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Thread: Tutorial: Getting the most from PBR and why you should be using it in TRS19

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by clam1952 View Post
    My 3ds Max FBX exporter is incompatible with TANE / TRS19, I have Max10, needs a minimum of 2013 I think . There is a convoluted method of using Autodesk's FBX converter which will convert the old FBX to a newer version or convert 3ds to FBX as well, not entirely successful though and you loose the animation. Also got Softimage, same problem with the FBX exporter.
    Meanwhile I'm trying to get my head around Blender which compared to Max is not an easy to learn program, especially when they keep changing it.
    I can get 3ds into Blender which is a help.

    Afraid Autodesk is not getting any more custom from me since going all subscription, which really is way too expensive for a hobby.

    OK people KEEP making excuses that it is "too expensive for a hobby" well I know here in Yuma registering with the community college here was 30 bux. That gets me a student ID. I can get a student version of 3ds from 2015-2020 I believe for free. Now I have a license as part of a business years ago but I have sent many people wanting to learn 3ds the student way. Same for Substance they also have a free student license.

    Now some will whine about the DLC and how all assets have to be payware etc. LOOK if YOU are doing it as a hobby and NOT charging for the work WHILE you are learning you will never run afoul of a student license. But people are gonna whine about it and argue it anyway.

    I know payware authors using student versions and no I am not gonna out them LOL but if you are gonna pick gnat crap out of pepper to have an EXCUSE NOT to do it, then you just aint gonna do it LOL

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcas1986 View Post
    According to the spec ( http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/M.pbrmetal) you are supposed to provide one. But it wouldn't surprise me if Trainz defaulted to some value. If it were all white then the material should be very metallic and probably shiny. If black then it would be dull (dirlectric).

    Size is not a good measure since many creators are switching to PNG format which is invariably smaller than TGA. Once committed it will be Trainz texture format anyway. By DPI I assume you mean number of pixels per inch (PPI) rather than a TV/monitor resolution. Generally the more pixels per inch then better the quality. It's up to the creator to choose - at least within the range allowed to us.
    Paul:

    Based on my own experience:

    1. The albedo file does not normally have a alpha channel. The exception would be for glass where transparency is needed. For more on this see my PBR night mode tutorial at:

    https://forums.auran.com/trainz/show...ure-night-mode

    2. Alphas for the normal file are going to be necessary if you intend to use a height map (it's placed into the Alpha channel). If a height map is not used then the alpha channel can be all white. Either way you seem to need an alpha channel here.

    3. Alphas for the parameters file is going to be necessary if you intend to use a metallic map (it's placed into the Alpha channel). If a metallic map is not used then the alpha channel can be all white. Either way you seem to need an alpha channel here.

    I am no expert by any means on this so please feel free to correct me, where needed.

    Bob
    Last edited by MSGSapper; February 13th, 2020 at 09:09 AM.
    Master Sergeant/E8, U.S. Army, Retired (1972-1993)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSGSapper View Post
    John:

    Re-skinning should not be all that hard, although it will take some more effort on your part as you are dealing with three textures and not one or two. You would use a combination of Materialize and GIMP, both of which are free to do that, or their commercial equivalents for those who want to pay. Basically it would work like this:

    1. Use GIMP to determine the size of the existing textures (albedo, normal and parameters) you would need to replace and the file format (ie; tga or png).

    2. Create an albedo file (AKA Diffuse texture) to be the same size and file format. I often use .jpg texture files I have found and with GIMP converted them to the size and file format I need.

    3. Use the Materialize program to create the normal, height map, AO and other textures maps you will need from the albedo file you created and save them. See my Materialize tutorial at for more details about this process:

    https://forums.auran.com/trainz/show...alize-and-GIMP

    4. Now edit them in GIMP per the instructions in my Materialize tutorial.

    5. You have now generated the new skins.

    This sounds hard but really isn't once you get used to it.

    Bob

    The difficulty is getting new people started in content creation. Currently reskinning is about the easiest way to create a reskin. Clone, open up the .bmp texture file in paint.net add a logo save and after you've added your name in the config.txt file and changed the name its done.

    GIMP is not the most friendly interface for a beginner never mind working out which file to change etc. It creates a barrier to entry.

    Cheerio John

  4. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnwhelan View Post
    The difficulty is getting new people started in content creation. Currently reskinning is about the easiest way to create a reskin. Clone, open up the .bmp texture file in paint.net add a logo save and after you've added your name in the config.txt file and changed the name its done.
    And with a PBR asset it's exactly the same. Clone, open the albedo (diffuse) texture file, add a logo, save, change the config file as required. You don't need to edit the parameter file if don't need to change the roughness of the material or to add bare metal areas.
    Quote Originally Posted by johnwhelan View Post
    GIMP is not the most friendly interface for a beginner never mind working out which file to change etc. It creates a barrier to entry.
    It doesn't have to be GIMP, but it's really not that hard. If you need to learn something new then just start using it. If you put off starting you'll never achieve anything. I switched over to Blender 2.81 in two days over Christmas by just playing with it for a few hours - admittedly I may to able to do this a lot more easily than a lot of people but if I hadn't tried I still be using 2.79b.

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrscsi View Post
    OK people KEEP making excuses that it is "too expensive for a hobby" well I know here in Yuma registering with the community college here was 30 bux. That gets me a student ID. I can get a student version of 3ds from 2015-2020 I believe for free. Now I have a license as part of a business years ago but I have sent many people wanting to learn 3ds the student way. Same for Substance they also have a free student license.

    Now some will whine about the DLC and how all assets have to be payware etc. LOOK if YOU are doing it as a hobby and NOT charging for the work WHILE you are learning you will never run afoul of a student license. But people are gonna whine about it and argue it anyway.

    I know payware authors using student versions and no I am not gonna out them LOL but if you are gonna pick gnat crap out of pepper to have an EXCUSE NOT to do it, then you just aint gonna do it LOL
    You can't go to a Community college in the UK they do not exist as such and there is nothing at all around here unless you want to learn about gardening or basket weaving or are an unemployed youngster, don't think I'd qualify at 67!
    Autodesk now requires a copy of your Student Registration, and proof of the course and it only lasts for three years after which you pay full price or it expires, as of January 2019 they are clamping down on people using student licenses indefinitely which used to be possible. I got my first version, Max3 that way and they never checked properly if I was in Education, I was actually working at a Government Training Centre at the time.
    Even professional and Indie users of Autodesk Products are complaining about the cost of the subscriptions. I can afford the subscriptions by the way but prefer to actually have permanent versions of software not ones that might suddenly expire. However on a positive note ;o) , picked this up from the Autodesk Forums apparently this is Autodesk taking note of the too expensive criticism! https://area.autodesk.com/3ds-max-indie/ for 12 months it is £275.86, may be plus VAT that's not terribly clear compared to £1782 inc VAT, that is a bit more reasonable. That link isn't on the main Autodesk site, so looks like they are keeping it low key!

    Substance Perpetual license is reasonable as long as Adobe continue to make it available without ramping up the cost so anyone contemplating it, I wouldn't hang about too long.
    Malc


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    Quote Originally Posted by clam1952 View Post
    Has anyone looked at 3d coat?
    Just watched a video and it is about the same price as substance but material wise does not seem to have as much.

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by clam1952 View Post
    You can't go to a Community college in the UK they do not exist as such and there is nothing at all around here unless you want to learn about gardening or basket weaving or are an unemployed youngster, don't think I'd qualify at 67!
    Autodesk now requires a copy of your Student Registration, and proof of the course and it only lasts for three years after which you pay full price or it expires, as of January 2019 they are clamping down on people using student licenses indefinitely which used to be possible. I got my first version, Max3 that way and they never checked properly if I was in Education, I was actually working at a Government Training Centre at the time.
    Even professional and Indie users of Autodesk Products are complaining about the cost of the subscriptions. I can afford the subscriptions by the way but prefer to actually have permanent versions of software not ones that might suddenly expire. However on a positive note ;o) , picked this up from the Autodesk Forums apparently this is Autodesk taking note of the too expensive criticism! https://area.autodesk.com/3ds-max-indie/ for 12 months it is £275.86, may be plus VAT that's not terribly clear compared to £1782 inc VAT, that is a bit more reasonable. That link isn't on the main Autodesk site, so looks like they are keeping it low key!

    Substance Perpetual license is reasonable as long as Adobe continue to make it available without ramping up the cost so anyone contemplating it, I wouldn't hang about too long.
    Well I can just speak for myself and I will continue to use 3ds and substance. 3D coat didn't look to have any better ability than substance so for about the same price I will go with what I know

  8. #98
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    What I am doing currently is basically re-engineering structure, bridges and other key content items for use in upgrading my existing routes. Most of what I have done, but not all, are from original content items from Ben Dorsey, of which there over 6700 on the DLS.

    My re-engineering process involves the following:

    1. Use the 3D Object Converter application to convert the .IM files to both 3D Studio Binary Mesh (.3ds) and Wavefront (.obj) files. Why both? One provides a text file for attachment point and animation bone identification and coordinates, the other does not, so I need both. The mesh comes across perfectly but the UV mapping and any animation does not come across at all. FYI 3D Object Converter is a non-free low cost shareware program which really does a good job of this and supports converting of Trainz .IM files to whatever else you may need. This program is virtually the only way we can save content items where the author is no longer around or has abandoned it for whatever reason. It is also great for those authors who have lost their original project files for whatever reason and need to recover the meshes. You can get that program here:

    http://3doc.i3dconverter.com/

    2. Import the Wavefront .obj in Blender.

    3. Fix any problems that may have been in the original mesh (missing things, reverse normals, etc).

    4. Add additional night and snow modes where needed and not originally made available.

    5. Re-do any animation based on observations of the old item in operation in TRS19. This is mostly by-guess-and-by-golly but I come pretty darn close to what was done originally.

    6. Add the attachment points back into the mesh as empties.

    7. Change existing material types to the newer PBR types for each mesh object.

    8. Establish the nodes in the shader editor.

    9. Re-do the UV maps for each object.

    10. Export the resulting mesh as a .FBX file for use in a Trainz content file and make any needed changes to the config.txt file to bring the item up to build 4.6 standards.

    11. Test everything in TRS19!

    With the exception of non-visible products, almost everything I have done as Build 4.6 includes all my Blender project files for the content item. Why do I do this?

    1. I want to ensure that the items continue forever in Trainz, even after I am gone from the scene for whatever reason. Having the source code for the project allows for easy upgrading when needed to accommodate future changes in major Trainz versions.

    2. I want to encourage people out there to become Blender content creators. Having real world examples to work with makes that easier as they can see how I did it. I wish I had had that when I first started working with Trainz. I had to learn the hard way by trial and error.

    3. I want to encourage re-skinning and content item variants of all types. As an example you can use different parts of my bridges to create bridges of your own or to re-skin the existing ones. Having the Blender project can help that along much quicker since you can see what I did and how I did it instead of having to guess.

    So far I have been disappointed in not seeing any variants of what I have done to date, or even re-skins for that matter, come up on the DLS. I can't do everything folks, nor come up with every possible variant. That is what I am hoping you will do to help things along in TRS19.

    Someone said earlier it may take 10 years or more to convert a sizable number of older content items on the DLS to the new PBR format and that figure is probably pretty darn close. There is more then enough older items available on the DLS as it is without adding even more to that number that will later have to be converted to PBR by some person like me, if you are no longer around. Content creators are needed to help in the process of converting content older items to PBR ones for TRS19 and future versions of Trainz.

    BTW, please no more comments on the merits of PBR, pro or con, in this forum thread which I started. N3V has already made that commercial decision for us and moved everyone who purchased TRS19 to it. If you have a bone to pick over the adoption of PBR, then you need to contact N3V about it to complain. Content creators must follow suit and start supporting PBR for TRS19 based routes, or stay with the older version of Trainz and risk eventually being left behind - its your choice as it always has been. Constructive comments on how we can work with PBR to make Trainz content items better is what is needed here this thread, along with any tips you might have for doing that. Thank you for your cooperation on this matter.

    Bob
    Last edited by MSGSapper; February 13th, 2020 at 10:53 AM.
    Master Sergeant/E8, U.S. Army, Retired (1972-1993)

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSGSapper View Post
    ...

    Based on my own experience:

    1. The albedo file does not normally have a alpha channel. The exception would be for glass where transparency is needed. For more on this see my PBR night mode tutorial at:
    I agree and the glass material works very well.

    Quote Originally Posted by MSGSapper View Post
    ...
    2. Alphas for the normal file are going to be necessary if you intend to use a height map (it's placed into the Alpha channel). If a height map is not used then the alpha channel can be all white. Either way you seem to need an alpha channel here.
    The WiKi page is a bit vague on the alpha requirement but my interpretation is not to use one unless you want a height map.

    Quote Originally Posted by MSGSapper View Post
    ...
    3. Alphas for the parameters file is going to be necessary if you intend to use a metallic map (it's placed into the Alpha channel). If a metallic height map is not used then the alpha channel can be all white. Either way you seem to need an alpha channel here.
    I've always assumed an alpha (metallic) was necessary but, intrigued by your statement, I tried exporting a test cube with different parameter alpha channels. The results looks like this:

    Left to right:
    Box with the original metallic channel. This channel is mostly white except for black edges that are the box edges.
    Box with no parameter alpha channel.
    Box with a black parameter alpha channel.
    Box with an all white alpha channel.




    The results suggest that Trainz is substituting a black alpha channel where one does not exist. i.e. the boxes with no alpha channel and an all black channel look much the same to me. Not that Trainz doesn't raise an error so I assume it is deliberate.

    The all white version looks much the same as the original since the original was mostly white.

    I would always include an alpha channel in the parameter because metal is a significant part of the PBR model. There will be materials that incorporate true metal objects and non metal.

    It seems to me that the roughness and metallic channels should both be adjusted to get the right reflective look. But not necessarily with the same valuess. If you had an all white metallic channel, it still will not be reflective as gold, for example, if you have a lot of roughness.


    Quote Originally Posted by MSGSapper View Post
    ...

    I am no expert by any means on this so please feel free to correct me, where needed.

    Bob
    Neither am I, but I do like playing with PBR materials.

    Paul


  10. #100
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    Bob,
    You sure can draw a crowd. I started a thread about PBR two years ago and got only one response. Creators are a tough bunch to convince them of the need to change.

    Paul


  11. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrscsi View Post
    OK people KEEP making excuses that it is "too expensive for a hobby" well I know here in Yuma registering with the community college here was 30 bux. That gets me a student ID. I can get a student version of 3ds from 2015-2020 I believe for free. Now I have a license as part of a business years ago but I have sent many people wanting to learn 3ds the student way. Same for Substance they also have a free student license.

    Now some will whine about the DLC and how all assets have to be payware etc. LOOK if YOU are doing it as a hobby and NOT charging for the work WHILE you are learning you will never run afoul of a student license. But people are gonna whine about it and argue it anyway.

    I know payware authors using student versions and no I am not gonna out them LOL but if you are gonna pick gnat crap out of pepper to have an EXCUSE NOT to do it, then you just aint gonna do it LOL
    If I may interject my own opinion here, I do agree with mrsci to some extent. Being a student of a technical college or community college does give you a discount or free opportunity to get drawing programs. I am in the aviation program and have access to Catia and such. HOWEVER, it is understandable that people not in CC or a technical college don't have it. It does get pricey.

    I looked over the previous posts here, and the thread was pointed at those who have access to high end cards that can run Ultra graphics in 2019. Just gonna leave that there.

    I'll say I'm happy with T:ANE and won't upgrade to 2019 until it's $20 on steam in 5 years. I can get near 2019 graphics by just altering the colors of the day, and it works great, especially with fog. I appreciate the look of the PBR textures though.
    Last edited by ministerfarrigut; February 12th, 2020 at 11:15 PM.
    I play Trainz with a laptop

    HP Z Book 17, Intel Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA Quadro K5100M, Mobile Intel QM87.

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcas1986 View Post
    Bob,
    You sure can draw a crowd. I started a thread about PBR two years ago and got only one response. Creators are a tough bunch to convince them of the need to change.
    Yep, you got that right about being tough bunch.....

    Bob
    Master Sergeant/E8, U.S. Army, Retired (1972-1993)

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    I found out that if you have a missing texture PBR TRS19 will use the green/white one. I got the wrong normal texture name in blender but it showed up in game, only found it win I did an edit to the normal and it did not show.

  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by whitepass View Post
    I found out that if you have a missing texture PBR TRS19 will use the green/white one. I got the wrong normal texture name in blender but it showed up in game, only found it win I did an edit to the normal and it did not show.
    I got bigger fish to fry I have been retraining myself how to get assets back into trainz after being away for 8 years....



    Now I SWEAR the container is 52'11" But at least the PBR textures look good LOL

    To be honest I guess I had that in the wrong product slot and it was trying to load 2 on the bottom...



    There they are in the right slots
    Last edited by mrscsi; February 13th, 2020 at 02:01 PM.

  15. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrscsi View Post
    There is it is called substance painter LOL I import the mesh and texture it using layers and then when I export it makes the 3 files (albedo, perimeter, and normal) lickety split and I do not have to do anything but set the res and hit a button
    I was meaning one that will queue up many files , as you can do in photoshop and apply effects to a whole series of files automatically, not just one at a time.

    Quote Originally Posted by MSGSapper View Post
    What I am doing currently is basically re-engineering structure, bridges and other key content items for use in upgrading my existing routes. Most of what I have done, but not all, are from original content items from Ben Dorsey, of which there over 6700 on the DLS.

    My re-engineering process involves the following:

    1. Use the 3D Object Converter application to convert the .IM files to both 3D Studio Binary Mesh (.3ds) and Wavefront (.obj) files. Why both? One provides a text file for attachment point and animation bone identification and coordinates, the other does not, so I need both. The mesh comes across perfectly but the UV mapping and any animation does not come across at all. FYI 3D Object Converter is a non-free low cost shareware program which really does a good job of this and supports converting of Trainz .IM files to whatever else you may need. This program is virtually the only way we can save content items where the author is no longer around or has abandoned it for whatever reason. It is also great for those authors who have lost their original project files for whatever reason and need to recover the meshes. You can get that program here:

    http://3doc.i3dconverter.com/



    With the exception of non-visible products, almost everything I have done as Build 4.6 includes all my Blender project files for the content item. Why do I do this?

    1. I want to ensure that the items continue forever in Trainz, even after I am gone from the scene for whatever reason. Having the source code for the project allows for easy upgrading when needed to accommodate future changes in major Trainz versions.

    2. I want to encourage people out there to become Blender content creators. Having real world examples to work with makes that easier as they can see how I did it. I wish I had had that when I first started working with Trainz. I had to learn the hard way by trial and error.

    3. I want to encourage re-skinning and content item variants of all types. As an example you can use different parts of my bridges to create bridges of your own or to re-skin the existing ones. Having the Blender project can help that along much quicker since you can see what I did and how I did it instead of having to guess.

    So far I have been disappointed in not seeing any variants of what I have done to date, or even re-skins for that matter, come up on the DLS. I can't do everything folks, nor come up with every possible variant. That is what I am hoping you will do to help things along in TRS19.

    Someone said earlier it may take 10 years or more to convert a sizable number of older content items on the DLS to the new PBR format and that figure is probably pretty darn close. There is more then enough older items available on the DLS as it is without adding even more to that number that will later have to be converted to PBR by some person like me, if you are no longer around. Content creators are needed to help in the process of converting content older items to PBR ones for TRS19 and future versions of Trainz.

    BTW, please no more comments on the merits of PBR, pro or con, in this forum thread which I started. N3V has already made that commercial decision for us and moved everyone who purchased TRS19 to it. If you have a bone to pick over the adoption of PBR, then you need to contact N3V about it to complain. Content creators must follow suit and start supporting PBR for TRS19 based routes, or stay with the older version of Trainz and risk eventually being left behind - its your choice as it always has been. Constructive comments on how we can work with PBR to make Trainz content items better is what is needed here this thread, along with any tips you might have for doing that. Thank you for your cooperation on this matter.

    Bob
    I'm all for what you are doing Bob, it's admirable. I think the issue is time related, a very talented asset maker who has been helping me out hasn't had time to even make stuff in blender for TANE recently due to work pressures and us older coots , even tho retired , are often time poor ( I babysit one day a week and spending the entire day on the computer is frowned upon by spouses) . Also It takes a toll on the body, I get neck problems and my hands go numb if I do too much , gone are the days where I could stay up until 3am , go to work at 7am and then get stuck into computing again in the evening after work every day. Just can't do it anymore.
    So we have to prioritise and I guess making stuff for current projects in TANE is going I take precedent over making new assets or converting old ones to take advantage of 2019 features. If NV3 were a bigger and financially secure company they would get at least one person to work full time on converting items to work in 2019 , as this is their future , they need as many people as possible to be using that platform and the main reason people will switch is if the content is available. That's the main reason I still am making routes in TANE instead of 2019 , lack of content and backwards compatibility .
    Last edited by dangavel; February 13th, 2020 at 05:18 PM.
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