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IONclad
Building art one node at a time.
Posts: 123
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I apologize if I duplicate someone elses posts...
also, I've spent about 20 hours working with this software, but if any of my feature wishlist actually exists... please let me know.

1. Ability to annotate flow and nodes. Opening a complex texture after a day or two and trying to find one key junction is a nightmare. Even the ability to RENAME nodes would be sweet. These textures can quickly expand to be very complex. Having a text node would allow programmers to put comments for themselves or users near nodes. Sometimes specific controls are built but not utilized... It would be nice to add a little post-it saying "change the scale to make the brick more like blocks" or whatever.

2. Cache thumbnails of nodes. Choosing to edit a complex texture means you need to wait a LONG time before one can make sense of anything. Even if the thumnails become obsolete, I've seen systems that keep thumbnails (with the addition of a distinguishing mark to indicate they are out of date) until the new one can be generated. At least in this way, one can quickly orient themselves in the node flowchart.

3. Some basic photoshop filters as nodes. I can't mention how manytimes I went to find things like 'add noise'. Even ones like glow, or lense flare... if possible, just allow photoshop plugins (even simple ones) to be added as nodes.

4. Image nodes. Being able to use several different bitmap 'bits' in the texture would be amazing. Imagine aircraft skin with photographic rivits, and various warning signs or real rust spots. The ability to incorporate real photographic elements would make this tool even more powerful.

5. Editable gradient node. One node that has the addition/deletion ability... basically like photoshop. In fact, where is the radial gradient node? Actually a couple more styles of gradient would be helpful too. Though the noise gradient is really cool.

6. editable Colour node that isn't a control. Tinting and colour manipulation is difficult at best. For example, being able to do automated operations on a user input color, like if they chose orange, I want to add 20pnt of cyan and make that a colour in another node. The ability to manipulate user input and output that change to another node.

7. Higher control amount. 10 controls is VERY constraining. Most of my textures feel half done at 10. 15 or 20 would allow MOST of the controls for complex textures, but 20+ would be good in many situations.

8. Layer node. Nice to be able to combine 4 other noise nodes into one node. This would allow the creation of complex non-repeating textures with a bit more control, the multi-step process is slower and since each texture is removed from the other, feedback from #4 can't directly change node #1.

9. third kind of distort node. One that can make patterns, repeat, warp, polar distort, etc.

10. 3D preview node (a little sphere/cube). Adding one of these nodes would allow any node output to be channelled into a preview node. This node would update continuously or by clicking... and could be allocated as a custom channel. Trying to create a glow channel shows how much something like this is needed. Custom textures could include (for example) several occlusion passes to create complex textures for multi-pass rendering! Or, it could be used to add needed channels like a glow channel, or for that matter, have handy several colour or texture variations of the same basic texture. Imagine rug, rug in blue, rug in red, and rug with spots, all available simply by changing the render output to custom channel 1,2, and 3. Not to mention these nodes would give 3D artists like myself a better idea of how this texture will translate to an actual 3d environment.

11. user settings for rendering quality. The rendering quality with HDRI is very impressive, though it would be nice to be able to disable this while working. Perhaps a less expensive option? Like GI or simple phong shading?

12. Node Grouping. Many node based editors have the ability to group many nodes as one function, or a group. This openable window would include the functionality of the entire group, but when closed would look like a single node, thus allowing multi-step operations to be grouped into conceptual (and easier to follow) nodules.

13. (dreaming) Real world effects like in Bryce/vue or other software, like erode, drip, etc. In this way, a pattern could be eroded in a manner to simulate water stains on a wall. Or cracks could be used to sell concrete as real. Imagine being able to etch steel with user definable parameters like colour shift/depth.

14. Lighting node. Adding emitters would allow realistic glowing textures. Or, more simply, glowing could be tracked to a new 'glow' channel, allowing glow, and reflected light to be put into a special channel for use in 3D rendering.

15. Automatic batch export. 'export all channels' command. Automatic version tracking for exported textures would be cool. Persistent settings regarding output resolution/AA etc. Would be very nice to be able to go to an export screen. Choose a resolution from standard defaults like 512,1024,2048 pixels, then checkboxes for all the channels required, automatic folder creation and with saveable user settings.

16. SAVE TEXTURE RENDERS. Having to re-render complex textures every time you leave the texture is plain silly. As with node icons, any rendering should be cached. I'd gladly give up a few hundred MB if I didn't have to continually wait for re-renders. It's slow and bothersome on my machine, which is a dual core Athlon X2, I can only imagine the experience on a P3/800mhz or something of that ilk.

17. Main render preview in texture edit window should have more options. I would REALLY like to see a 3D sphere here as an option. 99.9999 percent of textures I create with software will end up being rendered in Lightwave, Maxwell, Vue or others. To have a flat pretend 3D render is not helpful, and takes a LONG time. Plus the bump maps are not rendered correctly. Any 0 or 255 value at the border of the normals isn't rendered properly, which can lead to my bump maps not looking right in a real 3D app. A decent raytraced preview would be 10000% faster, and allow for a real idea of how the texture will look.

18. Folders in the settings area. My personal textures are getting out of hand. It would be really nice to be able to folderize them.

19. Name presets/ more flexibility. If more then 10 'controls' are allowed, some artistic input could be used for creation of preset variations. I find it odd that I need to create two complete textures just to have version with a modified setting NOT included in the 10 controls. The ideal way would be to have an umbrella for a texture name, and any nature of variation to this texture would be stored as a preset for that texture. To be required to make a new texture because you want to have a preset with a different noise pattern (or whatever) is counterproductive.

20. ZOOOMMM.. organizing a big complex texture without being able to see the whole thing is CRAZY. Also, iconizing nodes would be really, really, really nice. For example, it shouldn't take up so much space to apply 5 blends in a row to one flow. All nodes should be able to collapse into a low profile item. Thus any linear arrangement could be either grouped (see above) or collapsed to take up less space. Once a section is done, I don't need to see the 5 noise nodes, 10 modification nodes, etc. while working on another section.

21. I mentioned lighting before, but having alternate lighting models would be handy too. Many times I just want flat lighting, or directional lighting... Having a basic spotlight, distant light or point light over the HDR would be nice. Odd that we have the high-brow solution but not the joe shmoe one. A standard light would also reduce render time extensively for complex textures! Lets face it, we don't ALWAYS need HDRI lighting.

22. I'm sure it's under development, but more fractal textures would be really nice. Lightwave has more then 40. Some designed to simulate water, wood, marble, noise, honeycomb, etc. We can approach very closely with the basic noise generators supplied, but only a couple more specific types like a fractal generator, would round out the toolset, and increase the capability a lot. As for noise.. how about a real noise node. Perlin noise is ok, but in order to create a real noise texture that renders properly in the bump one needs to do a lot of tweaking! Again, photoshop. The noise filter in photoshop is extremely simple, but incredibly useful and timesaving!

23. Add outputs to nodes. Right now everything is processed to one output regardless. It would be really nice to pull something out of a node to use in another node.

24. Math node. Use: Being able to apply basic math to numerical input/output would allow simple use of texture and user input to make related and sympathetic textures. Example, I want a darker brown underlay for my grunge texture. If the user inputs green I wish to generate that dark green colour automatically. Currently the only way I could figure out how to do that (since there isn't a colour node) was to take the colour control, put it into a noise filter (set to really big) and blend the colour with the noise. In this way I could modify a colour. BUT there isn't any predictability, AND I can not do what I wanted, which was to allow the user to choose a main colour, then a mode to modify the remaining colour. ie. blue, with warmer accent colours, or cooler ones...etc. Which reminds me, we need a way to convert colour into RGB numbers for manipulation by this 'math node' smile:)

25. Geometry node. There currently isn't a way to modify basic geometric parameters.. like I want five nodes, all 20 degrees rotation from eachother. With my math nodes I could create this using the geometry node. Or I want to scale a texture without modifying the texture itself for use as an overlay.

Thats it for now. I know I'm forgetting a couple, but that's my major list.

I wouldn't waste my time if I didn't think this wasn't the most and coolest utility I've had the pleasure of playing with in a long time. The ease of use and functionality of the node system is excellent. I find it a bit limiting, but I know it's a beta, and I do have hope that additional required functinality WILL show up in the final. If I don't manage to earn myself a copy with my textures.. I be buyin it!

the artist formerly known as Bongo51
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IONclad
Building art one node at a time.
Posts: 123
Filters: 25
26. The ability to autoexpose, or autolevel a node. I have a texture I'm working on now that generates a greyscale map based on a noise texture where the user inputs a colour. If they choose dark blue, vs. bright yellow, the resulting greyscale is radically different, which leads to a nightmare extracting hilights, or predictably modifying it. The greyscale needs to be autolevelled. As it sits, I will need to use a control to ensure the user can choose all colours without 'breaking' the filter.
the artist formerly known as Bongo51
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uberzev
not uberfez

Posts: 1826
Filters: 36
There are ways around #26. Just extract the hue and saturation but not the brightness. Here's an example...

http://uberzev.googlepages.com/Colorize.ffxml
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onyXMaster
Filter Forge, Inc.
Posts: 350
21.
a) Point lighting isn't much faster than HDRI lighting. For many lights it's actually slower.
b) FF already has infinitely far point lighting built-in with unlimited number of lights -- complete, compatible with existing file format, with each light controlled by two angles and a HDR linear color value. It's just not in the interface.
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onyXMaster
Filter Forge, Inc.
Posts: 350
2. Thumbnails are cached -- you'll have to wait until they render first time of course, but then they are update dynamically with previous thumbnails saved.

17. What's wrong with the normals?
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IONclad
Building art one node at a time.
Posts: 123
Filters: 25
onyXmaster,

There MUST be a faster 3Ddraft rendering. Currently I do everything with just the color channel until the very end.

How would using normals help with previsualizing how a texture is going to look with specular, bump and glow?

Thumbnails are not cached in my version... WinXP/Build May23
Once you exit and return to edit a textures all the thumnails are gone and must be regenerated. All the renders are also forgotten.


Uberzev, thanks, I'll mess with that idea.
the artist formerly known as Bongo51
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Lucato
FF addicted

Posts: 495
Filters: 39
Quote
1. ...Opening a complex texture after a day or two and trying to find one key junction is a nightmare. Even the ability to RENAME nodes would be sweet...

Talking about that came a suggestion to my mind. Maybe we would right click on the Component/node and select 'Connections' and It would open up a window with 2 columns, so It would list all inputs in one column and all outpus in another column showing the RENAMED* components. If you click twice on one of them in the list, It would send/jump you to the Component connected.

* The ability to rename would keep also the original name between parentheses.

Quote
2. Thumbnails are cached.

Onyx, I think Bongo meant the thumbnails of the Components in the Filter Editor. Are they cached? Talking about It, I think the Filter Editor would render/show/mount the Components thumbnails 1st and after that render the preview on the top left. It seems that nowadays It shows 1st the preview to mount the thumbnails right after.

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4. Image nodes.

Great ask. Import Image Component.

Quote
5. Editable gradient node... In fact, where is the radial gradient node?

I agree. We miss that too. Well, It isn't only one node, but Uber did an amazing job about radial gradient. Check it out.

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6. ...For example, being able to do automated operations on a user input color, like if they chose orange, I want to add 20pnt of cyan and make that a colour in another node...

Yup, I needed one that several times. That would be included in the Control Modifier. smile:)

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6...22

Cool suggestions.

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23. Add outputs to nodes. Right now everything is processed to one output regardless. It would be really nice to pull something out of a node to use in another node.

Bongo, I didn't get that. Would you explain in another way. Maybe it's my Language Barrier. smile:)





Image Image
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IONclad
Building art one node at a time.
Posts: 123
Filters: 25
Lucato, for a complex node, like perlin noise.. there are several inputs but only one output. Might be easier to have a breakout box. A node designed for duplicating values. Perlin noise in... RGB/alpha/seedvalue, etc. out. Useful for stripping userupdated values out for programming/node updating function.

or maybe not. This one isn't a dealbreaker
the artist formerly known as Bongo51
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byRo
an Englishman in Brazil

Posts: 138
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Quote
Lucato wrote:
Bongo, I didn't get that. Would you explain in another way.

Easiest example would be the RGB (HSL....) extractors. Instead of just one switchable output, there could be three unswitched.


_________________________________
My favourite question is "Why?".
My second favourite is "Why not?"
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Vladimir Golovin
Administrator
Filter Forge, Inc.
Posts: 3147
Filters: 55
These are already on our plan:

1. Ability to annotate flow and nodes
10. 3D preview node (a little sphere/cube).
12. Node Grouping.
19. Name presets/ more flexibility.
20. ZOOOMMM..
22. more fractal textures would be really nice.
24. Math node.

The node grouping and zoom are on high priority because we view them as the key tools to manage complexity. Hovewer, the node group/subroutine system is quite complex, so it may take time to do it properly.

The math node is already in the works, so I'd like to hear your ideas it (operations to include, inputs/outputs etc).
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Vladimir Golovin
Administrator
Filter Forge, Inc.
Posts: 3147
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Quote
Bongo51 wrote:
how manytimes I went to find things like 'add noise'.


Perlin Noise?

Quote
Bongo51 wrote:
editable Colour node that isn't a control.


Blend? Assemble/Extract RGB/HSB/HLS/HSY (and the upcoming Lab)?

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Bongo51 wrote:
third kind of distort node. One that can make patterns, repeat, warp


Offset -- its inputs can be mapped with other components.

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Bongo51 wrote:
A standard light would also reduce render time extensively for complex textures!


Our HDRI rendering is very fast, and you'd get no benefit from using point lights instead of HDRI. Actually, the complexity of the texture has no effect on the time spent on the lighting calculation -- it is always constant (it's the complexity itself that takes time).

Quote
Bongo51 wrote:
more fractal textures would be really nice. Lightwave has more then 40. Some designed to simulate water, wood, marble, noise,


All of our noise generators have a Profile input that allows the noise octaves to be modified using custom curves. The Perlin Noise alone covers liquids, organics, electricity, marble, wood and more. Some examples:

http://www.filterforge.com/filters/218.html
http://www.filterforge.com/filters/284.html
http://www.filterforge.com/filters/237.html
http://www.filterforge.com/filters/311.html
http://www.filterforge.com/filters/454.html
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Vladimir Golovin
Administrator
Filter Forge, Inc.
Posts: 3147
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Quote
Bongo51 wrote:
The ability to autoexpose, or autolevel a node


We've discussed this one before:
http://www.filterforge.com/forum/read...10&TID=208
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Vladimir Golovin
Administrator
Filter Forge, Inc.
Posts: 3147
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Quote
Bongo51 wrote:
As for noise.. how about a real noise node. Perlin noise is ok, but in order to create a real noise texture that renders properly in the bump


Perlin can't render a proper bump map????
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IONclad
Building art one node at a time.
Posts: 123
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Vladimir Golovin,

I understand that mathmatically, there may be no difference between what perlin is capable of and what i'm requesting, however, the difference is simply that of speed. Noise is a key component in any realistic texture, and to need to dial it in every time with perlin is time consuming. PLUS perhaps I'm missing something but how could I add noise to an existing alpha channel? I understand blending it with perlin will 'add' noise, but it wont modify the target layer... wont actually move it's pixels around. Plus, I assumed that a preset noise without much functionality would cost less renderwise, which has been my experience with Lightwave and others with proceedurals.

So, though perlin does create noise there are two reasons I would rather have a dedicated noise node.
1. Slow, either have a 'well' where custom noise nodes could live, thus I could create several epressions of perlin for my tasks.
2. To get the single pixel noise I want/need perlin get's REALLY slow in render, plus there seems to be an unusual bias in the bump rendering with high roughness/detail perlin. This may be the case with a noise generator/modifier node, and that may be a distinct issue also... but all I can say is, that's the way I'm used to working, thus would speed up my workflow.


More about the bump problem.

using perlin noise I have found that when modify perlin to get uniform pixel level noise that it has a huge bias in the bump. Even when I reduce the contrast and brightness the render still shows glaring noise. The bump strength of this noise is higher then it should be. I'll do some experiments about this phenomenon and post results here.

smile:)

the artist formerly known as Bongo51
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IONclad
Building art one node at a time.
Posts: 123
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Vladimir

about color nodes. Since there is this control limit of 10. Using two colors and a blend node to create a third colour costs 2 control units. Now, if all of these colors are supposed to be non-user then having an actual colour node would be the way to go, no control usage, and only one node to do the job of three... plus one could pull a colour channel from an existing flow.

the artist formerly known as Bongo51
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Vladimir Golovin
Administrator
Filter Forge, Inc.
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Quote
Bongo51 wrote:
To get the single pixel noise


Bongo, internally Filter Forge doesn't operate on pixels (except for blurs/sharpens etc) so I'm afraid you won't see a pixel-based noise in Filter Forge.

To emulate the "single-pixel" noise, use Perlin with Details, Roughness and Scale set to zero. Since this would result in a single-octave Perlin noise, the speed penalty compared to a traditional simple noise will be minimal.
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Vladimir Golovin
Administrator
Filter Forge, Inc.
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Quote
Bongo51 wrote:
PLUS perhaps I'm missing something but how could I add noise to an existing alpha channel?


Channels > Set Alpha / Get Alpha
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Vladimir Golovin
Administrator
Filter Forge, Inc.
Posts: 3147
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Quote
Bongo51 wrote:
plus there seems to be an unusual bias in the bump rendering with high roughness/detail perlin


Keep Roughness under 50% when using Perlin for a bump map. When Roughness is higher than 50%, there may be "clamps" when octaves are summed together, these clamps result in flat-looking regions on the bump map.

Also, I'd recommend setting Contrast to zero when using Perlin as a bump map.

Quote
Bongo51 wrote:
Even when I reduce the contrast and brightness the render still shows glaring noise


Could you post an example here?

Quote
Bongo51 wrote:
The bump strength of this noise is higher then it should be.


There is a Surface Height slider that affects the overal bump/normal map "strength", it is located on the Lighting tab.
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IONclad
Building art one node at a time.
Posts: 123
Filters: 25
Vladimir,

Thank you for the information. it's nice to understand things from that perspective. I'm sure once the help system is complete, the little details, like the idea of keeping the contrast at zero when using noise as bumpmap wouldn't be something I would imagine using my 'bitmap' biased brain. I'm used to the idea that this white pixel is highest, and if I make pixels look the right way using any trick I can, then it's ok. I suppose with this kind of mathematical, essentially a math shader I need to understand what each parameter and variable mean to the processing either in sequence or size, etc.

Also, I have had noise issues with the slider set to 2. However, based on this new info from your posts I'm going to investigate all my textures and ensure I'm not introducing unwanted noise and complexity into the textures.

thanks

Ian
the artist formerly known as Bongo51
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Vladimir Golovin
Administrator
Filter Forge, Inc.
Posts: 3147
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Quote
Bongo51 wrote:
I'm sure once the help system is complete, the little details, like the idea of keeping the contrast at zero when using noise as bumpmap wouldn't be something I would imagine using my 'bitmap' biased brain.


Yes, we'll cover all these facts in the help.
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SpaceRay
SpaceRay

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Great list from IONClad
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SpaceRay
SpaceRay

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Image interesting
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