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Final V-Ray Tuner for V-Ray 2.4 Posted on Creative Crash – Includes Presets Feature

Someone requested my handy V-Ray Tuner Presets setting feature for the soon-to-be-outdated V-Ray Tuner for V-Ray 2.4 so I added that feature to the 2.4-compatible version that’s on Creative Crash. This will be the last update to V-Ray Tuner for V-Ray 2.4 so be sure to grab it now if you’ll be sticking with that version for a while. If you haven’t seen the V-Ray Tuner Presets in action, here is a rundown of why it’s handy, from the changelog:

Added V-Ray Tuner Presets manager for render settings in the Render menu. This is a nice way to create render presets that don’t affect EVERYTHING like Maya’s render presets do. This only affects the toggles you see represented in the V-Ray Tuner interface, so you can use a universal “Draft” setting for different resolution documents and click the load for final render settings that you prefer and only have the relevant quality features changed.

Here it is in a workflow:

Otherwise, if you’re using the V-Ray 3.0 betas, be sure to check out the awesome GGX-based BRDF that’s been added to the V-Ray 3.0 release candidate:

If you want to read up on GGX, there are good examples by a talented coder who wrote his own GGX shader here – he sums up GGX like this:

    "Ggx is a microfacet model which is very successful for modeling light reflection from surfaces. In other words it’s a shader like Blinn but 10x more awesome."

It is very good for use with more accurate metals.

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Random photo. Going to start posting more of these.

Random photo. Going to start posting more of these.

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Tip on Transferring Your Maya for Windows or Linux Prefs to Mac

I saw this question on CGSociety so I thought I’d post a tip on how to get your Mac Maya set up with prefs from your Windows or Linux machine, without any stability problems – but this also prevents you from starting from scratch, since we all have pretty honed tweaks and scripts.

99.9% of your downloaded MEL and Python scripts will work so you can copy those directly over to OS X without worry but you should start with clean prefs (default preferences on new launch) and then copy your various settings, shelves, icons, etc. from Windows/Linux to /Users/beige/Library/Preferences/Autodesk/maya/2015-x64 for example. Your shelves and attribute prefs will all work (given they don’t rely on plug-ins that are missing) but I wouldn’t copy these files from Windows/Linux to Mac (or vice versa):

userPrefs.mel

This is the file that is almost always the culprit when you experience stability problems so you should never copy it.

userHotkeys.mel
userNamedCommands.mel
userRunTimeCommands.mel

The Mac version of Maya has support for command, alt/option and control keys where Windows and Linux only have options for the control and alt keys, so you don’t want to copy those OS keyboard-specific setting files over. You lose some time there remaking them but at least you get an extra modifier key to work with on OS X. If you are feeling particularly resourceful, you could probably write a script to translate one file to another and just remap control keys to command. I don’t recommend using control for your modifiers because OS X has a lot of Unix-type bindings for things like home (control-a), end (control-e) and control-d (forward delete) in the Script Editor or text fields, so you want to keep those for text editing. Plus, the control key is more awkward to hit as a modifier than the command key is – it’s under your thumb, so it makes a nice pivot.

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V-Ray Tuner 4 Beta for V-Ray 3.0 – Come and Get It

After returning from a very good SIGGRAPH, I’ve found some time to put up the latest version of V-Ray Tuner that has been cooking for the last number of months. I have been beta testing V-Ray 3.0 and I’ve added a lot of features that should cover the 3.0 user well from the beta to the release versions and beyond. Grab it here.

Warning: V-Ray 3.6 was the last version to support versions of V-Ray 2.x so it’s possible that you can get errors if you use it with version 2.4. Some of the features use things like V-Ray’s query options that are 3.0 only:

So, here are some of the additions to V-Ray Tuner 4 that I think will be well liked by V-Ray 3.0 beta and release users:

  • Use Environment Volume toggle added to new row of checkbox toggles to enable/disable environment fog. Great for speeding up your scene/material building and draft rendering since you don’t always want fog slowing you down.
  • Use Embree toggle added to new row of checkbox toggles. Embree is Intel’s CPU ray tracing optimization kernel that is used in V-Ray 3.0 (and RenderMan 19). If you have an Intel-based CPU, regardless of host OS, it should always be on to get the fastest render times.
  • Optimize script enables Embree if V-Ray version is 3 or above.
  • Transfer Missing Assets for DR toggle added to new row of checkbox toggles. This is the awesome new V-Ray 3.0 feature that does texture transfers in the background between Mac OS, Windows and Linux without having to use SAMBA and URL translation type fixes.
  • Use Local Machine for DR toggle added to new row of checkbox toggles. Good if you’re using a laptop with faster machines as your slave workhorses.
  • Use Cached Assets toggle added to new row of checkbox toggles. Use this if you use distributed rendering since it will save uploading assets again. I’ve tested it extensively and the caching is now bulletproof at detecting asset changes.

See all those new things above in action here:

Another cool feature that I think will save people a lot of time:

  • Added V-Ray Tuner Presets manager for render settings in the Render menu. This is a nice way to create render presets that don’t affect EVERYTHING like Maya’s render presets do. This only affects the toggles you see represented in the V-Ray Tuner interface, so you can use a universal “Draft” setting for different resolution documents and click the load for final render settings that you prefer and only have the relevant quality features changed:

  • Toggle Object Sub-texture as Diffuse script now supports all material types.
  • Organized Materials menu into submenus for clearer outline of features and to take up less space.
  • Light Cache Prefilter Samples added to sliders.
  • Added a couple sliders to new Global Material/Light Tweaks section to do a single change to all reflection subdivs and light subdivs for quick switches from draft to final settings:
  • Added CUDA option to RT menu.
  • Added RT max noise slider to V-Ray RT sliders.
  • Wrap in VRayMtlWrapper added to Materials menu. Good for making mats that need to be matte bases. Select your mesh and then run the script.
  • Added prompt to LWFMe to see if you will manually linearize your textures and swatches. If you pick Yes, it does everything except enable “Linear Workflow” which is the dumb way to do automatic linear worklows and isn’t recommended for use with V-Ray anyway. Basically, always click Yes and manually linearize your nodes unless you are using newer Maya versions with automatic colour management (2015 extension and later). I’ll eventually remove the LWF setting altogether in the V-Ray Tuner UI but it’s good to see that it’s always off while you work.
  • Small fix to deGamma script to work with V-Ray mat display in viewport 2.
  • Three point lighter script added to Utils menu. Just adds three V-Ray Rect Lights to your scene around the object selected so you can get a basic three-point light setup. Groups the lights so you can scale and move them easily.

Anyway, enjoy and I’ll post the final on Creative Crash once V-Ray 3.0 is released.

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A Quick Rundown to Using XGen with V-Ray 3.0 and Maya 2015+

I finally got around to really testing XGen with the V-Ray 3.0 beta and it works great. After a brief snag, I discovered that you have to have XGen and all the V-Ray plug-in components set to auto-load in Maya’s plug-in preferences to get everything to work right. Considering how finicky auto-load can be in Maya, maybe look into using my tip from 101 Autodesk Maya Tips to force load plug-ins with a text edit to userSetup.mel. So, with everything loaded correctly, I did a quick little test and it’s working great. There is too much in XGen to cover in one little blog post and the the V-Ray 3.0 XGen docs online cover some other V-Ray specific things, but here is a fast walkthrough to show how you might use it for a simple hair setup in Maya:

The end result there reminds me of the Fred Smith Alva skateboard from the eighties (yes, I’m that old):

Anyway, great to see the progress being made for Maya-specific tools and V-Ray. The 3.0 release is going to be pretty huge.

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Happy Indy Pen Dance Day – Here’s a Gift: An Accurate Sand Shader for V-Ray and mental ray for Maya

I’m waiting to move into my new place in San Francisco tomorrow and noticed that someone asked me on Twitter if I could share this sand shader that I made for some of my Turbosquid assets. So I figured, “why not?,” so here is a download for both procedural shaders for Maya (V-Ray and mental ray):

Sand Shaders Download

Here’s a preview of what they look like:

Enjoy. And may Will Smith save all your nations by injecting a VBScript virus into the gooey organic innards of an invading alien race’s mother ship.

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Stretchmesh Updated for Maya 2015 – OS X and Windows

I tried to compile this a while back but couldn’t get it to build but someone else took the time to get it working, so here is the link to download:

Mac OS X

Windows

You can get the source here:

https://code.google.com/p/stretchmesh/

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moore-ima asked: Maya on Mac – is there a way for the Maya dialog to recognize my second internal drive? I have a primary drive for OS and apps, then a secondary drive for files. I can switch to OS native dialog to do it, but curious why it doesn't show up in Maya dialog.

Maya’s Qt (default) dialog has some odd behaviors so I always use the OS dialog. If you want to switch back and forth between the Qt style one and the native OS one, I made a script that I put in my shelf:

int $dialogStyler = (!(`optionVar -q FileDialogStyle`)); optionVar -iv FileDialogStyle $dialogStyler; if ($dialogStyler == 1) { print "Dialogs set to OS Style"; } else { print "Dialogs set to Qt Style"; }

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davidvantwestende asked: Hi Dave, I'm a big fan of your blog and of your jaw dropping work and have a quick question about Windows on the 2013 (newest) Mac Pro. I am installing Parallels Desktop Enterprise and was wondering if it works well with Windows 64 bits version to run 3DsMax or I should go with Windows 8 64 bits? I am just using 3DsMax for model conversions. Hope you have the time to get me on my way! Best from Holland!!!

Thanks for the kind words. I use Parallels Desktop Enterprise with Windows 7 64-bit and it works great with Max – also for stock model conversions and stuff. I’m sure Win 8.x would be fine as well.

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renatomarques asked: Hey! I was wondering if you know if Vray supports open cl for mac. Using this way vray rt. Or if there is any other render that takes advantage of the 2 graphics card on the new mac pro. Thanks in advanced!

Hi, unfortunately V-Ray RT’s OpenCL mode has issues on AMD hardware on all platforms. It’s not just a Mac issue, actually. The good news is that the new progressive renderer tech in V-Ray 3 is not GPU-based so everyone will be able to use it, regardless of their hardware. As for other GPU renderers, there are a bunch out there and I just read that Redshift is coming out with a Mac OS X / OpenCL version in the future as well. Hopefully we’ll see that at SIGGRAPH or something soon. But I’m a big V-Ray fan so I just use the distributed rendering with the 3.0 beta’s progressive software renderer.

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