Rality Update

Since version 1.0 for DAZ Studio, Reality had a great feature called ACSEL. ACSEL stands for “Automatic Custom ShadEr Loader” and it’s a system to achieve best results in your materials with the least amount of effort.

You see, I was born on May 1st, which in Italy is “Labour day,” and is a national holiday. For more than thirty years I had my birthday off and I felt like I was the saint patron of lazy people. Laziness is a great quality, it’s the motivation behind so much work. I know that the previous statement seems self-contradictory but let me explain.

One of the things that I detest the most is to do the same thing over and over again. When it comes to 3D art we often have to adjust the materials in order to achieve a certain effect. That is perfectly fine and I actually enjoy doing it. The things is, if I use a certain skin for V4 I don’t want to re-adjust the settings every time I use that skin. Of, if I use a certain environment I don’t want to change the bump map values every time I drop it in a scene.

Unfortunately, when we use a different renderer than the default one we might need to make those adjustments often. This happens whenever we import a model into something different than the default application. Even if we import a Poser product into DAZ Studio often we need to make adjustments to the materials. If we import Studio or Poser objects into Carrara the adjustments needed are often quite laborious. Because I’m so lazy I decided to put an end to all that wasted effort by writing some special code in Reality.

ACSEL is the solution to the above problem. The “A” in its name stands for “Automatic”. Once you set the  material as you want you use ACSEL to save the definition in a special database controlled by Reality and form that moment on the material is loaded in Reality with the settings that you have saved.

Sounds pretty simple, isn’t it? ACSEL was implemented in Reality 1 and Reality 2 but didn’t make it in Reality 3 for Poser. The reason is that I simply didn’t have the time to write a version of ACSEL that could work with the more sophisticated materials of Reality 3. Reality 2 uses pretty simple textures. The only kind of texture available is the Image Map. In Reality 3 there are fourteen types of textures. We4 have things like Bricks, Clouds, Gradients, Fractal noise etc. The old way of doing things was simply not sufficient.

A Simpler ACSEL

As nice as the ACSEL idea is, I have to recognize that the first two implementations didn’t achieve completely the goal. I am to blame because I should have documented ACSEL better. Also, the UI could have being made simpler to use and more intuitive. Another reason for not implementing it in Reality 3 for Poser was that I wanted to design something easier and more approachable.

I am currently working on the new version of ACSEL, which will achieve the goal of simplifying the storing of custom materials and at the same time it will provide a simpler, more approachable interface.

This is great news for all Reality users. Since Reality is now a unified program, the same implementation of ACSEL will benefit all Reality users, regardless if the work with Poser or DAZ Studio. I plan on documenting the heck out of it and provide tutorials and examples.

The ACSEL logic is simple:

  • Load a figure or prop in Poser or DAZ Studio
  • Call Reality
  • If the materials need adjusting then change the material type, edit the parameters and do all the changes necessary
  • If you want to save your materials configuration save them as ACSEL shaders
  • Once saved those materials will be loaded automatically the next time you use the same model

For example, let’s say that I loaded V4 and applied the Dublin skin. After doing a test render I see that the skin needs a few tweaks in the bump maps and specular settings. Once my materials are all customized I can use ACSEL to save them. The next time that I apply the Dublin skin to V4 Reality will automatically load my customized materials. Nothing needs to be done. Reality automatically detect that there are custom materials for that skin and it loads them for you.

So, that’s what’s cooking right now with Reality.

Stay tuned for more news about Reality.

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