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David Sander

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About David Sander

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  • Birthday 05/08/1969

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    Sydney, Australia
  1. I am doing feature VFX work, which requires architectural, plus space ships, monsters, ghosts, set extensions, you name it. I have been using EI for 16 years (!!!!!!), and am still learning things. I recently invested in ZBrush and FormZ for my modelling, and while I consider myself a novice at modelling, I have determined a solid workflow between my modellers and EI to create some very interesting material indeed. Decisions about which platform, which program to use etc boils down to personal taste, combined with getting the right tool for the right job.
  2. Ah I see. It relates back to "teaching" FormZ what type of mapping to apply to particular models before exporting. Understood, and much appreciated. Yes, I'm using 7.0.2. It has an entirely dysfunctional idea of what a FACT file is, so I'm using OBJ as my export format (keeping in mind to use facetted model type only, as parametric exporting results in no geometry and a crapload of effectors once imported into EIAS). I've been using it for a little bit now, and while I have issues with some of its interface (and the vulnerability of certain processes to result in corrupted geometry very quickly), it is robust enough to handle most of my needs. The results in EIAS are pretty damn good, too.
  3. Hi folks, I'm cranking out some models using FormZ at the moment, but am finding EIAS unable to use UV space with some models. I understand FormZ itself decides what form of mapping it thinks each model warrants, but I don't know if that information comes through via OBJ or FACT exports. Either way, a simple revolved profile (e.g. the casing of an antique compass) is coming into EIAS, but the Info > Shading > Texture > Use UV Space is greyed out. FormZ's manual is as labyrinthine as it is unhelpful, and I'm not seeing anything in any of the export dialogue out of FormZ to determine texturing specifications, including telling the model it can be UV mapped. Even the texturemapping within FormZ lacks a "UV button" anywhere (not that I am texturing in FormZ, I am only using it for modelling, and having EIAS do the rest). If I have a texturemap of flecked antique metal, I want that to be undistorted no matter where on the surface of the model it features, which rules out basic cylindrical, spherical or flat mapping. UV mapping would be ideal, but it's not happening with a greyed out UV button in EIAS. Anyone had this experience before and can steer me to the magic section within FormZ or otherwise that can help? David
  4. In experimenting a little, I've found changing the Uber Shape to an appropriately sized cube with a very small Z value (instead of being a plane), has worked, and I have blank page backs after positioning the texturemap at the very centre of the cube and have Negative-Z unchecked. In future I'll give that a try to see if I can make double-sided pages of a book with one object. Hmmm... David
  5. I've got a simple scene involving a dozen basic geometric shapes, and I'm lighting the scene wholly using Global Illumination. On rendering a full res snapshot, the Calculating GI Buffer phase in Camera suddenly goes extremely slowly, and in my Mac's Activity Monitor utility, I'm seeing CPU usage maxed out. A basic scene with 604,000 polys, no lights and small textures isn't something I'm expecting to take five minutes per HD frame to render on a machine with 32Gb RAM and 2 x 2.93GHz Quad-core Intel Xeon processors - not when I was able to render a scene earlier today with frames taking less than 30 seconds to crank out. This is the first time I've encountered something like this. In the GI controls I have set secondary rays to zero and slightly decreased the ray count to 180 in the hope this would help, but so far nothing has changed. I'm using Sky Color instead of a skymap. Not sure what else to tweak in order to bring this monster render time down to a dull roar. Any suggestions welcome. David
  6. It's the old Negative-Z problem again, something I scarcely need to use, and when I do need it to work, it steadfastly refuses to play ball - I think... I've been asked to model a desk calendar with pages tearing off. I've used Uber Shape plane for my pages, and bezier deformation to curl the pages as they flip over and tear off. The artwork on each page I have applied as a planar map, with Negative-Z unchecked so when each page flips, the reverse side is blank. Nice theory, but no matter what I do regarding positioning in the Z-axis of the texturemap, I'm always seeing the texturemap in reverse on the back side of each page. I've done the flipping pages of a book before and had the same problem, solved by a separate render pass featuring all blank pages and then a separate render pass on top of that creating a luma-matte of the page faces I wanted to keep blank, all for later compositing in AE, but surely there's an easier way. Or have I misinterpreted what Negative-Z is supposed to be doing?
  7. I have a large scene (over 6 million polys, rendering out at 3000 x 1276), rendering just geometry (no textures or shaders) under GI skymap and one raytrace-shadowed parallel light (for sunlight). A full-res test render out of EIAS took 17 minutes. However running the animation through Renderama, my frames are now taking an hour each, and there's 825 of them. I have 11 rendering cores at my disposal (across 2 machines), so it's not desperately bad time-wise, but I'm curious as to why the difference from 17 minutes to an hour. Camera settings are as follows: Hardware info: Memory 32768 Processors: 16 Current Settings Architecture 32bits Use Memory, Mb: 2000 Run Threads: 16 Is this right? Or should I have it set to something different? David
  8. Just bought the upgrade, can't wait to install and play! Thank you so much Tomas and the team! You guys RAWK!!!
  9. Determined a compromise on this, creating a two-pass pre-comp for a luminance pass. The first pass relied on a simple Global Illumination white sky colour to create a general shadow effect; and then rendering a second pass in Phong shading of a buffer shadow pass for shadows being cast from a specific light source (in this case the sun). As the scene is supposed to be misty early morning light, I've adjusted and softened the transparency of the buffer shadow accordingly in my After Effects comp. I had originally achieved the same effect with a single pass using a skymap and applying that as a GI light source, but on animating, its shadows shimmered and buzzed, regardless of anti-aliasing settings and blurs applied to the texturemap. Here's hoping EIAS 9 allows the burning in of a GI map onto a scene!
  10. That's great! Thank you! I'm still struggling with the buzzing/shimmering shadows issue (my current tests are without trees entirely), but it appears that might be resolved with an upgrade to 9 (whenever that might be possible).
  11. Okay, I've been through this a few times now, altering the settings as advised above and so on, then re-rendering and testing (pushing my renders up from 6 minutes a frame to 55 minutes a frame in the process). I pared back the project to render just a luminance pass, which would incorporate the shadows etc and leave textures and so on to other render passes (likely in Phong, as there's no need to raytrace textures). However, even in just a luminance pass, with no textures (except the GI map), transparencies, specular, transmission or anything else, just geometry, I'm still getting shimmering shadows. This is frustrating the hell out of me, and now I'm looking to have to render the cast shows as a texturemap and apply that via a projection camera as another texture, because I can't bake the shadowmap into the scene. from a practical perspective the shadows need to be calculated just the once - there's nothing moving in the scene except the camera. Even with multiple processors, 55 minutes per frame on a 60 second shot is a real time-hit, and I've already lost a week troubleshooting shimmering shadows. Has anyone additional wisdom they can impart here? David
  12. Hey all, I have been building landscapes in EI for a feature I'm working on. One shot calls for a landscape soft-lit, as if by sunlight though medium to heavy clouds. I struck on the idea of making up an HDRI image and just using Global Illumination to light the scene, no lights at all. After a few practise runs to make sure my geometry was all looking okay, and dealing with a pesky anti-aliasing issue, I thought I had it done. The landscape does not move. The camera flies over the top of it. That is all. After a lengthy overnight render, I find there are areas that are buzzing or shimmering, as if I have noise turned up to 11. I have high polygon-count trees in the scene, and it looks like they're covered in ants. Add to that there's an odd strobing effect with shadows being cast, like a moire pattern. I haven't varied my skymap resolution yet (1000 x 500 pixels), that is my next thought, but other than that I'm wondering if there's some solution that's not going to result in a week-long render. Can I "bake" the scene with that light? Is there some simpler solution? David
  13. It's winter-coming-onto-spring here in Sydney, and I've been hunkered down, slaving away over a hot computer :blush: I sent this link to Tomas for the EIAS website gallery, but here it is again: http://vimeo.com/44426114 plus I've just added this demo reel covering behind the scenes on the same project: http://vimeo.com/46992136 David
  14. By the sounds of things I may be better off investing in different packages to address different modelling responsibilities. First of all I probably need to be a bit more specific in the jobs I do. My VFX work covers a wide variety of topics, from logos and 3D type through to vehicles (aircraft, trains, cars, spacecraft, war), architecture, terrain, and on occasion a human figure or animal, chiefly for motion pictures, but also for television or web content. I have little experience or desire to get into character design or animation, so if - for example - I need to populate a scene with 3D people I would like to call on mocap data applied to a model (not that I have done this yet but hope, should the need arise, EIAS would be up to the job). I don't mind the idea of investing money in an app if it's going to do a job and do it well. What concerns me with any new app is the time it takes to get into it, understand its nuances and overall design, and get it to integrate with my infrastructure. I looked at Blender and from the outset it baffled me. A colleague of mine said he wasn't surprised, as it had been designed from the ground up with little consideration of existing 3D apps. Given time to unlearn all I know I might stand a chance to learn Blender properly, but there's that crucial element - time. Perhaps I've dwelt amongst the Adobe and EI family for too long (Photoshop since 1.0 in 1990 for crying out loud) and can't adapt my interface expectations well enough to be anything but a clutz amongst any app that doesn't adhere to the basic principals that Adobe and EI apps adhere to. At this time I don't know. I do recall struggling for a long time with FormZ when I was using it in the late 1990s, but then it's possible it has evolved (and I have evolved) where we could get along. MOI appears to have an interface and overall structure that I imagine I'd get into quite quickly, but it really does also appear to be fairly limited compared to some other apps. Modo sounds really good, so it has taken a step up in my considerations list, and ZBrush remains quite high as well. Inasmuch as I'd love to wait until EIAS9 is released (and what do you keep hinting at, Tomas???) I have to model a 1916 Belgian Great War battlefield (complete with shell craters, trenches, sandbags, smashed artillery, dead horses, broken wagons, barbed wire, shattered trees and various mutilated body parts), and I'm currently at a loss as to what modeller would prove best. Given the diversity of objects to be built, I'm concerned one modeller wouldn't be able to handle all the different types of objects (except maybe for Modo, ZBrush or perhaps even Sculptris). The model and ensuing texturemaps have to be very high fidelity, as the finished result is a shot flying over the battlefield, slowly moving in on one section, all ending up as 4k cinema footage. The film makers have already shot live action plates of soldiers to be matted in, so there's a lot at stake. Until EIAS9 is released, I'll need to retain the G5 in order to keep Transporter running, as it's not working under Lion and I'd have no way to convert OBJs or anything else to FACT files. In the short term I will probably continue using EIM for much of what I need to model, but there are certainly things (e.g. the muddy battlefield itself) that concern me enough to believe EIM wouldn't be able to handle it. One can do only so much with displacement maps applied to a shape modelled using UberNurbs. It's likeliest my own fault. I don't claim to be anywhere near the world's greatest 3D modeller - far from it - and EIM could possibly be the answer, but knowing my luck if I push and prod far enough to get halfway decent models, I get geometry errors or some illegal function or some corruption or somesuch and it all goes pear-shaped and EIM crashes and I have to start again (EIM has more often than not been one of the less stable apps I have, but then I do push quite hard). Modelling in EIM is for me has almost always been a process of patience, lateral thinking and a great many swear words. Any more experienced suggestions, opinions and arguments would be very welcome.
  15. Hi all, Thanks for everyone's feedback - sounds like good advice, and I will certainly investigate the various recommendations. Another app I've seen around for a while but never delved into investigating is ZBrush. While it's clearly designed for organic bodies coming as it does from a clay sculpting technique, there appears to be a few examples in its impressive galleries of solid body subjects, such as armour and even a building. While I've read it deals with direct-to-surface texturemapping, I'm guessing that level of info wouldn't translate between it and EIAS and texturemapping is possibly best left to EIAS (I could be wrong in that with their "GoZ" utility - is there an opening for EIAS to be included in their integration list?). Is anybody around who has used ZBrush with EIAS and can convey their impressions? Are there any pitfalls, dangers or incompatibilities with this combination? I understand ZBrush exports OBJs, so with EIAS9 this might work really well. Thoughts? Tomas, words can barely express how much I am anticipating EIAS9! My own user-feedback "list of suggestions" based on using 8 will wait until I've seen how well 9 stacks up ;) David
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