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  1. #1
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    Default What has Paul been up-to?

    Hey All! I thinks its time to end my lack of activity on these forums with a little update on the things I have been working on.

    A lot of you may know about my POM (Parallax Occlusion Material) from the The WIP Thread, but here are some more screens to show off!

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    With 4 different lights, the POM casts unique shadows for each, however with the advent of DX11 and tessellation, the POM doesn't really have a place in my future, or in the future of UDK. What a shame, too: I spent a lot of time on it.

    Some more shots comparing the POM and its relatively flat geometry in a now canceled environment/map based on a rather archetypal hell.

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    And just flat lighting:

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    In the previous year I fell in lust with Zbrush. I was surprised how quickly I was able to pick it up and sculpt (in my opinion) awesome looking monsters. I crafted a special 'skin' shader just for these creatures.

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    The Archosaur. A small, pack-hunting bird/crocodile hybrid. I originally designed it as a sort of demon, but my concepts began to favor a more realistic look.

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    The Meta-Human: a sort of 'human animal' monster designed to take the things that we recognize as human and skew them.

    I also did a bit of work on and effect I like to call Physical Fire: The video explains more than text.



    I think that's about all. Please feel free to leave comments either favorable or malicious.

  2. #2
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    how performance-intensive is the POM?
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  3. #3
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    Very clever idea with the cloth-simulated flames. It could probably use a bit more vivid animated material but it's a really interesting technique (especially if it gets proper LODding to skip the costly simulation at distance for example).

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by KazeoHin View Post
    however with the advent of DX11 and tessellation, the POM doesn't really have a place in my future, or in the future of UDK. What a shame, too: I spent a lot of time on it.
    Hi Paul,

    If wouldn't stop working on your POM just yet. I must say for a moment I thought I was looking at a tessellated mesh. Those rocks are beautiful and impressive. I guess games with tessellated models could still benefit greatly from your POM since tessellation still pushes down the performance. A combination might improve that?

    And your fire effect is just awesome and a very clever concept!

  5. #5

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    I agree with everyone else. You should at least do some tests to see the performance of your POM compared to tessellation. And don't forget that it's still a nice alternative to people who only have DX9/10 cards. I wouldn't mind a way to set up a game that uses tessellation for DX11 and parallax for everyone else.

    And it turned out great. Those screens look fantastic.
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    Oh, and I just remembered that BSP and terrain might still be enhanced by parallax occlusion. AFAIK you can't use tessellation on those.
    See my tutorials here: Organization is the key to success in any endeavor

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by micahpharoh View Post
    Oh, and I just remembered that BSP and terrain might still be enhanced by parallax occlusion. AFAIK you can't use tessellation on those.
    +1
    For me, you should keep it up with your parallax occlusion mat.
    Regards and congratulations on such amazing work.

  8. #8
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    New project started: Remember that 'Hell' style level I mentioned? It was part of a now shelved project. Though I won't be seeing that project through any time soon, I can still use the concept universe to create pieces of art. Thus: I've started on a new Zbrush character. He is a member of the 'Najno' race of demon; proud and strong. I'm still in the early stages of detail sculpting the demon, but here are some WIP pics to share with the community.

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version
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    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version
    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    Like I stated earlier, entirely WIP. Will keep this thread updated as major progress is made.

    -Paul

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAgent View Post
    Lol @ second pic.

    It looks great. Maybe the forearms can be a slightly longer and thicker. It looks out of proportion to me.

    Yeah, he is anatomically accurate (thus the black bar..) and Zbrush renders orthographically, so the forearms in most the pics look quite foreshortened. just have a look at his right arm in pic #4, his forearm is almost perpendicular to the camera there, but his legs are meant to be super long.

    Edit:
    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    Here is a perspective-unbiased shot, I'll see about lengthening the arm if you are still concerned. Thanks for the observation, either way: without the opinion of the community, so many small errors would go unnoticed.
    Last edited by KazeoHin; 06-10-2011 at 10:18 AM.

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  12. #12
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    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    some more progress, his body is mostly detailed, will try to knock some more progress over the next couple of days.

  13. #13
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    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    nearly ready to bake the textures.. Just a bit more polish to toss on.

    EDIT: since this is a rather large undertaking, I think I'll dedicate a whole thread to this project... instead of flooding this otherwise dead one.
    Last edited by KazeoHin; 06-13-2011 at 06:34 PM.

  14. #14
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    Your POM should be still useful to people who doesn't have a dx11 card . Like my self , I got a Radeon HD 4850 1g ddr3 which only has dx10.1 . It is still a powerful card , about the same performance as Radeon HD 5770 . Nice shader hopefully you don't end it .

    Lost in my own never ending passion.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Haven View Post
    Your POM should be still useful to people who doesn't have a dx11 card . Like my self , I got a Radeon HD 4850 1g ddr3 which only has dx10.1 . It is still a powerful card , about the same performance as Radeon HD 5770 . Nice shader hopefully you don't end it .
    I understand you completely, as I have a 4830, but I run into a few problems releasing it to the public:

    1. credit. I don't want to charge money for the shader, but I do want recognition for the MONTHS of work I put into it. I would hate to release it and then someone out there call it their own.

    2. performance. At the moment, opening an instance of the shader completely crashes UDK. In-game it runs alright, however it still cannot be used on many surfaces without slowdown.

    3. time. I simply don't have the time to package it up and publish it the way it deserves to be released. The slight workaround for this is that I CAN release it to a limited number of teams who show good promise and would be able to handle the buggy state of the shader AS IS, but to the whole community, properly documented and bug-free? not a possibility.

    sorry, to ruin people's day with this. Have a look at Indipendantsoul's work, he has a POM shaping up quite nicely, among other things. Perhaps he can release his later.

  16. #16
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    Long time no post... SO just to liven things up I started working on materials again, and I've resurrected an old project of mine, and that is an effect I've never really disclosed with anyone (outside of people who worked with me on various mod projects) and that effect is SSFR: Screen-space Fresnel Reflections.

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    This material uses no render-to-textures and only requires a normal map. It reflects the scene based on the players view. I first started work on this effect WAY back in 2009 with Audio Royalle Deluxe, but I thought "Nah, this effect isn't really worth the effort! RTTs will be the future, and video-cards will become so fast that these short-cuts won't be necessary..."

    well, once I saw the directX11 update for Crysis 2, and saw their new "screen reflections" I thought to myself, "HEY! that's my idea!". Its not finished, but I thought I better start showing these things.

  17. #17
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    That's one cool effect you got there, I presume you sample SceneTexture and check which pixels to render (and whether to render them at all) based on some ray intersection. It looks way sharper than Crytek's, probably more expensive too due to the lack of downsampling capability in UDK - or did you find some other method of optimizing it in pixel shader? Just curious here

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farseer View Post
    That's one cool effect you got there, I presume you sample SceneTexture and check which pixels to render (and whether to render them at all) based on some ray intersection. It looks way sharper than Crytek's, probably more expensive too due to the lack of downsampling capability in UDK - or did you find some other method of optimizing it in pixel shader? Just curious here
    It's all in the pixel shader, as I'm only using nodes, no HLSL. Right now the 'spread' of pixels is reverse to what it should be, take for instance: if I write HE11o and mirror it, it would be o113H, but right now the 'mirror' effect is borked, so reflections look a bit 'off'. I already have a node network set up in my head to fix this, so as soon as I can access my main UDK PC, I can fix it up and post more juicy screens.

    A MSG to Epic on an issue I'm having: When I first developed this effect in UT3, I used it almost exclusively on opaque surfaces. As one would imagine, this drastically reduces the total instruction count versus transparent surfaces. Now when I try to use this effect in an opaque material, the engine says 'oh no you don't!' and I see that support for using the scene texture on opaque surfaces has been removed. I understand the logic: How can a material as part of a scene render the scene (I.E: itself) without first rendering itself? The problem, though is that I used the scene texture in a LOT of non-translucent materials back in UT3. I guess it's a case of 'if you could do it back in 2008, why not now?' I would like to see this sort of support resurrected, either that or a well worded 'sorry, but no' explaining why it was removed...

  19. #19
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    Spent a lot of time and pulled out a lot of hair: but I think this puppy's FINAL.

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version
    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version
    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    Now remember, this isn't using a single texture other than a normal map. no RTTs or cubemaps here. Believe it or not, but seeing it in motion is better than still shots...

  20. #20
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    < swoons >

    That. Is. Awesome!

    Any further tips on how it's done? I'm collecting as many effects as I can for my project, so I need to pick brains...

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  21. #21
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    That's ace. Looks like it works very similarly to a subsurface scattering effect I've been working on
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DifferenceEngine3D View Post
    < swoons >

    That. Is. Awesome!

    Any further tips on how it's done? I'm collecting as many effects as I can for my project, so I need to pick brains...

    Call me a Zombie. Go on, I won't be offended
    Tips? All I can say is think outside the box. I have no coding experience so I approach things like this in a different way than a code expert. A lot of what I do is eyeballing to make sure something 'looks' right, instead of mathematically trying to figure out what is actually 'right'. I.E: If I want to make a water material, I first look at water and think "what can I do to make the material look like that?", I then just start throwing nodes together until it looks like water. In a perfect world, the output would be balanced, intricately simple: 1.0 goes in, 1.0 goes out: but usually in my shaders it's a bit like 1.0 goes in, 2.357 handlebar mustache goes out. If that makes any sense to you: I applaud.

  23. #23
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    Makes sense to me but I don't deserve anything close to a clap, I just like moustaches. Your work blows me away, man. Please keep it coming

  24. #24
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    How many point light shader instructions for the SSFR, KazeoHin?

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    @KazeoHin: Yup, that's how I work. I'm an artist first and a self-taught programmer second, and a true believer in the DWIM programming paradigm (Do What I Mean!). I put my own water shader together with the exact same design ideas you put forth, which is a little uncanny to be honest.

    Actually, what's really uncanny is that my alter-ego has long been retired RAF-chappie Flight Lieutenant James Jonah "JJ" Handlebar-Moustache. True story.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoondog View Post
    How many point light shader instructions for the SSFR, KazeoHin?
    It's not done yet, so no final figures can be announced. I've just been going crazy with brute-force instructions to achieve the result, Chances are I'll be able to get the whole instruction count down to <110 for high-quality, <75 for low quality by revisiting my code and optimizing.

  27. #27
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    Chances are I'll be able to get the whole instruction count down to <110 for high-quality, <75 for low quality
    That seems pretty good, considering a material with just diffuse and normal is about 71 (and with Fresnel added to diffuse about 78).. or do you just mean, excluding diffuse etc?

    Hey bloody hell, I just realized you're an aussie... I'm in Canberra
    Last edited by Spoondog; 09-16-2011 at 06:44 AM.

  28. #28
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    Heeey. After reinstalling windows and upgrading my video card, I've got some more work done on the SSFR shader. It's nearly ready for prime-time.

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    The reflection math is a lot more convincing, resulting in less need for blurring. I've also optimized the shader significantly.

    The shader as you see in that screen grab is 118 instructions Base. It can scale down to medium quality at 95 instructions base, or down to 'basic' quality wich is 72 instructions, which is almost exactly where I want it. I hope I can get my screen-recording software up and running soon so you guys can see it in action.

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    The POM looks enviably amazing, I'm sure that a lot of people would love that, even now with tessellation ;D (like me! xD) ! And the creatures, everything xD, your really good =)! Also I was looking into your creatures and I havent noticed any Normal Map 'seams', I always have problems with this xD, do you know any effective way to hide it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcusrafaelft View Post
    The POM looks enviably amazing, I'm sure that a lot of people would love that, even now with tessellation ;D (like me! xD) ! And the creatures, everything xD, your really good =)! Also I was looking into your creatures and I havent noticed any Normal Map 'seams', I always have problems with this xD, do you know any effective way to hide it?
    Hey man, thanks for the kind words! I can give you a tip involving normal seams that works well for me. I usually disguise UV seams in the flow of muscles, skin and whatnot. If you have a close look at the Meta-human, the shot of his back actually shows off a ton of UV seams. I hide them in skin wrinkles, muscle folds, fat rolls etc. Harder to do on smother surfaces, and I'm far from perfect, but it can really help spruce up your artwork.

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    Love your fire effect, I'm going to try to make cloth fire myself (after I finish my cape). Reminds me of the torches by the line to the Tomb Raider ride at King's Island. Your doing some really inspiring effects work. Maybe in the future try something with ice, I don't see it done that well very often. You could really make use of that SSFR. I can't wait to see more.
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    Just curious on how you got around the reflection node not working with non-transparent materials. I have been playing around and trying to get a similar effect to what you have done but the roadblock seems to be that it won't even work with soft-masked (which is my go-to when i want transparency without turning the whole thing into a ghost)
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    All if my SSFR demonstration materials are using translucent blending. Back in UT3, you could sample the scene texture using opaque materials, but that functionality was removed in later versions of the engine. If Epic could re-introduce this ability that would be awesome.

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    ^ Indeed. I've played with your effect, but I've never managed to simplify it significantly without being able to make the material opaque. One strategy that does work is to render the scenetexture to something else in code, and blit that into the final material, but this has it's own associated costs.
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    I had my SSFR working as post-process effect initially, which is MUCH cheaper to render, and you can sum the whole thing up with a differed approach, but without the ability to code in differed layers to mask out non-reflective materials, the post-process route is useless, as it gives EVERYTHING a 'clear coat'. Something for you code jockeys to have a think about.

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    The only way to be selective is to render to a different screen buffer, which UDK doesn't have built in unfortunately. The things you can do with an additional screen buffer to render to!
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    Unreal uses differed rendering to render its dominant lights. Does epic allow access to the HLSL render source?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KazeoHin View Post
    Does epic allow access to the HLSL render source?
    In old versions of UDK you can access the uncompiled USF source. It's been compiled for quite a while though.
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    Just a little Something I've been working on...

    No literally, his name is Something.


 
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