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CMT
04-30-2008, 09:54 AM
I've been trying to search the forum for some additional info on FPrime besides what they tell you on Worley's site. So far, it seems that most of Lightwave's rendering features are supported with a few exceptions.

It claims fast rendering speeds, but I've read that FPrime radiosity actually renders slower. And apparently, in order to use FPrime with subpatch models with displacement maps, you need to set the display subpatch levels to a high setting for rendering in order for FPrime to see all the high poly geometry.

So at this point, what are the real benefits then, other than for realtime lighting and scene setup viewing?

tbennet
04-30-2008, 10:11 AM
thats all I use it for...

hrgiger
04-30-2008, 10:21 AM
If you're speaking strictly aside from lighting and scene setup...

The biggest advantages of Fprime in my opinion is the ability to stop and start renders at will, and also to finish a preview animation since Fprime is a refining renderer. You can make a good preview animation at level 2, see how it's working out for you, and then put Fprime back to work on those same frames(provided you haven't made any changes to your scene) to refine to whatever level you need. You can have it stop automatically at a certain level that you specify, or once all the frames reach the same quality level.

Yes, there are limitations, the biggest one of which is shaders and post process effects like lens flares and even Worleys own Sas- can't see em. It won't preview hypervoxels but it will render them in render mode. A few of the newer nodes aren't yet supported.

But as far as radiosity, I suppose it depends on your setup but in my experience, even using many bounces of Monte Carlo radiosity, I get an immediate preview of what the lighting is like as soon as I open the Fprime Window, and that's something to see. If you're just doing simple GI setups, I can usually get a usable render, even at 1280X800 in seconds. Fprime is now multicore supported so it will use all your cores. On my quad core, it's pretty blazing.

Andyjaggy
04-30-2008, 10:27 AM
Honestly I've been weening myself off of F-prime. It's awesome for setting up scenes but there are currently too many limitations and as Lightwave steams forward with new and better features Fprime is getting more and more behind.

It's still an awesome renderer but if you want to use all the new goodies in LW these days then you'll be SOL.

Iain
04-30-2008, 10:30 AM
I think what you're referring to about LW radiosity being faster is LW Final Gather vs FPrime Monte Carlo.
The former is usually faster but the results are quite different. You can get great results with Final Gather but Monte Carlo is a lot more accurate for contact shadow calculations etc and FPrime's version is (almost always) a lot faster than LW Monte Carlo.

Saying that, LW's radiosity and rendering in general is getting unrecognisably better but FPrime is still an invaluable setup tool.

Andyjaggy
04-30-2008, 10:35 AM
True. For setting up your lighting and surfaces there isn't anything better.

creacon
04-30-2008, 10:37 AM
Without giving you the details, (nda, but not Newtek's), I can give you some numbers from recent projects:

FPrime, noise free render: 4 minutes per frame
LW: 84 minutes per frame

Other project rendered on 2 identical machines:
LW: 1 frame overnight
FPrime: 375 frame sequence on the same resolution overnight.

I know this sounds vague, but in short, FPrime is about the best software investment you'll ever make.

Don't forget high-res renders for print, FPrime can render at resolution where LW won't even start to render anymore.

creacon


Honestly I've been weening myself off of F-prime. It's awesome for setting up scenes but there are currently too many limitations and as Lightwave steams forward with new and better features Fprime is getting more and more behind.

It's still an awesome renderer but if you want to use all the new goodies in LW these days then you'll be SOL.

BlueApple
04-30-2008, 10:43 AM
For the price, FPrime is great. Even if it’s not used as your final render solution, there is nothing like getting a real-time approximation of your light and texture setup.

There are two things that I’d like to see Worley take care of are:

1) Increase support for textures
2) Release a Mac UB

That said, almost any LightWave user would benefit from having FPrime. It cuts down on the whole test-render-tweak-render-again process immensely.

Andyjaggy
04-30-2008, 10:43 AM
Well, I'd have to argue with those numbers but without more details can't really do that. :)

My experience is I can get 80% of the way to noise free renders in about 1/4 of the time with F-prime, but getting that last 20% takes forever, and often is faster with just LW.

Bytehawk
04-30-2008, 10:44 AM
yeah,

I use it extensively for large format renders. The limitations are getting quite large now, so I'd think twice before taking the plunge now.

Andyjaggy
04-30-2008, 10:46 AM
Not to mention I often have scenes where F-prime simply cannot smooth out the aliasing on the edges of objects. No matter how long I let it go it never gets any better. The only solution is to render slightly larger and scale down.

CMT
04-30-2008, 10:46 AM
Thanks for the quick feedback, guys! I may just have to shell out the cash for it then...

hrgiger, I understand what you mean about post processing plugins, but what do you mean by shaders not working?

Andyjaggy, that's one fear of mine is that I've heard that updates for FPrime are a rarity...

Andyjaggy
04-30-2008, 10:48 AM
Well that said, I would still recommend it.

hrgiger
04-30-2008, 10:54 AM
hrgiger, I understand what you mean about post processing plugins, but what do you mean by shaders not working?



Fprime does not see shaders. Might as well forget that little shader tab you have in the surface editor with Fprime.

tbennet
04-30-2008, 10:58 AM
The problem is that fprime is always one version behind LW... So any features that are added are not supported by fprime until its updated...maybe!

I agree about those render times... they sound suspect.

CMT
04-30-2008, 11:00 AM
Fprime does not see shaders. Might as well forget that little shader tab you have in the surface editor with Fprime.

Oh, THOSE shaders.... hehe

Gotcha. No more fast fresnel, huh? I probably overuse it too much anyway. Can still simulate it with gradient nodes, I guess if needed.

Thanks!

Andyjaggy
04-30-2008, 11:02 AM
Fprime does not see shaders. Might as well forget that little shader tab you have in the surface editor with Fprime.

Might as well forget about all the materials in the node editor as well.

Iain
04-30-2008, 11:04 AM
Might as well forget about all the materials in the node editor as well.

Eh?

hrgiger
04-30-2008, 11:06 AM
Yeah. Eh?

creacon
04-30-2008, 11:10 AM
Well,

I couldn't believe them myself either, but I have no share in Worley's business and no reason to lie. So I treid it out and saved the rendertimes.

Since the comercial is airing, I guess I can post a frame.

creacon


The problem is that fprime is always one version behind LW... So any features that are added are not supported by fprime until its updated...maybe!

I agree about those render times... they sound suspect.

tbennet
04-30-2008, 11:12 AM
My problem is that if NT are going to count on worley for their real time preview we are going to have the crappiest implementation out there...

tbennet
04-30-2008, 11:14 AM
Well,

I couldn't believe them myself either, but I have no share in Worley's business and no reason to lie. So I treid it out and saved the rendertimes.

Since the comercial is airing, I guess I can post a frame.

creacon

How long did that frame take to render in LW? and at what size?

creacon
04-30-2008, 11:17 AM
In LW 84 minutes, I scaled it down for the forum, but the original was rendered at 960 X 540 (half HD).

Strangely enough the biggest slowdown in LW doesn't come from the radiosity, but from the soft reflections and the very fine bump on the table.

creacon




How long did that frame take to render in LW? and at what size?

CMT
04-30-2008, 11:20 AM
In LW 84 minutes, I scaled it down for the forum, but the original was rendered at 960 X 540 (half HD).

Strangely enough the biggest slowdown in LW doesn't come from the radiosity, but from the soft reflections and the very fine bump on the table.

creacon

But only 4 minutes for FPrime? Was the quality comparable?

tbennet
04-30-2008, 11:21 AM
In LW 84 minutes, I scaled it down for the forum, but the original was rendered at 960 X 540 (half HD).

Strangely enough the biggest slowdown in LW doesn't come from the radiosity, but from the soft reflections and the very fine bump on the table.

creacon

were you using the new dof or motion blur?

RollerJesus
04-30-2008, 11:23 AM
I use FPrime to setup textures and lighting, as I imagine most users do... One of my favorite things about FPrime is the ability to have it previewing in Layout then I can go onto the FPrime window, spin the mouse wheel and zoom in on a specific area of my render and fine tune as it re-renders only that limited range.

It's by no means perfect, but FPrime makes VIPIR seem a little worse than useless.

Andyjaggy
04-30-2008, 11:24 AM
Viper is useless. With 8 core machines now pretty standard a normal F9 is going to be faster then viper.

creacon
04-30-2008, 11:24 AM
yep, motionblur, the dof was added in post.
adaptive sampling set to 0.01, 1 sample

creacon


were you using the new dof or motion blur?

tbennet
04-30-2008, 11:28 AM
yep, motionblur, the dof was added in post.
adaptive sampling set to 0.01, 1 sample

creacon

the motion blur is a killer... especialy with gi and ref blur. They need to do something about that!!! its getting worse too:thumbsdow

CMT
04-30-2008, 11:31 AM
I use FPrime to setup textures and lighting, as I imagine most users do... One of my favorite things about FPrime is the ability to have it previewing in Layout then I can go onto the FPrime window, spin the mouse wheel and zoom in on a specific area of my render and fine tune as it re-renders only that limited range.

It's by no means perfect, but FPrime makes VIPIR seem a little worse than useless.

Good point!

Another question. How many here are using FPrime with OS X Leopard (10.5)? I was looking over Worley's support page, and for FPrime 3.1 it didn't support 10.5. Under FPrime 3.2, this is the only thing it mentions regarding OS X Leopard.

"Mac Leopard only: Image file requesters would often not show the file save types, not allowing you to pick a save format. Fixed."

I'm assuming it now works with Leopard....?

RollerJesus
04-30-2008, 12:08 PM
I didn't see it mentioned yet, so I wanted to make sure that you know that FPrime does not work with LW 9.5.

It renders colored noise garbage.

CMT
04-30-2008, 12:25 PM
I didn't see it mentioned yet, so I wanted to make sure that you know that FPrime does not work with LW 9.5.

It renders colored noise garbage.

Yeah, I figured as much since it's still in beta.

hrgiger
04-30-2008, 04:34 PM
RollerJesus, Fprime works fine with 9.5 for me. And I'm not sure we should be talking about it here...

monovich
04-30-2008, 05:07 PM
Its easy to hate on Fprime because its a bit behind (or should we criticize Newtek for adding cool new features?).

Regardless, Fprime is the best $350 (or whatever it was) I've ever spent in my career. A lot of people are feature geeks and if they can't use a new LW feature they get frustrated. The truth for me is, I haven't used shaders, corona, or sasquatch for at least a few years, so who cares if it doesn't show up in Fprime? When I need it I'll render in LW.
I find that on the average project I don't use many gee-wiz LW features, and FPrime is my renderer about 80% of the time.

For setting up texturing and lighting its absolutely indispensable. Try setting up fine reflections or highlights with Fprime and then try in LW and you'll understand why realtime feedback is so important.

Captain Obvious
04-30-2008, 05:52 PM
The problem with FPrime is not that Corona or whatever doesn't show up in it. The problem with FPrime is that...

Its anti-aliasing is very limited, often forcing you to render at double resolution and scaling down.

It's often very fast to get rid of almost all noise, but that last little bit that's required to actually make the animations flicker free sometimes take ages, if it clears up at all.

It doesn't do any render buffers of any kind. All you get is a main pass and an alpha, that's it. Not even reflections in a separate layer!

There are some pretty annoying bugs with the lighting engine, especially with area lights used in combination with radiosity. Because of how FPrime works, a small area light will often be completely noise free when the AA is good enough, even with the area light quality at 1. However, if you turn down the area light quality, you much up the radiosity.

Blurred reflections are problematic, especially for animations.

No instancing, or support for HD-Instance. HDI is available for plugin renderers (it works in Kray, I'm told), but FPrime doesn't support it.


I could go on....


But even with all these problems, I still think Lightwave without FPrime is crippled. Even when I do final rendering in LW or Kray, I still use FPrime to set up my lighting and shaders and what have you.

CMT
05-01-2008, 08:21 AM
RollerJesus, Fprime works fine with 9.5 for me. And I'm not sure we should be talking about it here...

That's good to know.

I imagine that 95% of the work I do will be just fine to use FPrime with. I do usually need fast lo res renderings for my illustrations to submit to clients, so I think this would really pay off. I'll be picking it up soon once I get the rest of the cash from the job I'm presently doing.

And one of these days, I'm going to want to try my hand at character animation as well. So it will come in handy for that later.

pumeco
05-01-2008, 04:01 PM
I have FPrime, couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

Unfortunately the novelty soon wore off. Don't get me wrong, FPrime is an awesome feature to have in LightWave, but for me there are just too many limitations. I hope for the day when NewTek will have something like this fully integrated that will work with all features. I'd sell my FPrime if it wasn't tied to the dongle. For me, it was a waste of money, but for others it was clearly money well spent.

bobakabob
05-01-2008, 04:18 PM
Pumeco, you're lucky. I don't have FPrime but intend to invest soon. It's surely the best way into discovering the power of surfacing nodes. After so many years repetitive stress is setting in from constantly hitting F9 to view changes and revisions. It must be quite an experience seeing scenes updated in real time and Worley's renderer is also highly rated for animation.

inkpen3d
05-02-2008, 03:24 AM
I have FPrime, couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

Unfortunately the novelty soon wore off. Don't get me wrong, FPrime is an awesome feature to have in LightWave, but for me there are just too many limitations. I hope for the day when NewTek will have something like this fully integrated that will work with all features. I'd sell my FPrime if it wasn't tied to the dongle. For me, it was a waste of money, but for others it was clearly money well spent.

Likewise! I now mainly use FPrime as a replacement for Viper when setting up lighting, etc. In fact, as mentioned before on many other threads, maybe NT should seriously consider incorporating FPrime as a replacement for the creaky old Viper, which is well past it's sell-by date.