Lightwave 3d Hypervoxel Baking.a feature request that would be a godsend for TG.

Started by xevious2501, November 05, 2016, 09:45:51 PM

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hey guys :D
Take a look at an animation i created some time ago.
Its a test i created in Lightwave 3D using its volumetric system Hypervoxels.  In particular whats to note is that the clouds are baked.
A volumetric baking feature within Hypervoxels.   This feature had been around for many years but many simply didnt know about it.  A good reason for this is that when the feature
first appeared computers were much much MUCH slower.  Back then the process to create and use good looking volumetrics wasn't entirely feasible for animations without access to a huge costly render farm.  Even just tweaking without real time render previews was far too arduous.  Fast forward to today and all those limitations are no longer an issue.  Due to a client project involving a camera flying thru clouds i delved back into Lightwaves Hypervoxels and came across its baking feature. Having not touched it for years to my astonishment i was able to tweak it to some decent results. More important  the final baked voxels rendered insanely fast. Getting decent result with the final bake isnt easy as it takes a good bit of tweaking to understand whats going on from the unbaked voxel to the baked results.   But once you get the hang of it the benefits are pretty insane.  As seen in the animation my clouds aren't perfect.. i was more interested with figuring it all out before going all art perfection.  The bake feature limitations are that bakes cannot be rotated or at least thus far i haven't figured how to but im sure their is a way.   They can be translated scaled and the camera can view all angles including inside. The bake function is limited to 50x50x50 up to 400x400x400 resolution.  The higher the resolution the smaller the voxels and the more detail kept from the unbaked source.  Currently The feature doesn't allow custom bake resolutions.   At 400x400x400 depending on your bake and settings you may or may not see voxel boxes.  Ive requested LWG to create a custom res setting option.   The final bakes are created as either a series of images like an MRI, it creates multiple slices of the volumetric source and saves each slice as either a movie file or a series of storyboard panels.   Renders of bakes are incredibly fast, just as well as their realtime update gl displays.  Another payoff is that you can quickly create a library of baked clouds ready to import into any scene and render, Granted the bakes would have to visually work with the scene.   I thought of all this and realized such a feature would be a god-send for Terragen.  The ability to bake its clouds and render them in seconds not hours would be amazing.  A seriously valuable feature as i discovered with lightwave but unlike myself trying to make a volume form look like a cloud, terragen was created ground up to be physically accurate to the real world.   


That looks really cool, and it would indeed be great if this could be made to work in TG.


It's possible that something like this could come to Terragen in future. I would like to explore ways to bake more of the shading into voxels to improve speed (it already bakes some things internally), but in order to render really fast it would have to sacrifice realism in some way. Interaction with the environment would probably be the main thing to suffer. I've tried not to compromise on realism with TG4's new clouds, but I'll continue to work on faster rendering and perhaps alternative render methods too.

Just because milk is white doesn't mean that clouds are made of milk.


Thanks Matt!

Maybe it can work in combination with a distance shader? So only further away clouds can be baked?