VFX Tool looking for Feedback


#1

Hello everyone;

I want to show you something I was working with this week. I was taking a look to this tutorial from Luos and this article from 80lv. Both of these resources are working with “Directional meshes” (is that a good word to describe it?) and then I thought if I could do something to make the process faster, so I made a tool which is still a work in progress:

My main idea would be to put together everything useful to work with VFX in Maya and implement a new feature if it is not already implemented by default.

In this case, when I click in “Create linear curve”, this try to simplify the process of creating a number of meshes or curves and rotate them before you click in “Extrude it”. You also can set the detail of the mesh by applying more edges in “Vdetail” and “UDetail” .

I also took a look to the ImbueFX tutorials and tried to simulate the Flow Map in my tool too. For testing purposes, I made all the setup for turbulence once I click in “Create Solver”, but the idea would be to leave the solver by default and let the artist to control the parameters in the attribute editor tab.

I also know that all of this can be made without this tool. That is why I would like to know about what you think about it. Feedback to get better this tool in either way would be great.

Greetings!


#2

If you want more inspiration, check out my tutorial where I show how to build a very similar tool so it’s can be used to interactively build these meshes inside the editor.


#3

Thank you very much Partikel!


#4

This is great! GJ

One thing i would add and i think Andreas Glad have in his houdini tut is a chance to manipulate control points of a line. You can move them but you cant scale or rotate them in order to easy change the angle of the surface following the line.

When using extrude over the line in Maya you have only Twist option that can help you a bit with the control over surface but sometimes its not enough. I think 3D Max have some sort of graph in where you can manipulate each of control points how you want.

Keep up the good work! Hoping you will share this amazing tool with us when you finish! :slight_smile:


#5

Thank you Stefan!

At the moment, I have the next list of features I would like to work with in this tool:

  • Vertex Colors
  • Vertex Transforms

The last one will be more challenging for me (I was watching the Partikel’s tutorial and I was like O_O), but I will do my best.

Thank you one more time for the feedback, I hope to bring something new the next week!


#6

Hi Lifarino
Hi Partikel,

Very cool stuff what do you both have! Thank you for sharing!
I get inspirations and ideas from your tools!

I did Geometire Tools for fx too.
Maybe it will give you also inspiration and ideas for your tools.

This one is more focused on vertex color!
The idea was to creat shapes and forms just with vertices.
For that i wrote a extra shader in unity.

Cheers Emre


#7

Hello everyone!

I started to work with Vertex Color. This is what I have now:

At the beginning I just tried to create a black/white gradient, but I thought that it could be good if the artist could use the vertex color to mask some parts of the object (maybe you have a mesh with different components and need to mask each one for different purposes). As you can see, the only thing you need to do is select the vertices you want to work with, select the color channels you want to apply to the vertices and how you want to apply it.

I hope you like it, let me know what you think about the update.

A question about Houdini. I am looking forward to get access to the tool. It seems very powerful and, if I am not wrong, the tools you create in Houdini can be used in Maya too, not just Unreal or Unity, am I right?

Greetings!


#8

Hey,

cool VertexPaint is something very important what i use constantly in my VFX work and your setup looks promising, also your previews work. But please add also the Alpha Channel for Vertex Color like in the default Maya Vertex Color setup.

And yes the Houdini Tools can also be used in Maya if you have Houdini Engine. And also there are some 3Ds Max Script for that but there i´m not full aware how there work.


#9

Sidefx have made Houdini Engine plugins for Maya, Unity and Unreal but there are 3rd party plugins for C4D and 3ds Max.


#10

Thank you Anton! I added the Alpha channel to the Vertex Color too.

I was working to get a solution about the scale and rotation of the mesh along the curve in this week. I think I am making some progress and I want to show the results of these days:

I changed a little the part of the User Interface where I create the planes, but now I think I am getting closer to something less restrictive than the previous method. Now I can scale the mesh along the curve using the graph but there is a couple of main issues that I need to resolve:

  • I have to mid click to update the changes, it is not in realtime.
  • As you can see, the graph is in another window and my idea is to have everything in the same UI. I am using QTDesigner to create the UI and I do not find the way to implement a graph in it.

I am having a hard time to fixed it, but I will keep trying. Rotation along the curve is working too by the way, but it has the same problems that the Scale graph. I hope to resolve all of this issues as soon as possible.

Let me know if you like the changes :slight_smile:

Keep the good work and have a good weekend everyone!


Simple Mesh Generators (using Houdini Engine)
#11

Hello everyone!

Another update. I implemented both graphs inside the main UI and now you can change the scale/twist of the mesh along the curve in realtime.

At the end, I decided to create the UI without Qt Designer. It means more work, but it was worth it.

Let me know what you think about the new changes and about the tool in general!


#12

I totally like it! Want to put my hands on it already, haha!
What are you plans to do with that tool? You will sell it or making for your own works?


#13

Thanks yarpoplar!

My main idea is to share this tool with the community, once I finish with it. That is why I am asking for feedback. I want this tool to be efficient and get some parts of the work done faster, so you can iterate more times and get better results.

I need to polish the code, but I am always open to new suggestions to improve this tool.


#14

@Lifarino
This looks really cool! What about the UVs of these generated meshes? How do they look like?
I’d be happy to try it out and give you more feedback, as soon as you feel it’s ready. You could put it on gumroad :slight_smile: And just extend it in the future.


#15

Thanks for the feedback Priareos.

This is how the UV looks for each plane. They share the same UV space:

Thank you for the advices. I will try to have this tool ready next week.


#16

AMAZING!!

I must say i am really looking forward to this tool. It will speed me up alot cos in Maya by Default doing this things take time cos of not so good UX by Autodesk.
Thanks and i cant wait it to get out :)))


#17

Hello everyone!

My apologies about not keep updating this thread the last weeks. A lot of exciting things happened in my life and I could not find a moment to focus in this tool.

First, I want to thank everyone for the feedback they provided me about this tool and It seems that people are happy with the current results.

I will upload the content in Gumroad for FREE so you guys can start using it. I must say a few things about this tool that you probably must know:

  • This tool was created using Maya 2017 and it is using some features that comes with that version. I don’t know if this will work with previous versions.

  • One thing you must know about the graphs. It is better to not add/delete points in the curve at the moment and also don’t move the X position of the first and last point in the curve. You can do it and probably something wierd will happen, but you should be able to come back without problems.

  • The last one and more important for me is that this tool is opened to new suggestions. I will keep working in new features or fixing new bugs as they are discovered. I am already looking for a solution for the graphs but hopefully this is not something restrictive to start using it now.

Finally, thank you very much again for the feedback. I hope this tool can accelerate some parts of your VFX process.


#18

Whatever exciting is happening in your life you deserved it :slight_smile: I love you for this tool, ill give it a test and probably give you more feedback now that i can try it.

You will have my donation for the tool. It speeds me up so much!


#19

Awesome dude! I’ll check it out as soon as I find the time, to give you some feedback. Thanks a lot for sharing :slight_smile: