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: Processing HDRs for Image based Lighting With Lys

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A Tool for Processing HDR Images for Image Based Lighting

Image based lighting can use 8 bit images, but requires true HDRI cube map to get the best results. Once you have on in hand, you'll need a way to process it.

First you'll need a copy of Lys from Knald Technologies. Freeware tools also exist, but many of them are either buggy or are very outdated. Lys can be tried out for free with LDR watermarked images for free, but the paid version is fairly cheap and the reliability and features make it easily worth the price.
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Where to get HDR Panoramas and Cube Maps

Next you'll need an HDRI panorama or cube map. A great source for free HDRI sky panoramas is HDRI Haven The website is run by CG artist Greg Zaal, who generously puts them out with a CC0 license - free for both personal and commercial use, no catch. Shooting HDRs yourself can be done with any 360 capable camera that supports exposure bracketing, though higher resolutions give better backgrounds.

You can also capture HDRI cubemaps from virtual scenes within Inspector. These currently need to be reorganized into a cross format before use in Lys. This can be done through with AMD's classic editing tool, CubeMapGen. If you're using the modified version of CubeMapGen designed for making quick ambient maps, you'll want to temporarily disable multi-threading first before saving out to cross format.

HDRI Haven - a free source for high quality HDRI images
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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 1

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Baking in Max can be a daunting process. There are numerous choices, and it may be unclear what is going to give the ideal results. This guide gives a general overview of the process to take your work from an unbaked model to final baked scene.

Part 1

In this first section, we talk 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, and what mesh issues to look out for.

Part 1 | Part 2

Starting Out

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Ready to Go
Before you're ready to bake, you'll ideally have a scene that's realtime ready. This usually means a low-ish polycount (under 2 million), Scanline:Standard materials, and bitmap based textures instead of procedural ones. While it's possible to bake high polycount objects, such as unoptimized architecture scenes, they may take an exceptionally long time to unwrap, and may also have trouble running once exported.

You'll also want to have some familiarity with the OSG Exporter, but if not you can also start off by loading up the sample preset file from the Storing and Loading OSG Settings tutorial.

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What is … PureRef?

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Pureref is a image display program designed to streamline the display of an artist's reference images. It is simple and straightforward program that works better than just about anything else for it's intended purpose. In addition to displaying reference material, it can also be used for storyboarding. Pureref is also incredibly cheap to buy, at an optional 5£ donation.

Pureref works by dragging pictures into its window, from desktop or web. This places each item on a scalable virtual tile that can be arranged on on the virtual surface, and zoomed in and out as needed.

Pureref_demo
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What is… Crazybump?

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Crazybump is a tool that analyzes a source texture such as a diffuse map and attempts to generate additional supplementary maps based on that analysis. It has been in use by numerous professionals in 3d graphics since its beta was first released in 2007.

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Crazybump is especially useful for generating tangent space normal maps, but can be used to create approximate height and specular maps, and a few other types. Many of these types of maps can be slow and difficult to create by hand or with freeware tools.
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SketchUp to Vizard

SketchUp is a great tool for quickly creating and modifying existing content for Vizard. With its extensive libraries of VR commands, Vizard makes it possible to transform a SketchUp model into an immersive simulation.
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MotionBuilder Live Characters (Vizard)

Autodesk MotionBuilder is a powerful character animation and motion editing tool. Live Characters is a connector product to Vizard that allows real-time stream of live actors into Vizard environments. This video tutorial will teach you how to retarget motion data from an animated actor to a character and then stream that data to Vizard.

Key-points covered in this video are:

  • Enabling WorldViz Live Characters within MotionBuilder
  • Optimizing character based on actor data
  • Configuring live stream device into Vizard
  • Sample Vizard script demonstrating how to add Live Characters

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