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waynepaul2
09-08-2008, 08:27 AM
Hi All
I want to do a scene with clouds in LW 3D 8.5 that I can fly the camera through. Can someone point me in the direction of a tutorial or such on modeling and rendering clouds as in the attached photo.
Thanks so much
Wayne

ben martin
09-08-2008, 10:26 AM
I've done several approaches to this issue and never was quite satisfied with the result.

The approach is very easy.
Go to modeler, use the tool "spray points".
Shapes point clouds with that tool.

Import that point shape clouds to Layout.
Assign Hypervoxels standard clouds volume surface to those points and use viper to see/set the volume parameters to your needs.

From there it is straight obvious.

I quit using HV.. I'm using xStream 6 instead to do such scenes.
If we can set a decent equilibrium between quality standards and processor demands, it's all good!

Good Luck :)

Andyjaggy
09-08-2008, 10:41 AM
Yeah you can do clouds like that pretty easily in Vue and they look great. Killer on the render times but that's how it goes.

clagman
09-08-2008, 11:22 AM
No way around the whole render hit. Even with 8 cores the rendering takes forever for native HV and forget about flying through volumes. There are also some problems with the way HVs don't blend together so you have to use sooo many particles or make the size so large. Ahhh well. I haven't tried vue because I've seen so many LW folks complain about the way it works but it sure looks good (visually and functionally). I've really been waiting on Terragen but who knows how much longer it will take them to produce a robust multithreaded program...

Andyjaggy
09-08-2008, 11:46 AM
Vue rocks. I'm a big complainer of it but at the end of the day I love it and would be lost without it. Just don't expect Xstream integration or the hypervue network rendering to work very well.

clagman
09-08-2008, 11:58 AM
So perhaps as a stand alone it works well, just not integrated. Shame that. I try to keep everything within LW as much as possible but the way skytracer is...yesshhhh. I might have to give vue a go.

Andyjaggy
09-08-2008, 12:06 PM
Yeah the integration is finicky at best. 95% of the time I just do it all inside Vue. I do have a current project that I'm using the integration with that should be done this week, look for it in the finished gallery. But as usual it's been a huge freaking headache. The only reason I am doing it with xstream was I needed my LW objects to reflect the Vue scene.

ben martin
09-08-2008, 12:44 PM
The only reason I am doing it with xstream was I needed my LW objects to reflect the Vue scene.

Yup, some times the integration can be very nasty.
Specially if you are using a Vue generated terrain and need to do some CA over that Vue terrain.
The lack of Vue Terrains mesh inside LW Layout is brutal and if "we" are animating a character "we" must "guess" where the terrain details are.
All the rest works great to me!

Andyjaggy
09-08-2008, 01:04 PM
A recently discovered bug that I found this week was that Vue will crash if you have LW objects intersecting the Vue objects. Never ran into this one before but in the scene I am working with it will crash it everytime. So fun.

clagman
09-08-2008, 01:08 PM
Heh, you guys are really talking me out of even trying this. Sounds like too much hassle compared to using good spherical mapped photos and DEM style displacement.

ben martin
09-08-2008, 01:11 PM
Heh, you guys are really talking me out of even trying this. Sounds like too much hassle compared to using good spherical mapped photos and DEM style displacement.

You'll never reach the same level of detail using such... not to talk about the possibility of flying trough the volume clouds in Vue.

ben martin
09-08-2008, 01:12 PM
A recently discovered bug that I found this week was that Vue will crash if you have LW objects intersecting the Vue objects. Never ran into this one before but in the scene I am working with it will crash it everytime. So fun.

I never crossed with that one... weird! :)

prometheus
09-08-2008, 01:12 PM
yeah vue 6 does that well as standalone,
heres a sample pic I did long time ago.


you might also want to try out
ozone 3 pl on the e-on site.

Hypervoxels can get there to with heavy rendertimes.

and then theres the ogo taiki volumetric enviro plugin for lightwave, big rendertimes on that aswell and quite tricky to
setup and to set quality correctly.

http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~pq1a-ogs/taiki.html



Michael

clagman
09-08-2008, 03:10 PM
Ya I know...pretty tough to fly through a flat polygon with a cloud on it ;o) Sure renders fast though. I've really wanted to work up a scene with aircraft flying through clouds but so far I haven't had a single job that required it. Mostly HV/volumetric effects for explosions, smoke, rocket fire...you know standard stuff.

After checking out the Vue demo reel I was just loving the environment effects but with all the troubles it seems to have I might have to wait until they get it all that ironed out, especially with the problems using LW objects in Vue environments. There is only so much you can do with alpha channels when compositing without getting into a LOT of roto work (you probably know more about it than I).

Sekhar
09-08-2008, 05:30 PM
A recently discovered bug that I found this week was that Vue will crash if you have LW objects intersecting the Vue objects. Never ran into this one before but in the scene I am working with it will crash it everytime. So fun.

Was it in 32 bit? I have this problem only in 32 bit; 64 bit works fine.

Tusnelda
09-09-2008, 05:53 AM
just a few quick ones:

if your 8-core system chockes up on HV then you should check the scaling of your scene. As with many dynamic environments, try to stay at a scale of around 1m for the voxels. Still, for clouds this might be difficult ....

yes, Vue would be the fastest solution, I presume. Simply avoid the integrated version (+ head-aches) and use Vue's stand-alone version. Then comp things together either in LW or outside.

Got no experience with Ozone, but in theory this might do the job as well.

Andyjaggy
09-09-2008, 08:28 AM
Was it in 32 bit? I have this problem only in 32 bit; 64 bit works fine.

Yes it was in 32 bit. I was going to try 64 bit to see if it solved the issue, I'll have to give it a go now, you just saved me a lot of trouble. :D

Andyjaggy
09-09-2008, 08:29 AM
Yes it was in 32 bit. I was going to try 64 bit to see if it solved the issue, I'll have to give it a go now, you just saved me a lot of trouble. :D

Do you happen to have the xstream.p 64bit plugin? I reinstalled LW and it got deleted and now I can't seem to find it anywhere, unless I do a reinstall of Vue.

OlaHaldor
09-09-2008, 11:07 AM
Have you thought about Ozone? It's a volumetric plug-in made by the same people behind Vue.

I've used it a few times, and it's quite allright - and CHEAP!!.


Works well with radiosity as well. :)

Andyjaggy
09-09-2008, 11:16 AM
I think ozone is just the Vue atmosphere engine.

OlaHaldor
09-09-2008, 11:20 AM
Yup, it is.. And wasn't it clouds you wanted? Then you got it in Vue :)

Andyjaggy
09-09-2008, 11:22 AM
Yeah I guess if all you want is the clouds from Vue then ozone if probably a great solution.

clagman
09-09-2008, 11:25 AM
Sounds interesting. A replacement for Skytracer. Might be good since I don't know if I can afford as many seats of Vue as I would need. We just added some servers to our farm so I might have to investigate the Ozone option instead.

OlaHaldor
09-09-2008, 11:27 AM
There are limitations, though.. And I've reported them to e-on software, that they should remove those things that won't work in LW - like setting how lens flares should look like rendered in Ozone, and when I click the square which represent the pattern of the cloud, LW shuts down in a massive crash - other than that, I've had no problems using it.

ben martin
09-09-2008, 11:48 AM
Do you happen to have the xstream.p 64bit plugin? I reinstalled LW and it got deleted and now I can't seem to find it anywhere, unless I do a reinstall of Vue.

Yes, you have to re-install Vue 64 bits (I'm afraid)
I could drop the LW (Plug-in) file here but then, with all the e-on protections, you could get erratic behaviors and then you wouldn't know exactly if is a Vue problem or a security issue (files do not match - or something strange) :thumbsdow

I recommend an over Vue re-install (it's faster and safer). :)

Sekhar
09-09-2008, 11:51 AM
Do you happen to have the xstream.p 64bit plugin? I reinstalled LW and it got deleted and now I can't seem to find it anywhere, unless I do a reinstall of Vue.

I just sent you a PM. Just replacing the plugin should work fine, I did it before - just be sure the old one is gone.

cbreton49
09-09-2008, 01:32 PM
I have done this, and Ben Martin's suggestions worked well for me. I do aviation accident re-creations and we've had several 'through the clouds' that's if you can deal with the render times that is. I have a quad at work and it's a mac, so if I plan my time right, the render times are not that important.
Good luck.

Andyjaggy
09-09-2008, 01:59 PM
I guess I'm spoiled to have over 50 processors to render vue stuff on at the moment. :)

cbreton49
09-09-2008, 02:09 PM
lucky dog!!! ;o)

Andyjaggy
09-09-2008, 02:10 PM
Yeah it's pretty cool to be unhindered by render times. Spectral atmospheres, loads of vegetation. GI. It's great. :D

ben martin
09-09-2008, 02:22 PM
Yeah it's pretty cool to be unhindered by render times. Spectral atmospheres, loads of vegetation. GI. It's great. :D

You lucky bastard! :thumbsup:

Andyjaggy
09-09-2008, 02:23 PM
Sorry to rub it in guys. Vue stuff can look so great when you have the computer power.

Careful with hypervue though, we never could get it to work well. We finally had to purchase renderbulls so that we could use command line renders and manage it with the renderfarm controller. Works pretty well.

Sekhar
09-09-2008, 02:35 PM
Anyone tried render farms like RANCH (http://www.ranchcomputing.com/V_index.php?PHPSESSID=5fc961879f4b42b4b43af5c7193e 27a5) or for that matter more general "clouds" like Amazon Web Services? Thoughts on services like this?

Mr Rid
09-22-2008, 11:12 PM
Hi All
I want to do a scene with clouds in LW 3D 8.5 that I can fly the camera through.


There was a bug from LW 6 thru 8.5 where there was nasty artifacting whenever the camera passed inside a volumetric voxel. Have to upgrade.

RedBull
09-23-2008, 12:18 AM
Hi All
I want to do a scene with clouds in LW 3D 8.5 that I can fly the camera through. Can someone point me in the direction of a tutorial or such on modeling and rendering clouds as in the attached photo.
Thanks so much
Wayne

You will need the LW Taiki Plugin.
http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~pq1a-ogs/taiki.html

JBT27
09-23-2008, 03:00 AM
You will need the LW Taiki Plugin.
http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~pq1a-ogs/taiki.html

This plugin does not seem to run - I recall last time I tried it wasn't a great success either.

The latest files are dated September, 2007. Presumably the interface should load by double-clicking the entry in the Effects>Volumetrics tab.....nothing happens, except that the top half of a blank scene renders white.

The plugin entry, when loaded, also suggests it's valid until '9/30/2007' ..... launching Viper while the plugin is loaded crashes Layout.

Julian.

3DGFXStudios
09-23-2008, 03:47 AM
Take a look at Eyeon's site. Reason number 5 why you should use Fusion. (somewhere at the end of the movie)
http://www.eyeonline.com/Web/EyeonWeb/marketing/21reasons/21reasons_5.aspx

Phil
09-23-2008, 05:09 AM
Ozone 3 works very nicely for this, but the render times are huge. I've had some frames at 1280x720 that take a day to render because the camera is inside a volume. That's on a 2.33 GHz MacBook Pro. You simply need a renderfarm to brute force this.

Aside from Ozone 3 and Hypervoxels (which tend to look too blobby), another option might be Dynamite (Lite, assuming it works for you). That can render some decent looking clouds using a particle sheet (like HVs). The advantage here is that it supplies a metaball blending mode for voxels. The small glitch is that the site appears to be down. I wouldn't recommend paying money for Dynamite, though: the developer is simply too unreliable.

Depending on what you need, the old trick of closely-spaced planes with procedural transparency textures applied with world coordinates (or an animated texture applied) might work.

Phil
09-23-2008, 05:14 AM
This plugin does not seem to run - I recall last time I tried it wasn't a great success either.

The latest files are dated September, 2007. Presumably the interface should load by double-clicking the entry in the Effects>Volumetrics tab.....nothing happens, except that the top half of a blank scene renders white.

The plugin entry, when loaded, also suggests it's valid until '9/30/2007' ..... launching Viper while the plugin is loaded crashes Layout.

Julian.

You need the license file to run it beyond the expiry date. It should still render example scenes, though.

I have a license for it and Hikari, but since I am (by choice) on a Mac these days, I have no use for that license any more. The render times were crippling so Taiki never got used in a production mode.

prometheus
09-23-2008, 08:02 AM
hypervoxels,ogo taiki,dynamite,ozone..everything has itīs flaws..right know perhaps the vue standalone and comping is the best and fastest way to go.

a new volumetric atmosphere or a revamp of ogo taiki and or a mix with dynamite..(preferably merge them together) would give us an atmospheric system that knocks the socks of vue and terragen2.
the dynamite poly metaball blending is excellent for doing cumulus clouds..but dynamite cant do the air properties and large scale clouds.

Would be nice if Dynamite density fluid cloud model can interact with all the air fog and light properties inside ogo taiki.

unfortunatly..both ogo taiki and dynamite develops in a snail pace so I donīt see that coming in my lifetime unless newtek buys them both and merge them
and improve render speed and quality...or simply create a New volumetric atmospheric system with fluids included, actually I think Im gonna let my beard grow until they do, so I wonīt need fiber fx:)

Michael

RedBull
09-23-2008, 04:44 PM
This plugin does not seem to run - I recall last time I tried it wasn't a great success either.

The latest files are dated September, 2007. Presumably the interface should load by double-clicking the entry in the Effects>Volumetrics tab.....nothing happens, except that the top half of a blank scene renders white.

The plugin entry, when loaded, also suggests it's valid until '9/30/2007' ..... launching Viper while the plugin is loaded crashes Layout.

Julian.

The plugin is commercial and not free, although it can be used as a trial with free functionality. I have an updated version from the Author, but the version listed there is a demo beta version, it has a time limit applied...

If you wish to get around it to try the plugin, change the date on your PC to be in the allocated time.... (before 9/30/07) and it will work as normal. I use it a lot, and it's well worth the asking price for Hikari and Taiki, although Hikari tends to break with every new LW update over the 9.x series. Taiki is still working fine for me there are some minor bugs.

prometheus
09-23-2008, 05:15 PM
The hardest part is to be patient with the rendertimes using ogo taiki..I wonder if there is a big difference between 32 bit or 64 bit and if ogo taiki would support 64 bit.

and setting ogo taiki up isnīt a walk in the walley either, and third and last..quality is hard to set up..most renders seen are having quite a lot of banding artifacts in the clouds, generally I think the master quality must be set to high or very high to avoid that.
huge rendertime impact if using foglayer for godrays like this image.

Michael

JBT27
09-24-2008, 05:35 AM
Take a look at Eyeon's site. Reason number 5 why you should use Fusion. (somewhere at the end of the movie)
http://www.eyeonline.com/Web/EyeonWeb/marketing/21reasons/21reasons_5.aspx

Yes.....it's so high on my buying list it's got vertigo.....that said, the general technique can be applied in After Effects as well.....I can never decide which one to dump the most spending on :)

Good point - in many ways it puts into context concerns about LW's volumetrics and particles. No excusing them remaining in their current state (which I don't believe they will), but expanding your pipeline to include Fusion and/or AFX suddenly removes alot of pressure off the more common volumetric and particle work you might otherwise have to rely on LW for.

Julian.

jasonwestmas
09-24-2008, 07:42 AM
So how are the Vue6 clouds generated for integrating into Lightwave? Is it a Vue render combined with a Lightwave one?

SaturnX
09-24-2008, 08:44 AM
hmm, not sure if its still available... but NatureFX had a great thing called nature FX cloud, and you could shape the clouds pretty easily with basic geometry as guides for the volumes... and it was possible to fly through it all.

ben martin
09-24-2008, 09:39 AM
So how are the Vue6 clouds generated for integrating into Lightwave? Is it a Vue render combined with a Lightwave one?

No quite, but essentially... yes! :) Confused?
Lw is the final render in the end, but it's all done by a cross talk with Vue render engine.
Simplifying:
Lw renders LW elements and vue render engine takes care of vue elements.
The Vue render is integrated into LW render in real time, never the less all LW elements are considered by Vue Render and also the opposite (Lw looks to vue elements to project shadows and reflections on LW elements).

So, yes, you can fly an Lw jumbo between a Vue cloud bank and all elements are considered and integrated!

jasonwestmas
09-24-2008, 10:55 AM
Wow that's really impressive, thanks Ben!

Mr Rid
09-24-2008, 05:33 PM
Take a look at Eyeon's site. Reason number 5 why you should use Fusion. (somewhere at the end of the movie)
http://www.eyeonline.com/Web/EyeonWeb/marketing/21reasons/21reasons_5.aspx

Fusion is great, but the F5 cloud sprite example is not really different than what you could setup with LW sprites mapped with images of clouds.

jasonwestmas
09-24-2008, 06:06 PM
Do the Sprites render fast then Mr. Rid? I would assume so but not being an FX guy. . .

Thanks for the heads up.

ben martin
09-25-2008, 11:40 AM
Do the Sprites render fast then Mr. Rid? I would assume so but not being an FX guy. . .

Thanks for the heads up.

Yup, sprites do render much faster since the engine does not need to calculate any volumes, sprites are very much like image instances !! :)

Mr Rid
09-25-2008, 02:48 PM
You can look at sprites as being kinda like 2D flat cards or rather discs with procedural or image textures mapped on them and that always face perpendicular to your POV. But because they have no actual depth, they will suddenly disappear or pop off as the camera passes thru them. You have the same problem in the Fusion example (example demos love to conveniently ignore any tech issues so you will think it is all magic). So would try applying a Distance to Camera grad in the dissolve to have them fade out as the camera gets near. Motion blur will also help.

The important part is getting a nice, isolated cloud image to use and create an appropriate embedded, black-n-white alpha (like a 32-bit TGA). This can be applied to sprites under the Clips tab, selecting Embedded Alpha. Show Particles will allow you to see the mapped 'cards' in GL. You would also want a number of different cloud images for some variety.

It is also possible to instead use the sprite textures to apply images in a traditional surfacing manner. But its trickier getting it to look right.

very rough and quick example
63802

Mr Rid
09-25-2008, 03:00 PM
P.S.

Sprites are not really ideal for fly-throughs since they have no realistic depth. Volumetrics work much better for that. I have mapped cloud images onto volumetric HVs once back in 7.5 which kinda worked for a fly-through. But the mapped color images appear very hazy and indistinct.

Another approach is baking a voxel cloud. Again, I tried this long ago, but the problem was the limited resolution that baking allowed. You get a good looking cloud that renders very fast, but as the camera flew into it, the baked map pixels would show up. And this was only feasible for a single cloud. The limited res prevented you from baking a sky of clouds.

zapper1998
09-25-2008, 03:28 PM
very interesting...
I have OZone 3 but yet have tinkered with it.... interesting

hmmmm

jasonwestmas
09-26-2008, 08:18 AM
Very Informative, thanks!

Mr Rid
09-26-2008, 03:08 PM
I recently worked a project where we needed clouds, although not for fly-thru. I found Ozone to be a mess.

thread-
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=84629&highlight=Ozone

Someone here also tried Ogo Taiki, but ultimately found Terragen the most practical result.

mosconariz
09-27-2008, 11:15 PM
So you finally go for terragen to get realistic clouds?

I'll need some absolutely realistic clouds for a project next year... I have the vue license we got with Lw 8.5 but I wasn't very happy with the buggy software... So, If you said terragen, I'll check it out

Stooch
09-28-2008, 01:24 AM
You can use sprites for distant clouds and volume for fly through. comp em together and render times are very manageable.

in general hypervoxels are very fast in my experience, even when using lots of them. You just have to balance particle size vs particle count.

also YOU CAN use sprite voxels for flytrhough, just up the number of slices. However volumes are better for sharp detail.

another trick is to make a cloud out of a polygon mesh, then use a sub-frame vibrating normal displacement along with high AA to make fake volumes. it also allows for very specific shapes. Not sure if you can fly through those but it would work great for background and is very cheap on render times.

Stooch
09-28-2008, 01:32 AM
Another great feature of using vibrating geometric clouds is that if you wanted to fly through them, all you have to do is disable the normal displacement modifier and then apply voxels to the cloud points. This way you have great control over the cloud shapes and still be able to enjoy fast renders at more distance.

adding a noise to the color channel will also make the clouds look more interesting. if you wanted to make the geometry clouds dissipate you can always emit particles from them too and apply a field to disperse them.

archijam
09-28-2008, 02:54 AM
I remember there was a thread somewhere of how this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0xUSzb3Es0) was made .. the clouds being the highlight of the whole LW anim.

JBT27
09-28-2008, 03:14 AM
Also, when you can get away with the sprite/card approach - and it can work pretty well with enough layers - use HVs to get your original cloud plates, rendered on black, which will give you complete control over the look you want.

I've done this a few times, flown the camera through one layer at a time, placed at varying distances, then done the rest in comp. That gives you alot more options than trying to do a single fly-thru in LW, and there's a minimal rendering hit taking that approach.

That said, if you need to fly through and especially around big cumulus formations, volumetrics is probably the way, though Stooch's displaced and MB'd geometry is good and I'm going to try that as well :)

Julian.

prometheus
09-28-2008, 09:25 AM
I remember there was a thread somewhere of how this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0xUSzb3Es0) was made .. the clouds being the highlight of the whole LW anim.

that looked vueish or ozoneish..

Ohh..Terragen yeah..but isnīt that dog slow even if compared to ogo taiki and hypervoxels, vue is way faster thou.
Michael

JBT27
09-28-2008, 10:43 AM
So is anyone using the Terragen 2 OB or indeed the full version that is on offer for $199 or $299 - it's taking a very long time to get this thing honed and fully commercial.....

I do have a full license for 0.9x, so I can get $99 off, and yeah I could download the OB, but curious if anyone is working with this right now. I suppose the point being that I could drop the $200 on a Vue 6 upgrade instead.....if anything.

Julian.

Mr Rid
09-29-2008, 01:09 AM
So you finally go for terragen to get realistic clouds?

I'll need some absolutely realistic clouds for a project next year... I have the vue license we got with Lw 8.5 but I wasn't very happy with the buggy software... So, If you said terragen, I'll check it out

None of the CG approaches were 'absolutely realistic', Terragen was just the least problematic. I used processed stills of real clouds mapped on cards for other shots. But it can be difficult to find stock cloud images that have the same angle of the sun to match a particular shot. And here in California there are never clouds to take pictures of. :cool:

mosconariz
09-29-2008, 12:22 PM
Hahaha... so... I think I'll make a nice matte to the bakground and render some semitransparent sprite clouds for the foreground... terragen looks good but... It is for a shot in a movie, so... as I won't have any fancy camera moves, with planes, mattes and sprites I'm safe :D

3DGFXStudios
09-29-2008, 12:57 PM
I made these clouds in about an our or so. Really easy with sprites. 12 of them.
The pictures I use are made by me too :D

prometheus
09-29-2008, 06:17 PM
heres something from xsi..built in BA volume shaders.
check the last video "making of a sky"
http://www.binaryalchemy.de/develop/clouds/show_videos.htm

a lot to set up I guess and itīs not until the end of the video that some decent cloud results appear.

and Framestore used Houdini I3D Voxel techniques and a special tool for clouds.
http://www.vfxtalk.com/forum/framestore-working-towards-higher-porpoise-t5590.html?threadid=5590

Ive seen a tutorial of the image3d technique where L-system inside of houdini
creates the general shape and then metaballs are applied and then the image3d volume are applied..it rendered fast and it creates an overall voxel shape density that is smooth compared to hypervoxels puffball density when applied on objects vertices.
Unfortunatly that cloud tutorial canīt be find anymore it seems.

Michael

Netvudu
10-01-2008, 04:42 AM
Although i3d is a producion-proven technique, and sure Framestore benefits from it (partly because of all the tools they will probably have developed in-house), I must say on the Houdini side of things that the trend seems to be NOT to use image3d anymore, and resort to the volumetrics render.
I think the main reason being, volumetrics donīt have to be precalculated, while i3d do, and sometimes after the whole calculation you realized your resolution wasnīt quite right or the shape or whatever, and you had to repeat the process, so volumetrics are definitely more comfortable.
Mantra renders volumes quite nicely now, and they are making quite a progress in that field. This added to the huge control over everything in Houdini ensures good-looking smoke/clouds....

...render times are still a b*tch though, but Framestore will probable won`t suffer about it. I do :p

prometheus
10-01-2008, 09:30 AM
Thanks Netvudu..that was interesting and useful to know.

Michael