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VOLUME USER SURVEY: New features

 
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schoenberger
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Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 3786

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:39 pm    Post subject: VOLUME USER SURVEY: New features Reply with quote

This is a small user survey about the Binary Alchemy volume shaders.
In case you are not a direct user, please forward this email to your shader artists.
If we get enought replies for the the survey and it was effective,
then it will lead into a FREE UPDATE from v3.0 to v3.x.


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3. New features
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a) Make requests!
If you have any new features requests, then please let us know.
It does not have to be an exact technical request, just something you have in mind to make your work easier.
Just describe it.
Anything you would like to create, but you don't know if it is possible.
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Holger Schönberger
Binary Alchemy - digital materialization
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lyn



Joined: 06 Apr 2005
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The biggest thing for me here would be presets. I do save presets for myself a lot but I would love to see presets from all the example stuff you have done.
I realize this may be difficult for you as everybody scenes are so different and tossing the preset in may not be the best thing for the scene, but when I use my own I get there a lot faster when setting up similar scenes in a production.

I find I have to look at the example scenes to "remember" what I did the last time I was trying to get a volume effect. It gets better the more I use them of course but, as its not every day, and more often than not on a very short schedule.
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goshone



Joined: 11 Oct 2006
Posts: 68
Location/Company/Country: hydraulx, Santa Monica

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New Feature List:

1. Simplified PT_loader. This should automatically read the cache that is set in the scene. I can't count the number of renders that look the same because I forgot to change the cache location parameter.
2. Simpler shader network. Not a big deal, but do we really need pick_alpha, or can we pipe the alpha from particle_density directly into density.
3. Other types of noise. I remember you had several noise types in beta versions of the BA_fractal4d2... what happend to them?
4. Better gradient controls. There are gradient widgets available for the UI, or can we just use a ramp??? Alpha support?
5. A better way to visualize density falloff, not only in the particle_density, but in the fractal4d2. Perhaps a gradient widget?
6. Improved metaball blending. Threshold PP would be nice, and maybe some kind of distance-based blending to acheive liquid looks (ala realflow meshing).
7. Let's go the next step with flow texture. Getting wispy smoke (cigarette smoke) is hard, and I believe the solution may lie in this feature.
8. How about some cool icons for the hypershade?

That's about it for now. I can add more when they come up. I really like the shader, tho, and I got almost the whole facility using it. We have nicknamed it "bad-ass" or "volume crack" because we can't stop dialing parameters.
8^)
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goshone



Joined: 11 Oct 2006
Posts: 68
Location/Company/Country: hydraulx, Santa Monica

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more suggestion...

How about adding the ability to pipe any per particle attr in order to control shader parameters, similar to using the particle sampler info node. Right now, there is a particle_info shader node that can only read a set list of particle attributes. It would be great if this functionality could be extended to include any PP attr. An example would be frequencyPP, to give a varying scale to particle noise independent of particle size.
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huskerdude



Joined: 23 Apr 2007
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. FR1:

I don't know whether this is a feature request or not but I could never find an easy way to 'dissolve' out a volumetric particle stream based on a simple distance parameter. What I mean by 'dissolve' is something similar to Lightwave's Hypervoxels Dissolve parameter - the opacity of the whole particle is attenuated but the area that the particle occupies remains the same.

In BA3, at the moment, the particle alpha drives the density of the particle 'ball' and as you decrease alpha the particle always tends to erode inwards i.e. shrink. At the same time, as it shrinks, the particle texture starts to lose detail so you end up with smoother and smoother blobs.

What would be great would be to 'dissolve' instead of shrink so that the smoke/steam etc. occupies the same volume but is much wispier and retains much of the texture detail.

I think what I'm saying is that as well as having gradients for the overall density of the volume driven by the particle alpha there should be controls to modulate the opacity of the whole effect based on classic particle attributes like age, distance, speed etc..

2.FR2

This one must be the hardest one to deliver but it boils down to making the texture generation controls much less abstract and much more unified. At the moment you can tweak any of: Fractal4D, Particle Density Falloff and the Density of the cloud itself. Within each of those areas small changes can have a dramatic, but linked, impact on the actual look. For example, changes to any one of the parameters on Fractal Color or Fractal Noise tabs obviously have a huge impact on the 'look' of your particle (the min max gradient controls, say). If you then start tweaking your Particle Density Falloff and the Density Shape values the look of the texture you've established in the Fractal4D shader is changed dramatically. Because all of these values are interlinked and spread across multiple nodes it can become hard to control your effect.

It would be cool to somehow a) centralise the parameters and b) come up with a more 'user friendly' set of parameters e.g. smoothness, edge smoothness, thickness etc..
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goshone



Joined: 11 Oct 2006
Posts: 68
Location/Company/Country: hydraulx, Santa Monica

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

huskerdude wrote:

What would be great would be to 'dissolve' instead of shrink so that the smoke/steam etc. occupies the same volume but is much wispier and retains much of the texture detail.

I think what I'm saying is that as well as having gradients for the overall density of the volume driven by the particle alpha there should be controls to modulate the opacity of the whole effect based on classic particle attributes like age, distance, speed etc..


I second this!

We have been having a heck of a time getting smoke to go from thick and dense to diffuse and light.
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schoenberger
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Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 3786

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I said in the other thread, the problem is solved with the new version.
It is named "density limit".

There is also a new gradient control shader.
You can pipe and attribute into that shader and the gradient is no longer build in, so you can use the Maya ramp node, which gives you much better control in Maya.

Shaders are finished, but help files and sample scenes are not done yet.
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Holger Schönberger
Binary Alchemy - digital materialization


Last edited by schoenberger on Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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rconover



Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Posts: 26
Location/Company/Country: Montreal

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

huskerdude's issues:
1. FR1
I will check this new feature out too.
This issue essentially matches my old thread/issue here:
http://www.binaryalchemy.de/forum/viewtopic.php?t=450&highlight=

2.FR2
For Holger
This is the kinda thing that benefits from an interactive shader swatch/preview-in this case a 2d one to give the user a better idea of what the noises was doing and how they look at a base level.
Both LWHV and Afterburn for Max have a 2d preview so the user can both tweak parameters but also observe animated-or time based parameters results. For example getting an idea what your animated roll and screw values really look like over time and use a slider to move through the progression.
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rconover



Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Posts: 26
Location/Company/Country: Montreal

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

goshone wrote:


3. Other types of noise. I remember you had several noise types in beta versions of the BA_fractal4d2... what happend to them?

Indeed compared to Afterburn, Hypervoxels, Houdini etc our choice seems limited to 'this or that' and thats it. This gets a big YES from me.
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Marc-Andre



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 22
Location/Company/Country: Ubisoft Montreal Canada

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember reading somewhere in this forum Holger explaining that it is possible to use these with BA_Volume:
http://www.shaders.co.uk/enhance_xsi/index.htm

I'll look for it.
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Marc-André Carbonneau
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Ubisoft Digital Arts
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schoenberger
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Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 3786

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can use all XSI shaders to texture particles. You just have to use the tetxure node from the "texture generator" section.
And you have to use the "BA Texture Coordinates" shader to create the UVW coords for the shaders.

I know that presets are missing for the fractal shader. In other applications like Lightwave you don't use a different shader, you just use the same with different settings. It is just hidden from the user.
The only completely different shader is the cell shader. Perhaps I will make a scalar version of that shader, too. Cause then you can create bubble-like shapes. (but you already could use the existing version, it is just in the other shader package)
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rconover



Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Posts: 26
Location/Company/Country: Montreal

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

schoenberger wrote:
You can use all XSI shaders to texture particles. You just have to use the tetxure node from the "texture generator" section.
And you have to use the "BA Texture Coordinates" shader to create the UVW coords for the shaders.

I would love to see another example of this. Or the thread that detailed it.
I kinda remember this from xsibase-but even a google search turns up nothing. So far plugging the above together isn't getting me anything...except maybe a crash. I would love to see an example tree.
I don't think the existing example files show this which could be a useful addition.
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schoenberger
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Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 3786

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is how the render tree would look like with the XSI rock shader:


Note: 2D shaders does not work well with 3d volumes, as you don't get a nice 3D structure. And the other 3D XSI shaders can be created with the BA shaders:

2d Shaders are:
Checkerboard, Fabric, Gradient, Grid, 2d Shader

XSI 3d shaders:
Cell = BA Cell
Flagstone = BA Cell with "Subtraction Low" setting
Fractal = BA Fractal
Marble = BA Fractal (turbulence) piped into color gradient
Rock = BA Fractal with increased contrast
Vein= BA Fractal (turbulence) with increased contrast
Wood: BA Fractal (colored version) with modulus and distortion

Shaders which require surface info/normal and cannot be used as volume shader: Cloud, Snow, Terrain
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Binary Alchemy - digital materialization
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