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Hash, Inc. - Animation:Master

Hash mdd export rendered in cycles(blender)


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After seeing Soulcage's wonderful renders and lusting after GPU rendering speeds, as well as some of the non-character tools in other packages I finally spent a couple of days on the export and render pipeline from AM to Blender and it's cycles GPU renderer. Bearing in mind that my knowledge of blender is minimal at best, it was surprisingly easy. I exported the model as an obj file and then exported the matching mdd. In Blender I imported the same. turned on the cycles renderer and pressed go.


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Cool! How much does it cost? (just kidding) I'm very interested in this very thing(not so much the GPU rendering but the MDD export)... recently tried using the OBJ/MDD into C4D and modo601. I imagine you had to re-material set group colours with Blenders version. Was this a faster render than A:M?


People swear by C4D's render speed... but the more I play with it, the faster A:M seems.

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Robcat: I exported the roman character as an mdd. The blocks are blender primitives.

The render is different, it's the nature of the beast. The main advantage is that cycles is a gpu renderer and, if you have a good graphics card, much faster than AM's renderer. It simulates radiousity by bouncing lightrays, which is something that makes lighting setup simpler and it's similar to AM's Progressive viewport in that it can be turned on while you are fine tuning materials and lighting. On top of that Blender provides integration with a whole bunch of new capabilities, without having to give up AM's sterling character tools.

Mr Bigboote: I don't know that Cycles is a faster renderer...my gpu is just a hell of a lot faster than my cpu. My gut feeling is that cycles is also natively faster, but the other major factor is the ability to have far more complex geometry in the scene and to play nice with other software.


Using the same process I've put the same animation into Fusion and rendered it out in almost realtime. I think it averaged 8 fps with multipass motion blur and depth of field. It's not AM quality in that the obj files are only a 4 poly subdivision, but without the mulitpass settings it was outputting hd in realtime.


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If you could make a button to press in A:M that would export something that would render that same in this GPU renderer as it looked in A:M that would be a very useful thing.


But it looks like you will have to know quite a bit about lighting and texturing in Blender to re-create what ever look you had in A:M.

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For texturing I tend to use decal driven materials a lot, and these are easily translated col to col, bump to bump etc. For lighting i'd set it up in the final renderer anyway. For anyone using 3d in a compositor with a 3d environment like fusion, this adds a huge amount of functionality, relight, reposition, rerender and reuse AM assets with animation.

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Hi John,


Very interesting workflow.


What exactly is a "decal driven material"?


Cycles seems to be under heavy development and aimed to be optimized for animations.


As far as I understand it needs nvidiacards with cuda and direct X 11 to work with gpu.

Qualitywise its aiming as a physical render at the likes of v-ray, mentalray, even arnold and maxwell in the longer run

and its free.

So this pipeline would be a great enforcement for A:M if workable.


Lighting you can do easily by adding simple planes with lightemitting materials. Also has a capeable nodebased materialeditor.

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Hi Jake, by decal driven I mean that most of my models have decals set up for colour, bump, specular and diffuse so that it's relatively ease to translate them. For me AM's main strength is its character tools.

That's my understanding of cycles too. It appears to be quite powerful and fast. Admittedly it means taking on the headspace of other software, but I think the positives outway the negatives.

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Yeaaaaahhhh.... Awesome John. Great work. And great example of how the mdd export can be utilized!!


The Mdd basically exports a mesh version of any A:M animation by frames. This exported mesh is fixed to how you animate

it within A:M....


The incredibly awesome advantage that John is showing is that once this animated mesh is exported, you can interact that animation with the features of "Post Production" tools. Or a separate renderer or lighting system...etc.


You cannot change the animation that is exported, but the animated mesh is able to interact with things like say......Real Flow fluids....for instance. Because the mesh has a surface......... particles, light, and shadows react with it in other Apps.


ALSO....The mdd can also translate UV maps and so using a different render engine or lighting engine is then possible.


Very good tool and Hats off to Hash for offering a great add on. Nothing can compete with the flexibility of A:M. This is just another one of those simple reminders of how versitile A:M is.

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l used 16 Poly export for some tests, but it basically came down to running tests quickly. The same reason I used an existing animation rather than create something new.


Using jittered lights in the opengl render has given me soft shadows, and I think I might be able to generate a light dome as well. Ive added bump and specular decals, a slight fog, film bloom and grain, and render times are sitting at around 5 seconds at full hd.

Potentially I guess Blender's openGI/Game engine could do the same?

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