Post your Firefly Renders



  • @Bytefactory3D said in Post your Firefly Renders:

    So this is a clean Firefly render, no postwork.
    It is our Pitts Special Stuntplane, which I had textured in Substance Painter, used the PBR materials in Firefly through the PBR-Emulator, just plugged in and rendered away.
    The entire PLane has only 7 MAT zones in Poser, as opposed to formerly 109 MAT zones when I textured it in the traditional Poser manner...
    The scene setup is entirely standard and conservative: Snarly's EZ-Dome with a single infinite light as the sun (at 60 percent), nothing else. I show my render settings in the next screenshot, they are fairly low.

    Awesome! Down to 7 mat zones? Very sweet! (I'm a mat-zone junkie for most of the things I make for myself. I always want max utility.)

    Question - What lighting did you use? (Lights/HDRI etc)

    Render setting examples are always welcomed, but the hardest thing to communicate is the lighting, since there's little other than D3D's lighting control panel that will show all the light settings in one screen. And, of course, that doesn't show HDRI and the like, since it's just a "helper" for regular lights.



  • @morkonan
    The lighting is as simple as can be :-)
    Snarly's EZDome (but any other skydome can do as well, I also at times use others with the same result. For a manually setup skydome I set Diffuse and everything to black, the sky and landskape texture only connected to the Ambient channel, with a strength of below 1.0 (try 0.8 or even 0.6)) EZDome I just leave everything at default with strength and others.
    No IBL in the scene. The only light is an infinite light as the sun, set to a strength of 60% to 70%, not more.
    Then IDL=on, raytracing=on, gamma correction=on, like shown in the render settings below.
    So one single light in the scene, ambient lighting is done with the skydome.

    Bagginsbill long ago pointed out that Poser users have a habit of overlighting their scenes, resulting in unrealistic appearence, even artifacts in textures and many more problems. By that time (some years ago) I found his light meter and began getting more sensitive with lighting, discovering that for realism we really need low settings in Poser, and with IDL we rarely need more than one or max. two lights in the scenes.



  • @morkonan
    And about the MAt zones: Me too I used to be a Materials Room Junkie :-)
    But using Substance Painter I found that all information needed to describe the surface is already contained in the PBR-Texture set. All which Firefly needed (and I wanted my content to work in Firefly as well as in Superfly) is an understanding of the PBR-Coding. I tried a 'mathematical' approach first hoping I could come up with some kind of converter, but this went far too heavy on resources and workload during rendering, impracticable. So I developped a 'best estimate' approach creating the PBR-Emulator, and it worked out well. Nowadays, with the help of the PBR-Emulator, I can simply plug the PBR textures in and the textures work in Firefly (starting with Poser 2012, not earlier) and Superfly almost identical, close enough to be acceptable for my content.

    So then I realized, that I no longer needed individual tweaking of different materials, I could entirely rely on the PBR textures created with Substance Painter (metal/roughness workflow, directX normal maps). Getting more and more confident with this, I found that I no longer needed the 100+ different material zones in Poser, instead I do all surface properties in Substance Painter. This comes with the advantage that I can create MUUUCH more different materials by the same time reducing the number of MAT zones ;.) One MAT zone per texture template is enough, so if 7 templates are needed to have sufficient pixel everywhere on the object, it means I need 7 MAT zones, not more. But the same time I can have as many different materials as I can ever imagine, because with PBR textures materials are defined/described PER PIXEL, so basically any pixel on a template can be a different material.
    Should I ever need to tweak a material property without going back to Substance Painter (like a customer who doesn't have Substance Painter) then i can easily tweak the roughness by painting in the roughness map (brighten it up to make the material more rough) or in the metallic map and so on. Or I can add fingerprints to a surface in the roughness map with any simple 2D painting application, painting the fingerprints in brighter color will show them very realistic, even without owning Substance Painter or Quixel or any of the freeware PBR creating tools.



  • @Bytefactory3D said in Post your Firefly Renders:

    @morkonan
    The lighting is as simple as can be :-)...
    Bagginsbill long ago pointed out that Poser users have a habit of overlighting their scenes, resulting in unrealistic appearence, even artifacts in textures and many more problems. By that time (some years ago) I found his light meter and began getting more sensitive with lighting, discovering that for realism we really need low settings in Poser, and with IDL we rarely need more than one or max. two lights in the scenes.

    I agree. Though, I need to use the lightmeter more than I do, to be honest. Lighting for firefly rendering is extremely difficult to "eyeball", especially with the addition of IDL and HDRI skydomes.

    And about the MAt zones: Me too I used to be a Materials Room Junkie :-)
    But using Substance Painter I found that all information needed to describe the surface is already contained in the PBR-Texture set. All which Firefly needed (and I wanted my content to work in Firefly as well as in Superfly) is an understanding of the PBR-Coding. I tried a 'mathematical' approach first hoping I could come up with some kind of converter, but this went far too heavy on resources and workload during rendering, impracticable. So I developped a 'best estimate' approach creating the PBR-Emulator, and it worked out well. Nowadays, with the help of the PBR-Emulator, I can simply plug the PBR textures in and the textures work in Firefly (starting with Poser 2012, not earlier) and Superfly almost identical, close enough to be acceptable for my content.

    Inspiring me to buy the emulator? :) No, that's fine, it's really a very nice achievement for Firefly rendering! I'm waiting on the next "Substance" sale. :)

    .. Should I ever need to tweak a material property without going back to Substance Painter (like a customer who doesn't have Substance Painter) then i can easily tweak the roughness by painting in the roughness map (brighten it up to make the material more rough) or in the metallic map and so on. Or I can add fingerprints to a surface in the roughness map with any simple 2D painting application, painting the fingerprints in brighter color will show them very realistic, even without owning Substance Painter or Quixel or any of the freeware PBR creating tools.

    I hate using masks for that sort of thing. At least, for "regions" that are materially isolated because they are, in fact, supposed to be a different physical material. It always feels "clunky." If it's supposed to be a different material, it gets its own mat zone. That includes anything I buy, on the rare occasion that I buy a model or bit of clothing. (I traditionally only buy hair models, anymore, since I suck at devoting the time to making them. I'll buy poses or a really, really, good custom morph on occasion.) I can't count the number of items that I have created custom mat zones for and or even remapped them, completely, if needed.

    Gotta go check on Substance Painter & Designer sale prices. Keep forgetting. :)

    Of course, when I do get 'em, I'll have to then create something suitable to use them for. Got a mech model I've worked off and on with, but it's just not ready yet.



  • @morkonan said in Post your Firefly Renders:

    I hate using masks for that sort of thing. At least, for "regions" that are materially isolated because they are, in fact, supposed to be a different physical material. It always feels "clunky." If it's supposed to be a different material, it gets its own mat zone.

    This instrument panel has 2 Poser MAT zones on it (because I needed the texel density using 2 texture templates). Do you see a reason why to subdivide it into more that these 2 MAT zones (causing more work during content creation and a lot more workload during rendering)? I never counted the number of different 'physical' materials I used in this panel, I could use (just like in real life) even a hundred, without a need to increase the Poser MAT Zone number... Please try counting the number of different 'physical' materials you can see here (full size view recommended), they are all contained in the just 2 Poser MAT zones and could be contained even in one single MAT zone, if the texel density would not require a second texture template for sufficient detail. If all surface properties can be described (=coded) in one PBR texture set, why should I additionally create bazillions of MAT zones in Poser? Of course I COULD easily do this, but why should I, because they would all just contain the exactly same material?

    In my oppinion it is just a matter of being ready to change (develop) as Poser users and to adapt to new technologies and use them, instead of following the same old habits until the days end? (no offense intended, smile, just kidding a bit, also English is not my first language, and I'm very grateful for the discussion, because I think it is important.) But development always comes with having to change habits and thinking afresh and out of the box?



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  • @Bytefactory3D Oh dear! I hope you're not in the middle of an aerobatic manoeuvre with no Oil Pressure and a faulty Artificial Horizon and Inclinometer!!! ;-)

    Nice textures, BTW. :-)



  • @anomalaus
    haha, I used to be a pilot and flight instructor for more than 20 years, thats why I feared someone coming up with this, smile... It's true, I didn't put the effort making moveable indicators, probably even ERC-linked with each others, even if I briefly thought about it. But majority of the customers has no idea of reading an airspeed indicator, or telling a Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI) from a VOR or ADF indicator, haha... Thats why I decided to be lazy and have the gauges basically in a 'ground position'.
    If you look at the g-meter you will realize that the max indicators show that the limits for negative g forces have been exceeded for the Pitts Special in a previous manoeuvre by far...



  • @Bytefactory3D said in Post your Firefly Renders:

    @morkonan said in Post your Firefly Renders:

    I hate using masks for that sort of thing. At least, for "regions" that are materially isolated because they are, in fact, supposed to be a different physical material. It always feels "clunky." If it's supposed to be a different material, it gets its own mat zone.

    This instrument panel has 2 Poser MAT zones on it (because I needed the texel density using 2 texture templates). Do you see a reason why to subdivide it into more that these 2 MAT zones (causing more work during content creation and a lot more workload during rendering)? ...

    Sure! What if I wanted to make changes to the lock-rings around the dials, like make them a different color? Or, change the faces of the dials themselves, add a panel that had some painted design on it, reduce the specularity of the glass without effecting anything else, make the lock-rings have ridges on them using a materially generated bump map, etc..

    I'm not saying having the ability to do those things is "necessary." It's just about flexibility and ease of use from within the material room using a minimum number of things, like a texture file created in Photoshop, from outside of the program to make customized changes. If I wanted to make all the lock-rings "blue", then I just drill down to the lock-ring material and change it in the material room.

    Again, I'm not saying that's necessary and, certainly, with a product with an intended use, eventually providing the user with the great ability to customize it may actually end up inconveniencing the user unnecessarily. Is the end-user going to want to change the lock-rings? Probably not. Would "I" want to be able to, if I made the object for my own use? Maybe... :)



  • @morkonan
    I completely understand your objections. Me myself I have been a (IMHO quite skilled, 15+ years) user and real fanatic about the Firefly materials room ever since Firefly was introduced with Poser 5. Why? Because it gave us the possibility of adjusting things like shinyness, dirt layers, scratch effects and much more additionally to the naked diffuse color maps. HUGE advantage over Poser 4 render engine. Let me say I completely love the 'Advanced Materials Room' and I sure know each and any available node there by its first and family name, smile.

    However the modern methods of coding surface properties in PBR texture sets is a huge advantage over traditional Firefly texturing. It allows creation of all properties (base color, shinyness, roughness, height and normal detail, emissive light, special effects like dirt and grime and scratches and peeling paint) in one single go during creation. Furthermore, these properties are hard-coded (baked) in the PBR texture set, which dramatically reduces workload for the users computer during render time. Plus it allows for physically correct rendering, for those of us who go for realism. And you could have, if you wanted, virtually a million different materials on one texture template.

    Discovering this, as a content creator I had a desire to cover both render engines in Poser, Firefly as well as Superfly. But using PBR in Firefly meant individual adjustment of each and every single material to make it look right. This was not practicable for me on the long run when creating content. I wish Smith Micro had, with introduction of Superfly/Cycles, also provided an 'upgrade node' for earlier Poser versions to understand PBR textures in Poser 9+ Firefly. This would have been so important to encourage content creators go for the modern PBR textures for Superfly, without leaving Firefly users behind. Raising the quality of appearence of Poser renders i general. Unfortunately, Smith Micro did nothing like this. I guess (and I could even understand them) they preferred selling the new Poser 11 instead of encourageing users of former versions to stick with their Poser 9 or something.

    For a while I found Bagginsbills thread about some similar plan like I had (making Firefly understand PBR), but after RDNA went downhill Bagginsbill no longer posted there, and I found nowhere else he revived this idea. I assume he found that Firefly understanding PBR coding 'mathematically correct' requires just too complicated huge mathematical calculations which would make it grind to a halt.

    So, desperately in need of something like a converter for Firefly to understand PBR without manual adjustments, I tried my own shot. First I tried a 'mathematically correct' approach, trying all the necessary transformations and calibrations to convert a PBR texture set to understandable nodes for Firefly. All the gradients are non-linear, because Firefly has an entirely different mathematics under the hood, very very different from a PBR render engine.

    So i finally had to give up on this, but tried at least a 'best estimate' approach, meaning to come as close as possible to the Superfly appearence, but with as few as possible calculations, simplified, and accepting small differences in appearence. That was the PBR-Emulator. Then, finding it worked surprisingly well and universal, I realized I no longer needed the individual MAT Zones in Poser, because no individual adjustment was needed anyway. Reducing the MAT zones saved so many resources and reduced workload during render times, that I had to decide what was more important: the customers ability to tweak materials appearence inside Poser, or the advantages through reduction of MAT zones.

    While I started creating the first assets in this new technique it turned out that the second option, reduction of MAT zones, clearly won.

    And something else turned out: This was such a huge step forward in Poser texturing, that I abandoned my initial intentions to keep this my secret (because I had developped it over several months...) and benefit from the advantage over other content creators. Instead I realized how so important this could be for Poser to catch up with DAZ-Studio (where iRay has so quickly become a standard, making DAZ renders mostly look better than the Poser renders we find). The PBR-Emulator could help making PBR a standard for Poser as well, even for Firefly, even for users of older Poser versions. This could encourage content creators go for the amazing possibilities of PBR texturing without giving up on part of their customers who use Firefly. So I decided (against my initial intentions) to also sell the PBR-Emulator. I sell it pretty cheap for individual users who would like to re-texture their own private content, and there is a more expensive license exiting for fellow content creators who would like to use it creating textures for their own content.

    As for the desire for tweaking, which you mentioned: All the things you mentioned are possible with a 2D application like Paintshop, Photoshop, even the freeware GIMP. It is just a different way to do it now.

    The base color map can be tweaked just like it has always been, by filling or tinting different colors where you want them.

    If you don't like the dirt effects on the gauges, and you want to polish them, you simply open the roughness map, and darken the areas which you want to polish (see texture examples which I'm going to upload after this post).

    Changing the dial faces is just as easy as always, see texture above, just place the new faces where they belong in the base color map. Same with the rim colors, just tint the base color different.

    You want a wooden panel? Change the base color map, then adjust the roughness map to the desired roughness and probably scratches, but this work would have also been needed in traditional Materials Room texturing, not true? Finally, if you changed your material from a blank metal to a non-metal (or the other way round) just don't forget to adjust the metallic map accordingly.

    In my experience with content creation, there are very few customers who invest time in really changing textures. I never had a single complaint about this since I do my content the way I described. The 'power users' who have a desire for this (and me myself I have been one of those before I went into content creation) usually also have the skills to either use a 2D application for the maps, or to create a new MAT zone inside Poser and do there whatever they feel like. But all the others, they are just grateful if a prop uses as few computer resources as possible so they have considerable render times after just loading the prop with the standard textures. Many of these customers would not even dare look into the advanced materials room, they just don't care. That is why my partner and I, after careful discussion, decided to follow this road. But of course you can when you create your own content, go ahead with providing a hundred MAT zones (in former times this was my indicator for quality in a prop, too, by the way). So the decision about reducing MAT zones is not necessarily combined with using PBR textures in Firefly, as long as you have a means to make Firefly understand (=interpret) PBR standard coding well on a 'per pixed' basis.



  • 0_1509468541543_InstrumentsMat_Base_Color.jpg
    Instruments Base Color Map



  • 0_1509468637127_InstrumentsMat_Roughness.jpg
    Instrument Faces Roughness Map
    If you want to polish away the dirt on the faces, just darken the respective areas here



  • 0_1509468747989_Pitts01MatW_Base_Color.jpg
    Want the panel to be white (dirty) plastic? Here is the Base color map for it, like always. The lock-rings you mentioned are in the upper right corner, paint there whatever you want, then use the metallic map (black and white showing the scratches) as a mask so the metal scratches remain.



  • 0_1509468893590_Pitts01MatWo_Base_Color.jpg
    Or a wooden panel, here it is. I usually provide like 4 different material sets for everything, because it is so easy and quick to produce in Substance Painter.



  • @Bytefactory3D said in Post your Firefly Renders:

    @erogenesis
    this is awsome!
    Have you ever considered doing anaglyph (red/cyan) 3D on top of this? I'm going to post an example, many of us may have some red/cyan paper googles somewhere in a drawer :-) ?

    I've checked that out once before but I don't have the 'goggles' lol. Nicely done though! All renders actually.



  • some random Firefly renders for ya'lls entertainment! I might have repeated one or two, its easy to loose track in these threads.

    5_1509485305264_004.jpg 4_1509485305264_Tiger.jpg 2_1509485305264_H_reaction.jpg 1_1509485305264_eveline1.jpg

    3_1509486034639_hilux02a.jpg 2_1509486034639_safehouse01.jpg 1_1509486034639_safehouse03c.jpg 0_1509486034638_reading scripts.jpg

    5_1509486097345_back in the saddle0.jpg 4_1509486097345_concept shanty town04s.jpg 3_1509486097345_concept shanty town03s.jpg 2_1509486097345_concept shanty town05ss.jpg 1_1509486097344_Leone Girl 01bw.jpg 0_1509486097344_Leone Girl 03S.jpg



  • @Bytefactory3D said in Post your Firefly Renders:

    @morkonan
    I completely understand your objections....

    I have no objections. :)

    You asked why I would want more material zones, so I wrote "why" and what I see as the advantages for those, namely easy customization from within the Mat Room without having to go outside of Poser.

    BUT, I fully support what you're doing and your reasons for limiting mat zones with no complaints at all, there. If you're making a product for others, you want them to have a great experience with it and this is likely the best way to go for the majority of your customers/end-users. And, those who want more mat zones? If they're tinkering with customizing the model, they likely already know how to create those zones, themselves. No harm, no foul, they'd probably enjoy the process given the reason they bought the model in the first place - PBR-like mats. :)

    So, I'm "on board" and have no issues or complaints with the premise.

    I'm very interested in this, since I render mostly in Firefly. Why? It's fast and I can get fairly desirable results, though I hunger for the realism that Superfly can provide. I just have to learn it more betterer and be willing to wait... :)

    There's a sale on the Substance pack, so I'll probably pick it up soon. While I don't consider you as advertising your product, here, I'll say you can look forward to a purchase from me once I delve into Substance.

    I would, however, like to read further exploration into this subject, especially one that covers the hows&whys of PBR in Firefly and some comparisons showing the advantages.

    What's the impact of many material zones on rendering times? Is it just the number of different/isolated operations that are dictated by "another material zone to process" or is there something greater, like each being allocated its own space, sometimes unnecessarily? I'd hate to think I'm substantially increasing my Firefly rendering times for little benefit for certain items/mat zone conveniences. (Did I just add 15% rendering time because I have a "Trim" mat zone on a shirt or lampshade?" :)



  • @morkonan
    I really don't want to advertise here, but the problem is that the technique I am describing as a new option for Firefly renders is based on something I developed myself, wish it could have been done by someone else, smile...
    I am always ready to send anybody who is interested and who contacts me the users guide (pdf).

    The PBR-Emulator adds around 30 nodes to the MAT zone in question, in order to be able to understand the standard metal/roughness PBR coding. Plus a PBR texture set of between 3 and 6 texture templates, preferably of high resolution, (I usually use 4096x4096). So if you remain with 100 MAT zones, this whole material needs to be prepared 100 times inside Poser, even if each of the 100 MAT domains contains just exactly the same material as all the others... Even if Poser keeps track of loaded texture maps and wouldn't load the very same map 100 times, still all the entire shader will be duplicated 100 times in the props files (figure, prop, materials) and needs to be prepared inside Poser during render times. That is where it saves a lot of resources if all the MAT domains can be collapsed to just one for each UV domain.

    This is the style for texturing which had been developed for real time render engines (game engines), so the purpose of PBR was (beside physically correct renders) also to reduce workload on the render engine to a very minimum, so it can be done in real time as the game is running. That is why all the properties are 'baked' into PBR maps, while in traditional Firefly materials it was coded in nodes which needed MANY calculations for each single pixel to be done during render time.



  • @Bytefactory3D have you looked into @bagginsbill 's matmatic node creation environment? That may afford you a way of defining the PBR map decoder and also simplify alternative map choices for different map zones.



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