Tech Artist - What are you working on: FOREVER Edition!

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  • floon
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    floon greentooth
    I have just released version 0.3 of my Zbrush plugin.
    It offers some renaming options and a prefix based grouping system, with which you can do stuff like this:





    If you are interessted, check out the thread!
  • IacopoAntonelli
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    IacopoAntonelli polycounter lvl 3
    Hi, I am working on a simple Gear creation script, fully made in Python and Maya! Still very simple but I think I will extend it to support alignment, animations and more creation styles.



  • TooLzor
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    TooLzor polycounter lvl 7
    Oh man I've been away from this thread way too long. Some really awesome stuff going on! Keep it up guys!
  • Kyetja
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    Kyetja polycounter lvl 2
    I post often on the RTVFX forums i should prob start doing that here too, anyway here's my WIP shader experiment. A slope aware rain spatter/drip shader, I'm in the process of making it look prettier here's some gifs. i'm aslo wrapping the entire thing into a material function so it can be easily layered on top of any surface material.


    Idea:
    [url=


    Updated Look:
    [url=

    Whoaa this is awesome, how does it even work?
  • Klunk
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    Klunk polycounter lvl 4
    face sort modifier for max, some stuff doesn't display very well in max as it does in game



    still some shearing problems between neighbouring faces sharing UV's that need to be iron out but much better visualization than without (mid vid)

  • Noors
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    Noors polycounter lvl 10
    Hey Klunk . How does that work ? do you reorder the vertices index each frame ?
  • Klunk
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    Klunk polycounter lvl 4
    i'm sorting the faces,  the modifier has a gizmo with position or direction options, if set to direction the order is set by z position of the face center in the modifier space otherwise it's set by the distance from the gizmo position. There are some oddities to fix, even though I sort the whole Face array within the mesh the Material ID remain fixed. Adjacent faces within polys which have "different"  orders are put together max will adjust the orders "internally" so they are correct which causes the UV shearing Issues. The matid is odd because smg "moves" with the face.

  • DeepSpaceBanana
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    DeepSpaceBanana polycounter
    Kyetja said:
    I post often on the RTVFX forums i should prob start doing that here too, anyway here's my WIP shader experiment. A slope aware rain spatter/drip shader, I'm in the process of making it look prettier here's some gifs. i'm aslo wrapping the entire thing into a material function so it can be easily layered on top of any surface material.



    Whoaa this is awesome, how does it even work?
    It's actually pretty simple, the ripples and streaks are WorldProjected, and has a BP Vector to control rain direction, the slope awareness, is just a simple Z-gradient that blends between ripples and streaks, this is nice because it takes the objects curvature into account as well, I've started writing a breakdown on my blog if you're interested https://deepspacebanana.github.io/deepspacebanana.github.io/blog/
  • Klunk
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    Klunk polycounter lvl 4
    fixed the shearing (sorting poly groups not faces) still get the oddities with material ID



    works well enough to help with some prototyping

  • alt3d
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    alt3d polycounter lvl 7
    Ок. My attempt to make a rain drops effect

  • kreativbloc
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    kreativbloc polycounter lvl 2
    Hey @DeepSpaceBanana good job on that foliage.
  • DeepSpaceBanana
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    DeepSpaceBanana polycounter
    Hey @DeepSpaceBanana good job on that foliage.
    Thanks man! It's a really basic shader.
  • PixelGoat
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    PixelGoat polycounter lvl 12
    Hey @DeepSpaceBanana good job on that foliage.
    Thanks man! It's a really basic shader.
    Teach us thy ways :D
  • DeepSpaceBanana
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    DeepSpaceBanana polycounter
    PixelGoat said:
    Teach us thy ways :D
    @PixelGoat
    Here's the Material Network, the basic Idea is to generate a spherical Distance Field Gradient from the Player's Location and use it to add a spherical offset to the basic Wind Math. We could easily reduce the number of instructions, but I haven't bothered with that for now. If you need a more detailed explanation, I'll probably make a blog post, if I ever get some free time  :p


  • Xendance
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    Xendance polycounter lvl 7
    PixelGoat said:
    Teach us thy ways :D
    @PixelGoat
    Here's the Material Network, the basic Idea is to generate a spherical Distance Field Gradient from the Player's Location and use it to add a spherical offset to the basic Wind Math. We could easily reduce the number of instructions, but I haven't bothered with that for now. If you need a more detailed explanation, I'll probably make a blog post, if I ever get some free time  :p


    How would you handle it so that it worked on all players and not just one? By using a render target centered around camera and drawing to that using BP?
  • DeepSpaceBanana
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    DeepSpaceBanana polycounter
    Xendance said:
    @PixelGoat
    Here's the Material Network, the basic Idea is to generate a spherical Distance Field Gradient from the Player's Location and use it to add a spherical offset to the basic Wind Math. We could easily reduce the number of instructions, but I haven't bothered with that for now. If you need a more detailed explanation, I'll probably make a blog post, if I ever get some free time  :p


    How would you handle it so that it worked on all players and not just one? By using a render target centered around camera and drawing to that using BP?
    Honestly, I'm not sure, would have to find some way to feed the closest player location per instance of the foliage. That gets into gameplay code and is quite beyond me. Render Targets as I understand it, have a pretty heavy overhead and aren't actually feasible in-game. I'm not even sure if render targets are an option here since there are multiple meshes and Render Target are in 2D texture space, for this shader I needed a 3D spherical gradient in world coordinates. 
  • gilesruscoe
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    gilesruscoe polycounter lvl 7
    I made a fur/grass geometry shader in Unity today for fun, results:




    https://i.gyazo.com/f0a8ab15ad2837d41567e06214fa35e2.mp4



  • SimonT
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    SimonT interpolator
    PixelGoat said:
    Teach us thy ways :D
    @PixelGoat
    Here's the Material Network, the basic Idea is to generate a spherical Distance Field Gradient from the Player's Location and use it to add a spherical offset to the basic Wind Math. We could easily reduce the number of instructions, but I haven't bothered with that for now. If you need a more detailed explanation, I'll probably make a blog post, if I ever get some free time  :p


    And this collection with "TexLoc" is the texture with your distance field?
  • DeepSpaceBanana
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    DeepSpaceBanana polycounter
    SimonT said:

    And this collection with "TexLoc" is the texture with your distance field?
    @SimonT

    "TexLoc" was just a temporary name I had set a long time ago, it is actually "Player Location" fed from the Player Blueprint, the distance field is not a texture, it is a 3 Dimensional gradient generated using math inside the shader, in this case, the Distance Function. "TexLoc" is literally just a vector3 coordinate value that has the player's location in the world. 

    If you are curious about distance functions I highly recommend checking out Inigo Quillez's website, he explains them really well http://www.iquilezles.org/www/articles/distfunctions/distfunctions.htm
  • Linko
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    Linko polycounter lvl 6
    AssetGen addon for Blender (free!)

    AssetGen is a free addon that automates the tasks to get a game asset ready for video games from an High Poly model. While it takes several hours to get an asset ready from an high poly, this addon does that in a matter of few clicks. It is ideal for all your static assets.

    It is developed by Srđan Ignjatović aka zero025 and surpervised by Danyl Bekhoucha aka Linko.


  • HaukeThiessen
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    HaukeThiessen Polycount Sponsor
    @gilesruscoe ; That looks great. Could you explain how it works?  My best guess would be several extruded and masked shells, but it looks definetely better than any fur I have seen using this technique, especially in motion.
  • Johnnynapalmsc
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    Johnnynapalmsc interpolator
    Hello!

    Following up on a free parallax-based fake interior shader we did a while back with our shader editor at Amplify (Amplify Shader Editor).


    Currently working on a new version based on the original paper by Oogst 3D for fake interiors done entirely via shader sorcery. The Unreal implementation by Stefander was an awesome example, definitely recommend it to anyone using UE4. For even more information on how to build something like this in Unreal, check out the old UDK Example. 

    Interior Mapping in Unity3d


    Possible extra features:
    Add extra layers for props.(people, desks, boxes etc)
    Lighting (Emission)
    Randomize rooms

    It's going to be free and fully editable.


    This is incredible, really good work!
  • ymmanuel
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    ymmanuel triangle
    i created a blender addon to use substances(*.sbsar files)  with cycles  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83kS7JySi1g
  • Thane-
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    Thane- polycounter lvl 3
    You guys are scaring me with your bad-assery.
  • Brayanlonw
  • bolorerdene
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    bolorerdene triangle
    I am currently working on my first character design :blush: .
    First time creating hair with xgen, process so far>
  • gilesruscoe
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    gilesruscoe polycounter lvl 7
    @gilesruscoe ; That looks great. Could you explain how it works?  My best guess would be several extruded and masked shells, but it looks definetely better than any fur I have seen using this technique, especially in motion.
    Yep, you got it, this is a bunch of shells (I think 12 shells in the images, I don't remember). Specifically, its a geometry shader that dynamically creates the shells and shell spacing depending on parameters. The only thing I'm doing differently is that the shells are offset by a noise vector, giving random direction to the strands, multiplying the colour by the layer step (top layers are brighter than inner layers) and also randomising the length of the strands using a single channel of the noise vector, to give it patches of different length. Besides that there's a few other things ontop which are fairly straight forward, like a two-colour gradient over the length of the strands, a mask texture to control different coloured areas etc.

    For the lighting, one addition that I found to give a good result is to do a fresnel effect (N dot V) and add the strand length to it. This gave longer strands more fresnel regardless of angle and makes it look like light scattering through the hair.

    The motion is done by rotating each normal around its local xy plane using a 2x2 matrix, this was just plugged into a sin wave for the gif, but I hope to plug rotational velocity of the mesh into it at some stage.
  • Cremuss
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    Cremuss polycounter lvl 9
    Calculating a wallride trajectory on the fly and its offset for the character (exagarated here, the offset algorithm was so fricking hard!!!). Next will be how to tackle the character movement mechanism to make use of the trajectory (which has velocity info embedded in it). We'll see...



  • Obscura
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    Obscura high dynamic range
    I would like to ask you guys if this idea would make any sense in your opinion before I make anything. I thought you could technically voxelize a scene by taking xyz+- slices with a scene capture and rendering them into 6 volume textures, or something ... This would be a render of some short scene depth view, 1/ steps / side for example. And then either do a procedural mesh pass by passing through pixel values from the render targets, or to just render a volumetric result by raymarching. I would assume generating a mesh would give you an overall more optimized result. All non filtered so you get planes or cubes if doing per side rendering.

    You could also just read the render target pixel value in the mesh loop. I would think if its like that, you only need a single render target with 1x1 res.

    [mod edit: fixed accidental quote]
  • Klunk
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    Klunk polycounter lvl 4


    optional drop in  mesh helper for 3ds max, my  solution for multiple optional meshes in game dependent on the game params. The helper has a custom attach constraint that binds it to the mesh that requires the optional geometry (the attach constraint returns all data needed to fit the optional mesh to existing geometry). The helper use a NodeTransform Monitor so it can update when the target changes. The first part shows the helper updating to changes in the target mesh then I change some of the mesh params in the helper and finally we are changing the barycentric position of the helper in the face using the attach constrarint. Still have to implement the surface blending properly (positions, uv, vertex colours and normals)



    to show changing the face index in the attach constraint


    fixed the blend to the target mesh with added bonus of flagging the drop in mesh as invalid if it exceeds the bounds of the faces.


  • ProperSquid
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    ProperSquid polycounter lvl 8
    Obscura said:
    I would like to ask you guys if this idea would make any sense in your opinion before I make anything. I thought you could technically voxelize a scene by taking xyz+- slices with a scene capture and rendering them into 6 volume textures, or something ... This would be a render of some short scene depth view, 1/ steps / side for example. And then either do a procedural mesh pass by passing through pixel values from the render targets, or to just render a volumetric result by raymarching. I would assume generating a mesh would give you an overall more optimized result. All non filtered so you get planes or cubes if doing per side rendering.

    You could also just read the render target pixel value in the mesh loop. I would think if its like that, you only need a single render target with 1x1 res.

    [mod edit: fixed accidental quote]
    Yup! That's how they do it with Maya's geodesic voxel skinning. http://www.delasa.net/data/sca2013_voxelization.pdf
  • Obscura
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    Obscura high dynamic range
    Obscura said:
    I would like to ask you guys if this idea would make any sense in your opinion before I make anything. I thought you could technically voxelize a scene by taking xyz+- slices with a scene capture and rendering them into 6 volume textures, or something ... This would be a render of some short scene depth view, 1/ steps / side for example. And then either do a procedural mesh pass by passing through pixel values from the render targets, or to just render a volumetric result by raymarching. I would assume generating a mesh would give you an overall more optimized result. All non filtered so you get planes or cubes if doing per side rendering.

    You could also just read the render target pixel value in the mesh loop. I would think if its like that, you only need a single render target with 1x1 res.

    [mod edit: fixed accidental quote]
    Yup! That's how they do it with Maya's geodesic voxel skinning. http://www.delasa.net/data/sca2013_voxelization.pdf
    Damn. Yeah this is pretty much what I described. Thank you! I will come back and show the results. 
  • Shive
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    Shive polycounter lvl 2
    hannes d said:
    edited a normal weighting script to also weight based on angle
    bottom left is the original, bottom right is my version

    you can see it got rid of the gradient completely
    and is more similar to the added control edges version
    Also very interested in this! Do you plan to release it?
  • almighty_gir
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    almighty_gir sublime tool
    I've been working on a script to help automate the generation of the maps that Epic use for their hair shader found here: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Resources/Showcases/PhotorealisticCharacter/#hairauthoring

    It works by taking max hair and fur, creating splines from guides, converting those to geometry (so they have UV's), then generating a unique grayscale value per strand and flooding the vertex color red channel with it, doing a root to tip gradient in the green channel, and a depth gradient in the blue channel.

    The vertex colors can then be baked down in your app of choice.

    Big thanks to Dennis Lehmann for helping me iron out some issues i was having.


  • Obscura
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    Obscura high dynamic range
    At the end, I went with an entirely different approach from what I was writing about with my "voxelizer", because I got issues reading pixel values from a render target. Its only possible with static textures... So I ended up using a collision based approach, and iterating a collision box location to "scan" the volume.



     I'll probably switch from instanced static mesh  to simple static mesh components, so you can bake it. Unfortunately this doesn't work with instanced ones.

    Performance also isn't the best because currently I iterate through the whole volume without any pre filtering so when resolution is 24, it takes ~170 ms to update. So now I'm looking into using an octree to filter out areas that doesn't need to be scanned.
  • Obscura
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    Obscura high dynamic range
    Obscura said:
    At the end, I went with an entirely different approach from what I was writing about with my "voxelizer", because I got issues reading pixel values from a render target. Its only possible with static textures... So I ended up using a collision based approach, and iterating a collision box location to "scan" the volume.


     I'll probably switch from instanced static mesh  to simple static mesh components, so you can bake it. Unfortunately this doesn't work with instanced ones.

    Performance also isn't the best because currently I iterate through the whole volume without any pre filtering so when resolution is 24, it takes ~170 ms to update. So now I'm looking into using an octree to filter out areas that doesn't need to be scanned.
    Using an octree to skip empty spaces works nicely, however, it did made it much faster, but at least now it can do any resolution without killing Unreal and the computer. It generates the result during multiple frames. Later I ran into issues with baking it to a static mesh. If I use static mesh components as source, I again get bad performance from the drawcalls so its not really an option. Then I tried instanced meshes, but the merge actor and the convert to static mesh function only sees the main instance, and it doesn't see anything from a procedural mesh. I found this post about this problem:
    https://answers.unrealengine.com/questions/388977/i-cant-export-or-merge-procedural-mesh.html

    So now I'm making an obj exporter  :s

    Edit - I did a few more things with the octree and now its actually very fast. It can process 8 depths search (256x256x256 resolution) in a few seconds. Now it doesn't need to run over multiple frames. Woohoo! I'll upload a new video when I got the obj exporter working.



  • Obscura
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    Obscura high dynamic range
  • prolow
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    prolow polycounter lvl 11
    Got back to the basics recently with writing a set of HLSL shaders in prep for sharing my work on aniso shading and content authoring.

    a lite break down at http://technicalartlead.blogspot.com/2017/10/basic-ibl-shaders-in-hlsl.html
  • Mehran Khan
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    Mehran Khan polycounter lvl 5
    I've been working on a script to help automate the generation of the maps that Epic use for their hair shader found here: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Resources/Showcases/PhotorealisticCharacter/#hairauthoring

    It works by taking max hair and fur, creating splines from guides, converting those to geometry (so they have UV's), then generating a unique grayscale value per strand and flooding the vertex color red channel with it, doing a root to tip gradient in the green channel, and a depth gradient in the blue channel.

    The vertex colors can then be baked down in your app of choice.

    Big thanks to Dennis Lehmann for helping me iron out some issues i was having.



    wow ! this is awesome man. There really needs to be a max--toolset for making game ready hair. Will this be released for public use?
  • almighty_gir
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    almighty_gir sublime tool
    I've been working on a script to help automate the generation of the maps that Epic use for their hair shader found here: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Resources/Showcases/PhotorealisticCharacter/#hairauthoring

    It works by taking max hair and fur, creating splines from guides, converting those to geometry (so they have UV's), then generating a unique grayscale value per strand and flooding the vertex color red channel with it, doing a root to tip gradient in the green channel, and a depth gradient in the blue channel.

    The vertex colors can then be baked down in your app of choice.

    Big thanks to Dennis Lehmann for helping me iron out some issues i was having.



    wow ! this is awesome man. There really needs to be a max--toolset for making game ready hair. Will this be released for public use?
    I don't see why not... I mean, the workflow (at the moment) is basically:


    • Use hair and fur to create the hair you want, against a backplane (which will ultimately be your UV sheet). In the image above you can see i'm working on the second hair strip.
    • Convert hair to splines. Enable UV generation in the spline, give it whatever thickness you need and enable render in viewport, convert to editable poly.
    • Run script on selection. You can see on the left where i've done that on hair that's been converted to splines and then to poly.
    Then you bake those vertex colors down to a plane which looks like this:


    I'm going to work on making the conversion from hair and fur to the final renderable hair a single click process.
  • marks
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    marks polycounter lvl 11
    "What are you working on?" 
    Like, nothing I can publically talk about. As usual. Sigh. 
    Cool work almighty_gir - now to fix the rest of the hair authoring pipe? ;)
  • almighty_gir
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    almighty_gir sublime tool
    marks said:
    "What are you working on?" 
    Like, nothing I can publically talk about. As usual. Sigh. 
    Cool work almighty_gir - now to fix the rest of the hair authoring pipe? ;)
    Bro, hair auth is a fucking joke.
  • Klunk
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    Klunk polycounter lvl 4
    finally got round to doing more work on my obj space cookie cutter modifer for  max

    lot of work yet but showing some promise.

    animated versions with a quick test of max's built in cut clean up routines (seems to just hide all the new edges added that weren't in the cut doesn't remove any "incidental" verts though so we won't be using that)

  • prolow
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    prolow polycounter lvl 11

    still writing my post on aniso content and shaders, but getting there
    http://technicalartlead.blogspot.com/2017/11/achieving-anisotropy.html
  • almighty_gir
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    almighty_gir sublime tool
    prolow said:

    still writing my post on aniso content and shaders, but getting there
    http://technicalartlead.blogspot.com/2017/11/achieving-anisotropy.html
    Hey man this is good stuff! Could you maybe elaborate on how you're baking the high poly hair data to flow maps?
  • prolow
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    prolow polycounter lvl 11
    thanks @almighty_gir, dished the goods as much as I can on Achieving Anisotropy; should help you understand what I've done.
    As for how, I suggest getting comfortable with the Maya API and python.
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