Animator and Ambient Occlusion

General discussion about Animator for SketchUp

Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby ntxdave » Fri May 20, 2016 7:38 pm

OK - I downloaded the EX trial.

How the heck do I render my Animator animation and is mpg the only supported format?
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby fredo6 » Fri May 20, 2016 7:40 pm

In the Video generation Dialog Box, do you see a button AmbientOcclusionEx?

If not, it might be that it only works for the commercial version

Fredo
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby ntxdave » Fri May 20, 2016 7:44 pm

fredo6 wrote:In the Video generation Dialog Box, do you see a button AmbientOcclusionEx?

If not, it might be that it only works for the commercial version

Fredo

Do you see the bright red glow from the US? That is one more stupid question on my part.
Yes, the button is there. I was clicking on the darn button for the plugin. As soon as I saw your post, I remembered that.

It is going to take a lot longer but if it looks good, I will share the example.
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby ntxdave » Fri May 20, 2016 9:36 pm

Here is an example of my Top Brush Demo done with the Ambient Occlusion EX inside Animator.


A couple of interesting observations:
  • Took 1 1/2 hours longer to create the video
  • Notice that some details are missing (like car doors and the edges of the equipment) - actually eliminating the edges is a good thing
  • I do not have shadows turned on the model and do not see any way to turn them off with AO
  • Virtually no settings - cannot control lighting and etc.
  • On the positive side - No Learning Curve but then see the previous button item

I will leave others to decide/comment........
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby ntxdave » Fri May 20, 2016 9:56 pm

Can I use SketchFX & Ambient Occluseion Ex with Animator?

SketchFX adds some interesting controls that could be very useful.
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby JQL » Fri May 20, 2016 10:12 pm

That is a cool presentation, I wouldn't try getting more details on it.

I'd only lighten the shade of blue and don't stop the car at middle off screen.

Congratulations!
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby ntxdave » Fri May 20, 2016 10:19 pm

JQL wrote:That is a cool presentation, I wouldn't try getting more details on it.

I'd only lighten the shade of blue and don't stop the car at middle off screen.

Congratulations!

Thanks JQL - take a look at the original in the Gallery. You will see some differecnes.
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby fredo6 » Fri May 20, 2016 10:48 pm

ntxdave wrote:Took 1 1/2 hours longer to create the video

I would suggest that you set the rendering quality to "low" or "very Low", which for an animation is far enough. Usually each frame is rendered in 1 or 2 seconds.
There are a few setting you can play with. The best is to go to the native AmbientOcclusionEx, play with the settings there by doing a few renderings and then use it from Animator (as it will take the same settings). I found it a great tool.

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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby ntxdave » Fri May 20, 2016 11:03 pm

fredo6 wrote:
ntxdave wrote:Took 1 1/2 hours longer to create the video

I would suggest that you set the rendering quality to "low" or "very Low", which for an animation is far enough. Usually each frame is rendered in 1 or 2 seconds.
There are a few setting you can play with. The best is to go to the native AmbientOcclusionEx, play with the settings there by doing a few renderings and then use it from Animator (as it will take the same settings). I found it a great tool.

Fredo

Will try that on a future one. Have one running now that still has another 2+ hours to go.

My biggest concern was the way it took away some of the detain on the car and added shadows which I did not want. Will do some more testing though. Got some time left on the trial.
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby fredo6 » Fri May 20, 2016 11:25 pm

ntxdave wrote:Have one running now that still has another 2+ hours to go.

Precisely.
- In animator, click on Preview Video
- then Click on the second icon of the AO toolbar (render in a separate winodw), and go to the 7th icon in the top icon bar to select quality to Low.
- Then back in Animator, click on Resume Generation.

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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby ntxdave » Sat May 21, 2016 12:25 am

fredo6 wrote:
ntxdave wrote:Have one running now that still has another 2+ hours to go.

Precisely.
- In animator, click on Preview Video
- then Click on the second icon of the AO toolbar (render in a separate winodw), and go to the 7th icon in the top icon bar to select quality to Low.
- Then back in Animator, click on Resume Generation.

Fredo


Has not adjusted the time yet but the frames do seem to be rendering faster. I will post it in this thread when it finishes :lol:

It finished much quicker.....I posted it in the Gallery thread. While this drone demo looks much better than the original one, I still have some reservations for my car wash models because of the shadows.

Thanks for the tip Fredo..........
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby fluid » Sat May 21, 2016 10:29 am

In AmbientOcclusion, the Shadow control is independent from SketchUp. There are two ways you can turn off shadows:
1. Go to AmbientOcclusion Ex -> Render Viewport, right-click on the viewport -> Shadows -> Enabled
2. Go to AmbientOcclusion Ex -> Render Window, click on the Shadows icon -> Enabled
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby ntxdave » Sat May 21, 2016 4:22 pm

fluid wrote:In AmbientOcclusion, the Shadow control is independent from SketchUp. There are two ways you can turn off shadows:
1. Go to AmbientOcclusion Ex -> Render Viewport, right-click on the viewport -> Shadows -> Enabled
2. Go to AmbientOcclusion Ex -> Render Window, click on the Shadows icon -> Enabled


Thanks, that worked. I will have another render a little later today.
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby ntxdave » Sat May 21, 2016 5:50 pm

Here is still another version of my partial car wash.



I added a little more equipment and changed the color or the brushes.

For me, here are the problems I see (and I hope someone can tell my how to address them):
  • While some edges are removed which is nice, the doors and some detail on the car are missing.
  • I do not see how to control the lighting. It is kind of dark to me. If I had a ceiling or roof, everything would probably be even darker.
  • I used the Low quality so it is a little grainer than I would like but this one still took over an hour. If I tried to do a full car wash or I bumped up the quality it could take all day. I am a little more concerned about the quality than the time so I have to make a decision about time versus quality.

In general, It is very easy to produce the rendered video using AmbientOcclusionEx and Animator. Will continue trying some more things before my trial period expires. I think this type of coordination between the two tools is a good step in the right direction though. Kind of wish I could try the Thea or that I could use Twilight in conjunction with Animator.
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby fluid » Sun May 22, 2016 10:32 am

If the scene is too dark, go to AmbientOcclusion and try setting the "Occlusion Distance" parameter to a value of 1 or 2, and try to increase the "Gain" parameter a bit.
Also, to increase the rendering speed, you can go to the Render Window of AmbientOcclusion and set a lower resolution. Normally you don't need to render animations at the same resolution as still images.
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Re: Animator and AmbientOcclusionEx

Postby ntxdave » Sun May 22, 2016 4:28 pm

fluid wrote:If the scene is too dark, go to AmbientOcclusion and try setting the "Occlusion Distance" parameter to a value of 1 or 2, and try to increase the "Gain" parameter a bit.
Also, to increase the rendering speed, you can go to the Render Window of AmbientOcclusion and set a lower resolution. Normally you don't need to render animations at the same resolution as still images.


Thanks, I gave these a try. In the previous video (and this one), I did have the render set to "low" resolution. I tried messing with the "Occlusion Distance" and "Gain" settings. Here is the result:


Can you give me a little insight into what these 2 settings are really all about? And also, would SketchFX add anything?

Now here is one last video in this set where I extended the length of the car was just a little, added an "animated water spray", and set it up as 2 scenes so that the spray does not show up until it is called for. This was achieved by setting up 2 scenes and then adding "views" that show the 2 different scenes during the animation.

In this video, the animation of the spray does not show up very well.

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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby fluid » Mon May 23, 2016 10:48 pm

The "Gain" parameter changes the overall brightness of the image.

The "Occlusion Distance" parameter changes the maximum distance for object to be considered while generating the soft shadows from the environment. For example, let's say you are rendering an interior. By setting the occlusion distance to 1 (1 meter) the ceiling for example won't be used to compute the soft shadows on the floor, because it's further than 1m. This will improve the results for scenes that are highly occluded, such as interiors.

SketchFX adds a totally new type rendering compared to AmbientOcclusion. While AmbientOcclusion is focused on creating renderings that are realistic enough, SketchFX creates renderings that are more artistic looking. It includes presets for pencil style rendering, watercolor, etc. We'll soon release a version of SketchFX that supports animation.
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby ntxdave » Mon May 23, 2016 11:33 pm

Thanks for the reply fluid. From what I read, I did not think SketchFX would be good for my type of model animation.

When I get some more time, I will mess with those setting even more but I think I did finally come up with something more acceptable.
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby JQL » Mon May 23, 2016 11:36 pm

fluid wrote:SketchFX adds a totally new type rendering compared to AmbientOcclusion. While AmbientOcclusion is focused on creating renderings that are realistic enough, SketchFX creates renderings that are more artistic looking. It includes presets for pencil style rendering, watercolor, etc. We'll soon release a version of SketchFX that supports animation.


SketchFX is really, really impressive! Well done on that!
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby fluid » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:55 pm

Thanks! SketchFX can now be used with Animator; you can download the latest version here

I've posted a sample video on the gallery.
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Re: Animator and Ambient Occlusion

Postby JQL » Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:13 pm

Sorry fluid, maybe I wasn't clear on that, but I don't own a copy of it though I think it's very cool!

I will definetelly consider it when I need something of the sorts though...
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