Questions 0.7.1 exporter

Announcements, requests and support regarding SkIndigo - the Sketchup / Indigo exporter.
Richard
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Questions 0.7.1 exporter

Post by Richard » Tue May 08, 2007 3:47 pm

I could obviously be dumb, but!

1. I cant for the life of me now get away from grey surfaced glass no matter what I now do. Seems to give reflection if I don't select glass from the drop down but soon as I do with thickness or not it goes grey!

I tried a glass surface on the pool to replicate water.

2. I cant find any where in the exporter to change the camera shutter speed to adjust exposure of the scene.

3. The sun angle from SU export seems to be way out.

4. Is there anyway to blend materials so I can add aging and varience to apply textures?
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Richard
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Post by Richard » Tue May 08, 2007 3:49 pm

And a quick render test
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Whaat
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Re: Questions 0.7.1 exporter

Post by Whaat » Tue May 08, 2007 5:55 pm

Richard wrote: 1. I cant for the life of me now get away from grey surfaced glass no matter what I now do. Seems to give reflection if I don't select glass from the drop down but soon as I do with thickness or not it goes grey!
I am 99% certain you have reversed faces in your water. Check and reverse them with monochrome mode.
2. I cant find any where in the exporter to change the camera shutter speed to adjust exposure of the scene.
I removed the tonemapping settings from the exporter as they are redundant. Tonemapping (exposure) is done with the Indigo Tonemapper "Violet" . Get it here: http://www2.indigorenderer.com/joomla/f ... 78&start=0
If there are enough requests for it, I will put the tonemapping settings back in the exporter. For me, they are not necessary. I want to keep the UI as simple as possible.
3. The sun angle from SU export seems to be way out.
This is a new one. I didn't change any code in the sun export between version 0.6 and 0.7. I will look into this. Does your model have a geographic location? This might be the source of the bug.
4. Is there anyway to blend materials so I can add aging and varience to apply textures?
YES! The new blend material can do this. It blends any two materials. The texture that is applied to the blend material serves as the alpha map (weight map, clip map, whatever...) This is explained in the WIP tutorial that I posted on the forums. http://www2.indigorenderer.com/joomla/f ... php?t=1780
Do a search for "Blend Material" in the forums to learn more...
The blend material is awesome! Don't let the simplicity of it fool you.
I am going to include this grass Blend material as a component in the official release so you can just drag and drop grass into your scene.
http://www2.indigorenderer.com/joomla/f ... php?t=1225

BTW, I know for a fact you were wanting to be able to save and load materials. Let me know how the IGM features are working for you.

Whaat

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kwistenbiebel
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Post by kwistenbiebel » Wed May 09, 2007 12:39 am

I second Richards opinion on tonemapping options in the render settings.
The 'Violet' postprocessing program probably has its benefits, but I find it way too slow to work with. It takes ages to update the image view.

Also, not having exposure and shutterspeed in the settings makes it difficult to judge if your rendering is going well or if you should kill it because the scene setup needs some changes.
If we need to wait for the rendering to be done and only find out that the scene needs some changes while 'postprocessing' in Violet, that will give some painful moments and loss of precious time.

Oh yeah,
Another thing I stated earlier about the camera setup:the random zooms and banding it produces, still makes me want to uninstall Inndigo because it messes up exports to other render engines.
With skndigo installed, I get weird camera output in Maxwell, Kerkythea, Podium and Vray and the ability to match a rendering to the SU screen is gone.


By the way, sorry for the critiques...I think Indigo and Skindigo are REALLY great. I just thought it's better to be honest about some issues.

Indigo is a great render engine and Ono Sendai is doing a great job adding feautures and improving both speed as quality.
I just think the software needs some streamlining to get a 'smooth' workflow so it is ready to be used in production.

Thanks,

Kwistenbiebel

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Post by Whaat » Wed May 09, 2007 3:12 am

kwistenbiebel wrote:The 'Violet' postprocessing program probably has its benefits, but I find it way too slow to work with. It takes ages to update the image view.
Also, not having exposure and shutterspeed in the settings makes it difficult to judge if your rendering is going well or if you should kill it because the scene setup needs some changes.
If we need to wait for the rendering to be done and only find out that the scene needs some changes while 'postprocessing' in Violet, that will give some painful moments and loss of precious time.
This makes no sense to me. Why not load up your IGI file after 2 minutes of rendering, adjust the exposure (should only take a few seconds) and then decide if you want to kill the render? You don't have to wait until the rendering is done. The Violet program has huge advantages over the previous method. It is improving almost daily. Once you have used Violet a bit more, let me know if you still want tonemapping settings back in SkIndigo. Maybe I'll put them back in for 0.7.2.
Another thing I stated earlier about the camera setup:the random zooms and banding it produces, still makes me want to uninstall Inndigo because it messes up exports to other render engines.
With skndigo installed, I get weird camera output in Maxwell, Kerkythea, Podium and Vray and the ability to match a rendering to the SU screen is gone.
I made a slight change that might be causing you additional grief. If you enter 0 for your image width, the height and width of the image will be set to your current viewport dimensions. This is good to remove the banding but bad because it still zooms the view in and might mess up the views of other rendering engines. I will try to come up with a better solution in the future. For now, you can try deleting line 454 from SkIndigo.
$current_camera.aspect_ratio=($width.to_f)/($height.to_f)
Let me know if that suits you better. SkIndigo will still set your film width to 35mm. I don't think that messes up the the views from the other rendering programs but I could be wrong. To set your aspect ratio and film width back to default settings, copy and paste the following two lines into the Ruby Console window:
Sketchup.active_model.active_view.camera.image_width=0
Sketchup.active_model.active_view.camera.aspect_ratio=0

Maybe if you explained your current workflow (are you trying to match output from all of these different rendering engines and SU?) I can better understand the problems you are having and come up with a solution.

Whaat

Richard
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Re: Questions 0.7.1 exporter

Post by Richard » Wed May 09, 2007 4:52 am

Whaat wrote:
I am 99% certain you have reversed faces in your water. Check and reverse them with monochrome mode.
Well that wasn't the problem, texture may have been applied to group. Didn't know though I needed to make glass specular material, thought I could make glass > glass!
I removed the tonemapping settings from the exporter as they are redundant. Tonemapping (exposure) is done with the Indigo Tonemapper "Violet" . Get it here: http://www2.indigorenderer.com/joomla/f ... 78&start=0
If there are enough requests for it, I will put the tonemapping settings back in the exporter. For me, they are not necessary. I want to keep the UI as simple as possible.
Must say for the same reasons as Kwisten wrote I want to be able to ditch the render if it isn't right and I'm seemingly having to wait much longer than 2 minutes to see result.
YES! The new blend material can do this. It blends any two materials. The texture that is applied to the blend material serves as the alpha map (weight map, clip map, whatever...) This is explained in the WIP tutorial that I posted on the forums. http://www2.indigorenderer.com/joomla/f ... php?t=1780
Do a search for "Blend Material" in the forums to learn more...
The blend material is awesome! Don't let the simplicity of it fool you.
I am going to include this grass Blend material as a component in the official release so you can just drag and drop grass into your scene.
http://www2.indigorenderer.com/joomla/f ... php?t=1225
Sounds good but can't really understand how I can get say a water streaking down over brickwork when the brick texture (material A) will be a clip or weight map? how do I apply 2 maps in that case?

For my bagged brickwork for example I want a low contrast brick / mortar image (40%) with a bump map, a low contrast swirl to represent the bagged surface (30%) with bump map, a large scale variance map to introduce some general irregularity in colour and finish (20%) and a slight vertical streaking to represent the water wear on the surface (10%) and I want to scale all these maps differently.......
BTW, I know for a fact you were wanting to be able to save and load materials. Let me know how the IGM features are working for you.
Mate no idea what you are talking about here???? If you are just meaning the Current material system through the SU plugin interface I can't really say much mate, sorry! In all respect to the great job you have done I'm not a scientist and there are too many unknown terms and undefined value limits to provide any idea toward a anticipated outcome, ie bump what is a lot 10 or 1000? glass how do I effect the roughness of the surface? etc.

I also find in general too much clunkiness to the current workflow and find the UI much akin to maxwell when it was in early beta and it was deemed fairly unusable!

The lack of a sutable architectural glass solution (aka maxwell) it will be a long time before Indigo can become a usable tool. I would suggest it was this single factor that enabled maxwell to become such. Render times without it were conceivable as days in lieu of hours - a solution to this really needs to be found soon!!!!!!

By the way the model is located in Sydney / Australia - the big note here however is the sun location has been modified as this is I'd suggest the likely culprit.

Thanks again mate!

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Re: Questions 0.7.1 exporter

Post by crc » Wed May 09, 2007 8:36 am

Richard wrote:
The lack of a sutable architectural glass solution (aka maxwell) it will be a long time before Indigo can become a usable tool. I would suggest it was this single factor that enabled maxwell to become such. Render times without it were conceivable as days in lieu of hours - a solution to this really needs to be found soon!!!!!!

By the way the model is located in Sydney / Australia - the big note here however is the sun location has been modified as this is I'd suggest the likely culprit.

Thanks again mate!

I haven't found any problems with glass unless I forgot to check to see if it was reversed. one thing that happened to me, the glass showed, etc. just fine in sketchup even though I had placed the material on the reverse side. messed me up for awhile, and I got the same exact "grey" that you are getting. Just a thought.

As far as workflow, I haven't used Maxwell very much, but when I have it wasn't near as intuitive/easy as SKIndigo. You mentioned not knowing how much of a value to give certain things, i started looking at what the values of the pre-sets are, and modifying from there. And I have found that most things need very little, ie, a bump value of even 0.1 is quite a bit, and a room can be lit with just a 5watt bulb. Which, I've found to be a little too much, sometimes i want a very dim light.

The sun, I have found, will remain in the default sketchup position in the renderer, even if you move it around in sketchup, that is kind of a bummer. I had to rotate the model to get the sunlight I wanted.

And to make a long post longer, I like the Indigo Tonemapper program. It means that you render the scene, than you have all the adjustments after, instead of running for 15minutes, quitting the render, adjusting the tonemapping or whatever, rendering the scene again, over and over. Just let it render than when it is done, you have all those controls over the scene, without having to render again. :)

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Post by kwistenbiebel » Wed May 09, 2007 11:00 am

Some feedback on the Indigo tonemapper ('VIOLET'):
You are right Whaat, it works well....but only on multicored computers.
When I try to use it with my second (older) PC , I have to wait loong time for the preview to refresh when altering a setting.
So for those people without PC's of the latest generation, tonemapping options within skindigo are almost necessary.

Also, but that is more a message to Ono sendai, I don't understand why Violet isn't incorporated within Indigos main window. Right now you open both Indigo as Violet seperately, both using PC's resources for showing the preview. Unless you have a muticore PC, this slows everything down.

Wouldn't it be much more pragmatical to have those tonemapping options in the indigo main program?

Another thing about Skindigo that is on top of my wishlist:
The material editor in a separate window that can stay open all the time while editing the model. Also it would be handy to have the material browser and material editor combined in one screen.

And one last thing:
Sketchup is getting slower and slower :( with each version Google releases. Of course nothing can be done about that, but I suggest that the workflow of skindigo would be made in such a way that it works kind of independantly, meaning not starting from embedded menus in SU ('cause that would take even longer for SU to refresh the view after every action) but as a seperate program(window). i don't know if this is possible....

Hey whaat, did I forget to say that WE REALLY APPRECIATE ALL THE WORK YOU PUT IN SKINDIGO. :D :D
I thought this was kind of important to tell you, with all the hard time we are giving you :wink:
Last edited by kwistenbiebel on Wed May 09, 2007 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

crc
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Post by crc » Wed May 09, 2007 11:09 am

kwistenbiebel wrote:Some feedback on the Indigo tonemapper ('VIOLET'):

Another thing about Skindigo that is on top of my wishlist:
The material editor in a separate window that can stay open all the time while editing the model. Also it would be handy to have the material browser and material editor combined in one screen.
I don't know if this is possible, but it does sound like a great idea. You do have to do alot of clicking around in menus to set materials. Having the window open all the time would definitely be an improvement.

kwistenbiebel wrote:Hey whaat, did I forget to say that WE REALLY APPRECIATE ALL THE WORK YOU PUT IN SKINDIGO. :D :D
I thought this was kind of important to tell you, with all the hard time we are giving you :wink:
:!: :!: :!: I second the above quote. :D

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kwistenbiebel
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Re: Questions 0.7.1 exporter

Post by kwistenbiebel » Wed May 09, 2007 11:13 am

Richard wrote: For my bagged brickwork for example I want a low contrast brick / mortar image (40%) with a bump map, a low contrast swirl to represent the bagged surface (30%) with bump map, a large scale variance map to introduce some general irregularity in colour and finish (20%) and a slight vertical streaking to represent the water wear on the surface (10%) and I want to scale all these maps differently.......
Richard,
You should definitely check out Kerkythea (when you have time =Christmas ? ;) ) because the material editor is perfectly suited for that. Unfortunatly I like the image quality of Indigo (and Maxwell) more than Kerkythea. I can't pinpoint exactly why the output of Indigo and Maxwell is better to me than Kerkytheas unbiased methods....the output just looks more 'vibrant'

Somehow for me, the perfect solution would be the Kerkythea GUI (It works like Maxwells studio but without the bugs :) )combined with the indigo/maxwell engine.

I actually prefer my rendering software to be seperate from sketchup because the latest SU versions became sooooo slow that it cannot afford to have another third party plugin that slows it down even more.

My workflow involves a lot of 'prematurely aborting' a rendering to change something I am not pleased about. Having to go through an entire 'exporting' cycle (indigo) is a bit of a hassle to me when starting a rendering again. Kerkythea (or Maxwell's studio if you want) hasn't got this hassle and re-rendering is a much faster process because no export needs to be done.
It would be nice if Indigo could support a likewise workflow but I guess implementing a full Indigo GUI with a 3D viewport probably isn't that easy to pull of.

Just my five cents.

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Post by Richard » Wed May 09, 2007 2:31 pm

Mate

Remember Indigo is in beta and the best thing its working! The days of maxwell beta are very reminiscent of these.

I'd imagine the outcome you are suggesting is most likely on its way in time and a working version more likely before a fully working version of maxwell!

I will play with the big K when I get a chance, must say though that I'm getting such a handle on Maxwell these days that I'm finding it hard to make a move! As you know mate, for me after playing around so much it's time for some work!

I'm also finding the new Maxwell plugin rather sweet and it has now made life in studio much easier. The soon to be released 1.5 update should also add some joy to life.

I seriously think Whaat is underway to create a brilliant plugin solution and already part way there, I really look forward to watching development here!

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Post by Whaat » Wed May 09, 2007 4:26 pm

Woah....my internet was down at work so I am reading all of these messages at once. I don't have all night to write a response so here is the quick version:
@Richard:
I appreciate your interest in SkIndigo but you will have to do a bit of research and learning on your own. I have spent a lot of time creating a tutorial and explaining the features of SkIndigo in the About SkIndigo menu item. It seems clear that you haven't read the Indigo manual or gone through the tutorial. If you did, you would know that "Glass" is a material preset and "Specular" is an Indigo material type. I know you probably have limited time, but you will have to play around with SkIndigo and read the forums if you want to take full advantage of the software. I try to explain the features as best I can and make the UI as intuitive and efficient as possible. The rest is up to you :wink:
re: Violet - Spend some time using it and you will appreciate the advantages.
re: Layered materials - Your brick material is possible to create in SkIndigo but a little hard to explain. If you post the textures, I will show you how to create it the best I can.
re: Loading and Saving materials - I thought you were using SkIndigo 0.7.1 beta (as is the title of your first post...) You can load and save your Indigo materials with this version.
@Kwisten:
re: SkIndigo messing up your other rendering programs - I think I found the problem. I will do some testing and post an updated version soon
re: CPU resources - Have you tried using Low Priority mode in the threads settings? You were asking for this feature awhile back. I have a single core CPU and don't find using Sketchup/Indigo/Violet too draining on my computer. You might need more RAM. I have 1 gig.
re: Sketchup speed - SkIndigo has no ill effects on Sketchup performance.
re: Streamlined workflow of SkIndigo - Are you kidding me? :wink: You can setup materials and presets with one click using the context menus. I can't image a faster system for material setup. Have you tried using Quick Export? If you are just making changes to material, camera, sun, and render settings, use quick export. Your model will be exported to Indigo almost instantly. You don't have to keep re-exporting everything.

Thanks for all the feedback. I appreciate all of it. Just be patient. Indigo is improving almost daily. I hope I can keep making SkIndigo better but some features that have been suggested are a bit unrealistic. I already don't get enough sleep as it is! :wink: Keep the comments coming, though!

Whaat

Richard
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Post by Richard » Wed May 09, 2007 7:25 pm

Whaat

You're probably right there, I opened the manual but mate not one thing made any sense, I'm blonde and a bit dumb for sure!

I haven't read your tutorial and shall undertake that.

Must say though that I'm one of those who installs an application, has a quick play and if I cant get it to do something in the first ten minutes or so I uninstall it and deem it to be a waste of time as intuitive it is not!

I have never read a manual and my first time was with indigo so I must say I gave it a go but seriously I kid you not almost nothing made sense! Lots of techno speak in latin!

The first time I installed Indigo I got a result. Now though it seems the learing curve has much further to go, though the lack of any plain english interpretation for those who have limited render experience will likely make it hard. And again the lack of any known parameters to work between means a LOT of likely trial and error!

I do understand what you are saying I'm lazy, but yep also busy. Apps like maxwell allow for almost out of the box start up and intuitive work flow so as much as I'm looking for an alternative render I probably understand Indigo isn't likely for me!

By the way the plugin I'm using says SKIndigo 0.7.1 (pre-beta release) I cant find any reference to saving out materials! (I promise I'll read the manual and see if there is reference there!). PS (edited) had a look at your tutorial and couldn't find any information on saving out Indigo Materials???

I have to back up Kwisten's comments about the material editor staying up! I would also love to see the first dialogue box extended to incorporate the material settings and those applicable to your Indigo material choice open and the others greyed out. The other beauty and the one that keeps hammering me is that it would be great if the material editor jumped automatically to the current material selection. I keep changing the last selected material from the drop down menu as intuitive thinking and then notice my glass has a brick bump??? dam!

Mate trust me that I'm not trying to be harsh at all just finding the workflow from Indigo so very reminiscent of the maxwell beta days though obviously much more advanced and well underway!

By the way mate what is an exponent map as referred to in your tutorial I saw the option in the plugin?

So mate keep up the good work!

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kwistenbiebel
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Post by kwistenbiebel » Thu May 10, 2007 2:32 am

Richard wrote: The other beauty and the one that keeps hammering me is that it would be great if the material editor jumped automatically to the current material selection.
Yeah, that would be great!! ...and maybe not so difficult to implement?

By the way, Richard,
The tutorial Whaat made can be seen within sketchup.
Just go to the indigo menu in Sketchup and click on 'about skindigo'.
This is very handy and speedy when you aren't certain about setting something up.

Here is the copy/paste of the 'manual':
Now exactly what parts are you having difficulties with?

HOW TO:

Render with Sun and Sky Light
1. Turn on shadows
2. Turn on Sun and Sky in SkIndigo Render Settings

Render with Custom Lights
1. Use either an RGB Light or a Blackbody Light material in your scene.
2. RGB lights will emit light according to the material color
3. Blackbody lights will emit light according to the temperature
4. Light is only emitted from the front side of the face

Render with Uniform Background Light
1. Turn on Background in SkIndigo Render Settings
2. Scene will be lit with a uniform background light matching the current Sketchup background color

Render with Environment Map
1. Turn on Environment Map in SkIndigo Render Settings
2. Set your Environment Map using the SkIndigo menu item
3. You can use EXR maps in Lat_Long format or FLOAT maps in Spherical format

Monochrome Render (Clay)
1. Change Sketchup render mode to monochrome
2. Choose Clay to render clay mode or any other material
3. Choose Default to render using the current default material color

Adjust the Rendered Image Tones
1. Make sure you have downloaded the Indigo Tonemapper application.
2. Load the appropriate .igi file using the Indigo Tonemapper application.

Create Transparent Material
1. Enable transparency in Sketchup material settings using the opacity slider
2. Set the material type to SPECULAR
3. The opacity slider will change the amount of RGB absorptivity. Set to 0 for no absorptivity (i.e. clear glass).
4. SPECULAR materials should have thickness to render properly.

Create Material with Specular Highlights
1. Set the material type to Phong
2. Set the index of refraction to >1.0
3. Use the exponent value to control the glossiness.

Create Diffuse (Lambertian) Material
1. Set the material type to Diffuse

Use BLEND materials
1. Set the material type to BLEND
2. If a texture is applied to the material, it will be used as the clipping map
3. If no texture is applied, the blend factor will control the weight of the materials

Use Sub-surface scattering
1. Enable transparency in Sketchup material settings using the opacity slider
2. Set the material type to SPECULAR
3. The opacity slider will change the amount of RGB absorptivity. Set to 0 for no absorptivity
4. Enable SSS with the material editor
5. Input the Uniform scattering coefficient or the 3 RGB scattering coefficients separated by spaces
4. SPECULAR materials should have thickness to render properly.

Use Material Presets
1. Presets are intended to give you approximate starting values that you can further refine to suit your needs
2. These values will be updated in future releases as the Indigo material library continues to be developed

Use Textures
1. Apply textures directly to individual faces, not groups or components
2. Currently, textures distorted with the position texture tool are not supported
3. JPEG and PNG textures are supported but PNG textures may cause Indigo to crash

Use Bump and Exponent Maps
1. You can select any texture that is currently in your model
2. The map will be positioned using the same coordinates as the currently applied color texture. If no color texture is applied, the bump map will not render correctly
3. If you wish to use a bump map different then the color texture,they should be the same size or you will get strange results.
4. Set bump or exponent gain

Resume a Render from an .igi file
1. From the Ruby Console Window type "Indigo.res"
2. Locate the Indigo IGI file and then the Indigo IGS input file.

TIPS:

1. Use Sketchup shortcut keys! Especially for assigning properties to materials
2. Be sure that no faces are reversed. Use monochrome mode to check for reversed faces
3. Use layers to separate geometry and lights. For example, put different lighting set-ups on different layers. If you are doing material tests, put unnecessary objects on a hidden layer
4. Always export your model to the Indigo directory. This allows use of Auto-render
5. If you are getting strange shadows in your render, try disabling smoothing. Also, check orientation of faces
6. Modify the aperture size to control depth of field
7. If your image is blurry, use the Set Camera Focus Tool

Indigo 0.7 features currently not supported:
1. Peak spectra
2. Henyey Greenstein phase function
3. Dermis and epidermis media
4. a and c texture coefficients
5. Comprehensive nkdata list

KNOWN ISSUES/BUGS:
1. Indigo sphere primitives cannot be inside instances
2. Meshlights cannot be inside instances
3. Distorted textures not yet supported
4. Textures applied to groups and components not yet supported
5. Quick Export and Low Priority modes are experimental and may be prone to bugs.

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Post by Whaat » Thu May 10, 2007 2:49 am

Richard,
I agree that the Indigo manual is not easy reading for most people. It is actually a manual explaining the XML format. However, it does answer a lot of your previous questions. It explains what "Exponent" and "Exponent Maps" are. It also gives the acceptable range of values. It explains the other terminology as well and gives the acceptable range of values. An exponent map varies the roughness (glossiness) across the surface.

Open the material editor and click on the preset dropdown list. There should be two items at the bottom that say "Load IGM" and "Save IGM". This is a new feature and I haven't had the chance to update my tutorial yet. Sorry about that.

I recommend using the context menus for material editing. Just right-click on any object that has a material to edit it. Also, if you have an object selected, open the material editor (setup a shortcut key to open the editor), and the selected object's material will be chosen in the material editor.

I know the UI in SkIndigo could use a lot of work. It is not possible to keep the material editor open without completing rewriting the UI using HTML. I would love to do this someday but it would literally take me weeks or even months to do it alone. I'd probably have to quit my job :wink: .

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