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Kerkythea Rendering System • View topic - KT Material Editor plugin ...... Avariant ?
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KT Material Editor plugin ...... Avariant ?

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patricks

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Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:13 am

KT Material Editor plugin ...... Avariant ?

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Avariant

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Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:06 am

You beat me to the punch patrick! :wink:

I've been talking with Fletch, and mentioned to giannis, about picking up this project. I seems probable at this point, but I think we need to get a conversation going before committing to it. It's a little late for me at the moment, and I'm not thinking clear right now (yeah, yeah, I know it's only 9:30, but I'm tired!), but I'll try to lay out some ideas tomorrow.

As far as Meridian goes (my texturing project), it's coming along pretty well. I actually was 99% done when Fletch irresponsibly pointed out the Vue interface with its little node arrangement. I couldn't resist and so spent the past two weeks rewriting almost the entire UI to use the node architecture. (Just kidding, Fletch. It's actually waaayyy better now because of it ;) ) hehe. So, it will be ready for testing soon. I've been working on a KT importer (just geometry at this point), and all that's really left is documentation. I'll let you guys know as soon as its ready.

As far as using it in KT... I don't know. I know for sure it wouldn't work as a plugin though that would be very useful. Well, I take that back. It may be possible but not easy. As far as generating material libraries, that is certainly doable but the idea behind the program is to create a 3D seemless map on the geometry which makes it absolutely specific to the geometry. I don't think people would find it very usable in a material library if it can only be used on a specific model.

Anyway, long story short (apparently I get wordy when I'm tired), I think we can get something going, and I think I can leverage a lot of the work and ideas in Meridian to do it.
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giannis

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Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:26 am

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Extremefatalist

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Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:01 am

Good...

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giannis

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Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:29 pm

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Avariant

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Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:12 pm

So, a little better rested, here's my take:

First off, a clear understanding of what this thing will be.
1) a material translator between major renderer types.
2) arrange the material building blocks in a way that is visually and logically appealing so that better, more complex materials can be made.

Addressing #2 first, the big thing to note about this is that no new material technology can be introduced. We can only work with the building blocks that each renderer already provides because we have, in general, no way of introducing the code to support new ideas into the renderers themselves. We have to work with the tools we have.

I guess this begs the question, what's the point then? If we can't add new content, just use the editors available already. Well, my thoughts are, a visual editor can go a LONG way toward making the job of creating complex materials easier, especially for those less experienced in realistic material creation. And of course, the ability to move between renderers is always a good thing (though I don't use anything but KT ;) ) and some of those renderers (think Yafray) have no editor at all.

Now to address the translator problem, and in doing so, an underlying architecture problem. The way renderers deal with materials is as different as the renderers themselves. I don't just mean what kinds of procedurals they provide, but the underlying concept of how materials are described. PovRay uses "maps" (think the new KT synthesis layer), but only for diffuse and normals. It's support of reflection is capable but very limited and its line between emissive and ambient is kind of blurred. Yafray uses nodes, output of one into the input of the next. And of course the KT uses weighted layers (the synthesis layer is kind of a different animal ;) ). So you can see that an editor attempting to address these formats will have to speak Swahili, Japanese, English, and many others, languages different not just in their words, but in their basic structure.

Not that that should stop us, of course. :D

So, to technical matters. I like the node design from Vue. Meridian uses something similar and it's easy to edit, easy to see relationships, etc. Plus, it's already done. :lol:
C# is my playground, so that's my preference. For those unfamiliar, c# is one of the .Net languages that came out of Microsoft some 8 or so years ago. From a programmer's standpoint, it's awesome, and I'm never going back :lol: The plus side is, it IS cross platform. Linux, Mac use a version called Mono. I have very little experience with Mono, but I think I can learn. And maybe there are others out there who are familiar (if not, there's going to be because I have access to neither Mac nor Linux :twisted: ) Meridian is already completely compatible with Mono except for my openGL implementation (how's that for irony) and there are cross platform toolkits for that.
I'm not insisting on c# though. If everyone is more comfortable with c++, Fox Toolkit, then I'm willing. The only drawback is not being able to pull directly from Meridian, but that's ok.

I'm pretty familiar with PovRay and Yafray (though no expert for sure), but I have zero experience with the high end packages, so if we want to include those for import and export, I'll definitely need some technical assistance.

What do you think?
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Extremefatalist

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Post Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:37 am

Stand alone?...

Though I am not a programmer all those sound like an idea for a stand alone material editor which can export to many renderers. Something like the abandoned 'Crafter' or 'Shaderman' (with the difference that it exports only to rib renderers). Having in mind that the different renderers have each a unique way of percepting the materials it seems as a very difficult task. At least so it sounds to me, a non programmer. Then, there is another issue too, shading and texturing are different aspects of material making. Will this material editor do both? Will it have a previewing of materials of its own (which means that it would require a renderer of its own)? You know an app making shaders and textures in blind is doomed from the very beginning to extinction. The very guarantee of its being popular lies in its being visual in all its workings.

All those are questions arising in the perception of a simple, non programmer user. An this kind of user is to be kept in mind if there exists the aim of doing an app popular. :wink:

To my opinion it is best to focuse on making some richly endowed, as to their abilities of producing various kinds of shadings and texturings, plugins for Kerkythea.
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Avariant

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Post Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:22 pm

Extreme, if I understand correctly, you're right to say that it must have some kind of visual display. It wouldn't be worth it if you couldn't visually see what you were creating. I think the plan was to use a slim KT instance to render a preview.

I have been thinking a lot about the challenges of translating between renders. Of the three I am familiar with, mentioned before, they are so different that you are correct in saying translation would be difficult. Very difficult. How do you represent Yafray's conetrace feeding into musgrave in KT or Yafray? How do you represet PovRay's slope map of bump patterns in Yafray or KT? I think the things it can't do would so vastly outweigh what it can do.

Maybe we can rethink what the application should do. Giannis was clear that he didn't want it be a KT only product, but I don't have any ideas on how.
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notareal

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Post Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:59 pm

Perhaps start with renderes that could be reasonable close. How much common one could find from KT, Indigo & Maxwell?
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Extremefatalist

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Post Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:33 pm

Material editor...

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Avariant

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Post Tue Nov 20, 2007 11:07 pm

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Fletch

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Post Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:05 am

Vue's material editor is both very simple... or mind-blowing complex... it has several 'modes' simple material, or complex. If you haven't used it, youcan't judge it. ;)

d/l the free trial from e-onsoftware's website.


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Extremefatalist

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Post Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:51 am

Vue...

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Extremefatalist

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Post Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:55 am

Architecure edition...

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Post Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:25 pm

Link...

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