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Thread: 1001 ways to use LW and Blender together

  1. #376
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    My opinion / experience with various apps and plugins:

    LightWave - Not a good platform for VFX anymore for todays standards.
    The native VDB / Volume tools are not intuitive and it renders horrible slow, even on a 16 core machine. Once rendered, the 2018+ Volumetrics look quite fine.
    Horrible Dynamic system, no Fracture tools (the Modeler Fracture is a joke). Horrible Hair and Cloth system.
    Very good procedural shaders.
    Good instancing / object Scatter system.
    Deep Rising seems too expensive and limited for the low quality output and unintuitive workflow.
    Deep Rising + Hurleyworks UP are about the only plugins I have not purchased for LightWave, they're not worth the price for me.
    TFD is not improved since long and also not really nice to use in LW anyway.
    No proper nature tools except some very limited and outdated freeware plugins (and the VUE integration is horrible).

    Blender - Some great plugins like FlipFluids, Khaos (inkl. Fireshader) and good VDB features are coming.
    I haven't tested the Dynamic system. Cloth system ok. The Fracture system in a separate Build is ok to use.
    Very good Hair rendering.
    Unfortunately limited procedural shaders.
    Some good nature plugins like The Grove (I don't have this one yet), Botaniq, Scatter and Graswald.
    Great viewport feedback with Eeevee.

    Cinema 4D - Very good native VDB tools. Very good Dynamic and Fracture system that works in realtime. OK Cloth system. Good Hair system. Good Instancing system.
    Integrated and very powerful MotionTracker, constantly being improved.
    Native particle engine a bit outdated (still better then LW's) plus ThinkingParticles integrated. Plays nice with all the other Effectors.
    Best procedural shaders of all packages.
    Most VFX can be done very intuitive and easy with X-Particles. Incredible well integrated and works fine together with all other C4D features. Very active development.
    Great tools like RealTraffic (https://vimeo.com/209719456), Drive! (car and crash simulation), People in Motion, DAZ Bridge, Anima etc.
    Very good nature tools available (Forester, SurfaceSpread, XFrog, VUE integration etc.).
    TFD for C4D but again, not improved for long.
    Good other VFX tools like RealFlow, FumeFX, Krakatoa, Ornatrix available for C4D but I don't have them.

    X-Particles - Best plugin ever: Fire, Water, Grain, Scatter, all kind of particles, L-Systems, Dynamics, Cloth etc.
    Just have a look at https://insydium.ltd/community/content-repository/ (scroll a bit down for nice fire / explosions like ExplosiaFX Cluster Explosion) - the sample scenes for X-Particles or https://insydium.ltd/products/x-part...and-advection/. It's incredible versatile and easy to use, most stuff with realtime preview. These are only demo scenes, effects for Marvel movies are done with this plugin.

    Embergen - Standalone tool (have not purchases it yet, still on the fence) - looks great but now with the new Houdini GPU acceleration and shaders I'm not sure if it's still worth it. And it's not the ideal solution when it should be used to interact with scene objects.

    RealFlow - I don't have it. Hmm currently 50% off... But I don't need it and I remember some kind of node locked and online licencing.

    Marvelous Designer - Best cloth design and simulation application. I seldom use it but it's incredibly well done and powerful (except licensing).

    Houdini - Well obviously the king of VFX but for higher quality (not using shelf tools) very complex to use. Top VDB, Hair, Fracture and Dynamic systems. Awesome 18.5 update! Some nice landscape tools. GAEA integration for landscapes.
    Every VFX artist should watch and enjoy the 2hrs H18.5 Keynote! https://youtu.be/zMrvCWy85xM

    Maya - no experience but obviously very capable for VFX

    Max - no experience

    Terragen Pro - Nice render quality, horrible UI, unintuitive, very good Lighting and Atmosphere rendering. CPU render engine very slow. Development pace very slow.

    VUE + Plant Factory / Vue xStream - Good UI, good scattering, nice procedural Terrain tools, good Nodal system, good tree system, good rendering quality. Pathtracer not usable for most things. CPU render engine slow with some Atmosphere and Lighting settings. VDB export and import. Plant Factory is ok but I haven't been able to create the quality of vegetation I expect.

    Quadspinner GAEA Enterprise - Great tool for creating Height Maps. Very good UI. Intuitive to use. Sometimes stability issues. Houdini Integration.

    World Machine Pro - Very outdated UI but still good to create Height Maps. Some of the best Erosion algorithms. Extremely slow development.

    Quadspinner GeoGlyph 2 Pro - Great addon for World Machine, very nice algorithms.

    World Creator - I have not purchased and never used this one.

    SpeedTree - I have never purchased this one, but from what I've seen it's very good.

    XFrog - I only have the C4D Version (where its Generators and Modifiers are useful and can be used for lots of other stuff), never bought the standalone application which seems quite outdated.
    Last edited by Marander; 10-23-2020 at 08:11 AM.

  2. #377

    LW - Not a good platform for VFX anymore for todays standards
    i'd say it is still capable of great things.
    however NT/VZ has shut down LW development, so... not really a horse to bet on in the long run.

    Cinema = too expensive for me personally.
    Houdini = complex with the node structure, but ok, great value
    Blender = a bit so-so in terms of quality at the moment.
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  3. #378
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post

    i'd say it is still capable of great things.
    however NT/VZ has shut down LW development, so... not really a horse to bet on in the long run.

    Cinema = too expensive for me personally.
    Houdini = complex with the node structure, but ok, great value
    Blender = a bit so-so in terms of quality at the moment.
    Fair enough, I agree (partly). I have updated my post with some more info. Cheers

  4. #379
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Marander,

    Yes, when you disect Lightwave and Blender, you nail exactly the same things with the same value as I do it seems, so I think I agree completely on that, could add more of course to the disection.
    For cinema4D, same as what erikals says.

    For houdini, well..a bit complex with nodes, but that is not whatīs bothering me, it is that houdini can feel clunky when tweaking parameters, and while it has the huge VDB toolset, it is also a bit slow in my opinion for some Cloudfx stuff, depends on how you work with the resolution..and it cooks it a bit too long for my liking if you need good enough resolution.
    Same with some other tools, landscape tools etc..feels a bit clunky, to keep in mind..it has to process all nodes possible that is used for all itīs stuff, and from what I can see, the more nodes you have..(same in blender) it slows it down significantly.

    For example a nodal cloud fractal setup with a Lot of nodes in blender to create a good cloud fractalsbased on itīs simpler noises (there is a free scene for that)
    itīs just too darn slow when you try and render it, going in and deleting some of it..and you get it faster to render, had blender a better base fractal set ..you wouldnīt need that many nodes to slow which slow things down, I could just throw in garner clouds, or weather clouds or some of the other similar to lightwave fractals that are way better to use.
    Fractal types also matters in render speed of course.

    cinema seems very capable with itīs fractals as you showed me, but itīs not in my option to invest in.

    As for further slowness, I just canīt believe they throwed mantaflow in for a fire and smoke replacement in blender, it seems like itīs 4-5 times slower than blenders older fluid system..even if I use high res in that older system, and you have to check replay in the drop down cache menu all the time for it to update properly when changing settings, or changin a wind setting...and the results is hard to control..so that one I am very dissapointed with and scratch my head why they didnīt leave that out for fire and smoke till it has been improved.

    For embergen and houdini fire and smoke, will have to take a deep look in to them both the upcoming winter, not just this month though.
    For the other stuff, I would have to get back on that later, so much to try and discuss on those tools alone as well, so this will only be a reply on Blender, houdini, lightwave mostly..those 3
    is the ones I plan to continue to use.

  5. #380
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    hereīs the free cloud setup which contains a Lot of nodes for a cloud setup, please jump in to that node and see how many other nodes there is to describe a cloud fractal..itīs quite insane, I could pull out the same cloud look in lightwave with a single fractal texture.

    https://blenderartists.org/uploads/d...f60d3db6.blend

    Itīs a 2.78 blender scene, note..some quirks in the workspace theme to get the proper render buttons for cycles to show up I think.

    The thread (he has newer versions I think, but I didnīt get it to work right now, will have to check)
    https://blenderartists.org/t/procedu...w-eevee/694700


    The 2.91 new mesh to volume and volume displace will probably be a tool I will use a lot, once itīs stable enough, and I would probably use Lightwave for various cloud modeling tasks as well then sending to blender for that stuff, but also model clouds in blender too of course.

    On blender artist, I wrote about an issue, blender not capable of replacing objects in the scene, for instance..if I made a cloud model, applied volumetrics on it, then I want to replace it with another object or an updated object which I have donīt in lightwave for instance, I canīt..not directly, I have to load it in to the scene, then relink, or have models in another blender file to replace, or use copy and paste, then relink..but a simple replace with object as we can in lightwave...is a no no.
    There is a for that function expensive plugin that can replace obj and fbx, but not lw..which then isnīt good enough.

    To many nodes...well for blender that was necessary, but for a 3D software...there shouldnīt be a need of such complex setup, slows things down..harder to tweak right settings etc..

    In lightwave for similar, simply add a null and apply a good fractal on it, done.
    Render speed can be hard to compare since GI is pretty much always on in blender, but render GI is better with proper mulitple volume bounce..which seem to
    be none existent in Lightwave.


    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #381
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    Hey Prometheus, thanks for the links. Yes, I'm also looking forward for improved VDB tools in Blender. Blender 2.9.2 Alpha was just released yesterday, I'll have a look into that. Since a while, the Blender Alpha and Beta versions are quite stable for my use.

    If you use Mantaflow / VDB in Blender maybe have a look at the Khaos Fire Shader or better the Khaos Explosion Simulator, very easy to use with good results!

    https://www.blendermarket.com/produc...sion-simulator

    And the Nebula Generator:

    https://www.blendermarket.com/products/nebula-generator

    And the Procedural Toolkit (looks nice but the installation is a bit special, not like other Blender Plugins)

    https://www.blendermarket.com/produc...ral-toolkit-v1
    Last edited by Marander; 10-23-2020 at 10:44 AM.

  7. #382
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    These are some other Blender addons I use and can recommend:

    Botaniq Full
    Tree And Grass Library Botaniq Trees+Grass
    Scatter - The Scattering Tool Of Blender
    Simply Cloth Pro
    Waterial - Animated Ocean Water Material For Eevee & Cycles
    Deltaflow - Fast Water And Fluid Materials Supporting Flowmaps
    Blaze Add-On
    Physical Starlight And Atmosphere
    Graswald Pro
    Better Fbx Importer & Exporter
    Flip Fluids

    (+the various modeling addons like HOps, BoxCutter, MeshMachine etc.)

  8. #383
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marander View Post
    Hey Prometheus, thanks for the links. Yes, I'm also looking forward for improved VDB tools in Blender. Blender 2.9.2 Alpha was just released yesterday, I'll have a look into that. Since a while, the Blender Alpha and Beta versions are quite stable for my use.

    If you use Mantaflow / VDB in Blender maybe have a look at the Khaos Fire Shader or better the Khaos Explosion Simulator, very easy to use with good results!

    https://www.blendermarket.com/produc...sion-simulator

    And the Nebula Generator:

    https://www.blendermarket.com/products/nebula-generator

    And the Procedural Toolkit (looks nice but the installation is a bit special, not like other Blender Plugins)

    https://www.blendermarket.com/produc...ral-toolkit-v1
    Well..the problem is, I donīt use mantaflow, itīs to slow and unreliable in updating the fluids, and harder to control the fluids in my opinion, thatīs why I just recently wrote my negative impressions on it, so Khaos isnīt either something to consider right now.
    Right now I prefer the older fluid system in 2.79.3 ..faster and gives me the result I expect pretty much, though I may send it over through vdb for rendering with 2.83

    As for the nebula generator, I have honestly not seen much great stuff coming from it, perhaps the users do not know how to take advantage of it, and many renders I see is very flat..maybe using the 2d versions, and not unleashing the 3d version properly.
    I will have a look at that later, but not so impressive.

    For that cloud scene file I linked, to, there is also a later version better suited for later blender version..Here is the current release for Blender 2.8 (Built on v2.80.29)

    https://blenderartists.org/uploads/d...1d350e14.blend

    As you can see in that thread, you also have a paint cloud distribution method, itīs demonstrated with gifs over there.
    But I just downloaded this again and I am trying to wrap my head on it, but again..so darn unecessary with so many nodes to accomplish what I can do with one or two fractals in Lightwave..it just bogs the system down.

    Note, I would advice setup three windows, one with cycles, one with the shader editor nodes..where you have the main cloud node settings, then another window where you jump in to that cloud master node to adjust all the other nodes.
    To jump back out of that nodal mess, hit the tab key.

  9. #384
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    Prom, yes you're right, the Nebula Generator looks only good in 3D. Using it with Eevee is very nice as it renders quickly. The 2D version indeed looks flat and fake.

    About Khaos, note that it also includes older (Pre-Mantaflow) Version. And maybe have a look at Blaze.

    Attachment 148924

    Did you have a look at the other plugins I posted? Maybe you find the Physical Starlight And Atmosphere useful.

    Cheers

  10. #385
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marander View Post
    Prom, yes you're right, the Nebula Generator looks only good in 3D. Using it with Eevee is very nice as it renders quickly. The 2D version indeed looks flat and fake.

    About Khaos, note that it also includes older (Pre-Mantaflow) Version. And maybe have a look at Blaze.

    Attachment 148924

    Did you have a look at the other plugins I posted? Maybe you find the Physical Starlight And Atmosphere useful.

    Cheers
    Thanks for the links,
    But I donīt have time to check all of them right now, and some of them I have already taken notes of before, like the phsyical starlight and atmosphere.

  11. #386

    by the way, did you see this?



    can of course b combined with other B or LW objects (metamesh for example)
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  12. #387
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post
    by the way, did you see this?



    can of course b combined with other B or LW objects (metamesh for example)
    yes, Ivé seen it before, but I actually think itīs more work to do it that way than just do a fluid sim, or apply volumetrics on the mesh, to much hazzle, and you will NEVER geth the same edge detail or edge smoothness as with true volumetrics.
    And with the new mesh to volume, and volume displace, I think itīs a serious overkill, rendertimes for volumetics vs this mesh approach isnīt that much of difference either I think.

    so honestly, even if that was to be a cartoony style look, I didnīt like it anyway.

    As for metamesh, yes, I know that...though I got metamesh kind of for free in blender edit mode with the remesher active, and segment I move within that edit, will fuse melt like metablobs depending on what resolution
    you set for the remesher, but it updates similar to metamesh, though metamesh is a bit cooler with the simpler subpatch fusion.

    but I would use that and the mesh to volume as Ivé shown before in here, and volume displace.

    Posting that with dp tree to blender and mesh to volume and volume displace again..
    being volumetric and depending on step size for volume quality and volume bounces, I think itīs worth a little more render time than just going with the mesh only technique.


  13. #388
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    Another wokflow setup, just to complicate things..we donīt want this to be too easy right
    Have to do some cleaning then bedtime so no images today.

    But I like to experiment and think of odd ways to acheive stuff, or push what you can do in various techniques.
    As we have mentioned about metaballs, making them with lightwave, direcly with metaball tool or convert polyline branches to metaedges, or just use point spray, or other pointgenerators in lightwave and convert to metaballs, then send over to blender
    for mesh to volume for clouds etc, or use blenders metaballs simply, then convert to mesh and then mesh to volume.

    But you can also push some particles, give them some wind direction and upplift, som slight variance or turbulence or vortex, start either with a partigon emitter, or for better simulation speed..hv emitter and then convert to partigons, then save out desired
    frame where you think the particles have formed to some cloud looking cluster, open it in modeler and convert to metaballs, freeze it and reduce polys a bit, send to blender and use the mesh to volume there, and apply volume displacement.

    Thats for lw 11 and up, if using lw 2019 and up, you could of course use the particles and vdb meshing in layout instead and get feedback, then save out mesh from there.

    May gather some images of that tomorrow, the workflow works..itīs just a matter of doing each part of the workflow good enough, especially the particle emitter in layout and how to form that.
    Which method that is ideal, simplest etc..that we do not know yet..I think

    Simulating a Lightwave gas solver vdb to use in blender?
    sure..but then you can īt use mesh to volume, which means such vdb has a fixed resolution from your simulation which canīt be altered as mesh to volume can, but you can add volume displace modifier on it.

  14. #389

    3:20

    time for some Coca Cola, LoL... actually, Pepsi this time.

    1sec...
    i'll B back.



    But I like to experiment and think of odd ways to achieve stuff, or push what you can do in various techniques.
    yeah, it can result in great styles and techniques.
    the problem i have with it is that it is so incredibly time consuming, and often the result isn't worth it.
    I have to admit i still often follow that path tho' in a hope to achieve something very nice.
    at times it works.

    but since i create everything from A to Z, i've gotten less patient lately.

    so, like Arnold said > "Do it! Do it Now!"
    Last edited by erikals; 10-23-2020 at 08:39 PM.
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  15. #390
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post
    3:20

    time for some Coca Cola, LoL... actually, Pepsi this time.

    1sec...
    i'll B back.




    yeah, it can result in great styles and techniques.
    the problem i have with it is that it is so incredibly time consuming, and often the result isn't worth it.
    I have to admit i still often follow that path tho' in a hope to achieve something very nice.
    at times it works.

    but since i create everything from A to Z, i've gotten less patient lately.

    so, like Arnold said > "Do it! Do it Now!"
    Arnold also said he would be back, so not always do it now :=

    Arnold also had a great vid on youtube on setting up Goals, and when you enter the experimental state, you somehow need to be free without a typical goal to let the mind go crazy, and come up with things, thatīs one part that is creative, but there is of course a danger of not setting up goals, to have a vision without a goal..then you will just end up experimenting.

    Anyhow, instead of meshing the particles from lightwave with the partigon to modeler and metaballs technique ( which sort of gives freedom at that stage to modify each little point and metaball mesh of it)
    I tried with some particles to mesh them, the problem is that if you change radius, resolution of the meshing in the node editor, you have to scroll timeline to see it update, also..I need to have particle voxel size randomly, it didnīt recognize
    my partile emitters random scale oddly enough, so I went in nodally and tried with random scalar there, but ..CRASH, same with a procedural texture..Crash.

    Not sure itīs worth to bug file it since I am on 2019, and as I am aware of..there will be no bug fixing on that, and for the sake of future 2020-21...I donīt know if itīs gonna be developed, so whatīs the point.
    Otherwise meshing like that with particles raising up a bit, and some wind movement, and some random scale or set scale to either increase or decrease over height..that can give some nice cloud shape structures without having to model, but you need to try so many scene cases to get something that works satisfactory I guess.

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