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View Full Version : Old school rendering vs. Fprime



prayforjoejoe
11-14-2006, 10:38 AM
Hello everyone. I am Joseph and I have been using Lightwave for about 2 years now. Im finishing up my associate in computer graphics: animation at Lansing Community College this semester. I have recently been looking at the amazing work by those of us that own Fprime and wondering, is there any way to achieve such a look for interiors without using Fprime and waiting 36 hours?! (dont ask, waited 36 hours and the render didnt look like I wanted it to). I am not running on an amazing computer (Dell 5100 with some new ram in it), and I was recently thinking of buying Fprime. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Intuition
11-14-2006, 10:52 AM
Don't even question buying F-Prime. It will speed up your workflow and save you time and give you quality. Honestly. I used Lightwave for 9 years before it came out and after two days of use I found it indispensable.

Even when I still use the LW native engine for renders I still setup with F-Prime. Most often I use it for animation too.

If you decide to stay with Lightwave I wouldn't question getting f-prime.

The only draw back is it wont see nodes or shaders so you have to rely on strictly surface panel/advanced settings. Also, it wont use LW9 new cameras. Yet, as you have seen, alot can be done with f-prime and its also compaitble with G2.

After about an hour of playing with it you will not regret having it. I would only recommend having at least a 2.8 ghz and 2GB ram system since F-Prime likes cpu and memory for high poly count scenes. It will run with less but really likes high end systems.

Currently it resides in my quad core/dual opteron system burning out the quality. :D

You can achieve the look without f-prime but you'll wait. Think of it like this. YOu can set up and scene and wait hours for a frame or you can see it instantly, make changes and see them in realtime, repeat....repeat...repeat...till happy.

Andyjaggy
11-14-2006, 11:26 AM
Must by F-prime. Must by F-prime. I have been waiting for some announcement of a future release with full version 9 compatibility. I would buy it now if I knew I would get a free upgrade to any future version, but for some reason I don't see Worley being that generous this time.

druitre
11-14-2006, 11:27 AM
I second Intuition. Especially the realtime previewer. Imagine you can only walk when your eyes are shut, and only look when your legs aren't moving. That's lighting and surfacing with standard LW. With FPrime you can surface and light at the same time as seeing the result - it instantly changes from a highly abstract activity into a completely organic one.

prayforjoejoe
11-14-2006, 12:10 PM
So does Fprime work well with v9 of Lightwave? I thought I heard of their being some problems

Exception
11-14-2006, 12:23 PM
If you really want to there are possibilities of doing radiosity in LW that don't take that long. It takes a bit of tweaking and so on and the results aren't great, but doable. You can also fake it, and that can look really good. There's some great tutorials out there to fake radiosity which renders really fast and looks really good. It takes a log time to learn and to setup though.

voriax
11-14-2006, 05:43 PM
FPrime isnt 100% compatible with LW9 yet, since it doesn't receive nodal shading data (and other things I'm sure). But using FPrime, even in it's present state, will teach you a heck of a lot about lighting and surfacing, since you get instant feedback on changes. I've learned probably 90% of what I know about setting up lighting thanks to FPrime.

adk
11-14-2006, 06:12 PM
One word - indespensible :) I have FP & G2 and honestly it's the best $ I've ever spent.


Must by F-prime. Must by F-prime. I have been waiting for some announcement of a future release with full version 9 compatibility. I would buy it now if I knew I would get a free upgrade to any future version, but for some reason I don't see Worley being that generous this time.
Worley has never, ever (as far as I know), charged existing customers for any future upgrades. That's right, any. You buy a product, and quite simply all future upgrades are free. I don't see why that would change all of a sudden regardless of the current sittuation of development of FP for future LW integration. It's a great customer model that works ... so why mess with it :D:D;)

gaushell
11-14-2006, 07:43 PM
Hello everyone. I am Joseph and I have been using Lightwave for about 2 years now. Im finishing up my associate in computer graphics: animation at Lansing Community College this semester. I have recently been looking at the amazing work by those of us that own Fprime and wondering, is there any way to achieve such a look for interiors without using Fprime and waiting 36 hours?! (dont ask, waited 36 hours and the render didnt look like I wanted it to). I am not running on an amazing computer (Dell 5100 with some new ram in it), and I was recently thinking of buying Fprime. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Most of our interior animations are rendered in standard lightwave. However, we use fprime for all setups - saves a ton of time during the setup process. Has also saved our butts on some exterior shots with a ton of reflection.

Great tool no doubt.

Dave Jerrard
11-15-2006, 10:07 AM
FPrime is definitely a good buy. For testing lighting, especially with radiosity, it's virtually indispensible. As of LW9, as others have ponited out, it's a little less useful due to the lack of node support (or access), but that would only be an issue if you're using nodes.

As for rendering, I find both FPrime and LightWave's own render engine have their own strengths & weaknesses. The biggest points against FPrime are network rendering and lack of shader & node support. FPrime needs to run as a plugin within Layout, it currently can't be used with Screamernet. Also because of the way it works, it's not friendly with any distributed rendering setup using multiple LightWaves, unless you make each oen render a different sections of the scene. If you have two LightWave's trying to render the same frames, FPrime will start to tackle the same frames at the same time.

FPrime also has the interactive renderer, which can constantly render, up to four views of your scene, as you're working on them. It's an iterative rendered, meaning it increases the quality of the render over time, starting with a very low quality render that progressively gets sharper with each iteration. The longer you let it go, the better your image will be. The interative Renderer has a few drawbacks that the full renderer doesn't - it can't show you DOF or motion blur effects, or volumetrics. These can only be done in the FPrime renderer, which has no display - it renders to disc only.

LightWave, on the other hand can render everything it can create. Its biggest drawback is that it can be slow, especially with multi-bounce radiosity. It also renders each pixel in full, and in order, so you don't see a low quality full image right away - you have to wait for all the pixels to render to have a full image. This render contains everything though - deformation, nodes, blurring, image filters, etc.. LightWave can take a while on radiosity, and has multiple AA types, multiple cameras (FPrime doesn't see the new LW9 camera yet either), new subpatch methods, etc.

In my work, I found that FPrime wins hands down on scenes with larger details, but on scenes with lots of tiny geometry, it never seems to be able to resolve the details enough - they're always noisy. So a building will look great prety fast, but girders & scaffolding will take much longer to achieve the same quality, if they ever do. This is most noticeable with motion blur. I've got a few scenes here that rendered with higher quality with LightWave's engine in a couple hours, than FPrime was able to do in over 8 hours. Different engines, different strengths.

But definitely get it! For lighting purposes alone, it's a lifesaver. All the rest, well that's gravy... Mmmm, gravy!


He Who Likes Gravy.

ericsmith
11-15-2006, 11:14 AM
Actually, the previewer can do DOF, just not motion blur. I'm not sure why it can handle one and not the other, but I assume it has to do with the fact that the motion blur is something of a hybrid between true 3d motion blur and vector based 2d post blur.

I agree about fprime having difficulty resolving fine detail. It's the same with procedural textures. But NeatVideo for AE has changed all that. I can get good, smooth looking animation with fprime rendering between 4-6 passes, with very little compromise in quality.

Eric

oDDity
11-15-2006, 11:29 AM
I can't even remember what's it's like to use the native renderer and VIPER any more. I only use the the LW renderer in special circumstances, when I'm forced into it by needing a pass for a shader or filter that fprime can't access.

Captain Obvious
11-15-2006, 12:32 PM
If it ain't got FPrime (or something similar), I won't use it.

Dave Jerrard
11-15-2006, 01:57 PM
I'm the other way. I won't let myself get dependent on third party plugins. There's no guarantee that I'll be able to use them in a job. I've run into this several times, where the studio I'm doing work for doesn't have plugin "X", and even though it's a big timesaver, it's suddenly an impediment if they don't have it. When I was working at Warner Brothers, they didn't have FPrime. I did. When I needed to check my surfacing (in 8.0), it was really hurting not being able to use FPrime, so I brought my own copy in. When I started having to do the hair on the character I was working on, FPrime was no longer an issue - it couldn't render the hair (Sasquatch), so I was back to regular F9 renders. I've done jobs for other studios that didn't have certain plugins, so I had to do without them. Luckily, I know how to work without them, so that's not a big issue for me. I can do a job and not have to worry about compatibility issues with the studio or whoever I'm doing it for. I can still use the plugins for my own use though.

But I'm not going to limit myself to what some third party plugin allows or doesn't allow. I can do too much with nodes, APS, or the new cameras to let the lack of FPrime support make me ignore all these features. If the plugin is limiting, then I won't use the plugin. It's ridiculous to limit my use of the software to only what some plugin allows. That just doesn't make sense. If that plugin never gets updated again, that means that you're stuck with whatever features it worked with. No point in upgrading the main app, and in no time, you're sitting happy with a set of tools that are getting more & more out of date.

He Who Does Find Some Software That Never Works As Well As The Older Versions.

Bytehawk
11-15-2006, 02:45 PM
I agree, Fprime is too limited atm.
It's cool if I can use it, but I won't restrict using non fprime compatible features severely because something won't render in Fprime.

randomnumbers
11-15-2006, 02:52 PM
I was actually glad to get the chance to try fprime on a clients workstation for a couple of days before buying it.
I had seen all the videos on the Worley website and nearly made an immediate purchase, but somewhat to my surprise, having put it through its paces, I decided to pass.
The previewing was obviously awesome, but I found that the majority of my scenes didn't render correctly.
That is purely because a lot of my work uses volumetrics, visible object edges and various shaders that fprime unfortunately doesn't handle.
Of course I realise that I am in the vast minority here!
Just wanted to throw my opinion in because I hadn't realised that a few key features I regularly use are not supported by fprime.
But then, what do I know?
Still running LW7.5 here.
In a cave.
On a 486.
Powered by steam.

druitre
11-16-2006, 03:19 AM
Dave Jerrard wrote:

I can do too much with nodes, APS, or the new cameras to let the lack of FPrime support make me ignore all these features. If the plugin is limiting, then I won't use the plugin.

In a way, I think you couldn't have expressed better just how good a plugin FPrime is. Since the 9 beta I've been learning nodal and nearly forgot about FPrime. Testifies how good nodal is. Then I needed radiosity on a project and went back to FPrime - haven't touched nodal since.

Still use the LWrenderer a lot for quick alphapasses, volumetrics, AmbOcc passes. Compositing passes, basically.

jasonwestmas
11-16-2006, 06:45 PM
I wouldn't even consider getting Fprime or G2 if Lightwave 9 had it's own previewer for nodal. Sad, considering how much time it would save if LW9 could show me everything in a low rez render like Fprime does. Who here agrees this is Lightwave 9's weakest link?

jasonwestmas
11-16-2006, 06:52 PM
er uh I guess low rez isn't the right way to say it. Just a progressive renderer like viper that showed all the channels in nodal would be fine. :P