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Cloud Hidden

C4D...should I or shouldn't I?

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[i dont use the 3d pack or the nurb tools of VW, when i have to model complex organic geometry, I use the Nurbs (Loft/Lathe/Bezier/Sweep) and Hypernurbs that come with C4D -and if needed in VW... export -import into VW via dxf-]

So I am not sure, but i believe you can export the surface Nurbs of VW to C4D if you previously convert them into meshes or 3d polys... is that right?

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quote:

Originally posted by parella:

So I am not sure, but i believe you can export the surface Nurbs of VW to C4D if you previously convert them into meshes or 3d polys... is that right?

Yes: conversion to mesh solves it. But in the case of the Crosslight lamp, mentioned by Kevin, I used the original cilinders before adding them as volumes with the lowest 3D-conversion value in the VectorWorks settings, exported them, and used that as a basis for a C4D HN-object. The reason for doing this instead of using the conversion to mesh is that the model contained too many CV's for conversion.

The problem that arises with using meshes instead of straight NURBS is that, to smooth things out, C4D uses what is called a Phong tag (or smoothing tag). Meshes very often produce erroneous smoothing, meaning that smooth parts aren't rendered smooth. You might call it "Phong artifacts". You can solve this by deleting unneeded edges in C4D, or by unbreaking phong breaks, but this takes a lot of time and work.

Maxon is currently examining how they could improve the exchange from VW to C4D (and back), especially the NURBS-problem, but also the concept of history, but I have no further information yet.

Kind regards,

BaRa

[ 08-15-2003, 08:59 PM: Message edited by: BaRa ]

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quote:

Originally posted by Cloud Hidden:

All of my models are NURBS-heavy. Without NURBS, I would not have bought VW. Seems like that will help make my decision...

VectorWorks can export to IGES, and you may or may not know that, but Maya is capable of reading IGES. It's not the most straightforward rendering solution (far from it), but it won't be a problem to keep your model the way you modeled it.

Another solution would be Alias Image Studio, which costs less than Maya (it's about 60% of the Maya Complete price), but will only allow you to render out your image (or make an animation). It reads IGES.

Kind regards,

BaRa

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I'm interested in what you learn. Every other day I change my mind on C4D. The big hangup now is the NURBS. I've played with the interface lots, and am growing fond of it, but just don't know if the things I design will work right with it.

My other two hang-ups are trees/bushes and grass. I'll ask Maxon, but do you have experience with those? Sounds so stupid to say, but getting the look of truly fuzzy grass would make a big difference for me, yet it seems so hard to find. Vue d'Esprit does all kinds of landscapes, but not grass...go figure. C4D....I can't find out where and how. Same with trees--is X-frog the only smart way to go?

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There are currently only 2 routes: either you do your presentation IN VW, using RenderWorks. Or you export your data to another software solution.

The former is rather limited. It's not a matter of good vs. bad, it's only a matter of fitting your needs or not. If RenderMan doesn't fit your needs, you should consider the latter: using a second (third, fourth, ...) application for presentational purposes. There are lots of applications that can do the trick, but I think you can organize them in 2 types: those who maintain your NURBS geometry, and those who don't.

If you want to maintain your NURBS surfaces, you've got the following applications: Maya (Alias), 3DMax (Discreet), XSI (SoftImage), Universe (Electric Image), Alias Image Studio (Alias). There are others, without a doubt, but I think I mentioned the most important ones.

The ones I can advise are Alias Image Studio and Universe. They're not too expensive, and they produce very good results. Max and Maya are very good as well, but rather expensive and difficult to master. XSI is very expensive.

The downside of this route is that, once you completed a scene in your visualization application, updating it by using modified VectorWorks geometry can be a hassle. A second problem is that IGES (the file format you will have to use to maintain your geometry) doesn't support your object hierarchy: if you used classes or layers in VectorWorks to differentiate between materials or object types, you will not get separated pieces of geometry in your visualization package.

If maintaining your NURBS geometry is not that important to you, you can use whatever application you want, as long as it reads DXF and produces results you like. There are, however, two exceptions: Artlantis and Cinema 4D. Both applications make use of a plugin, which adds one very important thing to the DXF functionality: the abbility to update your geometry.

In both cases - DXF or plugin - your geometry will be tesselated. In some applications you will be able to "clean" your tesselated geometry. This is for instance the case in Cinema 4D or LightWave. Artlantis will not offer you this possibility, nor will Strata Studio Pro (or whatever it is called nowadays) and a couple of other applications.

In my opinion, if you take the tesselation for granted, you can choose between two professional applications: Cinema 4D and Lightwave. Cinema 4D has a modular system, which gives you a price advantage over LightWave. And Cinema 4D has a plugin, which allows geometry update.

In the end, it all depends on the complexity of your model. If you have tons of fillets and bevels, you will run into problems with tesselated geometry - especially at corners. You can solve this by removing unwanted edges and edge breaks, but this takes time (and experience). In that case I would simply sacrifice the advantage of the plugin and use an IGES-enabled application.

Unfortunately, the world keeps on spinning. In this specific case, this means that the C4D plugin will continue to be improved. The current version is the first version, and I know that Maxon is examining lots of different options (I know because I'm one of their betatesters), but they have not yet been implemented.

You are the one who has to make a choice, but I know that in my specific case, C4D fits my needs. The VectorWorks objects on my website can be exported to C4D without too much tesselation issues. You have to construct your geometry carefully, and have to use a couple of tricks from time to time, but this doesn't consume too much of my time.

I hope this helps a bit [smile]

Kind regards,

BaRa

P.S.: about the trees and the grass in C4D: there's a fantastic (free) plugin that can make real-life grass geometry. And when it comes to trees, you can either use library elements (take a look at www.vbvisual.com) or use a dedicated application like Tree or XFrog. I personally prefer the library solutions: they're well detailed and refined and not too expensive.

[ 08-25-2003, 06:21 PM: Message edited by: BaRa ]

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It's a huge help, and puts me squarely in the "Undecided" camp. :) I may need to wait till Maxon natively accommodates a fuller range of the objects that I can create in VW. Paying the money to get a less-smooth object doesn't seem like a step forward right now.

Thanks for the description.

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About the conversion to Mesh: I just learned from Biplab (moderator) that this command doesn't support more than 3000 control points, which is why I couln't export the lamp model mentioned before. If you want to export complex NURBS geometry to C4D you can either (1) convert the geometry to separate NURBS surfaces, and convert them one by one or in different groups to meshes, or (2) convert it to 3D polygons. I'll be posting an update to the lamp model tutorial that covers exporting to C4D and making a final visual.

Cheers,

BaRa

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Originally posted by BaRa:

[if you're interested: a couple of renderings made with C4D can be found at the following website - just follow the C4D-link:

La Place BaRa

BaRa, nice site.

I use Cinema too, and would like to understand how you built a skydome illumination (like the last image in your Cinema gallery).

thanks

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Hi Paolo,

(a) place a sky-object in your scene

(b) make a new material, and activate only the luminance channel.

© put a gradient in that channel, so that parts of your material are darker than others.

(d) apply that material to your sky-object.

(e) activate radiosity in your render settings and render your image. Done.

You can download an example here

Cheers,

BaRa

P.S.: if you want to know more about C4D, there's an Italian C4D user forum at www.c4dzone.com and at www.c4dhotline.it

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Originally, this thread focused on the limited vegatation rendering in VW. The author of the original post wondered whether he should switch to C4D to do this. I came accross a couple of renders on my HD, so I decided to post a couple of teasers ... basic geometry made in VW, finished in C4D (added trees, plants, furniture and materials). And rendered with radiosity, of course (skydome and distant light)

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Cheers,

BaRa

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They look like xfrogs to me. So how much money does it cost to get C4D vectorworks special edition and xfrog (approximate) ? The output is fantastic ! And BaRaa, how many hours do you have into one of your typical renderings ? Would you be interested in doing renderings as an consultant ? And if so what are your rates ? KURT

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Thanks for the kind replies.

About the trees and plants: most of them come from libraries that can be bought at the Maxon online shop. In this render, there's only one XFrog library tree (last image, bottom left). The other trees and plants come from the VBvisual series.

Making a scene like this one - once you made all the design decissions - doesn't take long. It's really a matter of drag and drop: choose the object from the library, drop it in the scene, and position it correctly. The only thing that took some time to configure were the hedges.

You can of course make your own trees, but my computer is too slow to make it feasable. Luckily it won't be too long before our G5's arrive.

Although my computer is only a P3 1.2 GHz, rendering a scene took around 5 minutes ... with radiosity.

Kurt: the prices for C4D, the VW-C4D plugin and Xfrog can be found at the Maxonshop: www.maxonshop.com. I am flattered you would even consider me for doing renderings, but I am afraid that, even if I would find the time to do them, I still would not be allowed to. I work for a software distributor in the Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxemburg), and my contract doesn't allow me to work for others. As an extra, all of my licences are NFR - not for resale. Which means that none of my applications can be used for commercial purposes. But it's very kind of you to ask.

Kind regards,

BaRa

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