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Roman Military Encampment


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#1 mattzart30

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 03:47 AM

Building a Roman military encampment (not peopled yet, just the set for now).

Mods by 3dTree, Shirley Martin, Chris Ollis, et al.

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#2 primaveranz

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 05:34 AM

Looking good. I love putting time into my sets, even if they are only visible for a few secs in the final shot.

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#3 mattzart30

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 05:57 AM

The clip you shared is really impressive, Prima -- all the effort pays off for you.

I am having an issue with ground textures in my set in two particular areas.

The ground inside the military camp. It is hard to see in these shots, but I just have a tiled seamless texture of cracked mud, but it is still too unform and flat looking. I guess I have to create an image in photoshop but I'm not sure how to size the image (does anyone know the pixel dimensions of the set grid?). I can stretch or enlarge the image as needed on the set, but I think I'd have a nicer quality image if it natively matches the area's dimensions.

The grass and terrain floor outside the camp. Here I'm just using the standard terrain editor textures, but again it is way too smooth and uniform. This one seems particularly difficult because the ground, if done well, would take a lot of different textures to look natural.

#4 primaveranz

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 07:22 AM

QUOTE (mattzart30 @ Jan 17 2015, 5:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The grass and terrain floor outside the camp. Here I'm just using the standard terrain editor textures, but again it is way too smooth and uniform. This one seems particularly difficult because the ground, if done well, would take a lot of different textures to look natural.


Can you hide the ground and mountains or paint them all green and chroma key (or mask them out) then replace with another image in Post?

"If we only use 1/3 of our brain, what's the other 1/3 for?"


#5 Nahton

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 01:03 PM

Very impressive looking set.

Sorry to say I can't help out with the terrain issue.

#6 mattzart30

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 06:18 PM

QUOTE (primaveranz @ Jan 17 2015, 2:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can you hide the ground and mountains or paint them all green and chroma key (or mask them out) then replace with another image in Post?


Oh sure, or I could just hide them and use AVK's floor drops which can be massive and take up the entire floor. The problem Im having is more with what image to actually use, whether via chroma or just on a prim/drop. I've tried using Vue. To create the image, and it makes really nice ones but they are too photo realistic, it looks odd with the MS aesthetic. Tree did a wonderful multi textured ground cover for his old village set, which I used here in the rear of the set where the horses are. It's also not flat but has slight terrain elevations. I've been trying to use that as a model for creating more variety but it is more difficult than I thought it'd be--giving me a whole new appreciation for what it takes to build these things with care and nuance!

This is related to the sketchup texture issue I raised in another thread, but in that case I bought the texture, just having issues applying it to elevated terrain geometry.

Onward I slog!


#7 primaveranz

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 09:58 PM

I have sometimes used photos and applied something like a "Posterize" effect to them in Paint.net and that can be quite effective.

"If we only use 1/3 of our brain, what's the other 1/3 for?"


#8 pedrosura

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 12:26 AM

Hey Matt,
Great looking set!. You bring an an issue that has been a preocupation of mine as of late. How do you make all your elements blend and look like they were shot from the same camera? In the same location? I have sometimes blue and green screens together, prims, green screen characters, laser, etc.. And i want it all to blend. One approach is to apply a filter of effect group to the whole thing to make everything homogenous. Sort of like saying: Matrix movie loook, Gladiator movie look, Batman movie look, etc..
As far as having an element ( VUE) with too much detail or resolution, have you tried a conversion to lower res or applying a blur effect, or cartoonize to the prim video or background?

I have been experimenting with Vue. I could imagine using it to establish a location by flying the camera and then merging the scene with a composite MS shot. I may need it in the future. I will keep experimenting.

I cant wait to see what solution you come up with.

#9 mattzart30

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 04:11 AM

Pedrosura - have you tried exporting objects from Vue yet?     I have the export module and what I would like to do is to export an elevated terrain geometry with a simple eco ground texture on it (no trees or high poly objects -- low poly grass, dirt, rocks, I would use MS trees).     I can't get the blasted thing to export WITH the texture mapping.  This annoys me mightily as the export module was $150 or something and you are prohibited from exporting any object that uses Vue assets (which is--let's face it, 95% of the reason why you'd want to export anything, to have all the Vue realism). 

 

Well, shame on me for not learning more about the module before buying, it. :)  It isn't a scam or anything, I just assumed it had more utility than it does and that was my mistake.  Hope your experiments are more successful!

 

 

@Prima- I will check out Paint.net!



#10 pedrosura

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 04:23 AM

Pedrosura - have you tried exporting objects from Vue yet?     I have the export module and what I would like to do is to export an elevated terrain geometry with a simple eco ground texture on it (no trees or high poly objects -- low poly grass, dirt, rocks, I would use MS trees).     I can't get the blasted thing to export WITH the texture mapping.  This annoys me mightily as the export module was $150 or something and you are prohibited from exporting any object that uses Vue assets (which is--let's face it, 95% of the reason why you'd want to export anything, to have all the Vue realism). 

 

Well, shame on me for not learning more about the module before buying, it. :)  It isn't a scam or anything, I just assumed it had more utility than it does and that was my mistake.  Hope your experiments are more successful!

 

 

@Prima- I will check out Paint.net!

 

yes, I hope so too. no, i have only rendered simple scifi scenes and experimented with compositing an MS SCENE into the VUE shot then use prims or green screen from MS for the outside. everytime I had a problem importing something into MS from SU, it had to do with terrain or high polygon count.



#11 mattzart30

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 05:08 AM

@pedro - And I completely agree with your previous comment that a judicious/subtle use of filters can help tie everything together if there is a lot of multi-asset layering going on.  For my military scenes I am fond of tritoning to increase the contrast between the mid, middle, and high range color tones, with the contrast tending toward the darker end of the spectrum as opposed to the lighter.     It takes the edge of the cartoony effect (not that the cartoony effect is bad, just depends on the project objective) and I think it works wonderfully with MS's lighting options, especially the torches and fire lights.

 

The last movie I posted, Honoria's aria, has a subtle tritoning filter on it.  I used it to make the contrast between the moonlight and the firelights less jarring.   It also allows you to increase ambient light a little bit but still have the feeling that it is dark.    For all my interior scenes, I max out the intensity in MS lighting and use brown ambient lighting (works well with the torch lights without bathing the scene in orange).  After the MS render I add tritoning filters in Adobe Premiere Pro.

 

 

This military scene is my first MS project that takes place outdoors and in the daylight -- it is so completely different to work with!  I watched a lighting tutorial I found here in the forums which was helpful.  In watching that video, I also learned that my shadows are broken (I didn't know what they were supposed to look like!).    Issues with my OS and video card have left me with the dreaded  long, rectangle shadows generated by all props.   

 

I hope and pray that Nvidia issues updates to the 650M series for Mac Yosemite.  They have done a couple but they don't apply to my specific build.    It has been suggested here that I downgrade but Apple sure does make that difficult.

 

...I'm officially rambling.... :)



#12 bongoman

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 04:26 PM

Try Bryce instead of Vue. Bryce has the ability to export the terrain meshes, as well as being able to export the textures generated procedurally for those meshes. Bryce is free, or at least used to be, and runs on Mac and PCs. When i released my terrain mods, i made a demo flick called Modders Family Vacation. Its still posted here on MS. Unfortunately those mods were posted on Machinimods, which seems down or dysfunctional...
The shadow issue youre experiencing is not your graphics card, its an issue within MS. I got around it by reducing light brightness on set and using point lights to make up the difference, but point lights dont (or didnt) cast shadows. For me, no shadows in some circumstances was better than blocky shadows. My early flicks reflected my infatuation with shadows... after all, its all about shadows and light, right?

I use Blender extensively, and i use it for compositing video as well because in addition to superior compositing tools it has motion tracking, so motion is synchronized with the original footage one generates with greenscreen video.

#13 Ben_S

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 02:57 PM

There have been issues with shadows caused by specific graphics drivers in the past, which have either caused them to not work with transparencies, or to just be blocks or random data. Changing graphics drivers is generally the fix, although that is more of a challenge on Mac's.


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#14 mattzart30

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 04:21 AM

I assumed the issue was my card because a lot of other mac users with the same build reported shadow issues in other software packages the same as what is happening to me in moviestorm (big rectangular blocks).   NVIDIA issued patches for certain builds of macs but not all.  Nvdia support says its Apple's fault, Apple support says ist Nvidia's fault.

 

Since Macbook Pros are basically monolithic units that can't be upgraded, it makes trying out alternate drivers very difficult, as the driver will not allow you to install it if it is not for the specific machine the release is meant for (in my case I need a Spring 2013 MacbookPro version of the driver for a 650M 1gig nvidia card -- there are lots of 650M driver upgrades but not for that specific 2013 spring release of the machine, so they will not install).  

 

THe only real fix seems to me to roll back from Yosemite to Mavericks, and then I would be able to use the older version of the driver, which will not install right now because it is incompatible with the new OS.

 

Its just too much for me to care about.  :)  I have been doing essentially what was just suggested here -- working around the shadow issues by hiding the blocks with creative lighting schemes, or turning them off all together where possible.  As most of my scenes are set at night, it hasn't been too much of an issue and the shading even the broken shadows produce is useful and can look quite nice.  The daylight scenes are a different story, though.  

 

 




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