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

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  • mhdmhd
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    mhdmhd polycounter lvl 9




    https://github.com/mhdmhd/MayaSceneConverter

    Maya Scene Converter is a python-based Qt tool for converting scenes from a render engine to another in Maya, it is not a perfect conversion and it depends on rules files and how good they are but gives you a great head start.

    Features

    • Creates rules to convert from a source render engine to a target render engine
    • Easy UI to create, save and load the rules
    • Supports all shading related nodes: Materials,Textures,Utilities and Lights
    • Converts all the scene or selected objects
    • Scans the scene for any node or only what belongs to the source engine
    • Some ready examples of rules files (not very precise but very functional)
    • Prints info about all conversions
    • Tested with Windows only but could work on other operating systems
    • Tested with Maya 2018+ but could work on previous versions
  • Darkimage
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    Darkimage polycounter lvl 7
    Hello guys,
    Since i made the Megascan Link Plugin for Substance Designer  i decided to the same for Substance Painter.
    With the Megascan Link for Substance Painter plugin you can import Megascan Assets directly into an opened project or create one if you export from Quixel Bridge a Megascan Asset with a 3D mesh. 
    The plugin is completely Free and OpenSource, you can Download it here and you can find the complete Documentation here.


  • malcolm
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    malcolm Polycount Sponsor
    Oh wow, very cool. Definitely start selling these.
  • dlz
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    dlz polycounter lvl 3
    finished a script for maya i was working on some time ago.
    I think it could be useful in hard-surface workflows as it makes easier to select edges by an angle or other characteristics and then apply a crease that can be selected and uncreased.
    here's a demo of the script:



  • AmplifyCreations
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    AmplifyCreations polycounter lvl 7
    Hey folks, any of you had luck with exporting consistent Vector Displacement Maps from Zbrush, Blender(or others) to Unity or Unreal? Zbrush seems really inconsistent, even with their test scene; Blender is a bit troublesome, can't seem to get it working right.

    Zbrush: Manual VDM Reference
    Blender - Cycles - Tangent Vector & Scalar Displacement Map Baking Tutorial

    We're exploring VDM's at Amplify with Amplify Shader Editor in Unity and, so far, it seems that Mudbox gives out the best results with the "Absolute Tangent" mode. You can really do some cool stuff with this when you couple it with Tessellation, even use it on skinned characters! Off course you can always do some pretty cool stuff with regular displacement, this is more of an alternative technique. 

    This is an exaggerated effect with an animated Tessellation amount, in a real world case you'd probably want to use a low poly base mesh closer to the mushroom in order to cut down on the Tessellation. The cool thing is that you pretty much get LOD control for free.



    Here's how to set it up with Mudbox for Unity using Amplify Shader Editor(or any other shader/editor capable of handling the process), it even works with overlapping objects such as the mushroom patch bellow. 





    For those who don't know what's the big deal, here's a simplified comparison.

  • malcolm
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    malcolm Polycount Sponsor
    VDM is the shit in Mudbox, but I always found the limitation that to create the VDM you have to sculpt it out of a perfect tessellated quad to start makes the tool not really useful. If it was like a normal map or height map where you could bake an arbitrary mesh or collection of meshes onto a quad with different topology that would be very powerful.
  • AmplifyCreations
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    AmplifyCreations polycounter lvl 7
    malcolm said:
    VDM is the shit in Mudbox, but I always found the limitation that to create the VDM you have to sculpt it out of a perfect tessellated quad to start makes the tool not really useful. If it was like a normal map or height map where you could bake an arbitrary mesh or collection of meshes onto a quad with different topology that would be very powerful.
    Yeah it's pretty cool! 

    That's the downside, it needs your subdiv levels so it can compare the lowest with the highest when baking the VDM; it would be awesome if we could just project a bunch of stuff. However, you should be able to use other meshes, just as long as you have the base level in Mudbox as well.

    A cool trick is to create several VDM files and actually use them inside Mudbox to create more complex objects.
  • malcolm
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    malcolm Polycount Sponsor
    Very cool none the less, how did you go about modeling the mushroom, make it first and then flatten it to a plane, or the reverse?
  • AmplifyCreations
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    AmplifyCreations polycounter lvl 7
    Yeah, fun to play with. For this one we went from quad to mushroom, carefully pushing/pulling the geometry to the center so it would have a decent amount to work with; somewhat worked but in hindsight probably should have used a low poly mesh ;). For the next one for sure.

  • onionhead_o
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    onionhead_o polycounter lvl 12
    AmplifyCreations: cool shader! There is a workaround for the VDM creation . Create the object first however you want it is. Then wrap the plane around the object and project the details. You  can use shrinkwrap deformer in maya or conform to project. You can even use quad draw to make it conform manually.
  • suspectlogic
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    suspectlogic polycounter lvl 10
    I made a simple Maya script for a very particular situation tonight :P Something like this might be floating around somewhere but I wasn't able to find anything.

    The script reads the current scenes grid, and saves it to user prefs. It also let's you see the changes immediately in the viewport and grid options box. This gif shows an example where the grid originally reads size = 24, spacing = 24 & divisions = 2. After the script is run, the options box updates to the scenes units which are size = 500, spacing = 500 & divisions = 2.



    import maya.cmds as cmds

    S = cmds.grid( q = True, s = True)
    SP = cmds.grid( q = True, sp = True)
    D = cmds.grid(q = True, d = True)

    #converting grid values to a string for UI.
    currGrid = ('Size = ' + str(S) + '\nSpacing = ' + str(SP) + '\nDivisions = ' + str(D))

    # create dialog window
    updateGrid = cmds.confirmDialog(
            title='Save Grid Settings',
            message= 'Scene Grid Settings:' + '\n' + currGrid + '\n' + '\nPress OK to save these settings to User Preferences\n ',
            button=['OK', 'Cancel'],
            defaultButton='OK',
            cancelButton='Cancel')

    # Store scene settings in the user prefs file.
    if updateGrid == 'OK':
        cmds.optionVar(fv=('gridSpacing', S))
        cmds.optionVar(fv=('gridDivisions', D))
        cmds.optionVar(fv=('gridSize', S))
        
        cmds.savePrefs(g = True) # Without this maya won't save above changes until restart.

        print '\nSaved!!!'
    else:
        print '\nOperation Aborted'

  • Klunk
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    Klunk greentooth
    scratched an itch that been bugging me since about 2003 :D a Simple Line Shape.... it has length & number of segments and linear or smooth options and you can set the axis the knots are distributed along and the pivot position (either end or center). Sometime the built in "complex" editable line is overkill and is tricky to generate some stiuff and the rollout can be slow and clunky.


    it was relatively quick and painless to implement.


  • pi3c3
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    pi3c3 polycounter lvl 8
    Klunk said:
    scratched an itch that been bugging me since about 2003 :D a Simple Line Shape.... it has length & number of segments and linear or smooth options and you can set the axis the knots are distributed along and the pivot position (either end or center). Sometime the built in "complex" editable line is overkill and is tricky to generate some stiuff and the rollout can be slow and clunky.


    it was relatively quick and painless to implement.


    So obvious :D
  • Klunk
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    Klunk greentooth
    yay! my 50th max modifier :) (christ I need to get out more!)


    CapSpline  that works a bit better than the built in max one (edit mesh mod applied to the A on the left, mine of the right).  Obviously showing the worst case for the built in max functionality :D
  • pi3c3
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    pi3c3 polycounter lvl 8
    Klunk said:
    yay! my 50th max modifier :) (christ I need to get out more!)


    CapSpline  that works a bit better than the built in max one (edit mesh mod applied to the A on the left, mine of the right).  Obviously showing the worst case for the built in max functionality :D
    Congrats! :)

    There are so many things in max that is not working appropriately, and most of them not even complicated to fix. I'll never understand why aren't they fix them. Like this one. :)

    But anyway. It's so much better to look at the good one... :D
  • poopipe
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    poopipe polycount lvl 666
    Klunk said:
    yay! my 50th max modifier :) (christ I need to get out more!)


    CapSpline  that works a bit better than the built in max one (edit mesh mod applied to the A on the left, mine of the right).  Obviously showing the worst case for the built in max functionality :D
    I want this more than I wanted toilet paper in March  
  • kman108
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    kman108 polycounter lvl 7
    Klunk said:
    :)

    seems like old ground and it is in a way created an Outliner interface to better integrate some of my tools.... basically anything with an "outline" mesh, spline or modifier can be can be used as a "cutter",

    a plane in plane





    I'm still rooting for you Klunk :)  Awesome to see something like this progressing. What do you think the performance of this would be on a 20k mesh with multiple cutters?  Trying my hand at making a modifier that does something similar but with decals, still in progress.  This sort of thing has so many applications .  Thanks for continuing this work and posting, thought it might be a dead end since your post a while back lol.
  • apb
    Klunk, you could literally save people's lives, time and energy if you end up releasing this, even for a price. I'm sure the interest would be high. Hope it eventually happens, fantastic work by the way!
  • Klunk
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    Klunk greentooth
    the trouble is it works well in application it's designed for and reasonably robustly at the moment, it doesn't work as well in a broader sense so too speak and to make it robust enough as a universal tool is still a lot of work :(

    as for perfornance, it's wasn't programmed with it in mind but it does ok

    max 2010 on a 6600 @ 2,4ghz and geforce 8800 gts

    as you can see a few bugs to iron out on the A and e :D
  • kman108
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    kman108 polycounter lvl 7
    here's what i'm interested in:


    In the context of game meshes it would be rare for one "cutter" to span an entire mesh and cross potentially thousands of tris.  Instead details would be fairly local, with the exception of seams which i would handle differently than just projecting an outline.  20k is a good estimate for hero items like vehicles and large structural items  or even first person weapons.   If you're lucky to be able to use deferred rendering for a project you can take advantage of all the deferred decal awesomeness seen in star citizen/doom, but not all of us are that fortunate :P  Which is why i'm so interested in the ability to cut into the mesh instead of floating :D
  • malcolm
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    malcolm Polycount Sponsor
    I've worked in deferred rendering for many years as an artist, it's still expensive to do lots of decals, I was surprised to see the amount of mesh decals in Star Citizen and Doom. When we were working on Gears 5 deferred decals were a per pixel cost so the more you have on screen the higher the cost, perhaps SC/Doom figured out an optimized mesh decal shader that helped them render so many?
  • kman108
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    kman108 polycounter lvl 7
    malcolm said:
    I've worked in deferred rendering for many years as an artist, it's still expensive to do lots of decals, I was surprised to see the amount of mesh decals in Star Citizen and Doom. When we were working on Gears 5 deferred decals were a per pixel cost so the more you have on screen the higher the cost, perhaps SC/Doom figured out an optimized mesh decal shader that helped them render so many?
    interesting.  Given your experience what would you say is a reasonable amount of decals per scene?  Sucks to hear it's that limited :(  I'm not holding out hope of using deferred decals on our project any time soon tho, so we'll still be cutting in much of our detail.

  • malcolm
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    malcolm Polycount Sponsor
    It's just a matter of how many pixels they take up in screen space, so one huge decal will kill the performance. We were told to use them sparingly, I think in the hundreds per area not the thousands like I've seen in Doom. Alpha is really expensive in Unreal.
  • AmplifyCreations
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    AmplifyCreations polycounter lvl 7
    Getty creative with Vector Displacement Mapping, I wish we had better tools but I think we're making some progress with Mudbox and Zbrush. Obviously not for every project but it's super fun to play with. We now include a sample with our shader editor, really looking forward to see what ppl build.




    Here's a sneak peak of another possible use, still a bit rough. 

    Multi layered impact decal/damage.


    Tessellation can be taxing on older systems but the fact that LOD control is pretty much free is quite handy.
  • malcolm
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    malcolm Polycount Sponsor
    Wow that's cool.
  • AmplifyCreations
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    AmplifyCreations polycounter lvl 7
    malcolm said:
    Wow that's cool.
    Thanks! Just wish we could figure out a proper workflow for Zbrush and Blender, that would be great! 
  • malcolm
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    malcolm Polycount Sponsor
    That's cool, I just needed something like that in Maya the other day.
  • Klunk
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    Klunk greentooth
    tricky bit comes trying to match the loft uv's with the outline ;( I just keep making trouble for myself :)

    still some issues but getting there with the UV's, the loft is simple matching it to the outline is non trivial :anguished: 


  • Klunk
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    Klunk greentooth
    scratched another itch.... reworked normalize spline to work on number of segments not (knot to knot length) also lets you only change just one curve in a shape (or all or selected)... there's some accumulation errors when segment count is high and it's quite a bit slower than the original but I can live with that.


  • poopipe
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    poopipe polycount lvl 666
    Klunk said:
    scratched another itch.... reworked normalize spline to work on number of segments not (knot to knot length) also lets you only change just one curve in a shape (or all or selected)... there's some accumulation errors when segment count is high and it's quite a bit slower than the original but I can live with that.


    Good stuff..  i feel like it wouldnt be too hard to adjust tangents to better match the original shape. Then again, might be missing the point
  • Klunk
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    Klunk greentooth
    yeah it's something I was thinking about along with the option to keep corners amd or bezier corners fixed (to maintain shape).

    a simplistic version.... i have a better one though it's tricky to implement
    also runs about 3-7x faster depending on the knots 
  • poopipe
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    poopipe polycount lvl 666
    Nice!  I should Google that algorithm - I implemented a version of this in ue4 a while back and never felt like it was done the right way - certainly wasn't elegant 😁
  • Klunk
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    Klunk greentooth
    IIRC it's in old old old "c" :D
  • poopipe
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    poopipe polycount lvl 666
    I have begun writing a pixel painter in the most unnecessarily awkward way i could think of (python, openGL and the pixels are generated with a geometry shader). You can't tell from the screengrab but the pixels are slowly spinning which is nice cos it makes your eyes go funny

    I'm mainly doing this so i can better understand data transfer between bits of the rendering pipeline - not cos i want a pixel painter. 

    Future plans include switchable geometry and fragment shaders, saving images and one day a 3d view (cos why not complicate matters further). 
    first things first though - it needs an eraser 

     
  • Klunk
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    Klunk greentooth
    cracked the fixed corners/bezier corners in my resample spline modifier
    bloody infuriating sometimes working in max..... why would you set a bezier corner out vector to effectively a zero length vector why ? why ? it's not only making my life difficult but it makes it bloody tricky to edit for anyone else....

    *and relax*

    it works so well I'm going to have to add the max's length option to mine. A note about anyone using the Curve Fit code I mentioned previously you probably only need the least squares generate Bezier routine for this application theres very little to be gained from using the newton raphson reparameterization.

  • poopipe
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    poopipe polycount lvl 666
    @Klunk

    edit : cos im dumb...

    delaunay doesn't work in 3 dimensions right ?   do you know of an alternative that does? Specifically for non-solids - imagine a letter e with a bend modifier on it
  • Klunk
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    Klunk greentooth
    yes and no :)

    there's a variant called newtonapple an example of it
  • poopipe
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    poopipe polycount lvl 666
    That is a very strange website. 
    But it might be just what I'm looking for - that's a project for next week at least (one day they're going to realise they're basically paying me to dick around and this will all be over)




  • Klunk
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    Klunk greentooth
    though not using that code (I can't remember where I got mine from though I made some mods to remove thin tris etc) It's still pretty ugly delaunay  style mesh
    my point emitters convert to mesh using it Badly cut diamonds 'r 'us

  • shamysoza
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    shamysoza polycounter lvl 5
    Hey! This is first post and I must tell that I am certainly overwhelmed by the work posted in here. I'm not as experienced as most of you, but I love this area.

    So, I just finished a tool for UE4 where you are able to pack your RGBA channels into a single texture, being able to chose from different textures and customize resolution, output folder and compression settings from a single blueprint actor.

    Since the launch of free Quixel for UE4, I've been struggling with packing textures from multiple materials gathered from Quixel, and most of the times all I want is some mask variation but there is also texture sampler budget.

    The tool was created using only blueprints and not c++. Took advantage of the Render material to texture function to be able to generate the packed textures. Along side with this, created the custom material function where I can switch between normal map texture and regular RGB texture and to top it off, I wanted to have a real-time viewport update of what my result would be, so I added some planes with the texture and channel assigned to it.

    Here's a video showing how it actually works and it's NOW available on the UE Marketplace in case you'd like to support a fellow (aspiring) tech artist.

    Cheers!!





    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eejd2uQKzIg&t=7s

  • malcolm
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    malcolm Polycount Sponsor
    Oh wow, that's interesting. Does it actually bake a new channel packed texture out?
  • shamysoza
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    shamysoza polycounter lvl 5
    Yup, it works with a blank render taget, so anything you actually throw at it it will be packed into the channel you chose, including alpha. The baked texture is then saved into the folder of your chosing and you can get rid of the textures you used before. So if you imported lets say 3 8K textures, you can pack them up into a single RGB 2K texture and then delete the 8K textures
  • malcolm
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    malcolm Polycount Sponsor
  • shamysoza
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    shamysoza polycounter lvl 5
    Thanks! It really means a lot. 
  • poopipe
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    poopipe polycount lvl 666
    shamysoza said:
    Thanks! It really means a lot. 

    That's a great tool.  The thing I hate most about working with ue4 is that it doesn't have flexible compile time channel packing and this could solve some of that.

  • shamysoza
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    shamysoza polycounter lvl 5
    poopipe said:
    shamysoza said:
    Thanks! It really means a lot. 

    That's a great tool.  The thing I hate most about working with ue4 is that it doesn't have flexible compile time channel packing and this could solve some of that.

    Thanks! I really dont know why UE doens't have anything like it built in, which made me want to build it even more haha. As you can see it's quite simple tool and can definetily save a ton of time, at least for artists.
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