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Re: Laubwerk + Skatter support

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:48 am
by Mihai
Well, all I'm interested in is if I create "standalone" MXM materials that feature the correct leaf species, that users of Laubwerk can then use these MXMs on their models, instead of the auto created ones by Laubwerk :)

The material setup I use for the thinSSS leaves is pretty generic but then I have to tweak the settings of each, depending on the textures. Some need more thickness, less attenuation etc. Not just to get the right look but also to avoid ugly dots from too much translucency.

Re: Laubwerk + Skatter support

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:04 pm
by JDHill
If you want that, then I suggest getting in touch with the the Laubwerk people, because as I understand it, they expose a standard set of parameters in their plugin, and then translate those to materials for specific renderers. If so, it may be possible that you would have no way of having their plugin use pre-existing mxm files, but it would not be too difficult, I imagine, for them to expose a generic file path (to an mxm, or some other renderer's material format) as a parameter in their materials, which when set, would be used instead of a translation.

Re: Laubwerk + Skatter support

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:44 pm
by AndreasAM
I second this JD.
I have had an additional conversation about this with Laubwerk yesterday.
Here are the relevant quotes, about using MXM materials, but also about future, related, developments for Laubwerk.

I think they are quite looking ahead with their path in to the future with the Laubwerkplayers. And trying to incorporate some interesting things.

Andreas

The quotes of my emails:

My question/remark:
Although I grasp and acknowledge the advantages in the universal way you organise the development of your models in its own language and structure, not related to Sketchup or any Renderer, I can’t fully understand the difficulties of implementing new or more elaborate materials. In the end the materials have to be in the MXM format when they are exported to Maxwell-render. As I can see there are MXM-materials structured in the maps of the library, which are supposedly used and exported along with the translation of the geometry to the renderer. In this translation, I presume. there won’t be any changes implemented to the Materials, other than just choosing the right variation in detail and season and then exporting it to the renderer.

Answer Laubwerk:

Of course the output is just the same. However, our internal materials have an input space of possible settings. We have to find a translation, that can theoretically convert from any combination of settings in our internal material model to a Maxwell material description that matches. On top are the material quality profiles. This is extremely difficult. But as I said we are working on it.

My question:

One additional question, are you possibly developing also a future integration, in the next iterations of the Sketchup/Laubwerkplayer, of a potential output of model variations in color, materials and hues of the same species in the same season, perhaps in combination with Skatter. Thereby accomplishing a more lifelike variation in species in the 3D-model.
It is what Forestpack of Itoo is capable of in the other 3D-modelers and seriously lacking in the Sketchup/Maxwell environment (and other renderers)


Answer Laubwerk:

This idea is on the list as well. Again, this is more complicated than it seems, because there are many moving parts. But this is on the list.

My question:

I understand that the developer of Skatter is trying to achieve this in his next product iteration 2.0. I understand also that he is struggling with the progress (lack of capacity I think). Perhaps joining hands and strengths?

Answer Laubwerk:

We know the developer of Skatter very well and are talking about all kinds of cooperations. Let's see what comes out of this. ;-)

Re: Laubwerk + Skatter support

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:24 pm
by Mihai
Thanks for the info Andreas and Jeremy. Andreas, do you know the material parameters the LB plugin has? I don't understand the "quality level" of materials they refer to, and I agree with Jeremy that a simple solution would be to just let users add a custom path to a standalone material file, thereby overriding any settings in their plugin's material settings.

In addition to this, when Maxwell will have some sort of hue randomization built in to its materials, Laubwerk should expose an instance id which Maxwell can use for the randomization.

So in LB player, I choose a tree age, LOD etc. but for the material I just point to an MXM file.

Re: Laubwerk + Skatter support

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:00 pm
by AndreasAM
Mihai wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:24 pm
Thanks for the info Andreas and Jeremy. Andreas, do you know the material parameters the LB plugin has? I don't understand the "quality level" of materials they refer to, and I agree with Jeremy that a simple solution would be to just let users add a custom path to a standalone material file, thereby overriding any settings in their plugin's material settings.

In addition to this, when Maxwell will have some sort of hue randomization built in to its materials, Laubwerk should expose an instance id which Maxwell can use for the randomization.

So in LB player, I choose a tree age, LOD etc. but for the material I just point to an MXM file.

Mihai,

In my conversation with Laubwerk I didn't have a "technical" discussion about how the implementation and which of their parameters could or should be streamlined when exporting to Maxwell. It goes well beyond my capabilities and understanding in what is involved.

There is no Laubwerkplayer for Maxwell yet and I am not sure the mentioned Windows-version is already incorporated in the current player, so this is not giving anything away also.

I can imagine it is also a part of their USP, their inherent biological knowledge of plants and trees and their "universal" representation in f.i. materialisation. It is what they are emphasising on their website. And that's what is also standing out in their models.

Your suggested workaround is contrary to what they are describing, finding a universal approach for, even dynamic animated or procedural, geometry and materials, within their protected environment, and then subsequently developing players for translation to whichever renderer. It is their "business model" if you like.

The last part is interesting however, because working together with Maxwell would deliver them, possibly, the right amount and kind of Maxwell hooks for their parameters which could maximise their intend of expressing the quality of the species and also would utilise all the relevant capabilities of the Maxwell render for this purpose. A commercial win-win I would say.
If you understand what I am trying to say..........


In my mails I only stressed and offered the hope that the Maxwell community" could assist in solving the possible problems they encounter when implementing a Maxwell plugin in the Laubwerkplayer. Or when they are going to implement future enhancements like the mentioned randomisation of color/material or hues.

I even dropped your name :).

I can ask them again about the parameters or I can PM you the details from my Laubwerk-contact. Let me know.

Andreas