Sep
08
2009
0

Class3 Lesson10 Progression

Well with SIGGRAPH and then a hectic month building up to release of 11.5 and of course doing my AM assignments I’ve really slacked on getting them over to the Blog, so we are back again with Week 10, and I’ll try and get the prior weeks up as back articles tomorrow.

The site has been growing quite a bit now that I”m posting some articles related to CINEMA 4D, which is great as starting with next term I’ll now be focusing on animating my assignments in C4D. I feel pretty comfortable animating in Maya and am now more than ever able to quickly jump back and fourth between the two interfaces so now its time to get used to the weekly grind of assignments in C4D as well to make sure I’m equally capable and fluent at animating in both interfaces.

Anyways here is Stewie throwing his snowball, we are in the final refining stages theres some great things and some awkward things going on in there, I chose to do the arms FK the whole way but now I’m wishing I had bothered with IK/FK switching as the interacting in the snow at the start would be much much better with IK.

Sep
08
2009
0

Cineversity Live September 9th 2009

Well after a very successful launch week of not only Release 11.5 and the Broadcast Edition, but of course Cineversity Live, we’ve decided to get rolling immediately with another session which will be Today at 11am PDT. I believe Rick will be helping me host a session as we look at some of the new tutorials being released for Cineversity this week covering new MoDynamic features. We’ll also have some news on some interesting things to see out in the community, but most importantly we’ll be able to answer your questions and maybe try out a few things people would like to see or understand. While we always want to have some planned news and content what we really want to focus these sessions on is trying to address user questions.

I’ve also made Cineversity a permanent part of the Kai the Stuff Guy Blog, which you can now find using the furthest tab to the right up top, or just bookmark this easy link:http://kaithestuffguy.com/cineversity-live/

Sep
08
2009
7

11.5 Rendering Speed Comparison

One thing I always find fascinating at shows, events, during technical support calls and just general conversation with Users who are on older versions, is the mindset that there’s no real benefit for them in updating. Now I’m not a sales guy and I understand the costs and challenges involved with upgrading software, so I don’t push hard on debating this, and quite frankly I can often understand where the most talked about features don’t benefit a user I’m currently taking to. Sometimes though I will bring up a few of the lesser known and often really handy workflow features, like those mentioned in my previous article , but one thing I always like to discuss are optimizations. You know those “2 times faster”, “40% speed up” type features. Now don’t get me wrong I hate those kinds of stats, no feature is actually 20% faster, it is really an average based off of several test scenes at best, or in worse situations sometimes a software company will take their best example and use that for the stat, boy does that tick me off, and man could MAXON marketing make a fortune if they let me simply use the best example file for a lot of their rendering optimizations.

Now when I go over such improvements in regards to rendering, everyone wants a faster render, so ears perk up and users pay attention, but if I show them a few special cases where they can often see a little speed up, most will think that’s great to know but not enough for me to pay to upgrade, and again I can’t fault them, but there are always a few where that specific situation is something they encounter or use on a daily basis an they are changed over instantly stating their credit card info over the phone to sales before I’m even done the render demo.

This is where the point of my post comes in. In each version for several years now C4D has seen optimizations here and there, most small but they build up, and 11.5 has been a particularly great one, Mac OpenGL has seen a significant speed up now rivaling and often surpassing the same computer with Windows. The Viewport, Timeline, HyperNURBS, Xpresso, Thinking particles, and the Driver tag, the whole application saw some incredible speedups that make playback in the viewport much faster for things like character animation. So that might sway a person or two, but Its in the rendering, where you find a few notable versions every release, that I wonder if people really know how much has changed. If you are on Version 8, then yes besides all the cool new features since then, there are also some significant hidden non marketed versions that the majority of people will forget because they aren’t things you set or change they are just there, things work better and faster with no effort and therefor go forgotten.

So I thought I’d look into it and give people an Idea, Now I’m a little lazy and while I have every version of C4D since 6 installed at work, I’m going to keep this specifically to 10.5 and up since I think the majority of users are at least on some version of 10. All tests here are rendered on a 64 bit Quad Core Q6600 with 6GB of ram and Windows Vista 64, and the Versions used are 64 bit versions of CINEMA 4D Release 11.514, Release 11.027, and Release 10.506. So let us get started:

R11.0 Improvements

  • Raytracing has seen significant speed ups with Release 11, This means any raytracing effects be it reflections, refraction, area shadows, Stochastic GI, Dispersion (blurriness) and Ambient Occlusion saw a dramatic speed improvement
  • Small intersecting and overlapping geometry also saw a notable speed increase, This meant fine intricate details surfaces that fit tightly all performed much better
  • Scenes with Huge size differences like a small camera in a City Street would be much more efficient dealing with all the detail of the camera and all the detail of the larger city objects.
  • Transparency and absorption, with this addition we also saw speedup optimizations at the same time, not significant but getting better quality for less time is always great.

R11.5 Improvements

  • Flat transparent objects and alpha’s were updated to use raytracing, which actually served as a small speed hit usually negligible in simple scenes, but mass speed up in scenes with many such objects, like tree leaves.
  • New Antialiasing options allow for optimizing AA based on type of scene content be it Super dense polygonal meshes, or many large simple flat surface objects and a new hybrid that uses the best of both.
  • Multithreaded Sub Polygon displacements, granted at a cost of more memory, sub polygon displacements can now use every cpu core which means subdividing a lot faster.
  • Multi Threaded soft shadows, which again mean a much greater memory usage as every softshadow is calculated at the same time instead of one by one, but this means you can calculate many a lot quicker.
  • Render Buckets, these help control your memory and better manage Thread usage so Muiltcore speed up is a bigger benefit than with render lines.
  • Render Instances, These Dramatically reduce the amount of memory an instance uses, and thus prevent how quickly a 64 bit system resorts to virtual memory for a nice speed up in super complex scenes, as well as more efficiently working with sub polygon displacements by calculating SPD once and then copying that in each instance.

Now this isn’t even getting into how CINEMA 4D got a whole new GI engine, and in these comparisons I’m not even going to touch that, we are gong to strictly stick to improvements as opposed to entirely different systems like the new GI. That said you will notice some comparisons do have QMC GI, or as it was called before, Stochastic. the reason for this is simple Stochastic’s name may have changed but it is still the same brute force concept, and entirely raytrace based so it is an area that saw significant speed up, and still uses an exact 1:1 setting to be fairly compared unlike the Standard and IR GI’s.

Comparison 1, the IVY Column

This scene is made using the FREE Ivy Grower plugin by Robert Templeton, and I believe this Scene was Made by NeoSushi. While seemingly simple this scene was a nightmare for previous versions with its large number of leaves intersecting and overlapping with alphas. It utilizes the raytracing and intersecting speedups of 11 and the transparency AA speed up of 11.5 leaving us with an unbelievable speed up. Now to be fare this is an extremely biased scene, so don’t expect every real world scene to see this significant of a speed up. And for those wondering why this is different from one I’ve posted on forums, this has antialiasing best as opposed to just geometry, which seems to slow the render times in both 11 and 11.5 3 times. Of course 3 times 2 seconds isn’t nearly as bad as 3 times ~20 minutes so 11.5 really kicks ass.

R10.5 1:04:21 R11.0 1:02:42 R11.5 0:00:06

Ivy Column

Ivy Column

Comparison 2, The Mini

This scene is using Stochastic GI so a significant one for raytracing improvements but also buckets and most importantly the improvements for both version with intersecting and overlapping geometry and Hybrid AA.

R10.5 19:17 R11.0 04:13 R11.5 03:44

Mini

Mini

Comparison 3, the Abstract GI

Its a ball in a world of cubes, but it sure looks nice imo. Render instances Show up and the buckets seem to help a lot but the large and small objects and better intersecting/overlapping and raytracing make the big change here.

R10.5 32:06 R11.0 03:55 R11.5 02:04

Abstract GI

Abstract GI

Comparison 4, The Displaced Scales

An old Shader experiment of mine, all procedural, and requiring very high subdivision levels to look decent, this one is interesting as R11 actually saw a slowdown, a few displacement type scenes seemed to do this. Notice R11.5 has changed it all for the better with its bucket handling and multi threaded displacements.

R10.5 05:14 R11.0 05:51 R11.5 00:56

Scales

Scales

Comparison 5, The Spaceman Part 1, Displacements

This is a simple and fun example. Sculpted by Patrick Goski, this first part simply looks at the displacements in a physical sky, notice the dramatic quality difference in the sky from 10.5 to 11 as well.

R10.5 01:15 R11.0 00:35 R11.5 00:22

Spaceman Displacements

Spaceman Displacements

Comparison 6, The Spaceman Part 2, Soft Shadows

This second example explores the same model but using an array of shadow map casting lights in a spherical pattern, Simulating a GI/AO look, This isn’t an insane number of shadow maps, only 92.

R10.5 00:07 R11.0 00:06 R11.5 00:05

Spaceman Soft Shadows

Spaceman Soft Shadows

Comparison 7, The Spaceman Part 3, Render Instances

Not so impressive this time, its a simple model so not much to instance.

R10.5 09:47 R11.0 00:49 R11.5 00:37

Spaceman Render Instances

Spaceman Render Instances

Comparison 8, The Spaceman Part 4, Displacements with Soft Shadows

Now we start to combine the effects, and notice how much displacements slow down soft shadows. Displacements are calculated over and over for the shadow maps to calculate, so with each shadow map calculating one by one, and the displacements taking so long each time, this really adds up. 11.5 is the clear winner in this case as the multithreading of both technologies benefits mixing the two even more.

R10.5 02:27 R11.0 02:08 R11.5 00:40

Spaceman Displacements and Soft Shadows

Spaceman Displacements and Soft Shadows

Comparison 9, The Spaceman Part 5, Displacements with Render Instances

Again we see a significant speed up in combining SPD with Instances because the SPD need only calculate one and then be instanced, Instancing takes a while with a fair bit of geometry, but that is still quicker than calculating that geometry from scratch multiple times. Better handling of AA on dense meshes also helps a lot.

R10.5 03:16 R11.0 02:12 R11.5 1:00

Spaceman Displacements and Render Instances in 10.5

Spaceman Displacements and Render Instances in 10.5

R10.5 19:44 R11.0 16:24 R11.5 3:50

Spaceman Displacements and Render Instances in 11.5

Spaceman Displacements and Render Instances in 11.5

Comparison 10, The Spaceman Part 6, Displacements Soft Shadows and Render Instances

Consider what is happening here, SPD is calculated then copied 8 times, and then shadow maps have to calculate that over and over 92 times before rendering., with SPD be faster and Render instance eliminating doing that per object, soft shadows can calculate a lot sooner, and they are faster in general too so all these effects add up to tiny render times.

R10.5 x:xx:xx R11.0 1:02:42 R11.5 0:00:06

Spacement Displacements Render Instances and Soft Shadows

Spacement Displacements Render Instances and Soft Shadows

Sep
03
2009
4

What I love most about 11.5

Everyone is excited about Release 11.5 and I have to say other than some concerns about pricing, which varies from region to region and user to user depending on when, what and how they bought, I’ve been really impressed by the reaction. This is the first release since the twitter explosion, and MAXON and myself have been trying to make good use of it, NAB was a fun experiment posting about each presenter, and with release I posted immediately after release and can’t believe the number of retweets and how fast they went out. Finally, Cineversity has taken a new leap as we slowly begin to rebrand ourselves we revealed our new logo to the world along with a test of a new service, Cinversity Live Q&A, via LiveStream.

Anyways, To lighten things up I thought I’d look at my favorite new features in 11.5 since a lot of the things that make the most difference to people are the things that oddly enough are toughest to market, since really at the end of the day we use and love the apps we do because of the small things that make the workflows so good, right?

So here it is my Top Ten NOT talked about features in no particular order:

1) The entire group window can be switched to fullscreen mode & Palettes and managers can be opened in Fullscreen mode.

Fullscreen functionality has been tidied up and improved all over. Its faster and smoother now, and it doesn’t hide quite so much, the dock/start bar, and the title bar now stay in the fullscreen mode which makes it a little less jumpy and feels a little more integrated with the OS. That’s all nice but whats really cool is the more intelligent handling of group windows where you can fullscreen either separate window in the group window or expand the entire group window, making it more beneficial now to utilize group windows in C4D layouts. More importantly though now are the sticky managers and palettes, you can have it so that when you go fullscreen the powerslider doesn’t disappear, or maybe an important tool bar. This is a big deal IMO.

2) The Connect command correctly joins Texture tags and polygon selections & New Connect+Delete command.

Okay so this is two on the MAXON site but directly related, The improvements to how connect works are huge, before when connecting first you had to select only polygon objects, and then when connecting materials on texture selections and such would break often you’d end up with an entirely black model, but now it looks just as good after as it did before. This not only benefits connecting using the modeling command but also the quality of the connecting in the connect object make it much more useful now too. Now not only does connect do a better result, but they added a new Connect and Delete command that will save you time and hassle by deleting all the selected objects automatically when you connect leaving you with a simple cleaner Object manager and no extra steps.

3) Higher samples possible for Scene Motion Blur.

Okay so not everyone uses scene motion blur and I’m sure a lot feel its added rendertime makes it totally useless, but the fact is even with the new GI sometimes the old trick of super low quality QMC (originally stochastic in earlier versions) with SMB gives you great GI with the best possible motionblur option for C4D at comparable times to what you’d get with GI full animation mode and trying to get decent looking motion blur in post. Not to mention you can also drop quality of things like area shadows, blurry reflections and refractions and AA, and soon the scene motion blur trick takes the lead in overall quality to speed.
That said sometimes the quality isn’t enough, be it in this kind of trick or in regular scenes too. So now Scene motion blur can also do 36 and 49 samples, that’s right 49 renders per frame, pretty insane to use it but the motionblur is absolutely fantastic looking. Check this example out, this is the timetable preset form the broadcast edition, but for it to look really good it needs motion blur, so we rendered it with 49 to see what it would be like:

[quicktime]http://kaithestuffguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/testsmb.mov[/quicktime]

4) QuickTime can now be used by Windows 64-bit users.

This is a big one for a lot of users, personally I think it encourages a bad habit as I think people should always use images sequences both for textures and for final output. That said one cool thing with the new picture viewer is you can render as an image sequence but stills ave out of the picture viewer history as a movie when finished too so I see a little benefit. Its also a little less important for me now though in that I can preview animation tests right in the picture viewer with its ram player. It feels good to have it back and I know for a lot of users this will be huge.

5) Overall speed optimization in various areas.

Now we are talking a lot of minor optimizations in every little nook and cranny of the application that involves viewport speed so many won’t make significant differences, but a few can. Having the timeline open while scrubbing or playing animation shouldn’t be as much of a speed hit, Hypernurbs, driver tag, xpresso, thinking particles, the motion system all so notable updates. The Taquito rig from Cineversity went from 29fps on my system to 50 fps.

Oh and Mac users, MAXON added a notable OpenGL speed up for you too, it won’t be significant in all scenes but many.

6) Objects are numbered incrementally on creation or duplication.

Some may remember we once had much of this functionality before, why it went I was never quite sure but users made an outcry moaned for a few years and they listened and brought it back thankfully Nothing else to really add it appends a number onto the ends of names so you don’t have 50 cubes called cube you have 50 cubes called cube, cube.1 cube.2 cube.3 etc.

7) Particle turbulence modifier with expanded noise turbulence & Particle wind modifier with expanded noise turbulence.

I’m sure some didn’t even get why as the standard particle doesn’t get used a lot, maybe it does, I still like it for simpler particles, but the more important thing is that wind and turbulence affect other objects too, the new MoSpline, cloth, hair, the new MoDynamics, so now anything that uses wind or turbulence gets a much cooler wind and turbulence to use.

8) Render settings now include region specification to render a portion of the view.

ever needed or wanted to rerender that one little spot in a time consuming render? We’ve all done some sort of masking trick to render that small little region but now you can actually specify a border area to crop out and it even allows you to derive these borders from the Interactive Render Region. This will save a lot of people days in rerender time.

9) Environment variables for external plugin directories.

Okay this might not be the easiest to understand for some its a little more technical and really for studio environments and the likes but basically this environment variable allows cinema to recognize a plugin folder not only in the application directory or user prefs folder but anywhere they want on a computer or better yet network. Imagine one plugin folder for a whole studio. all copies have the same plugins, no one ever getting a missing plugin error or not being able to render. Its a big deal.

10) The New Installer.

Why is this a handy feature you ask?

1) User now enters temporary serials prior to installation.

  • This means users can’t accidentally install modules they don’t have serials for.
  • This offers an option to enter license server info or even simply choose a license.ini file.
  • This can immediately tell you if your serials are any good.

2) Installation of modules and bundles is semi automated.

  • Since serials are entered first cinema only offers you the application and modules you have licenses for. For most you’ll want everything it checks so you just move onto the next step, if needed you can choose not to include certain modules.
  • Language packs can be chosen in the installer, including multiple language packs, this saves an extra step later on.

3) Can install serials for entire system or just user.

  • This eliminates the problem for multi user environments having to enter serials every time a new user logs in.
  • This also means an option later in the installer can choose whether to add icon to start bar, desktop, dock etc.

4) Documentation is installed by the installer.

  • No secondary step later on, help is ready to go.

5) Net Server and Client are separate.

  • One can install the client software on a computer without the need to install C4D or NET Server on that computer.
  • Server and client install in a separate directory from the C4D install so no license server conflicts.

6) It looks nicer.

For a full feature list for release 11.5 check the MAXON site.

Sep
01
2009
0

Cineversity Live Q&A Session

That is right Cineversity is taking the next step with Live Q&A’s starting off with the new Release 11.5. So feel free to hang out here you can see it below, click chat to post your questions, or if you want you can go to the Cineversity Live Page

This Presentation has now been moved to a new dedicated Cineversity Live page here at Kai The Stuff Guy.

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