PBR Workflow: Tools, Resources and Additional Reading

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An Industry-Wide Revolution

The addition of physically based rendering to WorldViz products brings us into the fold of an industry-wide revolution in artist workflows. Physically based rendering has a few new concepts and methods compared to older methods, as well as some amazing new capabilities that simplify artist workflows an make sure that once an asset has been made once, it can be used anywhere without having to retouch the source files. This is a list of tools and resources to help you on your way.

Krzysztof Narkowicz's Interactive PBR Example

The most intuitive way to get a feel for the capabilities of a shader is often to simply mess around with some sliders and see how it responds. Krzysztof Narkowicz's embedded below from Shadertoy does just that, and even includes a realtime display of what's going on at the microsurface level.


Permalink: https://www.shadertoy.com/view/4sSfzK
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PBR Workflow: Saving HDR Cube Maps From Inspector

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Welcome to Inspector R6

If you've been working with WorldViz products for a while, you may already be aware of our visual editor, Inspector. Inspector allows for the inspection and manipulation of scenes, setting up realtime lighting, particle effects, Level of Detail nodes, and various other options.

New to Inspector in Vizard 6 is the ability to render out High Dynamic Range cube maps that can be processed in external programs for Image Based Lighting in a Physically Based Rendering workflow, such as in commercial tools like Lys, or freeware like IBLBaker.

Inspector is included with all installations of Vizard, and is unrestricted with all licenses including the free mode. If you don't already have a copy of Vizard installed and would like to try Inspector, download the free edition of Vizard here.

Start Inspector and Load the File

To start off, open up inspector from the start menu, then load your environment model using File > Open.
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Baking Lighting in 3ds Max: A General Overview, Part 2

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Baking in Max can be a daunting process. Last time, in Part 1 we talked about what you need to get started, options for renderers, a few of the different kinds of bakes you can do, plus how and why to do test renders.

Part 2

This time, in Part 2, we go into the approach for Unwrapping, the details of Render to Texture, and the actual baking.

Part 1 | Part 2

Initial Bake

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Unwrap Model
Bakes work by recording the lighting intensity for each point on a model's surface into a texture. This means that, under normal circumstances, you don't want any overlaps or tiling used in the UV channel that you bake to otherwise you may have some very strange results in your baked lighting. While unwrapping by hand produces the best results, automatic unwraps are usually more than enough. Bake UVs are usually unwrapped to channel 3.

There are a few common options for creating lightmap UVs for large numbers of objects. One is to use the automatic unwrap feature of Render to Texture, though this always groups matching material IDs together resulting in a lot of wasted UV space. Another option is to use a scripted tool written in-house called SteamRoller, which does a similar function but isolated from any other dialog and without requiring the material ID option. Paid plugins also exists that can do unwrapping, some of which also have their own special baking options.

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