✱ Q&A: Using Maxwell Grass 'Level of Detail' for Faster Renderings

Here's something thing that comes up every once in a while regarding using the Maxwell Grass extension - running out of memory. Those grass blades can take up a lot of RAM when rendering and if your surfaces that you apply the grass to are too large, the rendering can be extremely slow and sometimes even fail. 

And no one likes a failed rendering!

So here's a quick screen shot of some settings to look into when using the grass extension called Level of Detail (LOD):
 


Use the L.O.D. settings in the Maxwell Grass extension to control falloff of grass blades.
Click to enlarge.


Basically if you set it up correctly, the further away your scene gets from the camera POV, less grass blades are generated. You can control how this works. This is a HUGE deal when your surfaces are expansive. The image above is an extreme example because of how closely I placed the distance values together, but it illustrates how they work. Once the distance passes the Minimum value, the blades falloff to the Maximum Density and then hold beyond the Maximum distance value. This way there is no step in the amount of blades, rather you get a nice even gradient from full to partial density.

There's a bit more info about this in the Maxwell Render help documents near the bottom of the page which you can reference here.

Use this tip to speed your renderings up drastically!

This tip also comes in really handy when using my Maxwell Grass Preset Pro Pack. Check it out and take your images to the next level if you're using SketchUp, FormZ or Bonzai3d.


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Create a Realtime Walkthrough of your Revit Project with Autodesk Showcase

Even though my thoughts in my recent article on realtime rendering came to the conclusion that I wasn't willing to spend a ton of time on the bleeding edge of that technology, I haven't ignored it either. The truth is that the idea for that article came from me spending a decent amount of time figuring out realtime rendering using Autodesk Showcase, which comes with either a perpetual license or subscription to some of their suites. The funny thing that you probably can relate to is that I didn't even know Showcase existed or what it did when I found it. Luckily the office I work in has this type of subscription and I had a presentation to create, so the stars aligned.

I ended up making a tutorial that takes you through the process of getting your model out of Revit and into Showcase with a lot of steps along the way to make a successful and very nice looking realtime model. It is now live over on the Novedge blog where lots of additional people other than Method visitors can see it. This works well because this is certainly not an Autodesk-centric site. So if you're interested in my process for creating realtime walkthrough's, please go check it out and let me know what you think.

Click here to head over to the Novedge blog and read my tutorial.

✱ Methodcast 19: Organizing projects in FormZ and Bonzai3d With Views and Scenes

✱ Methodcast 19: Organizing projects in FormZ and Bonzai3d With Views and Scenes

This video tutorial builds off the last one on project organization in FormZ & Bonzai3d using the Objects and Layers palettes. This time I talk about the differences between the Views and Scenes palettes. I highlight the things you have to know when working with Scenes because it's not intuitive. Once you get this tip, you're going to love using them.

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✱ Methodcast 18: Organizing Projects in FormZ & Bonzai3d with Objects and Layers

✱ Methodcast 18: Organizing Projects in FormZ & Bonzai3d with Objects and Layers

This video shows how I organize my architectural projects in FormZ or Bonzai3d which tend to have lots and lots of objects in the scene. I talk about the differences between the Object and Layers palettes, and which one I like best. I also give out a couple of hints about isolating and selecting objects in as well that make modeling a complex scene easier. 

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✱ Methodcast: Behind the Scenes of Fields of Gold

✱ Methodcast: Behind the Scenes of Fields of Gold

This video tutorial shows you how easy it is to put the Maxwell Grass Preset Pack into action by taking you behind the scenes of my recently published Fields of Gold image. I was able to trick some into thinking this was a photograph when in reality it's a rendering using my presets and a very simple 3d scene in FormZ. It's pretty amazing what we can do with these tools isn't it? I'm obviously loving it.

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✱ Methodcast Quickie #1 - Curtain Wall Mullions the Fast and Easy Way

✱ Methodcast Quickie #1 - Curtain Wall Mullions the Fast and Easy Way

In this tutorial I show you how to quickly model window mullions to add that extra level of realism to your model's glass areas. Simple enough right? Yes, it is, but I'll show you how to do it very efficiently.

This is one of those times where it pays to use the right tool for the job. Yes, you can make mullions in any program, but in this case FormZ/Bonzai3d makes it much easier than most.

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✱ How to Make a Sliced Solid and Wireframe Rendering in Bonzai3d

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Here’s an example of one of those stylistic renderings of 3d models where there’s a combination of solid and wireframe halves coming together at a section cut in the model. I’ve been doing this type of rendering for a long, long time1 and I thought I’d make a video showing you how to do it too. It’s a fairly easy process that involves your 3d modeling program and an image editor like Photoshop.

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Once again, this is one of those things you can do in several different modelers but it’s one of the reasons I prefer working with solid models in Bonzai3d because when you cut through the model, the objects are automatically filled and the Clipping Planes make it easy to make this kind of imagery. 

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what you can come up with. Maybe you can take it to the next level and make a sweeping, organic section cut through the model to make it even more dynamic.

1. Here’s an example from 1997, modeled in FormZ & rendered in Electric Image

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✱ Four Ways to Get Inside Your 3d Model

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Sometimes when you’re modeling a project the size of a building, you need to be able to get inside and focus on objects obscured by the outer geometry. In this video tutorial, I show you four ways to get in there so you can do just that, and of course there are a few other tips and tricks along the way.

This is something Bonzai3d and FormZ are really good at, and you can apply these techniques to other 3d modelers like SketchUp and Revit as well. After watching this Methodcast, you’ll be able to use one or more of the following methods:

  • Clipping planes
  • The copy/paste & replace trick
  • Isolate
  • Edit the cone of vision

Download a 30 trial of Bonzai3d here.

Download the beta of FormZ here.

✱ Maxwell Render for Bonzai3d - Introduction to the Video Series

✱ Maxwell Render for Bonzai3d - Introduction to the Video Series

In this series of tutorial videos, I will show you how to use Maxwell Render via the new Bonzai3d plugin, and get extremely realistic, physically accurate imagery from these very easy-to-use yet robust modeling and rendering programs. This is the introduction video showing what the series will cover. Watch this one first.

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