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Andyjaggy
06-09-2006, 09:13 PM
To Fprime or not to Fprime? I am going to have a little money left over from financial aid and am currently debating how to best blow it! I am either going to upgrade my computer or buy Fprime. Basically my problem is this, I spend far to much time waiting for test renders, just the past two days I have probably wasted a good 8 hours trying to tweak this scene that I am working on. change a surface setting. render
change a setting. render
change a setting. render
change yet another setting. render
oh that didn't work change it back.
change another setting. render
I know this is kind of what you have to do sometimes but if I could speed up the "render" part of the equation and save myself countless hours of tedious waiting I would be one freaking happy camper. So my question is would Fprime help more? Or would upgrading my computer help more? I currently have an old Athlon 2???+ I can't even remember which chip. It is about three years old and runs at 2Ghz, it was pre 64 bit revolution age. I also have 1 GB of DDR ram and a 128mb ATI radeon 9200 video card. I am still suprised how well my machine runs, it still beats out my new sony laptop, but that probably is not a fair comparison. Anyway Fprime or new computer? That is truly the question.

Snosrap
06-09-2006, 09:27 PM
FPrime! Realtime interactivity of setting up your scenes, it'll work great on your setup. Go to Worley's site and watch the demos, thats what you'll get.

Cheers
Snos

SP00
06-09-2006, 09:42 PM
I think you should get a new computer. Fprime is nice, but you can't completely rely on it because it doesn't work with everything in LW. The new Duo Core or Core Duo CPU is much faster than the althon 2 ghz you have. I'm not sure if you are doing this, but try to take advantage of the limited region, render object , and even the subdivide settings to speed things up. After the computer, I would definitely try to save for Fprime.

Andyjaggy
06-10-2006, 09:30 AM
Oh yes the limited region and I are best of friends! I sometimes turn down the Sub D level but usually forget to do that when doing test renders. I'll try to remember in the future. This is why I am so torn between the two options. A computer upgrade would help with a lot more than just rendering. I could model with more polys, I could use more particles, everything would run faster, not just rendering. Also it would be nice for my photography. When I am editing 100 Mb image files, my computer comes to a grinding halt. If I do upgrade my computer I was thinking of getting an AMD 64 X2 chip, as well as 2 GB of ram and a new video card. That would end up costing me more than F-prime would.

On the other hand F-prime just looks and sounds so freaking sweet. Maybe I will max out my credit card and get both!.......

Captain Obvious
06-10-2006, 09:36 AM
I'd say Fprime. You won't really get all that much computer for $400 anyway.

richdj
06-10-2006, 02:27 PM
I'd say FPrime, but hats because just before FPrime came out I was rendering over and over again... If I'd had FPrime it would have saved me days of test renders... Yes there are limitations, but for setting up materials, animations and GI its my weapon of choice...

Rich

Andyjaggy
06-10-2006, 07:23 PM
Of coarse another thing to consider is what is going to happen with V9 and Fprime? It would be a shame to buy it and then have it not work soon after.

geothefaust
06-10-2006, 07:32 PM
Of coarse another thing to consider is what is going to happen with V9 and Fprime? It would be a shame to buy it and then have it not work soon after.

I don't think that will be a problem. Otherwise why would Worley be under NDA? We'll se support for FPrime in LW9.

I'd go with FPrime, from what I've seen of it's use, it's a really great program to help you setup textures, lighting, and it has really good GI.

Wickster
06-11-2006, 02:42 AM
Be like me. I've been holding my breath for FPrime and PIMTools to see which one will be a better purchase once LW9 comes out. If you do decide on FPrime I'd probably wait until the LW9 comes out because it'll be ashamed to buy it now then might have to pay more to update to the next version that works with LW9. I'm planning on getting FPrime as well but under the circumstances of not knowing what the next version will hold, i'll hold as well.

WhiteBoy
06-11-2006, 03:52 AM
I've been seriously considering FPrime lately too. The only thing I'm waiting for is to see what happens with 9.

Andyjaggy
06-11-2006, 09:15 AM
It looks like Fprime is winning the vote. Maybe Worley Labs is under NDA because Lightwave 9 is going to ship with Fprime included........... that would be awesome, but is so not going to happen. Newtek should buy Worley Labs and include all of there plugins with Lightwave. You could have a regular version of Lightwave and then a Pro version with all the plugins included. Cool idea but not going to happen.

SCS5
06-11-2006, 03:22 PM
It's a no brainer..FPRIME all the way! It will save you so much time setting up lighting & scenes, you won't know how you ever lived without it!

Knowing Worley, 9X support is a given.

hrgiger
06-11-2006, 03:36 PM
It sounds like Fprime would benefit you more then a new computer. It doesn't have to work with everything in Lightwave (though I don't doubt that it will eventually). It won't always be the solution for final renders but it will give you very fast previews of what your lighting and most textures will look like saving you hours of work.

Bog
06-11-2006, 03:59 PM
You're not going to get the most out of FPrime if your machine's touching it's swapfile when it's rendering - sudden, massive drop in speed. Far more noticeable than just hitting swap with core LW rendering.

Me, I'm hardwarecentric - I'll always plump for the extra .2GHz or the extra gig of RAM. Then, when I got started in 3D I had a whole 512K to try to work in, and no swapfile either.

Eee, young people these days.

hrgiger
06-11-2006, 04:35 PM
At 2GHZ, he's going to be just fine with Fprime.

Bog
06-11-2006, 04:38 PM
Aye, but only 1Gb of RAM. That'll be fine until he hits about the quarter-million, maybe 400,000 polygon count - at which point he could start to bog down (no offence, me).

Just sayin'. FPrime is all manner of lovely - but it wants teh Gigabytes. teh Gigahurtz aren't such a big deal. Everyone's been shouting "FPRIME!" and that's a good default response - but it is RAM hungry. You can do a *lot* with it in a gig, no question. I'd be happier with 2GB, though.

DiscoBurgess
06-12-2006, 03:10 AM
Basically my problem is this, I spend far to much time waiting for test renders, just the past two days I have probably wasted a good 8 hours trying to tweak this scene that I am working on. change a surface setting. render
change a setting. render
change a setting. render
change yet another setting. render
oh that didn't work change it back.
change another setting. render
I know this is kind of what you have to do sometimes but if I could speed up the "render" part of the equation and save myself countless hours of tedious waiting I would be one freaking happy camper.

This sounds like exactly the kind of thing VIPER was invented for. Have you given it a try? I know it doesn't always give great results when you want to have a good look at the surface you're working on, but it can be a giant time saver. And, you know, it's free.

That said, I don't have Fprime myself, but I definitely want it. I'm holding off to see what the hypervoxels support (if any) will be like for V9. I hear the SDK is much more open now, which I believe was the issue in the lack of shader and voxel support. It sounds like Fprime would be a good solution for you. Everyone else on the planet, except for us two, seems to be using it and very satisfied with it :D

Bog
06-12-2006, 03:12 AM
FPrime already supports HyperVoxels, chap - not in the preview, but they work just fine in the render. Still no support for volumetric lights, mind, but y'can't have everything.

Well - not 'til v2.0 anyway (hey says, crossing all his fingers and toes)

DiscoBurgess
06-12-2006, 04:54 AM
FPrime already supports HyperVoxels, chap - not in the preview, but they work just fine in the render. Still no support for volumetric lights, mind, but y'can't have everything.
Really? Darn, there goes my only reason not to buy it, really :D

I'm a little confsed, though: when you say "preview", what are you referring to? Fprime seemed to me like all it did was render, and just progressively improved the quality if you left it. I didn't think it did anything but render?

Bog
06-12-2006, 05:20 AM
It's a little more complicated than that. There's FPrime, the Previewer, which is a sizable constantly-refining pane that shows a fair old whack of what's happenning in your scene.

In fairness, I have to say that this is the bit with the most visual impact. Having a radiosity-lit scene's render pane refreshing (albeit at low res) faster than the OpenGL viewport is something of a religious experience.

However, the Preview Mode doesn't show *everything*, and it doesn't do sequences. There's a seperate interface, FPrime Render, that renders out image sequences, saving two extra files per frame. FPrime Render does things that the preview doesn't - notably, in this case, HVs. FPrime Render doesn't have an image-display interface (though there's nothing stopping you from viewing the image as it's laid down to disk).

FPrime Render differs a bit from FPrime Preview - it's still loony-fast, but it's algo is more geared to yummy image quality, rather than speed of update. It also renders odds and sods like HVs and motion blur and so on.

Best of all (IMAO), it lets you re-visit frames you've previously rendered to refine them - to increase the anti-aliasing, the smoothness of motion blur, the quality of blurred reflections and lighting and so on. This is great, 'cause instead of having to do "A Preview Render" then "A Final Render", you can pick up where you left off with the preview, and not waste any time.

DiscoBurgess
06-12-2006, 08:07 AM
Well, that sounds utterly cool. Thanks for the info, I didn't realise just how awesome Fprime was. I love the idea of revisiting frames.

If I may just impose on you a couple more questions: what are the "two extra files per frame" you refer to? And, on the topic of render quality, I know Fprime does better motion blur and AA, etc., but does Fprime have any "quirks" in it's renders? To put it another way, do you ever get results from Fprime that wouldn't be what you expected if you did the same render in Lightwave (not quality-wise, but effects-wise)?

Bog
06-12-2006, 08:50 AM
The two extra files per frame are the a raw HDR datafile and FPrime's scratchpad data for each frame, as best I can guess. They're Quite Large as a rule - I think about 4Mb in total per frame at 720x576. This is FPrime's way of having refinable frames.

Actually, I don't think there's anything else on the planet that does refinable frames, so better to say "This is how you get refinable frames".

I digress.

The main quirk I've seen with FPrime renders is lots of radiosity. It seems that no matter how I try, I'm not able to resist that multi-bounce monte carlo, because it's just so very fast. ;) As to actual artefacting, I've not noticed anything in particular at this stage.

Andyjaggy
06-12-2006, 10:30 AM
Well maybe I should buy some more ram and F-prime. I don't even know if I could find the old ram that I currently have in my computer. I am still really split on this decision. Fprime just sounds and looks so freaking cool! And everyone really loves it.

However my computer really could use an upgrade. I mean I do lots of stuff besides 3D and it would be nice to have the extra horse power for all my other stuff. Does anyone have any experience using the AMD 64 X2 4200+? Or any of the AMD dual cores for that matter. How do they run with Lightwave? I am leaning towards a new computer at the current minute. Then when I graduate in the Spring I will buy Fprime as a graduation present for myself!

DiscoBurgess
06-12-2006, 10:52 AM
Thanks, Bog, most informative!

Andy, I hear that the Athlon X2's are pretty great for LW in general. Don't really know any details, athough I do recall reading in the 8.3 patch notes that LW now supports dual core CPUs correctly.

Captain Obvious
06-12-2006, 03:23 PM
Actually, I don't think there's anything else on the planet that does refinable frames, so better to say "This is how you get refinable frames".
Maxwell does refinable frames, too.



One thing I would like to note about Fprime and "artifacts" and other render oddities, is that Fprime is a so called "brute force" renderer. What this means is that Fprime will not take many shortcuts in rendering. It will render every single pixel independantly from the others. This means two things: It means that the only time it will introduce artifacts is when you encounter a bug. You will NEVER see those big interpolated radiosity blotches in Fprime, like you can in Lightwave's native renderer. You will never see banding in the depth-of-field in Fprime, either. Unfortunately, this also makes Fprime a lot slower for certain things than a renderer that does take shortcuts, and it means that there will be noise.

May I ask what your particular field is? For example, for things like architectural visualization, I've seen that Fprime is often as much as five to ten times slower than Kray, if you're rendering to a comparable quality level. But for some other things, Fprime is five to ten times faster than Kray...

Sensei
06-12-2006, 04:10 PM
Of coarse another thing to consider is what is going to happen with V9 and Fprime? It would be a shame to buy it and then have it not work soon after.

Even without support to volumetrics, shaders, LW9 nodes, ACT & APS, FPrime is a MUST for every LightWave user these day.. If you're professional and making money on 3D graphics, take it and your workflow will be greatly improved to the level that you never imagined is possible..

Andyjaggy
06-12-2006, 04:23 PM
Well unforunately I am not a professional, hopefully someday.... So Fprime is kind of like a super Lightwave drug. "dude take this and go places you never imagined...."

Bog
06-13-2006, 05:35 AM
Here's your glass of Kool-Aid, Andy ;)

robk
06-14-2006, 08:28 AM
I have a AMD Athalon 64 X2 3800 and it works well with Fprime. Both cores jump in when using the preview renderer as soon as it reaches level 1. In the Fprime render both cores jump in right away. I timed some renders on it versus my intel 3.2 ghz machine and fprime was faster by about a factor of 1.6, but of course it is a 3800 when compared to my 3.2 ghz as well as having dual cores. The dual core is one of three render boxes for network rendering and had idendtical AMD 64 3000 chips in them and I hope to upgrade the other two as soon a prices fall on the X2 chips (I read an article yesterday saying that would be at the end of July because of Intel coming out with some new chips) the AMD chips have hardly gone down at all since I bought the X2 3800.

JeffRutan
06-14-2006, 02:24 PM
I had planned to buy FPrime as soon as I started seriously surfacing and rendering my first serious LightWave project. However, since I am in a down time (new learning cycle) with my 3D work (no paying projects for several months) the budget for that is a bit tight. As it happened, I received the Luxology modo 201 upgrade about the time I started rendering my project, and it was so much faster than LightWave that I went with that for now.

I still plan to buy FPrime, but I am now waiting for the LW9 release (supposed to be very soon). I figure FPrime will have to have a new version out shortly thereafter to support more of LW9 features and take advantage of the more open interface. I do not want to pay again for an FPrime upgrade, and I am hoping there will be an introductory price for that new version.

I know FPrime will pay for itself in just a few hours of one job, but I am still in that learning cycle for a while, so I am being a bit cheap. The modo 201 has a preview window that works fairly fast and the rendering is at least twice as fast as LW8.5 using similar settings. However, modo is much more expensive than FPrime, so if I hadn't already paid for modo months ago, I would definitely buy FPrime without hesitation.

-Jeff

Andyjaggy
06-14-2006, 03:33 PM
How well does Modo sink with Lightwave? I can pick up an educational copy of Modo for $99. I really don't want to switch as I love Lightwave and have invested a lot of time learning it, but for 99 bucks rendering twice as fast sounds pretty dang nice. Of coarse you can't change apps every time something new and better comes along or you would be switching to a different program every year. I decided to upgrade my computer, and just save my pennies for an Fprime purchase in the future.

Captain Obvious
06-14-2006, 03:52 PM
Andyjaggy:

Switch!?! Why on God's green earth would you switch? You can add modo, but you really shouldn't switch to it. This holds true to 3D apps in general. It's much better to be well versed in both Lightwave and XSI (or whatever), than be decided on using just one of them. Two apps are better than one, if they work well together. Or, heck, you can use one app for the projects it excels at, and another app for other projects. The idea that you must choose one app and stick to it is the downfall many an intellect. ;)

Andyjaggy
06-14-2006, 04:48 PM
So true, so true. I wasn't serious about switching but I am considering picking up a copy Modo.

Bog
06-14-2006, 04:55 PM
So go and get the evaluation copy. Not like it's going to cost you your immortal soul or anything.

Just keep whittling, whittling, whittling away at LightWave. It's fine. You do that. You don't owe it - or us, the community - anything. You go and get your *OTHER* Modelling application. That's fine. We don't care. Why not port your results to RenderMan as well? You'll only need a team of 20 coders.

That's fine. That's... that's just fine. You TRAITOR!

*sprints for his trailer, pouring tears*

CHOKE ON YOUR EDGE TOOLS! I WOULD!

*sob*

(PS: This post is a joke. Just in case anyone mis-read me).

(PPS: Just leave your old mother to starve. I would, if I could be rich and famous like you)

(PPPS: Still joking)

(PPPPS: We're fine being alone. Just fine. Don't you call, either. I wouldn't. I wouldn't want to be embarrassed by me either).

(PPPPPS: OK that's it, time for bed)

Captain Obvious
06-14-2006, 06:02 PM
Hahaha @ Bog :D

But there is no trial of 201 yet, as far as I know. Of course, if you give the 103 trial a go, you'll get your feet wet. 201 is pretty much the same thing, except better in just about every way. I'm yet to find anything I prefer about 103 over 201.

JeffRutan
06-14-2006, 11:17 PM
Captain: The one important thing that modo 103 is missing in this case is rendering, so playing with a 103 demo would do no good in this case. I never really used 103, but 201 seems nice for rendering. I did try 103 for modeling once (loaded my truck project), but it crashed on me and corrupted my file, so I went back to just LightWave. I will give modo 201 another try for modeling, but for now LightWave works very well for me. I read that the new render in LW9 is 2-3 times faster than 8.5, so maybe it will be on par with modo performance then. I have not tried the LW9 Beta because I don't want to mess up my workflow and learning with 8.5 with a pre-release product. I will go back to rendering with LW9 and the new FPrime when those products are released. Although I intend to give modo 201 a fair trial with a significant project, I certainly don't intend to throw out LW! I expect to continue using both. I certainly need LW for animation for a good while yet since that is not included in the modo 20x cycle.
-Jeff

Andyjaggy
06-15-2006, 07:56 AM
Yeah as far as I could tell there is no trial version for Modo yet, which is why I thought I might just spend the $100 dollars and buy it. Of coarse that would be another 1 GB of ram in my computer upgrade........

Good one Bog.

Captain Obvious
06-15-2006, 08:48 AM
Remember that the student license of modo is more of a yearly subscription. You get all the upgrades for an entire year after you pay for it, but after a year, you have to pay again. Of course, by paying $99 per year, it takes nine whole years for the full version to be cheaper, and that's only if we ignore the free upgrades... :p

Andyjaggy
06-15-2006, 03:48 PM
Ah I see. I hate those yearly subsciption prices. Thank goodness Newtek doesn't do that. $200 and you get to use it as long as you want. Plus when I ordered my education copy of Lightwave 7.5 I got the free upgrade to 8, and then the free upgrade to 8.5, and then it is only $99 to upgrdade to 9, and then I will get the free upgrade to 9.5. I love you Newtek!!!!

Captain Obvious
06-15-2006, 04:11 PM
I agree that yearly subscriptions are bothersome, but $99 per year is something of a steal. I paid $595 for modo, and once 301 is out, I'll shell out another few hundred bucks. The same amount of money would last an entire decade with $99 per year...

Snosrap
06-15-2006, 09:14 PM
modo is a decent piece of code. But FPrime is an amazing piece of code! As a LW 9 beta tester and modo 201 user, I can attest to the rendering speed improvements in LW9, it's certainly on par with modo in most every respect. modo's I-View however is not nearly as fast as FPrime. This has been a real enjoyable time for me as I'm able to use 9 and 201 at the same time and really see the strengths and weaknesses of each. FPrime is the clear winner in speed over any of the above mentioned renderers. modo's got a decent modeling workflow, but the surfacing and rendering workflow leave something to be desired for me. (IMO it's a convoluted cluster*^$%!) and I'll just leave it a that. On the other hand LW9's new Render Globals Panel is very logical. LW with FPrime is slightly more expensive than modo, but it's still a great value, and has animation and many more features. I bought FPrime the day it came out and have not regretted it one bit.

Cheers
Snos

Snosrap
06-15-2006, 09:22 PM
Maxwell does refinable frames, too.



One thing I would like to note about Fprime and "artifacts" and other render oddities, is that Fprime is a so called "brute force" renderer. What this means is that Fprime will not take many shortcuts in rendering. It will render every single pixel independantly from the others. This means two things: It means that the only time it will introduce artifacts is when you encounter a bug. You will NEVER see those big interpolated radiosity blotches in Fprime, like you can in Lightwave's native renderer. You will never see banding in the depth-of-field in Fprime, either. Unfortunately, this also makes Fprime a lot slower for certain things than a renderer that does take shortcuts, and it means that there will be noise.


"Brute Force"? maybe every renderer ought to be "brute force" then! The neat thing about FPrime is that it does not render from the top down or anything like that. It just starts out fuzzy and then clears up. --Really fast!--
modo's I-View always starts at the top and then crawls down, works fine with a few colored spheres, but slows to a crawl with any significant geometry.

Cheers
Snos

Captain Obvious
06-16-2006, 05:32 AM
but the surfacing and rendering workflow leave something to be desired for me
Really? One of the reasons I mostly do rendering in modo nowadays is that I greatly prefer the shader tree over the method used in Lightwave. Of course, if I had to choose between LW9's nodal and modo 201, I would have a much harder time deciding... But I don't have access to LW9, so it's a moot point.




FPrime is the clear winner in speed over any of the above mentioned renderers.
I'm not sure it's a clear-cut speed victory for Fprime, even if you turn off irradiance caching in modo. Check out these tests (http://forums.luxology.com/discussion/topic.aspx?id=8421&page=1). In J.O.Rust's tests on a 3GHz Pentium 4, Fprime won by a mile and a half. But in Rockmed's tests on a quad G5, modo is faster even with irradiance caching turned off. With irradiance caching turned on, modo's renderer is almost always much faster than Fprime, but the quality is not as amazing.




"Brute Force"? maybe every renderer ought to be "brute force" then! The neat thing about FPrime is that it does not render from the top down or anything like that. It just starts out fuzzy and then clears up. --Really fast!--
Can you instead imagine how fast Fprime would be if it used photon mapping and irradiance caching? ;)




modo's I-View always starts at the top and then crawls down, works fine with a few colored spheres, but slows to a crawl with any significant geometry.
Generally, I sort of agree. Not always, though. I recently set up a scene with about 40 million polygons and full raytracing (reflections, area light and refractions), and used the preview to set up the raytraced DOF. It rendered really quickly and was perfectly usable even on my 1.6GHz single-processor G5. Sometimes it's bloody fast. At other times, it's not so fast... But I still think it's a great tool, because it's so amazingly easy to hide things from view in modo. If you use auto-visibility in the item list, the preview is a great boon to texturing.

Snosrap
06-16-2006, 10:18 PM
Really? One of the reasons I mostly do rendering in modo nowadays is that I greatly prefer the shader tree over the method used in Lightwave. Of course, if I had to choose between LW9's nodal and modo 201, I would have a much harder time deciding... But I don't have access to LW9, so it's a moot point.



modo's renderer is indeed pretty, but I'm having difficulty working through the hoops. It seems I open this panel and then go to that panel--whatever it just hasn't clicked with my brain yet-- and then there's the shader tree thing. But I digress, this is thread about FPrime after all. And all I can say is that it ROCKS!

Cheers
Snos

Captain Obvious
06-17-2006, 06:28 AM
It seems I open this panel and then go to that panel
That's generally how it works in Lightwave as well... But at any rate, you can customize your forms. If you want to have all the camera, light and render settings in a single panel, you can do that. But yeah, this is probably off-topic, so I'll shut up now. :p

SCS5
06-20-2006, 04:29 AM
That's fine. That's... that's just fine. You TRAITOR!

*sprints for his trailer, pouring tears*

CHOKE ON YOUR EDGE TOOLS! I WOULD!

*sob*

(PS: This post is a joke. Just in case anyone mis-read me).

(PPS: Just leave your old mother to starve. I would, if I could be rich and famous like you)

(PPPS: Still joking)

(PPPPS: We're fine being alone. Just fine. Don't you call, either. I wouldn't. I wouldn't want to be embarrassed by me either).

(PPPPPS: OK that's it, time for bed)


Bog, that's GREAT!! I've never seen a disclaimer for a dry sense of humor:ohmy:

Bog
06-20-2006, 04:31 AM
Thanks. It's surpassed only by the one I use for rude jokes. ;)

Captain Obvious
06-20-2006, 06:24 AM
Bog, that's GREAT!! I've never seen a disclaimer for a dry sense of humor:ohmy:
That's the problem with the internet. If you don't add disclaimers, someone will always take offense. :(