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Articles: Productivity tips

Posted by: realsoft on Friday, October 01, 2004 - 12:01 AM Print article Printer-friendly page  Email to a friend
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tutorials

Productivity Tips

Network rendering rules of thumb are:

  • If some servers are slow, the box count should be 4-10 times the number of threads.
  • Box division should be symmetric. 7*4 instead of 14*2 - it renders quicker as the boxes are "squarer".
  • Put the slowest systems last in the server list defined by render settings 'Boxes' tab. The fast systems have time to render the first boxes while the client is activating the slow systems.
  • Save maps and render files as JPG images for fastest network render times.

Use analytical objects as much as possible in complex scenes - SDS and nurb objects use larger amounts of memory.

Use the SHIFT key to constrain objects and tools to horizontal or vertical. The SHIFT key can also be used to size object propotionately when using object handles, and set rotation angles to 45 degree increments.

Snap to points and corners of objects with the 5 key.

On color swatches, right click to bring up the "expand" option. This allows you to quickly select the appropriate color using the color wheel.

Make use of clip maps to reduce scene complexity.

Use level structures to organise your work -
drop multiple objects to their own level by multiselecting with the SHIFT key then right click "drop to level" tool.
Projects organised with clever level use are far more managable.

To change parameters of any sub objects - (eg change all objects in a level to "not selectable") simply select the level object, change the "not selectable" tag and all sub object are then not selectable. Likewise, to change all the objects in a scene to have an alpha value of 1 (to render to an alpha channel) Select the ROOT level, and change the Col/surface properties/alpha value to 1 - and all objects will be rendered solid against a clear background.

When panning and zooming objects - occasionally they may "dissapear" in the view window. This is most likely due to the clipping planes utilised to speed up view refreshes. To see all the objects in a scene - simply drag the "Root" level icon into the view window. This sets the clipping planes to the extents of the scene and allows the user to see all objects. Conversely, dragging the object in question to the view zooms to the extents of that object/level.

Snap to edges and lines with the 6 key

Use CAD packages to model complex geometry and use the IGES plugin import. This allows you to make use of CAD programs inherit speed and accurate modelling tools, then import them into RS3D as splines which can then be extruded or lofted into 3D shapes. (requires IGES plugin)

Use multiple Input Planes to align new objects with existing objects. Simply drag the IPlane onto the view to set it as the current IPlane - and make sure that under the view properties window is set to "Lock to Input Plane". To align the input plane to the current view angle - use the "Set input Plane Orthagonal to view" button. To match the rotation of an object - simply copy the rotation angle from the object in question and paste it into the rotation angle field of the IP plane.

To set camera keyframes very quickly -

1/. Create a camera from the view - select the camera button - then accept it straight away.
2/. Under view properties dialog box turn on : camera/tracking/track always
3/. Turn on RECORD in the animation slider bar. (This is important - use "track always" with caution when NOT in animation recording as it saves the view postion to the camera at all times.)
4/. Move the time slider along halfway. Move the camera with the Alt/Right mouse button.
5/. Move the time slider to the end. Move the camera with the Alt/Right mouse button.
6/. Turn off RECORD. This has set 3 keyframe positions for the camera. Make sure you TURN OFF "track always" now before moving the view again.
7/. Scrub the time slider and the view pans through the 3 keyframes you just set. Note: keep the movements relatively small between keyframes (<45 degrees per key) to keep the results predictable, the first keyframe is created automatically at frame 0.

One can save "selection sets" of meshes as seperate objects by using the "group" tool. - Edit the mesh - select the points - select "group" - accept. Note: one can have as many sub-groups as required. Seperate groups CAN have the same points inside.

To get soft shadows - create a point light - and turn up the "size" field. Use the "Quality" setting to find a good balance of speed vs output quality.

Booleaned objects can be easily edited and animated. Simply turn off "wire invisible" of sub objects then move/size/rotate them.

To "depth" (3D) snap points - use the comma (,) key in conjunction with dragging.

To draw on an object - use "surface input" under view properties/input. This allows the user to draw curves on surfaces (nurbs).

To create SDS meshes - starting from a polygonal NURB mesh is often the quickest method:

1/. Create a polygonal curve - say 8 points long.
2/. Duplicate the curve and move.
3/. Select both curves and select "X-sect" tool from the toolbar.
4/. Select the resultant mesh - under the properties/spec tab - change the "constructor" to "None". Delete the sub-curves.
5/. Select Construction/To SDS
6/. This creates an SDS mesh from the Nurb mesh. Note that depending on the nurb mesh faces are not created. One has to allow that unless the mesh has more than a 3x3 division - the first and last faces on the nurb mesh are lost.
7/. Select the faces of the SDS object and Hold the Ctrl key to extrude.

Using polygonal nurbs meshes are best for converting to SDS objects - keep SDS's as simple as possible at all times.

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