Thursday, July 26, 2012

FBX Export for Camera Matching in 3dsmax

Here is another tool i developed for RTT some time ago. It's a hybrid script utilizing MEL and MAXScript that automates the process of camera matching (still images) by integrating 3dsmax's Camera Match into an existing Maya pipeline. It was meant to speed up the whole process, establish a unified workflow and relieve the artists of all the tedious task (like browsing for files, adjusting settings, etc.) that ate up time or could've been error sources in the past.

Automated tasks:
  • export selected geometry as FBX (bypassing the FBX export dialog)
  • run 3dsmax (works with 2009-2012, automatically runs latest version you have installed)
  • import FBX geometry into 3dsmax (bypassing the FBX import dialog)
  • set render settings in 3dsmax (according to size of given image file)
  • set backplate in 3dsmax (matching render output)
  • configure Nitrous viewport (3dsmax2012 only)
  • configure units and snap settings (3D snap to vertex)
  • maximize perspective viewport and frame imported geometry
  • save 3dsmax scene file
  • switch to CamPoint tool so you can start working right away
  • one-button interface in 3dsmax for FBX camera export (bypassing the FBX import dialog)
  • import camera into Maya & create image plane with the given image
 (click to enlarge)
The tool is being used on a regular basis and has proven to be a real time saver in production.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tool for Automated Dust Trails

I've got permission from RTT to present some of the tools i wrote for them over the last years. I'm not allowed to supply any script files for download but i can show their UI and functionality.

This one is called "Automated Dust Trails". Its a nParticle based dust trail tool that was optimized to work with RTT's car rig. I wrote the tool in 2009 when we prepared for the Lotus Elan spot, but it was used in many other productions since then.
The system uses dynamic hair follicles to read the speed of each wheel. The speed influences emission rates and density of particles. All relevant parameters (color, size, lifespan, density/opacity, emitter attributes, shading, etc.) are adjustable through a convenient UI, so even other operators with little to no experience in dynamics can generate dust trails easily.

Language: MEL 
Size: ~6500 lines (incl. UI)

Main features:
  • automatic detection of RTT car-rigs
  • automatic dust trail creation for any number of cars
  • wheel velocity drives nParticle density & emission rate
  • closestPointOnMesh / closestPointOnSurface nodes and in some cases colorAtPoint expressions are used for terrain specific dust trail options (e.g. to get the trail color from the terrain texture)
  • use of a volumeNoise on the blobMesh channel of the particleCloudShader is based on a technique described in detail on djx blog, but goes further by controlling more shader attributes on a per-particle basis
  • load and save presets option in menu
  • all relevant attributes adjustable through a custom UI
  • only few expressions, most of it is node-based to optimize performance

 (click to enlarge)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Video Demonstration for Voronoi Texture Fracture

I added a short video demonstration for my Voronoi Texture Fracture tool. The workflow for fracuring by image source is pretty much the same. You just need to specify an image in the UI instead of creating a voronoi shader.
If you go for smaller pieces, make sure you also increase the "Fracture Map Resolution for Voronoi Textures" in the tool's settings menu (default is 512x512).

Original post HERE.
Download the script HERE.