Some recent stuff

Been kinda messing around with all sorts of things lately after doing a deep dive into Redshift. Worked up a vellum grains simulation in Houdini, a cityscape concept in C4d,a cat skull abstract piece and a more playful grapich coffee thing. Next deep undertaking is going to be doing more of a study on how to make abstracts in Houdini. Gonna dive into particles and messing with geo on a deeper level.

Skull Study

Messing around with volume meshes in Cinema 4d today and came up with this little study. It’s fairly tricky to work with Redshift materials in the C4d window though. Can’t see a damn thing in the viewport. Just basically keeping adding shapes into the volume till you get the shape you want.

Testing some more Shaders

Working on some more Redshift today trying to dial in some shaders. I reworked my thin film to be a bit more subtle and took a stab at some subsurface scattering gummy bears. Pretty happy with the results.

RedShift and the Adaptive Error Threshold (AET).

One of the most annoying things about RedShift is that the defaults for everything is pretty much shit. This means you gotta spend 5-10 minutes setting up everything correctly at the start of a project. Well yesterday I was rendering out some very reflective thin type with moving lights and was running into the flickering highlight problem. I recalled reading a bit about AET but forgot the gist of it but after a bit of googling I found this forum post about it. This pretty much sums it all up. Bookmark it…

“In the Unified Sampling there is also Adaptive Error Threshold (AET). "This parameter controls how sensitive the noise detection algorithm will be. Lower numbers will detect noise more aggressively which means that more rays will be shot per pixel and vice-versa. It is recommended that you use the ‘show samples’ feature to visualize the effect of this parameter. The default 0.01 value should work well for a variety of scenes. For production-quality results, we recommend lower settings such as 0.003." AET seems to work amazingly well with it not taking much more processing power to figure out which pixel needs more samples. Knowing this let's say we set US Min to 1 and Max to 512. As said in the first post 512 seems to give the best quality for some odd reason and lower render times. A higher US max does not seem to give better quality for some strange reason. Now we set BF rays at 16384 it's max. We do this because AET seems to also control BF samples. The more BF samples the better. Set Irradiance Point Cloud samples to 1. The AET is so powerful we can now control exactly how fast Redshift renders and with what quality with the one parameter. Doing it in this way makes AET into a single make it pretty slider. Values between 0 and 2147483647 work for this with the higher number giving less quality and 0 being the max quality. I found a value of 0.001 is the lowest it can go without being 0 and seems to be needed for some scenes. A value of 0 gives the best results if one wants to wait much longer. If doing animations a higher AET could be used with Randomize pattern every frame as the different samples can be smoothed between frames with great results. Now that I know this I'm kind of scratching my head wondering why Redshift didn't simplify it to the one slider. It really does work that well.”

Pyro testing between Houdini and C4d

Doing some testing this weekend with Pyro sims and I noticed so interesting differences between how they look in Houdini / Redshift native and exported as VDBs into C4d / RedShift. This is part one, Houdini and Redshift native. It’s ugly and imperfect, but like I said I just wanted to test some things.

I like the C4d animation better. Has a more solid feel. But compare the stills and Houdini has more subtle things going on.

Compare.JPG

Next Step is to get the render settings and Post Effects more aligned and work up the textures of the grill to something more realistic. I was just happy to get this sim running cleanly like I wanted and in both programs in one day honestly.

Set builds

Thinking about maybe doing a daily series of images based around CG Set builds. Just some simple still life things that have a bit more commercial appeal then skulls and heavy dark shit. LOL! Anyways, yesterday I built out these two in C4d and Redshift just to get a feel for if I think it’s worth getting into. It’s that or go back and revist some older projects and figure out how to update them to C4d and Redshift. That would be a longer process but I would get to remake a ton of assests for the library so it’s a hard call.

Volumetrics innnnn sppppaaaaaaaaaacccceeeeee!

Worked up a volumetric study in C4d and Redshift last night. Was interesting to put the thing in a cloner and play with it that way. The cloner idea was from that LFO Desgin class I am taking ATM. Learning a ton from that, probably one of the best classes I have purchased and I have bought a tooooon of tutorials. He really explains what everything does instead of just walking you through entering numbers. That or my brain has exploded from Houdini and I am just happy to have a damn UI again instead of coding…..

Puck in Houdini

I was following along with this Houdini live stream the other day and thought it could be interesting to apply the Redshift stuff I have been learning to it but in Houdini. I actually got it all working and built out this creepy little puck statue. You can see the nodes for tight wires and how I textured the main Puck figure in the screen shots. Did the grading in Adobe Camera Raw to finish it off and that was a wrap at 10:30 or so, lol!

Recent progress

I have continued with more RedShift in C4d and have really been enjoying it. Went back to Houdini to mess around and ran into a bug where I can’t get the lights to look at nulls. I can load the null as a target and it will track it for the first movement and then it clears the field and drops the link.

No Idea.

Then I tried to load a fbx file and what a freaking nightmare it is. Tried the first free solution below and it worked but a simple pair of shoes that in C4d is 4 pieces of geometry became over 150. So yeah, really frustrating. That said, being back in C4d has been really nice and easy. It’s nice not to have to break my brain to build out simple sets. So many possibilities with Houdini but it’s really frustrating to do simple ass shit.

Redshift is starting to really grow on me though. Everything works like I think it should. No abstractions or messed up ways of getting something done. Wire it up and it works. Octane is really, really easy but it does some things really quirky and non-standard. Plus, light linking is a joy in Redshift.

I will say gamma correcting scaler values is pretty abstract and should not be needed. That should be added on the programming level at the start of those channels. It is also not well documented as being needed for true representations of your textures.

Anyways, here are some of the things I have been doing along with the classes. Nothing special really but it’s nice to have a log of what I was building out. Some of these are just saved from the RenderView so I can find them later. A few are a bit more thought out ;)

One of the nice things to make is a default three point lighting set with Nulls as targets for the lights and camera. Set your GI and change the default render settings and bango, saves 5-10 minutes at the start of everything. Highly recommend building out one of those.

Also, Ramps are really, really, really important. Like use them on all the things.