Very first impression

Bit unfair to just sum up my first impressions like this after only spending 15 minutes with it, but here we go anyways…:slight_smile:

  1. Documentation is a bit hidden away. I don´t even remember how I got to it, just starting from the main abstract site.
    Which is a shame, because its quite good already!
    Its easy once you got it installed, I was just trying to get some info while downloading/installing.
    Only think I´m not liking as much within the documentation: I´d prefer a bit more left-panel-chapter-navigation. Right now the left panel only covers the big chapters, all the details are kind of having you move through what peaks your interest.
    I´d prefer it if I could click through each item from the left panel in a more organised fashion, especially when I want to quickly find specific information.
  2. I´m most interested in texture painting, so I just grabbed a metahuman head I had lying around and there was my first issue:
    I had nothing prepared of course, so it came in with a couple of lods.
    I couldn´t find any way to get rid of them, maybe I haven´t found it yet, but if its not in there yet:
    An option to pick which part of an fbx you wanna paint on would be great.
  3. I also couldn´t find a way to directly access or only paint on certain materials of the mesh.
    That probably exists and also I really didn´t get far, I started on the head material, so I couldn´t even really see wether it also painted on the eyes, which would have been a different material…
  4. I got a crash when switching resolution from 1024 to 2048.
    I´ve only tried it on my laptop that only has an rtx 3050 with 4gb ov vram.

Like I said, I only had like 15 minutes til the crash, but it already looked pretty promising in terms of speed and usability, looking forward to test some more!

Regarding 4, it might help to lower the memory budget, see:

As 4GB of VRAM is on the low side for hi-res.

Thanks for chiming in @alin_tux

Welcome to the community @insertmesh and thanks for sharing your experience so far.

  1. It is indeed, give us a bit of time. We did not expect the huge number of users on launch. We’ll have all resources coming together in one place very soon. Thanks for the feedback on the docs, I’m not sure how far we can get using Wiki.js though. It’s not as customizable as it should be :frowning:

  2. Indeed, we load the mesh as it is. But having an option to select/trim the scene on loading is a great idea. It might take a bit to be there, as we have higher priority items. But we also want to provide an option to decimate/remesh/voxelize the mesh on import time.

  3. If you use the “multi-material” type for layering, then each material has it’s own layering stack. This is similar to other apps. If it’s a UDIM mesh, you need to select that. There’s also a new type where we’re trying to bring the UDIM workflow to realtime meshes with multiple materials, it’s called “Multi-Material Unified” keep in mind that it is more memory/performance intense than a regular “multi-material” project as it renders all materials at once.

  4. That’s odd, if you can, please submit the crash report to us so we can inspect. MAT does very precise memory budgeting so 4gb of ram should be fine. You can setup your budget in the resolution window:

    MAT performs a lot of caching to make executions as fast as possible, thus like an OS, it will use what you allow it to use. It’s worth mentioning that some graphs may break the budget as it’s impossible to do it with the constraint, imagine a graph with 20 4k image inputs and a small budget as a single 4k color texture at 16bit is already 135mb! So those 20 images would be around 2,7gb!

Unfortunately I have to do some real world painting this weekend, so I don´t have much time to get into it now, but thanks for the input!

The documentation itself is great, even though I just clicked my way through it more less just following what interests me first, I got a good first idea about what to do and how, so the sorting order is already high level complaining here…:slight_smile:

Thanks for the tip about the video memory, I didn´t touch that at all, so thats probably why it crashed on my laptop?
I´m well aware of its limits, but its what I had available atm…:slight_smile:

But do you seriously have 64gb of vram…?
I´m so jealous right now…:slight_smile:

I can try to reproduce the crash, where do I find the crash report then and where should I send it?

Ok, so I managed to squeeze in a bit more playtime, here is a few more questions. I could post them to a seperate post, but I feel like its useful to know what people are looking for first and where they are struggling…:slight_smile:

So, I figured out that there are actually two modes in the documentation and one makes finding specific information a lot easier. In the main menu, top left corner, if you click on the “browse” icon, it switches to a directory view which is a lot easier to navigate.
I feel like making this default would make it easier for people new to this to find the info they are looking for.

Unfortunately the search function is pretty useless, as it doesn´t seem to find info that IS in fact in there.
For example: I couldn´t figure out in the interface how to make tablet pressure work.
Seaching for “tablet” or “pressure” didn´t yield any results.
I found it in the other mode of the documentation navigation pretty quickly though.

Some other things I couldn´t figure out yet, which seem really basic and should either be better searchable in the documentation or implemented differently in the app:

  1. How do I quickly switch colors when painting??
    I just tried to paint a random mask with some brush strokes and couldn´t figure out how to alternate between black and white.
    Ctrl resizes the brush, thats great, but what about opacity and color switching?
  2. I reimported my metahuman, this time without lods, but with head and body merged. It came in with a few material slots and I was able to set up the head material.
    Although you may want to consider to simply drag an image from the package ressource to the layer and have it automatically switch to “image” source, finding the right button to activate that also took me a second.
  3. I wasn´t able to make the body material work though.
    It just stayed black, even after assigning all the maps to the channels.
    Not sure if thats a bug or I didn´t use the correct workflow, so maybe you could iterate on that real quick, as I assume its a pretty standard procedure.
  4. Generally, is it possible to paint across several Materials at the same time?
    Like, when I have ONE mesh but several materials assigned to parts of it, can I somehow paint across the seams? Or do I have to work around that somehow?
    I actually haven´t use substance painter before, all I did so far is vertex painting in Zbrush, which of course is a different beast.
    That being said though:
  5. Is it possible to also paint vertex colors directly for hipoly meshes?
    Sometimes thats useful, especially when you haven´t retopoed/unwrapped a mesh yet.
    Or can you paint using triplanar projection on a mesh without UVs and then bake that after you have UVs or bake the information into vertex color channels? (rgb color baking would be ideal for getting procedural masks for shading, like using red for cavity and blue for some masks etc)

We’re using Wiki JS, I’m not sure there’s much we can do. But I think they’re working a large update, hopefully it improves the situation.

That’s not yet possible directly, but you could create brush templates that include your colors and brush settings and toggle between them. Having swatches for the paint in the toolbar would be nice though, I’ve created a feature request for this.

That should be working if you create your layer, the panel accepts the drop:
Screen Recording 2024-01-29 at 13.10.49

Your UVs must be in 0…1 space - I think that’s the same for all painting apps. If they aren’t and they use UDIM tiles, your project must be setup as such.

This is why people would normally use UDIM tiles. It’s the workflow that allows you to paint over several materials. It’s very popular in VFX. We’re big believers in this workflow as it allows for very high detailed meshes and we wanted to bring that feature to the realtime/game workflow. We’ve done that! Simply setup your project as “Multi-Material (Unified)” and you can have a single layer stack for all materials and you can paint across, it’s an awesome feature, I am not aware of other tools that can do that.

It’s an interesting idea, but it only makes sense if your mesh is super dense. Also you’d need vertex colors for all channels, not just color.

I think we might have a better solution for raw meshes soon. MAT will soon allow you to import a raw, highpoly mesh without UVs or normals. MAT will offer you to retopo it by recomputing normals, optimize, uv unwrap etc. You can then work on that mesh directly without any manual workflow!

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Good news @insertmesh our web-team found a way to improve the search results by using a different search engine. If I search for pressure now, I get much nicer results!

Screen Recording 2024-01-29 at 17.50.45


Thanks, I´ll try again, must have done something wrong then.

Yeah, I have yet to try out some more how this is supposed to work, but a color picker/palette for painting is definitely necessary.
As is being able to quickly switch between painting/erasing masks. I don´t really see how you would hand paint masks without doing so, you´d have to be pretty confident in painting…:slight_smile:

Generally it seems a bit like the primary focus right now is material creation/authoring and automatisation, which is awsome of course…for me the painting is more attractive though…:slight_smile:

I´m also missing a feature to change brushes to behave similar as “rectangle drag” in Zbrush or “anchored” in Blender, sort of like drawing a decal and resizing/rotating as you draw.
It would be a bit convoluted to use a separate layer for decal projection, as its not really decals.

Just a few things that would be more useful for organic texturing than for hard surface texturing.

hm, yeah, to be honest, haven´t really tried this mesh on any other apps either. I´m familiar with udims of course, I used them in mudbox on another personal project.
This mesh not set up like that, as metahuman head and body are separate objects in unreal, they´ve only been combined in blender to customize/sculpt them. Its possible the uvs are then overlapping or being put on a different UV channel.
I gotta check this in 3ds max first.
But can you already tell me wether its possible to select a different UV channel for mesh painting/projection in instamat?

Yeah, actually, since we´ve been using Unreal Engine for a lot of our TV projects at my job, we´ve been adopting a nanite-pipeline, where we just directly import the hipoly meshes out of Zbrush or procedurally created from 3ds max and only use vertex paint as masks for blending procedural/triplanar mapped materials. Works great for organic assets.

Having a baker element that could bake ambient occlusion to vertex colors would be a big argument for me for using it at work…much more so than having retopo/autoUV, as that would just complicate things in our current pipeline.
Seeing how granular the atom stuff is, it may already be possible to put something like that together already, just a bit out of my reach rn due to learning curve/time constraints…:slight_smile:

Again, sorry for giving so much input without even properly playing with the software, thanks for being so kind and answering to these anyways!
I promise I´ll only come back after giving it a good few hours session next time…:slight_smile:

Awsome! Simple solutions!

Ok, so, yeah, the metahuman merged mesh is actually set up as udim.
So, even though the body is actually a separate mesh in Unreal, of course it makes sense to put its uvs on another udim tile, so you could paint across udim tiles when merged…

I´ll look into how to set up udims in instamat…:slight_smile:

You can easily switch between painting and erasing with familiar hotkeys B and E.

That’s as I suspected, that’s why you couldn’t paint on the other tiles. They’re not in the 0…1 space.
You need to setup the project as UDIM to do that.

Indeed, you can easily bake a texture into your vertex colors using one of our Mesh nodes.

No we always target UV0.

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