IN PROGRESS: How to use Quixel with High Poly models?

Hi, everyone!

I've been using the Quixel Suite lately, and I'm pretty happy with it. When working with lowpoly models that have normal maps baked from their highpoly version it works nicely (though I've had some issues working with the preset smart materials, but with some small adjustments they do their job).

What happens is that I'm currently working in a short film in which most of the props don't have a lowpoly version, they only exist in their highpoly version.

Checking the Quixel's Wiki, it says that the main difference for working with highpoly models is that we have to provide a Curvature map to Quixel, as in the tangent normal map there's not a lot of information about the model's shape, so Quixel can't figure it out (this is what I understood).

I've tried several ways of creating Curvature maps: from Blender using the dirt vertex coloring, from XNormal (monochrome and colored versions), and finally, as you say it's the quickest way to do it, by processing the Ambient Occlusion in Photoshop.

So far, none of these methods worked.

Can you post some sample file of a highpoly model test to see how the textures look? Or post a curvature map that Quixel needs to see how it looks like?

Thank you!

Replies

  • Eric Ramberg
    Hi!

    Here is a really simple mesh but it demonstrates the technique:

    http://quixel.se/content/Baked%20Cube.rar

    Let me know if you need aditional info :)
  • blendtuts
    Thanks for your quick support :)

    I've tried it, and I keep having the same issue. The curvature map looks similar to the ones I bake myself, but looks like Quixel doesn't get the edges right.

    I'm attaching a test I did with your cube, just taking it and applying the Optimus Prime smart material to see if it worked.

    As you can see, the masks for the edge wear aren't working right. All the presets for smart materials and masks are almost useless with this issue.

    Is it a problem of mine? Can I do something to solve it?

    Thank you!
  • final_fight
    Offline / Send Message
    final_fight polycounter lvl 5
    Try these settings:
    mask.png
  • blendtuts
    Yeah! I did it. What I mean is that if I have to enter in the material and tweak all the masks... the predefined smart materials and mask presets are not very useful. For example, I can select a mask preset, like soft cavities or curvature... and it won't work as expected. This means I have to remake everything and create my own presets.

    That's what I was asking, what and how should I provide Quixel in order for the presets to work as expected?

    Thanks again!
  • tungerz
    Offline / Send Message
    tungerz polygon
    Hi Oliver,
    Do I sense some blender/quixel tut's down the road?
    Would be awesome :)
    Congrats on your short and have fun with it. Is it the one with Andrew and Colin?

    Peace Bro,

    ~Tung
  • blendtuts
    Hi, tungerz! Yeah... your sense is probably right hehehe I'm trying to understand Quixel as good as I can to be able to use it in Luke's Escape (it's not the one with Andrew and Colin :D). If that happens, tutorials will come. Actually, I have come a long way with it and already have been playing on how to import Quixel textures in Blender (with Cycles)... working nice so far! (Check the attachment!)
  • tungerz
    Offline / Send Message
    tungerz polygon
    I see you went with the spec/gloss route :) shader setup looks great, as well as the textures on the grenade in cycles :)

    Hope to see more of your works and process (
  • blendtuts
    Thank you, tungerz! :)
  • Gordon Robb
    Offline / Send Message
    Gordon Robb polycounter lvl 2
    Ive been wrangling with this for a few months, and to be honest, getting no-where. In the cube Eric sent, it is really high poly (as in lots of polys in the flat bits) I have been unable to get a good curvature map on a shape like that, where the polys are only where they need to be (ie on the curved corners).

    To answer your question though, Try dramatically upping the contrast of your curvature map, before using it in DDO maybe? Also, if you are getting good curvature maps, I wonder if I can send you a shape, and you tell me how you would get a good curvature map out of it that allowed it to pick out the edges.
  • Eric Ramberg
    hi guys!

    So i tried the cube myself and Im so very very sorry about this, but the curvature map is not correct! Here is an updated version of the curvature map för the cube

    https://www.sendspace.com/file/8adqnn

    With this curvature all smart materials should work just as they are with no tweeking necessary, again, so sorry for this!

    Regarding the optimus prime material there seems to be a bug with that particular smart material, we´re looking in to that right now!
  • Gordon Robb
    Offline / Send Message
    Gordon Robb polycounter lvl 2
    @Eric: Did you get my question about creating a curvature map from a less dense mesh. I'd really like to see how a curvature map can be created form that piece of geometry I sent. In my experience, high poly meshes, do not have lots of polys when there could be one. So in the cube you supplied, there would only be 6 polys for the faces, and then extra polys for the curved edges. Not sure if Blendtuts the OP agrees.

    I'm completely stuck.

    Happy to send you the object again if needed.
  • Eric Ramberg
    Hi Gordon!

    Im so sorry i must have missed the mesh, please send it again, sorry!

    We´re looking in to more guides on this subject!
  • Gordon Robb
    Offline / Send Message
    Gordon Robb polycounter lvl 2
    Teh object can be found here...

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9253982/D9%20Testing.obj

    I have singularly failed to create a curvature map from this :(
  • blendtuts
    Indeed, this works better! Thank you, Eric. From now on I'll try to get similar curvature maps for my models.

    Would appreciate a quick guide on working with highpoly meshes in the Quixel's Wiki :)
  • Eric Ramberg
    @Gordon robb - thank you!

    @blendtuts - We are looking in to a guide on this! you are very correct in that it is needed :)
  • nwopolygonshapeshifter
    blendtuts wrote: »
    Hi, tungerz! Yeah... your sense is probably right hehehe I'm trying to understand Quixel as good as I can to be able to use it in Luke's Escape (it's not the one with Andrew and Colin :D). If that happens, tutorials will come. Actually, I have come a long way with it and already have been playing on how to import Quixel textures in Blender (with Cycles)... working nice so far! (Check the attachment!)

    Please for the love of god tell me how you managed to do that. I have been ripping apart the node editor like nobody's business trying to achieve the same thing. I would love to get a copy of that blend file or node configuration. You can bet if I don't get a reply from you here I will be sending an IM later.
  • blendtuts
    Hi :)

    Here you have the .blend file. It's basically a node group (WIP) that should be ready to just input the Quixel textures in.

    GRENADE BLEND FILE

    Hope you find it useful!

    PS: Eric, thank you! Looking forward on that guide :D
  • nwopolygonshapeshifter
    blendtuts wrote: »
    Hi :)

    Here you have the .blend file. It's basically a node group (WIP) that should be ready to just input the Quixel textures in.

    GRENADE BLEND FILE

    Hope you find it useful!

    PS: Eric, thank you! Looking forward on that guide :D

    You just made me a very happy camper and please keep us updated on any revision to that. It would be great to get some kind of official support either from blender or Quixel for doing this stuff. I almost forgot to say thank you!

    HINT HINT QUIXEL there is a lot of people on free software. Your missing a whole market of gimp nuts and blender nuts.
  • blendtuts
    LOL you're welcome! If I finally create a tutorial on how to mix Quixel and Blender I'll post it here at polycount, as well as in my website ;)
  • nwopolygonshapeshifter
    blendtuts wrote: »
    LOL you're welcome! If I finally create a tutorial on how to mix Quixel and Blender I'll post it here at polycount, as well as in my website ;)

    Im really curious how you set this up as my PBR stuff only seems to work in your blend file. Did you hand code the shader, and is there any way to have this shader come up as a node option in any of my blend files? I would like to state that I am still relatively new around cycles, so I could simply be missing something.
  • blendtuts
    There is no code in it. It's just a node group: you can select it and pressing Tab you'll see what's inside it.

    You can import it in your own blend files as a node tree :) When you press Shift+A in the materials node editor, under the Groups category, you'll have it available ;)
  • tungerz
    Offline / Send Message
    tungerz polygon
    Hi Oliver,
    Thanks from me as well for the shader node group :)
    Just read on pipermail that Psy-Fi is working on a viewport project that will...
    Performance improvement in viewport drawing, allowing greater vertex counts
    Shader driven drawing – custom/user driven or automatic for both internal materials and postprocessing in viewport (includes eye candy targets such as HDR viewport, lens flares, PBR shaders, depth of field)
    Portability of drawing code – this should allow us to switch with as little pain as possible to future APIs and devices such as OpenGLES compatible devices
    I can see where this will also help add to a quixel pipeline in blender.

    @ nwopolygonshapeshifter,
    blender cookie has 2 tut's on node goups = Introduction to Blender’s Node Groups & Introduction to Node Groups in Blender



    Cheers Bro,
    ~Tung
  • stilobique
  • blendtuts
    Oh! I wasn't aware of that! PBR Viewport, I'm in! I miss being able to preview normal maps and proper materials when working with Cycles, I guess this will solve this! :D

    Anyway, I'll wait for it to be official :P
  • final_fight
    Offline / Send Message
    final_fight polycounter lvl 5
    Maybe someone will share tips on how to create curvature map for high poly and use it with DDO?
  • nwopolygonshapeshifter
    I have been bug testing your shader Mr blendertuts, and I am either doing something wrong or cycles is being wonky when dealing with my objects. First some pictures!


    The how it should look.
    5mUXWXK.png

    Next the what it looks like.
    MlkK7Vv.jpg

    Now this problem with the horrible banding and non-accurate material rendering seems to revolve around the normal map being pumped into the gloss shader in your "Quixel Shader." Now I know were going to have a hard time recreating 3do or marmoset in cycles, but your grenade frankly looks great.

    I thought it was perhaps due to me not having a sub-d modifier on my object, but I inspected your grenade and its rendering and textures do not appear to change when sub-d is visible or invisible. I also tried manually creating separate normal vector and pumping it into the output material's displacement socket - no dice either. I do have smoothing faces enabled.

    In short, I'm befuddled and highly confused! Any ideas on how to get rid of the banding and increase the accuracy of the cycles render? I'm drooling in anticipation of baking out a combined map for Second Life!



    Edit: The faceting appears to be coming from blender's directional view which sets gloss to flat instead of smooth. The closest workaround is lots of tweaking and pumping the normal map into a normal vector then into the output's displacement socket.

    https://developer.blender.org/T40049

    EDIT: The faceting was coming from me not having my normal information routed in as a "non colour data":poly127:
  • nwopolygonshapeshifter
    Maybe someone will share tips on how to create curvature map for high poly and use it with DDO?

    No promises but i'll take a shot.

    Ok these are the settings I generally use for xnormal.

    First you're going to want have really nice defined edges or smooth areas of your high poly mesh so its goes without saying that using a sub-d modifier is highly beneficial for high poly modeling.

    When dealing with monochromatic curvature maps, one has to visualize the lighter areas as harsher curves and the darker areas as smoother curves.

    An example of this is going to be a hard 90 degree angle. At the point leading up the angle, the map will begin to become shaded lighter and lighter to signify that there is an abrupt change in the objects curvature.

    With this in mind, you can first of all tell if your map is complete garbage or not.

    Onto the settings!

    VgLs0Kr.png

    The rest of the settings I usually, keep at default.
  • Gordon Robb
    Offline / Send Message
    Gordon Robb polycounter lvl 2
    I tried your settings and it certainly didn't produce anything that dDO could find edges from (fro my object as posted earlier)
  • nwopolygonshapeshifter
    Try upping the search distance a bit and tell me how it goes.The other thing you could do is switch the algorithm to Gaussian. I've attached a file here with a cube example and bake out settings. Something to watch out for, is the ray casting of xnormal's curvature map system. Sometimes it's not great and you have to fiddle with it or blend multiple maps. This is my experience only, and I'm still a newbie.

    I've included a file here of two cubes for you to play around with the bake settings, plus a curvature map I derived from them. On top of all of this I've included a screenshot of the settings I used for baking it. I hope it helps!

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/x8t9jj7fq7mwtuk/Example.rar?dl=0

    Just from my experience from DDO so far, curvature seems to be very subtle and the masking presets usually, need to be tweaked pretty extensively for it to be viewable.
  • Gordon Robb
    Offline / Send Message
    Gordon Robb polycounter lvl 2
    What you've given there is a low and high poly version of a mesh. What I'm trying to use is just a high-ish poly version. I can get a good map from that cube. What I'm trying to do is get a useful curvature map form something like this object....

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9253982/D9_Back_Box.zip

    It singularly fails to find all of the edges.
  • Gordon Robb
    Offline / Send Message
    Gordon Robb polycounter lvl 2
    OK, think I'm getting somewhere. Tried lowering rather than raising a lot of the settings.


    Then had to tweak the mask a lot i dDo. Only had sharp up, and then adjusted brightness and contrast.

    Here is the result rendered in Lightwave. Happier with this.
  • nwopolygonshapeshifter
    OK, think I'm getting somewhere. Tried lowering rather than raising a lot of the settings.


    Then had to tweak the mask a lot i dDo. Only had sharp up, and then adjusted brightness and contrast.

    Here is the result rendered in Lightwave. Happier with this.

    Looking good. The ray count should change how grainy the curvature map will be. The biggest different there seems to be from you downing the spread angle. It's good to know since I'm still learning too!

    There is some good distributed monkey cranium smashing going on here.
  • final_fight
    Offline / Send Message
    final_fight polycounter lvl 5
    Was able to achieve this with Cavity Map made in 3ds Max through Render Surface command:
    screen01.jpg
  • final_fight
    Offline / Send Message
    final_fight polycounter lvl 5
    Box polys: 18k
  • Gordon Robb
    Offline / Send Message
    Gordon Robb polycounter lvl 2
    Looking good. The ray count should change how grainy the curvature map will be. The biggest different there seems to be from you downing the spread angle. It's good to know since I'm still learning too!

    There is some good distributed monkey cranium smashing going on here.


    Yeh, the low ray count was just low to make it render quicker. I was more talking about the angle and the search distance. Lowering those made the difference.
  • Gordon Robb
    Offline / Send Message
    Gordon Robb polycounter lvl 2
    My next challenge is doing it his way, and adding to the Normal Map that DDO is creating. No idea how to do that :)
  • tungerz
    Offline / Send Message
    tungerz polygon
    Was able to achieve this with Cavity Map made in 3ds Max through Render Surface command:
    looks like the cavity map worked great.
  • anaho
    Offline / Send Message
    anaho polycounter lvl 6
    Any chance of reuploading the .blend file posted at #7 ? Would be too nice.
  • nwopolygonshapeshifter
  • lejo1989
    blendtuts wrote: »
    Hi, tungerz! Yeah... your sense is probably right hehehe I'm trying to understand Quixel as good as I can to be able to use it in Luke's Escape (it's not the one with Andrew and Colin :D). If that happens, tutorials will come. Actually, I have come a long way with it and already have been playing on how to import Quixel textures in Blender (with Cycles)... working nice so far! (Check the attachment!)


    Hello. I'm Dan. I am kind of a noob, i learn from your channel a lot. I'd love it if you can explain how this is actually done. Thank you for all ur help along the journey.
  • PlateCaptain
    Question about the Quixel Node Tree linked in this thread: I'm getting some pretty significantly different results than what's showing up in 3DO, and wondering if anyone might know why.

    The top part of the image is the low poly object rendered in 3DO, and the bottom is the high poly object rendered in Cycles. I've connected the various image textures to the Quixel Node Tree as shown earlier in this thread, but it still looks different, especially the reflections and gloss.

    Any ideas what might be going on here?

    YtHzzmY.jpg
  • Tzur_H
    Offline / Send Message
    Tzur_H polycounter lvl 3
    I'm a bit confused..when baking a high poly mesh only using xnormal, I need to plug the same file in both high def and low def meshes and then run the bakes?
  • Martin_H
    Offline / Send Message
    Martin_H polycounter lvl 2
    @PlateCaptain: are you using the same HDRI IBL setup in both programs? If not it will always look different in some way I think. Also did you set the image node of the normal map in blender to noncolor-data? Also that looks like an awefull lot of fireflies. Try clamp direct and clamp indirect at 3.0 (sampling section, rendering tab) and filter glossy 0.5 (light paths section) and disable caustics. Does that help?

    @Tzur_H: afaik yes. It seemed to work for me but I don't understand how it's baking the tangentspace normals. Also there is a workaround described in the wiki on how to create a fake-ish tangentspace normal map from a blurred objectspace normal map with xnormal. I'd try the tangentspace bake in xnormal first. If you bake a curvature map be sure to highpass-filter it.
  • Martin7
    As many here, I have been struggling to get DDO to work with high poly, so i started to experiment using curvature and occlusion map (made with xnormal), directly in photoshop without using DDO. In this test i used only a curvature map to get the edges. I added the grainy texture then I multiplied the occlusion map on top. 3Do has been really helpfull to be able to load the albado directly from an open photoshop file. I'm pretty happy with the end result.

    Now i need to try to get similar result using DDO/dynamask. In worst case i could always use this as a custom mask but it would be really cool to be able to make the mask only with dynamask.

    Dh01Y3E.jpg
  • rickky
    Do you load the high poly version in ddo ?
  • Gordon Robb
    Offline / Send Message
    Gordon Robb polycounter lvl 2
    If you're creating the curvature map successfully, DDO works well. You just need to adjust the map prior to using it, or tweak the curvature map settings in the appropriate part of the masking panel. It works well.
  • Martin7
    So ok now i think i understand better how dynamask works and the result are pretty good ... but...

    cZJKoES.jpg

    ...now i checked the different curvature mask that you can find looking at the photoshop layers when Dynamask is open. On the left i copied the different curvature mask that dynamask did with the AK 47 sample from quixel, which made the curvature mask from hi-poly normals baked on a low-poly mesh. On the right, I pasted the mask that dynamask did with the curvature map of my Hi-poly mesh (no normals).

    If you look at the Sharp masks, both looks somehow similar with full range of tone. Now with the fine and soft mask, it gets quite a bit lighter on right side but it's still usable. But medium, big, large and huge masks (on the right) are pretty useless IMO nomore tone. If i could, i would edit those useless mask but unfortunatly dynamask only allow to edit custom mask.

    But DDO should create the curvature mask in a similar fashion weither you have hi-poly/low-poly normals or only a hi-poly curvature, keeping a full range of tone for all mask (like on the left) and gradually blur the original map all the way to the huge map.

    As i mentionned dynamask is workable as it is for hi-poly, but it could be made less frustrating for new users that expect things to work a certain way.


    g5XV1rK.jpg
  • PlateCaptain
    Martin_H wrote: »
    @PlateCaptain: are you using the same HDRI IBL setup in both programs? If not it will always look different in some way I think. Also did you set the image node of the normal map in blender to noncolor-data? Also that looks like an awefull lot of fireflies. Try clamp direct and clamp indirect at 3.0 (sampling section, rendering tab) and filter glossy 0.5 (light paths section) and disable caustics. Does that help?

    Thanks for the suggestions. I do need to match the lighting setups, and I had forgotten to make the normal map non-color data. However, it looks like the real problem was with the glossy texture itself - once I inverted it, it looked great. Maybe Quixel and Blender handle glossy settings differently?
  • Martin7
    One more comment about curvature mask generation. At the moment, you cant use any dynamask preset if you feed DDO with a hi-poly with a curvature map. And you have to edit the curvature setting with all smart materials as well. Now if the curvature masks generated by DDO were more similar wheither having a baked normals or a curvature map, then all dynamask preset could be used with little tuning, same with smart material.

    IMO it would open up the market of casual modeler like me who dont want to bother to bake hi-poly normals on low-poly. At $100 for the suite, its just a little more than what you pay for a console game so i think you could sell a lot of copies to the non professional enthousiast.. I find it's such an amazing product that is almost fool proof if you feed it with baked normals but far from it if you dont.
  • programmer23
    Offline / Send Message
    programmer23 polycounter lvl 5
    blendtuts wrote: »
    Hi, tungerz! Yeah... your sense is probably right hehehe I'm trying to understand Quixel as good as I can to be able to use it in Luke's Escape (it's not the one with Andrew and Colin :D). If that happens, tutorials will come. Actually, I have come a long way with it and already have been playing on how to import Quixel textures in Blender (with Cycles)... working nice so far! (Check the attachment!)

    Dude, that shader is amazing, could you show the node layout or what plugin you are using?
Sign In or Register to comment.