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View Full Version : Extremely high poly instancing in other apps .. such as Maya?



archijam
11-30-2007, 05:31 AM
Here's the situation I find myself in:

I am working at a Maya dominated school. Though I would love to break out the HD Instance 1.8.1 on LW 9.3.1, I will be forced to use Maya next semester in a research project. It involves rendering landscapes with thousands and thousands of extremely high poly trees, ala xfrog (ie. botanically correct).

The question is:
What is THE BEST maya solution to combine instancing and rendering (plus plugins combinations) to offer the same as HD I - ie. random rotation/scaling (colouration a bonus) over a landscape in as SIMPLE a manner as HD I (a layer where either the points or polys are tree positions) and render billions of polys. And not take years.

Is Renderman the best renderer for this?

...

The epilogue (potential):

If the best solution in maya is not as fast/usable/effective as LW and HD I, then I will have the ammunition in my argument to use LW. So I guess this thread is about LW after all ;) ...

Thanks (in advance) !

j.

Exception
11-30-2007, 09:35 PM
Can't find any info on this...
Surely someone here has some insight...

cresshead
12-01-2007, 03:31 AM
there's a pretty good video on the instancer in maya in 3d buzz's maya fundamentals [88hours training video $99]...they used it to make it snow and randomise the instanced poly cards for the snowflakes with scaling, rotation, aiming toward camera etc...so i think the instancer within maya and mel expressions can more than handle anything you'll need....you just need to learn a bit of mel script to open up maya and get access to anything you want and therefore customise the instancer with custom attribrutes you need like colours etc tieing the hypershade into the instancer etc.

archijam
12-01-2007, 03:46 AM
Thanks Cress.

I think indeed some mel will be involved, (I will look into that material) but the high poly objects and render optimisation are my biggest focus first.

To give a good example, alot of the Incredibles tropical island background was xfrog content. While I know RenderMan was used as 3rd party renderer, does anyone know any more details (or links), ie:

its speed
instancing capabilities
frame times for Incredibles
etc...

Merci!

j.

cresshead
12-01-2007, 07:26 AM
well pixar renderman plugin renderer is available for maya for around $500 or so..but i think that the software renderer, mental ray etc should be fine for such scenes as well..esp as mental ray has a bucket renderer which will help with very dense scenes.

you could also tie the intancer into a level of detail adjustment or also put the very capable render to layers capability too.

Red_Oddity
12-04-2007, 07:55 AM
Well, Maya does have 2 (working) instancers, BUT, both have some severe limitations.

First off, the particle instancer for example only works with particle data, could be bother some to setup if you don't know how to program them in combination with PointOnSurface and SamplerInfo.

Another is that the standard particle instancer in Maya does not not allow for per instance deformations (which makes it impossible to do waving branches/leaves on trees/bushes in this way)

So far we have also noticed that when doing instances the other way by 'instancing' geometry with the duplicate function, Maya doesn't always share all resources, meaning that a lot of 'instanced' geometry means Maya will chew through all available memory and do what Maya does best, crash.

Now, Mental Ray also has a geometry instancer, which works at render time, HOWEVER, Alias style this has STILL NOT BEEN IMPLEMENTED.
XSI and Max make full use of it, but Maya still doesn't (unless you need to instance the default primitives geomtry shaders)

I have no experience using Renderman, but there are differences between Renderman for Maya and Renderman standalone, when you're going to use this, i suggest getting some good info first before spending whads of cash on something that does not do what want it to do.

archijam
12-04-2007, 08:26 AM
Thanks Red. Some great info there ... from the heart too ;)

I will post any 'discoveries' along the way ...

Anyone have any renderman experience?

j.

cresshead
12-04-2007, 12:19 PM
Well, Maya does have 2 (working) instancers, BUT, both have some severe limitations.

First off, the particle instancer for example only works with particle data, could be bother some to setup if you don't know how to program them in combination with PointOnSurface and SamplerInfo.

Another is that the standard particle instancer in Maya does not not allow for per instance deformations (which makes it impossible to do waving branches/leaves on trees/bushes in this way)

So far we have also noticed that when doing instances the other way by 'instancing' geometry with the duplicate function, Maya doesn't always share all resources, meaning that a lot of 'instanced' geometry means Maya will chew through all available memory and do what Maya does best, crash.

Now, Mental Ray also has a geometry instancer, which works at render time, HOWEVER, Alias style this has STILL NOT BEEN IMPLEMENTED.
XSI and Max make full use of it, but Maya still doesn't (unless you need to instance the default primitives geomtry shaders)

I have no experience using Renderman, but there are differences between Renderman for Maya and Renderman standalone, when you're going to use this, i suggest getting some good info first before spending whads of cash on something that does not do what want it to do.


hi there, not that i'm a great or even extreemly poor maya user but i think you CAN get a particle id number per particle in the scne so you maybe able to reference and use that in some sorta mel script...i'm just taking what i saw from the 3dbuzz maya fundamentals [fundamentals is a huge understatment btw] where they wrote some mel/expressions on a snow system.

cresshead
12-04-2007, 12:21 PM
of course the KING of the hill no one has mentioned is....and begins with a 'h'
also it's really well priced thesedays.

houdini

Mr Rid
12-04-2007, 06:31 PM
I dont know Maya, but I dont know what should be too difficult with using the particle instancer, maybe for background where you dont need to see leaves blowing. I would think you can emit particles from the points of a mesh with no forces acting on them to get instances that conform to a landscape. Dont know how shadows are handled by this (?). HD Instance does not allow for per instance changes or animation offset either. Alternate sets of instances are needed to change things up.

I have not used Xfrog in years but there was some Level of Detail option that reduced poly counts with distance. I thought it was a separate plugin or something I dont see any info about now on the site.

But the other options Ive used for forests at a distance is mapping stills or animations on sprites, or cards all set to face camera (may sound goofy but surprising how well Ive seen this work) which allows offset of various clips of windblown trees. Each card may be cloned to create a second set of cards all unseen by camera and rotated to face a key light so each casts a more appropriate shadow on the ground.

Red_Oddity
12-05-2007, 04:18 AM
The reason it can be bothersome (the Particle Instancer) that it doesn't always give stable results, you need to cache the particles, save the cache, AND then be very carefull because you can screw things up again by either saving (Maya has some strange behaviour that is saves an invisble initial state at the frame on the moment you save) or by setting initial state (which doesn't always work)

Once you've scripted your Particle Emitter properly though it can be easily tweakable with the artisan tools though, so that is a plus.


As for different shaders on Particle Instanced data, not sure if that was possible (i think we tried on a couple of gigs and it wasn't possible), not even with a triple or quad switch node, i could be wrong though as we needed animated geometry to be instanced (we ended up writing our own instancing hacks, which offcourse are limited again by Maya's poor memory management)

archijam
12-06-2007, 04:01 AM
Cress - thanks for the tip - I have been trying to find info on houdini, but it's kinda hard to come by ..
There are forums, but for specific issues I'm drawing a blank.
Any sites or sources I'm missing?

Rid - Yes, the lod replacement would be perfect, and there was one for xfrog option, but it has not been updated for years .. billboards are an option, but only for background info in this project ..

Red - Sounds like I need to get MayaScripting 100 for christmas .. oh joy of joys :)

Thanks again .. still curious about houdini ... !

j.

cresshead
12-06-2007, 07:29 AM
Cress - thanks for the tip - I have been trying to find info on houdini, but it's kinda hard to come by ..
There are forums, but for specific issues I'm drawing a blank.
Any sites or sources I'm missing?

Rid - Yes, the lod replacement would be perfect, and there was one for xfrog option, but it has not been updated for years .. billboards are an option, but only for background info in this project ..

Red - Sounds like I need to get MayaScripting 100 for christmas .. oh joy of joys :)

Thanks again .. still curious about houdini ... !

j.


get yourself over to
http://www.3dbuzz.com/vbforum/sv_home.php

they have recently been sponsoreded by side fx and will be pushing out a load of training for houdini...buzz realy knows his stuff on houdini too...fire off a Q to him on the forums.

also their training on maya is top's too and VERY reasonably priced..i bought maya fundamentals and 3dsmax fundamentals..but of which are in fact pretty deep and not what you'd call basic at all really.

steve g

Exception
12-06-2007, 10:37 AM
So what are the chartacteristics of houdini? I downloaded their learning version and did some tutorials and it seems really powerful the way everything is set up both nodal and history wise. Great idea to combine those... however, what are its core focusses and strengths and weaknesses? I had the feeling it is targeted mostly at advanced animation, and modeling wasn't so hot.

cresshead
12-07-2007, 02:19 AM
yeah lst time i looked [v 8] modeling was def NOT a top aspect of houdini...have a look on the free tutorial vids on houdini over at buzz and d/l watch the head creating vid...gosh lw is decades ahead in that department!

like you say huge dynamic animations, character animation and visual fx is houdini's strength..it's mantra renderer is pretty hot too.

archijam
12-07-2007, 06:41 AM
Just a query .. found this link (http://www.chaosgroup.com/pr/20051122_01.html) about the beta program of Vray for maya, anyone seen it in action?

j.

Titus
12-08-2007, 12:53 AM
Anyone have any renderman experience?

j.

I have some :D.

RenderMan does have excellent instancing and Level of Detail for scenes with millions and millions of polygons. The idea of RenderMan is to attach existing objects from your hard drive to nulls and at render time they will be called only when they are needed.

I'm pretty sure you can work with a massive scene using LW and HDinstance instead of RM.

archijam
12-12-2007, 06:35 AM
Having a look into Houdini. Nice intro interface .. much more informative than the Maya vids popup ...

For all their effort in gui and help, they are even more economic than LW with their logos (see below) .. I had no idea which program to run :tongue:

cresshead
12-12-2007, 12:37 PM
Having a look into Houdini. Nice intro interface .. much more informative than the Maya vids popup ...

For all their effort in gui and help, they are even more economic than LW with their logos (see below) .. I had no idea which program to run :tongue:

re running...

houdini escape is the cut down cheaper version...has no particles

houdini master is the WHOLE DEAL...that's ya boy to go run!:D

cresshead
12-14-2007, 09:10 AM
have a look at this...maybe you should sign up for the free training?
in regards to vray proxy

http://commerce.vismasters.com/static/training/FreeClassJan2008/