View Full Version : ScreamerNet Controller Version 4 Suggestions

06-09-2003, 10:12 AM
I am in the process of developing version 4 of the ScreamerNet Controller. One of the features I am considering is having the controller automatically create temporary objects and scenes for multi-pass rendering. This would be an option that would only be available in the semi-pro or pro levels. I want to get an opinion from the LW Mac community as to the usefullness of such a feature; please vote to give me your opinion.

Also, I am interested to hear from users and non-users alike what features and imporvements you would like to see in the next version of the controller. Please feel free to post your opinions in this thread.


06-09-2003, 03:33 PM
By 'multi-pass' do you mean outputting things like specularity as a separate image sequence? If so, I do that manually now and would love to see that automated. I'm surprised that Lightwave doesn't have something more substantial than the PSD plug-in (which doesn't work satisfactorily for me).

06-09-2003, 03:53 PM
Yes, that's what I'm talking about, specifically diffuse, specularity, reflections, etc... each pass being a seperate layer in a compositing software, such as After Effects.

06-10-2003, 10:43 AM
what file type? Ironically, AE won't import the individual layers of a PS sequence as separate sequences.
This is something I would like to experiment with.

06-10-2003, 11:08 AM
btw - here's a new multi-pass tut:

06-10-2003, 03:29 PM
You might have noticed from my other posts that I'm looking for a practical way to get 16bpc renders from LW to AE.

I'm very very interested in multipass rendering, though for me it must be 16bpc.

06-10-2003, 03:49 PM
It would be along the lines of the tutorial you posted, Zarathustra, where each pass is created into a separate scene (and objects as necessary) and rendered. The image format would be whatever image format the scene is set to, because each layer will be a separate render.

06-10-2003, 03:58 PM
I'm not sure I'm following what you're proposing to have SN Controller do.
Will it automate the process of the tut, creating separate scenes from the original and making the surface and lighting changes? What about the radiosity pass?

06-10-2003, 04:07 PM
Exactly, automate the process of the tutorial. Is that something you would consider useful or would you prefer to have full control over the process? That is sort of the goal of my poll.

Julian Johnson
06-10-2003, 04:37 PM
Hi Jon,

Here, at the moment, each individual scene within an episode is broken down into various layers - RGB hero, props, fx and shadows (all comped onto live plates). Each one is rendered out in various passes (spec, reflection, RGB etc.) and then any foreground/background layers are also rendered. The usual sort of stuff.

There's a whole host of futzing with these scenes to make them output exactly what we need - matte object settings, unseen by camera/rays, light exclusions, backdrops for premultiplication (if different to the one required by radiosity), individual shadows for individual lights. By the end of that process, some of the ancillary scenes bear very little relation to the 'original' scene - the lights in the shadow scenes will be in slightly different positions to those in the RGB scenes; the render flags will probably be different for each object; subdiv levels might be changed in the non-RGB scenes to increase render speed; there might be proxy objects in the scenes to cast rays from a prop set to unseen by camera, with a clone object set to matte out the alpha for the prop on unseen by rays.

It would be very hard to figure out how to break down the individual scenes automatically without having a huge spreadsheet-style array of options available before this happened (like CompAssistant). Once we have the scenes established and all those options set and checked, it's fairly trivial to add Render Buffer Export to get the outputs. I'm tempted to say that I wouldn't trust Controller to give me exactly what I needed in each scene unless you could build in a high degree of user control into the make up of each 'sub' scene..…..but it might just be laziness on my part in not thinking of a way to rationalise this process better. There are many occasions when that level of control isn’t necessary. I guess it depends on the complexity level you’re aiming at.

On features for Controller 4, it would be fantastic if you could tackle setup and launching of the nodes. Obviously you can’t force a remote machine to load the host’s drive as a share but would it be possible to configure all of the nodes’ cmdlines and directories on the host machine and then ‘preflight’ all of the cmdlines and directories so that when the user goes around to the node and hits LWSN the whole thing just works? Or, maybe, from the node, launch Screamernet Controller or a separate app and have it ‘validate’ the view from the node for any particular scene – preference directories, plugins and image savers, content directory, command directory, image maps and paths to textures…?


06-10-2003, 06:05 PM
I say "Yes". I think if you had it built in BUT with a nice user interface to tweak all the settings. Also, how about a way to save settings? You could have the default option or tweak a few things and save as "tweak1" and so on so if there are different techniques that work at different times then you could just select the one you want.

I'm printing at the moment and Epson lets you tweak and save print settings. That's what influenced my comment above.

06-11-2003, 01:24 PM
Thanks for your comments, Julian, so you would consider yourself in the second category of "I do it but wouldn't trust it to be done automatically." ;)

I am also considering what I can do to make setting up the network easier, you have good suggestions in that regard as well. I have a list of other features I want to implement but don't want to make any public promises in case I don't get around to doing some of them... :D