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Maya’s material previews are pretty much useless. V-Ray’s are single-threaded so they are brutally slow – how many times have you tweaked an SSS shader and waited 10 seconds for an update that doesn’t really help? This is why I designed the Material Worker Layer in V-Ray Tuner 2.6 – to give you something actually helpful to look at when previewing materials. This would ostensibly let you turn off the preview swatch rendering and never waste time again:
I just updated this feature to give the preview shapes better lighting and I have more more preview shapes available for your test material:
I also put a Distributed Rendering (DR) checkbox in the place of the “World Scale for Light Cache” (WS) toggle. I think there are a lot more people who are going to want to toggle that frequently than there are people who want to toggle WS. It works great - no more opening the Settings render panel for enabling DR, something I’m using more frequently now that my laptop is beastly. Here’s the V-Ray Tuner download link.
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Today I’m releasing a new version of V-Ray Tuner and it has a few things that should appeal to a lot of people:
Material Worker Layer
This script creates a temporary render layer with the selected V-Ray material mapped to a 1-metre sphere so you can tweak it with a basic lighting guide while evaluating it with V-Ray RT. Hit the Cleanup Elements button and the render layer and temp objects are gone:
Yes, I realize I set the IOR below 1, which is stupid but it was just to show the point of the worker layer. I will make the lighting a little more sophisticated in the next release and add options for object type and size.
Tiled Command Line Rendering
I’ve seen a few people ask for this for times when they have to render giant posters which cause memory problems. So I implemented a tiled rendering batch script that will use the command line, so you’re using as little memory as possible. It has options for two, four or nine tiles:
As you can see from the video, Photoshop’s “Load Files into Stack” script works perfectly to assemble the images. Tip: when rendering very large scenes, you should generally use Brute Force (Primary GI) and Light Cache (Secondary GI) to reduce memory usage versus Irradiance Maps.
Other small tweaks:
Added Linux support for sleep after render and Optimize button no longer changes dynamic mesh setting to static. V-Ray 2 fixed the problem with slower dynamic mesh rendering. Here’s the download link again. Enjoy and, if you find V-Ray Tuner useful and you’re looking for some Maya tips, maybe considering picking up my 101 Autodesk® Maya® Tips ebook that is getting very good reviews. This ends the mom-like guilt portion of my post.
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Grab it from the usual location on Creative Crash.
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While I wait for my ZBrush 4R2 update email and a render to finish, I figured I’d post this V-Ray Tuner 2.2 update with the recent additions. From the changelog:
Have a good weekend and to all those who are enjoying ZBrush 4R2 before me, you’re not allowed to download V-Ray Tuner because I hate you.
Some of you have probably seen me using the per-light rendering features of V-Ray Tuner, since it gives me a lot of control over a complex light setup without having to re-render, similar to Maxwell Render’s multilight feature. But, seeing it in action, you probably also thought to yourself “that seems slow and impractical for animation.” Well, I’ve finally implemented something I’ve been meaning to do to enable you to roll your exposure settings back into Maya from Nuke tweaks so that you can do a draft per-light rendering, hone your light balance and then take those exposure settings from Nuke or Photoshop and then input them to change each light’s value in Maya. Then you render a single final image that has perfect lighting. If you work on product shot type things, this workflow will save a ton of time in the long run:
In Nuke, you set the Exposure values to Stops to emulate F-stops, then adjust your exposure to make the lighting exactly as you want it and then, once you have a balance of lighting that you like, go back to Maya, select your V-Ray light and then run the Per-Light Render Exposure Tweak script from the Utilities menu and enter each exposure value into the field with the respective light selected.
As I mentioned above, it also works in Photoshop. Pick your per-light images in the File/Scripts/Load Images Into Stack dialog and they will all load into a layered document:
Set each layer to Linear Dodge (Add) and add a clipped Exposure adjustment to each (by alt clicking between the layer and the Exposure adjustment):
And the workflow is much the same as in Nuke:
That has the exact same exposure settings as the Nuke exposure and looks just like our final flat render. The cool thing about the Photoshop method is that you can flatten your Exposure tweaks into each layer and do another round of exposure edits without having to render out more per-light passes. Obviously, you need to use 32-bit renders for this to work effectively since 8- and 16-bit ones aren’t floating point and degrade with exposure edits.
I just need to update it to work with meshes and V-Ray Light Materials. Thanks go out to Will Earl who helped explain the math of the exposure conversion to me.
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I’m just putting the final touches on this 3D illustration and thought I’d show how I used the per-light rendering feature of V-Ray Tuner to render out light passes for all lights and the meshes with V-Ray Light Materials. This lets me really tweak the light contribution within Nuke (or Photoshop) for a well-honed studio lighting feel.
It also lets me add some roto tweaks to give the window reflections a more interesting reflection, instead of just white. That way I don’t spend too much time on trying to get my environment reflection to do that job.
Just have to touch up the ground and some small spots and it’s all done and ready for print. It may look lighter than it should on your screen because my monitors are set on a darker press-simulated setup (5000K white and 75cd/m^2 brightness).
I’ll be doing more talking about the other techniques used in the illustration over the next week or so.
Just posted V-Ray Tuner 2.1 update to Creative Crash. This version adds support for command line region rendering on both OS X and Windows:
This works with animation frame range settings to make it easy to render out a crop of your animation from the selected area in the Maya render view (not the VFB). That also has a “sleep computer after render” option, which now works with Windows (tested in a virtual machine here):
Sssh…he’s sleeping. The idea behind the command liner batch rendering is that you can jack up your anti-aliasing settings (without saving that to the file) for a late-night test render and have the machine sleep when done. When you wake up the machine in the morning, your region or complete render is done high-quality and you don’t have to set the scene back to draft quality anti-aliasing settings. It’s like a cheap job manager.
Other small changes:
I am working on a 3D illustration that’s going to need some separate tweaks on different elements and I do this with a colour ID pass as masks within Nuke. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to automate the process of making colour IDs for materials and added it to V-Ray Tuner. Select the objects you want to have IDs and the script divides the RGB hue spectrum into as many parts as there are selected objects (you don’t need to select objects with redundant materials) and then assigns those colours to the newly-created material colour ID:
Because the script uses the total number of selected objects to assign colour IDs, it’s best to do this operation only once. If you want to add more colour IDs to objects later, do it manually to assign a colour value you know is different from what’s been assigned already. Some scripts assign a random value on a spectrum ramp to get a similar behaviour but I prefer my method since it guarantees that the colours will be as far apart as possible. When keying out colours, you’ll have less issues that way.
I also made some small changes to other parts of V-Ray Tuner:
V-Ray Tuner now has over 2000 downloads and a rating of 4.5/5 stars. Looks like people are enjoying it. It will stay free since there are plenty of scripts out there that do a lot more for free. It’s my way of giving back to the Maya scene – my scripts folder has over 300 files in it and only about 10 of those are mine and only a few are for-pay scripts. Maya may not be perfect but it has a huge library of awesome and free tools that just can’t be matched.
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Updated V-Ray Tuner (click for download) with some little touches:
Added Shellac Me script to Materials to wrap currently selected meshes in a BlendMat / Fresnel shader for clearcoat wood/ceramic glaze type setup.
Added Send to Command Line Render/Send to Command Line Render and Sleep script to Utilities.
This is like a pseudo job manager since it sends the disk file to render with currently active values of dmcThreshold, dmcs_adaptiveAmount, dmcs_adaptiveThreshold, dmcMaxSubdivs, dmcMinSubdivs, and current resolution. Only supported on OS X currently. This is just my personal tool being shared and it will be ported to Windows eventually.
Added unlock camera script to utilities. This removes the lock for selected cameras, so they can be deleted.
Updated all menu items to accurately reflect checkbox states, where applicable.
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You can grab the updated V-Ray Tuner from it’s download page on Creative Crash.