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Producing imagery with Archicad or 3rd party products; Surfaces; Lighting; Cameras; Artlantis/Cinema 4D/Maxwell etc.

Moderators: ejrolon, Barry Kelly, Karl Ottenstein, LaszloNagy, gkmethy

By Bricklyne Clarence
#164070
TMA_80 wrote:
ejrolon wrote: AFAIK there is no equivalent for 3DS+Vray
i don't know how eficiente it is ( and I don't think it could reach the c4d importer ) but there seem to be an equivalent for 3dmax

http://www.scriptspot.com/3ds-max/scrip ... d-importer

That's not the same thing as the ArchiCAD-C4D exchange plugin or bridge. That was an old plugin for 3DS MAX which was which was written to specifically allow ArchiCAD's .3ds format exported models to be imported into MAX as clean meshes (older versions of AC didn't always export clean 3D meshes - unwielded vertices, coplanar or coincindent duplicate surfaces etc) and also to manage the material conversions from AC definitions into a pre-specified MAX library material definition.

The more recent versions of ArchiCAD have always exported cleaner meshes and 3D models, so in a sense, that function of the plugin is not really necessary. And besides which, that plugin could technically be used with any .3ds format models regardless of where it was exported from and not just ArchiCAD.

Still, it was (and still is) quite a useful plugin and I still use it from time to time even now.

The difference between this and the C4D bridge is the lack of the quasi-bi-directional exchange between the two programs - meaning that it's not possible to update your model en masse in the rendering program, when you make changes to it in ArchiCAD by just bringing it in again. There was talk, some time back about introducing DWG file-linking into future ArchiCAD, that would allow people to keep working on their models and keep updating in the render program 3DS MAX, by referencing and updating the model, but I don't know what ever happened in that regard or if GS completely abandoned that effort (if they ever considered it at all). The .DWG format is great because it retains the layer definitions and allows one to manage their files through layers; but the .3DS definition is great because it retains, material definitions, lights and camera information - but they're both limited by their high polycount limit threshold (which becomes a problem when you have a project with a lot of Curtain Wall elements.)

While I still have no problems (or at least, no huge prohibitive problems) with the current ArchiCAD 3d model exporting capabilities for switching to rendering programs, if GS are insistent on never developing or improving the internal rendering capabilities and material/texturing tools and interface of AC, then it would be great or helpful if they at least improved the exporting capabilities somewhat vis-a-vis updating a model that has already been exported for rendering via some sort of file-linking or file-referencing functionalities - especially for those of us that don't or would prefer not to use C4D.
Last edited by Bricklyne Clarence on Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Bricklyne Clarence
#164071
TMA_80 wrote:Hi !
In the Agsvis (who developped vray for sketchup & Rhino )website , ArchiCAD was leading the vote for the product for which we like to have a VRAY plugin integrated to...however
http://forum.asgvis.com/index.php?topic ... 3#msg36263

yes, I actually remember asking them (ASGVis), about that, a while back when ArchiCAD was leading the poll by quite a margin. The developer who did reply at the time mentioned that they were indeed interested in an ArchiCAD plugin, but that at that particular time they were specifically focused on the Sketchup and Rhino plugins at the time.

I get the sense that it's not always easy to develop third-party plugins for ArchiCAD, to work completely within ArchiCAD, without a significant level of support or assistance in some way from GS themselves. Particularly if the plugin is a bridge that has to have most of the overhead heavy pushing done in the host application before exporting information into another application or engine such as a render engine. And by heavy work I mean, texturing and texture mapping, lighting information and camera definitions. As we all know, ArchiCAD has something of a horrid if not outdated interface in this regard, so customizing a plugin to work in it for these functions would not be an easy task. So much so that the ones that do actually manage it (like Maxwell's plugin and workflow) are forced to develop mini-material definition applets or mini-applications that run on top of and outside of AC to allow the users to get the control they need.

It's quite unfortunate though, because as that poll showed, there's a potentially huge market of possible future users and clients who would jump at the chance to use a plugin-bridge to the fastest render engine on the market with the largest online support base with most resources. And it would free AC from having to focus on that aspect (visualization) while most of that work would be carried or taken up by ASGVIS.

I love the Maxwell-ArchiCAD plugin and bridge, since it's so well integrated into the AC interface, that it almost feels like it's part of the program. But being an unbiased renderer, it's long render-times, make it completely or largely impractical for everyday usage in a production or even design set-up. Vray with its minutes-to-hour long render times in combination with AC's marquee tool would be ideal compared to the 100 hour render-times of the maxwell render.
By Bricklyne Clarence
#164072
In keeping with the theme or the topic of the thread, and also in reference to my last post, here are some images I did in a project I worked on a little while ago. Of particular interest is the fantastic seamless workflow between the renderer (Maxwell 2.0) and ArchiCAD allowing an almost what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) type workflow from ArchiCAD's viewport to the finished image.

And image of the patio from AC 3D Window to Maxwell output:

the ArchiCAD 3D window screencap..........
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.......and the Maxwell rendered image from the same screen direct.....
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And more daytme images: from the same project......:



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Last edited by Bricklyne Clarence on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Bricklyne Clarence
#164073
And of course there is also Maxwell's fantastic Multi-light feature which allows you to get more than one image under different lighting conditions from the same render shot. Here are a few Night-time and Flashlight images of some fo the above shots:

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The best part about this workflow is the fact that you could set the renderer to render on low priority and assign half your CPU cores for the job and let it render in the background while still continuing to work in ArchiCAD in the foreground while saving 3D views as a render batch list for later renders. Maxwell is not particularly a memory hog, so this workflow worked okay without any glitches although AC13 on fewer cores was noticeably a bit slower.

On the flip side, there is the issue of Maxwell's horrendous render-times. For some of these images - the interior shots -, I had to leave the render running for anywhere between 20 hours to 80-90 hours, just to get a clean enough image and even then I would still need to clean some of them up in Photoshop using Noise Ninja. It would also be nice if it was able to support Maxwell's other features such as displacement mapping and instancing (although this is probably more an issue of ArchiCAD's polycount limitation than anything), since there is already a large online library and resource for high quality materials and pre-texture-mapped Maxwell 3D objects which can be instanced (such as trees) to enhance the realism of a render. As it stands right now, one would have to go through the Studio component of Maxwell to be able to use those features.

My dream workflow would be to have this type of a seamless integrated interface inside of ArchiCAD but with a faster high quality render engine like Vray.
User avatar
By TMA_80
#164097
Hi Bricklyne

Thanks for sharing your work, (and for the author of this thread) it is really intresting to see how the combo mw+archicad is doing "well". rendering with maxwell from AC is great (except rendering time :) .BTW as i remember from earlier posts you're using Vray too, how does it compare & how much do you use MW compared to Vray?

As for the 3ds plugin I think you're refering to this plugin from Marc Lorenz
http://plugins.angstraum.at/archicad_wiz/index.htm

the one i mentionned in the last post seems different : it was created by olivier Gras ; see his post here:

http://archicad-talk.graphisoft.com/vie ... 3ds#142704.
By Bricklyne Clarence
#164682
TMA_80 wrote:Hi Bricklyne

Thanks for sharing your work, (and for the author of this thread) it is really intresting to see how the combo mw+archicad is doing "well". rendering with maxwell from AC is great (except rendering time :) .BTW as i remember from earlier posts you're using Vray too, how does it compare & how much do you use MW compared to Vray?

As for the 3ds plugin I think you're refering to this plugin from Marc Lorenz
http://plugins.angstraum.at/archicad_wiz/index.htm

the one i mentionned in the last post seems different : it was created by olivier Gras ; see his post here:

http://archicad-talk.graphisoft.com/vie ... 3ds#142704.

Yes, you were right about the plugin; I was referring to and thinking about Marc Loeenz's plugin, and not Olivier Gras'. I didn't know about Olivier's plugin, but I'll be sure to give it a try. I hope it allows one to update their model once already imported and textured in a system that retains material texturing and mapping information - which is usually the biggest time-consumer of a rendering workflow in terms of preparing a model for render.

As for the comparison between Vray and Maxwell workflows from ArchiCAD, some of the more obvious comparisons are well known such as the fact that Vray is much much faster in terms of the actual render, but still takes quite a bit of time to prepare the model for render, and do tests and such. The fact that there is no straight forward workflow to transfer straight from ArchiCAD into the render engine the way Maxwell's plugin allows one to, does not help. There is also the fact that Vray is reputably not that easy to learn - on one's own - versus Maxwell, which only requires basic knowledge of how a camera works. However to offset that, Vray has a massive online resource and support network system since it is the most popular render engine that getting online learning resources and tutorials, prepared material libraries makes it really accessible for beginners.

My own experience with both learning and usage of it, is that while it has somehow of a steep learning curve at the beginning, one only has to get past the terminology (which sadly to say, is more technical and scientific than most artists or architects are used to) to be able to get a basic idea and grasp as to how to get around the engine and to manipulate it to one's advantage. There's lots of presets that make it easier to learn and use straight out of the box before one starts playing around with the settings and tweaking things. And tweaking and manipulating settings is one of biggest reasons it's such a hard program to master, but at the same time is also the same reason why it's the fastest and easiest to optimize., and why it's the most versatile.

As for Maxwell, both its slow render speed (those renders I posted below averaged between 20-90 hours each), as well as it superior unmatched lighting quality are both as well known as it's ease of use and easiness to learn and master. It's designed to work and render like the way one would use a camera with no need to learn such difficult terms as "subdivisions", 'irradiance maps' and 'Delone Triangles' and 'Voronoi Weights' and such. But like I said, the price is having to wait, for it to crunch through the render in a straight forward "Brute Force" way - also known as 'Unbiased' method - until it gets to the most realistic output. Typically it can go on forever until you get a completely photo-clear render, but no one ever has that sort of time to wait for a solution to complete and there's always noise left over.

The best part (for me anyway) about the Maxwell workflow, is the fact that their plugin works directly inside ArchiCAD almost like one of ArchiCAD's own native tools (in fact better, in some cases and some considerations). Added to this the fact that you can set the render (even after it's started) to use some of your CPU cores, (and not all of them) while setting it to render in low priority means that you can still keep working in ArchiCAD or other programs even as it keeps crunching through the render. It also allows you to "resume" you render if the program crashes or you have to stop it, which is HUUGE when you consider that other programs don't alllow this (with Vray you lose everything) and that you normally have to use you computer for other stuff.

But at the end of the day it typically comes down to whether you want speed (Vray) and are willing to learn the program, or if you would rather have quality and ease of use, but are willing to wait longer than is sometimes practical for daily usage.

Like I said before my ideal workflow would be to have a Vray bridge that would allow one to render Vray renders from directly inside ArchiCAD (much like the Maxwell plugin, and much like the Vray bridges for Sketchup and Rhino3D work) without having to go through another program like 3DS MAx or Cinema4D. But I suspect until GS upgrade their material and texture mapping system and interface, it will be difficult and with not much incentive for anyone to develop a bridge for ArchiCAD users.

That's just my opinion.

(sorry for going on too long)
By SiRowe
#164808
Bricklyne,

Can I ask where you got your furnishing and fitting objects? They may not be as high-poly as 3Ds max etc would allow but they seem to render out quite well? I just often struggle to find suitable objects.

I've always found that high-poly models which are suitable for renders seem to massively slow ArchiCADs performance. Yet the AC library objects are often too low-poly for convincing internal renders...

I guess the ideal would be objects with adjustable poly counts, allowing for quick performance in a working model and still creating interior renders without the need to replace entire objects.

Thanks
User avatar
By Matthew Lohden
#164830
Cian wrote:This is my latest piece.
Modeled in AC & Cinema. Rendered in Vray and post in Photoshop.
Hope you like.

Cian.
Nice technique but I'm not clear what the story is. That is to say, why are we looking at this building from this angle at this time of day? And why the red car?
By Bricklyne Clarence
#164927
SiRowe wrote:Bricklyne,

Can I ask where you got your furnishing and fitting objects? They may not be as high-poly as 3Ds max etc would allow but they seem to render out quite well? I just often struggle to find suitable objects.

I've always found that high-poly models which are suitable for renders seem to massively slow ArchiCADs performance. Yet the AC library objects are often too low-poly for convincing internal renders...

I guess the ideal would be objects with adjustable poly counts, allowing for quick performance in a working model and still creating interior renders without the need to replace entire objects.

Thanks


You might be surprised to find out that those are all ArchiCAD library or GDL objects. In fact some of them, (like the Boffi bathtub specifically) are built right from ArchiCAD's native tools without GDL scripting (using the Complex Profile Manager, SEO, splines, etc).

Granted, some of the furniture, are probably imported 3ds format 3D objects, and were taxing on ArchiCAD's 3D engine, but oddly enough the program seems able to handle more than you would think it capable of.
Of course, it also helps that Maxwell renderer is very good regarding smoothing of objects thus eliminating the necessity for high Poly objects, which AC can't handle, but on the flip side, you are likely never going to be able to render out 3D trees or sculptured cornices, but that's another story altogether.
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