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ajz3d

AJ's doodley doodles

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a m a z i n g n e w s t y f o r s h a r i n g ! :clapping:

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Actually, I just took another look at the NM PPP baking menu and there's an option that enforces triangulation, which I did not enable when I was baking. So most likely I was completely wrong praising this new function, because it didn't have anything to do with the successful bake as it was simply turned off. Also, it permanently triangulates the mesh.

So, if it did not, then what made my bake successful with the original retopo mesh? Maybe it's the Tangent space standard? I don't know.

 

Ignore the above. Turns out I had right in my previous post. I did some tests and triangulation method DOES seem to have significant impact on the bake result even when Triangulate from the baking menu is disabled. Delaunay's algorithm causes artefacts on my object, Simplest does not.

I'll post some images for comparison later.

Edited by ajz3d
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I downloaded your posted files, the first ones you gave in the thread.

3DC version Windows 4.1-11A non cuda.

Merged the high polygon frizzen mesh into surface mode.

Imported the low polygon frizzen mesh as the retopo mesh.

Left the Uv set as is.

Chose 2k image resolution.

Merged to paint room using PPP with no subdivision plus no triangulation.

 

The model seems to have the correct normal map in the paint room with no artifacts.

post-518-0-99395300-1407191426_thumb.png

Edited by digman

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Yup, the newest version is capable of baking this particular model really good. Especially if Simplest triangulation is selected as triangulation method. But it does have its share of problems when baking some other of my pistol's hard surface elements, even if retopo meshes are carefully modelled, with UV seams and hard edges in appropriate places. It presents slightly inferior quality to what xNormal is capable of (when using custom edited cages instead of inner/outer ray distance):

3dc_xnormal_bake_comparison.jpg?dl=1

 

As a side note, baking with xNormal comes with a trade off of course, because there's no such thing as Use Names Correspondence for Baking or something else that would automatically explode the mesh and bake the map. So this slows down the pipeline a lot, unless the program in which we explode our object is capable of scripting and can take on huge reference meshes without significant impact on viewport performance and time needed to load/save references. When it comes to the scripting part, in Blender or Maya for example, it should be possible to script in export routines for reference, retopo and cage meshes that would automate the process and reduce artist's time spent on doing those actions.

I'd also like to mention two problems that I have not yet reported to Mantis.

The first one is that if I bake my meshes with locked normals, I get this thing in the viewport after I press '1' to view the relief map:

post-12523-0-28349900-1407355652_thumb.j

This mess doesn't affect the exported normal map, but it makes painting additional normal map details a little bit... um... difficult.

The second problem is more bothering. After baking I cannot paint anything on my mesh unless I disable Ignore back faces. This behaviour suggests that the normals of my retopo groups are inverted, but they aren't! And this I checked not only in 3DC, but in 3rd party programs as well! Also, 3DC's backface culling won't hide them so WTF? If I rotate baked model in the paint room, I get black faces because of this.

My frustration level with 3D Coat has risen by a considerable amount. :girl_devil:

Why on Earth it's so difficult to go through the pipeline with this program?

Edited by ajz3d

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http://3d-coat.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=16476&p=111699

 

... every external package may treat the quadrangulation differently when importing the model which will result different normal information on the model and then the normal maps wont display correctly.

 

In short  -

 

for the normal maps to display correctly the model should be triangulated so the normals wont change .The external package must import model with the normal information  and the correct tangent basis should be used for the external package to display it correctly.

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This doesn't explain seams in bakes done by 3DC and visible on the first image of my last post. For the comparison image I posted (screenshot from Maya) I chose the Delaunay triangulation, which is said to be close to what Maya uses. Also, I used "Maya normals" as normals calculation method and "Maya, Blender" as normal maps export. Tangent space standard didn't matter much as it only slightly affected shading, not seams.

Triangulating the model makes it hard to introduce modifications into it later on. That's why I only triangulate faces that might be ambiguously interpreted by an engine's triangulation routines. Convex? Concave? I don't want to leave this decision to algorithms.

I don't expect magic resulting in no seams and artefacts at all, but if some software can bake better normal maps using the very same retopo mesh than the other one, then maybe there's still some room for improvement in the latter?

Edited by ajz3d

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I think what we need to improve the merging (baking) into the paint room is the ability to set each retopo group cage per voxel / surface layer. We can use sphere of influence of course but it would be must easier to set each retopo group cage per voxel / surface mode layer when using Name Correspondence. Since Name Correspondence only bakes one layer at time this would be ideal. Then you could use sphere of influence if necessary on each retopo cage layer if needed.

 

Right now you have to just choose a general fit over the entire model which is not the best for baking when using Name Correspondence. It works fine on a one layer object but when you have many layers some areas are too close to the cage an other areas are too far away. You have to just set a best general fit so all areas are covered and using sphere of influence on a many layer complicated model is very time consuming.

Edited by digman
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My frustration level with 3D Coat has risen by a considerable amount. :girl_devil:

Why on Earth it's so difficult to go through the pipeline with this program?

 

Don't bother. Everytime I tried to bake in 3dc I got weird shading, wiggly lines even by playing with the area of influence and other baking setting, while on the other hand, exporting everything and baking in xnormal is a breeze.

I'm not a fan of hammering a project which should move pretty quickly because the software is doing unexpected thing. There may be a certain WAY of doing things in 3dcoat which result in good output. Unfortunately I didn't find it and to be honest: if I've to guess how to do something and know the theory, I won't use a software that keep getting in my way because IT wants to do it his way ;)

Results talk, processes don't matter.

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digman, on 07 Aug 2014 - 01:42 AM, said:

I think what we need to improve the merging (baking) into the paint room is the ability to set each retopo group cage per voxel / surface layer. We can use sphere of influence of course but it would be must easier to set each retopo group cage per voxel / surface mode layer when using Name Correspondence. Since Name Correspondence only bakes one layer at time this would be ideal. Then you could use sphere of influence if necessary on each retopo cage layer if needed.

 

Right now you have to just choose a general fit over the entire model which is not the best for baking when using Name Correspondence. It works fine on a one layer object but when you have many layers some areas are too close to the cage an other areas are too far away. You have to just set a best general fit so all areas are covered and using sphere of influence on a many layer complicated model is very time consuming.

I wholeheartedly agree with all you said here Digman. General settings of bake scan depths don't play well with name correspondence baking. Every object should use its own scan depths. Sphere of influences should also be bound to objects instead of influencing every scan depths of every single object within their radius. This would make things much easier than trying to pick this perfect depth that would cover all objects and then, having to compensate with dozens of influence spheres where needed.

 

alvordr, on 07 Aug 2014 - 04:56 AM, said:

I don't know.  I've had almost no real troubles with baking, and I never use the spheres.

I'm glad to hear this, Robert. Unfortunately I cannot say the same. Generally, most of the bakes I've been doing in 3D Coat did in fact bake well, but they were mostly SubDiv stuff. However baking retopo meshes that are not meant to be subdivided, like the duckfoot's pistol here, is a lottery for me in 3D Coat. Some bake well, some contain artefacts.

xNormal on the other hand bakes those meshes perfectly. :pardon:

Maybe you could share a tip or two on how to bake game stuff in 3D coat? It seems to be full of caveats.

 

BeatKitano, on 07 Aug 2014 - 2:51 PM, said:

Don't bother. Everytime I tried to bake in 3dc I got weird shading, wiggly lines even by playing with the area of influence and other baking setting, while on the other hand, exporting everything and baking in xnormal is a breeze.

I'm not a fan of hammering a project which should move pretty quickly because the software is doing unexpected thing. There may be a certain WAY of doing things in 3dcoat which result in good output. Unfortunately I didn't find it and to be honest: if I've to guess how to do something and know the theory, I won't use a software that keep getting in my way because IT wants to do it his way ;)

Results talk, processes don't matter.

Ya, I'll stick with xNormal for now. Probably until I'll feel that I'm ready to do some more experimenting with 3D Coat's baking engine.

Frankly speaking, organic models seem to bake very nicely in 3DC, but whenever I try to bake a hard surface mesh, the results are unpredictable. Sometimes very good, sometimes not. The more rough the mesh is, the worse the outcome. Even if I lay down hard edges and lock the normals.

Maybe cages are a superior solution to bake scan ranges?

 

Also, 3DC as far as I know 3D Coat still doesn't support normal map anti-aliasing, and xNormal does.

---

Today's quick doodle. ~200k tris so far:

doodle_oldMansHead.jpg?dl=1

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I had some free time yesterday, that I spent working on textures of my ducksfoot pistol.

A mixture of 3D Coat and Substance Designer. Both programs complement each other very nicely.

duckfoot_pistol_butt_wip.jpg?dl=1

Edited by ajz3d
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Nicely done!  I have SD, but I don't use it, so I don't really know how to use it.  I tried a couple of times and felt that my current programs allowed me to do what I needed to, just fine.  However, if you feel SD is worth learning, I might have a go at it again.

Edited by alvordr

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That looks realy nice.

What have you done in SD and what in 3d coat?

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Hey guys.
Robert,
I find Substance Designer good for creating base PBR materials with random texture, like brass, steel, paint, patina, rust, etc. and to easily blend them afterwards. What I like the best about it, is that I can easily tweak a single parameter and with it, for instance, increase the patina coverage on the brass parts of my model within seconds. However, the wood I found impossible to create in SD, because wood has a specific texture and I had to maintain a continuity between different oriented UV islands of my model. And this I couldn't figure out how to do in the program. Maybe there is a way to accomplish this, but I had to resort to 3D Coat's excellent texture painting capabilities. :)

Malo, Tony,
I did the wood texture painting in 3D Coat and the alpha map for the paint fill of the butt's engravings. There are still much more areas that need 3D Coat's attention, but they are not visible on the image.

To prepare the wood texture for 3D Coat's "stamping" I used BItmap2Material3.

Edited by ajz3d

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Very cool.  How many polys is it?  Any intended use for this in a game, film or animation?

Edited by alvordr

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Thanks.

The pistol has 13 261 vertices (25 725 triangles), so it's probably not of the lowest poly count. I wanted something low-poly, but at the same time still looking very smooth on close ups.

I don't have any plans to use it in a game or animation, but when I was modelling the pistol I thought of it as player's weapon in an imaginary FPS game.

 

I noticed that I actually forgot to uncock the pistol. I'll post an update some time later.

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Imagine firing one.

There's this guy firing a tiny ducksfoot pistol:

The pistol he fires is similar to the one from the second image from this page: http://www.dave-cushman.net/shot/ducksfoot.html. I used this site as a reference for my model (second to last on that page).

Edited by ajz3d
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Vertex painted retro baubles (one repost from "What are you working on" thread). ;)

They'll be a part of a larger scene. There are more coming.

 

mushroom_bauble.jpg?dl=1

 

bauble_A.jpg?dl=1

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