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Topics - Kubajzz

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Anim8or Challenges / [ COMPLETE ] Challenge #20: Chain reaction
« on: August 01, 2010, 02:30:10 am »

Chain Reaction

Another animation challenge is here! The goal is to create a short animation that shows a chain reaction. One thing leads to another, you know...

Everything must be modeled and rendered in Anim8or, but you can use other software for texturing, post-production etc.

Submit a YouTube or Vimeo video in the best possible quality.

Deadline: 3 weeks (August 21st)

What will be judged: The best video wins, that's it!

Anim8or Challenges / [ COMPLETE ] Challenge #14: Sports equipment
« on: February 27, 2010, 12:53:56 pm »
Challenge #14: Sports equipment

Another round is here after the very successful "Dragon" challenge and the goal is to create a model of any sports equipment.

It can be anything you want: a tennis rocket, a formula 1 car or a bobsleigh track... Just make sure you provide a nice still render before the deadline!

Deadline: March 14th

Remember the challenge rules and post your progress, c&c, and/or final renders in this topic.

Good luck to everybody!

ASL Scripts / Copy Faces plugin
« on: January 11, 2010, 01:49:45 pm »
Yet another potentially useless little plugin...

This is where the idea came from:

If you need to duplicate a part of your mesh, select several faces and run this plugin. It does basically the same like the Detach Faces command, but it does not change the original shape.

Download link

Finished Works and Works in Progress / A very short animation...
« on: January 09, 2010, 10:52:20 am »
The Simple Machines challenge inspired me to create this short animation. I found myself too lazy to create a good, textured model for the challenge, so I started animating.

The whole thing was done in 2 hours, I spent most of the time trying to simulate physics...

Check out the video:

ASL Scripts / Universal mirroring plugin
« on: December 25, 2009, 11:00:04 pm »
Here is a little Christmas present from me ;)

As you surely know, the built-in "Mirror" command in Anim8or only works if you select a single mesh.

Would you like to be able to mirror several meshes at once? And what about mirroring spheres, cylinders and cubes? And parametric meshes! And subdivisions! And groups...

Now you can do that! Thanks to $imon, who gave me the idea to write this plugin...

The usage is quite simple. Select any number of shapes and run the script. The axis is determined from the GUI settings using these 3 buttons:
  • If the "X" button is enabled, the X axis will be used.
  • If the "X" button is disabled and the "Y" button is enabled, the Y axis will be used.
  • Otherwise the Z axis will be used.

The current version of ASL has limited capabilities when working with groups, parametric meshes and subdivisions. If you mirror a group, the result will not be grouped. Parametric meshes and subdivisions are mirrored, but the result will be converted to mesh.

The script is attached below, I hope you'll find it useful. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

Merry Christmas to all!

General Anim8or Forum / Cutting down the render time
« on: November 22, 2009, 12:55:21 pm »
Lately I've read a lot of posts about the Anim8or renderer being too slow and I thought I would post several tips on how to speed it up.

Some golf players say "There's no bad weather...just bad clothing". The same goes for the Anim8or renderer. There's no slow renderer... just wrong scene setups, wrong renderer configurations and impatient users.

Rule #1: Be patient.
This will not speed up the rendering process, but it's the most important rule. If it takes an hour or 2 to render a complex scene, there's no need to worry. If it takes a day or 2, then you should read the rest of this post.

Rule #2: Do not use the ART Raytracer unless you have to.
The good old Scanline renderer is much faster and if you do not need reflections, refractions or special shadow effects, there's no reason to use the ART Raytracer. You can also use environment maps to simulate simple reflections using the Scanline renderer. I think people forget about that...

Rule #3: Decrease the image size.
Large images take longer to render, that's not surprising. If you are not planning to use the image as your desktop background, you definitely do not need higher resolution than 1024x768. I think 800x600 is the perfect size in most cases.

Rule #4: Decrease the polygon count.
This rule is pretty obvious, but many people ignore it. Objects that are far from the camera do not need that much detail. In some cases you can replace your objects with extremely simple low-poly models without any impact on the quality of the final image. You can also fake details using textures and hide all non-visible objects.

Rule #5: Decrease texture sizes.
Before using a 1024x1024 (or even larger) texture, ask yourself: is it necessary? Good textures are the key to a good looking image, but too large textures increase the render time significantly.

Rule #6: Do not overuse bumpmaps.
Bumpmap textures have a strong impact on the render time.

Rule #7: Not all the lights in your scene have to cast shadows.
In real life every light source creates a shadow, but unfortunately shadows take very long to render. If you disable shadows for some lights, there might not be any visible difference in the final image, but the renderer performance will be much better. You can also fake some shadows using textures.

Rule #8: Decrease the RayDepth value.
Ray depth determines how many times each ray is reflected/refracted. Setting a lower value will boost up the performance of the ART Raytracer, especially if there's a lot of glass in your scene. The default value of 12 is usually more than you need, a very low value (such as 3 or 4) usually does not make any visible difference. See the image attached to this post. One of the spheres was rendered with the default RayDepth setting (12), the other one was rendered using the value of 2. Can you see any difference?

If you want to change the RayDepth value, go to the scene mode and click "Scene > Attributes...". Click "new", write "RayDepth" (without the quotes) and click "Ok". Select the "int" option and then type a number to the textbox below.

Rule #9: Decrease the number of AA samples.
Make sure you are not using more AA samples than you actually need. I always set the number of AA samples to 4 when making test renders and then I increase the value until I get what I want. If you're not using the Ambient Occluder, a value of 64 or (at most) 100 should be enough.

Rule #10: Render the AO pass separately.
The Ambient Occluder requires a very high number of AA samples (at least 144) if you want a grainyless image. When rendering the AO pass separately, all the materials are white, there are no lights, no shadows, no reflections or refractions. Therefore you can use a very high number of AA samples without having to wait for ages...
However, you'll need an advanced image editor (such as Photoshop or Gimp) to combine the AO pass with the main render.

Rule #11: Sometimes Photoshop is faster...
Post-production is a part of the process. Some special effects (such as lens flare, glowing lights etc.) can be created in Anim8or, but they increase the render time. If you have Photoshop or other advanced program, you do not need to wait for the Anim8or renderer...

Rule #12: Read rule #1 once more!

Ok, that's all. Any questions and more tips on improving the performance are welcome!

ASL Scripts / Reload Textures plugin
« on: October 26, 2009, 07:55:27 am »
It took less than 5 minutes to write this plugin... And it will save you a lot of time :)

I got this idea when working on my entry for the "Take a photo" challenge. I was working on a texture and whenever I saved a new version of the texture file, I had to open the texture editor in Anim8or, delete the texture and load it again to see my model with the new texture. That's quite annoying...

I always thought it would be cool to have a button that would just reload a texture... Well, here it is!

Install the plugin and then click "Script > ReloadTextures" to reload all the textures in your project instantly. Cube map textures will be reloaded as well.

If you have a lot of textures in the project, reloading might take a few moments. Be patient...

I might create another version of the script to reload only the textures that are used in the currently opened object. It would increase the performance considerably when working on large projects... Let me know what you think about it.

Anim8or Challenges / [ COMPLETE ] Challenge #10: Take a photo
« on: October 15, 2009, 06:40:35 am »
Take a photo

The goal of this challenge is quite simple - take a photo and then recreate the scene in Anim8or. It may not be as difficult as it seems...

Step 1: Take a photo
That's the first thing you have to do. It can be a photo of anything (as long as it doesn't violate any law or the forum rules, of course). It doesn't necessarily have to be a new one, if you have an older photo you like, feel free to use it. It is not forbidden to use a photo taken by somebody else, but you should take your own one if you can. If you use a photo taken by somebody else, don't forget to give credits to the author.

Step 2: Get modeling
Once you take the photo, you have to re-create the scene in Anim8or. Try to get all the shapes, materials and the light setup as accurate as you can so your final render and your photo are almost indistinguishable!

You don't have to set the position of all objects and the angle of camera exactly the same, more important thing is to make all the materials and the lighting look real.

How complex?
Do not choose a complex scene. In fact it's recommended to choose a very simple one (for example a pencil and a spoon lying on a table), because the goal is to make your render look real, no matter how complex it is.

Your entry
Your final entry will consist of 2 images - the photo and the rendered image. Both images must have the resolution of at least 640x480 pixels.
The image has to be rendered in Anim8or. Minor post-production editing of the final image is allowed (for example adding a DOF blur in Photoshop).

This competition ends on Sunday, November 1st

Voting will be based on the level of realism in your final render. As mentioned above, the complexity of the scene is not important!

Alright, that's probably all you need to know. You can ask questions and post your WIP renders and final entries in this topic. Good luck!

General Anim8or Forum / MOVED: stopping scripts
« on: August 12, 2009, 07:08:58 am »

ASL Scripts / Boolean operations plugin is here! (new version!)
« on: August 02, 2009, 04:45:36 am »
Ladies and gentlemen, it's here! ;D

I started working on this plugin almost a year ago in cooperation with NickE. It was originally a team project, but it soon died out.

NickE did an awful amount of work and he created a boolean operations script that almost worked, but unfortunately his script was buggy and it couldn't deal with complex shapes. That was last October... About 2 weeks ago I decided to finish this piece.

I spent the last 2 weeks working really hard and here's the result! I wrote this whole script myself, but some parts were inspired by NickE's unfinished plugin. Although he doesn't know, he helped me a lot.

This is definitely the most complex ASL script I've ever written and it's probably the largest ASL project ever... more than 1500 lines of code which is absolutely messy and unreadable :o!

Anyway, here it is! This script can deal with any shapes, as long as the shapes are closed and all the faces are flat. Texture coordinates get messed up a bit, I'm still working on it...

The script execution might take a few seconds, see the console window to watch the progress.

Be sure to read the ReadMe file... And have fun!

Edit: re-uploaded the attachment (new version of the script released)

Anim8or Challenges / [ COMPLETE ] Challenge #6: Space scene
« on: July 05, 2009, 05:23:37 pm »
Challenge #6: Space scene

The task is simple: create and render a space scene.

It can be anything you want - a detailed model of our solar system, a sci-fi spaceship fight or Neil Armstrong walking on the moon... Everything is allowed as long as it can be called a "Space scene".

You can use any software you want for minor tasks (such as texturing or post-production), but most of the modeling and the final render must be done in Anim8or.

Your final entry should be one still image. Judging will be based on the best looking Anim8or render, the one who gets the most votes wins.

Post your progress, c&c, and/or final renders in this topic!

Deadline: Monday, July 20th, 2009

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