Dragonfly Montage

Dragonfly Montage

I decided to do a render of the dragonfly with some smaller detail shots of different parts of the model. Give or take minor tweaks it’s pretty much done I think.

[image_frame style=”framed” align=”center” title=”Dragonfly” height=”630″ width=”620″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/dragonfly_final_1280.jpg[/image_frame]

A Tale of Two Softwares

Bunkspeed and Luxion

Back in my days at Ark, I modelled and rendered a mechanical dragonfly in Lightwave, which many people have seen. I recently got around to bringing it in to other renderers, namely Bunkspeed Pro Suite, and Luxion Keyshot Pro. This has been a slightly torturous process, namely because there seems to be several ways of getting the export and import process done, but there is always a caveat that catches you out.

[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Dragonfly in Lightwave” height=”150″ width=”270″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/lightwave1.jpg[/image_frame]

I had been playing with FilmBox, because the Lightwave scene is pretty complex, and exporting the individual components as OBJ files and then saving each transformed from Layout was just too laborious to consider. FBX seemed like the perfect tool for the job. Indeed getting the actual geometry out of Lightwave and into Keyshot for ProSuite worked flawlessly, however it seemed that materials were being re-assigned so that only one was created per model layer from Lightwave. The only solution would be to split surfaces in to separate layers, but that would then require a lot of reloading and parenting in Layout. Again, not really an option.

Just as an exercise in interest, I thought I’d show a little comparison of how it looks in, and render with both softwares.

Bunkspeed Pro Suite

[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Dragonfly in Bunkspeed ProSuite” height=”150″ width=”270″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/bunkspeedprosuite1.jpg[/image_frame]

The interface is very dark (black actually!) with all the main elements nicely integrated (should you wish you can moce and detach elements). This includes all the property panels for materials and cameras, as well as the main scene tree explorer. In addition there is the library of materials, textures, environments, and backplates. As well as locally stored assets, when logged in to your Bunkspeed account you have access to cloud based assets. This is a very strong feature as Bunkspeed update the cloud library with new assets. When selecting to use cloud assets, they are downloaded and integrated in to the local library for speedier access in future.

[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Dragonfly Rendered in Bunkspeed ProSuite” height=”150″ width=”270″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/bunkspeedprosuite2.jpg[/image_frame]

By default ProSuite switches automatically between performance preview mode and full quality iray render. It’s a system that keeps things moving quite nicely and usually doesn’t need changing. You can however force the use of preview or quality modes full time as required. This screen shot shows the performance preview mode. When it comes to rendering there is a definite lower threshold to the weight of geometry that can be rendered, which I believe is owing to the use of the GPU and GPU Card Ram (my nVidea Quadro4000 is 2gb). ProSuite definitely loves you more if you have multiple big CUDA compatible devices.


Luxion Keyshot

[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Dragonfly in Keyshot Pro” height=”150″ width=”270″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/luxionkeyshotpro1.jpg[/image_frame]

Keyshot has had a very similar interface for quite some time, and to be honest it’s not a bad thing. It differs to Bunkspeed’s product in having separate floating panels. It’s a very clean and simple interface as a results. Like Bunkspeed ProSuite, Keyshot comes with a very comprehensive library of materials, environments, and backplates. Unlike Bunkspeed, it’s purely local, with no cloud library to call on. One thing I find easier in Bunkspeed is a tablet rather than a mouse. ProSuite has specific tools for camera rotate, bank, dolly, and pan. A small matter, but noticeable all the same.

[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Dragonfly Rendered in Keyshot Pro” height=”150″ width=”270″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/luxionkeyshotpro2.jpg[/image_frame]

Keyshot uses two distinct display modes. Full preview render, or simple performance render. You toggle between the two modes. Less elegant than Bunkspeed’s method, but in some respects more responsive in action. My screen shot of Keyshot shows the performance mode rather than full traced mode. Ram is less of an issue with Keyshot as it uses your system CPU and Ram meaning larger scenes are easier to handle. the GPU is utilised for added bloom and vignettes (useful as these can be toggled on and off without the render being interrupted).


On Balance

This little comparison covers just using the main software on the most basic level, and doesn’t touch on the off-line final rendering. On general usability, there actually isn’t much to choose between the two packages, and that is one of the things I really love. They effectively originate from the same ethos. Luxion developed Hypershot and ceased licensing it to Bunkspeed, at which point it became known as Keyshot (v1.9). Bunkspeed subsequently licenses iRay from nVidia while Luxion progressed the development of Keyshot.

There are some things that I find easier in each package. Automotive rendering I find easier in Keyshot, and jewellery rendering I find easier in Pro Suite. The joy of having both is being able to be selective. So do I have a preference? Actually, not really, I’d be hard pushed to recommend one over the other. I will follow up soon with a little more detail on each package.

FBX, Dragonflies, and Keyshot

Well for reasons in hindsight I don’t really understand, I have only just gotten to trying exporting entire scenes from Lightwave as FilmBox format (fbx). I was prompted in to this because I wanted to bring my dragonfly model in to Keyshot, and the prospect of saving transformed objects for each piece in Lightwave’s layout was just not funny.

Instead I fired up the FBX Exporter, and not only does it save out all the geometry as it is in the scene, it can export none, some, or all of the animation. Import the resulting FBX in to Keyshot, and the animation is all there and almost perfect. I say almost because there is one slight issue, which I haven’t completely sussed out. A few small bits move incorrectly, and I think it could be items which in Lightwave are matched pairs targeted at each other. In Lightwave this causes a ‘cyclic dependency’ warning, although Lightwave will quite happily go with it. If that’s not the issue, I need to dig deeper. Keep an eye out for more soon on that.

The other thing I have to work around is that not all the surfaces come through separate, so I need to break the surfaces to multiple layers in Lightwave so that they come through distinct in Keyshot. That’s going to be a bit annoying to do, not least as it means there are additional layers to be put through to Layout that aren’t there as it stands.

But the first pass is not bad for a start:

[image_frame style=”border” align=”center” title=”Dragonfly First Pass” height=”200″ width=”620″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/dragon.jpg[/image_frame]

Free Downloads from the Past

I have noticed on my webstats that there is a good amount of traffic arriving relating to Bablyon 5 and I-War models created many moons ago and made available for download. I am sure there are several sites around the interweb that have the models hosted for download (which they shouldn’t have had strictly speaking, but it’s hardly worth losing sleep over now is it?).

In view of this traffic, I have uploaded the models for download here. Click the image and copy and paste the URL in the description.


[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Babylon 6 : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/babylon6.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/01.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”EA Breheny : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/breheny.html” height=”100″ width=”600″”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/02.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Minari Flyer : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/minbari_flyer.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/03.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Minari Nial Heavy Fighter : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/minbari_nial.html” height=”100″ width=”600″”]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/test_render_04.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Narn G’Quan Heavy Cruiser : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/narn_gquan.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/04.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Omega Class Destroyer : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/omega_destroyer.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/06.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Minbari Sharlin Heavy Cruiser : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/minbari_sharlin.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/07.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Earth Alliance Thunderbolt : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/thunderbolt.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/08.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Centauri Vorchan : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/centauri_vorchan.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/09.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”CNV-301 Dreadnaught : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/dreadnaught.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/15.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”CNV-222 Harvard (Unfinished) : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/harvard.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/16.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Patcom (Unfinished) : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/patcom.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/17.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Blade 1 : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/blade_01.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/10.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Blade 2 : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/blade_02.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/11.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Blade 3 : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/blade_03.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/12.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Blade 4 : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/blade_04.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/13.jpg[/image_frame]
[image_frame style=”framed” title=”Blade 5 : http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/downloads/blade_05.html” height=”100″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/14.jpg[/image_frame]

Keyshot 3.1 : Realtime Environment Editing

With the Keyshot 3.1 update installed, here is a little demo of another brilliant feature built right in to the software.

Have you ever got the preview render running and wished you could just make some little changes to the HDRI map you are using? Well now this is just a minor step in Keyshot 3.1


The Process

[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Model Loaded. Environment Set.” height=”100″ width=”175″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Clip_001.jpg[/image_frame]

So we’re up and running, but I want some colour in there, rather than everything being sterile white. Hit the edit button next to your environment image path.



[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”HDRI Environment Editor Window” height=”100″ width=”175″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Clip_002.jpg[/image_frame]

The editor window for the HDRI has two tabs. Adjustments allows you to colourise the HDRI image, as well as tweak brightness and contrast (more on that a little later). The Pins tab is where you can add new illumination sources to the HDRI environment.


[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Stick a new pin on there!” height=”100″ width=”175″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Clip_003.jpg[/image_frame]

On the pins tab, add a new pin, and you’ll see a locator handle appear centred in a bright circle. Crucially you will see the real time preview render in Keyshot update to reflect the new light source you’ve added. You’ll have the default values of 0.5 for fall-off (how sharp and harsh the edges are) and 2 for brightness. The colour defaults to white.


[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Adjusting the new pin.” height=”100″ width=”175″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Clip_004.jpg[/image_frame]

Here I have adjusted the pin by dragging it to a new position (in this case specifically to be reflected in the watch glass to highlight it’s presence) and changing it’s colour to a pale blue. I also brightened it to 3 and adjusted it’s radius to be a little smaller.


[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Rectangular Pin!” height=”100″ width=”175″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Clip_005.jpg[/image_frame]

Now I have added a rectangular pin, coloured yellow to contrast the blue I added before. It’s worth noting the enabled check box, so you can switch pins on and off to adjust and see them individually for fine tuning.



[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Adjust the underlying HDRI” height=”100″ width=”175″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Clip_006.jpg[/image_frame]

Here I have adjusted the underlying HDRI content, toning the brightness down from 1 to 0.25 and upping the contrast from 1 to 1.5 to get more over all effect from the newly added elements. You can incidentally set the brightness to 0 which will then make all the previous existing HDRI elements black, leaving only your newly added pins to provide lighting.


[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Save your changes” height=”100″ width=”175″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Clip_008.jpg[/image_frame]

Once you are happy with the changes you have made, you can save your newly adjusted environment map as a new image, ready to use as and when needed in the future. It’s as simple as that.


All done!

[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Final Results” height=”300″ width=”620″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/patek_philippe_5270g.jpg[/image_frame]

Keyshot 3.1 : Metallic Paint

So I just updated to Keyshot 3.1, and pulled one of my vehicle models in to try out the new flake feature on metallic paint.

[image_frame style=”framed” align=”center” height=”200″ width=”600″]http://www.scorpiocgi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/untitled.76.jpg[/image_frame]

I’m impressed with the results!

After a little more work, I’ll post further results along with some examples of the in software interactive HDR Environment editing.