06/02/2020No Comments

The Importance of Not Standing Still

Sound on folks, and take a look at the latest showcase.

It's been fun to look back and stitch this 30s montage together. It makes me realise how multi talented Punch Digital can be, and the benefits of not being stuck rigidly to one area.

Many folk say "you need to be super niche", and whilst I do agree, and perhaps even see the business sense in that, it's just not for me.

I see huge advantages in working on a wide range of projects. What you learn on an architectural job will have a positive impact on a product animation.

Take for example the part of the showcase where the "2020" objects fall and bounce around. In my head, I'm thinking, could we use a system like this to drop leafs into an architectural project, to have a more realistic and interesting visual.

I totally understand that this approach isn't "mainstream", and we will end up going down routes that lead to nowhere. But that's half the fun!

Doing the same thing, day in, day out, also leaves you very exposed. People will copy, imitate and rip-off work. And if you're not quick, they could overtake you, and run you out of business. That scares me much more than wasting a few days on side project!

"If you don't move, your legs become stiff. And once your legs become stiff, it becomes harder to move."

Kind of makes sense, right?

So here's to diversity!

Dean

23/12/2015No Comments

Merry Christmas! Here’s to 2016!

Well it's that time of year again....

....so first of all, Happy Christmas everyone!

We're almost at the end of 2015, and I find it's always great to look back at what we've done over the past year. We can smile and pat ourselves on the back at the great work we've produced, but also to reflect on the hurdles and obstacles from the year!

I hope this year has been a great one for you, I know we've had a good year, producing some great work for you guys! As usual we've focused on creating architecture, interior, and product CGIs, but we also explored other area such as 3D printing and virtual reality. I find it's always great to explore and play, even if it's just to glimpse at what might be!

So I'll leave you with a short selection of our interesting 2015 projects for you to browse with a mince pie and sherry....

Student Mattress Room Set -

interior cgi bedroom matress student visualisation

The student mattress room set was a continuation from 2014, but is still worth of a mention. We really enjoyed working on this project, partly down to the fact we were given a lot of creative freedom with regards to the set design, and also to how well the final image turned out. It was technically challenging matching the CGI with the real mattress, but the end result was worth the extra effort!

New Broadway -

architecture arch viz vis building residential 3d cgi

2015 saw an increase is architectural visualisations for us, and the New Broadway project was perhaps one of the more interesting projects to work on. The images were photo-composites, set at dusk, which meant we could play with light and colour much more than a typical day-time CGI.

Construct & Configure Interactive Application -

interactive configurator kitchen realtime cgi interior

The Construct & Configure app finally went live this year, and although it's not 100% finished, it shows the potential of what we can do, and the direction we see things going in the next few years! We will be finishing and improving the app, and it will be used by clients to interactively visualise their products. Give it a go if you haven't already!

3D Printed Miniature Figures -

3d printing print scan scanning subutteo

As part of our need to explore and play with new tech, we have been busy with the 3D printer and scanner, turning folks into miniature figures! We honestly didn't know what would happen when we bought the printer, and it still feels very novel, however the miniature model railway guys have been taking advantage and we've been producing miniatures to go along with their trains, platforms and scenery!

There's been so much more happening in 2015 which I haven't mentioned, from virtual reality, to kitchen CGIs, along with all the other little things which crop up, and perhaps get lost along the way!

In 2016 we of course want to continue to produce amazing CGIs, animations and interactive projects, and as usual we will continue to play and explore! On our "wish list" is a VR headset, perhaps an Oculus Rift, or HTC Vive, which will allow us to really see what the future may hold! Also we will most likely launch another website, dedicated to the 3D scanning and printing, as the interest in this niche is definitly something we want to expand.

Also, away from the "doing", we want to attend more events, exhibitions, and such to make sure we're surrounded by new and exciting things. We'll be travelling all over the UK to various cities and events, so if you want to meet-up for a brew, chances are we could be passing by some time soon!

So that's it for 2015! Time to step away from the PC for a week, re-charge, rejuvenate, and hit the ground running in 2016!

Dean

03/08/201210 Comments

Viewport to Vray Physical Camera

OK just a quick post, along with a new script. This script automatically generates a Vray Physical Camera inside 3Ds Max, in much the same way as you create a standard camera.

Earlier today Mark Hunter (@Hunter_1st) challenged me to create a script which converts the viewport view to Vray Camera inside 3Ds Max, in the same way as you create a standard camera by pressing "CTRL C".

So with a little lateral thinking, I have knocked up a script that hopefully will serve his purpose, and maybe be of use to others (and possibly even myself!).

Anyway, here is the script.

Run it inside 3Ds Max and assign it to a short cut (if you soley use vray you might just want to assign it to CTRL C and override the standard camera), or do as I normally do and assign it to a button on the UI.

When you click the button (or use the shortcut) the Vray camera is created, and a dialogue box will pop up where you can rename the camera. This is useful for two reasons, firstly you should rename things anyway!! And secondly, the script is simple, and if you plan to create more than one camera, you will need to have renamed the previous cameras, otherwise the script will just move the old camera to your new view.

If this script is useful to you, or you notice any bugs, please let me know!

 

Thanks,

Deano

18/07/20123 Comments

Effect ID Changer Script for Vray

Hello again!

I have been working on a new script for some time now, and it's finally ready to be shared!

The script is called Effect ID Changer, and like my other scripts, it does exactly what it says on the tin!

First, you'll need to download the script from here.

Before installing the script, open the script in notepad or similar, and read the notes / disclaimer / credits at the top of the script. If you are unsure about using this script, or unsure as to it's effect, please do not use it. Also, always test this script on none important and none production work before including it into your workflow. Sorry to be pessimistic, I just have to cover my own arse sometimes!!

Anyway, to install the script in 3Ds Max by going to MAXScript, Run Script. Once you have done that, assign it to your UI. I personally prefer to add it to my tool bar for quick access.

effect_id_script_001

If you then open the script, you will see the interface -

effect_id_script_002

You will see there are 30 mask buttons, well 31 if you include the reset button, and two buttons at the bottom, which I will explain in a bit.

Firstly, let me explain what this script does. In Vray 2.2 (possibly earlier versions too), in the vray

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materials, options, there is a tick box called "Override material effect ID" and the Effect ID value is greyed out. By ticking this box, and changing the ID number, you can generate masks at render time by adding the MultiMatteElement to your render elements passes.

effect_id_script_003

This script automates this process, and makes the task very quick and very efficient. It might sound a little complex, but bare with me! This script removes the need to have a wire colour pass, or the need to generate mask after the rendering is complete, thus saving quite a chunk of time, and we all know how unreliable the wire colour pass can be. Also the wire colour pass will only give you a selection of an object, not the material. For example a car has many materials, and if the car is one collapsed mesh, the wire colour pass will only allow you to select the car as a whole, where as with this script you can give the glass, paint work, tyres, etc all different masks, even for collapsed meshes!

The key thing to remember when using this script is is that it works on a material level, not a object level. If you have two different objects with the same material, they will appear on the same mask. This is my preferred way of working, as it makes sense to adjust the materials rather than the objects. You can have more than 1 material on a mask, for example you might have the grass and roof tiles on the same mask, as you know the grass and roof tiles will never overlap (OK maybe on aerial shots!), but you get the idea, right?

OK so that's the principles behind the script, but how does it work? Simple, select the object that has a material that you wish to mask, and click on the mask slot / button that you would like to use. The script will find the vray material, even if it's inside multi sub, blend, two sided, etc and change it's ID.

The only slight downside to this is that if you have a multi sub material, such as a car, when you click for example on mask 10, all the vray materials inside the multi sub material will change to ID 10. Sadly the only way to control this is to manually edit the vray materials inside the multi sub material to a different ID.

And now for the really good part. I bet some of you are wondering how on earth you keep track of the masks you have just assigned. Well this script has a little trick up it's sleeve. If you right click on a mask button, you can edit the text!

effect_id_script_004

This script also saves the button text when you close the script window, and saves the data to a .ini file inside your 3Ds Max temp folder. On my PC it's saved to c:\Users\Dean\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMaxDesign\2012 - 64bit\enu\temp\ so as long as you installed 3Ds Max to the default location, the file should be stored here.

Knowing where this file is saved could be very important, if you change PCs just copy and paste this file and the script will read it. Also, if you are in a studio, and you want everyone to be using the same ID numbers for the same masks, you can drop this .ini file onto each users PC.

So now to the bottom two buttons. The Select Unassigned button simply selects objects that have materials applied to them that haven't had any mask ID assigned to them. It's just a pretty quick way to see what has and hasn't been assigned a mask.

The + Render Elements button is the last part of this script, and this adds the correct render elements to your Render Elements tab in you render settings dialogue. Click this button once (clicking more than once will only add duplicates and is very pointless), and the script automatically creates 10 new render passes, and configures them to that when you render you image (or animation) the correct passes are rendered.

effect_id_script_005

Each MultiMatteElement will contain 3 mask. MME1 contains mask 1,2,3, and when rendered mask 1 will appear as red, mask 2 as green, and mask 3 as blue. This is repeated through the other MultiMatteElements, thus having 30 masks in total.

So all that's left to do now is to render your scene and open it up the RGB and MultiMatteElements in Photoshop. The easier way to extract each map from the MultiMatteElement is to hide the channels you don't need, and simple select all , and copy.

effect_id_script_006

effect_id_script_007

Then paste the mask into your RGB file. You can then use this pass as a mask for any post-processing adjustments or masking.

effect_id_script_008

As you can see here I used the mask as a Layer Mask to badly adjust the grass! You would then repeat the process for any mask.

I think that's just about covered everything, and if there's anything I've missed, or if you experience any bugs please let me know. Also it would be great if you do use it, and it works OK, please let me know which version of Max and Vray you are using.

 

Deano.

15/03/2012No Comments

Interactive Test 002

Here is another interactive test, this time with a more traditional exterior environment.

Click here to have a play around!

I wanted to keep the emphasis on the building it's self, but also to explore some of the nice features of Unity Pro, and to see whether it is worth the price, or whether to stick with Unity Free. Unity Free is brilliant, and I love the fact that you could build an entire game just using the free version if you wanted to. However the features that Unity Pro has that are missing in the free version, are the lovely, juicy bit we all love, such as real-time shadows and post-effects.

In Interactive Test 001, I built the scene using 3Ds Max, Vray and Unity Free. With this test, I used 3Ds Max and Unity Free, and a very small amount of Vray (only for the reflection cube maps). With Unity Free, you don't have real-time shadows, so all the light info has to be rendered to a separate pass, and don't get me wrong, this can often be a great way of achieving great results, but the time spent unwrapping objects, tweaking UVs, rendering, and then realising that something isn't right, and going back through the whole process again and again can be very long and tedious. With Pro, you have real-time shadows, which eliminates the need to bake lighting, but can give flatter results, due to lack of GI, but for exterior environments like this, I think the advantages of real-time lighting out-weighs the benefits of baking lighting and GI. I may do a test with the Interactive Test 001 scene with real-time lighting, and see how they compare. I'm guessing the real-time version won't look as nice, but, the time saved might be the key to making this process one that could be put into a production work-flow.

So far I have barely touched the surface of what Unity can offer, but already I think I am achieving nice results, that should run across many different PC, and other platforms too such as iOS and Android. I am finding it hard however to program in any features, but the Unity forums are great and answer pretty much any question, whether or not I understand the answer!

I also had a quick play with the built in tree editor (hence the crappy trees, I need more practice!), which again added some nice flexibility, and the fact that they slightly move with some added wind, makes them a nice little touch. I added a quick function to hide the trees also just in-case they killed any PCs (please let me know if you have any trouble with the file!) but this also made me realise how useful real-time shadows are, as when the trees are hidden, the shadows also hide, something that would be very tedious, although do-able, with baked lighting.

So, that's test 002 done, let me know what you think, what would be nice to add and to do, and whether or not you can brake it!

And before anyone asks, I really don't know if the Pro version is worth the extra cash over the free, I guess a few more tests and I might be able to tell you!

Updates will follow!

 

Deano

 

 

 

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