thea for blender

thea for blender
Render by Eduardo Câmara
THEA FOR BLENDER
v. 1.5.3 for Blender 2.76
www.thearender.com/blender
1. GLOSSARY
Blender – Blender application
Exporter – part of plug-in responsible for exporting Blender data to Thea format
IBL – Image Based Lighting
LUT – Look Up Table
Mesh – geometry data for object
Object – Blender and Thea object containing materials assigned to it and mesh
OS – Operating system
Thea – Thea Render application
2. INSTALLATION
2.1
REQUIREMENTS
To use this plug-in you will need:
Blender in version 2.74
Installed Thea v. 1.5
2.2
INSTALLATION
To make the Thea export plug-in available in Blender:
Start Blender, go to menu File/User Preferences/Addons.
Select “Install from zip” and choose render_thea_free.zip, then enable Thea Render addon.
You can copy TheaConfig.txt file into your Blender scripts/addons/TheaForBlender directory if you wish to
set Thea paths manually.
3. IMPORTANT CHANGES







multiple UV maps are supported
curve objects are exported as meshes
colored hair export
new Interactive Render window
Cycles material converter
dupli group support for particles export
object animation is exported to Thea (no mesh deformation support yet)
4. FEATURES
4.1
OBJECT EXPORT
Objects are exported with modifiers applied on them.
Supported object types are: mesh objects, curve objects.
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4.2
MATERIAL EXPORT
4.2.1
Material system based on Thea material components.
There is also option in Thea Tools panel in render panel to convert blender internal materials to basic
materials or to convert Cycles materials to Thea materials (basic or glossy)
Supported components:
 Basic
 Glossy
 SSS
 ThinFilm
 Coating
 Clipping
 Displacement
4.2.2
Thea Material LUT System
Blender materials can be automatically translated to already prepared Thea materials by use of the
material export name. The LUT (lookup table) file is used to translate and assign a Thea material to a
corresponding exported Blender material name. This allows for advanced Thea materials to be called
automatically on export.
LUT file can be generated using Thea LUT Tool panel located in Render panel.
File will be generated based on Thea's materials located under Thea materials path.
4.3
CAMERA EXPORT
All visible cameras are exported with perspective, location and direction.
The current Blender camera is set as active camera in Thea.
Supported camera options:
 Focal length
 DOF distance and aperture
 Shift
 Z Clipping
 Sensor size
 Orthographic cameras are exported as well.
4.4
LIGHTS EXPORT
Thea's omni, spot, sun, IES and projector lights are supported.
4.5
ENVIRONMENT EXPORT
Dome, IBL and Physical Sky methods are supported.
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4.6
HAIR/STRAND EXPORT
Hair/strands are now exported as mesh objects. Exporting of large amounts
of long stands with many steps may take a while. Hair can be colored based
on emitter UV mapped texture color.
4.7
PARTICLES EXPORT
Particles can be exported as objects or group instances. In case of group
instances only whole group is supported.
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5. GETTING STARTED
5.1
HOW TO WORK WITH EXPORTER
The Thea exporter will try to find Thea’s installation directory, using either the Windows registry or
installation files, in case of Unix systems.
Scenes are exported in xml format and saved in directory set in Output panel.
Blender files have to be saved before exporting.
5.2
OBJECTS
All objects on visible layers are exported unless “Selected only” option in Thea Render panel is enabled. In
this case only selected objects will be exported.
Objects are exported with modifiers applied on them.
Currently only mesh and curve objects are exported so far.
Also layers information is exported. Since Thea has only 10 layers and Blender has 20 Thea's if object layer
in Blender > 9 then layer = layer - 10.
Modifiers are applied at Render level during the export process.
In the case of multiple objects using the same mesh, a mesh will be exported only once, but each object
will have its own transformation (scale, translation, rotation) parameters, i.e. duplicated objects. In this
case objects will be exported as instances of the mesh.
If the option to “Reuse meshes” in Thea Render panel is set, then geometry data won't be exported,
assuming that it's already exported. Only new transformation will be exported.
There is also possibility to set material interface for selected object. Proper panel can be found in object
panel.
To enable/disable shadow casting/receiving, caustic casting/receiving, visibility or disable object in Thea go
to “Thea object settings” panel in Object panel and change desired settings.
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5.3
MATERIALS
New material system is based on Thea material components and
it's not compatible with previous material system although there
is possibility to convert blender material into basic or glossy
component.
Supported components:
 Basic
 Glossy
 SSS
 Thin Film
 Coating
 Clipping
 Displacement
Basic and glossy component panel has also "B>T" and "T>B"
buttons. When you press those buttons material data will be
mostly synchronized between blender material and Thea specific
data.
This will also trigger generating the material preview.
Using "B>T" is good idea when you start with already existing
blender material and you want to get diffuse, specular etc.
parameters
into
Thea
component.
Bitmap textures are also supported and if you want to enable
texture to be used by selected component please enable
corresponding switch in Mapping panel under Texture panel. It
should
be
at
the
end
of
texture
panels.
Single bitmap texture can be used by more than one component.
Also single component can use different textures for i.e. diffuse,
specular or bump mapping.
Remember to enable component to use this texture and enable i.e. Diffuse color, Specular, Normal
or Alpha for this texture.
You can also mix two components using layer weight and if needed you can enable Stencil option for
bitmap texture and enable this for needed component. This way texture will be used as layer weight
map.
Exporter also supports animated textures. Currently it supports only Sequence type and frame
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number must be in last four characters of file name.
In cases when it is difficult or impossible to create the desired material in blender, a user can then
call Thea’s material editor directly and edit the automatically generated material in Thea’s material
editor. On exit, Thea material editor will save the edited material.
To get back to automatically generated material press Delete link button.
5.3.1
Thea container
Thea container for selected object can be set in “Thea container” panel in Object panel.
5.3.2
Using LUT (look-up tables)
Some materials from Thea library will be used very often with different scenes and for this purpose a
user can define a scene’s own LUT file, allowing an exported Blender material name to be mapped
directly to a custom Thea material.
This way you can easy use existing Thea materials by
simply selecting material name from list.
When using LUT material preview will be extracted
from material file instead of being calculated.
LUT file can be generated using Thea LUT Tool panel
located in Render panel.
File will be generated based on Thea's materials located
under Thea materials path.
This will be your global LUT and can also be used as a
template guide for your own additions.
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5.4
CAMERA
All visible cameras are exported with perspective, location
and direction.
The current Blender camera is set as active camera in Thea.
 Supported camera options:
 Focal length
 DOF distance and aperture
 Shift
 Z Clipping
 Sensor size
Orthographic cameras are exported as well.
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5.5
LIGHTS
Blender lamps Point Sun, Area and Spot are supported.
Falloff types: Constant, Inverse Linear and Inverse Square are
supported.
Point and spot lights can have also a size value to cast soft shadows.
To enable soft shadow enable Soft Shadow option and set the size.
Light size value is in meters.
Lamps can have bitmap textures to act as projector lights in Thea.
To make projector lights set texture Mapping to View.
If an IES file is added to spot light as texture lamp, it will then be
exported as IES light.
5.6
ENVIRONMENT
Image Based Lighting can be set in World Panel.
To enable Thea's Physical Sky, enable it in the World panel and
choose a location.
IBL and physical sky be mixed.
You can override Sun position by adding lamp called “sun” with type
Sun. Direction isn't important, just set lamp position to desired one.
If exporter find such lamp it will disable Sun generated by location
and will use “sun” lamp.
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6. EXPORTING SCENE
You can find Thea render settings located in the render panel.
To export a scene press “Export Current Frame”. The scene will be
saved in the same dir as blend file with the same name. Objects
will be saved id ~thexport directory in output location.
Options:
Export Animation data of objects
Enabled by default.
Export every animation key frame
Exporter will try to calculate if there was change in object transform to avoid of exporting empty
animation frames, but sometimes it may not guess correctly so it’s possible to force exporting all frames
Hide Thea while rendering
Enabled by default. Disable if you want to see Thea Darkroom while rendering.
Exit Thea after render
Disabled by default. When Hide Thea while rendering is disabled it may auto exit Thea Darkroom after
rendering is finished
Stop on errors
Enabled by default. Will cause Thea Render to stop processing rendering script file in case of error.
Disabling may help in case of trouble of saving channel files
Reuse Meshes
Disabled by default. Enabling this option will prevent exporting mesh data for objects which can make
export process much faster for heavy geometry scenes. Useful when meshes were not modified since
last export.
Selected only
Disabled by default. Enable to export only selected objects.
Auto Refresh result
Enabled by default. Disabling may speedup rendering times a little in case of rendering very high
resolution images as saving such image to display in Blender takes time.
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7. THEA TOOLS PANEL
Enable/Disable animation export
By default mesh objects won’t export their motion data paths to
avoid long export times. Enable/Disable animation export buttons will
enable/disable animation export for selected objects.
Enable / Disable Mesh animation
This operators will enable or disable full mesh export for selected objects in case of animation export. By
default objects have this option disabled and only new transforms will be exported if they will be included
in animation export. To export whole mesh for each frame please enable mesh animation for selected
objects.
Enable / Disable Caustic Receiver
These operators will enable or disable receiving / transmitting caustics for selected objects. By default all
objects have this option enabled.
Enable / Disable Trace Reflections
These operators will enable or disable tracing reflections for selected objects materials. By default all
objects have this option enabled.
Animation
When Export Animation is pressed the exporter will export all frames according to animation setup. Frame
definitions will be saved in ~thexport/frames.
While exporting animation also ipt.thea script will be created. This animation script does not contain any
mesh and material data, so remember to load your scene first and if necessary setup render parameters.
Export all visible cameras
When the button “Export Still Cameras” in Render panel is pressed, then the exporter will create an
ipt.thea script to render all visible cameras. This allows you to render a scene from different viewpoints at
once, without need to change camera.
Remember to set time limit or sample in case of using unbiased methods.
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8. THEA RENDER PRESETS
You can choose one of Thea's render presets. This will overwrite your custom render settings while export
time.
9. THEA SETUP PANEL
Use these options to set merging rules while exporting animation
and preparing ipt.thea script.
10. THEA REMOTE SETUP PANEL
In case default TCP ports are already taken on your machine you
can change default values.
Port value is used for communication with Thea while rendering.
Preview port is used for rendering material previews.
11. THEA MERGE SCENE
Plugin can merge another already saved Thea scene while
rendering.
Scene can be merged after current exported Blender scene or
loaded first and then exported scene can be merged into it.
12. THEA CHANNELS
This panel let you enable channels supported by Thea
13. RENDERING SCENE
The current frame can be exported and rendered in Thea after the Image button is pressed.
When Render animation is pressed then each frame will be exported before render the same way as single
frame.
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14. INTERACTIVE RENDERING
To start Interactive Rendering enable Properties panel in 3D view
(“n” key) and locate Thea Interactive Render panel.
Start/Stop IR
Press to start/stop Interactive Render. By default it will export scene
and run rendering in separate window which can provide much
better feedback.
Save IR result
When Interactive Rendering is running you can press Save IR result
to save current rendering into the file in current output directory.
Advanced
Disabled by default. Enable to display advanced IR settings
Engine Core
Select Interactive render engine core.
Draw to 3D view
Disabled by default. Enable to display IR result in 3D view instead of
starting separate window. It has slower refresh rate than using
separate window.
Render resolution
Smaller resolution will result in faster rendering and better refresh
rate
Refresh delay
Delay between reloading IR result into 3D view
Blend 3D view to IR
Enable this to get smooth transition between Blender’s 3D view and
IR result after scene update.
Show Thea window
Enable this to show IR result in separate window
Full auto refresh
This will force re-exporting whole scene when change was made in
the scene. This way, new objects will appear in IR and deleted
objects will disappear. May be slow with larger scenes
Refresh
Press to re-export the scene if scene geometry has changed
Export Animation data of objects
Disabled by default. Enable if you want to see motion blur.
Idle timeout
Time in seconds before Remote Darkroom window will close after
rendering is finished.
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15. TIPS & TRICKS
15.1
FASTER EXPORT
When you exporting your scene first time be sure you have “Reuse meshes” option disabled. But later, if
you decide to translate, rotate or scale your objects, then you don't have to export meshes again if “Reuse
meshes” option is enabled. When exporting meshes with large poly counts, it's better to enable “Reuse
meshes”. This prevents exporting meshes again, which can make the export process much faster.
In addition, if you decide to change only one or a few of the meshes, then you could enable “Selected only”
and export only the selected objects. Once done, you can disable the “Selected only” parameter and
enable “Reuse meshes” to export whole scene without mesh data.. very useful when working with big
scenes.
15.2
FASTER AND SMALLER ANIMATION EXPORT
If in your animation only few objects are moving select them and enable “Selected only” parameter. This
will export only selected objects to animation frames files.
Also use Enable and Disable mesh animation operators in Thea Tools panel. This will set selected objects as
animated mesh so Thea will export full mesh in case of animation export. If it's disabled then only a object
material and transformation will be exported and base mesh will be linked. Enable animation only in case if
your mesh is changing i.e. softbody, cloth, armature or fluids. There is no need to export mesh if you just
move, scale or translate object.
15.3
SYNC OBJECTS AND LIGHTS POSITION WITH THEA XML FILE.
Export your scene from Blender with enabled option "Start Thea after export", tune your scene with IR and
then save scene to the same xml filename as it was exported. Then press "Sync with Thea" button in
Blender and selected objects transforms will be synced with Thea xml file.
16. TROUBLESHOOTING
16.1
THEA'S DATA PATH PROBLEMS
In case when exporter has troubles with automatically discovering Thea's data path where locations and
render presets are stored there is possibility to set data path manually.
To do this copy TheaConfig.txt file into your Blender scripts/io directory and edit it's content to point to
your Thea's data path.
16.2
Contact Author
You can send comments, feature requests or bug information on Thea forum at
www.thearender.com/forum or by mail at: grzegorz.rakoczy@solidiris.com or blender@thearender.com
© Grzegorz Rakoczy 2015
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