Quardarium Bug

quadrium2 : build, mutate, evolve, animate : images, textures, fractals, art
dwexler
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Quardarium Bug

Post by dwexler » Sun Sep 10, 2006 4:05 pm

I just purchased Quadrarium Flame, and it is wonderful. I have been waiting for this kind of program for OS X for a long time, but unfortunately the movie-creation part of it is not working for me. I have been able to get it to render the animations I have created a few times, but it seems as if no matter what settings I change it is always lo-rez. Most of the time it does not even render a movie at all when I instruct it to, nothing shows up in the task manager no matter how long I wait. It is quite puzzling, and frustrating, considering how amazing the program seems to be. Does anyone have any ideas about this problem, or has anyone experienced anything similar?

I am operating it on a new Intel-Mac Powerbook running 10.4.7,
but I tried it on my other non-intel Powerbook and it still doesn't seem to work. hmmmm

-David
_______________
www.nuopsys.com[/b]

gandreas
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Post by gandreas » Sun Sep 10, 2006 4:52 pm

Does anything show up on the Console.app (found in /Application/Utilities/)? What video format are you saving your movie as? (note that many codecs don't do a good job with CGI animations like this, resulting in fairly blocky looking output, but at least you should be getting _something_) I just tried a simple movie on my MacBookPro running 10.4.7 and it had no problems (it was just a simple one going from a starting point to the same with image with the "Diamond" topology set to 1, so it just warped it around, and while I am running a beta of 1.1, there aren't any changes in the movie code that I remember).

dwexler
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hmmm

Post by dwexler » Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:23 pm

I've tried it with multiple codecs, including HDV 1080i, photo-jpg, Video ... nothing . In the Console.app it says [NCSFNumber componentsSeperatedByString]: selector not recognized [self = 0x344750]

do you have any idea what that means?

dwexler
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another note -

Post by dwexler » Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:25 pm

it is very weird, because I can get it to work sometimes ... usually right when the program opens, it works once ... then stops. but it never renders high-quality images no matter what codec or settings I have.

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Re: hmmm

Post by gandreas » Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:26 pm

dwexler wrote:I've tried it with multiple codecs, including HDV 1080i, photo-jpg, Video ... nothing . In the Console.app it says [NCSFNumber componentsSeperatedByString]: selector not recognized [self = 0x344750]

do you have any idea what that means?
Yes - that's it exactly.

The bug is that once you change the size, bad things happen. So long as you stick to the default size, it should work (though, of course, you're stuck with the default size). It's a trivial fix (turns out a similar, but opposite, problem exists in quadrium2 - whereby it completely ignores the setting).

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Re: another note -

Post by gandreas » Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:28 pm

dwexler wrote:it is very weird, because I can get it to work sometimes ... usually right when the program opens, it works once ... then stops. but it never renders high-quality images no matter what codec or settings I have.
What sort of results do you get with "Graphics"? It's the only codec specific designed for this sort of image (all others assume some sort of "natural" image and so become lossy and blocky on these sorts of images)

dwexler
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Post by dwexler » Sun Sep 10, 2006 11:07 pm

I tried rendering with the "graphics" setting, 600 dpi, anti-aliased, best bit-depth, all that stuff, but it appears to be still about the same quality ... maybe a little better. sorry this is such a hassle, I wonder if there is something about my computer which is not working well with the program.

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Post by gandreas » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:53 am

Ah, I think I'm beginning to see the issue.

The document's rendering info (such as the DPI and size) isn't used for making movies because movies don't actually have a DPI (just the pixel size). So if you render an image at a high DPI setting, you get very detailed results, and if you zoom in in preview, you'll still see nice results (because until you zoom in 4x, 300 DPI will still be "sub pixel" resolution). Movies, on the other hand, don't have that, so all it would do is create a gigantic movie that takes days/weeks to create.

This is less of a problem with quadrium2 (where the code for making movies is shared) because those images are entirely deterministic, as opposed to flame images that are actually the average of a whole lot of "trials".

So, as an experiment, leave the movie size popup as is (since we've already determined that changing it will break it in 1.0), and make two movies, with the identical compression settings (graphics, etc...). Make the first one with anti-alias off, and "subsampling" (found in the global parameters) set to 0.0. Make a second one with anti-alias on, and subsampling set to the maximum value - you'll notice that it will take probably 4-8 times longer to create the movie.

Compare the results of the two - if they look similar, something very bad is happening. If the second one looks significantly better we know something. If the results of the second example are "high resolution", but still not good enough, I can get you the next stable beta of 1.1 which will increase the limit of subsampling, as well as allowing for higher antialiasing on movie creation...

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Post by dwexler » Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:19 am

i see ... that sub-sampling setting helped the image look better ... but unfortunately when I render the movies, both settings do look similar or the same (the anti-aliased high subsampling, and the opposite). I would love to try out the new version if you have a copy, or if you have any other ideas about this version I'd be glad to try to them out.

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Post by gandreas » Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:36 am

You're probably running into what is arguably a bug (or not, depending on how you look at it). When you add a frame to the movie, this includes all the global settings which includes the various render settings. This is especially important because this means that if you add two frames to the movie and then change the rendering properties of the image, the movie will be rendered using the old settings (i.e., the settings at the time when you added the frame).

So you'll need to increase the subsampling _before_ adding the frame. Its a major pain (especially since there is currently no way to extract the settings _out_ of the movie frames, which is why it's always better to save snapshots for the frame and then build the movie from that).

One could certainly argue that rendering settings of the current document should be used when rendering a movie, which makes sense for the most part, but this would make it impossible to change things like brightness or vibrancy of the movie as it goes.

Assuming this is the problem, I can make a change to not allow for interpolation of the subsampling (and only the subsampling).

You should be able to get movies that look like this flame movie I just created...

dwexler
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Post by dwexler » Fri Sep 15, 2006 1:48 am

I don't quite understand ... but I did up the sub-sampling before I made the snapshots. the quicktime link you sent me does not show up on my comp for some reason (the movie I mean). and it appears as if that is a small movie file too, if there is no way of making bigger files of higher quality the movie feature is just sort of a novelty, isn't it? I would love to be using your software for the next video project I work on ... but until I can get that side of it to work, it is useless for me. thanks for all your help though, I'd love to get a hold of a newer version that makes some of that stuff possible.

just on a side note, check out the film I just made with my friends ... it uses some fractal imagery I created in Artmatic, and a whole bunch of other esoteric stuff. www.dinofcelestialbirds.com

enjoy

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Post by gandreas » Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:29 am

For some reason, the movie I linked takes a long time before it shows up (I thought it wasn't working either - it oddly needs to load the entire movie before showing even the first frame so all you get is the "Q" logo - I guess that's a drawback of the graphics compressor). Since it's coming from a .mac page, it also insists on scaling down to the size to fit the page template.

I'll render a larger version as well and send you a link privately...

tomax
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Post by tomax » Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:56 pm

gandreas, i think perhaps dwexler is running into the same thing i am - that the maximum size of movies is 256 or 320 pixels (via the drop-down); even in q2 the max is 640 wide - this isn't enough. we'd ask for user-definable, and hope that the density is adaptive spatially if it's applied as a power-law/gamma.

i'll check back to see if you intend to change this before purchasing. thanks if you do! :)

PS my CPU usage peaks at about 66% each on a 2x2 G5; any way to get full utilisation and a speedup?

PPS xgrid functionality would be really cool; all users could help each other render their movies! no idea how parallel q|f is or can be made but one can dream... also check http://www.geocities.com/simesgreen/gpuflame/ if you've not seen it.

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Post by gandreas » Mon Sep 18, 2006 7:07 pm

gandreas, i think perhaps dwexler is running into the same thing i am - that the maximum size of movies is 256 or 320 pixels (via the drop-down); even in q2 the max is 640 wide - this isn't enough. we'd ask for user-definable, and hope that the density is adaptive spatially if it's applied as a power-law/gamma.
The size of the movie in the drop down is a bug in 1.0, which has been fixed, though it only goes up to 640x(whatever your aspect ratio is). I could increase that easily enough, though the amount of time it takes to render goes up based on the area (so increasing to twice as big takes four times as long, possibly longer if it has to band the image). If you've got common resolutions in mind, just let me know.

I've also increase the anti-aliasing to up to 4:1, which, combined with a highest subsampling value, means that 640 pixels is actually rendered at an effective resolution of 10240.
PS my CPU usage peaks at about 66% each on a 2x2 G5; any way to get full utilisation and a speedup?
Not currently - due to the very nature of iterative fractal systems, they aren't very parallelizable - you have to iterate millions of points, each based on the previous one. You can split this up somewhat, but ultimately there is a bottleneck of the accumulation buffer (and I've already tried to see what sort of performance AltiVec/SSE would give, but since each point potentially had different kinds of transforms applied to it, this just didn't fit a vectorizable programming model like quadrium2 does). I've still got some experiments to do on this, though, but I'm mostly focusing on getting better results with fewer points than figuring out how to get more points done faster...


The best hope is speed up movie rendering by doing multiple frames on multiple threads (since those are completely independent), though there are some memory issues to be careful about (especially if the image size is increased).
PPS xgrid functionality would be really cool; all users could help each other render their movies! no idea how parallel q|f is or can be made but one can dream... also check http://www.geocities.com/simesgreen/gpuflame/ if you've not seen it.
That's definitely cool.

xgrid would be nice, but the average user doesn't have an xgrid capable set up, and isn't exactly high on the list (though again, rendering movies would work well with something like xgrid where different frames are done on different machines).[/quote]

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Post by tomax » Mon Sep 18, 2006 7:49 pm

gandreas wrote: The size of the movie in the drop down is a bug in 1.0, which has been fixed, though it only goes up to 640x(whatever your aspect ratio is). I could increase that easily enough, though the amount of time it takes to render goes up based on the area (so increasing to twice as big takes four times as long, possibly longer if it has to band the image). If you've got common resolutions in mind, just let me know.

I've also increase the anti-aliasing to up to 4:1, which, combined with a highest subsampling value, means that 640 pixels is actually rendered at an effective resolution of 10240.
1024 1280 1920 2048 h-res please. :) also being able to set the v-res directly or set an aspect ratio for the window, instead of buggering around with the gui size. would like to see my framing and not have to post-crop &c.

i have done some experiments before with other flame-gens in Maya, using an animated flame sequence to generate a particle volume by pushing the emission of the image plane along a path to get some "Solaris"/SPORE-like 3D stuff. hardware particles and lots of memory come in handy... that's one cool thing about hardware particles is that you can use "sprite"/(billboard) particles to give you more volume and density with less points... you can also use the gradient intensity and/or hue to weight particles for dynamics/forces motion processing, which is interesting.

yikes i think i need a dual quad-core with 16GB straightaway! :P speaking of which, have you benchmarked on G5 vs CoreDuo like you did for q2? i'd be interested.

PS what's "band the image" - memory constraint? if so, let me use much more in prefs if you would; i've got 4GB (i know, 640K should be enough for anyone ;)

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