Missing+Misplaced Texture parameter


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Hello,

In the particles material:

  • The Normal texture appears in the "Base group" instead of the "Normal Map" group
  • The Refraction texture parameter is missing (or misplaced and I couldn't find it)
  • (minor) The Refraction intensity is named "Scale" here (not consistent with other naming)
  • I couldn't find where to assign the "depth" texture (eg. smoke_wisp_1_depth.png)

image.png.4004c1869742f149df31fd9d111e439e.png

Thanks

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Hello, Stephane,

Indeed, at first sight it might look strange, but let me explain.

  • Quote

    The Normal texture appears in the "Base group" instead of the "Normal Map" group
    The Refraction texture parameter is missing (or misplaced and I couldn't find it)

    The reason for this is the fact that the Normal texture is used by both Normal Map and Refraction groups, so putting it to one of them would be incorrect. That's why you couldn't find a separate Refraction texture.

 

  • Quote

    (minor) The Refraction intensity is named "Scale" here (not consistent with other naming)

    As for the Scale parameter it doesn't work like intensity, rather like a scale (positive or negative) that controls refraction, that's why we called it so.

     

  • Quote

    I couldn't find where to assign the "depth" texture (eg. smoke_wisp_1_depth.png)

    Not sure about the depth texture, did you mean the texture to control translucency? This texture along with the Translucent Depth parameter can be found in the Translucent group.

Thanks!

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Hi Fox,

1 hour ago, fox said:

The reason for this is the fact that the Normal texture is used by both Normal Map and Refraction groups, so putting it to one of them would be incorrect. That's why you couldn't find a separate Refraction texture.

Well, i understand now but still it looks a bit contrived. As a suggestion, shouldn't it be more clear if:

  • The Normal group contained the Normal map texture
  • And the Refraction group contained a text explaining it actually uses/requires the Normal map

(the documentation itself is clear, but the actual interface is not)

1 hour ago, fox said:

As for the Scale parameter it doesn't work like intensity, rather like a scale (positive or negative) that controls refraction, that's why we called it so.

Oh OK then :) My bad.

1 hour ago, fox said:

Not sure about the depth texture, did you mean the texture to control translucency?

Actually, I wasn't sure of the usage of this texture, as the postfix "_depth" reminds me of a texture encoding the Z-depth (or the thickness) of a particle. I thought it would be used to help with particles Z sort (to remove the artifact when one smoke billow suddenly passes in front of another, looking like it just popped up).

You have such a texture in the FX samples smoke_wisp_1_depth.png.

  • Should it be used as a Translucent depth, then?
  • there is no actual Z-depth encoding for particles then?

Thanks!

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Hi Stephane,

As for the Normal texture we've thought about this variant, but came to a conclusion that it would be more confusing to have a Normal texture in the Normal Map group disabled by the checkbox, while having the Refraction group enabled and using this texture... We'll think about improving the situation.

As for depth textures (the _depth postfix) in the VFX add-on, they are aclually legacy ones and are not currently used in particles materials (we'll remove them, thanks for pointing that out!). There is no way you can control Z-depth walues of particles in the described way.

Translucent texture is a single-channel texture defining areas of the Albedo texture that should be translucent (Maximum value). So, that's hardly a proper slot for textures like smoke_wisp_1_depth.png.

The Albedo texture can also store an animation atlas that is used to play animated particles (change sprites). By default, images stored in the atlas are linearly interpolated in the animation (that's where popping may occur), but you can fine-tune sprite-to_sprite transitions via the Motion Vector texture and parameters.

Hope this helps, thanks!

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1 hour ago, fox said:

As for the Normal texture we've thought about this variant, but came to a conclusion that it would be more confusing to have a Normal texture in the Normal Map group disabled by the checkbox, while having the Refraction group enabled and using this texture... We'll think about improving the situation.

Actually, does it make sense to have Refraction enabled but Normal disabled? I mean, when I think about it, the refraction uses the normal map to compute the direction of the refracted ray, because a flat quad (no normal map) would be of little use. So, in essence, shouldn't the refraction just be a sub-check of the Normal group?

(anyway, thanks for all the explanation, I was just confused by the UI, and I don't always jump to the doc for this kind of subtlety; I should...)

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Quote

Actually, does it make sense to have Refraction enabled but Normal disabled? I mean, when I think about it, the refraction uses the normal map to compute the direction of the refracted ray, because a flat quad (no normal map) would be of little use. So, in essence, shouldn't the refraction just be a sub-check of the Normal group?

You're absolutely right about the fact, that normals are required for Refraction, but the point here is that the two options Normal Map can be used separately, although they use the same map. Refraction enables you to create refraction area around each particle, while the Normal Map option is responsible for application of the normals texture on the particles themselves. So, if you need "flat" particles with refraction around them, you just check the Refraction while leaving Normal Map unchecked. This case would be impossible if Refraction was a sub-check of the Normal Map group.

You're welcome! Always ready to help!

We'll update tooltips a bit to shed more light on this. Thanks for always being alert!

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