures in Lightwave.

My earth displacement map is 5400x2700; BMNG Raw Topography.

Clouds are 8192x4096; Blue Marble Clouds.

For the Earth I have 4 objects; the earth, clouds, atmosphere and atmosphere rim. Here are some images.

I have found that I have pretty much maxed LW8.5 as far as using large image maps, if I load higher res version on the same maps, it usually crashes. I hope v9 will remedy this. In all cases images were converted to 24bit Targa files in Photoshop.

Surfacing uses incident light angles (all from the sun light), camera angles and gradients to achieve atmosphere reddening and a smooth transition from surface color to city lights. The rim glow uses expressions based on camera - earth distance to change the glow pixel radius. I am hoping I can do this on a per object bases in v9 so I can still have other objects with their own glows.

I would love some C&C on this. I have been constantly tweaking it to make it as good as possible with the limitations of a basically stock LW install. I did install the realstargen plug-in and downloaded a star database for the stars, but other than that it is a base LW install, with all included plugins added.

-mark

avkills
06-03-2006, 08:36 PM
I should note that I am using the Mac version, so maybe the image stability issues are more prevalent on the Mac, I know image format my be a factor as well. I use Targa since that seems to be what Newtek uses.

Here is another render.

-mark

starbase1
06-04-2006, 03:13 AM
Starbase1,

I have been working for about a month creating a good hi-res earth in Lightwave. Although I am only currently using 8.5, I am looking forward to re-working my textures and surfacing in V9 using the nodal system.

Clouds are 8192x4096; Blue Marble Clouds.

For the Earth I have 4 objects; the earth, clouds, atmosphere and atmosphere rim. Here are some images.



For those like me who missed the cloud maps, you can download here:
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?vev1id=11643

Have you considered a second cloud layer as I described above?

starbase1
06-04-2006, 03:20 AM
Hmm what is problem with big images/textures ? I rendered few renders with 360 panoramas and maped to half speher to simulate panoramic look and photos were 10 000 * 2200 and 12 000 * 1600 and no problems on my 2GB machine ? I even had 2-3 of them loaded at once while i was testing which one suits me best. Files wer ein TIFF format and size is form 15MB to 26MB each.

I find that surprising - are you mac or PC?

Previous discussions here suggested that people hit a limit im usable image size, regardless of how much memory you have installed. If you are under the milit, you can have more. Texture previews that use the large images also add to the problem, and can make the system lock up.

Maybe it's because your images are long and thin?

Lets hope its better in LW9 anyway!
Nick

avkills
06-04-2006, 04:41 AM
I have not tried the method described above Starbase1, but as soon as I am home I may try and give it a go. I am using a bump map on the clouds (basically just re-using the cloud image), but it would be great to get some "real" depth on them.

-mark

creativecontrol
06-04-2006, 10:32 AM
Can someone tell me if LW9 is any better at big images? With 8.5 it seems that there is a limit at round about 4000x2000 regardless of available memory.

Particularly annoying when it doesn't prevent you loading them in, but then grinds to a locked up halt. (Especially if you have texture preview showing, and it uses a large image...)

Nick
I know exactly what you mean. I work with large images and 8.5 had some serious problems, especially in the final rendering. 8.3 would render the image but 8.5 would give an out of ram error no matter how much ram you had. V9 seems to have fixed that and is actually better than before, thank goodness.

zapper1998
06-04-2006, 10:42 AM
wow looking good

starbase1
06-04-2006, 04:14 PM
Good to know things are improving.

Hmm... Maybe we should consider a collaborative Earth once LW9 is out, and we can all start using bigger image maps?

Nick

Lewis
06-04-2006, 04:59 PM
I find that surprising - are you mac or PC?

Previous discussions here suggested that people hit a limit im usable image size, regardless of how much memory you have installed. If you are under the milit, you can have more. Texture previews that use the large images also add to the problem, and can make the system lock up.

Maybe it's because your images are long and thin?

Nick

I'm on Windows Xp SP2.

My images are thin 'coz they are stiched panoramas of various backgrounds and as i said all of them worked normally :).