POV-Ray : Newsgroups : povray.binaries.images : Patterns / functions. Obscure details. Noise etc. Server Time: 28 May 2020 22:45:30 GMT
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From: William F Pokorny
Subject: Patterns / functions. Obscure details. Noise etc.
Date: 8 Apr 2020 14:23:18
Message: <5e8dde56$1@news.povray.org>
I've been tuning / reworking the pattern and function handling in povr.

Reference:

pattern / function work postings in the not web mirrored 
povray.beta-test.binaries group.

http://news.povray.org/povray.beta-test.binaries/thread/%3C5e8a0353%241%40news.povray.org%3E/

The work of the past day or two I think generally useful to POV-Ray 
official use - so posting here.


Performance stuff.
---------
Today, using the f_dents definition in functions.inc, we get:

#declare f_dents = function {pow(f_noise3d(x, y, z), 3)}

which as measured used as the pattern for a dents pigment is 26.7% 
slower than using the dents pattern directly(a) and 3.3% slower than coding:

#declare f_dents = function {pattern {dents}}

and 7.7% slower than using a custom inbuilt f_dents which I've coded up 
in povr.


Results stuff due function noise generator handling!
---------
If you work enough with functions and patterns, you'll eventually stub 
your toe on the fact functions use only the scene setting for the noise 
generator(b) and not any pattern specific ones. This can be really 
confusing. In my povr I'm moving all inbuilt functions using noise 
generators directly or not to forms which require a noise generator 
parameter.

Today, with something like dents, we can be working up a dents based 
pattern planning some eventual functional customization - fading the 
center portion to 1.0 or whatever. We start with:

#declare Pigm00 = pigment {
     dents  // The render is quicker starting with the pattern dents.
//  function { f_dents(x,y,z)*f_fade(x,y,z) }
     noise_generator 3   // Get the scene's setting - or 2 in demo.
     scale 1/6
}

In the attached dents_to_f_dents_patNoise3.png the dents / ng(3) is 
shown on the left. The function { f_dents...} ng(3), but really (2) is 
shown on the middle. And yeah, I think the difference "pattern" between 
the two noise generators on the right might be a useful pattern itself...

Not all patterns were updated noise gen 1 to 2.
---------
Patterns like granite were adjusted on the change from noise generator 
Skinner form 1 to 2 so they more or less look similar with both. The 
dents and f_dents was not one of these and the form 1 version is quite 
different.

Aside: I've not run across any pattern making 2 vs Perlin(3) pattern 
commonality adjustments.

For many years I wrongly assumed pattern distributions were somewhat 
normalized in the 0-1 range so 0-1 maps could more or less be reasonably 
switched between patterns. It's not always so. Pattern distributions 
differ quite a lot and understanding this is important when best using 
them. Be aware of each pattern's value distribution.

To this end I've been thinking about additional pattern related 
documentation; The form it might take. See attached 
dentsPatternDistDoc.png image for an idea on how this could be done. The 
distribution show in green is the linear value distribution for the 
dents pattern.

Bill P.

(a) - Mostly due the overhead of passing the function back into the 
pattern mechanism. For maps use the inbuilt patterns if there is one 
over any equivalent function.

(b) - Excepting there is an inbuilt f_noise_generator() function which 
has a parameter which allows the noise generator to always be set. It's 
indentical f_noise3d() except the latter - in official POV-Ray - always 
uses the scene's noise generator setting.


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Attachments:
Download 'dentspatterndistdoc.png' (177 KB)
Download 'dents_to_f_dents_patnoise3.png' (120 KB)

Preview of image 'dentspatterndistdoc.png'
dentspatterndistdoc.png

Preview of image 'dents_to_f_dents_patnoise3.png'
dents_to_f_dents_patnoise3.png


 

From: Bald Eagle
Subject: Re: Patterns / functions. Obscure details. Noise etc.
Date: 8 Apr 2020 18:25:00
Message: <web.5e8e1686351a066fb0b41570@news.povray.org>
William F Pokorny <ano### [at] anonymousorg> wrote:

> Performance stuff.

Very educational.   Certainly something to aware of when writing more advanced
scenes.

> Results stuff due function noise generator handling!
> ---------
> If you work enough with functions and patterns, you'll eventually stub
> your toe on the fact functions use only the scene setting for the noise
> generator(b) and not any pattern specific ones. This can be really
> confusing.

Thanks for documenting this here.   I'm not sure I would have noticed if/when it
mattered, and would have been tearing my hair out trying to debug the SDL....

> For many years I wrongly assumed pattern distributions were somewhat
> normalized in the 0-1 range so 0-1 maps could more or less be reasonably
> switched between patterns. It's not always so. Pattern distributions
> differ quite a lot and understanding this is important when best using
> them. Be aware of each pattern's value distribution.

As you're aware, I've made a few stabs at visualizing that.
I'm also curious about the details of exactly what you've discovered.

> To this end I've been thinking about additional pattern related
> documentation; The form it might take. See attached
> dentsPatternDistDoc.png image for an idea on how this could be done. The
> distribution show in green is the linear value distribution for the
> dents pattern.

I'm still interested in this, especially from a design and implementation
stance.

While creating new documentation is a good idea, it's extremely arduous to craft
language of sufficient breadth and specificity to communicate something as
complex as a 3D pattern function, especially with all the modifiers.

We all know that a render if worth 1000 lines of docs, so maybe the step
preceding any writing would be to illustrate the intent of the documentation
with scene files/renders/animations that show ranges, variations, and best
practices.

Your comparison reminds me of the contour plots done by Mike Williams and Paul
Nylander.
http://www.econym.demon.co.uk/isotut/isobars.htm
http://bugman123.com/Programs/index.html


Great work as always, Bill.   Will there be a simple way to install and update
povr at some point so that folks can play along at home?


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From: William F Pokorny
Subject: Re: Patterns / functions. Obscure details. Noise etc.
Date: 9 Apr 2020 07:55:53
Message: <5e8ed509$1@news.povray.org>
On 4/8/20 2:23 PM, Bald Eagle wrote:
> William F Pokorny <ano### [at] anonymousorg> wrote:
> 
...
> 
>> To this end I've been thinking about additional pattern related
>> documentation; The form it might take. See attached
>> dentsPatternDistDoc.png image for an idea on how this could be done. The
>> distribution show in green is the linear value distribution for the
>> dents pattern.
> 
> I'm still interested in this, especially from a design and implementation
> stance.
> 
> While creating new documentation is a good idea, it's extremely arduous to craft
> language of sufficient breadth and specificity to communicate something as
> complex as a 3D pattern function, especially with all the modifiers.
> 
> We all know that a render if worth 1000 lines of docs, so maybe the step
> preceding any writing would be to illustrate the intent of the documentation
> with scene files/renders/animations that show ranges, variations, and best
> practices.
> 
> Will there be a simple way to install and update
> povr at some point so that folks can play along at home?
> 

Yes, I'll publish a release at some point - assuming the virus, or 
something else, doesn't take this old guy out beforehand...

I'm an example, or ten, is better guy too. I was leaning toward 
additional documentation here because to get the histograms shown I was 
using an external utility and another to glue the images together.

A thought experiment I've been playing with for a while is decoupling 
textures and interiors from our shape-shapes. Breaking - except where we 
have triangles / patches - from the model which ties everything together 
on the 'shape' surfaces.

The idea would be to maintain completely different internal structures 
for the material aspects of a scene - excepting perhaps a surface ior in 
addition today's interior one. Related too to today's inefficiency with 
interior tests, using complex object patterns to texture and even I 
think to multiple camera views - been thinking about internal self 
contained scenes with shapes as interior, texturing / inside test 
mechanisms.

It's part of the general idea of exploiting the fact we are in a 
ray-tracer and have bounding and search structures set up for tracing 
rays. As a scene renders there would be the visible scene and then - 
potentially - many additional scenes internally getting rendered ray by 
ray for information which helps render the top scene. I think of the 
concept at a high level as ray tracer folding.

Today, it's not uncommon to create a scene used only to create a texture 
map image. I did this with that isosurface pumpkin years ago. It was 
really two scenes - one for the texture map and the second the final 
scene. Why not enable a mechanism the lets us do all of this and much 
more in one go.

We introduced an object uv_mapping mechanism, but it's buggy and very 
unlikely to ever work through CSG in any clean-ish way (interpolation at 
edge boundaries is the key hang up I see). It's also in my opinion today 
not very useful - excepting, maybe, with parametric surfaces (bicubic 
patch?) - mostly because we don't have with it good ways to create the 
uv mapped textures. With povr, the feature is squarely on my try to lose 
it list.

In the simplest folded scene as texture method the shapes natural 
surface normal would create a ray traced into the texture-scene which 
would return a pigment etc. I see it as potentially a much more powerful 
object pattern method - which better exploits what a ray tracer can do.

So, back to the scenes as documentation idea. With such a mechanism it 
would be easier to create such feature-self documentation scenes as one 
render.

Aside: Had the thought last night it might be possible to create an 
inbuilt f_histogram function which would calculate the histogram pixels
on the fly. Though, it's simplest implementation wouldn't be very 
efficient. As a debug/doc thing maybe it would be OK...

Anyway, wild dreams. Today. Off to kill the spotted pattern, f_spotted, 
f_bumps, f_bozo and change bozo's inbuilt default color_map to black and 
white. Simpler things first.

Bill P.


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From: William F Pokorny
Subject: Re: Patterns / functions. Obscure details. Noise etc.
Date: 12 Apr 2020 16:52:26
Message: <5e93474a$1@news.povray.org>
On 4/9/20 3:55 AM, William F Pokorny wrote:
> On 4/8/20 2:23 PM, Bald Eagle wrote:
...
> 
> Anyway, wild dreams. Today. Off to kill the spotted pattern, f_spotted, 
> f_bumps, f_bozo and change bozo's inbuilt default color_map to black and 
> white. Simpler things first.
> 
>

Bald Eagle's question in advanced about the slope pattern got me to 
thinking it might be helpful to talk more about why I am dropping all 
the continuous pattern default color_maps back to black(0) to white(1).

It's the case today some patterns have default color maps and others 
don't in the official POV-Ray implementations. For example, though bozo, 
bump and spotted are all really just calls to 3d noise; Only bozo has a 
many color default color map. The radial pattern has a many color 
default, the granite pattern does not and so on. At least some of this 
behavior is documented, but I've never done a complete survey to see if 
it's all there and correct.

I ran into considerable confusion back when I was playing with the 
peeling paint isosurface stuff and trying to come up with ways to 
implement the method on the fly. I was trying something similar to what 
you are trying with the color channels.

With access to the five color channels (and v3.8's blend mode/gamma for 
the rgb channels) what we have is a powerful way to 'skew' a single 
function's resulting values. What happened with me as I was working is I 
kept commenting out my color_map line while debugging as in:

// color_map { CM_skewFunctionResults }

but I wasn't always getting then a default black to white color_map I 
expected, but sometimes a - whatever colors - internally set up one.

I expect one can run into similar confusion working with media densities 
and defaulted many color maps.

In my personal povr all continuous patterns will default to black to 
white maps - though I've only modified bozo and radial thus far.

Aside: I think it probably makes sense for the block patterns to have 
default color maps. I cannot think of a good reason for continuous 
patterns to have defaults other than black to white. Is there, or was 
there one back in the early days of many gammas or something?

Aside 2: I have modified the default brick (block pattern) colors for 
the 2.2 to 1.0 default gamma change. If you run brick with the default 
color map the result is very washed out compared to v3.6 and prior 
results. True too for our color include which I plan to lose or replace 
entirely in povr. New users should not be pulling colors out of colors 
inc. Those color definitions today correspond to no common standard that 
I can see. (Wikipedia has a very complete set of color names and common 
value definitions if you've not come across it: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_colors)

Bill P.


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From: Bald Eagle
Subject: Re: Patterns / functions. Obscure details. Noise etc.
Date: 12 Apr 2020 17:45:01
Message: <web.5e935349351a066fb0b41570@news.povray.org>
William F Pokorny <ano### [at] anonymousorg> wrote:

> I ran into considerable confusion back when I was playing with the
> peeling paint isosurface stuff and trying to come up with ways to
> implement the method on the fly. I was trying something similar to what
> you are trying with the color channels.

Thanks for confirming what I suspected.
I'll just have to figure out a way to code the normal of an isosurface function
into another function.

> Aside: I think it probably makes sense for the block patterns to have
> default color maps. I cannot think of a good reason for continuous
> patterns to have defaults other than black to white. Is there, or was
> there one back in the early days of many gammas or something?

I think the block patterns should have scalar values, such that a black/white
color map will return shades of gray.  It's simpler, more consistent, and less
confusing.
You might consider having "default" or standard color maps for those patterns
that are pre-defined and easily available.

pigment {brick color_map{CM_brick_default}}

> New users should not be pulling colors out of colors
> inc. Those color definitions today correspond to no common standard that
> I can see.

I do because I'm lazy :D  but I do think that there are a lot of legacy code
snippets and practices that need to be re-examined.
I've been working on a few ideas to make POV-Ray more usable and flexible, and
might help code-up and debug scenes much faster.

Ping / email me if you're interested in the details.


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From: William F Pokorny
Subject: Re: Patterns / functions. Obscure details. Noise etc.
Date: 13 Apr 2020 11:05:46
Message: <5e94478a$1@news.povray.org>
On 4/12/20 1:43 PM, Bald Eagle wrote:
> William F Pokorny <ano### [at] anonymousorg> wrote:
> 
>> I ran into considerable confusion back when I was playing with the
>> peeling paint isosurface stuff and trying to come up with ways to
>> implement the method on the fly. I was trying something similar to what
>> you are trying with the color channels.
> 
> Thanks for confirming what I suspected.
> I'll just have to figure out a way to code the normal of an isosurface function
> into another function.

One thing long on my todo list is to dive into core isosurface code. Not 
sure how it today handles the normals, though I can imagine ways to do it.

> 
>> Aside: I think it probably makes sense for the block patterns to have
>> default color maps. I cannot think of a good reason for continuous
>> patterns to have defaults other than black to white. Is there, or was
>> there one back in the early days of many gammas or something?
> 
> I think the block patterns should have scalar values, such that a black/white
> color map will return shades of gray.  It's simpler, more consistent, and less
> confusing.
> You might consider having "default" or standard color maps for those patterns
> that are pre-defined and easily available.
> 
> pigment {brick color_map{CM_brick_default}}

Yes, think you are right on this. I'd not been burned by the default 
color maps on the block patterns. I happened to see the brick colors at 
ag2.2 while removing maps from continuous patterns.

I have it in my head unless accessing the color channels with .red or 
whatever we do today get the pattern's value back (it acts like a black 
to white map). And with a quick test with f_brick -> function {pattern { 
brick }} looks like this is so. For some quirks I am trying to flatten, 
finding the vm / function / pattern inter-workings quite clean.

Reminds me, our .grey and general color to grey conversion also has 
issues with being - off standard, I guess. A question on my - think more 
deeply about it someday - list, is whether on the fly color to grey 
conversion should get pulled from povr. I have this feeling it isn't 
'really' necessary today.

> 
>> New users should not be pulling colors out of colors
>> inc. Those color definitions today correspond to no common standard that
>> I can see.
> 
> I do because I'm lazy :D  but I do think that there are a lot of legacy code
> snippets and practices that need to be re-examined.
> I've been working on a few ideas to make POV-Ray more usable and flexible, and
> might help code-up and debug scenes much faster.
> 
> Ping / email me if you're interested in the details.
> 
> 
I don't have much for free bandwidth beyond what I'm trying to do 
currently, but, is your email as used in your posts to the news groups 
one I can use?

Might not always be apparent, but I do read most all news group posts - 
though perhaps I don't completely digest them all. The parser dictionary 
changes and rules are still really fuzzy to me, for example.

Your posts, John Greenwood's on the -1 to 1 blobbing, and many others 
over the years, all influencing to some degree whatever hacking I'm 
doing, not doing or might do in povr.

Bill P.


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From: Bald Eagle
Subject: Re: Patterns / functions. Obscure details. Noise etc.
Date: 13 Apr 2020 18:05:00
Message: <web.5e94a983351a066fb0b41570@news.povray.org>
William F Pokorny <ano### [at] anonymousorg> wrote:

> One thing long on my todo list is to dive into core isosurface code. Not
> sure how it today handles the normals, though I can imagine ways to do it.

Indeed.  I may look into the gradient functions and see what lies therein.
I scored some code from a ShaderToy script and watched some painfully presented
CalcIII lectures.   Confident I'll get it soon enough.


> Yes, think you are right on this. I'd not been burned by the default
> color maps on the block patterns. I happened to see the brick colors at
> ag2.2 while removing maps from continuous patterns.
>
> I have it in my head unless accessing the color channels with .red or
> whatever we do today get the pattern's value back

It would be lovely to get some code to handle vector functions.
Curious if your reading of the present scalar function source code gives you an
idea about how much extra work that would be to implement.

Also of interest would be some extra dot notations to rearrange vectors.
So if Vector = <x, y, z>, then Vector.yzx would give <y, z, x>.

> Reminds me, our .grey and general color to grey conversion also has
> issues with being - off standard, I guess. A question on my - think more
> deeply about it someday - list, is whether on the fly color to grey
> conversion should get pulled from povr. I have this feeling it isn't
> 'really' necessary today.

I suppose - though I see no harm either.
Now, having brought that up, it reminds me that all 3 channels get combined into
a single scalar output.
If that could be done in a deterministic manner such that the channels could be
extracted back out (albeit with lower, but usable precision) then it would be a
nice way to cheat / work-around vector function output.
"Pairing functions" could be used, and maybe there are other better ways...
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/919612/mapping-two-integers-to-one-in-a-unique-and-deterministic-way


> I don't have much for free bandwidth beyond what I'm trying to do
> currently, but, is your email as used in your posts to the news groups
> one I can use?

Yes.  :)

I only mention it because sometime it helps to have things brought up at the
outset, rather than the ole' "Oh!  I wish I had known about that before ..."


> Your posts, John Greenwood's on the -1 to 1 blobbing, and many others
> over the years, all influencing to some degree whatever hacking I'm
> doing, not doing or might do in povr.

Well, I'm glad that you get something out of it.   I think we all get to the
point where our experiments serve to inspire each other to experiment, push the
envelope, and try things we might not ever have thought of doing.

I of course have learned much from your experience and informative posts, as
well as so many others.


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From: William F Pokorny
Subject: Re: Patterns / functions. Obscure details. Noise etc.
Date: 14 Apr 2020 11:51:24
Message: <5e95a3bc$1@news.povray.org>
On 4/13/20 2:03 PM, Bald Eagle wrote:
> William F Pokorny <ano### [at] anonymousorg> wrote:
> 
...
> 
>> Reminds me, our .grey and general color to grey conversion also has
>> issues with being - off standard, I guess. A question on my - think more
>> deeply about it someday - list, is whether on the fly color to grey
>> conversion should get pulled from povr. I have this feeling it isn't
>> 'really' necessary today.
> 
> I suppose - though I see no harm either.
> Now, having brought that up, it reminds me that all 3 channels get combined into
> a single scalar output.

That, today, only happens when you somehow invoke the rgb to grey 
functionality as with .grey, output to grey, etc. If you code
function { pattern brick } what that function returns is the single 
pattern value that would normally be used to drive the *map.

I got tangled up because I was using .<channel> to grab particular 
colors and some patterns had default maps while others did not.

> If that could be done in a deterministic manner such that the channels could be
> extracted back out (albeit with lower, but usable precision) then it would be a
> nice way to cheat / work-around vector function output.
> "Pairing functions" could be used, and maybe there are other better ways...
>
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/919612/mapping-two-integers-to-one-in-a-unique-and-deterministic-way
> 

Thanks for links.

Today I have the vector support sitting in the job pile with some sort 
of more general just in time compiling which would be used for all the 
language elements of the 'SDL' scene input. However, I'm unlikely to do 
such support as today's SDL, but rather by moving to tcl, lua - or maybe 
python. That work is way down the list though now and again I spend some 
days looking at the how of using chunks of POV-Ray as callable functions 
with bindings to whatever language.

Aside: IIRC lua has moved to llvm, but it's first vm in structure looked 
to me to be pretty similar to the vm and function handling in POV-Ray 
today. Which by the way I'm finding pretty efficient performance wise. I 
plan to post about some new povr inbuilt functions later today, two of 
which are 1 to 8 pairwise min/max implementations. In my performance 
comparisons these, at 8 pairs, with a min or max of those results on the 
back end, were only a little over 20% faster than using 15 min()s/max()s 
in a de-nested/flat way to do the same thing. This is in line with 
results from work I did more a decade ago where I created C++ versions 
of some complex SDL function/vm stuff hoping for big performance gains 
that did not materialize.

So, I see 'ease' of coding up what you want as the primary reason for 
something better - which gets back to your request to better vector 
support.

The v.zyx syntax has a name - like twizzling or something - and it's 
offered in some C++ vector template classes at significant complexity to 
those and with hits to compile time and compile memory requirements. We 
too have some issue internal to our current code with single value 
references being awkward - and somewhat inefficient - with our current 
vector template implementation (mostly for reasons of the more limited 
C++ version for which it was coded). Inside the code you'll see v.[X] 
and v.x() everywhere which are both ugly in C++. The former requires an 
overload on the [] - which inhibits optimizations all too often for one 
and sometimes doesn't get optimized away at all. The latter is a 
function/method call hard coded to the position in the vector which is 
often more efficient, but yep, still uglier than being able to code v.x. 


Anyway... Off to other efforts.

Bill P.


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From: Bald Eagle
Subject: Re: Patterns / functions. Obscure details. Noise etc.
Date: 14 Apr 2020 19:20:00
Message: <web.5e960ccf351a066fb0b41570@news.povray.org>
William F Pokorny <ano### [at] anonymousorg> wrote:

> That, today, only happens when you somehow invoke the rgb to grey
> functionality as with .grey, output to grey, etc. If you code
> function { pattern brick } what that function returns is the single
> pattern value that would normally be used to drive the *map.


> The v.zyx syntax has a name - like twizzling or something - and it's
> offered in some C++ vector template classes at significant complexity to
> those

Swizzling - yes that rang a bell, and a search confirmed.

Given the above .gray / .grey capability, I must admit it's a bit surprising
that .yzx would be more complex than either of those or .hf.

I will need to look at the source - wherever that might be.


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From: Bald Eagle
Subject: Re: Patterns / functions. Obscure details. Noise etc.
Date: 15 Apr 2020 01:15:01
Message: <web.5e965f21351a066fb0b41570@news.povray.org>
Any idea if I can [successfully] use the object{} pigment pattern in an
isosurface function, and what the proper syntax is?


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