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I haven't been to this thread in quite awhile.


Thanks Mark (and everyone else!) for the words of encouragement.

We have some fine talent here in the forum and I consider it a blessing just to be associated with you all.



Thanks for checking out the link.

My verdict thus far shouldn't surprise anyone: The Sony site isn't going to be of much use to any single person as it is a site for collaborative review.

As such it may be worth looking into for those involved in a collaboration with two or more other people.

I wasn't able to get very far into my exploration because... alone I'm very much one less than two. ;)

There reportedly are some annotation features which, if operational in the Beta, would be useful.

There are quite a few other folks pushing into cloud services for creative content.

Time will tell which provide the optimal services.

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One plus to John's technique... no 5 point patches or hooks needed!

It's also a great method for prototyping new characters and props.



Also: While not ideal in all situations, when using 4 Patch spheres we don't have to worry about closing the ends of the mesh for use with Boolean Cutters (we know they are already closed).

So the mouth shape can be cut out of the face shape to animate the opening cut into the mouth.


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Here is an example with the mouth sphere cutting the mouth shape out of the head sphere.

Note that the color inside the mouth comes from the Surface color of the sphere that has been assigned as a Boolean Cutter.

Patch images, materials... and yes, even decals... can also be applied.

(Example: You can have a cube (or cubes) cut out space for a set of windows and simultaneously decal all the views those windows provide)


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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's a test of a Boolean Cutter mouth for the 'Batam' character.

Using specified boolean cutters we can cut parts of the model out without effecting other parts (i.e. cut the mouth out of the head but leave the teeth).

The Surface property of the cutter then colors the area cut out of the head.


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A black and white test.


For toon and line work I tend to prefer the screen capture more than the final rendering and this one is no exception.

Note: This is not a toon render. It uses two 10x10 pixel black and white layered patch images.

The patch image approach allows me to adjust or change colors outside of A:M (if necessary).


Added: Moved things around and added blue, skin, and yellow patch images.

A little noise then added to the whole thing in Irfanview.

The spotlight is a simple spline ring (assigned as a five point patch). Text created with the Font Wizard.


Hmmm.... I'm starting to think Batam needs an exclamation mark...



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  • 1 month later...

Here for no particular reason is a lighting test that came out of the v18 renderer.

I like the general look of the noisy sky and ground and might use that as a starting place to delve further.


The ground is actually gray in color but is lit to the present colors.


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What actually adds the noise to the sky is roughness... heck nobody uses roughness do they... so I sometimes use it where surfaces look too perfect. I think it was set to 5% or so with the roughness scale set to 0%.

The default ground plane is set to Off so that the ground in this scene is actually the bottom of the six sided box... again with a little roughness which interacts with the light to give it a sense of turf or grass.


The 'trick' is similar to using sky domes as such.

In this case the entire scene is contained inside a six sided box with the back side of the box mostly transparent (77% as I recall).

This allows the default camera blue (or whatever color or surface or image desired) to show through to the camera.

I believe what makes the noise really kick in is Reflectivity turned up on the back wall of the box.


Why put a scene into a box?

I'm testing that as an approach to controlling every pixel rendered and to more easily replicate stylistic shots.

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Are you back to Rodney-normal now?


I'm not sure what normal is but it is safe to say that I've moved on to many different and more enduring crises. ;)


But to answer your question; from the lighting of myself on fire I am fully recovered.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Despite the nasty banding in this rendering, this is another random lighting test that I like.

It's the muddied painterly quality that appeals to me as shown in the back corners of the room.

The spill-over of color into shadows is something I'd like to study more too.


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Despite the nasty banding in this rendering, this is another random lighting test that I like.

It's the muddied painterly quality that appeals to me as shown in the back corners of the room.


On my monitor I just detect slight blockiness in the shading. I guess there's no dithering in that render?

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I didn't care for the blackness of the top of the rocks so went back in and splashed a little light there.

Not sure if it improved anything but at least it's no longer black there. :P

(adjusted the rocks and knight as little as well)



that is a nice comic book-ey effect.

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  • 6 months later...

I didn't get an entry in for the Sci Fi contest but am thinking about posting some WIPs from that effort.

I might just use that idea yet in another contest so in the interim am posting this here:


I put this together today after being inspired by the Sci Fi contest. (I wish I would have moved in this direction for the contest!)

We should have those contests more often. :)


I was pushing the image toward being a mock movie poster starring Shaggy but how many will read that title as 'Shaggy is Steel' rather than 'Shaggy is .S T L' (the former being the correct reading in this case)? To confuse matters even more... Shaggy isn't an STL file... the spaceship that Shaggy thinks is a gun is.

Can you hardcore Sci Fi fans recall what movie the spaceship is from?


The .STL file used here was downloaded from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:402270 ( Thanks to Tobz for the file)

(Most files posted at Thingverse are covered by a Creative Commons license)


Of late I've been playing with combinations of A:M Props and regular Models and having fun with that. (My initial contest idea was inspired by an .STL file)

Thinking of the STL files as solid objects and spline based models as soft objects or even tissue aids in my approach to modeling and layout.

It's all in my mind but the props 'feel' heavier and less 'alive'.



Aside: A downside of using .STL props is that they aren't recognized by HAMR. :(

But... particle hair is. :)


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...and yet another test combining .STL with a regular model.

In this case the prop is based on a STL file of the earths solid mass (minus water) and the water (and atmosphere) via splined spheres. (it's hard to see the atmosphere in these screen shots)


The basic idea being that the water can be animated (rise/fall, change transparency, animate) without effecting the underlying prop.


I've added a shot of the STL prop as well which is courtesy of Thingiverse (Thanks to Alan Folmsbee for that model)


The various height colors are added via a spherical material with gradients.

prop and model.jpg

STL file.jpg

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  • 4 months later...

Here's a couple random renders from the project my daughter put me to work on.

She's a tough client so there is much work ahead.


I'll call these proxy models because they were created in the process of discovering what the characters might look like in 3D and as such they lack a lot of detail and have only the barest of rigging.


Basic premise: a little sumo duck derisively called 'eyebrows'* by those around him steps into the (boxing?) ring with a champion fighter (a rooster) many times his size.

If my daughter doesn't lose interest... their adventure may continue...



*My daughter is resisting my effort to spell the little guy's name after the japanese romaji style; 'aiburouzu'.


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  • 5 months later...

I've been enjoying some of the newer GPU post effects and I hope folks have been pressing into those.

These are a few renders using the Sharpen effect from testing some alternative 'toon' looks (without using toon).

vga image 005.png

image 002.png

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but what do you mean GPU post effects?


Exactly why I posted this... I haven't seen evidence of folks using the GPU post effects so I assume most must not know about them.


They are located at the very bottom of the Render Panel.


For those that struggled with the Blur results of standard Post Effects you will struggle no more.


Toggling off the 'Apply to final results' option will have A:M render the effect out separately for later compositing

(Disclaimer: I haven't played with that much)

GPU Posteffects.png

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These all appeared with the release of v18 (no increment).


From the change log:


  • Rendersetting "Screen Space Ambiant Occlusion"
    This is a posteffect, which is implemented as a GPU Shader, but has also a CPU fallback implementation, for the case that the gpu doesn't support this or opengl3 is not used. The effects also need the depth buffer, if they are not enabled, the effect enables it.

    additional settings
    • On OSX this effect can be computed only on the cpu, due to glTexBuffer and samplerBuffer (gsls) isn't avaible in the compatibility profile, the core profile can't be used (nor supported via AGL) there.
    • "SSAO Effect only"
      Only the computed SSAO is shown as a greyscale picture (not applied to the original render, overwrite it)
    • "Samples"
      How many samples are used to compute the ssao around each pixel, available values,when gpu is used are 2-1024, if the cpu is used it is limited to 2-128 (higher values are clamped to 128) it's also a good idea to enable OpenMP, when the fallback to the cpu implementation is used.
    • "Radius"
      The radius around each pixel, from which the SSAO is computed
    • "Distance"
      Distance which occlusion reaches
    • "Gamma"
      Gamma correction for occlusion only
    • "Density"
      Density for sampling
    • "Softness"
      Softness of the edge of occlusion
    • "Luminance influence"
      How much luminance affects occlusion (gpu only, and only when applied to finalrender)
    • "Blur the effect"
      Enables blurring for the effect itself (not the applied effect)
    • "Radius"
      The radius for which the blur is calculated (gpu gaussian blur used)
    • "Apply to finalrender"
      See GPU Postprocess effects when "GPU Postprocess effects" is set to ON and "Applying each pass" is ON and the gpu implementation is used the effect is applied each pass.
  • Rendersetting "GPU Postprocess effects" (only OpenGL3, driver version 3.2 or higher is needed)
    This implements some posteffects as GPU calculated effects, they are faster than the normal posteffects applied to the camera. An additional logfile (GPUShader.log in the A:M installation directory) is created, when such aa effect is used (for bughunting) if an error occurs, the master.log is also needed for bughunting the order for computing the posteffects is SSAO, Blur, Different Posteffects.

    Settings for each gpu posteffect
    • "Applying each pass"
      When You render with multipass ON, the effect is applied at each pass.
    • "Apply to finalresult"
      If this setting is OFF, the result from the posteffect is saved as a seperate image file (also for every pass in multipass), and not added to the final result image. The imagefile is saved in the directory where the final image is stored and appended with the posteffect name and pass number.
    • "Samples"
      How often the posteffect is applied.
    • Blur
      Additional setting, "Radius" which controls the radius for which the blur posteffect is calculated
    • Different Posteffects
      additional setting "Posteffect Type"

      Available types are
      • "Greyscale"
      • "Sepia tone"
      • "Negative"
      • "Sharpen"
      • "Dilate"
      • "Erode"
      • "Laplacian"
      • "Prewitt"
      • "Sobel"
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I just checked and you need to have OpenGL3 turned on the Global tab of Tools/Options for the GPU Posteffects to show up. With OpenGL set the option won't show (or at least not here on my computer).

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Thanks Rodney!


Unfortunately I've been using 16b/32 (because that's last version TSM2 works, and it's a pain to have to rig, then switch to newer A:M version with re-rigged model, (and take out fakeao, then use SSAO instead) -


and have had real-time display problems (hair, shaded) with 18g opengl3 (A:M reports #6547) - Have to figure out efficient way to switch versions



BUT I just went into 18g - to render (chor created in 16b), changed to opengl3, deleted fakeao (didn't yet substitute SSAO),


and the GPU post effects shows up as rendering options.


Will have to experiment! Especially with those effects I've never heard of!:

  • "Dilate"
  • "Erode"
  • "Laplacian"
  • "Prewitt"
  • "Sobel"
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  • 1 year later...

I was in the process of submitting my entries for the mascot contest and due to my extreme disorganization I misplaced a few.

One of these days I'll get my act together. At least I did manage to enter something which was my goal from the beginning. :)


As I've been looking for my misplaced files I've ran across a few 3d doodles and figure I might as well use some of my findings to update my long abandoned WIP topic. If I've already posted these before and just forgotten... my apologies!!!


First up is a really old doodle that wouldn't have been submitted for this contest because it's not a recent creation but I kind of like the general style that started to appear with him so will start with him.


The Capn...

(I think he's in shock because he just found out I don't have a clue as to where several of my contest entries are located. Either that or I just reminded him of the contest and... he forgot to submit an entry.)



I'll post models/projects if anyone wants them...


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Now this thing... it was part of an entry that I haven't yet located.

For some reason it was a render of the vehicle only and missing are the passengers of the vehicle.

I think I was using this rendering as a way to get at the alpha channel... more on that later.


Edit: I can see by the surface below the car that I wasn't after the alpha channel here.

Perhaps I was testing smoke/exhaust.


I'll post the full render once I locate it.


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Here's another non-entry (way too old) but because it's a character it feels appropriate to post him.

He was last seen (from a different angle) in one of the forum banners.

(and yes, his eyes are floating well in front of his face... in the banner I don't think that could be seen but it did add a little extra color around the eyes due to the shadow of the eyes falling on his face)


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Here's something of a reverse shot from the last.


In re-rendering this last one I am reminded of why I lost interest in the project (other than that my daughter moved on to other things).

I was struggling to get the colors and lighting I wanted and never quite got the look I was after.

It seemed that if I adjusted the lighting... the color went off.

If I adjusted the color (on the characters)... the lighting looked off.


The real problem was surely that I didn't know what I wanted it to look like. ;)

revisitingAiburouzu reverseshot0.png

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And here is an old (random) horse doodle...


I've doodled horses in several styles but this guy might make a good companion for my Myst'ry Rider because he's got a little realism to him but still cartoony.

Probably would need ears... and a body. ;)


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