New materials render - feedback

Discussion in 'Shapeways Shops' started by wgseligman, Jul 17, 2014.

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  1. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    I have some feedback on the new materials render procedure.


    Right now, the new renders appear without any captions. The only way a customer knows which material is being displayed is by looking at the other side of the screen, in the "Choose material" section. That's fine if the customer is selecting the material in that way, but confusing if the customer is browsing through the pictures on the left-hand side of the screen.


    There's always a balance between offering the customer a choice versus confusing them with too many options. I generally like to offer the customers options, especially for closely-related materials: If a model will print as Stainless Steel, I see no reason not to offer them a choice of Matte Gold Steel, Matte Bronze Steel, etc.

    My problem is that every single material I offer is being shown in the pictorial list of renders in the left-hand side of the page. I think this is confusing for the customer. What I'd prefer is, at least for Shapeways' renders, I get to choose which ones are shown on that list. If a customer clicks on a material that I've not elected to show immediately, then that particular render can be displayed on the left.

    Aside from the Stainless Steel family, this would be particular useful for the precious metals. I strongly doubt that anyone will ever purchase any of my items in gold or platinum, but I'd like to give them the option. Having the renders for those materials in the picture list is distracting.


    Aside from the item I've selected as the default material, my own pictures of items printed in different materials are being shown among the list of Shapeways' renders, causing my pictures to be lost. Here's one of my products as an example: ze.html?beta=1


    You've already received feedback on the issue of switching from Z-axis to Y-axis in the default render pose. Fortunately, I have few enough models that this doesn't especially bother me. What's a bit annoying is that the only orientations I can select are rotations about one of the axes.

    When I design a model for Shapeways, I try to choose an orientation that I think will aid in a successful print. (Maybe your model-processing software is capable of determining this on its own, and my efforts are wasted; if so, please let me know.) With the new renders, it looks like I'll have to pick an orientation that will result in a good render in my shop.

    I'd rather have more flexibility in orienting the model on the Shapeways site. This leaves me free to pick the orientation in my own 3D software to suit needs other than marketing: successful print, easier to make revisions, etc.

    Thanks for paying attention!
  2. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    Click on X/Y/Z to pick the starting angle, but then you can rotate the model around that axis by clicking on the picture and dragging. Then when you pick "Generate Renders" that viewing angle will be used for the generated images.

    There are a certain set of angles that you can not get your model rotated to because it limits you to having the axis always "Up", you cannot for example have the coordinate (1,1,1) be straight overhead, but the set of choices presented should give us a fairly large range of viewing options.
  3. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    There is a long standing request for designers to be able to pick their own print orientation. I can best explain it by saying "It's complicated", but I wanted to make note of three specific points:
    - A good bit of the orientation decision is done by automated packing software (written by someone other than Shapeways) that tries to pack the set of models being batched as densely as possible to maximize the printer utilization. This software generally ignores any orientation that you selected and will rotate the model "any direction" to make it fit best.
    - At the same time however, certain models have proven to print better with specific orientations such as model airplanes are printed nose-down so that they produce the best overall result.
    - One example: I might have this backward, but long cylinders tend to be printed vertically because they have a tendancy to deform because of gravity and be non-circular if printed horizontally. Unfortunately, that means that any stepping errors between layers is a bit more noticeable. Sometimes there is a trade off between surface quality and structural shape. Until the machines can make perfect geometry with perfect surfaces, then we as designers will have to learn how to detail with those choices - gravity vs stepping.

    If/When we do get the ability to select print orientation, we as designers will have to pick the angle(s) twice, once for sales presentation, and again for best perceived print quality.

    @wgseligman: THIS update to the system was about giving us control over the Sales Presentation. Take that and run with it. Print Orientation is a topic for a future update.
  4. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    Thank you for the response, Stony. It answers my question about my last point, "Orientation."

    I'm still concerned with the effective sales presentation, as I mention in my first three points. In particular, how would you recommend shop owners handle the potentially confusing number of additional rendered items which will show up under the main picture on the left side of the shop page?
  5. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    <lightbulb comes on>
    Ah.. I see the problem now.
    99% of the time I design in FUD, so I only have one material to deal with.

    wgseligman: Please enter this issue on the Feedback Form.

    I'll do what I can to help explain it.
  6. seriaforma
    seriaforma Well-Known Member
    The renders are nice and some of my items look great rendered but ...

    They seem to be mixed in with my own photos. Is it possible to add them to the END of all photos, rather than mix them in? I really don't want to reload photos again and I prefer actual photos to a render. Or just offer the render if a buyer selects a material not photographed? Mixed in makes the product listing look kind of junky.

    Is there any way to pick and choose whether a material is rendered or not? Or would I have to completely deselect a material? In some cases, the render is not flattering but I know the model would look good in the material itself (which is why I selected it).

    I like the feature but it would be nice to give shop owners more time to play with it and it would be nice to have more control over its use.
  7. jakob7
    jakob7 New Member
    Hmmm when I edit the details i see the different renderings, but not showing at my shop.

    Just one image?
  8. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    jakob7: You won't see the new renders on your main shop page. You can only see them if you click on the last word on the last paragraph of your Details page, the one that reads "*This feature is not yet visible to shoppers. Save changes to see a preview of what your page will look like here.".
  9. MrNib
    MrNib Well-Known Member
    I tried this on a model but nothing seems to be happening. All I see on the edit page is a swirly thing just left of the Generate Renders button. Waiting much more than 10 minutes and nothing changes. Hit the save button just in case something happened but wasn't visible, hit that last work to see the page preview but it's no different than the original. I've tried this on Chrome and Explorer, but no apparent success. Any suggestions?
  10. jakob7
    jakob7 New Member
    Sorry missed that "This feature will go live to shoppers in a few weeks.".
  11. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    I think the render farm went offline for a while during the night. It seems that it's back up now.
    I'll pass the info along to the support team.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
  12. MrNib
    MrNib Well-Known Member
    Doubtful that's the problem since the same thing was happening the day before. Just checked on a different model in case the original one was hung up but it's doing the same thing.


    Am I missing some key software/updates for use with Java or Flash? Something more fundamental seems to be happening though as I can't get beyond this point on different computers running different browsers over the span of several days. What should I be seeing where the swirly thing is? Something just won't load for me. In Chrome I turned off my flashblock and adblock extensions but still nothing.

    On a related note I'm not seeing the rationality of cluttering up the photo area with more renders of images that are not real. Would it not make more sense to have a dedicated render window be displayed or pop up when someone clicks on a material option in the upper right hand corner? You have to do that to see the prices of the model in different materials so why not do something similar with the renders? Something that shows an image of the render AND it's price when a material is clicked?

    And if you must add renders how about adding a separate image band of ALL the renders below the image band of uploaded photos? That way everyone's uploaded store images would be more observable and manageable. Also uploaded images and renders might not get as dis-ordered, mixed-up, and mucked-up down the line in an incredibly long single scrolling image band as changes are made to the model page format..
  13. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    My feedback on the new materials renders, in order of decreasing importance.

    Generally it's a good thing and I'm happy about it.

    However I can't use it because it's too slow. In the wee hours I see waits of many minutes for models to load into the pose-choosing pane, and up to an hour for all renders to generate. I managed to set one or two models to verify that it works, but I can't go through 200 models like this.

    Agree with everyone that the automated renders must not be mixed in with my uploaded images. At worst they should be after them, at best they should be explicitly separated. That we have no way to change the order of images was inconvenient before; now it's fatal.

    I'm not happy with the restricted choice of viewpoint. In most models I can't get the view I want. That should be completely free.

    Please allow images to be set as default that don't have a material assigned. I use a generic rendering style that's not intended to represent any particular material; I think that's appropriate in a manufacturing environment where users choose the material. I understand you don't feel it's the best marketing choice, but it's what I want, and I'd appreciate not having to lie to your system to do it. The way things are now, I'm falsely labeling all my images as WSF polished so I can display them as default, and that's going to be more confusing to customers than if you let me do what I think is right. I don't mind if they're all marked RENDER IN NO PARTICULAR MATERIAL PROCEED WITH CAUTION IT WON'T LOOK LIKE THIS, just let me use the generic images as default.

    Lastly, this doesn't have to do with the renders, but there's a bug in all tabs of model editing, where the "Save Changes" button is always red. When clicked it turns green for about 2 seconds and then red again. Current Firefox/Windows.

  14. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    I could stand t be corrected, but you should not have to wait for the render to actually finish running.. No need to hit "Save" for it to be saved. Just pick your angle, hit "Generate Renders", and then move on to the next model.

    Yes, it's still a good bit of work. I won't debate that. But, also remember.. if you are generally happy with the "old" viewing angle, then you don't have to go thru all this work.. When they kick in the bulk-update process in August, then ALL of your models will get re-generated. That August process will re-generate any render that you have not already changed on your own, with the "default / old" viewing angle. As I understand it, all you need to focus on for now is any that you feel have the wrong viewing angle. (I have no shortcut to offer and feel your pain if you feel that ALL of your viewing angles are wrong <frown>)
  15. MrNib
    MrNib Well-Known Member
    After 14 minutes, and I started my stopwatch a few minutes after opening the details edit window, I'm still just seeing the swirly. Is that the place where you can select an angle before clicking on generate renders??? This is all very, very frustrating - like Facebook.

  16. MrNib
    MrNib Well-Known Member
    30 minutes plus. I give up. See you all in August.
  17. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    Of course ALL of my viewing angles are wrong. :-}

    It seems like when I visit the Details tab for the first time it starts generating renders for the existing angle automatically? Or something. Anyway there is no Generate Renders button unless both the model-loading and the render-generating processes are finished, and there's no way to interrupt them, and it seems like one of them is always running. So basically I have a lot of trouble getting to that button.

    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  18. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    I reported that bug.. there should be a fix "soon" (likely a few days). This should not happen across ALL of your models, should only affect certain older ones.
  19. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    Thank you, it's good to know it's a bug and not overloaded servers. I am seeing it in new uploads as well as old models.
  20. MrNib
    MrNib Well-Known Member
    Things are finally working for me, I guess. However just adding the "multiple materials" label to my two existing uploaded photos is changing the order of the photos in the scroll band, leaving a new render between the two uploaded photos. That's going to be messy so I hope you're eventually adding something that automatically orders photos based on a pre-established standard material order or allows an override to set specific orders.


    red render

    The render looks a lot better than the photo, or in other words I've got to up my game in the photo taking department.
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