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Thread: Bullet workflow over Screamernet?

  1. #1

    Bullet workflow over Screamernet?

    Sorry if this is a noob question - I don't get as much LW time as I'd like. I'm having some trouble with Bullet rendering over Screamernet. When I join the rendered frames, the pieces of my object jump around from frame to frame like each PC is doing its own re-calculation.

    So far I've tried multiple things: Resetting the Dynamics\dynacache, DELETING the file, recalculating dynamics, restarting Screamernet - all the usual stuff. Based on some comments in another thread, it looks like the next workflow to try is:

    1) Recalculate dynamics
    2) Save MDD files
    3) Deactivate Bullet
    4) Save Scene

    But I can't find the way to save the Bullet calculations as an MDD file. Can anyone point me to this? (I warned you that this might be a noob question.)

    Also, this seems like kind of a hack - is there really no way to share the dynacache across machines?

  2. #2
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Los Angeles
    I use MD Multi-Baker. It's under the I/O tab. To use it, select all the items you want to bake to .mdd, set you path (if you don't want use the default,) and then click OK.

    In 11.5, there is a new MD Multi-Loader tool that opens a panel with two columns, one for .mdd files and the other for objects in your scene, and you can use this tool to quickly associate your .mdd files to each object. You can have it batch load .mdd files and assign them automatically, though I usually use this tool in 'manual mode' just to be sure. There's more info about it in the Addendum.

    Once everything is assigned, ScreamerNet should be able to render the results predictably. As you may be aware, you should remove all items from Bullet or at least disable it in your 'render' scene--there's no point in loading and calculating a scene that's been baked. (Tip: I usually keep a separate 'calc-only' scene for my Bullet simulations--this is a highly optimized scene intended only for calculation and .mdd baking. The baked .mdd files are then imported to a separate scene for final rendering, which does not have Bullet active at all.)

    Alternatively, you can use DP Motion Designer's BDD Scan to save BDD files of Bullet items, which for some Bullet scenes can be far more efficient because it saves only a single path for each part.


  3. #3

    How to use Bullet with Screamernet (For Dummies)

    Gahhh. Found it. I guess MDD files are not only the way to go, but it's documented in the 11.5 edition of the manual, starting on Page 242. Anyway, once you've downloaded your 11.5 upgrade and installed it, go download the 11.5 manual addendum (NOT the 11.0 manual addendum). In there you'll find this in the Workflow Enhancements section.

    And I quote:

    To ensure the integrity of their motion, to not have to endure the time taken to repeat the Bullet calculation and to be able to export the scene to another piece of software we will bake the motions that the objects make. On Layout’s I/O tab you will find MDD Multi-Baker in the Export group. There are plenty of settings you can change for a variety of situations but for this exercise we will immediately hit OK. You may be prompted to create a VertCache directory in your content directory. Do so, this is where the MDDs will be stored.

    Further up the I/O tab, in the Import group you will find MDD Multi-Loader. Before opening it, we turn off Enable Dynamics in the FX Tools tab and press play to assure ourselves that the objects in the scene no longer fall to the floor. Now we return to the MDD Multi-Loader and open it. The window contains the six objects in our scene, the five falling shaped and the inanimate floor. On the right side we can either load the MDDs by multiselecting them in the load requester or by hitting the Scan MDDs button and navigating to the right folder. In either case, we rapidly get five MDDs in the right window. We can go through the objects one by one, carefully selecting the appropriate MDD file to go with the right object, or we can just hit Match Names. In either case we will see that we have one MDD assigned to each of the five falling shapes and none to the floor.

    The important thing to take away from this is to remember to hit the Match By button in the upper left corner of the dialog ("requester"). This is what actually ASSIGNS the MDD files to your objects. Without hitting this button, nothing gets assigned to anything and your selections all go away when you close the dialog. Then you tear your hair out wondering why nothing works.

    Once you have completed these steps you should have nice baked motion for your objects and everything SHOULD work.

    - - - Updated - - -

    You beat me to it - I was working on my reply (below) and then posted it for posterity. At least future generations will have this information now. Thanks!

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