As a long time user of Keyshot (and Hypershot before it) it comes as no surprise at all to learn of it’s use on Robocop. It’s strength lies in the speed with which you can develop a look with Lightning fast rendering.
For any kind of visualisation, be it automotive, product, or proof of concept, the interactive nature of the software really keeps th work flow going. Drag and drop works everywhere, not least in dropping material shaders in to the active render window. Add the dynamic real-time HDR environment editing, and you really do find yourself ‘on fire’.
Read all about the experience of the designer/artist refining the Robocop suit by clicking the image below:
A new season is definitely upon us. School is well under way and we’re announcing that KeyShot 4.2 will soon be available. As you know, we have a lot of great features in the 4.0 and 4.1 releases of KeyShot. The 4.2 introduces some new features as well, features requested by KeyShot users along with improvements to functionality, user interface and overall experience. We’ll be revealing the full list of features and updates early October, but want to share a core set of items we are excited to introduce.
KeyShot 4.2 Availability & Highlights
Currently, KeyShot 4.2 is in closed beta with a planned release date of early October. The following are a highlight of few of the new features and improvements coming to KeyShot 4.2.
Faster realtime render mode
See material, lighting and camera changes faster than ever before. The realtime render mode (max time / max samples) has been significantly improved and delivers much better results in shorter amount of time.
Set Core usage
Control how many cores KeyShot uses straight from your preferences. You now have the ability to set # of cores used by KeyShot from the Edit, Preferences menu. The minimum setting is 4.
Create and arrange groups in the Scene tab. You can now modify, group and rearrange the structure of the model hierarchy in the KeyShot Scene tab, as well as drag and drop parts and subassemblies from one group to another.
Choose from a light color theme or a dark color theme. From the Edit, Preferences menu, you can now set a dark KeyShot theme if you prefer that over the default lighter KeyShot theme.
The SolidWorks BETA importer (default on Mac) is more robust with the latest build. With KEyShot 4.2 we are also introducing support for Autodesk Inventor 2014. You can now import ALIAS files using a third option called “Object”. This will allow the user to import the file in their original structure. This may only be useful in certain cases, but at least it is an option now.
Luxion’s Keyshot is about to get a whole lot better!
4.1 will be bringing with it some cool stuff like toon shading (not high on my list of must have things, but worth having), but more interestingly procedural textures. This is something that can be a staple part of shading in 3D packages, so much so that you use them without even thinking about it.
Even better is focussed caustics, accurately simulating light refracted and reflected through/off an object. With the 4.0 update bringing enhanced lighting options, and expanded in 4.1 to control shadow defocussing, realism is about to step up even higher.
This is a very exciting update, and you can find out a lot more by heading over HERE
I decided this week in my down time to give Keyshot a workout with automotive rendering. Of course my trusty Veyron stepped up for some exposure (albeit in GT guise), but I also dusted off the Lotus Elise and Exige for an outing.
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.
[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).
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.