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 Forum index » Featured Tools » Voxel Section Editor III
A public discussion about painting normals and autonormals
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G-E
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Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:41 pm    Post subject:   A public discussion about painting normals and autonormals
Subject description: (related to a tool issue Banshee and I disagree on solving)
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Preface:
VXLSE has the option of normalizing "new pixels only" in the autonormals dialogue, however this feature is not as described unless the artist never touches the normals palette to change anything. The moment the artist paints even 1 pixel with any chosen normals value, the autonormals option of "new pixels only" stops working for pixels drawn after. This complicate matters, the option stays broken even when a new voxel is loaded and new pixels are painted there, even when never having entered normals mode to draw any, unless you quit VXLSE. Worse still may be that there would be no way to go back if you started painting on a new voxel intending to normalize new pixels without knowing of this issue.

Revelation:
In my discussion with Banshee, the condition required for "new pixels" to be considered NEW is that they have a normals value of 0, which is the default when the program is loaded. Up until this was pointed out, there was no indication of what specifically was the condition, except that it was related to touching the normals. As long as that never happened, the "new pixels only" option in autonormals worked correctly the entire session.

Solution #1:
In colour mode, all pixels painted should be painted with normals value of 0, thus enabling "new pixels only" to always work correctly. This has the upside of being predictable and obvious as the tools are designed to be used. New really means new, and painting normals in normals mode would be unaffected, likewise manually edited normals would be immune from the autonormals tool, as they would not qualify as new pixels.

The only potential downside _could be_ is where the artist may wish to continue painting with a selected normal in colour mode, but if the pixels are all new they would be immediately obvious in normals mode regardless. Also the way I see it, if painting over existing pixels in colour mode retains the existing normals, then it is inconsistent to paint the chosen normals value for new pixels anyway.

Solution #2:
"After some thoughts, I prefer a different solution: I'll rename 'New Pixels' to 'Non-Normalized Pixels' and tweak the interface to show the user the normal value that is being painted (in colours mode) and the colour that is being painted (in normals mode)." - Banshee

This means the artist will be aware of what normals they are painting new pixels with, presumably to give us the option of flipping back to the normals palette and choosing 0 again if we want "new pixels only" to function correctly. However since I am pretty certain none of us understand what more than a handful of normals values actually means in the 3D space, knowing what the normals value is, is rather redundant. Furthermore, because we now know that normal value 0 is required for the "new pixels" to be considered candidates for autonormals, there is zero benefit to seeing what the normals value is, aside from forgetting.

Addendum:
I personally do not see how Banshee's solution #2 would achieve anything , especially now that we know all pixels just need to be painted with normals value of 0, having an updated interface wouldn't change this fact, and I feel it is a waste of time.

Rather than Banshee make this change, I suggested we discuss this publicly and solicit input on this topic, so please, any and all feedback or questions, post below!
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Banshee
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Joined: 15 Aug 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me explain a couple of things:

1) The undo/redo engine from VXLSE III works in a different way than OS SHP Builder's. It saves the whole model every time you make an action in the program. It doesn't distinguish newly painted pixels from the ones that already existed in the model.

2) The New Pixels Only option in VXLSE III's autonormals was originally conceived to only change the normals of those voxels with Normals set to #0. And that's how it has been coded. This is how it works nowadays.

3) When you add pixels to an existing connected components, pixels who are neighbors to those added pixels may require to have its normals value changed, since its neighborhood has changed. This is  why I disagree with G-E's point of view.


This is why I prefer solution #2. I agree that there are deficiencies in the user interface and the user must know which colour and normal vectors they are painting their (new) pixels with. And if they choose a colour, in the normals mode, this colour must be respected. And, for coherence sake, if the user chooses a normal vector, in colours mode, that normal vector must be respected as well.

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G-E
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The analogue between painting in normals mode, which is almost entirely touch-up only, and based in using the eyedropper to select the value rather than manually, to painting in colour mode doesn't compare at all though.

What to you is the downside of painting all new pixels in colour mode with normal of 0 ?
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Banshee
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And, for coherence sake, if the user chooses a normal vector, in colours mode, that normal vector must be respected as well.

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G-E
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And for that coherency you have a broken drawing schema for autonormalizing! Further making it an illogical continuum of pixels drawn in an incorrect normal.

Like I said, we don't know what the normals are anyway, beyond a common few important ones... do you not agree that changes things? Can you name more than 10 values across the normals palette and their shine directions? In short, normals are like hieroglyphs, we may recognize a couple, but it's an alien language that we don't speak.

Can you actually think of a downside?

Obviously what I'm suggesting is very simple to code, you can just add 1 line of code that flips normals back to 0 when entering colour mode, you could even do this change and see if anyone complains... I suspect no one would notice. Although you might still have the problem in newly loaded voxels being painted with the non-zero normal unless it is part of the canvas init too, but you'd know the answer to that. Maybe 2 lines of code.
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Graion Dilach
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guess what? I was called into this topic.

Disclaimer: I don't believe in handpainted normals.

Obviously G-E's aim has the chance of breaking the other few people's workflow who still relies on handmade normals. Also consistency is good.

I really don't see where G-E comes from. If he claims manual normals are there only to fixup autonormals, then I'd assume the workflow should be creating colored voxel (with constant autonormals to look okay in the 3D preview window) then doing a fixup of the normals as the last step, in which case the only new voxels option shouldn't even be relied on.

I agree that the Only new voxels option is confusing (new, compared to what) and that's the thing which should be fixed/cleaned up instead of the nonsense which is presented as "solution" #1.

Solution #2 is completely acceptable and should be the way to go without messing up legacy workflows.

IMO this topic is moot, the whole discussion and the changes are actually completely unneeded and I'd call this "just-another-moment-where-G-E-applies-his-faulty-logics", which we have seen a lot in this subforum.
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G-E
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GD: My point was that when you touch up the voxels as you do, you use the eyedropper to select the normals from a place that's already autonormalized right? Whatever the settings you chose, you aren't going in and selecting the normal yourself blindly are you?

I completely agree, fixup is the very last last step after noting all the things that just aren't right, but prior to that moment, you aren't painting normals by hand, which is precisely where I'm suggesting this applies.... the moment between the last full autonormals and the touchup phase. Where you are mistaken is tha tit doesn't "break" your manual normals painting, I thought I made that clear... only NEW pixels would be #0, and none of the existing pixels would be affected.

Not relying on the tool as you say is besides the point, because that's like arguing we don't even need the option. Since we do have the option, I'm insisting it work correctly for the way we draw, which even you agree is inconsistent.

....

The ideal use for "new pixels only" is when let's say you've saved some generic hulls of ships or tanks that are intricate and had a lot of normals touchup manually that you don't want to lose, but you want to use that as a base for a new voxel variant. In such case the ideal tool is "new pixels only" so all the hard work is retained from before. It is this scenario that breaks if you do any touchups in the current session.

I have many ships and planes where I removed wings or cabins and continued to draw from that point, even in many cases copying and pasting to change lengths or width, staggering the pastes and then doing careful deletions/touchups to fix the curvature, all the while mostly retaining the original normals. To do this my workflow required saving the voxel and quitting VXLSE to save the state, and work from a new session, which is silly.
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G-E
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps to simplify the question for users.... answering "no" would mean my solution wouldn't affect you at all.

Do you paint all new pixels in normals mode that didn't already exist?
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G-E
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well judging by the lack of interest in this thread I must assume no one does any normals painting by hand anymore, and just uses the autonormals tool (which is quite good) on the whole voxel as the last step....

Which means I'm alone in making use of the "new pixels only" option?
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Banshee
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to tell you, but I guess you seem to be really alone with it. Regardless of that, I'll apply solution #2 in the next days.

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Lin Kuei Ominae
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably completely off-topic, but i always wished tiny arrows would show the normal direction, not some color gradient. But i guess that would only work if you had a 3D drawing area like in 3dsmax.
And since my last VSE voxel was created 10 years ago, i'm probably not the right one to suggest things here in the first place. Smile
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G-E
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banshee wrote:
I'm sorry to tell you, but I guess you seem to be really alone with it. Regardless of that, I'll apply solution #2 in the next days.

I don't even understand why you would do this, if basically no one cares, and the only one who cares wants it otherwise...

You haven't even added an autonormals button to the toolbar yet, that would be a far more compelling use of your time.
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Banshee
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may sound like a jerk by saying this, but... I'd do this because I want to do it. #Tongue

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G-E
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like I need to report more bugs to keep you busier if you have this much free time... though I get the impression you're going to add this useless (stupid?) normals colour preview box just to annoy me.
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G-E
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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote





For anyone confused as to wtf I'm talking about and why I insist Banshee's solution makes no sense, watch this video clip to the end... there's a little jerk in the video where I accidentally paused it 3/4 of the way through, but the session is uninterrupted.

You can see how the autonormals "new pixels only" doesn't work the way it seems intended, or any other logical way considering there's always _some_ pixels normalized despite all of them being done already.

Also you can clearly see Banshee's "coherence" argument doesn't make sense when you see new pixels in an entirely newly loaded voxel are still considered "normalized" despite there being no possible intentions of the artist to have done so. Hence "new pixels" is inaccurate, and there is a logical paradox.
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Banshee
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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are not adding anything new in this post and your argument makes no sense at all. Honestly, check the latest revision with the solution #2 implemented. It doesn't look bad.

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G-E
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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banshee wrote:
You are not adding anything new in this post and your argument makes no sense at all. Honestly, check the latest revision with the solution #2 implemented. It doesn't look bad.

I added the video to clarify the issue visually, since even Graion missed the point and he draws voxels by hand like me.

I'm not concerned with how the UI looks with a normals box, I'm concerned with the workflow process that goes into making the voxel itself... and in the video I show you an overly simplistic example of what a normal artist would do, edit a voxel, open a new one without thinking of the normals palette, but then being unable to use autonormals on new pixels just drawn.

I'm showing you the workflow doesn't make sense, using the sadface as an example of the touchup step, which then breaks the tool.
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Banshee
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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lin Kuei Ominae wrote:
Probably completely off-topic, but i always wished tiny arrows would show the normal direction, not some color gradient. But i guess that would only work if you had a 3D drawing area like in 3dsmax.


Ten years has been like... a very loooong time ago. During this time frame, an interesting feature was added in the 3D Preview and the 3D Modelizer. Click the preview button in their toolbar and go to Display -> Display Normal Vectors. This feature was not added to the conventional 3D preview because the normal vectors are very small for it.

G-E wrote:
I added the video to clarify the issue visually, since even Graion missed the point and he draws voxels by hand like me.


Graion did not miss any point. Likewise me, he pointed out that your workflow concept is flawed. Something that you refuse to listen to.

Anyway, this problem has been solved already. Let's move on.

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Graion Dilach
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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

G-E wrote:
Whatever the settings you chose, you aren't going in and selecting the normal yourself blindly are you?


And this is where you go absolutely wrong. TS normals became the norm for people who are painting normals by hand because TS normals are better documented - so yes, those few select normals "blind".

Could G-E get a custom title stating "The One Who Refuses To Listen" or something akin?
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G-E
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graion Dilach wrote:
And this is where you go absolutely wrong. TS normals became the norm for people who are painting normals by hand because TS normals are better documented - so yes, those few select normals "blind".

Could G-E get a custom title stating "The One Who Refuses To Listen" or something akin?

Oh I see so you paint the entire voxel in normals mode and then add the colour later? Silly me...

Banshee wrote:
Graion did not miss any point. Likewise me, he pointed out that your workflow concept is flawed. Something that you refuse to listen to.

Anyway, this problem has been solved already. Let's move on.

Well if this is gonna be your permanent solution, then can you reset the normals value to #0 on opening a new voxel? It would be one less step to have to remember to do, and is logically consistent with starting a new project with NEW pixels that in no way carries over any intentions from the previous voxel.
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Banshee
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

G-E wrote:
then can you reset the normals value to #0 on opening a new voxel?


No, but you can do it on revision 550 and newer. Go to Options -> Preferences -> Normals. Make sure "Reset Normal Value to #0 when changing models." is checked (it is not checked by default). There! You've got your little pet monster #Tongue.

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G-E
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems you still have some psychological block around this topic, since we've already agreed people don't paint new pixels in normals mode, and the potential that those who do would paint in a new voxel with the same normal as last time would probably by a ratio with a trillion zeros.... yet you still think this should be optional.
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Banshee
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have a psychological block to read what others have to say about your flawed ideas, since I've already justified thousands of times why your request will never be a default behavior of the program:

Banshee wrote:
3) When you add pixels to an existing connected components, pixels who are neighbors to those added pixels may require to have its normals value changed, since its neighborhood has changed. This is  why I disagree with G-E's point of view.

This is why I prefer solution #2. I agree that there are deficiencies in the user interface and the user must know which colour and normal vectors they are painting their (new) pixels with. And if they choose a colour, in the normals mode, this colour must be respected. And, for coherence sake, if the user chooses a normal vector, in colours mode, that normal vector must be respected as well.


Banshee wrote:
Graion did not miss any point. Likewise me, he pointed out that your workflow concept is flawed. Something that you refuse to listen to.


I was already very kind of code this "Reset Normal Value to #0 when changing models." for you. I won't go beyond that. Give up. I'm done with this topic.

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G-E
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banshee wrote:
3) When you add pixels to an existing connected components, pixels who are neighbors to those added pixels may require to have its normals value changed, since its neighborhood has changed. This is  why I disagree with G-E's point of view.

AND WHAT IF YOU DON'T WANT THE NEIGHBOURS AFFECTED?

AND WHAT IF YOU ARE ADDING TO AN EXISTING VOXEL AT A LATER DATE THAT YOU HAVE SPENT A LOT OF TIME TWEAKING PREVIOUSLY?

Holy crap man, this should be simple to grasp. This is you (and Graion)  making an assumption that this tool is irrelevant, when it has very valid uses, and I use it all the time.

In fact a good 45% of my voxels are variations from other voxels I have made, almost always retaining at least part of the existing body with the existing normals.
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Banshee
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
AND WHAT IF YOU DON'T WANT THE NEIGHBOURS AFFECTED?


You are doing crap, artistically speaking... like painting bad normals. Or it involves the situation below:

Quote:
AND WHAT IF YOU ARE ADDING TO AN EXISTING VOXEL AT A LATER DATE THAT YOU HAVE SPENT A LOT OF TIME TWEAKING PREVIOUSLY?


The program still allows you to let auto-normals tool to work with specific voxels by painting them with normal #0. However, that does not justify under any circumstance to have a default behavior motivating users to misuse the auto-normals tool. Get over it.

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G-E
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are probably 5 people that touchup normals by hand, but you're worried that people will abuse this? Seriously, we've been through this, basically everyone uses autonormals fully or renders the voxel with 3DS2VXL.

I don't understand why you feel it is imperative to coerce anyone to not use the tool that exists, I can't for the life of me figure out some angle where that makes any sense.
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Banshee
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't actually understand why I'm wasting my time with someone who is twisting my words to force a crazy idea that no one else cares about. Really, I'm done talking to a wall.

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Blade
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't there a simple solution to this? The code is open source, G-E can make any changes he wants and compile his own version, everyone is happy.

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Banshee
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blade, the feature he wanted was coded already. He is complaining because it is not the default behavior of the program and he is really the only person interested on it.

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G-E
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blade wrote:
Isn't there a simple solution to this? The code is open source, G-E can make any changes he wants and compile his own version, everyone is happy.

I asked for one line of code to be added, but it turned into a philosophical debate about the correct way of drawing voxels....
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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

G-E sent me a PM asking for my input as I'm one of the few that does draw normals by hand.

Well I can say that I have never used the "new pixels only" tool and doubt I ever will. Mainly because, as Banshee pointed out normals are heavily effected by their neighbors so re-normalizing the whole voxel will produce a lot better results then just auto-normalizing the newer ones on their own. As such I'm more inclined to say Banshee should remove the tool then to try and "fix" it.
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