VR, where do I start?

Well. From the basics I reckon.

I have been looking at VR sets because I want to play with these things so much. I was considering buying an Oculus but then I realized that I’d also have to upgrade my computer, which is something I haven’t done in the last 2-3 years. And just thinking about getting a new processor, motherboard and moving all my files and reinstalling programs and what not, gave me a very big headache.

So, instead of aiming for the high end products, I was thinking about the mid range. The Zeiss VR One caught my eye, but then quickly lost it when being compared with other things. It’s basically a fancy Cardboard without a button. I haven’t tested it myself yet, but I imagined 3d printing trays over and over in the future. How about no.

The question became: A powerful VR set that I can connect to the computer and test developing games and environments in, or a low-cost viewer that will facilitate showing stuff to people. The portability and accessibility of the cardboard set won in the end for now. Let’s face it, showing family and friends things that you have done with a quick portable visor is good enough for an entry leveler as myself.

So, I ordered this pretty little thing and now I’m just waiting to receive it. But why wait?

I chose to start from the basics, so the thing I knew I could get done easily and fast was to make Photospheres. I downloaded the Cardboard App to my phone and started fiddling around with how to get my images displayed. True, without the visor I can’t tell if they are working perfectly or not, but after a few test scenes I have learned very valuable things.

So far I have some different scenes rendered at different sizes, qualities and dimensions. I have a space scene, water/islands, desert, my Ancient Crash Site scene, and also my Skullcap scene. I will soon make a gallery for these images on my 3d Images Section for anyone to download/view.

Just waiting here… Staring at Space.

A space scene.

A space scene.

Back to Blender

I have played on and off with blender for a while, but now I managed to get into a class and actually learn the basics from the ground up in and orderly fashion.

The class is meant for people with no experience but will include the parts that i managed not to look into at all. So while the rest were learning what a polygon and a vertex are, I was playing around making a sci-fi space corridor.

Mind that I had never really used Blender for anything more than modeling, so even just rendering withing it was unknown to me. So I took the challenge and instead of exporting my corridor into Vue and rendering from there, I tried doing it from Blender. I did add the window scene from one of my previously rendered images in Photoshop.

Made and rendered in Blender. Space edit on Photoshop.

Made and rendered in Blender. Space edit on Photoshop.

Texture images in Unity – Preparation

Textures

  • Textures for the ground should be at the very least 512 x 512px, or better 1024 x 1024px.
  • For small objects that are not observed closely 128 x 128px is fine.
  • Larger than 1024 can cause memory issues.

File types

  • PNG is best quality and can use transparencies
  • BMP also highest quality but large file sizes. No transparencies.
  • PSD works directly, it gets flatten automatically, but you can do changes on Photoshop and they auto update in unity.

Importing World Machine terrains into Unity

The terrain made in World Machine

The terrain made in World Machine

Make the terrain in World Machine and export as Raw 16, but when saving, change the extension to .raw.

Open Unity,

  1. Create – 3D Object – Terrain
  2. On the Terrain, click on settings, then scroll down to resolution. Change to:
    1. Width 512
    2. Length 512
    3. Height (depends on your terrain, 200 is ok)
    4. H. Resolution 513
    5. Pixel error (top) to 1
    6. Import Raw, select it
      1. Byte Order to Windows.
  3. Adjust camera and views, you might not see it because it is above you.

A few adjustments on texture, custom made skybox, and lighting and here it is in Unity:

The custom made terrain imported and textured in Unity.

The custom made terrain imported and textured in Unity.

Animating DAZ characters in Motion Builder.

Exporting from DAZ 3D

  1. Export as fbx.
  2. Merge clothing to skeleton.

In Motion Builder – Setting the Skeleton

  1. Drag your fbx file into the scene. Click Open.
  2. Set Display X-ray
  3. Define – Skeleton
    1. Double click on each skeleton, and then on the corresponding bone in the model.
    2. Always start from the bottom most bone (you don’t have to allocate all)
    3. Torso will have the bottom 2 bones assigned.
    4. Feet will only have the Left and Right Toe Base set.
    5. Shoulders will have the Right and Left Shoulder.
    6. The head will be the one that touches the eyes.
    7. Neck only the bottom will be used.
    8. Hands:
      1. First hand bone (outside view) will be on the wrist.
      2. Start from the tips inwards.
      3. Each finger uses 3 bones (no fingernail)
      4. Carpal tunnels are assigned to LeftHandRing and LeftHandIndex.
  4. Model is not 100% aligned as T, rotate arms and fingers to reach a zero.
  5. When skeleton is ready, Lock Character – Biped.
  6. Rename your Character in the Navigator – Scene.
  7. Save Skeleton Definition as “Daz Character” (or any other)

Setting the Control Rig.

  1. Create – Control Rig.
  2. Set as FK/IK.
  3. Click on full body.
  4. Create a group
    1. Select the model and Character_Ctrl on the Navigator – Scene.
    2. Right click on them and Select Branches.
    3. Right click and Create Group from Selected Items or:
      1. On Asset Browser, switch to Groups.
      2. Click Create. Rename it.

Importing the Animation

  1. File – Merge, select your MoCap animation.
  2. Click on Apply Namespace. Merge.

Place Skeleton at origin

  1. Click on the Scene, on your animation Hips, right click.
  2. Right click – Zero – Translation – X
  3. Right click – Zero – Translation – Z
  4. Right click – Select Branch – Zero Rotation

Applying the animation to the model

  1. In Asset Browser – Characters, drag the character into the animation hips. (In the Navigator)
  2. Set Characterize – Biped.
  3. In Navigator, go down to Characters and rename the two characters.
  4. On the top right of the screen on Character Controls:
    1. Set Character to your Model
    2. Set Source to your animation.
  5. You can now play to see how it looks.

*For multiple characters in a single animation*

Repeat the process if you have more character in the same motion capture. Do all models first, and animations last.

  • After Define – Skeleton, Load the premade you saved before.

Known errors

  • Errors in the camera, it starts jumping – correct by saving and restarting (terrible, I know)
  • Do all models first and then import the animations, else you loose things, or they stop working.

Rendering tests in Apophysis 7X

This Tutorial was made back in 05-2014 by me. I moved it to this new blog as I slowly import everything from a very old blog that I had.

In Apophysis 7X setting the parameters for rendering quality can be a challenge. This is just my own guide to determine what works best in a particular occasion.

I’ll keep this simple. Each test I made had only one variable changing. Each test shows what was changed, you will be the judge of what works best for you. Sometimes the difference is quite small, sometimes quite big. Check it out below.


Test one, Filter Radius:

Tests included Filter Radius: 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 0.9
Images were rendered at: Size: 1024×768 Quality: 1000 Oversample: 2

Filter radius test

Comparison between different filter radius settings.

Findings:

  • The higher the filter radius value, the softer the edges of the lines will be. (0.9 being best)
  • Difference in time is minimal at the size tested (5 second difference between highest and lowest value)
  • Difference in -+0.1 is minimal. Make larger increases/decreases to notice a difference.

FILTER TESTS STATS
— Rendering “Fae2-1-1000.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 1000
Oversample: 2, Filter: 0.1
Total time: 8 minute(s) 7.27 second(s)

— Rendering “Fae2-2-1000.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 1000
Oversample: 2, Filter: 0.2
Total time: 8 minute(s) 10.52 second(s)

— Rendering “Fae2-5-1000.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 1000
Oversample: 2, Filter: 0.5
Total time: 8 minute(s) 8.99 second(s)

— Rendering “Fae2-9-1000.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 1000
Oversample: 2, Filter: 0.9
Total time: 8 minute(s) 12.63 second(s)


Test two, Oversample:

Tests included Oversample: 1, 2, 3, 4
Images were rendered at: Size: 1024 x 768 Quality: 1000 Filter: 0.5

Oversample test

Findings:

  • The more oversample you have, the faster it renders (16 second faster between oversample 4 and 1)
  • *I* couldn’t find much difference in image quality (at least under these test settings)
  • Needs to be tested in conjunction with another variable

OVERSAMPLE TESTS STATS
— Rendering “Fae1-5-1000.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 1000
Oversample: 1, Filter: 0.5
Total time: 8 minute(s) 21.58 second(s)

— Rendering “Fae2-5-1000.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 1000
Oversample: 2, Filter: 0.5
Total time: 8 minute(s) 8.99 second(s)

— Rendering “Fae3-5-1000.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 1000
Oversample: 3, Filter: 0.5
Total time: 8 minute(s) 8.92 second(s)

— Rendering “Fae4-5-1000.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 1000
Oversample: 4, Filter: 0.5
Total time: 8 minute(s) 5.18 second(s)


Test three, Quality Density:

Tests included Quality Density: 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000
Images were rendered at: Size: 1024×768 Oversample: 2 Filter: 0.5

Comparisons between quality density values.

Comparisons between quality density values.

Findings:

  • Difference in quality density drastically affects time.
  • It is most noticeable in dark areas with light flame strokes.
  • Difference between 2000 and 4000 (under these settings) is not that much, might be worth going 2000 to save time.

QUALITY DENSITY TESTS STATS
— Rendering “Fae2-5-200.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 200
Oversample: 2, Filter: 0.5
Total time: 1 minute(s) 39.83 second(s)

— Rendering “Fae2-5-500.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 500
Oversample: 2, Filter: 0.5
Total time: 4 minute(s) 4.83 second(s)

— Rendering “Fae2-5-1000.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 1000
Oversample: 2, Filter: 0.5
Total time: 8 minute(s) 8.99 second(s)

— Rendering “Fae2-5-2000.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 2000
Oversample: 2, Filter: 0.5
Total time: 16 minute(s) 17.46 second(s)

— Rendering “Fae2-5-4000.jpg”” —
Size: 1024×768
Quality: 4000
Oversample: 2, Filter: 0.5
Total time: 32 minute(s) 30.84 second(s)