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Thread: Animated Cache Tips? Finding that 'sweet spot'

  1. #1
    Valiant NewTeKnight Matt's Avatar
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    Question Animated Cache Tips? Finding that 'sweet spot'

    I set an animation going yesterday with animated cache on, with what I thought were reasonable GI settings, and left the Preprocess mode to 'Automatic'.

    The times started out about 7-8mins per frame, came back from work today and it's taking 1.5hrs per frame!!!!!!!!!

    I suspect this is because there are too many samples points being added to the cache as it goes on.

    Finding that sweet cache setting is not easy.

    Decided to try this 'strategy':

    • Set cache 'Frame Steps' to 1
    • Bake entire animation
    • Set Preprocess mode to 'Locked'
    • Go to a frame that has a lot going on near the end, do a test with show samples to check how dense it is, if okay render time ...
    • Render the animation
    • If not, clear cache, adjust settings and start again


    Now I know I run the risk of flickering if there are any frames that have areas that may have been missed, but what do you think, a good strategy?

    What are other peoples strategies when it comes to using animated cache and finding that 'magic' setting?

    (For the record, I can't use non-interpolated MC, it just takes too long per frame, I've tried).

    Discuss ...

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  2. #2
    Sinner Saved by Grace Larry_g1s's Avatar
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    Tom will be doing a lighting tutorial training that will be acompaning the LWCAD training I'm doing. I believe these are some of the things he'll be covering. If not I'll suggest it to him.
    Larry Vasquez | Genesis One Studios | company showreel

    Someday, I will be a CG animator (student at iAnimate.net).

  3. #3
    Valiant NewTeKnight Matt's Avatar
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    Exception Tom?

    I've clearly read his GI guide, so it's more workflows for finding good settings as oppose to what the settings do, I get that part (just!)



    I just wondered how others went about it, especially when encountering the dreaded loooooong later frame times when using animated cache.
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  4. #4
    Sinner Saved by Grace Larry_g1s's Avatar
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    Yeah, that Tom. I believe sense this will be a paid video training it'll be more then just his on-line write up. More of the "how's & why's". But this might be a good thread for him to view some users concerns or questions.
    Larry Vasquez | Genesis One Studios | company showreel

    Someday, I will be a CG animator (student at iAnimate.net).

  5. #5
    Electron wrangler jwiede's Avatar
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    Matt, just out of interest, I presume you don't have FPrime (or it isn't fast enough)?

    I'd certainly love to see some training that describes how to identify whether scenes are viable candidates for anim. caching, versus ones which will go into "bazillion additional samples mode". Right now, anim. cache feels too much like a craps shoot where you sink a bunch of time into trying different settings and test renders, but then frequently wind up switching render mode to something else.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I need greater predictability from it in output times.
    Last edited by jwiede; 06-15-2009 at 04:06 PM.
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  6. #6
    Valiant NewTeKnight Matt's Avatar
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    Yes I do have FPrime, but I want to keep this on the topic of LightWave animated caching, tips and techniques for getting a good cache file without too much hassle.
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  7. #7
    Super Member geo_n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    I set an animation going yesterday with animated cache on, with what I thought were reasonable GI settings, and left the Preprocess mode to 'Automatic'.

    The times started out about 7-8mins per frame, came back from work today and it's taking 1.5hrs per frame!!!!!!!!!

    I suspect this is because there are too many samples points being added to the cache as it goes on.

    Finding that sweet cache setting is not easy.

    Decided to try this 'strategy':

    • Set cache 'Frame Steps' to 1
    • Bake entire animation
    • Set Preprocess mode to 'Locked'
    • Go to a frame that has a lot going on near the end, do a test with show samples to check how dense it is, if okay render time ...
    • Render the animation
    • If not, clear cache, adjust settings and start again


    Now I know I run the risk of flickering if there are any frames that have areas that may have been missed, but what do you think, a good strategy?

    What are other peoples strategies when it comes to using animated cache and finding that 'magic' setting?

    (For the record, I can't use non-interpolated MC, it just takes too long per frame, I've tried).

    Discuss ...

    In my experience you will always get flicker and dark splotches when set to Locked. Frame steps 1 is prerequisite to AC, too, no success with frame steps every nth frame.
    Less lights probably better for AC. Can you post a scene file with proxy objects so its easier to test.

  8. #8
    NewTek Developer jameswillmott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    Yes I do have FPrime, but I want to keep this on the topic of LightWave animated caching, tips and techniques for getting a good cache file without too much hassle.
    Can you post an animatic to show us what's being animated?
    LightWave3D training, assets, news and discussion at www.liberty3d.com
    My opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions of any other entity, Liberty3D is not officially endorsed by NewTek.

  9. #9
    Valiant NewTeKnight Matt's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by jameswillmott View Post
    Can you post an animatic to show us what's being animated?
    It's the robot arm one I'm doing:

    http://forums.newtek.com/showthread....747#post893747

    I messed with the settings (A LOT) last night again, which did get further than my previous attempt and seemed to be maintaining a reasonable render time (e.g. it wasn't on 1.5hrs / frame from the original 7mins / frame!)

    But I quickly (using QuickTime Pro player's load image sequence) built the rendered frames to see flickering, a big shift in light change, which was unacceptable, so I killed the render and cleared the cache (AGAIN).

    Left the changes I made to AA / AT etc. and upped the RPE to 256 (probably overboard) and SBR to 96.

    There must be a better way, as it's almost impossible to predict what settings to use that doesn't cause flickering, but also doesn't choke the cache with a bazillion sample points further down the animation, without doing a full render of the whole thing to check.

    I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that Animated Cache is just soooooo picky about having the right settings that it's simply not worth bothering with, might as well bite the bullet and just use slooooooooooooow non-interp MC rendering.

    And I was just starting to like LightWave again.
    Last edited by Matt; 09-23-2015 at 12:42 PM.
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  10. #10
    Pixel and Poly Pusher JeffrySG's Avatar
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    I don't have any info for you, Matt but I'm eagerly following this thread. I'm very curious to read what solution you end up using. I hope there is a good solution whichever way you end up going.

  11. #11
    Valiant NewTeKnight Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalodon View Post
    Same here. I would love the Newtek boys/girls to come in here and explain/provide answers. It would be a BIG help. I won't be ready for animating for about two months, but it would certainly be nice to have a great place to start BEFORE I get to that point.
    That's the thing though, I get what the settings are doing and roughly how they work, thanks to Tom (Exception).

    I was hoping for peoples thoughts on strategies for getting to that 'magic setting' fast, and without a ton of test renders that never quite work out (i.e. too much wasted time, something I have little of these days)

    I have my strategy for stills, but animation, especially with reasonably smooth, flickerless GI STILL seems to be the holy grail in LightWave.

    Not saying it's impossible, Mark did wonders with the GI, it's just when you want to animate it! It seems to be very frustrating getting there, especially when you try almost everything and are none better of at the end of it.
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  12. #12
    Valiant NewTeKnight Matt's Avatar
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    I think deforming geometry is another matter, I'm just trying to get something that looks good with 'normal' moving geometry.
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  13. #13
    Call me a naive fool, but It would be very straightforward to write each GO frame to a cache, which, then, at the end of the sequence this cache is analysed, to detect generalised true lighting shifts, and eliminate blotchy, one-frame-wonder flashes due to the interpolation.
    Then this cache is post processed to smooth it all out and the post processed one is used in the actual render. this would work for deformation and everything.

    Thats what I would do if I were in charge.. in fact, I'm sure if you baked the whole scene out to image maps, you could pretty much replicate this procedure in a compositing program.

    But yet they faff about with sticking sampling points to geometry and such things.
    http://www.newtek.com/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=18493&dateline=130857  4707

  14. #14
    Yes, why is it so complicated to get a fast GI solution for any situation? Does AC need to look that far between the frames, can the GI rays that fire be locked to the location (like baking) until object postions passes into that ray. Or some type of blending of pixels or rays? What about how game engins do rendering tricks, can some type of real-time tech render engin be part of LW's GI solution? A more low level faked solution?

    Looking forward to another fourm about LW GI.

  15. #15
    Super Member geo_n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    It's the robot arm one I'm doing:

    http://forums.newtek.com/showthread....747#post893747

    I messed with the settings (A LOT) last night again, which did get further than my previous attempt and seemed to be maintaining a reasonable render time (e.g. it wasn't on 1.5hrs / frame from the original 7mins / frame!)

    But I quickly (using QuickTime Pro player's load image sequence) built the rendered frames to see flickering, a big shift in light change, which was unacceptable, so I killed the render and cleared the cache (AGAIN).

    Left the changes I made to AA / AT etc. and upped the RPE to 256 (probably overboard) and SBR to 96.

    There must be a better way, as it's almost impossible to predict what settings to use that doesn't cause flickering, but also doesn't choke the cache with a bazillion sample points further down the animation, without doing a full render of the whole thing to check.

    I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that Animated Cache is just soooooo picky about having the right settings that it's simply not worth bothering with, might as well bite the bullet and just use slooooooooooooow non-interp MC rendering.

    And I was just starting to like LightWave again.
    Curious why did you go with AC on that situation. Its a single object with no surrounding model. I think BG radiosity is faster and easier which is lw strength up to now.
    I think AC will be much more useful for Isolated objects in an enclosed space where BG radiosity can't be used.
    Last edited by Matt; 09-23-2015 at 12:42 PM.

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