Green Rascal Design

 
 
This is just to show some fog trials:
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dense fog
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daylight
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no fog
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trial composite of all three
We'll talk about this some today and more in the next phase of class.
 
 
Going over my notes makes me realize how much lighting and rendering stuff we need to cover still. One thing I realize is that while I encourage the use of Mental Ray and its fancy materials, the Default Scanline does have some fancy options too. So later today I'll present Radiosity. I can already hear the groans.

In the meantime, there are some random things I have been trying to remember how to do that I'll put up here. Most notably, the displace modifier.
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Here I have a plane of no particular size. Also, I need to point out something I missed earlier. Under Customize > Preferences, check the box that says Use Real-World Texture Coordinates. Often I've said to make sure objects are using real-world coordinates, and this setting under preferences should cover it. It is a good thing to check up on when things go awry, but doing this step will help. Back to my plane, I have changed the Length and Width Segments to 100. You can see in the top view behind the preferences box how dense the plane looks in wireframe.

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Now I add the Displace modifier to the plane, select a bitmap, and pull the strength up. Here you can see I used my LEED AP badge with a strength of 9 inches. I haven't changed any other parameters yet.

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Here I have added a very slight blur to make it softer. If my bitmap were very intricate this would probably not be a great idea, but this bitmap is huge and pixellated, so I want it softer. Also, if I try different Map modes, and then go back to Planar, it becomes more square. I'm not sure why it did this. Sometimes accidents are great, and in this case it works. But just be aware that your bitmap can change size if you go from planar to shrink wrap and back for example. (This is why I advise everyone to set their Scene Undo Levels to 500 or so.)

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And if I scroll down and check Use Existing Mapping, this is what happens to this particular bitmap.

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If I changed this map to a brick, and uncheck Use Existing Mapping, here is the result. I also made the plane itself square to get rid of the flat sides. Here's also an example on a box. That's all for Displace.


 

Glass

10/26/2010

0 Comments

 
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I think the mental ray materials are awesome, but sometimes it feels like it is too difficult to control them. Seems like there's just something about Standard Architectural glass that appeals to me. Here are five panes of glass, each with a different set of parameters in their materials. I have a clear glass in the middle. Behind that is a clear red glass. Behind them is a translucent purple glass with a wave map under Translucency. The front two panes are first, a translucent purple with a transparency of 10 and an Index of Refraction (how much the light bends when it passes through) of 2.5, and second, a translucent red with a transparency of 15 and an Index of Refraction of 1.5. (1.5 is standard, but it never hurts to find out what happens when you change it.) I also have an omni inside of a translucent, but partially transparent, piece of glass, and a metal floor with a checker transparency map.

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Here is my rendering reminiscent of the 80s. Ahh, those were the days. Anyway, you can see all the stuff going on here. It's easy to manipulate how these panes of glass look with the standard parameters. And then you get to find out things like how the clear glass picks up on the colors of the translucent glass, and how changing the transparency of a translucent glass from 0 to 10 or 15 changes things. You can see how some of them cast and receive shadows better than others. Also some of them reflect their surroundings more clearly. And you can think about how the light from the fixture in the background shows through some better than others. I encourage you to set up some experiments for your materials if you're unsure how you want it to look. Experimenting like this is by far the best way to learn.

With that said, hopefully in class today we can all have a discussion about how we're doing with our materials and lighting. We haven't gone over much electrical lighting, but I think everyone is doing okay with that so far. Think about fixtures for your lights though!
 
 
Sometimes materials just work out of the box, and other times it seems impossible to get it looking right. Everybody is going to have a different set of problems, but I'll try to go over some settings that might help whatever you've got going on.
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I'm starting from scratch first of all, so you have an advantage. You're at the point where you've been working on things and have some stuff saved. Hopefully you've got Mental Ray assigned as the renderer so you have access to all the awesome materials. I covered that previously. Render Setup is a great box you should read through carefully. I like to Force 2 Sided. You shouldn't have to change anything else in Render Setup at this point. Closing the box will save the changes.

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Under Environment make sure to have Logarithmic Exposure Control on, and check the box next to Exterior Daylight. If your renderings are coming out all white, this is probably your problem. I went over Daylight previously, and unless you have absolutely no windows and are not doing any exterior renderings, you'll have to have Daylight set up along with Logarithmic Exposure Control on.

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Now, remember that problem I was having with my bump the other day? Yeah that was frustrating. See here I have applied my fieldstone to the plane, and it looks huge. So here's that fix: With the plane selected, I go to the Modifier Tab, and check the box next to Real-World Map Size. If your material is too big or too small to see, try Real-World Map Size.

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Here is the new rendering with nothing changed other than that one little check box. My next problem, as you can see, is that this stone looks awful flat. The easiest way to remedy this is to add a bump to the material. I don't know why they don't already have a bump on a material that clearly needs it, but I'll just go add it now.

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In the Material Editor, I double click on my main material. That brings up a few options, and way at the bottom is Bump. I check the box next to enable, and then click on where it says None for the Image. The Material/Map Browser pops up, and I want to select the map that is already in my scene. (if the material is not already assigned to an object it won't be that easy, so go assign it to something if you can't find the right map.) Sometimes I won't want the exact same map for my bump, like in tile or stucco or something, but these stones are very distinct and I would like the bump to coincide with them. So I double click on the map that's already in my scene, and a little thing pops up asking whether I want an instance or a copy. I'll just use a copy here. Last time I tried instance it didn't work so well.

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Here it is now. That was helpful. It doesn't look completely realistic, and if that's a problem I might try some other things later. I was thinking Displacement, but I'm having difficulty with it this morning, so we'll figure that out later.

 
 
Well I haven't been up to material stuff lately. My displacement on this ground plane isn't going well. It's not working the way I remember it, and I don't have photoshop on this computer in order to test out my theory on why it is not working. So generally, you can look at the teapot displacement and try it out on something if you like.
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choose map
Here I have selected the teapot from last week, and added the Displace modifier. It doesn't look like anything yet, but once I go down to Image: and choose a map to use, things will get more interesting. I have chosen the splash image from 3ds Max arbitrarily for the teapot.

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planar
By default Planar is the technique selected. By changing the Displacement Parameters called Strength and Decay, I can make the teapot look more like the bitmap I selected. I can also change the length and width of the bitmap to encompass more or less of the teapot. Here are examples of all the options in Map. Personally, I like Shrink Wrap.

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cylindrical
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spherical
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shrink wrap
Also, Alignment at the bottom has a big impact on how it comes out. Try selecting X, Y or Z and see what happens. Below I have Strength set to 1 or 2, decay set to 1 and blur set to 1 on the teapot. And an example of the problem I'm having with the ground plane.

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teapot displacement with blur to soften
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plane displacement not quite what I want here
 
 
Materials in 3ds Max can be quite complicated, but everybody wants to know all about them. I'll try to cover as much as I can given the time that I have this morning, and whatever is left I'll talk about in class
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The new material editor is fairly strange, but at least makes material controls more visual. There is a smaller material editor which you can also use if the new thing is not to your liking. This Compact Material Editor, listed under Rendering, is the way we used to do it. You can also access it under Modes in the Slate Material Editor.

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One person was asking how to make new materials if all the slots are taken up, and one way is here in the row under the materials there is a button called Make Material Copy. Select a close material and duplicate it using this button. If the program doesn't allow you to do it, then I suppose you just have too many materials... I could try and be funny, but you're too stressed right now. The other box I have open is the Material/Map browser (found under "Get Material" or "Standard"). In the Slate editor you have a ton more materials to browse, but you can always switch between the editors.

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Here I have double clicked on Architectural in the Material Browser. This gives me options for what type of architectural material I want. Now I can change basic things like shininess and color, and I can choose the maps they have for Special Effects. If I switch to the Slate Editor, it looks similar.

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At this point I'm realizing the school has a lot more materials loaded than I do with this brand new installation of the program. I have to change the renderer to get them because some renderers can only use so many maps. You probably don't have to do this, but to change renderers, go to Render Setup, and under the Common tab, scroll all the way down to Assign Renderer. The ... button next to Production will allow me to change to Mental Ray or whatever. After I do this, I'll have more materials options.

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After I get into Mental Ray, I can assign more complex materials from the Autodesk Material Library. Here I have a stone material. But what if I don't like the particular stone they use. I can, conceivably, change the image used. For an image map, this is easy.

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For a bump map, I was only able to do this because I have administrative permissions on my computer. In the lab you might not have this ability. Here is what I have right now, and I'm out of time so I'll have to finish up later.

 
 
Here is a recap of Daylight in 3ds Max. Any project with exterior renderings has to have a daylight system. (unless only nighttime renderings are planned) And even if you don't plan to have any exterior renderings, if you have any windows in your building, you should have a daylight system. This is easy to create, and is often used for lighting studies at multiple times of day/year.
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Logarithmic Exposure Control with the Exterior Daylight Flag is very important for making sure your renderings don't look over-expsed, or too bright. When this box pops up make sure to select yes.

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Then I click and drag somewhere in the top view. That click becomes the center of my compass, and the drag makes the compass bigger or smaller. When I let go, the sun appears. The next click places the sun. It really doesn't matter how high you make the sun. If you make it low it won't cut off light from tall models.

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Note that Daylight is different from Sunlight! You create Sunlight the same way, but it behaves differently. Daylight has time and place factors, plus the ambient sky light (that round part on top). You can tell it to be cloudy or sunny. Sunlight you just point in some direction, and it's kinda willy-nilly. Sunlight doesn't have an automatic sky. I only use Daylight. This is what they look like, for example.

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My Daylight is an arrow right now, and in class you might remember it looked like a sea urchin. The difference is the type of Sunlight. I created a standard system, and now I will change it to an IES Sun and IES Sky. I prefer IES I think because of its scientific accuracy. And then I want to set its position. Typically I use the Date, Time and Location Setup.

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Weather Data File is also useful for some applications. I would need to Load Weather Data here, but I do not have a weather data file. Those can be found online, but very rarely have I had to do it. This is just an FYI.

The only other thing I would do now is use the tiny grip on the right to scroll down to IES Sky Parameters and change Coverage to Partly Cloudy. If I was doing some real intense studies I'd leave it clear, but I like how Partly Cloudy looks. You can be the judge of course. Fancy things can be done with the Sky Color, and above in Sun Parameters with the Sun Intensity and Color, but that can generally wait until final renderings are coming out in need of something.
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partly cloudy
Here is a teapot and a plane. Always use a plane under your model if you have no other ground surface. The sunlight looks a lot more realistic with a plane because of the extra light bouncing up off the ground onto the model. Anyway, there is the teapot with a plane under Partly Cloudy conditions, and the teapot with a plane under Clear conditions so you can see the differences. And those are the basics of Daylight.

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clear
 
 
Briefly I wanted to review exporting to discuss the concept of polygons and build on what we talked about in class. Complex forms require more polygons for the sake of not only their geometry but also how lighting will effect them.
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Here is my ceiling, which I am exporting with a medium level of detail. See how the polygons become very complicated at areas of intense curvature, including my light holes, for lack of a better term. I wasn't thinking about this when I created my ceiling, but now I find that I might have to remake it because the holes are such a mess.

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This is how the ceiling looks when all I do is import it using standard settings. See the black patches. This is an example of what rushing through things does.

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Also, just so everyone is aware, somehow using my standard settings meant that each polygon enters 3ds Max as a separate entity of sorts. See how each piece of the mesh has its own UCS. (And at the top you can see my computer crapping out too.) I'll have to go back and see what I can do about all of these artifacts.

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I recreated the curvy surface and extruded it up, and I'm leaving out the holes this time. Here I'm exporting the object with the polygon slider moved up two notches. These polygons look like they might be more manageable, so I'll give this a try.

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Perhaps this time when I import I'll Derive AutoCAD Primitives by One Object, Use Extrude modifier to represent thickness, and uncheck Create one scene object for each AutoCAD Architecture one. I'm also making sure my Curve steps are up high and my Maximum surface derivation for 3D solids is down around maybe .5 instead of 1. And for Texture mapping, I think I'll try No mapping coordinates. This might mess up any material maps I might want to apply in the future, though. Anyway, here is what it looks like with these settings. not all that much better, but certainly different.

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I decided to make this surface a mesh in rhino, and I started by exploding the 3d object and deleting everything but the original bottom surface. Then I converted it to a mesh using the highest polygon setting. I then offset the mesh to recreate the thickness I had before.

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Here it is, perfect in every way. I'll use the lights layer from my old Rhino file to recreate the openings in 3ds Max later. Or I suppose I could have converted the surface with the holes instead.So the moral of the story is that if you give your curvy surfaces a try and they don't look right, convert them to meshes. Creating them as NURBS sure was easy, but converting them to meshes once the form is right will save you some frustration.

 
 
In class this week we're starting to work in 3ds Max. I'll bring in my curvy ceiling model, but I'm going to do it in several steps because for one thing my current trusty computer has a hard time with 3ds Max, and because I have a few different things going on. If I attempt to bring in the whole model with the level of detail it will take to render the ceiling correctly it will take me all day, and I just don't have that kinda time. I'm guessing neither do you. So here goes.
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I turned everything off but the walls, then I selected all. Then under File I chose Export Selected. I picked the AutoCAD .dwg format and hit ok. Then this little box pops up called Export AutoCAD File. Notice how my Scheme is custom? Hit Edit Schemes.

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This box is very important. Without it, my walls would export to AutoCAD as simple 3D linework. There will be no faces/surfaces/meshes/whatever. I hit New off to the right. Name a new scheme, then hit ok. Under the General tab, the first thing to do is make sure the AutoCAD Version is the newest version possible. In my case that is 2004, and it works pretty well. Next, I want to make sure it Writes Surfaces as: Meshes. Solids may also work, but absolutely do not leave it as Curves! Write Meshes as: Meshes or 3D Faces. I usually have it set as 3D Faces. And Project to plane: Don't project! I've never projected to any plane, on purpose that is.

Under the Curves tab, here are the settings I usually use. Lines become Lines. Arcs become Arcs. Polylines become Polylines. Curves become Splines. And Polycurves become Polylines with bulge arcs. I have a Maximum angle of 2.0 for Curve Tessellation. This might have to be increased when I export my curvy ceiling. And I have checked Simplify Lines & Arcs with a tolerance of 0.05. These settings work well for many things, but you might want to explore the differences at some point, especially if you have a lot of curvy objects like chairs and signs.
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exporting
When I close the Edit Schemes box and hit OK in the Export box, another little box called Polygon Mesh Options pops up. This is also a very important box. It controls the amount of detail my surfaces have when exported. Here is a preview of the default setting. For these straight rectangular walls, I can turn it down a couple notches. We can discuss the ramifications of this in class, but play with the slider and hit preview a few times to see what happens. In general the higher you go, the longer it will take to import into Max, the longer it will take to render, and the detail of your renderings will be higher. I'm exporting only the walls right now because they do not need high detail. If I exported everything at once, the level of detail it would take to render my ceiling correctly would also be applied to my walls, doors and light fixtures which would tax my computer way too much for such a small model. I'm going to turn this down to almost the lowest setting, and hit OK.

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imported walls
In 3ds Max, when I import those walls, this is what I get.

 
 
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Here I have drawn in plan my new wall of closets, and extruded them up to the height I had previously. Then I patched above the entry door as I had before.

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This looks familiar. Now here is an FYI. The patch is great for some things, but when I apply a material to it in 3ds Max, it will look disjointed. If I'm not going to render this view that won't bother me, but if I am going to see it, I had better fix it. This goes for any of your constructions. If it is big/important/going to be seen in renderings, try to fix your surfaces so they are contiguous!

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First I will explode my walls. Then I will make a new surface using corner to corner in the front view. (watch the other views to make sure it snaps to the correct points) Next I will split this new surface using the small surfaces that make up the door opening. I can then delete the disjointed surface pieces so my wall looks smooth. And I'll do the inside face of the wall too...

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split
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split
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delete
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There are three closet doors that I need to patch up too. So I drew a line across the top of the entry door and copied/rotated it over in the top view so I know where my closet doors stop.

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I created a surface in the Right view and split it using the small surfaces that make up the closet door openings. Then I can delete the old surfaces that made up that wall, and voila! It is a nice smooth wall with right-sized openings and no strange disjointed seams.

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extrude line, split
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delete then change layer
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surface, split
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delete
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Now, I don't have to do the insides of the closets, but since I'm so darn picky I will. Create a surface in the Right view, closely watching the Perspective and Top views to make sure the thing snaps where it should. Then split it using those same small surfaces as before. Repeat, repeat. Done. That wasn't so much work. Also, FYI, I don't think I will re-join the walls together unless I find Max has a problem with them. I think they will look better unjoined.

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done with walls