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In RenderMan for Maya, this attribute is enabled by the "Prevent polygon cracking" (rman_preventPolyCracks) check box. 

Image RemovedImage Removed

Before After Image Sliderhoverfalsemethodoverlaywidth100%overlayedSlidertrueleftImageimage_galleries_uuid_smoothdisplacement_0_dsp_jpg-b4240a23-c538-4a46-ba56-21b2eaed643erightImageimage_galleries_uuid_smoothdisplacement_1_dsp_jpg-3ca84d73-fcef-4865-9815-53ecba4276f0Hover over the image to see its effects.


Rollover Image Link
hoversmoothdisplacement_1_dsp.jpg
imagesmoothdisplacement_0_dsp.jpg

Note

"Prevent polygon cracking" should only be enabled when necessary as it uses a bit more memory. The amount used is proportional to the number of vertices in the mesh.

Notice When you hover over the image, notice how using smoothed normals warped the cube's displacement pattern and changed its appearance:

image_galleries_uuid_
beforerollover-after-slider-macro-v2
hoverfalse
methodoverlay
width100%
overlayedSlidertrue
leftImage
image-link
hoversmoothdisplacement_topo_0_jpg-6b518b9f-2224-4217-83f7-9a7b8d9e1dd2rightImageimage_galleries_uuid_1.jpg
imagesmoothdisplacement_topo_1_jpg-15a93198-512d-49a9-ad78-2d11cc3117410.jpg

You can avoid that effect by inserting additional edges near sharp edges. This will limit the normal interpolation to the areas next to the edge and generally preserve the original appearance.

image_galleries_uuid_
beforerollover-after-slider-macro-v2
hoverfalse
methodoverlay
width100%
overlayedSlidertrue
leftImage
image-link
hoversmoothdisplacement_topo_0_jpg-6b518b9f-2224-4217-83f7-9a7b8d9e1dd2rightImageimage_galleries_uuid_2.jpg
imagesmoothdisplacement_topo_2_jpg-b521bc27-e766-4be6-a57e-389cb94287530.jpg