After effects tutorial-Hack GPU ray tracing for unsupported cards

Today we are going to hack GPU ray tracing in After Effects. After effects CS6 is capable of doing GPU ray tracing. But due to the limited official support all the cuda powered graphics card are not available for this purpose in After Effects. But the fact is that we can simply enable the GPU ray tracing for unsupported graphics cards also. You need the CUDA powered NVidia graphics card. Simply follow the following procedure and you can get the GPU acceleration for Ray tracing.
Anyway this technique is not officially supported but you can get a good amount of acceleration in previewing and rendering. If you do not have a cuda card or your GPU memory is below 1 GB please do not try this technique.
Watch the video tutorial at the end of this page.
  • Open after effects.
  • Check whether your graphics card is capable of GPU ray tracing with in After Effects.
  • Go to edit, preferences, previews.
  • Click on the g p u information tab.
  • You can see my graphics card information and capabilities are shown here.
  • Under ray tracing you can see CPU is selected and a warning says GPU is not available is shown.
  • Under open GL tab you can see that my graphics card is Nvidia geforce 425 M, which is a cuda capable card.
  • But under cuda settings nothing is shown. It is because this card is officially not supported by after effects.
  • We can simply enable this card for cuda powered ray tracing.
  • Just note the name of the graphics card displayed in open GL section.
  • Close After Effects.
  • Go to Program files, Adobe, Adobe After Effects CS 6, Support Files and find ray tracer supported cards text document.
  • Open it in a text editor.
  • See my graphics card is not listed here.
  • Simply add the name of graphics card exactly the same as displayed in After Effects.
  • Save and replace the file.
  • Due to the restriction in windows 7, I was forced to save it in desktop.
  • We need to replace the file now. Drag and drop the file to the original location.
  • Replace the original file with the edited one.
  • Open the After Effects .
  • Check the GPU information once again.
  • See now we have GPU available for ray tracing.
  • And now after effects is showing the cuda properties of the graphics card.
  • Now we can switch between GPU and CPU.
  • If you are experiencing any problem after enabling this technique simply switch back to CPU.
Check this technique and share your experience below.


Clouds and sky 25 high quality textures free download

Why should you pay hundreds of dollars for textures when you can download them free from FermiCG? Download high quality clouds and sky textures absolutely free. Each texture is 4k in resolution with 180 pixels/inch. The file size is about 5 MB per image.You can use this image in your commercial and non commercial projects. Please respect our effort in creating these textures. Do not redistribute these images in any form. If you want to publish or link these textures directly link to this page instead.Give us credit and share this page with your friends if you like this.
Click on the appropriate name/link of the cloud/sky texture of your choice. You will be redirected to the original image. You may see interstitial ads.
clouds and sky texture
 Approximate size 125 MB.

Get the download link by clicking and sharing one of the button below.

Nice, you found it!


Photoshop tutorial- content aware plug in for patching the image

Adobe Photoshop is the best tool for fixing the images. Today we are going to fix this photo using Photoshop. Using the content aware feature we can quickly remove the unwanted for ground objects from a photo. Photoshop automatically fix the background.Get the video tutorial at the bottom of this page.
  • Let us open the image in Photoshop.
  • Select the lasso tool; you can use any selection tool of your choice.
  • I am using the default lasso tool with default settings.
  • Zoom to the area you want to erase. Analyse thoroughly. Using the lasso tool select the area you want to remove. Make sure you have selected enough pixels.
  • If you are satisfied with the selection simply press delete or backspace in your keyboard.
  • Photoshop will ask you to choose the option you want to use for filling the deleted area.
  • Select the content aware option and press OK.
  • Photoshop will automatically delete and fill the selected area with the background which is exactly matching with the photo.
  • Depending on the computer configuration this will take a while.
  • Once finished, deselect and zoom in to the cloned area.
  • Closely watch for any defect. Depending on the complexity of the photo you may get some arty crafts.
  • Use clone stamp tool for fixing that area.
  • Use a soft brush and 50% opacity clone the defect pixels.
  • Take your own time to fixing the image.
  • Use the same technique for fixing the remaining parts.
  • Once finished do some final adjustment to the image.
  • Use levels to give some contrast to the image.
  • Also increase the saturation a little bit. Add hue if needed.
  • See how quickly we removed the unwanted foreground elements from the photograph.
  • You can create clean plates, textures and backgrounds using this method.


Parachute dynamics in Maya tutorial

Learn to create parachute simulation in Maya. You will learn to create a proxy setting for parachute, combining rigid body and ndynamics/ ncloth to get the stimulation. Also learn to utilize the constraints effectively.Watch the video tutorial. If you wish to read the tutorial do it.
Create a poly cube and make it centre of the grid.
Change the width, height and depth to 5.
Rename it to box.
Go to edit, delete by type and delete history. We don't need construction history for this box.
Create a polygon sphere at the centre of the grid.
Change the radius to 6.
Make 30 for both subdivision axis and height.
Rename to parachute.
Change to face selection mode and select the bottom half and delete.
Delete the history also.
Move the parachute to a considerable height.
Create a poly plane having a low width and necessary height to fit between the box and parachute.
Change the width to 0.2.
Make the height to 10.Feel free to modify these values according to your need.
Change the subdivision height to 31 and sub division width to 2.

Add it to a new group. This will fix the centre pivot at the centre of the grid.
parachuteWe need to duplicate it. Go to edit, duplicate special and change;
Number of copies to 3, rotate y = 90 degree.
Click duplicate special.
Select the resulting four planes and combine them. Go to polygon mode, mesh, combine.
Rename it to strings.
Delete the history also.
Select the parachute, box and strings and apply freeze transformations.
Change to animation menu.
Select the box, then the parachute and apply a parent constrain.
Select the box, then the strings and apply a parent constrain.
Select the box and do some rotation and transformation to check whether there is a mistake.
Select the box and transform it to a considerable height. We are going to drop the box down.
Create a poly plane and make it to the centre of the grid. This is our ground plane and the parachute will land it here safely, I hope.
Add some subdivisions and make it square.
Cheat Maya by renaming it to ground.
Delete the history. We are learning animation, so we don’t need to study history again and again. Just delete them!
Change to dynamics mode and turn the ground to a passive rigid body. I said dynamics, not n dynamics.
Select the box and turn it to active rigid body. If you dare change it else and make the simulation.
Add a gravity field to the box. Maya’s old dynamics menu doesn’t know there is a gravity field in earth. We need to tell her.
Play the simulation. The box will fall down and the strings and the parachute will follow the box.
The box is bouncing like a ball. We need to tell Maya again object like this will not behave like this.
Life will be very easy when Maya will do these automatically.
Hmm….then there is no need for a dynamics artist in the industry.
Select the box and reduce the bounciness to 0.1.
Select the ground and change the bounciness to 0.02.
Play again and again. Check everything is fine.
Add 0.2 damping and play again.
Select the whole parachute unit and do bake simulation. Edit, keys, bake simulation.
`Reset the settings to default. We need to bake only the y transformation. So select from channel box.
Select translate Y in channel box and click bake.
Don’t expect to get a cake. Instead you will get a lot of keys.
Check again and again. Don’t trust Maya blindly. She will cheat often especially in dynamics.
Now delete the rigid body history of box and ground. I hate history.
Delete the constraints also. We don’t need them.
Select parachute and strings, shift to n dynamics and create n cloth. This will change the selected mesh to n cloth.
It’s time for testing the simulation. Yes. Play again.
See the strings separate from the box. Stop!
We need to make them behave politely.
Select parachute and change the input mesh attract value to 2.
Play again.
Find the frame at which the box touches the ground and add a key to the input mesh attract value.
Skip some frames and decrease the value to 0 and add a key.
Play again. See now the parachute is penetrating the ground.
Make the box to passive n cloth object.
Select the string and parachute and add a component to component constraint.
Rename it to string box constraint.
Change the constraint mode to weld.
Constraint link method to within max distance.
Increase the max distance value just enough to create necessary constraint in all the four corner of the box.
No. don’t play now.
Select the string and parachute; apply a component to component constraint.
Rename to string parachute constraint.
Change the constraint mode to weld.
Constraint link method to within max distance.
Increase the max distance value just enough to create necessary constraint in all the four corner of the string.
Okay. Beautiful and perfect for another simulation.
Select the nucleus node and add a collision plane.
Play again.
See how the parachute and strings behave naturally like a cloth. No you need to tweak them.
Select the nucleus.
Change air density to 3, speed to 10.
Direction to x and z wind noise to 0.166.
Play again to see the simulation.
Comment if you have any doubts.
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Photorealistic Diamond in Maya- Physical approach

Rendering a photo realistic diamond in Maya is little bit trickier. If you use Mental Ray renderer you will get a closely photo realistic render of the diamond. But due to the lack of advanced rendering algorithms such as dispersion we need to cheat the effect. Remember we already modelled and rendered a photo realistic diamond in Maya using non physical approach. I.e. we cheated the look of the diamond with some tricks. If you are not aware of that trick you can watch the full tutorial here. That method is useful for rendering a large number of diamonds. But if you render a diamond very closely the above tutorial won’t work that much. You need to add real shadows, caustics, dispersion, reflection and refraction.
In this tutorial you will learn to light and render a photo real brilliant cut diamond in physical way. I used Zap’s mental ray blog technique to create this tutorial. I used my own steps and values to create a realistic look for the diamond. If you want to know the real theory behind the rendering of diamond I recommend reading Zaps blog.
We are going to render our diamond in a real way. First of all you need to model the brilliant cut diamond in Maya. I recommend watching my tutorial on photorealistic diamond in Maya. You can also download the diamond model from here.
diamond 3ddiamond dispersiondiamond
· Add a poly plane and change its position to 0, 0; and width and height to 25 units.
· Add a new camera and position it so the diamond is focused at the centre.
· Add a spot light and position it.
· Change its attributes. Change the cone angle to 120 and penumbra angle to 10.
· Turn on Ray trace shadows and leave the default settings.
· Use area light under mental ray and change type to disc.
· Change the high samples to 4 into 4 and low samples to 1 into 1.
· Press control D to duplicate the light. Position it accordingly. Feel free to use your own position.
· Change the intensity to 0.75 and cone angle to 80.
Leave the rest as it is.
Do a render.
· Change the renderer to Mental Ray and render again.
· Change the quality to production.
· Sampling mode to custom.
· Min sample to 1 and max sample to 2.
· Turn on final gathering under indirect lighting tab and render. See the difference.
Add secondary lighting effect by selecting appropriate HDR map.
· Click on render settings. Click image based lighting and select the HDR map of your choice.
You can get free HDR maps by searching on Google.
Rotate the HDR sphere if needed.
Do a render. Depending on the hdr map you will get different lighting effect.
· Select the camera and add a lens shader under mental ray tab. Click on the lens shader tab and select mia exposure photographic shader.
Do a render. You will get nothing but black. Don't panic. We can adjust it.
· Change the film ISO to 200.
· Reduce crush blacks to 0.05.
· Finally cm2 factor value to 25000.
Do a render and save the scene.
It’s time to add shader to the diamond model. We will use mental ray material to make the diamond as real as possible.
· Select the diamond and Press shift + t to add a new material.
· Select mia material x under mental ray materials.
· Add a glass physical preset to the material.
Do a render. Now we will get a glass diamond.
Adjust the material property to make the diamond real.
· In the advanced reflection tab, turn off no highlights to visible area lights and skip reflection on inside.
· Change the index of refraction to 2.42.
· Under advanced refraction tab, turn off use max distance.
Render to see the result.
· Increase the max trace depth value to 20 for both advanced refraction and reflection.
· Also change the reflection and refraction values to 20 under quality tab in mental ray render settings. Remember to change the max trace depth value to 40.
Render to see the difference.
· Change the multi pixel filtering to Lancoz in order to make the render crisper.
Render again.
See the difference.
It’s time to add caustics.
· Enable caustics under indirect lighting tab in render settings. Change caustic photon type to cone.
You need to turn on photons and caustics in the lights also.
· Select the first spot light and turn on emit photons.
· Decrease the exponent to 1.
Do the same for the second light.
Render again to see the result.
See how caustics and shadows are behaving with the lighting.
You can increase the caustics effect by increasing the caustic scale value.
· Click on the white colour and increase the v value to 2.
Render again to see the difference.
Experiment with the values.
Due to the lack of dispersion shader we need to cheat the effect within the m i a shader itself.
Select the m i a material x and locate the refraction colour. We need to add custom texture to this slot in order to get the effect.
Add a ramp to the refraction colour.
Do a render to see the difference. You can see the caustics have the colour of the diamond.
We need to tweak the colour of the diamond to more clear white, which is like the actual diamond.
Go to UV texture editor and tweak the UV of the diamond as desired.
Change to face selection and select all the faces of the diamond.
Click on unitize option. This will scale the UV’s of all the faces to unity.
Then do layout. This will arrange the UV’s in a linear way.
Select the top flat faces and do a top planar projection.
Scale the UV and arrange it to the top left corner.
Change the top blue colour of the ramp to white and do a render.
You can notice the refractive caustics having the colour of the ramp. But the diamond has fewer colours.
Delete the red colour and move the green slot towards the white colour.
Check with the diamond model in the viewport. Fine tune if necessary.
Add a crater texture to the green colour slot.
Change the channel 1 and two to white.
Add a ramp to the channel 3 slot and change the colours to rainbow colours.
Do a render.
Scale the 3d texture of the crater while looking the colour change in the view port. Fine tune if necessary.
change the ramp to diagonal and do fine adjustments.
Adjust the shaker values as desired. Finally do a render.