Under review

Boxshot 5.2 Beta Feedback

Vitaly Ovchinnikov 1 year ago updated 1 year ago 35

The new version and features list is here, discuss?

Love the new features (can’t wait until hardback comes!).

Adding a leaf takes a little while because you can adjust the bezier in two places. I wonder though, is it really necessary? Surely a book leaf is going to follow a simpler path?

Also, I didn’t see a way of saving a shape.

Regarding thickness. Typically I will know the thickness of the spine, say 18mm and the number of pages in a book, say 180 pages. Surely it would be easier for the user to simply type the page count of the book rather than having to calculate the pages per cm. Also is it pages per mm or leaves (Ie half the number of pages) per cm?

Under review

Thanks for your feedback, appreciated. Let me briefly comment on your points:

The editor is quite experimental at the moment. There are some ideas we're currently testing and using two-segment curves is one of them. We try to avoid a full-featured curve editor just for pages, so there is no adding/removing of control points there. From our tests, one segment is not always enough for some complex configurations, so there are two. You don't need to configure them both, you can simply drag the second one further away from spine and do everything with the first one, like on the screenshots in the blog.

There is no way to save the shape, as it depends on the book thickness and cannot be re-used with a different spine without re-arranging some of the curves. If you want a copy - copy the whole book. You can add the book as a user object to the left panel and have a couple of handy book configurations there.

As for the pages per cm - the idea is that you may not need it this way. Sometimes it is better to have "thick" pages to make them extra visible on the rendered image. Sometimes you may want to have the relief barely visible, so we started with a simple "page thickness" slider, measured in percents, but then switched to the current approach. Let's hear the other people - it is not a big deal to switch this to pages per mm or to the pages count.


another observation, if I have a book spread and I want to add a cover spread, there doesn’t seem to be an option to wrap cover like there is in a book cover. I realise that it’s probably more important for the inside book cover to be able to add just one image, but it would be nice to be able to quickly put the full spread on the back.

The current plan is to let the full cover artwork go with the new books. The problem is that this way we cannot measure cover and spine width, which complicates the process. Instead, consider dropping the same "full cover" image to all the sides and then use "Crop Texture" button to cut the proper parts of the artwork.

I don’t understand. If the width of the page is 15×22 and the spine is 1, then the cover is going to be the width of the page × 2 + the spine, ie 31 and the height will be 15. For a paperback book this is easy. For a hardback, then you will have to manually put in the difference in size between the cover and text block.


Boxshot has "Fit to images" feature that gets all the dimensions from the artwork you provided. For 3-pieces artwork we can easily get all the sizes, while for the single-image cover we can only get the height. For old book we used the user-provided thickness to calculate the width, we want to use a more general approach this time.

Anyway, we'll add this to the poll to see what other people think.

Hi Vitaly, Just wondering when "Mapping Mode" and "Fit mapping to" are going to make their way into 5? I still have to use version 4 for some things because of the lack of UV mapping options. This is more of a pain when I have multiple renders for the same job because of the differences in rendering between the two versions. It looks more obvious that the renders from 4 are out of place.

They go to the embedded models, right click the nodes in model editor to see these and other options. There are no plans to leave this feature for the built-in shapes. If you need this for built-in shapes - please provide some details, so we can add this as an option to the specific shape.

Also, version 4 projects with custom mapping on embedded models should be loaded properly in version 5. The mapping will be applied to the embedded model and the final result should look exactly the same. Let me know if it doesn't work for you.

Thanks. I had no idea about the right clicking in the Model editor. That solves my immediate problem. As far as built in models are concerned I do sometimes have to change the mapping on Lathe and Loft items with complex shapes. I'll see if I can find an example when I get the chance.

Sure, such an example would really help. The built-in objects should do the job themselves. Re-mapping is an expensive operation to run after each change of the shape, so we want to limit it to embedded 3rd-party models only.


Actually while I'm on that subject I really do prefer the version 4 rendering when it comes to floor shadows. It is almost impossible to get a good floor shadow in 5. Let me clarify what I mean by that. The floor shadows extend too far out and go beyond the bounds of the canvas. This means when I want to use a render of an object on a white page you can see the square edges of the shadow rather than it looking like it is sitting on the page. I have tried adjusting the "Floor Shadow Spread" right back to 0 in some instances and besides not looking as good there is still a very fine dot from the shadow that extends beyond the bounds of the canvas in many instances. I realise that if I use the Camera distance slider to move the object further back to make it smaller within the frame this solves the issue but then I end up having to render at much larger resolutions and end up with a large amount of white space around the objects which makes it harder to use multiple renders side by side. Anyway I hope you understand what I am saying but basically Version 4 had much nicer tighter floor shadows.

Oh gosh yes! I also find this to be a real issue with version 5.


Please see the hints above and if they don't help - provide more details and/or a sample scene. Floor is quite a "fake" object for physically-based rendering and it is quite a pain to make a good looking shadow there. But we'll be there one day.

We're working on that, but it is not that easy. If the "shadow spread" doesn't work for you (would be nice if you can share a simple scene showing the problem), you can also put a plane shape on the floor. Enable it metallic reflection, set reflection level to 0% and make diffuse tint white to get a white "floor". It will not show background, but the shadow will be more predictable.

Sorry, just one more thing while I think of it. I still have to use 4 for one other thing as well. There is a model of a certain plastic transparent product that I still need to render out for certain reasons every now and then and I still have to use the RayTracer (depreciated) renderer in version 4 to render with because it does a FAR superior job than any of the other render settings in 4 or 5 and even Owlet actually.

Can I see it, please? Version 5 should do translucent plastics much better, compared to version 4.

This dropbox link will download the sample renders. I have named the files so you can tell which is which. link removed

As you will see the V4 Depreciated render is much, much clearer and has great refractions and much better texture in the embossing and all around is a far more visually pleasing image. This is all primarily up in the lid.

Sure, the old version looks better, but I am 99% sure that the problem is somewhere else. May I see the project itself, please? You can send it privately, if you like. Just make sure you added all the artwork, so I can test it here exactly the same way as you do.

also there is a bug when the model is “open in the middle” that the back side looks like this:

This is not a bug. You look at the book from under the floor, and the floor is opaque for everything, except the background. Try turning the floor off to see the cover, or move the book up. You still see the book elements that are very close to the floor, this is done on purpose to let you see planes right on the floor etc.

understood. thank you.

another comment, I appreciate the reflection and shading, but this is for books that are made of paper. Some books are indeed glossy, but for a regular book, the paper is matte and I wouldn’t expect to see any reflection like I see here. The opposite page isn’t really a light source here. 

Of course I could have my settings all wrong. For this example I played with a high refraction and high roughness to see if it would help.

and here too, I only just noticed it, the text has been reflected into the image like glass. 

Well, this is configurable. The default page material is "plastic"-like with some roughness not make it not that reflective, but at such angles you can still see some reflection. Try increasing roughness, setting it to 100% will remove any reflections for sure. Let me know what numbers work for you, so we can re-consider the defaults here.

okay, I’m rendering now with 100% roughness on all the pages. I would have thought that there should be three basic setting corresponding to the three paper types: matte, semi-matte and glossy. Further if a person wanted to adjust those built-in settings for books, then it would apply to all pages.

so this is 100% roughness. much better

I am not sure this can be easily fit into Boxshot materials model... A shape comes with a set of default materials and from there you can either edit them manually, or apply the built-in or saved ones. We can't simply make a "make all pages glossy" button, as "glossy" is quite a subjective thing, after all. Also the cover could easily be different than the inner pages, so the button should not affect all the pages.

What we can do is to add some sample paper materials into the assets folder, but again - wouldn't it be faster to quickly adjust the roughness slider? What do you think?

In the image above, I added 3 leaves of a book. I think it’s cumbersome to have to adjust each side of each leaf – as it is, it’s quite a lot of work to set up each leaf. Books typically have all their pages the same and books that are mainly text, will have a matte finish. The default for a book has to be matte. For a book cover, I would make the default semi-matte. 

I understand that gloss is subjective, but I don’t think it’s a problem to have three base settings that you can adjust, just like you have different book models. 

I have never ever in real life ever seen a reflection of another page even in the glossiest of full colour books!

Also, whilst discussing the settings, I think there needs to be some visual feedback when adjusting the settings for a page.

For example in the image below, I think I made the colour pages 50% roughness, and I think I made page 394, 100% roughness

However, if you look, I have lost some of the brilliance of the image by using 50% roughness.


I guess we'll start with "rough" pages for now, then you can adjust the special pages, if needed.

As for the saturation or brilliance, have a look here: https://boxshot.com/boxshot/tutorials/advanced/saturated-reflection/, especially the "how it works" section, to get a better understanding of what's going on under the hood.

PS: btw, you can adjust a single leaf, then drag and drop it onto others either in the materials list, or in the book itself. This way you will only need to apply the artwork.

thank you for the link. Because I only do stuff with books (which is why this update is so incredibly exciting for me), the emphasis is only paper, but it’s still very useful to understand.

Not sure what you mean on how to do it more quickly by dragging and dropping. I still have to apply all the setting multiple times. With the exception of a colour insert of 16 pages like in the Queen book above, why would you want different settings for different pages? All pages in a book are made from the same paper.

I feel very strongly that the defaults for a book should be correct. So 100% roughness I think is correct.

I’m not sure I understand what “Refraction enabled” does here.

It is not clearly covered in the tutorials, but once you configured a material (say for a specific page), you can grab it with your mouse in the materials list at the right panel and drop it onto another item in the same list. Or drop it onto the shape itself. This way you copy all the settings of a dragged material to the one you dropped it onto. Then you apply the proper artwork and the page is ready.

More, you can use the same material names while editing the book pages. If two pages have the same material name in the editor, it will be only listed once in the materials list. If you are OK about two pages looking exactly the same, just use the same names. Otherwise, setup a single page and drag it to all the other pages around.

Finally, you can drag the material not only to another one, but to your desktop. Boxshot will make a material file that you can re-use later.

As for the "refraction enabled" parameter you see, iIn Boxshot all the materials are based on the same template, where you can configure reflection, roughness, transparency, relief etc. You can enable metallic reflection, increase its level and make your page metallic. Although it doesn't make sense at first, you can then apply a reflection mask and make a foil stamp on your page. You can combine reflection and roughness to make spot-UV effect on your cover. Or you can apply a semi-transparent image and make the page look like the piece is cut out of it. Depending on the reflection parameters it may look like an old page with some parts missed, or as a plastic-laminated old page. Then you can apply bump and make it look crumpled. If we do a special material for all the cases like that, the list will be too long. That's why all the materials are the same and only differ by the values of their parameters. That's why you see refraction and other options there.

so I played with the tutorials some more. I still don’t understand how to copy materials. If I have created a shape like above, apply all the different pages and then decide I want the roughness to be 100%, what do I drag where?

What you describe is multi-editing which is not supported. Try it the opposite way: configure a single page exactly the way you want it. Here I made the right page golden:

Imagine that I spend an hour on that, fine-tuning the material and don't want to do the same for the left page. So I simply drag the "Page 2" item onto the left page:

Once you release the mouse, you'll get the left page gold, as well:

You can also drag it onto the "Page 1" item in the same list, result will be the same.

So once you have a single page configured the way you need, you copy it to other pages like I did above, then just apply the proper artwork.

Hope this helps.

Okay, I will try this tomorrow. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this to me.

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