Luxion Keyshot 3 Pro gives you the ability to animate as well as render. While you’re unlikely to be character animatig in Keyshot, more straight forward animation that you would associate with product and engineering visualisation are a real breeze. In much the same way that the shading and rendering is very interactive with an emphasis on keeping the flow going, animation is no different. Here I take a piece of jewellery I modelled, and add some simple animation to it.
First up is importing the model to be animated. In this case I decided before had that the elements I would animate would be the five gems, the five mounts they sit in, and the main ring. I made sure in Lightwave that I separated these out in to layers to make them editable individually in Keyshot. You may notice the watermark top right denoting the activation of performance mode, just to make things a little snappier on more modest hardware.
[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Animating the first element” height=”182″ width=”300″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/keyshot_animation_2.jpg[/image_frame]
With the first element selected, click ‘Add Animation’ to the upper left f the scene tree. Two options are available at this point. New Rotation which allows us to specify simple rotation, or New Translation for element movement.
Having selected to add a translation animation, I then simply enter (or adjust interactively with the sliders) the amount of translation in X, Y, and Z. You will then see a green block appear in the animation time-line editor which represents the translation we have created, spanning it’s set duration in time. You can at this stage drag the end of the green block and extend the time over which the translation takes place.
What I am now doing is animating the mount that the gem was seated in. I can right click the translation node of the gem in the scene tree, and copy the animation. This will allow me to paste the animation on to an element of the scene without having to create it from scratch.
[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Pasting animation from one element to another.” height=”182″ width=”300″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/keyshot_animation_5.jpg[/image_frame]
I then right click the mount in the scene tree, and past the animation. What I can also do if the animation is to be identical is to paste a LINKED animation to the element. If I then ammend the animation on the original element, all linked animations will also update.
[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Offsetting the new pasted animation” height=”182″ width=”300″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/keyshot_animation_6.jpg[/image_frame]
What we now have is two animations, and therefore two blocks in the animation editor. Both are at the same start and end positions.
To make things look cooler, what I really want is the gem to lift away first, and then the mount to follow just after it. To achieve this all we need to do is grab the second animation in the animation editor with our mouse and drag it a short way along the time line, offsetting it from the gem. Their relative starting and stopping positions will remain the same, but we’ll have a slight delay before the mount moves.
[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Animating the other parts” height=”182″ width=”300″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/keyshot_animation_7.jpg[/image_frame]
I’ve repeated the process of creating animations for each gem, and then copying and pasting the animation to the corresponding mounts, and applying the same relative offsets. The interactive nature of the workflow means this really takes no time at all.
[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Rendering a preview” height=”182″ width=”300″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/keyshot_animation_8.jpg[/image_frame]
In the same way as the gems and mounts, I’ve added animation to the main ring band; a simple translation upward, and a simultaneous 180 degree rotation. This essentially leaves our frame clear of any visible elements.
Clicking the eye icon gives you the facility to render a low resolution preview animation, which you can study and scrub back and forth. If you want to keep it you can save the movie file. It’s also worth mentioning at this stage that the gear icon next to the preview icon opens the settings panel which will allow you to specify the requires FPS for the animation.
[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Rendering the final animation” height=”182″ width=”300″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/keyshot_animation_10.jpg[/image_frame]
The last step is to render the animation. Hit the render button, and switch from still to animation. How long the render will take can be influenced in numerous ways. One is to set the number of samples per frame, or defining how long each frame is allowed to render. If quality needs to be more specifically controlled you can switch to advanced mode. This will afford you individual control of GI, shadow, aliasing, and DOF qualities amongst other things.
I was approached not too long ago by Digital Tutors. They asked if I would be interested in making a video tutorial for their site. Of course I was interested! After some brain racking, I contacted Christopher Conte and asked his permission to use one of his steampunk bug designs.
He agreed and so I produced a sketch from one of his photographs (I’m no concept artist, so it was the only way I could do it!).
Sadly at the last minute Digital Tutors decided they couldn’t go ahead because they had no-one that could support the product, because no-one their end knows how to use Lightwave. Now I kind of understand that, and Steven Anderson was very apologetic that it hadn’t been picked up sooner, and was a really nice guy to speak with on the phone.
I feel it’s a shame that the Lightwave market is just brushed aside. Lightwave has a good pedigree, albeit that Newtek sat back on there laurels while other software over took them, but what it doe it does very well and very quickly.
I have had some time to get back to Bunkspeed’s Pro Suite, and thought I would write up a little about it. I recently showed some examples of materials in Luxion’s Keyshot, so here is a similar example for some of the materials included in the Pro library. One key difference to point out is that Bunkspeed Pro has a two system library. It uses an on-line library which Bunkspeed will update with new materials, and a local library (you can switch between on-line and local, or just local). If you select a material from the on-line library, it is downloaded and saved to the local library, so things are quicker as time goes by owing to your local library being stocked from on-line. Here are a few examples:
Getting the Veyron in to Pro Suite has been more of a challenge than I expected. My system really creaked with the same OBJs I used for Keyshot. I had to export at a lower subdivision level for Bunkspeed Pro, because in using the GPU it has less ram than the main system Ram I believe. The end result is very similar with the exception of having to keep the camera a little more distant to make sure segmentation isn’t easily visible.
I have an nVidia Quadro 400 which is around the £800 level for cost just for the display card, and it is really entry level for what Bunkspeed Pro really needs to work well.
[fancy_images width=”285″ height=”200″]
[image title=”Veyron GT in Bunkspeed Pro Suite”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bunkspeed_pro_veyron.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Veyron GT in Bunkspeed Pro Suite”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bunkspeed_pro_veyron_0021.jpg[/image]
The first screen shot above shows the initial import in preview mode, simply to make it usable. Even in preview mode you get a good preview of basic shaders and reflection. You don’t get any AA, shadows, or refractions. For heavy scenes it’s great though. The second screen shot shows the real-time preview render working easily with a much reduced model (notice the polygon count has dropped from just under 7 million triangles to under 2.5 million).
The render below was funny, because before heading out for the evening, I set-up this render using the sun & sky environment (created real world sunlight environment based on a specified location, date, and time) intending it to render for 3 hours, but in my haste it was set for 3 minutes. For 3 minutes at what was 1080HD it’s pretty good!
[fancy_images width=”600″ height=”250″]
[image title=”Veyron GT in Bunkspeed Pro Suite”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/BugattuVeyronGT2-1.jpg[/image]
Having put up a little render of my Veyron in Keyshot, I thought I might just put up a few examples of the materials that are included as standard, so you can see just how powerful and FAST the software is. Sure the rendering is blindingly fast, but that’s only half the story. It’s the work-flow that gets you to the point of rendering that combines to make it as impressive as it is.
[fancy_images width=”175″ height=”175″]
[image title=”Flat Ambient Occlusion Style”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_bal_01.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Lightly Frosted Glass and 24 Carrat Gold”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_bal_02.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Cubbed Red Glass and Light Satin Nickel”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_bal_03.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Crystal and Grey Marble”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_bal_04.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Light Oak and Polished Oak”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_bal_05.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Perferated Grey Leather and Tyre Rubber”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_bal_06.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Potato Sack and Translucent Plastic”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_bal_07.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Carbon Fibre and Soft Touch Blue Plastic”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_bal_08.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Thin Film Soap Bubble”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_bal_09.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Metallic Black Paint and Metallic Red Paint”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_ball.13.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Chardonnay and Cobble Stones”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_ball.14.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Aquamarine and Brass”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/keyshot_ball.17.jpg[/image]
Materials are a simple drag and drop from the library to the model in the main window, and all the materials are editable and can be re saved to the library with your own tweaks made.
[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Biomimetics : Answers in Genesis Magazine” height=”125″ width=”125″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/biomimetics.jpg[/image_frame]
Recently a model I created was used for a magazine cover (Answers in Genesis) for an article covering the subject of Biomimetics (the study of the structure and function of biological systems as models for the design and engineering of materials and machines).
Well in amongst my work I have been continuing to render stuff with Bunkspeed Pro, and aside from limitations caused by my system, the software has continued to be very stable. The car render was edging towards the limit of my workstation, tipping in just over 5 million polygons (I really should do a more carefully frozen version rather than blanket freezing the whole thing at the same level).