Chapter 1. Readme

Welcome to Realsoft 3D Version 7!

If this is the first time you use the software, the tutorials of this User Manual help you to get started. Remember to register at realsoft.com! It qualifies you for technical support, upgrade announcements, special customer discounts and an access to free software updates. After installing the program, you can send us your contact details easily using the pull down menu Help/Realsoft in the Web/Register.

This readme chapter gives a quick overview of what is new in version 7. To keep this introduction easily readable, the new features are described here only briefly. For more information, please consult other sections of the user and reference manuals.

Thank you for choosing Realsoft 3D!

Modeling

A new Lathe tool available. It builds the rotated shape very efficiently using Analytic objects. The tool is easy and straightforward to use, and supports both sharp-edged profile as well as smooth round profiles.

Analytic objects modeled using the lathe tool

Rounded, sharp and conical tube tools from Real3D V3 plugged in as a single unified tool. The tool provides a quick way to model pipes etc. objects using efficient analytic shapes.

Sharp-edged, rounded and conical analytic tubes combined

The new Twist tool allows easy creation of spiral like forms by twisting a shape around an axis.

Objects can be dropped from the object browse window directly to hierarchy levels in the select window. This is often the quickest way to bring in objects from disk files.

Twist deformation

Metaball object now has a new Expansion attribute. It expands (or shrinks) the included metaballs from their true geometrical size. With the new control, it is easy to set up a collision detection system between metaballs: an expanded size allows objects to melt together, while collision detection prevents excessive penetration.

Metaball level now has an option to scan full sub hierarchy for metaballs. Full hierarchy scan is not always desired, because it can contain parameter objects for animation, such as sample objects for a Creator object.

New metaball options

A new Shift parameter added to plant leaf controls. With this parameter, it is easy to set up useful growth patterns:

  • Branch's U Leaf density = 2, Shift = 1 gives regularly alterning leaf pairs
  • High U count, Shift = 1 produces a spiral distribution of leaves around the branch

Regularly side switching and spiralwise leaf distributions

Two new Boolean tools, Split and Invert, included.

The 'UV from View' tool, previously available for UV-Set objects, implemented also for the SDS object.

A new option 'Bevel backlid out' available for the NURBS Extrude object.

The new Bevel Backlid Out option blends extruded text smoothly with a base plate

Rendering

Render engine's memory management has been redesigned. The allocated memory is now split into a common, scene specific part, and to a render box (=thread) specific optimization part. This improves memory management dramatically in multi-core machines. A dual core system can typically render 50 % more complex scenes, a quad core 2 times and an eight core system 3-4 times more complex scenes than before. There is no speed penalty, only remarkable speedup when use of VMEM is avoided.

Bottlenecks related to rendering of high poly models with dense render box subdivivison optimized. One million face triset model rendered using 16*12 render boxes renders now almost 10 times faster!

New optimizations speed up ray trace rendering typically 10% - 20% with all kinds of scenes.

Measuring objects and the associated numerical value can be made visible in photorealistic rendering. RT-invisible flag is set by default - clearing it makes the lines visible. Line thickness and rendering method (ray trace/scanline/post process) can be selected from the property window. A new Pseudo 3D option is available, for ensuring a standard size rendering. The option makes the measure objects better readable in all camera angles.

Ray tracing -visible measuring lines

File rendering window now has a new Walkthrough rendering mode. When the walkthrough mode is activated, the program does not redefine the scene in every frame; it is kept static during the whole animation. Only camera changes are considered. This feature can be a real time saver, especially when the scene includes fractal trees or other high-detail geometries. In extreme cases, the walkthrough mode can double the rendering speed.

Fast Walkthrough rendering option

Static option available for mapped shadows. It turns off automatic re-rendering of shadow maps in every render cycle / animation frame.

Terminate ray VSL shader is now evaluated for rays, which are stopped because they fall below recursion threshold. Previously only rays, which hit the recursion depth limit, were treated this way. This allows more detailed shading control and the results are more consistent.

Animation and Modifiers

A general purpose trajectory tracker tool added. It is based on the new modifier approach. The tool can be applied to any animated or simulated object in order to capture its motion as a set of trajectory curves. In point mode trajectories are created for all vertices of the object. In Object mode only one trajectory is created for the object. Three trajectory types supported: continuous, dot and dash (represented as nurbs, 1d or 2d particle objects so that they can later be used as motion curves, exported, or simply used in rendering for artistic impression).

Simulation rewinding system improved. The initial state is no longer restored by reading a backup file, but using the construction history approach. For example, modifications applied in the middle of the simulation will not disappear after rewind.

Trajectory curves of a falling cube

Warp modifier tool. Any geometric object can define a deformation effect. For example, using an analytic sphere, one can deform a planar NURBS mesh to a sphere.

The new Noise modifier deforms targets by recursive fractal 3D noise. Combining random deformations with other animation effects is now really easy.

Noise modifier in action

Morphing object rewritten to use the modifier approach, featuring:

  • Any attribute can be morphed
  • A single morphing modifier can be bound to any number of target objects
  • Morphing effect can be made relative similar to all modifiers. Several morphing modifiers can control a single target, each with its own weight
  • Morphing effect can be repeated cyclically, extrapolated, auto closed as a loop or stopped at the extreme key values

Explosions are now implemented using the modifier principle. The new system introduces many new options, such as true volumetric division of exploding volume using boolean operated instances, successive recursive explosions, and division to cubes, spheres or surface elements.

Ball bearing exploded volumetrically

Real3D v3 style shrink wrap implemented as a general purpose collision detection modifier. Three projection types supported: parallel, spherical and cylinder-wise.

Animated shrink wrapping

The new Axis modifier defines its deformation using three factors: tangential (rotation), radial (scale) and axial translation. The level of deformation depends on the distance/projection to specified axis as well as on the selected control curve: linear, hyperbolic, spherical or gaussian. For example, the closer the particle to the axis the higher the rotation.

Twist effect animated using the general purpose axis deformer

Particles

A tool for creating particle emitters from geometric objects. Emitter can now generate particles colored by the emitting surface. The volume of the particle flow can be adjusted and turned off easily using the new creation rate attribute.

A tool for filling geometric objects with particles

New particle tools

A tool for distributing particles over surfaces. Particle color can be defined by the color of the corresponding surface point. Creation rate control included.

All particle types now include controls for easy access for particle's age at rendering stage. By default, each particle's age grows relatively from zero to one during its lifetime, regardless of the actual time (in seconds) the particle existed.

Import / Export

Full support for ILM's OpenEXR image format. The new format supports arbitrary number of channels and layers, and all data types - half, integer and float - of OpenEXR. The format provides a widely supported solution for creating HDR illumination effects.

PostScript (ps) and EmbeddedPostScript (eps) export are now included

View window has a new popu menu: Render/Save 2D Projection. It stores the 2D projected contents of the view into a file using a selected export format, such as dxf or postscript. The file can be edited further in a CAD program or printed.

Top view projection exported as 2D vectors

User Interface

Grid object has new controls for dynamic snapping. When user zooms out and the grid becomes too dense, it automatically changes the snapping interval. There is also a density based color mapping option available, similar to the ground plane drawing: small grids are drawn lighter than coarse grids. Basically, now a single grid can work well in all modeling scales and distances.

View window has a new Ruler option. The ruler shows the scale of the model by displaying a line segment and its length using the current distance measuring unit. The ruler is especially useful with a visible grid, because the ruler unit is automatically matched to the current grid. In version 7, the density of a grid may change automatically when zooming, and the ruler helps to keep track of the grid scale.

New View controls introduced:

  • View window's sync time (interrupt threshold) can be defined accurately. This helps to optimize the responsiveness of the user interface for each computer system. Previously there was just a switch for selecting a short or a long sync time.
  • View's backgound color can be changed per view.
  • Object selection highlight color can be defined per view

Using these controls, some useful new view's has been configured to the View pull down menu:

  • Scrollable high resolution view for saving print resolution black and white wireframe images
  • Black and white hidden line wireframe view

Hidden line wireframe view

View saving to image file now has a new interface, which allows saving to all supported image formats. Previously saving was limited to bmp.

The select window now has a new 'Find Selected' pop-up menu, which autoscrolls the select window to show the currently selected objects.

Select window specific methods, such as 'Rename object' and the new 'Find selected' can be recorded to macros and bound to keys, buttons or compass menus for maximum ergonomy

The select window's Filter field is hidden by default maximizing the space for the actual select tree. Selecting the 'Set Filter' menu shows the field. It then remains visible as long as there is a non-empty filter string defined in the field.

All select window tabs use now the hierarchical tree gadget similar to the geometric objects tab. Objects can be multi selected and hierarchical objects can be plugged in.

Real Time Rendering

OpenGL view's now have 4 drawing modes available:

  • Wire
  • Shaded
  • Shaded+Wire
  • Hidden Line Wireframe

Analytic, smooth SDS and polygon objects displayed in Shaded+Wire composite mode

Object drawing quality controls (Wire, Shaded, Texture) and Forced Visibility work now hierarchically. Changing the quality of a hierarchy level updates all children.

Texture quality control has now an explicit UV Image option, which selects quick display of the UV texture (defined in Property window/Col tab/Texture map controls) in its native resolution. Evaluated 3D materials are not shown in this mode. Quality = None option hides all textures, including the UV texture.

Object wireframes have a new option 'Draw Only Profile'. If set, only wireframe of sharp edges and the object boundary is drawn. This works especially well when visualizing dense SDS/NURBS objects in shaded OpenGL. The reduced wireframe only enhances the main features of the geometry.

Wire profiles + shaded OpenGL

Miscellaneous

Materials now have a 'Disable' switch. Using it, effect of a material can be removed and restored back from the whole scene easily.

Two new VSL Wizards for Fade Map and Illumination Map added.

Undo buffer is now chronological: last applied operation is undone regardless of the current select window layer. Operations changing several layers - such as project loading - can be undone with a single undo step.

A new proportional unit type implemented. Unit choices are plain decimal, per cent and per mill points. The proportional scale is a conveninet choice for numeric controls, which display values between 0..1. Per mill scale controls, such as rendering quality thresholds, display useful values, even when the user has chosen only 2 or 3 decimal accuracy

New key event handling featuring the good old "any-key-as-modifier" and the new "exec-by-key-down" ideas. This new implementation works in all platforms (unlike the original v5 implementation which worked only on Windows).

Curve editor now provides 3 extrapolation choices:

  • Flat (default setting, used in earlier versions)
  • Linear (curve is extended tangentially)
  • Repeat (shape is repeated multiple times)

The feature is used e.g. in GI post system. GI gamma curve now handles all illumination ranges consistently.

The scripting interface now supports new type r3boundingbox. The methods that deal with bounding boxes now work in javascript. A bounding box Defines two vector attributes: min and max.

Flat, linear and repeating extrapolations