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Old 28th Nov 2019, 02:12 AM   #1
Professor Moriarty
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Default Star Trek - The Starship Constellation

The doomed Starship Constellation, shown here before I apply some antiproton makeup to her. C&C welcomed and appreciated.
















This is a test video that I published a couple of weeks ago: Vimeo link

And here's the same video on YouTube, albeit more compressed: YouTube Link

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Last edited by Rigel : 3rd Dec 2019 at 08:32 AM. Reason: Fixed the link to the YouTube version of the test video
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 02:32 AM   #2
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beautiful work.
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 02:41 AM   #3
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Wow, nice work... What did you use for the stars?
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 03:06 AM   #4
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Ack... the YouTube link didn't insert correctly in the previous post, and foundation3d.com is taking several minutes to submit or edit a post, so I'm just gonna leave this here: YouTube link
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 04:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DELTA View Post
Wow, nice work... What did you use for the stars?
Thanks... and good question! As I'm sure everyone knows, Filip Camerman's terrific Hyperstars and Hyperspace plugins were never updated past LightWave 9.6. When I got the itch again earlier this summer and decided to finally finish my "Doomsday Machine" project, I went hunting for my LightWave dongle and realized that it must have been lost two years ago when I sold my house and moved to a condo, which meant I couldn't even install an old copy of LightWave just to use my even more ancient copy of Hyperspace. FRAK! So, I devised what you see here: a highly unsatisfactory home brew of 300,000 single-point polygons in a 1000 km-diameter cloud sphere.

There are three sets of 100,000 single-point poly objects in my scenes. Object #1 has a particle thickness of 4 pixels and a distance dissolve of 125 km, object #2 is 8 pixels and a DD of 250 km, and object #3 is 12 pixels/500 km. This is for a 4K scene. Unfortunately, I have to render the stars at 8K and then scale that plate down 50% in post to effectively combat flickering/anti-alias artifacts. If I'm shooting a 1080p scene, I render the stars at 4K after reducing the particle pixel size and distance dissolve settings 50% (e.g., object #3 is 6 pixels/250 km). If I forget to do that, I get stars that look like glowing bowling balls.

In Modeler I used a cylinder to solid drill a tunnel through the three poly clouds so that the camera doesn't fly too close to (or into!) a poly-star and ruin the parallax effect. I've also got "undrilled" copies of the poly clouds *.lwo files for when I need the Constellation or Enterprise to fly in a curved path (so that I can drill a curved "flight tube"). Finally, all three objects have a material definition similar to this:





It works, but like I said I find it an unsatisfactory solution. My starships, planets, asteroids, VDB effects, etc. I render in Octane's lightning-fast GPU renderer (the slowest frame of the Constellation to render in that test video took about 70 seconds), but for the frelling stars I have to revert to the Dark Ages and LightWave's poky CPU renderer because Octane doesn't render poly clouds correctly. The stars take nearly as long to render per frame as the frickin' starship... sometimes a lot longer!
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 07:32 AM   #6
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Wow, very inventive, looks good to me. I have StarPro 1.6
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 08:08 AM   #7
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Looks really good.
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 05:56 PM   #8
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Amazing tutorial, the forum really needs a like button, as it doesn't.

"Like"
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 05:46 AM   #9
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Always waiting for more, professor......
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 08:18 AM   #10
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You’ve been following this project since the 2000s, Ronald! Hopefully you’ll wait not too much longer.
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 08:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMD3D View Post
Amazing tutorial, the forum really needs a like button, as it doesn't.

"Like"
Thanks, but TBH I’d be tickled pink—Vulcan plomeek soup pink!—if someone came up with a way to generate the stars faster. It’s aggravating when something as simple as a bunch of pinpoints of light renders slower than a million-polygon starship model!
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 09:51 AM   #12
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Gorgeous!
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 07:43 AM   #13
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True, Professor.
I do not recall how I did my startield. For short videos, I have a far wall of stars.
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 01:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor Moriarty View Post
It works, but like I said I find it an unsatisfactory solution. My starships, planets, asteroids, VDB effects, etc. I render in Octane's lightning-fast GPU renderer (the slowest frame of the Constellation to render in that test video took about 70 seconds), but for the frelling stars I have to revert to the Dark Ages and LightWave's poky CPU renderer because Octane doesn't render poly clouds correctly. The stars take nearly as long to render per frame as the frickin' starship... sometimes a lot longer!
I was running into a similar problem using the post-2018 LW renderer recently. It doesn't seem to handle particles the way the old renderer did. The old render seemed to "poll" for particles and then draw them (and just generated motion-blur trails rather than rendering sub-frames and adding them together), while the new renderer seems to be ray-tracing them. The upshot being if the particles are 1 pixel or less (I like tiny stars), the renderer can "miss" them when it fires rays out into a given pixel of the frame unless I crank up sampling (and it has to be minimum sampling, since it won't resample around the area around the particle if it doesn't see it). And since I was doing a Battlestar Galactica-inspired scene with lots of jerky camera moves and snap-zooms, I needed to add an insane number of motion blur passes, too, since particles now get the same motion blur as normal objects.

The upshot was that the background star pass that should've taken a second or two per frame ended up taking a minute or two. Not terrible, but it's lucky I render in passes; rendering the actual objects with the kind of antialiasing scenes and motion blur settings I needed to get the stars to not flicker would've been deadly.

In any event, I'm sure there must be a better way to do stars in the post-PBR world, but I haven't heard about it, yet. I'm still having trouble figuring out a good way to use real-world luminance values and then adjusting the exposure, rather than lighting to the camera.
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 05:17 PM   #15
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Hey Professor!



That looks great! I can't wait to see how you apply the damage.



FYI, I still have the Hyperspace and Hyperstars plugs along with my copy of Lightwave 8. If you send me the scene file with your camera movements only, maybe I can render them out you can apply them in post/compositing.



Cheers!
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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 01:01 AM   #16
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Thanks, but I'd be sending you literally scores of scene files. Best to just figure out how to deal with this problem myself but I appreciate the offer!
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Old 4th Dec 2019, 05:22 PM   #17
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David cgc, thanks for the insights into what's going on in LightWave. The good news is, I think I found a partial solution to my problem, at least for the scenes where the stars are not streaking past the ship at superluminal velocity (i.e., the Constellation and Enterprise aren't flying at warp speed).

One of the things that was really bugging me (besides having to use LightWave's render engine) was the twinkly results I was getting with stationary or very slow-moving stars, even with a ton of anti-aliasing and doubling the resolution as described above. Then I remembered that OctaneRender has a "visible environment" that you can apply as a backdrop, just like in LightWave. So, I shot a flat plate of my starfield with the camera not moving at warp 7, and rendered that at 16384 x 16384 resolution. After some post-processing in Photoshop to turn the planar image into a spherical one, I used that as a spherically-mapped background in OctaneRender and voila! Success. I can point the camera in any direction and it looks like I'm surrounded by a field of stars infinitely far away. 4K images render in 5 seconds or less per frame, which is more than acceptable.

I've still gotta believe there must be an "Octane way" to render my stars-at-warp, but since the "Doomsday Machine" project won't need too many of those I'll defer further investigation for the next project. Probably something with volumetrics/VDB. We'll see.
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Old 4th Dec 2019, 09:17 PM   #18
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Here's a frame grab from a video I'm working on where I employ the new method for rendering the star background described above. It's got some nice motion blurring, and you'll have to take my word that there's absolutely no "twinkling". What do you think?




Also, too much bloom? I like the look, but I also recognize that I've basically applied the "Star Trek Discovery filter", which I know a lot of people don't particularly care for. Thoughts??
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Old 6th Dec 2019, 11:40 AM   #19
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That looks really good.
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Old Yesterday, 11:37 AM   #20
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I have yet to see any plugin or LW technique that produces better looking starfields, especially when background motion blur is required, than StarPro:

http://www.maasdigital.com/starpro/

CCC
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Old Yesterday, 12:16 PM   #21
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Yeeeah... but I’m not spending $199 for a hobby project just for one element of that project! If it had been $19.99 it would’ve been worth my time saved, but ten times that?
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