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View Full Version : Any Silo users? How to get displacement into LW?



JeffrySG
11-10-2008, 07:18 PM
For any of the LW / Silo users out there:

Does anyone know how to get displacement painting you've done on a subd model out of Silo and into LW? Or do you know of any tutorials that cover this?

I usually go with OBJ files to get my models back and forth but haven't seen anything that covers getting displacement maps out of Silo and into LW.

Thanks! :thumbsup:

IMI
11-11-2008, 08:58 AM
I couldn't tell you, Jeffry, but I figured I'd take this opportunity to comment on the fact it seems to be a trend that it's difficult to get decent displacement in LW out of any packages.
ZBrush - lots of work, and not the greatest results much of the time.
Mudbox, same thing.
I don't believe for a second the disp maps generated by those programs is the problem.
The fact these programs have built-in presets for Max and Maya tells me there's alot more to it.
And I have to wonder if LW itself isn't to blame largely for its seeming displacement deficiency with image maps.
Maybe in the end we all have to go with 3D Coat.

I also find it really odd that there is so little out there along the lines of using displacement maps in LW, while there's a veritable glut of information on how to do it with max, Maya, XSI...

Perhaps Newtek should look into this deficiency and come up with something - tutorials, better implementation, whatever it takes. All we really have is Steve Warner's great - but dated - information on the subject, and his node setup takes *alot* of tweaking, and usually overblows the effect. I do think it's LW's problem though.

However, displacement mapping is becoming increasingly popular as a solution for extreme poly models, and it is a definite plus for any 3D app to have a good, solid implementation of it.

For my part, I'm really excited about displacement mapping, but highly aggravated and frustrated *every* time I try to use them in LW.
Meanwhile, I have several ZBrush videos showing their use in maya, and some really great results with a bare minimum of fuss.... maya is looking better all the time...

But you asked about getting displacement maps out of Silo and into LW. I don't know if you mean the problem is generating and exporting the maps, or actually using them in LW. Or both.

So I decided to rant about displacements in LW in general.
Not that I would know anyway, since I don't have Silo. ;)

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 09:08 AM
lol, no problem on the rant! we all need to do it sometimes!

To be honest I have not tried to do any displacement stuff in LW just yet. My problem right now it actually getting a displacement map out of Silo to use in LW. I did find this post that explains one method. (http://www.silo3d.com/forum/showpost.php?p=55963&postcount=16) But it's a shame to me that you need to use another application to generate the displacement map? And what if you're a Mac user who can't run windows apps? (luckily we have bootcamp if needed) What's the point of having displacement painting in your app (Silo) if you can't do anything with it??? I think Silo has the potential to be such a great subd modeling app but I think the developers took it in the totally wrong direction with all of the half implemented displacement tools. Hopefully they get back on track. And get back to fixing and adding modeling tools and features.

So that being said... I wasn't expecting any issues on the LW end once I was able to find out how to get a displacement map out of Silo. If I can ever get that to work I'll post here again if I am having issues within LW. For some reason I was just expecting it to work pretty easily. Fingers crossed.

I might just end up painting my displacement in Silo on top of my LW model, and then just freeze my mesh in Silo and bring in the super high poly mesh into LW. Especially if it will save me problems down the line. Although I was hoping not to have to work in LW with a super high poly object.

IMI
11-11-2008, 09:16 AM
Well, good luck with that, Jeffry. :)

I wish I had something to offer, but I haven't tried Silo in a loonnnggg time and then only the demo.

If you do get your maps, try this node in the object properties/deformation/Edit Nodes thingy.

I don't know if you can open zip files with Mac though. Can you?

Manji312
11-11-2008, 09:17 AM
I haven't used the feature, preferring Zbrush for displacement, but isn't it just under UVs/Materials>Generate Displacement Map? This is in version 2.1 btw.

Manji312
11-11-2008, 09:24 AM
I haven't used the feature, preferring Zbrush for displacement, but isn't it just under UVs/Materials>Generate Displacement Map? This is in version 2.1 btw.

Manji312
11-11-2008, 09:25 AM
Don't know why that posted twice. Sorry.

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 09:51 AM
Well, good luck with that, Jeffry. :)

I wish I had something to offer, but I haven't tried Silo in a loonnnggg time and then only the demo.

If you do get your maps, try this node in the object properties/deformation/Edit Nodes thingy.

I don't know if you can open zip files with Mac though. Can you?

Thanks IMI, I'll check it out!

Yeah, ZIP and Mac is a-ok. :)

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 09:53 AM
I haven't used the feature, preferring Zbrush for displacement, but isn't it just under UVs/Materials>Generate Displacement Map? This is in version 2.1 btw.

I'm in the latest version, and I see that option. But whenever I use it, it just generates a black file.

I've posted on the silo forums as well but there's been no info beyond that post that I listed above...

Thx for the response Manji! :)

IMI
11-11-2008, 10:18 AM
I'm in the latest version, and I see that option. But whenever I use it, it just generates a black file.

I've posted on the silo forums as well but there's been no info beyond that post that I listed above...

Thx for the response Manji! :)

No problem on the node. That's the Steve Warner node from his tutorial, btw.
Glad to hear Mac users can open Zip files - I've wondered about that, now I know. :)

But you say "it just generates a black file". Does Silo have options for sampling distance? It might be reading the displacement info from the hi-res mesh at too short of a distance offset from the lo res mesh. I've seen that happen with ZB and Mudbox, and tweaking the sampling fixes it.

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 10:44 AM
^it could be that I'm doing something wrong in Silo. Very possible. But I have not been getting any info on the Silo board to enlighten me so I can't say for sure. Kind of frustrating but I only posted last night so it may take a while. The forum there does not see the kind of traffic we see here. :)

Yeah, OSX has been very ZIP friendly for a while. I just had to download another app to open some 7-zip files though.

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 10:53 AM
Does Silo have options for sampling distance?

I think you may be on to something now... I'm starting to get stuff to actually appear... Not sure how I would know when I get the distance correct though...???

IMI
11-11-2008, 11:17 AM
I think you may be on to something now... I'm starting to get stuff to actually appear... Not sure how I would know when I get the distance correct though...???

I'm not sure. I generally just tweak until it looks good. ZBrush is very easy in that respect, Mudbox takes a good deal of experimentation.

I've been meaning to look into the actual math of it all - the why's and how's, but have been too lazy. ;)

But it worked for neverko. You sure it's not a Mac issue?

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 11:44 AM
I think it might be a matter of adjusting the raycast distance to get the map correct. I'm going to fool with it a bit and see what happens. I'll let you know what I end up with! Thx for the replies everyone.

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 12:18 PM
Well, let me explain what I'm trying to do and how I'm doing it too. Maybe there is a better way for me to do this. I'm thinking that maybe using normal map might be better but I'm not sure.

-I'm modeling something in LW, think of a stone block that will be a subd (or subpatch) object.

-then I'm exporting as an OBJ file and opening into Silo

-then I'm subdividing it about 5 times, doing some displacement painting on it to give it nice crevices and notches in the stone.

-creating a uv map in silo

-exporting the displacement map out of silo

-saving the file back out as an obj with the new uv coordinates

-opening into modeler

-turning on subd (does it have to be subpatch?)

-opening in layout

-applying a displacement in the object properties with the 'add displacement' - textured displacement - selecting the UV space and then loading the displ. texture that silo created.


Is that the right way??

IMI
11-11-2008, 12:24 PM
I've gotten considerably better results using that node I uploaded, as opposed to the "old" way - more control. Sometimes with your way models simply exploded.

Yes, you do have to have a an object in subpatch for displacement in LW, but not for normals. Increasing the "render subpatch level" allows for more displacement.

So, how does it look?

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 12:25 PM
^where do I load the node that you posted? Not in the plugins do I?

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 12:27 PM
Not working out too great just yet. This is just a test object too, btw. ;)

Here's what it looks like in silo after painting...
65830

Here's a render out of LW so far...
65831
This was a CC subd object, but I just tried it as a subp object and it looked pretty much the same. Not sure where all the displacements on the sides went...

IMI
11-11-2008, 12:30 PM
No, it's a node.
See pic.
Clicking the edit nodes and then hitting the button opens the standard node editor, then you have to import it from the node editor in the Edit dropdown>Import Nodes option. it's at the very bottom.

IMI
11-11-2008, 12:32 PM
another pic - a view of where you load it...

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 12:38 PM
ahh... ok got it now... thx IMI!

We're getting somewhere now! It's not pretty... but we're moving...

This is using the node you posted.

65834

IMI
11-11-2008, 12:41 PM
Looks somewhat better. :thumbsup:

Now you get to tweak it and experience MY frustration. :devil: ;)

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 12:49 PM
Looks somewhat better. :thumbsup:

Now you get to tweak it and experience MY frustration. :devil: ;)

grrr... I'm beginning to know what you mean!

At this point I just keep on thinking why not refine (freeze) the mesh in Silo, end up with a million poly object, and render that in LW.

At least I know it will look correct.

65835

IMI
11-11-2008, 12:52 PM
I feel bad now for inflicting this upon you. ;)

The funny thing is, not all maps act badly, but I have yet to figure out the common denominator. You'll see what I mean as you experiment more with different objects at different scales and different raycast samples.

Let me know if you figure it out. ;)

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 01:00 PM
You got it... I'm still just working this all out in my head. But I'll post any new findings if I happen to get any! lol

JeffrySG
11-11-2008, 04:20 PM
Ouchies. Looks like Silo only exports 8-bit displacement maps, which means that they are fairly useless and will show lots of banding.

At least I haven't found any option for 16-bit maps. I only get to output .tif as the lone image format and with no options for the saver. The map I get is 8-bit.

I think this was an issue on the silo forums. I'm pretty sure right now it only exports 8bit disp. maps.

IMI
11-12-2008, 04:59 PM
I've been messing around with normal and displacement maps all day, mostly with ZBrush.
One thing I think I've discovered which helps disp maps look good in LW (with the Warner node, that is) is to up the resolution at which the map is created.

Maybe that's a no-brainer, maybe not, but my 2048 Disp. maps weren't cooperating well in LW, but when I started making them at 4096, the effect was vastly improved in LW.

Another thing I started doing was to save them out of ZB as PSD files and convert them to uncompressed TIFF in Photoshop. I got that from a video I have, and it may not apply to Silo. I'm really not sure why the guy said to do that, and it was in regards to using them with Maya, but...can't hurt, I guess.

Oddly enough, normal maps do well in LW at 2048 for the same figure, which is good. I'd rather not have a whole mess of 33 MB image files in my scene. ;)

Maybe this will help, maybe not, but I'd recommend trying 4096 if Silo can export a map that large. it seems the Steve Warner Displacement node responds more favorably to tweaking with an image that size too.

EDIT:

Oops, I just saw what neverko said about only 8 bit disp maps. Bummer. Well, maybe there's a fix or a workaround.

JeffrySG
11-12-2008, 06:38 PM
^ok I can try 4096 next time as I was using 2048 also. The more I try the more I think silo is not really for the type of painting I'm trying to do. Prob more of a ZB thing. I might just try to use procedurals for the texturing and displacements. Not really sure just yet. Thx for the new info! :)

IMI
11-12-2008, 06:48 PM
You're welcome.
I'm in the process right now of working up an example - just a simple, very low-poly model I whipped up. I intend on using it to see just how far I can push it in LW, far as displacement mapping goes.
I'll post some screenies and renders if it turns out well, along with anything new I learn.

JeffrySG
11-12-2008, 07:21 PM
^that would be great! I'd love to see whatever you come up with! :)

IMI
11-12-2008, 11:15 PM
Well I messed around with this thing enough for tonight.

I wanted to see how far I could push a very low res mesh with displacement in LW, and the model is only 440 polygons, and you can see in the screenshot in Modeler attached what it looks like. That is the exact model I used in layout for the render, also attached.

The overall detail of form is a displacement map node - the detail is a normal map node in the color channel.

Compare it to the screenshot of what I had for a final in ZBrush, and obviously it's lacking somewhat in definition. I think I could have gotten that better though if I had exported a higher res version of it from ZB. I think I'll try that tomorrow.
No textures, obviously - didn't have time for that, but I think I am going to work on it some more.
Not sure what it is - I just wanted to make something simple. Some kind of dinosaur which never existed, I guess. ;)

You can see some major flaws where it looks kinda jaggy - again, that's because it was pushed pretty hard for how lo-res it is - as far as I could with that resolution.


One thing I did learn is with that displacement node in LW, the more you up the Multiply node, the more you have to up the render subpatch level, but it has to be balanced. I ended up using a Multiply of 3.5 with a render subpatch level of 10. More or less of either gave worse results.

In any event, if you can get Silo to give you 16 bit 4096 disp maps, you should be good with that node and LW.
Of course, you could always go with ZB. ;) I think they have the 3.2 Mac version out now.

IMI
11-13-2008, 08:16 AM
Well I've gotten as much out of this exercise as I'm going to. In the end it was my quick and not-so-great UV map which limited the amount of detail I could get into the normal mapping. Surprisingly enough though, the UV map didn't seem to limit the displacement as much as I would expect. Makes me wonder...

It was a great exercise in using image maps in a node for displacement in LW though and I learned quite a bit from it. I won't be beating my head against the wall as much from now on I don't think. Now I have to wonder if there's a more ideal node setup that can be created and used.

Using that Warner node though, the only things I really learned that seem to matter are pretty simple, really - at least a 4096 16 bit TIFF file, and a balance between the Multiply node and the render subpatch level in the object properties panel.

Yeah, it looks like a little stuffed toy something-or-other-o-saurus, but oh well, the world needs those too. ;)

JeffrySG
11-14-2008, 09:28 AM
Yeah, it looks like a little stuffed toy something-or-other-o-saurus, but oh well, the world needs those too. ;)

lol, it looks nice! :)

I've actually been playing with it still. I switched to using a UV map on my stone object for texture and with a bump map, but then I wanted to get a little more surface deformation so I went back in and put the bump into the Warner node set up and it's looking ok so far. The only problem is that I have so much detail in the stone that I have my subpatch level up to 35 now. I'm just working on a still so it's not that much of an issue. It's about 1.5mil polys or so now.

I forgot to save my new UV displacement map as a 16bit so I might go back and try that to see if it helps the quality at all. I'll let you know what happens.

JeffrySG
11-14-2008, 09:39 AM
Hey, do you know exactly what the 'enable bump' does on the displacement setup?
65952

Is it just applying a new bump based on the displacement texture? What if I already have a bump on the surface texture?

JeffrySG
11-14-2008, 09:49 AM
Are you using Anti-Aliasing set to 1 and then using adaptive sampling? or are you using higher AA values for your displacement renders?

IMI
11-14-2008, 09:51 AM
Hey, do you know exactly what the 'enable bump' does on the displacement setup?
65952

Is it just applying a new bump based on the displacement texture? What if I already have a bump on the surface texture?

You know, I have no idea. Was that there before LW 9+? I don't have any versions other than 9.5 installed at the moment, so I don't know, but I imagine it's a "legacy" thing, involving the old style displacement before we had nodes.

I could be dead wrong about that though - it's happened before. ;)

Got any pics to show what you've been up to in your tests?

IMI
11-14-2008, 09:54 AM
Are you using Anti-Aliasing set to 1 and then using adaptive sampling? or are you using higher AA values for your displacement renders?

Yeah, I have AA at 1 and adaptive at something like.025, IIRC. Can't check right now though.
Looking at my textured render now I realize I lost some of the Normal map detail, because it also has Fast Skin on it, which tends to soften the surfaces. Strange I didn't notice that before, but the normal was stronger at one point before I used the Fast Skin node.

JeffrySG
11-14-2008, 09:59 AM
Yeah sure... I don't want to show the entire thing as for whatever reason I wanted to keep this one under wraps until I get closer to finishing but here's part of the 'stone'.

This one is with the 16bit tif disp. map, and also using the same map for bump. The disp. just adds a little more depth and you can see how the edges are actually bumpy now too. This now has over 2mil polys at render time. But it doesn't take too long to process.

65953

I'm using photo reference for my textures and disp. too. I was fooling with procedurals but not happy with anything I was getting.

IMI
11-14-2008, 10:06 AM
Looks pretty good, really.

Have you ever seen raw graphite? That's what that looks like to me, what with he high spec and all. But not quite - kinda has a rough quartz/marble quality to it as well.

JeffrySG
11-14-2008, 10:09 AM
thx. I'm going for a type of a mix between a metal and a stone... :)

Ztreem
11-14-2008, 12:48 PM
Hey, do you know exactly what the 'enable bump' does on the displacement setup?

It displace the mesh based on the bump map applied in the surface editor.

Ztreem
11-14-2008, 12:50 PM
double post

JeffrySG
11-14-2008, 08:05 PM
It displace the mesh based on the bump map applied in the surface editor.

Ok that's good to know! So if you have that selected does it ignore the displacement you have set up in the node editor?? Or does it combine them? I'll have to uncheck it and do another render.

Ztreem
11-15-2008, 07:08 AM
Ok that's good to know! So if you have that selected does it ignore the displacement you have set up in the node editor?? Or does it combine them? I'll have to uncheck it and do another render.

I don't know, but in general you don't use that feature much as far as I know.