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There are a lot of texture sites out there and I have a ton of stock images that I already use for texturing but I recently discovered texturelib.com and it is hands down the best site for textures I’ve seen. The quality and resolution of the images are great but what really stands out about their images is that they are exceptionally shot, without uneven lighting, wide-angle distortion or bad perspectives. They must be using long focal lengths and cameras mounted on remote-controlled helicopters for most of these because you just can’t shoot stuff like this without some special setup:
Anyway, I just had to spread the word because I just bought the year’s subscription for a paltry $29. Seriously, run don’t walk to get on that stuff.
Someone on CGSociety asked how to go from ZBrush Polygroups to unique coloured meshes in Maya so I thought I’d post a quick video:
Here’s the script to do the colour part:
Put it in any Maya script folder and run “uniqueColourMe”.
If you want to make your own IBL rendering of your scene for whatever reason, you might think that you need to find some special camera that has a weird fish-eye view or something but the way to do it is actually dead simple: make a sphere, make the sphere 100% reflective with no diffuse contribution (black) and bake your sphere’s texture to a 32-bit format like EXR:
A Maya polygonal sphere has the same UV setup as an IBL node so you don’t have any other work to do.
In my review of the 2013 Mac Pro, one of the biggest issue I had with the machine was the OpenGL performance and the showstopper was a set of videos that shows how bad the D700 GPUs perform with very large Maya scenes. Well, it turns out that this is due to a Maya bug – you’re surprised, I know – and there is a simple fix for Maya 2014. Just put this line in your Maya.env plain text file ( ~/Library/Preferences/Autodesk/maya/2014-x64/Maya.env):
That’s for the D700’s 6GB of VRAM. Obviously for your particular GPU, set it to whatever your GPU’s RAM is, or slightly lower if you want to be extra safe. Relaunch Maya and witness the result – a giant performance boost and near-parity with Windows performance:
Glad this was sorted out and this fix will be rolled into Maya 2015. Off to update the review…
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I am making a quick money and bonds 3D illustration for a magazine layout and thought I’d show the fast method I used for the bond scroll. Install the Bonus Tools for your version of Maya because it relies on the spiral curve that is in there.
You don’t need to use a lattice deformer to do such a simple scale operation but it’s the first thing that I reach for when I do stuff like this because it adds a layer of procedural control if I want to add divisions and extra shaping to my sub-shape. If you want to add a bit of personality and squash to your scroll, use a squash deformer:
and here is my draft render (the scene is not finalized yet):
Total time for the scroll? Like four minutes. I will probably add some translucency to the material to get more pleasing bounces inside the scroll because it’s solid currently.
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It’s possible if you’re a V-Ray user that you’re wasting time when doing distributed rendering with V-Ray light caches. A while ago, I added a modification to V-Ray Tuner that prompts you if you hit the Optimize button when using distributed rendering is enabled. It will ask for the max threads of the machine with the most threads. While the final render will always use the right amount of threads for your slave, the light cache passes should be set to the max thread count for all machines. So if you have three machines in your DR list with the following configs:
machine 1: 6 cores/12threads
machine 2: 16 cores/32 threads
machine 3: 8 cores/16 threads
You should set the light cache passes to 32. Or just enter 32 in the Optimize prompt in V-Ray Tuner. This won’t cause issues for your machines with fewer cores/threads. If you aren’t using DR, it will set the LC passes and render settings to use the max threads for your host machine, without a prompt. Some people may be avoiding the Optimize button because they don’t want it screwing with your setup or scene but it just does this minimal setup. I also hate scripts that do mystical magic to your stuff to make it faster, leaving you to guess what it’s modified. Any feature in V-Ray Tuner that deals with quality will always be very clear about what it is changing so there are no surprises.
Stay tuned to read about V-Ray Tuner 4 features. I have added a bunch of things like a Distributed Render slave manager that should save people plenty of time when dealing with networked nodes.
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I haven’t used mental ray in years and I have been doing batch renders with my V-Ray command line script that I wrote for V-Ray Tuner so I feel a little bad that I didn’t catch the incompatibility with Mavericks and Maya’s batch render application. So here is a mental ray version of my command line script that writes out a batch file that opens in the OS X Terminal and uses the Maya Render binary, not Maya batch, so it works fine with Mavericks. Just enter “commandLinerMR” in the MEL command line and it will render your current scene according to the file’s properties and animation settings length:
It also sets the thread flag to your max cores so you don’t have to configure it manually. It also works with Linux’s xterm window or Windows’ command prompt, so feel free to use it if you just want a way to view render progress in a terminal while rendering. If you want to edit the script to work with Arnold or another renderer, feel free. It’s pretty simple once you look at the code.
There’s no official word from Autodesk on when a fix is coming for the batch render and Mavericks. Hopefully there will be a service pack before 2015 is released because the new Mac Pro ships with Mavericks and that could affect a lot of Maya users.
So, every once in a while you stumble on a tip from the Maya devs that you have to share. This one will bring great happiness to legions of Maya users: the ability to set the frame range for the time slider to something other than a max of 24, which is ludicrously low unless you are an animator of Vine videos. So, get your favourite plain text editor and open your userPrefs.mel file. On Mac, it’s in ~/Library/Preferences/Autodesk/maya/2014-x64/prefs/ so find the equivalent file in your user prefs folder in Windows and Linux. Find these lines:
and, with Maya quit, change them to:
to make the timeline end at 200. Relaunch Maya and boom:
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I was looking for a plug-in or script to overwrite ZBrush saves without prompt (still haven’t found one) and found this pretty sweet plug-in that lets you hold a single modifier to change the hardness and the brush width for brushes, Photoshop style:
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As I sit here waiting for my Mac Pro to arrive so I can write my Ars Technica review, I thought I’d share a forum post I made on CGSociety. I see a lot of people looking for VFX work and Canada has seen a lot of growth in that area, in Vancouver, Toronto and, more recently in my city of Montreal (yes, despite what you’ve heard, it’s all mine). So this is a sort of cross-post from that forum:
I’m originally from Ottawa (here now for Christmas – it’s the city that never wakes) but I’ve been living in Montreal for 19 years. My friend who works as a matte painter for MPC just moved here after living in Toronto for years (she hates it) and Vancouver for a bit. She likes it a lot in Montreal and I love it for a few reasons:
Otherwise, Montreal is a quintessentially east-coast city. If you like mountains, trees, hiking, hippies and smoking tons of weed, Vancouver is for you. If you like sophisticated city life, art, culture, street festivals, book stores, vintage shops, buildings with personality and one night stands, then Montreal is for you. We still have good weed though.
So there you have it. Eat it, Toronto. Montreal for the win.
PS – Happy Jesus Stocking Festivus, one and all!
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