Lookdev Kit 2.1 UPDATE

News / 06 May 2020

I've worked hard on bringing you guys another update for Lookdev Kit. Fixed a couple of things and added new features. 

You can download it from MY STORE FOR FREE

Let's start with new features video:



RELEASE NOTES:
06. May 2020 - Lookdev Kit 2.1

- When you load lookdev kit it will set ldv camera as main view camera

- Turntable Start Frame dropdown - you can choose what is your timeline start frame. Choose either 1 or 1001 as your Starting frame

- Auto asset framing - if you have your asset selected while clicking on Load LDV kit it will automatically adapt to your aset size  and frame it correctly. You can always adjust the framing

- Skydome is now visible in viewport

- Skydome HDR resolution was default 1000, now it is 2048

- Skydome rotation Offset didn't worked in turntable mode, it was resetting on frame change

- Turntable Object rotation Offset didn't worked in turntable mode, it was resetting on frame change

- Set Turntable now adds Object rotation Offset slider value when making turntable

- UI Turntable Object rotation Offset didn't get right value after the UI launch

- Fixed SubD On asset selections - it didn't worked well in previous release

- Shadow Catcher plane is much larger now, you won't have shadows with sharp cuts in some lighting conditions

- Lookdevkit UI now launches on the right side of the main viewport, not in the center

- Turntable created one additional frame, now it creates correct number of frames

- Because I've added more features in the new release, if you have a scene with Lookdev kit 2.0 already loaded, script will automatically remove it upon running

- Added Batch renderer. You can now render your turntables on multiple HDRs with few clicks. More about this in DOCUMENTATION

- I created a Lookdev Kit documentation page where you can find all information about functionality of the tool

- A bunch of smaller fixes that created bugs

- New DOCUMENTATION PAGE


KNOWN BUGS:

If you run Del tx/jpg or Refresh HDRs commands after they finish Lookdev kit should start again, but sometimes it bugs out and it just turns off. I tried everything to fix this and couldn't find the reason for it. There are two possibilities:

First - I suck at coding and I created accidental bug that I cannot detect.

Second - Maya cmds UI is buggy and should be burned

Either way, I plan to re-write new UI with pySide, so there will be no random bugs. 

If this bug happens to you please just start Lookdev Kit again. 


You can download it from MY STORE FOR FREE


Have fun using it please report any bugs :)

Cheers!





Lookdev kit 2.0 - RELEASE

News / 30 March 2020

Here it is!

I finally managed to prepare everything for release. This is my first ever Python project and I used it to learn some scripting. There are a lot of beginner mistakes in code, but I hope those will be rewritten in time. You can also expect bugs and crashes, I gave my best to minimize them :) 

Considering this, I'm pretty proud of this. Handling 1400+ lines of code for the first time python coder was challenging.  

The tool should be functional and fun. I hope I managed to speedup some of lookdev challenges in your daily tasks. 

You can download it from my ArtStation Marketplace. It is a Free tool, so consider leaving a small tip if you can:


DOWNLOAD LINK


LINK TO PORTFOLIO PROJECT


Here is a features preview that I recorded 10 days ago. UI changed a bit, but all main features are still there.


Also, I created this cheat sheet just to quickly explain all the stuff in one image:

Click on the picture to zoom in

INSTALLATION:

You can find a lookdev_kit_install.txt file in the 7zip archive when you download Lookdev Kit 2.0 from ArtStation Marketplace where you can find all of the steps necessary to run the tool. But, I will explain them here again .

- copy entire lookdev_kit folder from .zip to your MyDocuments Maya scripts folder. It is usually here:

C:\Users\<user_name>\Documents\maya\scripts

- from folder lookdev_kit\shelf copy the shelf_dk_mtoa_lookdev.mel and paste it here:

Documents\maya\<maya_version>\prefs\shelves

- run Maya and you will have a shelf with LDV kit button

OR

If you don't want my shelf you can create button by yourself:

- open script editor and in PYTHON tab paste following code:


from lookdev_kit import ldv_kit

reload(ldv_kit)

ldv_kit.buildUI()


You can always select that code in script editor and middle-click-drag it to your shelf to create a button, so you can call it when needed.


After you run it, you will have to click on Refresh HDRs button


Bearded man sculpture model not included. Downloaded from www.myminifactory.com

HDR images and controls:

The HDR images stayed more or less the same as in the first version. I don't like some of them, so in the near future I will probably change some of them. Of course, new version of Lookdev Kit allows you use your own HDR images. You can just paste them in the HDR folder (lookdev_kit\sourceimages\hdr) and run Refresh HDRs command from Ui. There is also a button in Ui to open the folder that contains all HDRs.

HDR images taken from hdrihaven.com


PHOTOGRAPHIC CONTROLS:

Because I'm a big fan of photography, I've included "photographic" controls for the camera that is included in the scene. You can change Focal length, Aperture and Sensor Size. 

Focal length changes camera focal length. 

Because Arnold camera settings doesn't show camera aperture in f-stops, but with number that represents camera aperture diameter in world units, I have created a script that allows you to choose aperture settings in f-stops. In the background it will recalculate the Arnold camera aperture diameter depending on the chosen f-stop setting in the Ui. It considers chosen Focal length and chosen f-stop in the calculation. 

I've also included sensor size settings if you want to simulate different sensor sizes. 3 sensor types are included - Full Frame, APS-C (1.5x crop) and Micro 4/3 (2x crop). This setting will change your field of view on the camera, because sensor size influences focal length of your lens. 

If you turn on DoF checkbox Focal Plane will show in the viewport and Depth of Field will be turned on. All the settings that I mentioned will influence DoF thickness and Focus plane will change size depending on the settings chosen.


FILE MANAGEMENT:

In the Lookdev Kit 2.0 you can use your own HDR images. I've added this feature because a lot of people use different HDRs. So more flexibility :) 

Refresh HDRs - Deletes old and generates new HDR preview images for Ui and .tx files for all .hdr and .exr files in the HDR Folder.

Del Tx/jpg - Deletes generated HDR preview images for Ui and .tx files

Open HDR folder - Opens a folder that contains HDRs used in Lookdev kit. You can delete the included HDRs, paste your HDR files here or use both in the same time. When you paste additional files press the Refresh HDRs button.


TURNTABLE:

You can select your objects, choose turntable length in frames and click Setup Turntable button. It will create a Lookdev scene and create all of the constraints and animations that are necessary. First half of the timeline is reserved for object rotation,and second part for Skydome rotation. 

If you want to change the length of the turntable just select your objects again, choose different length and click Setup Turntable button again. Obj. Rot. Offset allows you to manually rotate your object, without influencing already present animation.


SubD Settings:

SubD settings are used to turn on or off render time catclark subdivision. Also there is slider for choosing how many subD iterations you want. You have to select object to control SubD settings.


MtoA Constants:

Create mtoa_constant_ attributes. Just select object, type name in the text field, choose data type and click create. After that use aiUserData nodes to read created attributes.


KNOWN BUGs:

When you run a Refresh HDRs command and the process has finished, the Ui of the Lookdev kit should restart itself, but sometimes it does not... I'm still fixing this. Same thing happens when you run Del tx/jpg command. If this happens just click on the LDV_kit button in your shelf again. It will generate the Ui again. 

Also, if something bugs out, or crashes, try running script again, or restart Maya. 


In the end, Lookdev kit 2.0 is FREE tool, so use it as is. I will try to minimize bugs and crashes. 

If you have any advices, ideas or anything else feel free to contact me.

I made it in my free time and that's why it took a while to finish. Consider leaving small tip when you download it.

DOWNLOAD LINK

Cheers!

LookdevKit 2.0 - Features/First preview

General / 19 March 2020

I finally managed to write a semi - stable version that has new features and works better than first version. I started learning Python on this project, so it is not 100% bulletproof. There are still chances of some bugs, crashes or unexpected behaviours. 

And now, here is a preview of what you can expect when I release it (probably next week). There is a possibility that I will remove, change or improve some features. 

It will stay free, as the last version was. I hope you like it and that you will find it useful. 

Due to my current lack of coding knowledge, first release will be Windows only. It will eventually come to Linux also. It is still a Arnold/Maya only tool, but I plan to include more render engines in the future.

Cheers!

Lookdev Kit 2.0 preview

Work In Progress / 09 September 2019

It took me a while to start with it, but I started to learn Python. First thing on the list - Lookdev Kit 2.0. I will try to fix all problems and things that I didn't liked on the first version. I already did the UI and some basic functionality, but there is still work to be done.

There will be more tools and utilities available on release, at least I hope so. Everything is still WIP but here is a small preview

Also all stuff except skydome textures is generated on the fly, there is no longer need to reference the scene or anything similar. 

This is about 750 lines of code and it is growing steadily. I will probably publish it as soon as I cover all functions that are needed. 

Cheers!

Lookdev kit on Artstation store

General / 18 July 2019


Artstation finally enabled release of the free products, so I am moving Lookdev kit to the Artstation store. Price stays the same as always - FREE :)


You can find it here -> DOWNLOAD LINK


This is a great move from Artstation because I can add free products to the Artstation store. Also, if you find this product useful you can leave me a small tip before the download.

Cheers!

You can find it here -> DOWNLOAD LINK

link to the original post on Artstation -> LINK

Rediscover this day - Coffee Table

Making Of / 10 April 2019

So, today Google Photos reminded me on the one important day in my artistic part of life. On this day, four years ago, I started my work on Coffee table and I tried vintage lens on dslr for the first time. At the time, I never tried anything similar, so the main goal was to learn how to do realistic glass shading. 

In the end I was really pleased with the result and work I did. But, I probably wouldn't achieve this level of quality without using reference photos. So here are some photos that I took before I started working on this. 

This was the first photo I took, it gave me idea for the composition, lighting and general mood. After that I started taking more photos of different objects that were on the table.
  
  
  
  


Here is my old camera and the lens I got from my wife Ivana for birthday that year. Had to wait 2-3 weeks for lens adapter to arrive from China. Couldn't find it locally. 
In the end it was a great project. I really like to remember the entire process and how I experimented with different approaches.


  

Arnold GPU beta

News / 18 March 2019

So, Arnold GPU is finally going in public beta. I had a great opportunity be a part of closed beta testing. You can find more information about Arnold GPU HERE. It is going public on March 20, 2019. 

Now, here are some test renders I did during closed beta.


Camera test scene


Ivana's head wip 01


Ivana's head wip 02 (started working on the eyes)


Moka pot lookdev


Moka pot stills


voigtlander bergheil (DoF + 60 UDIM tiles)


All in all it works great! Prepare your RT cores! :D

Lookdev kit - Update 02

General / 21 February 2019

Here is another update to the Lookdev kit. It is a small one, but it fixes the problem with converting environment map to .tx. Also there is a new HDR in the HDR slot 01 and a Focus plane to control focus and depth of field. Here are more details about this update:


DOWNLOAD LINK


RELEASE NOTES:

19.02.2019. Update 02:


- Added Focus Plane to control Arnold Depth of Field Focus Distance (aiFocusDistance)


- Depth of Field control attributes on the Focus plane


- added new HDR on HDR slot 01


- fixed problem with converting environment map to .tx. Thanks to Arnold Dev team! This was a major problem in previous version.


Focus plane for camera focus control


New HDR from hdrihaven.com


DOWNLOAD LINK


Please let me know if you have any issues with this version. 

Also, I am open to suggestions on how to further improve the tool. 

You can find more info about Lookdev kit on the Original blog post or in the readme file inside the downloaded zip.

Lookdev kit - Update 01

General / 04 February 2019

Here is the new update for Lookdev kit. I know it took a while but I was pretty busy. Here are new updates:


DOWNLOAD LINK


RELEASE NOTES:

04.01.2019. Update 01:

- HDR selection slider - SUPER special thanks to Aleksandar Kocic for some coding magic that made the pivot snap to the HDR numbers. 

- removed albedo AOV that was left behind.

- I added some colors to the scene elements.

- scene is a bit more organised.

- loc_object_rotation_01 was left outside of the group because of parent constraint.

- global transform control for the entire Lookdev scene (move, rotate, scale).


HDR selection:


Global control:


KNOWN ISSUES:

01. HDR version slider knows to be a bit buggy, if the snapping stops, just deselect it and select it again.

02. I had to remove the .tx file and had to load original multi - layered .exr for Skydome. Due to the OIIO update in Arnold I couldn't load multi - layered .tx file. I didn't have any problems because of using .exr, I hope it will work for you. I asked Arnold devs about this and I hope solution is coming in the future.


WARNING: 

Do not create .tx for lookdev_hdri_2k_01.exr, it will probably not work in newer versions of Arnold. 


Please let me know if you have any issues with this version. 

Also, I am open to suggestions on how to further improve the tool. 


DOWNLOAD LINK


Cheers!


You can find more info about Lookdev kit on the Original blog post or in the readme file inside the downloaded zip.


Photogrammetry experiments

Work In Progress / 21 January 2019

This is going to be a long one...

Photogrammetry is my hobby for the last couple of years. My first try was a small wooden Piggy from four or five years ago. That was done with mobile phone (Nexus 4) without any knowledge of proper lighting, manual control of camera, balancing photos, etc. The scanned result was pretty bad, but I learned a lot from it. After that I bought a Canon EOS700D with kit lens and started to learn more about proper way to take photos, how to correct them and how to work on the scanned geometry. Results got a lot better with proper equipment

But this is still the realm of simple shapes and hard surface objects. My goal was to scan a human face. And that is where my lack of knowledge and equipment started to surface even more. I started to experiment with my wife's head (girlfriend back than). First try was pretty unsuccessful - bad mesh full of noise, with textures full of lighting information. 


Than, I went back to googling about what is the best way to take photos for photogrammetry. After that I did two more photo sessions, but this time in the cloudy weather with more diffuse and uniform lighting. Results were better, but still not what I've hoped for. 

Still, not satisfied with the results, I went back to googling how to improve the results, and I figured out that hair was creating a problem in the alignment. So I got a thin cap, I'm guessing it was used for wigs, to hide real hair. Another photo session... At this point she was starting to get annoyed for being my "guinea pig". 

Again, a step in the right direction, better than any version before, but still not good. But I decided to try to "fix it in post". Went to Zbrush, cleaned the model, did a ok retopology, texture transfer, basic shading... Aaaaand... Super uncanny results :D

I figured out that I don't have almost any knowledge in human skin shading. Also, I have a lot of specular in my base color showing in the render... Back to googling... After a while I found out about CPL filters. Bought one, another photo-session with Ivana... At this point I couldn't figure out if she is hating me more because of another photo - session or because she has to wear silly wig cap outside on the street (I didn't have lights so I used overcast sky for lighting)

CPL helped out a lot and I had cleaner photos, also I did solid mesh cleanup in zbrush but...  

Better, but still uncanny... Lack of shading skills did its work. At this moment I wanted to take a break from the project. I had to learn more about scanning process, photo editing, shading, etc, etc... 

Fast forward!

3 years passed since I started the project. In the meantime I got proper lights, new camera (Sony a7mII) and Zeiss lenses, macro tubes, CPLs, Xrite Color Checker, light tent, did a lot of scans and learned a lot. So here is the new setup:

With this I've managed to get pretty solid results

Than it was time to try the human scanning again, this time with better setup and knowledge :D

Notice the guitar stand tied to the back of the chair to serve as head stabilizer :D

I've managed to persuade her to take another photo-session :D Also I had a friend of mine rotate her on the chair. And I finally managed to get proper results. Evenly lit photos and solid alignment. Again, new cleanup, retopo, texture transfer and baking, etc... Image below is cleaned up a bit but totally usable.

Just a uniform spec pass to show skin detail

And with some new knowledge of texture painting, shading, etc... Rendered with Arnold GPU.

It is finally starting to take shape... That's why I am writing this, just to share project that I've been working on (with breaks) since 2015. Also, I never published any scanned assets anywhere (aside of two instagram stories).

This latest iteration is from last couple of months. It still requires a lot of work - missing couple of maps, it is without any hair (still have to learn to create hair), etc... But it has potential to look great at the end. I hope I will manage to publish finished project later this year.

This was a long post, thanks to anyone who managed to get to the end :)