The Art of Constructive Solid Geometry in Bryce or “Bryce Origami”

Posts: 0
edited June 2012

Hello all

The ramblings below were prompted by the response from Rashad in my previous thread.

Constructive Solid Geometry [CSG] was developed for industrial design and engineering representation. It is a quite old form of computer aided creation and representation of 3D objects [ i am not sure, but it has probably been around for 30 years]. The idea is that objects are usually manufactured by casting, extruding or machining and they can be built up from simple geometric objects called primitives. These primitives can be combined using Boolean Set Operators and Linear Transformations. An object is stored as a “tree” structure. The “leaves” contain simple primitives and the nodes store Linear Transformations and Boolean Set Operators. In the more advanced 3D graphics applications, the objects can be nested so that each “leaf” can itself be a “tree”. Bryce is one of the most advanced implementations of CSG available to artists at a very low price and it is capable of nested CSG!!!

Interestingly Bryce has survived as a viable means of modelling in Constructive Solid Geometry to this day.

I am here going to discuss only CSG in Bryce and not the other 2 modelling methods inherent in the “Bryce Modeller” (Metaballs and Displacement Modelling). Most 3D applications are based on polygonal modelling, giving the designer/artist control over points, edges and faces [polygons]. These applications may have Boolean Set Operations in their toolkit but these are used on the polygonal mesh. When the objects are completed they are generally not editable [there are some very expensive 3D programs such as Houdini - which i have tried out - which can actually do this. But i would not recommend Houdini to Bryce artists].

Bryce does not give the designer/artist any control over points, edges and faces [except globally]. For this reason, uninformed people say that “Bryce does not have a modeller”. The Primitives of Bryce are mathematical representations of 3D Forms and not polygonal mesh objects although Bryce can convert them into polygonal mesh objects for display [coloured wireframes] and export either back into Bryce [ as with the procedural stones ] or to other graphics applications which don’t do CSG. The Primitives of Bryce come in 3 groups : the Cube and Pyramid, the Cylinder and Cone, and the Sphere and Torus. The available Linear Transformations are: changing the origin point of a solid, positioning the solid in X,Y,Z, scaling it in X,Y,Z, rotation around X,Y,Z and skewing the solid along any arbitrary axis [the last needs some help from a user supplied procedure]. Bryce also allows these operations globally, in either world or object space [these can be a bit confusing and require careful study – Bryce is not 100% consistent in their application] The Boolean Set Operators are: Union of two solids, subtraction of one solid using another, and intersection of two solids [the common-shared volume becomes the new solid]. Since Bryce also supports change over time [it is a 4D application] Boolean Morphs and Particle Systems can be created [in conjunction with other tools Bryce offers and user supplied procedures].

I must mention that quite a lot of CSG work can be done without Boolean Set Operations [BSO]. On the other hand if we combine CSG with BSO and the other two distinctly different modes of modelling which Bryce Modeller has [Metaballs and Displacement Modelling ] then we have an extremely powerful modelling system. Recently Artists such as David Robinson [ www.bambam131.com ] have taken advantage of this power, and created realistic and believable space ships, landing capsules and space stations. David Robinsons models are of immense complexity and fine detail and could not have been created in a “high-end“ 3D-Application within a reasonable period of time [one also has to include the time it takes to learn any “high-end” application compared with learning Bryce].

Although Bryce is not exactly easy to use if you want to model very complicated objects with complex compound curves, you can learn to do this in a short period of time. Bryce Modelling therefore suits people who have a particular subject matter in mind, ranging from landscapes to architecture to machinery, spacecraft, etc., etc. , [not to mention the magnificent cloudscapes of David Brinnen] and who don’t wish to learn how to model generically as a “professional 3D artist”. These people may be engineers or scientists, who only want to represent their ideas or projects/object for dissertation and communication purposes, and simply don’t have 2 years spare time to learn Lightwave3D or some other such super program with millions of parameters and dialog boxes.

For example about 10 years ago when i was working as an electrical engineer, i designed an automated testing machine for testing circuit boards. I had to convince the management to spend the huge sum of money it would cost to build it. I only had about a week to do it. So i built the complicated mechanical rig in Bryce and also made an animation of it. When Management saw what i had done they accused me of having already made this device secretly at my home and that i simply photographed and filmed it. I said no i did it in less than a week with software costing less than \$100. Some of these people were in charge of our CAD design department and we had 3D Industrial Design hardware and software costing millions [the company was then the largest manufacturer of electrical products in Australia]. They said it was “unbelievable”. But we got the funding and the equipment was constructed, and it worked as intended.

The point of the above example from real life is that credit does not belong to me but to the Bryce software. Today we must also give credit to DAZ for keeping Bryce alive! I simply recognized the right tool for the right job. At the time i was also learning Lightwave3D and became quite proficient at it. I recognized that if i had used Lightwave3D for this project, it would have taken too long to complete the demonstration art. In order to get the funding for the project i had only a very short period of time [i also had other responsibilities such as programming their automated test software].

I refer to Bryce-ONLY modelling as “Bryce Origami”. Generally people do not practice the Art of Origami to make a living. I very much doubt that people who practice Bryce-ONLY modelling get rich out of it!!! What some artists have made in Origami, starting with only a square sheet of paper, is truly remarkable. There are certain rules in Origami and generally the objects made are not imitative. In Bryce Origami it is similar. One would not imitate super-realistic humans or animals [for example as was attempted with Maya in the film “Final Fantasy....”]. If one were to build for example animated creatures using linked metaballs, they would be fantasy creatures, which convince us because of their interesting design [perhaps beautiful or terrifying], believable textures and most importantly by their realistic motion. In Bryce 4D we can achieve this. Rigging our creature for animation is harder to do than in Lightwave3D [or Carrara] but we can still do it if we wish to do it.

Like paper Origami, Bryce Origami has rules. Photoshop or any other such image editing application must not be used. 3D modelling software of any kind must not be used. All images must be created and processed in Bryce and all models must be made in Bryce. If Greyscale-to-height maps are required they must be created in Bryce. The only concession is in the assembly of animations for final display. It is permitted to use Quicktime Pro to assemble the frames or a program like Adobe Premiere.

If mesh objects are required for some purpose then the Bryce objects are converted and exported as OBJ files. They are then imported again and textured and then stored in the object library for that project. To create the mesh of a single primitive one simply changes the selected wireframe resolution to the number of segments one wants [the minimum is 8] one then duplicates the primitive and enlarges it a bit. The outer object is set to the intersect operator and the inner object to ”positive”. They are then grouped, then converted [little “c” button] and finally exported as OBJ somewhere one can find it again. Then one can delete the mess Bryce has made and import the object again. This is permissible because only Bryce is used and no other application. We don’t import it into another 3D application in order to change it [if you have Hexagon or Carrara it is always tempting to do that]. If the object is very complicated then one always retains the unconverted master either in an object library or as a file. The reason for converting to mesh may be to reduce the complexity of big models or to reduce the number native Bryce objects which Bryce may not like.

We begin Bryce Origami always at the world centre. By starting there we have a known numeric reference. Most operation require precise numeric alignment. Also for objects with circular or semicircular structure we use the principle of balance across the central rotation point by flipping a copy. When multireplicate is completed we remove all the balance objects. A pentagonal structure would end up with 10 parts and every second one must be removed. The other method is to use a linked chain which does not require a centre point.

The most imported habit to develop is to always work out how one is going to do something before one does it. It is good to doodle in Bryce but when we have an idea we want to realize to completion we spend some time planning how to do it. Usually there are many ways to do something. We visualize how the object will look when completed and all the steps required to get there. There is not much point in spending a day trying to build something only to find out it was impossible doing it that way. One then gets discouraged and ends up with the mindset of people who say “Bryce can’t model - it has no modeller”. Well the artist is an important part of Bryce Modeller!!!

The next important discipline is to name, group and colour everything. When one has a model with say 1000 primitives, it must be organized so that one can select any part of group of parts. I always use the postfix “_cut“ [cutter] to name parts that cut away from other parts. If one has only a list of Cube_1, Cube_2, Cube_3, etc., etc., then one does not know which are cutters, to be selected and moved globally [to change for instance a chamfer all around an object].

There are probably 10,000 or more distinctly different Bryce Origami techniques that one could learn and discovers. There are always new ones to discover if one pushes the limits. Bryce doodling is good way of doing that. Most times i get ideas in my head when i go for a walk and then try them out when i get back to my computer. If the object is very complex i build a simple test version to test the construction principle and give me motivation. In that process i learn new things about the structure of the object and how to make it better. I always look for ways to eliminate frustration. I try to make every step of construction enjoyable. I am doing it for my own pleasure.

I don’t use very much mathematics except when necessary. One only needs to know simple trigonometry, basic geometry and basic algebra and arithmetic. Of course the Windows calculator is indispensible. I always do all the number crunching in advance and put all the data either in a text file or in my notebook. I don’t want to be frustrated when i am building a model. There are enough things to worry about without having to maximize the calculator all the time to calculate a value.

If you are a computer wizz you can get free programs [“autoIt” is one of them] and write scripts for Bryce to make objects automatically driven from a text file in which you enter all the numeric parameters. The scripts will run and open an instance of Bryce and then automatically create objects and pump numbers in the required parameter fields, etc., etc.. Bryce has been designed to allow you to do this [you have probably noticed the annoying parameter box that always pops up in the centre of the screen]. You can then have a farm of robots working away while you do something else. I used to make animations with Bryce 2 in this way after i was driven insane putting in all the parameters by hand. Now that i am retired i don’t use scripts any more. It is too much messing around for me now to set them up. But i would put money on it that some talented Bryce artist is doing just that right now.

When the object is completed i save, save, save. I also save at every critical stage. If one has organized the construction very well and done a similar procedure before, then the work usually goes very quickly. Normally one would not spend more than 4 hours on a very complex object. Most objects can be built in less than an hour. When the object is saved, it can be used for many purposes and many of the objects are also editable. For example a spline made of many cubes can be used to make any kind of complex curve shape. It might take many hours to make something like that but then you have a universal building block to create any shape needed. For example you can make a coil sping using only the Cube and the Torus. Once you have the object saved you can load it and operate the spring like real spring operates!!!. You can’t do that with an imported mesh spring inside of Bryce.

I don’t agree entirely that Bryce Origami is TOO time consuming, because most of the objects are re-useable and some of them even editable. The initial investment of time pays off in the long run. If one is going to build furniture for example, only one table leg needs to be created and one can thereafter edit it to change it for other pieces of furniture in the same style.

Another great advantage pertains to reflective objects with smooth complex curvature [S-curve profiles, Onion Domes, etc.]. Mesh objects are not smooth when we zoom in on the curved edges [the normals are perpendicular to the camera rays – very evident in the Bryce stones] and often the terminator also reveals the polygon structure which soft shadows may not eliminate entirely. If one wants to make a perfect bottle or vase then it can only be done [in Bryce] using CSG and BSO. It is perhaps time consuming to make such objects, and also it CAN NOT be done by lining up the parts by eye – one has to get some help from simple mathematics. However once a few of these object are made they can be squashed and stretched and used for many purposes.

Bryce Origami can be very addictive. It is not unlike being addicted to computer games. One always thinks up more and more “impossible” objects. And the more one accomplishes, the more daring one becomes.

I should stress that Bryce offers some automated help. The multireplicate procedure and global object space displacement being the most obvious. There are many other neat things in Bryce to help you with the work.

If members of this forum are interested i can describe some simple Bryce Origami techniques and objects – with lots of pictures of course [5 pictures 800x800 is sufficient for the illustration because 2 to 4 will fit on one picture]. Or you could direct me to how and where i should post tutorials.

I also will need to brush up on HTML.

I think that is enough for tonight i don't want to bore you with too much text. You probably won't believe me but i hate writing.

Kind regards.

Peter

Post edited by pbudarick_4a3d2ac478 on

• Posts: 5,700
edited June 2012

Wow - thank you for telling us that Bryce is a superb modeller. I've seen amazing objects made purlely in Bryce. I've attempted a thing or two now and then, but am at a very low level. Using the boolean method works best for me, I find it more intuitive then the subdivision method (or nurbs). I think this comes down to how a mind works. It hasn't occured to me that this method results in smoother objects, though I have noticed the angles from subdivision modellers. They can be smoothed in Bryce to some extent.

A tutorial about Origami techniques and objects would certainly be most welcome. Putting it in the forum has the disadvantage that it will get burried eventually, moving down as more and more topics are opened over the months. I'm not sure whether DAZ has still that tutorial section. Perhaps you find someone who would host your tutorial(s), I have several tutorials on my website, but there are also others like David Brinnen who may be ready to accomodate ane or several tutorials.

EDIT TO ADD: Your demonstration for the company just reminded me of Mekanix from Oroboros. Modelling and animation ... I recommend you have a look at this link: http://www.bryce5.com/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1627 Oroboros works and models with Bryce and he is also a forum regular here.

Post edited by Horo on
• Posts: 0
edited December 1969

Horo said:
Wow - thank you for telling us that Bryce is a superb modeller. I've seen amazing objects made purlely in Bryce. I've attempted a thing or two now and then, but am at a very low level. Using the boolean method works best for me, I find it more intuitive then the subdivision method (or nurbs). I think this comes down to how a mind works. It hasn't occured to me that this method results in smoother objects, though I have noticed the angles from subdivision modellers. They can be smoothed in Bryce to some extent.

A tutorial about Origami techniques and objects would certainly be most welcome. Putting it in the forum has the disadvantage that it will get burried eventually, moving down as more and more topics are opened over the months. I'm not sure whether DAZ has still that tutorial section. Perhaps you find someone who would host your tutorial(s), I have several tutorials on my website, but there are also others like David Brinnen who may be ready to accomodate ane or several tutorials.

EDIT TO ADD: Your demonstration for the company just reminded me of Mekanix from Oroboros. Modelling and animation ... I recommend you have a look at this link: http://www.bryce5.com/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1627 Oroboros works and models with Bryce and he is also a forum regular here.

Hello Horo,

Well Bryce IS a a superb modeller and not because i say so. It just needs a little help from the artist. It is however ruthless in exposing the artist who is not capable or lazy or does not understand. Yes you and i know what they did during the Kai Krause days and what some of those artists did [not to mention the dangerous things the genius programmers did which the DAZ software engineers now have to suffer]. Those were great days Horo. The idea of making a great 3D program based on well established solid modelling methodology but one that requires a lot of procedural input from the artist, is something i liked then and still like today. You remember Bill Munns and his 7 wonders?

You write: "I've attempted a thing or two now and then, but am at a very low level." That is rubbish Horo! >>Mensch mach mich doch nicht fertig!<< You are a very great Bryce artist, teacher and investigator. I know because i have recently collected and listened to all your tutorials and i have been to your website. Oh yes i have looked into all of your website! Many different interesting subjects.</p>

Thank you very much for all the research you have done and the information you have shared with all of us. And remember we all have limited time in our lives and can't do everything. I for instance have to care for my disabled mother and therefore don't have the time to do the great Bryce scenes i have in my mind.

There are so many people on this forum who are very good Brycers and they share their knowledge selflessly. I think that is a beautiful thing. We should keep that in mind and not worry too much about Bryce being bug ridden at the moment. I know that you don't worry about that but some people become obsessed with the Bryce bugs.

I too want to share because when one gets older it is >>Flicht<< [duty] to share what one knows with the young people who will carry on in the future when we are no more. That is how life is.</p>

Do you know i am a pervert? I suffer from helveticaphilia. I am building a huge G-scale model railway in my house. It is based on the Swiss prototype. mainly the RhB and MGB meter gauge systems. I know more about Switzerland than i know about Australia. When you mention the >>Teufelbruecke<< i know exactly were that is between Goeschenen and Andermatt. Well this is getting off topic so i better stop. But i am going to use Bryce to model my model railway before i build it to see how it will look.</p>

By the way i have done some experiments on my laptop and it did not crash. Huge file of compound booleans. Can you imagine an 8 hour interval to do a multireplicate!? But file saved quickly and perfectly. So apparently your advice about LAA has helped me. More test will follow and i will try to get some data organized for your inspection.

Kind regards

Peter

• Posts: 5,700
edited December 1969

Thanks Peter, you're too kind. Ah, MGB, the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn, which we call Mutter Gottes Bahn (haha). The Teufelsbrücke is not the one you think of. It's a local one, the peasants here call it so, the official name on the map is Hohe Brücke. So much for OT.

I stick with Bryce mostly because of the community. "Brycers" are a different lot. We share, we respect, we are modest. Most of what I know, I learned from others. I once had participated in another gallery/forum for some time (until the site got hacked and went down) where Bryce submissions were just tolerated (because "we are tolerant"). The main thing was another 3D program - a good one, but not good enough to permit users of it to be arrogant about those who don't use it.

Oh dear - I have the patience to wait 5 days to get a render finished, but 8 hours for a multi-replication to finish - I'm a bit over 20 meanwhile, but that much patience I have not yet mastered.

• Posts: 452
edited December 1969

Hello Peter

I would be very interested to learn a few "Bryce Origami" techniques. I am not that good with Bryce modelling, but I feel there is a potential, that I have just scratched a bit . I am afraid, I am on work now and has only the time to drop a few lines. But I hope I may put you a few questions later. Anyway thanks for your effort.

Alex

• Posts: 0
edited December 1969

Horo said:
Thanks Peter, you're too kind. Ah, MGB, the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn, which we call Mutter Gottes Bahn (haha). The Teufelsbrücke is not the one you think of. It's a local one, the peasants here call it so, the official name on the map is Hohe Brücke. So much for OT.

I stick with Bryce mostly because of the community. "Brycers" are a different lot. We share, we respect, we are modest. Most of what I know, I learned from others. I once had participated in another gallery/forum for some time (until the site got hacked and went down) where Bryce submissions were just tolerated (because "we are tolerant"). The main thing was another 3D program - a good one, but not good enough to permit users of it to be arrogant about those who don't use it.

Oh dear - I have the patience to wait 5 days to get a render finished, but 8 hours for a multi-replication to finish - I'm a bit over 20 meanwhile, but that much patience I have not yet mastered.

Hello Horo,

Yes i believe you - Brycers DO share and respect. I have avoided forums for about a decade because of all the primadonnas who use the internet to boost the failing fantasies of themselves and then abuse people like me who fuction as some sort of mirror for them.

Great masters like yourself, David Brinnen, Rashad Carter et al. - many others i have not even yet had time to get to know and thank - make this forum a wonderful experience.

I understand what you mean about having learned from others. I see it in exactly the same way.

Na Ya Switzerland has many "devil bridges".

I hope to come to Switzerland again in 2017 for the opening ceremony of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. If that is possible i may be able to meet up with you. But we will see.

Kind regards from South Australia were we were hit by two tornadoes this morning. But we are OK and no one was killed.

Peter

• Posts: 5,700
edited December 1969

In 2017 I will have enjoyed retirement for a few years already. Australia - I have my ex-sister and her family in the environs of Sidney.

• Posts: 0
edited December 1969

Horo said:
In 2017 I will have enjoyed retirement for a few years already. Australia - I have my ex-sister and her family in the environs of Sidney.

Ah ha. Are you going to get deeply into Bryce when you retire?

Well now i am going to try an experiment.

I am going to try and attach a SWF file rather than a JPG

Sob, sob, "The filetype you are attempting to upload is not allowed."

Na Ya, that is life.

kind regards

Peter

• Posts: 0
edited June 2012

Hello Peter

I would be very interested to learn a few "Bryce Origami" techniques. I am not that good with Bryce modelling, but I feel there is a potential, that I have just scratched a bit . I am afraid, I am on work now and has only the time to drop a few lines. But I hope I may put you a few questions later. Anyway thanks for your effort.

Alex

Hello Alex.

I am not that good with Bryce modelling either that is why i began Bryce Origami.

It is like, if one is not very good at something then one tries to train oneself to be better. I have tried to do that and continue to do so.

Certainly there is potential - enormous potential in Bryce Modeller but it is not known in the "modern world" were everyone seeks instant gratification - including me. Bryce gives you instant gratification. Lightwave3D and many other expensive "high end" programs do not.

Certainly put question to me and to others such as Horo and Rashad, when you are ready.

But i must say [even warn perhaps], that to be productive with Bryce and to produce outstanding art in the process, takes a LOT of time. It is a bit like carving a sculpture out of marble. You may have the genius of vision, but, you will have to put in the sweat and toil to release the perfect form out of the block of stone.

Well soon i intend to post a tutorial on Bryce Splines. But i won't post it until i am happy with it [ the presentation] and after i have researched what other artists have done in that domain.

Kind regards

Peter.

Post edited by pbudarick_4a3d2ac478 on
• Posts: 1,545
edited December 1969

Peter, are you familiar with a Bryce artist named PIXI? Here is a link to his stuff over at Bryce 5.com. This guy really has his Bryce modeling skills on point.
http://www.bryce5.com/search.php?search_user=PiXi

To pull this sort of complex modeling off he uses trigonometry, and a bit of calculus as well. If one ever plans to animate they may find themselves in need of a few calculus principles.

Okay, for the fun of it I will play a bit of devil's advocate about booleans.

Inverted Normals
Booleans in Bryce 6 and earlier often ran into inverted normals problems. This would become obvious with True Ambience. Models would render black. When we got the exporting options of Bryce 6 it made it much better because we could export then reimport the model and hope that the normals would iron themselves out. This usually worked but on occasion one would have to edit the mesh in a vertex modeler to reassign the normals.

Precision.
In Bryce 6 and earlier the Attributes would only display values of 2 decimal places. For Bryce 7 they increased it to 3 decimal places. While 3 decimal places is a great improvement, if one is working with any sort of true blueprint the more accuracy the better.

I had a suspicion that many of the boolean models I had made back in the day might have gaps or holes in them where those little decimal places caused faces not to match upon closer inspection as they seemed to do so when viewed from a distance. Sure enough, I found holes now and then. So I'd say Bryce 7 has a benefit for boolean modelers in that vein.

Re-Sell
So there was a time when Bryce was nothing more than a hobby. It circulated in circles of newbies with no real concern for professionalism. Then people started sites like Daz3d, content driven sites that promote sales. In this case the target audience is still newbies and hobbyists, but with a few semi professionals to help make content. I remember several years ago there was a wonderfully and realistically modeled motorcycle someone had made in Bryce 100% boolean operations and had put it into the Daz store. There was a complaint thread about it, that the model was unstable, that altering materials led to crashes, and some other issues including excessive polygon count and extremely slow navigation. Seemed everyone wanted their money back. In time Daz had to remove the product from the store. And even now, Daz does not accept Bryce boolean models for resell in the store. I never owned the product personally, I just remember the thread and the decision Daz reached about boolean models at the time. I admit it was a long time ago, back in the Bryce 5 days, and we all know Bryce 5 was quite stable compared to later releases. But I seriously doubt anything has changed with Daz's resell of booleans policy.

Time
Time is a relative concern for differing people. Like you said, it takes work and time. I too often say similar things. I tend to say that mediocre results are very easy to turn out with Bryce. But a great results will require planning, experimentation, and most importantly, hard work. It cannot be all fun.

But there is a bigger "time" to consider. If a user ever expects to do more with graphics than play around for fun with Bryce, the user will need to have exposure to more than just boolean modeling operations. Many people get into graphics because they like movie special effects or want to get into gaming design but have no idea where to start so they pick up an inexpensive copy of Bryce. Great, but will Bryce prepare them for the future they are going to pursue? Not always, which is a concern with the "Bryce way of doing things" that differs completely from industry standards. Isolation is not a good thing for Bryce, on the contrary, finding ways to make Bryce integrate more seamlessly in a workflow of multiple applications is the direction we should be going in. But how in terms of modeling?

Clearly, boolean modeling is the basis for most models built in most programs. I use Truespace and I still use booleans for the basic form, but use vertex editing for the details. And it is in the details that things get tricky for modelers, Bevels, rounded edges, these types of things add polish. The time it takes to create a rounded edged cube in Bryce with a cube primitive and cylinders and spheres seems like a distraction from the bigger picture of the model. Why not utilize (if it is available) a rounded cube mesh since Bryce does not have a rounded cube primitive? The resulting number of polygons will probably be less with a mesh than it would be with booleans.

In fact, I'd even be curious to see just how low in polygons Bryce can construct a rounded cube, and if a mesh could do it with a lot fewer polygons. The problem with booleans is that even though one piece may cut away from the other, the memory still holds the full geometry of each piece in the memory. So while only the visible parts can be seen, the invisible parts are still in memory.

Hmm, I think that's about all the negativity I can muster up about booleans at the moment. If I think of more I will toss them at you.

What we need are workarounds for these issues I've mentioned, so that people dont find out down the line after weeks of modeling that the item has gone corrupt. Overall, I;d say I love booleans. Here is a sample render I did years ago. Most of the shorter buildings are fillers from TrueSpace, but the larger structures are all made with Bryce booleans. I found that there was no way to get the complexity I needed with booleans, I kept running out of memory. I tried using terrains for the city grids but ran into problems. not onluy are all towers with a terrain tapered to thicken near the base, but I also was suing a ton of memory. whereas Truespace would only apply 2 polygons for the vertical side of a rectangular building, the terrain lab could assign hundreds of polygons just to make a single face. So I had to cheat a bit. I hope to revisit this scene someday with better lighting but who knows.

You really should join us over at Bryce5.com. We are a smaller group but full of Horo and Davids and Pixis!

Fun, fun!

• Posts: 5,700
edited June 2012

We should not forget to mention Army (Alan Armstrong) as a gifted Bryce modeller, who's beautiful buildings were all made in Bryce and are still in the store here http://www.daz3d.com/shop/catalogsearch/result/?q=alan+armstrong He made also other models, like spaceships, trains... He now brokers at Content Paradise "http://contentparadise.com/SearchRanked.aspx?searchText=alan armstrong" because there were some differences here. I had the honour to beta-test some of his models. Awesome!

Post edited by Horo on
• Posts: 1,545
edited December 1969

Ah yes, thanks for the reminder, Horo. I was thinking of Alan as the exception, because i know he modeled some of his stuff in Bryce, but I wasn't sure if it was all modeled in Bryce. He and I dont have the best relationship so I couldnt confirm with him. That's good to know. He did speak of having problems brokering some of his models at Daz, so there is still a great deal of truth to the notion that they are not always welcoming to Bryce made models.

Alan's stuff is really wonderful. His castles are incredible.

• Posts: 0
edited July 2012

Peter, are you familiar with a Bryce artist named PIXI? Here is a link to his stuff over at Bryce 5.com. This guy really has his Bryce modeling skills on point.
http://www.bryce5.com/search.php?search_user=PiXi

To pull this sort of complex modeling off he uses trigonometry, and a bit of calculus as well. If one ever plans to animate they may find themselves in need of a few calculus principles.

Okay, for the fun of it I will play a bit of devil's advocate about booleans.

Inverted Normals
Booleans in Bryce 6 and earlier often ran into inverted normals problems. This would become obvious with True Ambience. Models would render black. When we got the exporting options of Bryce 6 it made it much better because we could export then reimport the model and hope that the normals would iron themselves out. This usually worked but on occasion one would have to edit the mesh in a vertex modeler to reassign the normals.

Precision.
In Bryce 6 and earlier the Attributes would only display values of 2 decimal places. For Bryce 7 they increased it to 3 decimal places. While 3 decimal places is a great improvement, if one is working with any sort of true blueprint the more accuracy the better.

I had a suspicion that many of the boolean models I had made back in the day might have gaps or holes in them where those little decimal places caused faces not to match upon closer inspection as they seemed to do so when viewed from a distance. Sure enough, I found holes now and then. So I'd say Bryce 7 has a benefit for boolean modelers in that vein.

Re-Sell
So there was a time when Bryce was nothing more than a hobby. It circulated in circles of newbies with no real concern for professionalism. Then people started sites like Daz3d, content driven sites that promote sales. In this case the target audience is still newbies and hobbyists, but with a few semi professionals to help make content. I remember several years ago there was a wonderfully and realistically modeled motorcycle someone had made in Bryce 100% boolean operations and had put it into the Daz store. There was a complaint thread about it, that the model was unstable, that altering materials led to crashes, and some other issues including excessive polygon count and extremely slow navigation. Seemed everyone wanted their money back. In time Daz had to remove the product from the store. And even now, Daz does not accept Bryce boolean models for resell in the store. I never owned the product personally, I just remember the thread and the decision Daz reached about boolean models at the time. I admit it was a long time ago, back in the Bryce 5 days, and we all know Bryce 5 was quite stable compared to later releases. But I seriously doubt anything has changed with Daz's resell of booleans policy.

Time
Time is a relative concern for differing people. Like you said, it takes work and time. I too often say similar things. I tend to say that mediocre results are very easy to turn out with Bryce. But a great results will require planning, experimentation, and most importantly, hard work. It cannot be all fun.

But there is a bigger "time" to consider. If a user ever expects to do more with graphics than play around for fun with Bryce, the user will need to have exposure to more than just boolean modeling operations. Many people get into graphics because they like movie special effects or want to get into gaming design but have no idea where to start so they pick up an inexpensive copy of Bryce. Great, but will Bryce prepare them for the future they are going to pursue? Not always, which is a concern with the "Bryce way of doing things" that differs completely from industry standards. Isolation is not a good thing for Bryce, on the contrary, finding ways to make Bryce integrate more seamlessly in a workflow of multiple applications is the direction we should be going in. But how in terms of modeling?

Clearly, boolean modeling is the basis for most models built in most programs. I use Truespace and I still use booleans for the basic form, but use vertex editing for the details. And it is in the details that things get tricky for modelers, Bevels, rounded edges, these types of things add polish. The time it takes to create a rounded edged cube in Bryce with a cube primitive and cylinders and spheres seems like a distraction from the bigger picture of the model. Why not utilize (if it is available) a rounded cube mesh since Bryce does not have a rounded cube primitive? The resulting number of polygons will probably be less with a mesh than it would be with booleans.

In fact, I'd even be curious to see just how low in polygons Bryce can construct a rounded cube, and if a mesh could do it with a lot fewer polygons. The problem with booleans is that even though one piece may cut away from the other, the memory still holds the full geometry of each piece in the memory. So while only the visible parts can be seen, the invisible parts are still in memory.

Hmm, I think that's about all the negativity I can muster up about booleans at the moment. If I think of more I will toss them at you.

What we need are workarounds for these issues I've mentioned, so that people dont find out down the line after weeks of modeling that the item has gone corrupt. Overall, I;d say I love booleans. Here is a sample render I did years ago. Most of the shorter buildings are fillers from TrueSpace, but the larger structures are all made with Bryce booleans. I found that there was no way to get the complexity I needed with booleans, I kept running out of memory. I tried using terrains for the city grids but ran into problems. not onluy are all towers with a terrain tapered to thicken near the base, but I also was suing a ton of memory. whereas Truespace would only apply 2 polygons for the vertical side of a rectangular building, the terrain lab could assign hundreds of polygons just to make a single face. So I had to cheat a bit. I hope to revisit this scene someday with better lighting but who knows.

You really should join us over at Bryce5.com. We are a smaller group but full of Horo and Davids and Pixis!

Fun, fun!

I have looked at what i could find, and, i like it.

Beach_House_BBQ is impressive not because you used Bryce but because i get a believable snapshot of human interaction. How long did it take you to get that perfection? This is a magnificent piece of work and it dos not matter if you used Bryce, Poser Daz Studio or whatever. It is a quite mundane subject and does not have the fantasy-drama and Brycerian exaggeration. We immediately see that whoever created Beach_House_BBQ has a keen eye for human nature.

I also like your work with vegetation, such as the picture: Summer_Foliage. There is a beautiful fullness in the use of space leaving still empty spaces for light and diverse foliage. Although it appears random it is deliberately composed and must have taken a long time to get right and render. Your command of lighting interiors is beyond anything i have ever imagined or done. You also use relatively simple means to do so [ i like that also]. I also have got two tutorials in which you feature many good ideas. One is "minitut18_en" and the other is "minitut20_en". One is about trees and one is about lighting. Very good advice and excellent results demonstrated. Thank you for your advice about how to create large forest cover by using buried Bryce trees. That has solved a problem for me.

I really love your work. But i also love your intelligence in figuring out a problem and then trying to solve it.

Now having done what i intended to do, i will scan and analyse your post. But i still would like you to send me a link were i can see ALL your work because based on what i have been able to find you must have done much more beautiful work than i have been able to find thus far.

“Peter, are you familiar with a Bryce artist named PIXI? Here is a link to his stuff over at Bryce 5.com. This guy really has his Bryce modeling skills on point.”

(1) Using the URL you gave me I have spent some time looking at PIXI’s work. I like it very much. The person must have spent a lot of time to build each model. Great work! But that is what i would expect since Bryce has a great modeller. Only i don’t like PIXI’s locomotive model. My hobby is model railways and i am going to build some models and environments using Bryce before i build my railway in reality [inside my home]. PIXI’s model of the locomotive is not as good as it could be. I suppose i am a bit sensitive when it comes to anything to do with railways. But the other models PIXI has made are excellent. PIXI has won my admiration.

(2) Calculus
You can’t apply a “bit of calculus as well” to the Bryce Modeller directly because there is no pluggin to do that! You can however use calculus to produce text files of parameters which can then be entered by hand into parameter fields, or by running a script as i have already described [and done]. It depends on how far one is willing to go and what kind of end result is required. For instance, if one wanted to design the form of a new motor car [which would have very complex curvature in 3 dimensions], on could use Greyscale-to-High maps to make the panels for the body. This could be done entirely within Bryce. You could use Calculus to obtain the correct value of ambient grey for each micro-square which will become a large displacement map. You would need an X x Y array of micro-squares [Bryce Picture Objects scaled down very small ] and then after editing each square, render the whole thing with a bit of DOF to blur it slightly. This takes a long time to render! Then the file is exported and then imported again into the Displacement modeller [Terrain Editor]. If you wanted a shiny car body it would need further processing using certain procedures i don’t have time to go into now.

(3) “If one ever plans to animate they may find themselves in need of a few calculus principles.”
Yes that is right Rashad. Could also be applied to my Bryce Splines [soon a tutorial on that]. But the same sort of considerations apply as in (2) above. I am mainly interested in animation in the long run but have restrained myself for some time in order to learn the “basics”.

(4) Inverted Normals.
“Booleans in Bryce 6 and earlier often ran into inverted normals problems. This would become obvious with True Ambience. Models would render black. When we got the exporting options of Bryce 6 it made it much better because we could export then reimport the model and hope that the normals would iron themselves out. This usually worked but on occasion one would have to edit the mesh in a vertex modeler to reassign the normals.”

Yes export and then import as OBJ is neat for many purposes. Apparently 3DS crashes Bryce 7. I, and i don’t know why. OBJ works fine and i ignore textures until i get the object back in.

I have noticed some anomalies when rendering the results of Boolean Set Operations many years ago with Bryce 4. Later i never encountered these problems you mention.

But then again i have not used TA until recently.

I have done a few experiments with Bryce 7. Since the instancing Lab does not work properly with converted "Booleans" constituted of more than one mesh [does not randomly rotate] i opened them up in Lightwave3D with the intent to weld into one object [then they will randomly rotate] and lo and behold it had inverted normals and duplicated points! I then tried to fix them in Hexagon and Carrara and found it impossible. It was only possible to fix it in Lightwave. But it was so much messing around that one may as well have made the object in Lightwave in the first place. Another problem is partitions inside the converted object which can spoil the render when you want it to be solid glass. To get around these issues i had to experiment with the right method to make a solid object such as for instance the tetrahedron [there are so many ways of doing it!]. So i do understand your point Rashad. But generally “Booleans” work fine for me.

(5) Precision.
“In Bryce 6 and earlier the Attributes would only display values of 2 decimal places. For Bryce 7 they increased it to 3 decimal places. While 3 decimal places is a great improvement, if one is working with any sort of true blueprint the more accuracy the better.”

The math engine in Bryce is not very accurate and i suppose there is some hangover from the days when the Bryce Units were a binary series. For this reason i developed X8 modelling but i stick to using the binary series numbers like 20.48, 40.96 [ i have used them a million times so i can actually remember them including some fractions] and were possible quadrature modelling. I will explain all this later when i have some time – perhaps in tutorials. I don’t trust the 3rd decimal place but i calculate it anyway. I have used Bryce in my engineering career and set it up as a decimal system. The price is you loose the native Bryce snapping to some extent. 1000 Bryce units works well for one metre and i will probably use that for my model railway. Another precision issue is the bounding box of converted meshes after export and import. You need to know the margin else you cannot dock objects precisely. There are all kinds of tricks, procedures and so on which you invent when you spend years modelling in Bryce and tearing your hair out.

I have got a few research projects going researching the “Bryce Limits”. I have started this work but will take time to complete and present to Horo. It will be interesting to know certain things. But it is very time consuming because i must test BR5, BR5.5, BR6.1 and BR7.1. I don’t have any other versions now. I have encountered an 8-hour multireplicate and i am tracking down why this happens. I wan’t to know why it takes so long.

“I had a suspicion that many of the boolean models I had made back in the day might have gaps or holes in them where those little decimal places caused faces not to match upon closer inspection as they seemed to do so when viewed from a distance. Sure enough, I found holes now and then. So I’d say Bryce 7 has a benefit for boolean modelers in that vein.”

Yes of course given the binary base. Only quadrature modelling is perfect. So long as there are no terrible seams at normal camera angles. In the past i have zoomed in to the very limit and fine tuned alignments but found it is a waste of time. And sometimes the objects will come apart after many global Linear Transformations. I found the same thing happening in the 2D vector program Freehand11 which i use to design my Railway.

Some 4D companies like Maxon of Germany offer a high precision math engine for their product [Cinima 4D 64bit]. They claim you can render a mosquito in a football stadium! I have tried their demo version [C4D v10] and use it as a benchmark to test all other programs. It is very precise, fast and stable and as easy to use as Bryce. But i don’t have the money to buy it. Now that they know they have a winner they are charging a lot of money for the complete production bundle.

Yes Rashad Bryce 7.1 is very good and considering it cost me nothing it is a treasure for me.

(6) Re-Sell
Rashad i won’t even quote what you wrote because it is absolutely true. Bryce Origami is a personal persuit and is not a commercial proposition. That is simply the reality of the world today. People do it for personal enjoyment, peer group admiration or they just want a challange to climb a mountain.

(7) Time
“Time is a relative concern for differing people. Like you said, it takes work and time. I too often say similar things. I tend to say that mediocre results are very easy to turn out with Bryce. But a great results will require planning, experimentation, and most importantly, hard work. It cannot be all fun.”

Well you can make it fun if you are not under deadline pressure from a client. But everyone has a different temperament. Some are skilful but they don’t like to do a lot of repeditive tasks. I used to hate making Bryce 2 animations until i discovered scripts to automate Bryce. The biggest problem i have is getting side tracked. You discover something and you say to yourself “what if”. Then before you know it your project has morphed into something else. You then may have accumulated a hundred files and you need to spend a lot of time weeding our what is good and relevant.

(8)
The rest of what you write is to the point and relevant. I have absolutely no argument with you about those opinions. I would always advice an aspiring young artist to purchase Cinema4D because then he or she can do anything and of course Bryce can be added to the kit. It also is not necessary to buy the full production bundle. Cinemna4D has primitives with rounded edges which are editable and much more. It renders 100 times faster than Bryce. You can load a pine tree with millions of needles and the tree will come in very quickly just with “open”! You don’t even need to specify the import file type. It is a very good program if you need to create huge scenes and don’t want crashes. If you want to get into modelling you can create anything in C4D – it not as good as Lightwave3D which arguably has the best modeller on the market but Lightwave3D is very complicated [ not a good workflow].

If you master Lightwave3D you will find Bryce-ONLY modelling comparitively easy. You can’t do anything in LIghtwave3D unless you understand what you are doing and understand the math and sometimes even calculus. That training in LW3D helps you master Bryce. But if you are going to work for a living in a compeditive market and your time is limited, then C4D is the best choice.

LW3D, like Bryce has its passionate advocates [including me], but IF you have to survive and grow as an artist only C4D will give you that winning edge. Of course Maxon are now asking big dollars for the production bundle which includes XFrog. The learning time and curve of C4D is halfway between Bryce and LW3D [as well as many other top end programs].

LW3D [like C4D] also allows you to create huge scenes without crashes. You can use Bryce to make landscape elements and import into LW3D. LW3D uses indirection. The Scene file is simply a text file [you can edit it] It contains the paths to the objects and their matrix and animation data. The size of your scene is limited only by computer memory.

The point is that there are many 3D/4D programs out there which one can learn and use. Bryce is very good [especially considering the purchase price and what you get bundled with it in content – like the David Brinnen materials] but BR7 cannot stand up in the compeditive environment we now have. NewTeck significantly dropped their price for LW3D when they found out that C4D was the new market leader. Prices for top end 3D/4D software have dropped significantly in recent times. The competition is extreme and the cost cutting ruthless.

I can understand that DAZ would not invest in making BR7 64bit and bug free. It would cost an enormous amount of money and still only command a very small market – and the price of purchasing it would also go up a lot.

The DAZ strategy is fine in my view and i have no problems with it.

You have opened my eyes Rashad! I think i will use LW3D v9 to build the simulations for my model railway layout. I can use Bryce to make the terrain elements and Carrara to make my own trees. My objective is to build the railway and not spend all my time making magnificent Bryce models. I will make some Bryce models of course, but my time is limited. I get the sense that Bryce can’t handle the immense size of my model railway layout. Too many objects and polygons.

It is rather ironic that a program that at first promises to allow you to create your own world can’t even load and save a very small scene.

Well i must end now.

“You really should join us over at Bryce5.com. We are a smaller group but full of Horo and Davids and Pixis!”

Thank you for your invitation. I will join soon - i promise.

Kind regards

Peter

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