December 24, 2011

lcRetopoBasic–UPDATE

Downloads

Still BETA, but I’ve squashed some bugs and added some helpful features

  • Should deal with object names better, and namespaces from importing obj’s
  • Should no longer hang on occasion when relaxing or shrink wrapping
  • You can work in any selection mode, object, face, edge, vertex and use the Relax and Shrink-Wrap tools
  • Will keep your selection mode so you can continue editing components
  • Highlights the Object List red to remind you that you have no high-res selected

Still to do:
    Viewport 2.0 should(?) offer some speed boosts, especially when working with large high-res objects, but the method for layering the high and low res geo doesn’t work properly in VP2.0.  I need to come up with an updated method

November 28, 2011

Yes, Shadow Baking is delicious

a short video demonstrating some progress on the shadow baking scripts for the lcShader.  Its coming along well, and I will release a beta version at some point in the next few weeks.

October 27, 2011

lcReproject.cgfx–A Novel Texturing Technique

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I was inspired by Brice Vandermoortele’s Normal Map Reprojection Shader and wanted to extend the idea to new uses.  This is a novel way of texturing using lit sphere images and cubemaps.  You can reproject color and normal textures to a new UV Set.

As a CGFX shader, only Nvidia cards will load this reliably, but I’ve added a arbfp1 technique that might work on AMD and older cards.  Cubemaps are lower quality and don’t have any blurring using this mode.

Getting close . . .

My new shader ‘lcShader’ is almost feature complete.  It’s a very close approximation to the Mental Ray mia_material, but in real-time.  In testing I’m able to get very realistic looking materials using a standard texture workflow (diffuse, spec, gloss, cubemap).  Again, HLSL and CGFX versions will be identical, running the same exact code.  Lights react much nicer than previous shaders and have realistic fall-off.  And baked shadow maps too.

My shadow map baking script is also nearing completion, it will automatically link raytrace-baked shadow maps to the shader for linked lights and supports transparency in both the shader surface and the shadow cast.

Here is a quick screen grab, HLSL on the left, CGFX on the right.  They don’t have the exact same shader settings so some slight differences

October 4, 2011

lcRetopoBasic–Maya Retopology Tool

Downloads

I was inspired after seeing RetopoG, but since it is not currently available I decided to make my own tool for Maya.

This tool will let you use Maya’s makeLive features to easily draw new topology on a mesh.  The tool is designed to be very simple and rely heavily on Maya’s built-in modeling tools.  This is written in pyMel, which only comes pre-installed on Maya 2011 and later.

This is a very early beta-like version, I’ve only just begun to test this in the last few days but it seems workable.  I don’t have any plans to include a full custom toolset like RetopoG, you will mostly have to use Maya’s tools.

A short video explaining the tool:

The Relax Verts and Shrink-Wrap Verts are tools based on Oleg Alexander’s oaRelaxVerts.mel

September 17, 2011

New Shader Tools Update

I did some proof of concept work on the new shader and everything looks very positive.  In order to broaden compatibility support I’m co-developing a CGFX and HLSL shader.  They share most of their code by using #include files and are visually identical.  This way people with AMD cards etc. wont be complete out of luck, although Shader Model 3.0 support will always be required.

Here is a quick screen grab, on the left is HLSL on the right CGFX.

lcShader_wip_pinecone_01

Still a long way to go before the shader is feature complete, and the new pyMel UI is another matter. 

This is a great time for Feature Requests, I have a ton of things planned, but I’m always open to suggestions.

August 31, 2011

New Shader Tools for Maya

Congrats to Laurens Corijn and Robbert-Jan Brems on their XoliulShader 2 release, it looks amazing.  They've noted that there will be only limited Maya support - so lets fill that void.

I'm going to update an entire new toolset for interacting with my CGFX shaders.  Here is a preview UI layout.  Very preliminary work.  I have most of the functionality in place from other tools, just have to bring it together in one Monster release.


August 29, 2011

lcTextureSaver Extension

I know some people were interested in this Photoshop extension tool, I wrote it for a very specific workflow we use at Turbine but if you find it useful all the better.  I don’t have any plans to edit or modify the tool.

Download

Here is a quick intro video on installing and using the tool.

August 25, 2011

Some updates

I’ve made some relatively minor updates to a few shaders, check the dates on the Downloads page.  I like to keep things fluid and make rapid changes back and forth.  Hopefully I’ll get some time to do a major pass on the Uber and Skin shaders soon.

I posted download links to a tool I made to simplify texturing at work a bit.  the lcTextrueSaver is an extension for Photoshop CS4 and 5 that creates a custom folder structure for your PSD and uses that structure to save out RGB+A ‘combinations’ such as Diffuse+Clip, Normals+Specular, etc.  It’s a tool mostly set up for the way we do texturing at my job but if you find it useful or inspiring run with it.

As a note on installing Photoshop extensions, make sure you run the Adobe Extension Manager as an Administrator in Windows. (Also I never test this stuff out on Mac so good luck to you guys)

I’ve been doing a lot of pyMel development, I’ll get around to releasing updated tools with these new skills.

May 25, 2011

lcShaderTools.mel–v2.3

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Updated to let you interact with my new CGFX shaders featuring point lights.

lcShaderTools

March 6, 2011

lcAMDShader.cgfx – compromise shader for AMD graphics cards

EDIT (03/24/2011) – Seems even with my bests attempts although the shader ‘runs’ on AMD cards, normal maps don’t show up.  I’m taking the download offline until I can do more testing and hopefully fix the issue.

CGFX in Maya and AMD graphics cards seem to get along very poorly – most often they simply will not work together.  CGFX offers a large number of ‘profiles’ under which to compile shaders at runtime and only the arbfp1 and arbvp1 profiles seem to work reliably.

I’ve put together a cut down version of my lcUberShader so that it will run under the arbfp1/arbvp1 profiles.  This means that I’ve had to remove a lot of features, for example there are only 2 lights supported, 1 directional and 1 point light.  There are no cubemaps supported and currently no glow/incandescence map (although I hope to fit it in at a later time).  Also, rendering in the hardware render buffer seems to have problems in the 8-bit alpha mode.  But many of the features remain intact and it seems to work well.

I don’t have AMD hardware to test this on but hopefully some of you can give me your feedback.

I’m investigating whether the glslf/glslv profiles could work on AMD hardware, but its not certain.  With any luck Maya 2012 will have a new CG compiler and provide better AMD support.

February 28, 2011

lcUberShader_2.7.cgfx

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Seems that I had uploaded the incorrect version, this is now fixed.  2.7 uses gp4vp and gp4fp profiles.

February 24, 2011

Updated lcShaders to gp4vp / gp4fp

lcUberShader, lcSkinShader
version 2.7 – Download Page

I have updated my lcUberShader and lcSkinShader to run on the gp4vp and gp4fp profiles instead of vp40 and fp40 as this removes some restrictions on the number of temporary registers available and allows for more complicated, math intensive shaders.  The lcUberShader suffers only a minor performance penalty but the lcSkinShader seems to run at 1/2 to 1/4 the speed compared to the old profile.  I’ll have to investigate the issue but I’m not focused on speed with these shaders.

On the plus side they both now have 3 directional lights and 3 point lights and I’ll expand the features in the near future to include baked shadow map functionality for the point lights as well.

I’ve only done preliminary testing so let me know if you run into issues.

February 23, 2011

lcUbershader Point Lights

version 2.6 – Download Page

I’ve added 3 point lights in addition to the 3 directional lights to the lcUbershader.  These point lights also have an attenuation property, so as they move away from an object their intensity decreases, there is a multiplier to adjust this effect.

I’m not quite sure what will happen with the baked shadows, currently only active for the directional lights, I will probably add the option for the point lights at a future time.

I haven’t had the time to test this change extensively so let me know if something is not working right.

I’m working on adding the point lights to the lcSkinShader also, but I hit the registers limit (32) for the fp40 profile so I’ll have to break things up into more passes or remove some features.

January 9, 2011

Updated Uber and Skin Maya Shaders

versions 2.3 – available here: Download Page

Added 2 new texture inputs
a mask to remove rimlighting from unwanted areas
a mask for the cubemap reflection, for example to isolate metal bits

I changed the way back face shading is done – instead of using the faceforward() function to invert the normals (as this causes some shading errors along the silhouette), I am now doing a 2 pass method.  A pass is rendered for the back faces and a second pass for the front faces is layered on top.  This is much more expensive as the geometry is rendered twice but you get perfect results.

Thanks to Richard Smith for the feedback leading to these updates.