Monday, February 27, 2012

Softimage - Batch rendering - Common issues

I've been doing a  lot of batch rendering from Softimage lately and have come across a lot of errors that end up being simple fixes or possible bugs to work around.

If you ever come across render fail errors that grind your batch render to a halt or make them look wrong, here's a few things to check in v2012:

  • Scene Output path - This one has caught me a couple of times, if you browse for the folder you want to export to, your path may look a little like this C:/Project/Render_Pictures/render . These forward slashes are evil and it's best to use the token and back slashes, [Project Path]\Render_Pictures\render.
  • Unified Sampling - turn this off and use the old min/max Level Aliasing.
  • Optimisation tab - I've found hitting the Optimize button here causes issues, but manually adjusting the Secondary Rays - Depth, etc. Works fine.
  • Instances in simulations - instancing meshes with random offset animations. Point cache the pointcloud then freeze the model.
  • Face Robot - best to make sure Face Robot is disabled in the scene file, otherwise the Slaves will need to activate it which sometimes causes fatal errors.
  • Image clip Default settings - Management type, 'Use From disk' can prevent Slaves from running out of memory.
  • Passes, Pass Gamma Correction - I have no real idea what the heck is going on here, but if you set your gamma to automatic and have this ticked on, all slave renders come out looking dithered 256 colour.
These are things that have worked for me and I understand for some users doing the opposite of a few of the above works. Just a few things you can add to your problem solving list.
I've tried all these in two separate studios and both have the same list of problems.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bones on Path - ICE

While working on three separate contracts, I manage to use Softimage on all of them after successfully converting two studios to this great program.
Using ICE a lot as well, for many different purposes.

This is one of the simpler compounds I've created with it. After rigging and weighting a mesh then constraining those bones to a curve, I have basic control of overall position and spacing of the bones.

There's also a blend control from the original mesh shape to that deformed by the bone weight map and shape deforms

No doubt there's likely much smarter and cleaner ways of doing this. But this is an example of how easy it is to 'throw' something together while I still consider myself a newb using ICE.