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View Full Version : FASTEST method of making a preview animation



Litebright
10-14-2008, 01:22 AM
I am working on a project using Lightwave 8.5

I need to create a preview animation of different scenes in a very fast manner, so they can be used for audio track creation by my client. My final render resolution will be 1280 x 555. I would like to create a half-size preview which would be 640 x 277. My scenes have particleFX/hypervoxels in them. The Quickshade method will work, but it will NOT render any stand in for the particles, the particles don't show up at all.

I have found the FASTEST method of creating a preview animation is to use the "Make Preview" and then save that out as a Quicktime or AVI. My GeForce 7600GT renders these previews extremely fast. Unfortunately, I have a problem with them:

1. I cannot figure out how to specifiy the size of the camera viewport so I can render them out at a specific resolution. For example, if I have the Quad viewport display arrangement, my camera viewport preview will be 905 x 497, or if I just have the camera viewport displayed by itself, the preview will be HUGE, way too big.

The Lightwave 8.5 help file that shows how to make a preview states the following Step 2 says: "Make sure the viewport’s Maximum Render Level is set as desired." I have no idea where this level is or how you go about changing it. It obviously is something completely different to the camera resolution setting.

"To Create a Preview Animation:

1 - If you are using multiple viewports, the top-left viewport is used for the preview, so make sure it shows the view you want.

2 - Make sure the viewport’s Maximum Render Level is set as desired.

3 - Select Make Preview from the Preview pop-up menu. A dialog will appear asking you for first and last frame settings, as well as Step. This initially defaults to the scene settings, but may be set independently. Click OK and the preview animation will be created."

Anyone know how to specify the camera viewport resolution for the "make preview" feature?

Also, is there a way to eliminate the bars on the top and bottom of the camera viewport, so that just the actual camera view is rendered, when you do "make preview"?

This "make preview" using the Open GL on my graphics board seems to be the only way of making a preview showing Particles with the exception of doing a "realistic render" from the camera which is too slow.

I'm trying to create previews so that my client can use them to lay down audio effects using the previews now, instead of waiting for me to finish the final HD animation frames before he can start creating the accompanying audio.

What do you people out there do when you need rapid previews showing particles that need to be a certain pixel resolution??

Any help would be most appreciated..

Cageman
10-14-2008, 03:48 AM
Hi,

There is a tool called ef_ViewPortSize which is very handy for this. However, I'm not sure I'm allowed to spread it. I'll let the author of this tool know about this thread so he can decide what to do!

In the meantime; a video showing it in action! (http://hangar18.gotdns.org/~cageman/ef/ef_ViewPort_size.avi)

If you can't see the image, you'll need to download this codec. (http://www.techsmith.com/download/codecs.asp)

Cheers!

evenflcw
10-14-2008, 07:18 AM
I'll try to get this plugin up on my page tomorrow.

Also, I don't think you could exclude the top/bottom or left/right bars from the preview (unless you do it in post or you create your preview some other way). But obviously you could size the viewport to exclude them OR you could use ef_SolidOverlay (already available on my page) to cover those parts with solid black.

Thanks for the hint, Mikael!

Litebright
10-14-2008, 12:05 PM
That is pretty cool! It looks like your just dragging the edges of the window to resize it and the plug-in gives you real-time feedback of what pixel size the camera view area is in the viewport. That would be quite useful indeed. Sizing the viewport to exclude the bars would be perfect.

Evenflcw - If you could put your ef_ViewPortSize plug-in on your website so I could experiment with it and try it out I'd appreciate it. If it allows me to make my desired previews I will make a donation!

The ef_SolidOverlay plug-in sounds interesting too. I have changed my transparent bars to medium gray or red at times to see the frame better when I have a dark scene background.

Am I correct in that using the "Make Preview" feature is the ONLY way to make a fast preview of Particles? When you do a regular WIREFRAME or QUICKSHADE scene render, there doesn't seem to be a way to have the particles (or stand-ins for them) appear in the rendered frames..

Litebright
10-14-2008, 12:07 PM
Thanks for mentioning this plug-in Cageman! And thanks for posting the sample video.

Cageman
10-14-2008, 04:16 PM
Sizing the viewport to exclude the bars would be perfect.



It does, if you set ef_Viewportsize to the same resolution you have set on your camera it will be a 100% match as far as I have seen (used it alot at work for fast previews). :)




Evenflcw - If you could put your ef_ViewPortSize plug-in on your website so I could experiment with it and try it out I'd appreciate it. If it allows me to make my desired previews I will make a donation!



Evenflcw: Listen to the guy! Make it happen! :)




The ef_SolidOverlay plug-in sounds interesting too. I have changed my transparent bars to medium gray or red at times to see the frame better when I have a dark scene background.



This tool (ef_SolidOverlay) was actually created on my request because our director at Massive had issues with not being able to focus 100% on what the camera sees. Even though we used screaming colors, being able to see through the border makes you loose the concentration. It really makes a hell of a difference and our director was very happy with it! :) (Thanks again Dan!!!)




Am I correct in that using the "Make Preview" feature is the ONLY way to make a fast preview of Particles? When you do a regular WIREFRAME or QUICKSHADE scene render, there doesn't seem to be a way to have the particles (or stand-ins for them) appear in the rendered frames..

That is a correct assesment. The only way to render Particles without the overhead that Hypervoxels apply (at least for preview purposes) is to create Partigon emitters rather than HV-emitters. Partigons can be used with HVs, of course, but at the same time, each Particle is a 1point Polygon and a surface called Partigon will be created in Surface Editor. Visible for the renderer and renders very fast. But safe to say is that an OGL preview of Particles with HVs is a hell of alot more usefull. :)

Cageman
10-14-2008, 04:17 PM
Thanks for mentioning this plug-in Cageman! And thanks for posting the sample video.

No problems... I'm always happy to help! :)

evenflcw
10-15-2008, 09:47 AM
Evenflcw - If you could put your ef_ViewPortSize plug-in on your website so I could experiment with it and try it out I'd appreciate it. If it allows me to make my desired previews I will make a donation!
The plugin is up on my site now. It's the LW9.0 compatible version (before gizmos were implemented). But since anyone who got a 9.x license should really be using 9.5, I'll turn it into a gizmo version in the next few days.


The ef_SolidOverlay plug-in sounds interesting too. I have changed my transparent bars to medium gray or red at times to see the frame better when I have a dark scene background.

I guess I could add a color option if really necessary. Unfortunately I think I checked and it was not possible to read Layouts overlay color setting, which naturally would have been optimal.


Thank you both! Litebright for the interest and Mikael for all the great ideas and pushing my tools! :)

Cageman
10-15-2008, 01:02 PM
I guess I could add a color option if really necessary. Unfortunately I think I checked and it was not possible to read Layouts overlay color setting, which naturally would have been optimal.

Color works, if you are talking about the color of the overlay when using ef_SolidOverlay? Just go to Preferences->OpenGL and change the Overlay Color.

:)

Litebright
10-15-2008, 03:30 PM
The plugin is up on my site now. It's the LW9.0 compatible version (before gizmos were implemented). But since anyone who got a 9.x license should really be using 9.5, I'll turn it into a gizmo version in the next few days.


I guess I could add a color option if really necessary. Unfortunately I think I checked and it was not possible to read Layouts overlay color setting, which naturally would have been optimal.


Thank you both! Litebright for the interest and Mikael for all the great ideas and pushing my tools! :)

Evenflcw - I notice you said it is LW 9.0 compatible. I am using LW 8.5, will the plug-in work with 8.5? I'm not using 9.5 because of a lack of funds to purchase the upgrade... The project I am doing is very low budget.

GregMalick
10-15-2008, 03:39 PM
The plugin is up on my site now. It's the LW9.0 compatible version (before gizmos were implemented). But since anyone who got a 9.x license should really be using 9.5, I'll turn it into a gizmo version in the next few days.

This will sound dumb, but how will it act differently when it's a Gizmo version?

:confused:

evenflcw
10-16-2008, 07:19 AM
As a gizmo it's just cleaner because it can be implemented through a master plugin. And master plugins can be attached either to Layout itself or a scene. Before 9.3 only Custom Objects (and LayoutTools) could draw in the viewport. So a LW8.0 compatible version requires an item. So what the old version did was create and destroy an item with the custom object assigned to it. The gizmo version simply assigns and removes a master plugin.

The master plugin variant is now up on the site.
(If you want to compare to the OLD CO version, get it here http://people.dsv.su.se/~dan-dulb/evenflow3d/lwpluginsandscripts/ef_viewportsize_v1.0_CO.zip.)

I'll see if I can create a LW8.0 compatible variant. In this case there are some other issues that need to be solved.

evenflcw
10-16-2008, 07:32 AM
Color works, if you are talking about the color of the overlay when using ef_SolidOverlay? Just go to Preferences->OpenGL and change the Overlay Color.

Yes, the overlay color sortof still works... you get a semitransparent color superimposed on the solid black overlay. I was thinking more on the lines if you wanted it to be brighter and more saturated, like rgb at 255,0,0. I can't think of a reason why you'd want that, but it's not my call. :)

Litebright
10-16-2008, 08:08 PM
Dan,

I downloaded the Trial version of LW 9.5 and your ef_viewportsize and ef_solidoverlay plug-ins. I'm not well schooled on installing plug-ins.. I assume the "ef_ShowViewportSize.ls" file goes in the "lscripts folder", but not sure which of the subfolders to put it in? Don't know which subfolder to put "ef_ViewportSize.p" in as well? Same thing with the ef_solidoverlay files.

Does it matter which subfolder these files are in?

Thanks,

Steve

evenflcw
10-17-2008, 04:21 AM
Folder don't matter. Whereever you place it you'll need to manually install it. Look for the Add Plugin command or scan a folder through the Edit Plugin panel.

And please, if you are using 9.5, download the latest (gizmo) version of ef_ViewportSize!

I uploaded an LW8 compatible version to my site just now. It's not as cool as the gizmo version because you can't get enough information about the viewports in LW8 to project at the center of all viewport. So it will only display the resolution in Camera views. Should be much of a problem since that's waht you will be making most previews of, I guess. If you want to see the resolution of any other type of viewport, just look up the ef_ViewportSize object, open up the object properties and doubleclick the plugin instances and it will start showing information about all viewports dynamically in the tool tip area, or once in a panel, depending on what you have your Alert Level set to.

I'd make a gizmo version for solid overlay, but I bet NT will implement it a day after I release it. Then again that might even be an incentive...

evenflcw
10-17-2008, 04:27 AM
Crappy 5 min edit rule. That should have read:
"Shouldn't be much of a problem since that's what you will be making most previews of, I guess."

Litebright
10-17-2008, 03:30 PM
Dan,

Thanks for responding and thanks for posting a LW 8 version of the viewportsize plug-in. I will be testing them both out today!

Perhaps you could also make a pretty Swedish girl available for download on your site.. :) As I am unable to visit Sweden to meet one any time soon..

Steve

Cageman
10-17-2008, 03:40 PM
you could also make a pretty Swedish girl available for download on your site.. :) As I am unable to visit Sweden to meet one any time soon..

Steve

eh.. if you make a big enough donation, I'm sure Dan can work something out! ;)

Let us know what you think about the tools!

Cheers!

Litebright
10-21-2008, 12:26 AM
I got ef_Viewportsize to work. ef_solidoverlay on the other hand did NOT work. I get an error message when I try to invoke it. I will have to try it again tomorrow as I don't remember what the the error message specifically said..

When I get paid for this job, I will definitely send Dan a donation for the ef_Viewportsize plug-in!

Hmmm....just what size of a donation would be required to get one of those Swedish girls? :D haha

evenflcw
10-21-2008, 06:47 AM
Thanks, Litebright! New, hopefully correctly working files are now up on the site. I'm not sure what went wrong, probably I just mixed up the files. Tending to the website is really the worst part of it all imho.

Donation size to get the pretty girls... seems to me, like always, you get what you pay for. :)

Litebright
10-21-2008, 08:16 PM
I tried to install the LW8 version of ViewPortSize and it is not recognizing the plug-in at all.. No matter where I stick it in the "Plugins" folder it never shows up in the "Command" column in the "Configure Menus" dialog box.

I did not have this problem with the LW9 version. I will try redownloading the plug-ins again.

I doubt I can afford one of those pretty Swedish girls...maybe one day.

Litebright
10-21-2008, 08:32 PM
No luck.. I redownloaded the ViewPortSize and SolidOverlay and cannot get LW8 to show them as available plugins to set up in the Menus column.:confused:

After re-installing the SolidOverlay in LW9.5, that is now working! But I am still unable to get either plug-in to work in LW8.5 :(

Litebright
10-22-2008, 12:24 AM
I finally got the plugins working in 8.5 Yeay! Didn't realize you have to go to Utilities/Add Plugins and select and add them there. Then scan all plugins, THEN go to Edit Menu Layout..

I notice in LW8.5, Volumetric lights don't turn off in the OpenGL camera view if you have them disabled in the Scene Editor. I have to edit the Volumetric light properties and set the intensities to zero (then write down my intensities so I remember to set them back properly or save two seperate scene files). In LW9.5, simply disabling them in the Scene Editor prevents them from illuminating your scene in the Camera Viewport. This makes it kind of annoying to make OpenGL preview movies in LW8.5.

And get this, I was going to use LW9.5 for this project because I thought it would render faster than 8.5 with MB and DOF. My client is in a hurry to get the finished frames and he said to forget about using motion blur or depth of field. So when comparing my scene in the two versions with no motion blur or depth of field, LW8.5 renders it 1.22x to 1.43x FASTER than 9.5 does. 8~ What's up with that?? Newtek was boasting that 9.5 was suppose to be 2.5x faster on average than 8.5... I've yet to see anything close to that, even with MB and DOF. Maybe 1.5x faster using MB, DOF and the Perspective CAM. Perspective CAM is slower than Classic CAM when your not using MB or DOF. The Real Lens CAM takes an eternity to render.

Anyway those have been my findings while using the 9.5 trial..