mcjTeleBlender:Daz Studio scenes/animations w/Blender's Cycles Engine

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  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    Big News! Subsurface scattering is coming very soon to a Blender build near you!!

    http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?286376-SSS-slated-for-release-in-2-67

    I'll be downloading the first build I can get (pre 2.67) from graphicall that has SSS so that I can experiment with my custom shader nodes and character textures.

  • TofusanTofusan Posts: 21
    edited December 1969

    Big News! Subsurface scattering is coming very soon to a Blender build near you!!

    http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?286376-SSS-slated-for-release-in-2-67

    I'll be downloading the first build I can get (pre 2.67) from graphicall that has SSS so that I can experiment with my custom shader nodes and character textures.


    It is good news. Thank you for your information. :)
  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    I've been working with my new Stonemason environments. They mostly come out of the mcjTeleBlender script ready to use. Mostly.

    This render is Backstreets. I made some material changes: Water material was changed from a diffuse/glossy mix to glass; a couple rings of vertices on a power pole were set to emission for no apparent reason, so I assigned them to the 'cable' material like all the other power poles; building skylights were also set to emission, so I changed them to a transparent/glossy mix; the street lights were set to an emission/glossy mix, so I adjusted the factor in favor of the emission an increased its strength (for night scenes). I linked in a character I used in another .blend file just so I could get a quick render out and post it here today.

    I'm kind of struggling with the brighness and contrast of my renders. I've got three monitors, and none of them are calibrated. If a render looks okay between the three of them I go ahead and post it. I'd like a little feedback from others about how things look.

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  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited March 2013

    ... a little feedback from others about how things look.

    ( i dont seem to get forum alerts by mail from this thread anymore though i seem to be subscribed )

    well lit clean and dirty dark environments are great :) in this case it would help if there was a bump map on everything, the bricks, the pavement the garage door the sidewalk -- there's free programs to generate bump maps from the diffuse-color maps , but Stonemason possibly has bump maps -- mcjTeleBlender does transfer the bump maps to Blender, it's not an option i tested very often though --- i think sometimes i had to modify the material nodes to make bump map strength easier to adjust. (maybe the bump map image has to be applied to the bump or displacement channel in Daz Studio and the strength has to be non-zero )

    Post edited by mCasual on
  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited March 2013

    Casual said:
    ... a little feedback from others about how things look.

    ( i dont seem to get forum alerts by mail from this thread anymore though i seem to be subscribed )

    well lit clean and dirty dark environments are great :) in this case it would help if there was a bump map on everything, the bricks, the pavement the garage door the sidewalk -- there's free programs to generate bump maps from the diffuse-color maps , but Stonemason possibly has bump maps -- mcjTeleBlender does transfer the bump maps to Blender, it's not an option i tested very often though --- i think sometimes i had to modify the material nodes to make bump map strength easier to adjust. (maybe the bump map image has to be applied to the bump or displacement channel in Daz Studio and the strength has to be non-zero )

    Thank you, Casual! Yes, bump and displacement can be an issue with environments. Real vertex displacement is pretty much impossible due to the low number of polygons used. I will double check whether there are bump maps included with Stonemason sets, but I don't recall seeing any. It's not too hard to fix in the Blender node editor on a per-material basis. I often connect the diffuse texture to an RGB/BW converter node and then maybe a math-multiply node to change the strength. Then I connect that to the material output displacement socket. If that doesn't look right, then I try my hand at making the texture in GIMP.

    Edit: Yes, there are bump textures and they do get set up in the nodes. What needs to be adjusted is the multiplier for the bump. It is automatically set to .003 but it may need to be set much higher, say at .100 on some objects like brick walls.

    Post edited by daveleitz on
  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited March 2013

    A way to deal with huge image textures that crash Blender-cycles-GPU

    up to now i used a batch file and imagemagick to resize a set of images ( Aiko5' and her hair )

    (this was explained in a previous post )

    i was doing this just after mcjTeleblender exported the scene and collected the maps

    just before launching the render in Blender-cycles-GPU

    something slightly faster is to resize the images only once

    copy them in a sub-folder of the Maps folder, named smallones

    and run the following batch file located in the Maps folder

    copy smallones\*.*

    note that Blender-cycles in CPU mode doesn't mind huge texture images (i think)

    Post edited by mCasual on
  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited April 2013

    First attempt with Blender Cycles SSS using a brand new build I got yesterday. For more details about this build (currently 2.66.5) and its progress, see my post above.

    I've no idea if I'm doing this right since there's no documentation that I know of on this shader. It is a surface shader, though, and not volumetric like what some people wanted. I understand that Luxrender simulates subsurface scattering by calculating volumes, and it does not really have true SSS. However, biased renderers like 3delight and Blender's original internal renderer use surface property algorithms to simulate SSS. I assume it must be faster this way, and it should be easier to set up. Cycles appears to be using this method too.

    I'm looking forward to seeing some node setups from people at Blender Artists. In the mean time, I've kept mine as simple as possible in hopes that I can learn how to better use existing texture sets from my DAZ library. For this render, I did create a very quick and simple SSS texture set to use as a factor input. I chose Sam and Sadie toon characters because I like them. From a practical point of view, though, simple toon skin shaders cut out extra detail that would slow down my learning process. I'll get to the more complicated stuff later...

    For a comparison image see my post here: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/2877/P225/#282732

    Edit: Cycles SSS video tutorial just out ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=e4390it63MU

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    Post edited by daveleitz on
  • grinch2901grinch2901 Posts: 1,040
    edited December 1969

    I'm kind of struggling with the brighness and contrast of my renders. I've got three monitors, and none of them are calibrated. If a render looks okay between the three of them I go ahead and post it. I'd like a little feedback from others about how things look.

    I think that render looks tremendous, great job. Looks like a photo, the lighting is fantastic.

    To me It seems the characters right hand appears disproportionately large. Am I mistaken?

  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited April 2013

    First attempt with Blender Cycles SSS . . . . ..

    maybe since it's path tracing they let the ray enter the surface for a given depth, example 2 mm
    then they rotate the ray 180 degrees (+/- jitter) , and have it go through the same 2 mm, and they consider the material translucent
    and they add scattering using random jitter of the ray

    actually cartoony materials may work in your favor, you can exaggerate the effect to make it more visible, and it's acceptable, since it's cartoony

    Post edited by mCasual on
  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited April 2013

    I'm kind of struggling with the brighness and contrast of my renders. I've got three monitors, and none of them are calibrated. If a render looks okay between the three of them I go ahead and post it. I'd like a little feedback from others about how things look.

    I think that render looks tremendous, great job. Looks like a photo, the lighting is fantastic.

    To me It seems the characters right hand appears disproportionately large. Am I mistaken?

    Thanks for looking! The hand does look too big. I might have accidentally scaled it up. I'll have another look at it. At the time I was focused on the lighting and environment. I just added the figure as a final step and assumed it was ok.

    Post edited by daveleitz on
  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited April 2013

    mcjTeleblender users that use GPU and have memory issues related to texture sizes

    i posted on another thread http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/19806/

    a script that lets you in 1 click switch the 200 surface textures in your scene to low-resolution ones

    and the attached image has no relation with it :)

    ( well except it was rendered with the help of mcjTeleblender )

    ( it's a teaser pic ! showing a very versatile morphable connecting plate prop
    which will be published soon, along with a robotic arm prop which you can see
    here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6JP61uCrRQ )

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    Post edited by mCasual on
  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    Casual said:
    First attempt with Blender Cycles SSS . . . . ..

    maybe since it's path tracing they let the ray enter the surface for a given depth, example 2 mm
    then they rotate the ray 180 degrees (+/- jitter) , and have it go through the same 2 mm, and they consider the material translucent
    and they add scattering using random jitter of the ray

    actually cartoony materials may work in your favor, you can exaggerate the effect to make it more visible, and it's acceptable, since it's cartoony

    I was watching a tutorial on making a realistic 3d portrait using Blender Internal.

    http://cgcookie.com/blender/2012/06/25/creating-realistic-head-blender-part-04/

    Basically, I'm doing it wrong in my Cycles setup I posted above. I can see the similarities in the SSS node and BI materials. The trick is to figure out a node group setup that does the same thing as old BI with the added effect of Cycles global illumination. I don't want to make something fancy or reinvent the wheel, so to speak. I will keep on trying and come up with something soon...

  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    Here is a scene I was working on this past weekend. It's the Elven Treehouse environment I bought in March Madness. I had to change virtually all the materials that were set up by mcjTB, unfortunately. That's a lot of work! There's five textures per material, but the script only used two or three of them. Then when it came to rendering, I had to set the transparency and bounce pretty high due to all the layers of the leaves. Still, after 12 hours of rendering and 200 samples per pixel, it has too much noise. I did post processing in GIMP and Neat Image.

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  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited April 2013

    my first Blender-Cycles Subsurface scattering test 444 samples (only 1975 faces in this scene )

    ( a daz script was used to generate the connecting-plate object )

    i embedded chrome and light cylinders to see if (simulated) light really penetrated the object, but apparently it doesn't

    it's an interesting material look, to get this scene to look more credible, i could mix in BSDF transparent or a BSDF Translucent nodes

    i used the settings from the video tutorial ... oops maybe not i think i used a general-scale of .07 instead on .27

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  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited April 2013

    Here is a scene I was working on this past weekend. It's the Elven Treehouse .....

    it's a great image i think it would look better if you composited an ambient-occlusion pass over it

    i'm far from knowledgeable about renders but i've recently been thinking i must work harder to have more shadows in my renders
    when a scene has light coming from all around we lose that -- also make sure there's highlights by adding some strong light sources.
    Other times the materials come out with poor contrast and saturation because there's too much gloss --- but i see your materials dont have that problem :)

    Post edited by mCasual on
  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    Casual said:
    Here is a scene I was working on this past weekend. It's the Elven Treehouse .....

    it's a great image i think it would look better if you composited an ambient-occlusion pass over it

    i'm far from knowledgeable about renders but i've recently been thinking i must work harder to have more shadows in my renders
    when a scene has light coming from all around we lose that -- also make sure there's highlights by adding some strong light sources.
    Other times the materials come out with poor contrast and saturation because there's too much gloss --- but i see your materials dont have that problem :)

    Nice to see you testing SSS too! There's a tutorial on BlenderDiplom.com (sp?) on how to create absorption in Cycles. It shows how to use light path and ray length to get absorbtion with translucency. That would be a good effect to combine with SSS, I think. Also, someone (I forget his name) on BlenderArtists has come up with a SSS node setup based on the Arnold Renderer skin shader. I'm going to try to figure it out...

    About my latest environment, I have been using a sun lamp and an environment texture with some ambient occlusion. I think this scene has 0.25 AO. Cycles AO gets too strong over 0.5 and kills shadows. Another thing is that no matter how strong I make the sun lamp, the scene needs a boost in contrast and brightness in post processing. It's almost like there is something with gamma settings in Blender that I do not fully understand. It's just easier to save a render and do post processing in an image editor.

    With respects to glossiness it is important to understand the ratio of diffuse and specular component in a material. It may just be my taste, but I prefer to use spec maps as factors controlling that ratio instead of adding diffuse and glossy shaders directly.

  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited December 1969

    mixing in transparency .. not really it
    maybe that's a case for volumetric tricks

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  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited April 2013

    @ Casual - It would seem that transparency and translucency are no real substitute for true volumetrics. Right now the best renderer for volumetrics that I know of is Luxrender (at least among free software sources). Although there are workarounds for Cycles, it probably won't get the volumetrics capability until 2.68 or 2.69.

    About the character with the 'big hands' in my Stonemason scene, well I had a look at the files in Blender and DS. That character is Ashley for M5. The hands really are that big. Or, I should say, they look big because the jacket that I used is a bit short for that character even though it is made for Genesis. I had a light skin Goth/Vampire texture applied, so it really stands out. Then again, maybe M5 hands need to be scaled down a few percent when used with some M5 morphs.

    In the Elven Treehouse scene, I was thinking about what you said, Casual. It didn't occur to me at first what you were getting at with respects to an AO render pass, but that would in fact be a good solution. I've been rendering AO directly in Cycles, but I'm used to how BI gives the option to set AO to 'multiply' instead of 'add.' I think Cycles just 'adds' the AO. To get the multiply effect I would have to make a separate render pass and then composite the results like you said, Casual.

    And, finally, my latest test of SSS. It is simpler this time around. There is no special SSS texture. The key settings are visible in the screen shots. In the rendered image the sun lamp is set behind the characters and pointing at the camera. Some diffuse bounce light is visible, but there is clearly some subsurface scattering going on as well. Of course, none of the clothing or hair has SSS applied in this test.

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    Post edited by daveleitz on
  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 1,632
    edited April 2013

    I downloaded the new version, and the camera position/frame is not exporting over correctly. It's been a little while since I used this. I noticed one of the new versions said it now updated the camera position. Is there something I need to change manually?

    (Not a big deal, since Blender added that lock camera to view feature a few version back...camera position is so much easier)

    Post edited by 3dOutlaw on
  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited April 2013

    3doutlaw said:
    I downloaded the new version, and the camera position/frame is not exporting over correctly. It's been a little while since I used this. I noticed one of the new versions said it now updated the camera position. Is there something I need to change manually?

    (Not a big deal, since Blender added that lock camera to view feature a few version back...camera position is so much easier)

    as shown below, ( Blender 2.66.5 with SSS ) in my case the camera is still pixel-precise
    maybe you un-check-marked mcjTeleblender's "export camera" option?

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    Post edited by mCasual on
  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 1,632
    edited April 2013

    No, it is checked. It gets close, but instead of pointing at the face/body, it is pointing at the leg.

    I am still running Blender 2.64 r51232. I will upgrade and give it another shot.

    UPDATE: Yes, 2.66a fixed it, the camera settings work correctly now!! Woohoo!! :)

    UPDATE 2: No longer working...it worked the first transfer to 2.66a, not it is back to looking at the leg. Oh well, small price to pay.

    Post edited by 3dOutlaw on
  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 1,632
    edited December 1969

    Sorry, this is a little off topic, but how do you load a preset material in Blender to something? For example, earlier in this thread, you talked about the Cornea material. You also have a material pack I wanted to try out. I cant seem to figure it out, and Google is leading me into many old version references.

  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 1,632
    edited April 2013

    BTW, I still love this method. I actually enjoy working in Blender with the materials as well! Thanks for keeping this running!

    (click here for bigger pic)

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    Post edited by 3dOutlaw on
  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited April 2013

    3doutlaw said:
    No, it is checked. It gets close, but instead of pointing at the face/body, it is pointing at the leg.

    I am still running Blender 2.64 r51232. I will upgrade and give it another shot.

    UPDATE: Yes, 2.66a fixed it, the camera settings work correctly now!! Woohoo!! :)

    UPDATE 2: No longer working...it worked the first transfer to 2.66a, not it is back to looking at the leg. Oh well, small price to pay.

    i think i know it!

    mcjTeleblender's new version needs to have the "scale" parameter set to 1%,

    ( which is the correct value since the Blender default cube is 2 meters x 2 meters )

    ( the older versions were using 2% which was wrong but worked anyway
    it was actually a case of 2 wrongs making a right )

    ( the backdoor is simply any msdos batch command, which is executed after the export and before Blender is "tele" launched )

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    Post edited by mCasual on
  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited December 1969

    3doutlaw said:
    Sorry, this is a little off topic, but how do you load a preset material in Blender to something? For example, earlier in this thread, you talked about the Cornea material. You also have a material pack I wanted to try out. I cant seem to figure it out, and Google is leading me into many old version references.

    the material library technique is explained in the section "Using and re-using a (.blend) material library " of the online manual
    ( this section may be missing from offline manuals )

    ----

    for the teleblender materials ... lets see

    it's important to click on the tiny blue arrow at the extreme right of the screen to download the zip file
    https://sites.google.com/site/mcasualsdazscripts2/mcjtbmatspack1

    here's a direct link ( direct links are practical, but they can be dangerous and they can become invalid )
    https://sites.google.com/site/mcasualsdazscripts2/mcjtbmatspack1/mcjtbmatspack1.zip?attredirects=0&d=1

  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 1,632
    edited December 1969

    Great, thanks! I will look that up, and try that scale feature.

  • edited December 1969

    Having a weird issue (Win7 x64). With Teleblender and Blender builds 2.66-3 and newer, geometry imports fine, but for every material, only diffuse nodes get created.

    I read some Blender dev docs, and some internal Blender node names were renamed in a recent version, but the old names should still be usable. Tried adjusting the names in the BlendBot python scripts to match the new ones, but with that change only lib* materials will get imported (which is better than none, but not good enough.) I really don't want to create a lib* blend for every material in a scene.

    Any ideas why this might be happening (only to me, it seems)?

  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    @3doutlaw - Nice render!

    Today's test is Bree for V5 in the Ultimo Paradiso environment. Subsurface scattering is used, but I've tried to tone it down some more. I think I need just enough SSS to get rid of the plasticy look and provide a bit of backscatter when the lighting is just right. Still a work in progress, though. Bree comes with color subsurface textures for use in DS. From what I've learned, it may be better to let the subsurface shader determine the color of scattering via radius settings. Then a 'color' input, in this case a converted gray scale image, can determine the intensity of the subsurface. There are surely better ways, but this is where I'm at now.

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  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited April 2013

    Having a weird issue (Win7 x64). With Teleblender and Blender builds 2.66-3 and newer, geometry imports fine, but for every material, only diffuse nodes get created.

    I read some Blender dev docs, and some internal Blender node names were renamed in a recent version, but the old names should still be usable. Tried adjusting the names in the BlendBot python scripts to match the new ones, but with that change only lib* materials will get imported (which is better than none, but not good enough.) I really don't want to create a lib* blend for every material in a scene.

    Any ideas why this might be happening (only to me, it seems)?

    yes i noticed there's texture image problems with the newest Blender, well actually a not-yet-released version of Blender with subsurface scattering

    so i'll investigate the matter -- first guess is that the obj importer changed

    i expect to fix it in the next 24 hours

    but i know that for some nodes i'm still using code like ....connect output[4] to input[0]
    for which i'm being punished :) i was procrastinating on rewriting this to code with names instead of numbers

    note that when you launch a render (not an animation ), mcjTeleblender produces a batch file

    if you open this batch file and remove the "-b" switch you can now use this batch file to launch Blender which will open your scene-file ... the advantage is, you get to see the error messages of the Blender console

    ok, lots of node names need to be changed .... i can now render a textured scene

    so, later today i'll post a version of the mcjBlendBot kit of script for the new Blender version

    this was rendered in Blender 2.66.5 CPU mode

    in GPU mode it crashes but i suspect it's normal since 2.66.5 is a version to demo subsurface scattering and it's a CPU only thing for now

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  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,840
    edited April 2013

    ──────────────────────────────────────────────────
    UPDATE - UPDATE - UPDATE - UPDATE - UPDATE - UPDATE - UPDATE - UPDATE -
    ──────────────────────────────────────────────────

    Only if you started using Blender 2.66.3 & up and are getting non-textured scenes

    April 7th 2013 11:42 am

    Blender Version 2.66.3 and up uses different node names, this effectively prevents proper loading of the scene

    please download the new package named mcjBlendBotForBlender2663AndUp.zip found in the attachments at mcjTeleblender's web site

    install it in the scripts/modules folder of your Blender 2.66.3 and up

    https://sites.google.com/site/mcasualsdazscripts/mcjteleblender-for-ds1-2-3-4

    ──────────────────────────────────────────────────

    Post edited by mCasual on
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