Well having been rendering gemstones in Bunkspeed Pro and Keyshot Pro, I thought I should do the same with Lightwave. While the initial results are not quite there compared to the other two renderers, they are clearly not far off. The one thing that is a mile off though is render times. Low res rendering in Lightwave takes considerably longer than full HD in Bunkspeed and Keyshot.
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.
So this is old news to many, but useful if you don’t have the link already. A database of over 500 colours with their colour (duh!), names, RGB values, and Hex values. A pretty useful reference when someone asks for a specific colour or shade.
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).
The second render was one I did to give the renderer a work out, with lots of refractions and reflections, as well a depth of field. The render is really nice, though expectedly slower than many of my previous renders.
As well as rendering in Bunkspeed Pro’s main application, you can also send it to the render queue. Even though I am running on a single workstation, the queue can still be used to render a local queue of jobs, so you can stack up your renders and then leave the queue to render overnight. You just need to stick a check mark in the send to queue option, job done.
Then load up the Bunkspeed Pro Queue application, see your jobs, and start the queue. I still need to play more with this as it archives everything when the job is completed, but the archive is in the system set temporary folder.