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Mark Aceto

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Posts posted by Mark Aceto

  1. Thanks to VW Cloud Services cloud rendering, I'm getting reacquainted with Renderworks. Also, how is cloud rendering not the headline screaming from the mountain tops right now? I feel like I have a Threadripper with a 3080 next to my 6-year old MBP that's quietly letting me edit the model while multiple renders are being processed in the background (multitasking heaven).


    I've watched the VW tutorials, and referenced @Andy Broomell's excellent guide to texture creation (that fills in all the undocumented explanations and techniques) but I'm having a bit of a design paradox... 


    Client is converting an old venue into a black box. We're doing demo work, exposing brick walls, removing walls, keeping the art deco drop ceiling soffit feature... so I'm helping them visualize that transformation but I'm running into some design decision challenges:

    • True black textures seem to create a light-sucking void into a fourth dimension, so I've stopped them all at 1% (versus 0%)
    • Brick textures are bumped, parrallaxed, and displacement mapped but I'm not really seeing it because of the LX choices I've made
    • Color Force IES files were not visible at all as custom light sources
    • I tried a couple S4's but the file started freaking out, so I wanted to keep it simple for this round by using Light Source objects
      • Maybe I should reconsider that choice for Renderworks vs OpenGL?
        • Point lights in OpenGL worked great but they're kinda boring in a final render
        • Spot lights in OpenGL had amazing punch (and a chromatic vibrance) but cannot show bump or displacement mapping (plus limited to 8 lights)
    • Lit fog is usually my friend but it just mutes everything here, and hides the ceiling soffit
    • The more light bounces around the room, the greyer the room gets (makes sense)
      • Reflection is 0-3% on most textures
      • Blur is in the 5-10% range
    • Trying to find a balance of light scraping the bumped / displaced brick but the beam / field angles have a soft edge
    • At one point, I added "neon tube" tucked in the soffit (extrude along path with a glow texture) but I felt like that was faking it too much
      • Maybe that's something I should continue exploring?

    Once we have a show in there, the black box will fade into the background as it should, so this is a strange challenge. I could add the existing work lights for accuracy, which I will in the next round but I doubt that will look very sexy.


    I guess what I expected was hoping for was more of a glossy black look than a neutral grey... When I had reflections turned up, it was still grey but mirrored on the floor, walls and ceiling.


    Maybe the solution is repositioning the lights closer to the walls, so they'll scrape the bricks (instead of washing them out at 45º tilt) because the trade-off of the beam spilling onto the floor is worth it... I'll say it's "dramatic" instead of unintentional. And use a plastic reflection on the painted black brick wall texture (similar to the one that I created for the truss).


    Thanks in advance to the 3D artist render masters here in the forum!


    The pano link below is best viewed on a phone or table (or Google cardboard) in full screen (on Safari: Hide Toolbar), and then tap the screen to hide the control panel:




    Test Pano.jpg

    • Like 2

  2. For context, it's stuff like this that keeps me from updating to the latest macOS release every year (and buying a Mac that will only run that brand new release):




    6 of 8 apps in their bundle are not compatible yet.


    It usually takes about 3-6 months before all software / drivers are compatible. Sometimes it take another 6+ months to fix bugs in the same apps / drivers (3Dconnexion).


    Hopefully, removing kernels in Bug Sir will at least help with drivers from now on... 

    • Like 1

  3. @Pat Stanford and @michaelk thanks for your help!


    Decomposing the interpolated surface into NURBS surfaces before creating surface arrays worked!


    I was able to create fairly complex array items (with materials) to align the purlin ends flush with the roof trusses. I converted the framing members into symbols to keep the file size down. There's definitely some wonkiness in the details but this was a huge step in the right direction.


    Going to drape a roof membrane onto it tomorrow... 



    Screen Shot 2020-11-21 at 10.17.43 PM.png


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  4. As I look into my crystal ball, and try to predict the future upgrade path (where there is no roadmap), here are some stray obvservations about the current 2020 MBP 16":

    • I was expecting the usual GPU bump (or price drop) but it seems like that may have already happened this summer
      • Assumption here is that this could be the last Intel MBP 16"
      • However, I'm still 50/50 on whether this is actually the penultimate MBP 16", and they eek out one more spec bump next year
    • I was also hoping for a 10th gen CPU update that would run cooler
    • This is the last MBP that will definitely natively run Windows in Bootcamp (that we know of for now)
    • This is the last MBP that is compatible with an eGPU (that we know of for now)
    • This is the last MBP that will install Catalina
      • It's finally stable after a year of updates (as per usual with Apple)
      • For those of that choose a more conservative / delayed upgrade path, this machine that runs a .7 OS is available now as compared to running a .01 OS on a new machine
    • It has 4x Thunderbolt 4 ports (and we know how Apple loves to kill their darlings)

    A little bit more context:

    • All of the bullet points above will hold a strong resale value for a small set of users that need those features (whether we do or not)
      • The M-whatever out in the wild will make this machine invaluable (irreplaceable)
      • Think how in-demand the 2015 MBP became (the Butterfly Effect)
    • All of the current M1 comparisons thus far have been against low end Mac's or "best selling Windows laptop" (WTF that means) which leads me to suspect it wouldn't destroy this thing
      • In boxing, these matches are called "tomato cans" to build a fighter's confidence
      • What the longterm future holds for Apple ARM is exciting but the next 6 months to a year are uncertain
    • The imminent M-whatever will probably beat this machine but... 
      • By how much? Enough that we will feel buyer's remorse for longer than a week?
      • At what cost? Will they remove ports? eGPU compatibility?

    It sucks that we don't know if Apple will give this thing a spec bump next month but the more I come down from the fever pitch, the more I go back to my initial gut feeling: this is the machine to buy right now, and then upgrade sometime in 2022. Then leapfrog over the next gen industrial design refresh in 2023 when they replace the physical keyboard with a Touch Board, remove all the ports... 


    really resent Apple for not providing a roadmap for their professional user base that depend on their machines for work. And not just us but also our clients, artists, teams, colleagues, crew, vendors... but until they move to a more predictable upgrade path with the M-series, we're still playing Mac Roulette. Although, I absolutely would recommend that "Enthusiasts" hold out for the M-whatever sometime next whenever... Professionals that are using 6+ year old machines with 2GB of VRAM, and holding out for the "smarter purchase", maybe that isn't the smarter business decision for the next year or two.


    Really curious what other folks in our Mac support group see when they read their tea leaves, so I can bet on the right horse this time (see my signature for the losers I've bet on in the past 5 years). If you're the adventurous type, an ARM Mac Mini or MacBook Pro running Bug Sir could be a smart move (hopefully your 3Dconnexion mice still work). If you're less adventurous, the 2020 MBP 16" running Catalina could be a smart move (if it ain't broke, don't fix it). However, riding out the next year (or more) on what will shortly become a 7-year old machine as we take on more work during a pandemic seems like it could be the dumb move (notwithstanding budgetary restrictions; gotta put food on the table).



  5. @neal-2002 "Comparison is the thief of joy."


    On the one hand, a strong case could be made for buying a $1700 Mini now (the one with ports and a fan), and gifting / reselling it a year later. On the other hand, I'm still on Mojave, waiting for Catalina supplemental update 3 to upgrade to 10.15, so I'm not eager to beta test Bug Sir. I currently have my bare 2014 MBP operating in clamshell mode elevated (for maximum airflow) on the desk next to me.


    Although I totally get Apple's strategy to upgrade from the ground up, I was questioning the rumors, "Would they really release machines at the low end that will outperform / cannibalize sales at the mid to high end?" Adding insult to injury, professionals like us who've been ignored by Apple while they continue to update everything they can except pro machines have to continue waiting another 6 months to a year... How many years have we been playing that game? Every year.


    We need to form a support group: Remaining Mac Together.

    • Like 2
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  6. It's a case of "yes and". Yes, these are excellent machines and you will have buyer's remorse a year from now when the next gen is released. So, it's a win-win!


    Thankfully, the improvements to v2021 like multicore processing and graphics caching are helping me ride out the transition on this 2014 MBP that would get trounced by the low end M1 machines that were just released.



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  7. @Wes Gardner would the recommendation be to use the Structural Member tool, the Framing Member tool, or a combination of both?


    I'm thinking the SM tool for the vertical and horizontal members, and the FM tool for the diags:

    • I may use the bottom chord for rigging, so the SM object will work great for that
    • FM objects can't go to 90º vert, so SM for the those
    • Even when I turn off auto-join in the SM tool mode, SM objects will still auto join later when I move / reseize them
    • SM tool doesn't seem purpose built for 2x's (I found the Timber styles buried in the settings but it doesn't seem native)
    • SM tool seems purpose built for steel W-Beams to frame out a warehouse (not for a bowstring lumber sandwich)

  8. Tested and confirmed that both conditions need to be met:

    • Pull-back Bar and Rigging Frame objects need to be generic solids
    • Pull-back Bar and Rigging Frame objects cannot be nested in the speaker symbol
      • I'm sure I'm saying that wrong but in layman's terms, they need to be at the top / parent level of the speaker symbol

    Screen Shot 2020-11-14 at 2.45.50 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2020-11-14 at 2.46.38 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2020-11-14 at 2.48.42 PM.png

  9. OK, I sort of figured it out with the exception of the Braceworks caveat. I cut the rigging frames from the nested speaker symbol, exited that Edit view, deleted the remaining 2D geometry, and pasted them in place (at the top level of the symbol along with the pull-back bar). I didn't expect that to work because the manual says all (speaker and bumper) symbols need to be hybrid.


    I'm going to test this with converting those objects to 3D only symbols... 


    Screen Shot 2020-11-14 at 2.25.23 PM.png

  10. Hey Andy,


    That solved the issue with the pull-back bar visibility. However, the rigging frames (already generic solids nested in that symbol) are still only visible at 0 tilt:




    Converting the rigging frame hybrid symbol to a generic solid also loses it's weight which I was hoping to get in a Baceworks-aware calc:




    OpenGL render time was a few seconds on my wimpy MBP:



  11. I'm trying to accomplish 2 things:

    1. Add a Pull-Back bar symbol to the bottom box in the array
    2. Keep the rigging frames that are in the original speaker symbol

    My assumption is that these objects are not visible in the array because they don't have a record attached to them... 


    Just trying to get one step closer to this reality:


    Screen Shot 2020-11-13 at 12.50.40 PM.png


  12. Looking for a 3D model of the double and single hang bars. Didn't find any DWG's on their websites... 


    I could always roll my own but I like to start with the real deal from the manufacturer before I resort to faking it.


    Screen Shot 2020-11-13 at 12.03.53 PM.png


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