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View Full Version : Advise Needed: Modeling a "split-open" Pill Capsule with Content Spilling Out



dysamoria
01-18-2011, 04:36 PM
hello, i'm new here and am rather wet behind the ears on 3D modeling in general... i want to model an idea of mine but have no idea how. the shapes are all simple, but the arrangement is potentially very tedious.

i want to create a split-open pill capsule with the contents (spherical beads) spilled out (on a flat surface). i don't know a sensible way of arranging all the bead spheres other than manually positioning them, which i will not do because there's probably going to be too many for that. the only thing i can think of is to create a ton of spheres and animate them falling, and then somehow take the fallen position as my placement/layout. i don't want to create an animation, though, and this seems like it's not much better an idea (seeing as i would have to deal with the physics and such...).

ideas? particle generator? object replacement? scripts? i'm lost here.

i'd do this in photography, but i'll be replacing the sphere's with a different object (any way my camera can't do such an extreme macro).

thanks!

nickdigital
01-18-2011, 04:59 PM
This tutorial should help point you in the right direction.
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78490&highlight=cereal+bowl

dysamoria
01-18-2011, 05:34 PM
awesome! Thank you!!

XswampyX
01-19-2011, 06:05 PM
What about having two particle emitters, one placed in each half of the pill?

Just let it run until you are happy with it?

http://i465.photobucket.com/albums/rr16/xXswampyXx/BrokenPill_rgb0018.jpg

dysamoria
01-31-2011, 10:54 PM
that's awesome! would you mind sharing how you set that up?

the reason i've not considered particle emitters is because i want to use custom objects. is there an easy way of exchanging the default particle with a different object?

i've been trying to use the physics tutorial (cereal bowl) and i'm having massive problems. the intended falling objects are popping out away from each other on the first few frames then getting stuck on my capsule collision objects, instead of what they're supposed to do: fall inside the capsule. if i turn off self collision, they fall properly but do not interact (problem). i have no idea where to start troubleshooting this. frankly, there are too damn many settings.

to make matters worse, whenever i click on any of the buttons that have a drop down arrow on them (combo buttons??) in the Dynamics tab, Layout CRASHES. dude. i'm not using Carrara because it's a bug-ridden crash monster. apparently bugs and crashes are also the norm with Lightwave. WTH? so don't click on those buttons, right? not an answer. what if i need those functions?? and what about my problem with the surface editor? (see http://www.newtek.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1102818&postcount=65 ) why is it that every time i attempt to be productive, i encounter every possible bug?? i just want to learn and make art!! :(:(:(:(

(Lightwave 9.6.1, 64-bit, Mac OS X 10.6.6, MacBook Pro 2.2GHz, 4GB)

XswampyX
02-01-2011, 11:42 AM
Here you go.

http://i465.photobucket.com/albums/rr16/xXswampyXx/BPillSml.jpg

I find it's better to start with just one emitter and only a few particles, and then increase them when you are happy with the results.

dysamoria
02-01-2011, 01:25 PM
thanks!!

what's "nodeShader?" Layout tells me i don't have this plugin... i guess i can just ignore it...

hmm... the problem with using particles is i want custom objects. i'm trying to use Layout to model a pile of skulls. FXLinker supposedly can convert the particles to objects but it's not working on BOTH emitters. i run FXlinker on the left emitter and all works fine. particles are now skulls, including animation. i try to do the same to the other emitter and i just get a pile of skulls over top the existing clones, not animated.

THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING. WHY IS THIS SO COMPLICATED? every technique i try has some fatal flaw that looks like buggy behavior!!!!

WHY AM I EVEN TRYING?????

UPDATE: ok... load ANOTHER source object as the replace-source... right.. right right right... thanks for the clarity, Lightwave.

i really need to have a human being who knows Lightwave inside-out, sitting at my side helping me learn because so much of the behaviors are totally beyond my ability to just "know." manuals and tutorials never cover details like this. they cover single use of a feature, not the way users might extend the feature to anything other than the limited scope of the tutorial.

EDIT 2: i'll tell you what IS a bug: after duplication, the object list window doesn't update. i have to close and reopen it. i also LOVE the way it has a Rename action in the Actions popup menu... when you choose it, it says "to rename the object, save it as a different name." ***. when you do save it as a different name, it ALSO doesn't update the list view. you have to again close and reopen it. HALF BAKED.

dysamoria
02-01-2011, 02:34 PM
the objects are not coming to rest naturally. they're acting like spheres, but the objects aren't really spheres. so, after getting FXLink to clone the objects to the particles, i turn off the particle generator and just let HardFX do the work... but now they're piling into one mass, not stopping at collisions with each other. instead of piling up or bouncing, they're becoming just a pile of overlapped items. now what? i've played with settings, but i really don't know what the heck most of them are supposed to actually DO, despite what they're labeled. i'm seeing no changes.

dysamoria
02-01-2011, 04:14 PM
riiiiight.... i spent 2 hours adjusting objects to have lower polygon count to make calculation easier... editing objects to simplify their arrangement... modifying FX variables... i finally get the calculation to speed up and... LAYOUT CRASHES WHILE CALCULATING.

I

GIVE

UP.

lightwave is just as utterly useless to me as Carrara. i have NO idea how you people go from idea to execution. i guess i'm just a stupid moron. so be it.

Surrealist.
02-02-2011, 01:20 AM
Lol! Dude, you know how many times I go through that trying to work through problems in 3D, just generally? Many times. I was working through some cloth stuff a while back (not in LightWave by the way), and I had gotten into a fairly good place. The next day it all came crashing down because my trials put to further tests proved I had marched down the wrong path. I was deflated and felt the same way. "I'm just not cut out for this sht!" But I got up the next day and had at it again. New tests, new approach. Soon I had reached another plateau. A new set of tools and techniques that all of that work had brought me to. The good, the bad, the deflated and want to give up, all of it. I came out "the other side", in quotes because that is a little pretentious, but I came to a much better place. A place I can now build on in the future.

Only one bit of advice. Keep the sense of adventure. You are not alone, but at the same time you are on your path. It is never simple. It is never simple for anyone. Every artist is pushing the envelope. No software can predict the whims of the adventurous soul. Just keep your sense of experimentation and a feeling of going into a realm that may not have been traveled. And on that note, make sure you find out if it has been traveled, be diligent in trying to find out what other people have learned and written. But if it is not known, or not written, it is now up to you. You can be the one to discover things that have been hidden. Look for the gotcha's and figure them out.

And finally, when things are going badly in this way, there is a good chance you are in over your head. That is not a bad thing. You just have to cut it back. Break it down. Make it simpler.

When I get into a jam I shut down my scene, open up a new one and then scientifically put only the elements in my scene that represent the most basic effect I am trying to create. And then break that effect down into its parts. One by one. Take each thing and learn how it works, then move to the next thing methodically.

Rather than a whole jar of pills, try one pill, two. Simpler objects to test the calculations and so on.

And then also be open to other approaches. Things are not working all at once? It is a still? OK do it in parts. Take what will work and make it do what you need. In the end it is about cheating just enough to get by.

And remember finally it is not easy for anyone.

dysamoria
02-02-2011, 03:28 AM
thanks for your post. it is greatly appreciated. it's true i'm taking a huge bite of stuff all at once with this project. the way i see things, this stuff is still way way more convoluted and geektechnical than it ought to be. it's not accessible to people like myself. i'm a very very very literal and visual person. it's pounding my head on things just to get through simple stuff, it seems. 3D is so very much trapped in computer science instead of visual arts. the mentality of the tools, specifically.

i tried to reproduce the example of the particles (shown in the split pill example in the posting above), because modifying that project file to FXlink-clone my chosen objects onto the particles is the closest i've gotten so far. maybe if i could reproduce that, i'd then have less work to do in manually arranging the items that just don't lay realistically... but i found i couldn't even set up the particles!! the most basic things in Lightwave... the defaults... are so meaningless and useless. lets take rendering defaults for start: every project requires you to TURN ON shadows or they don't get rendered at all. it took me almost an hour to realize Lightwave was this stupidly configured by NewTek. i've many other examples i could list, but that one takes the poop cake. then to the physics/dynamics... the labels/names of the settings/controls make no sense. there's duplication. double negatives. simply unclear terms. it's not even as if a physics person would be able to understand it. it's all Lightwave-specific. you think you know what something means until it doesn't behave as you expect. then you look it up and either it means something entirely different or the explanation is almost totally useless.

it's not like i can just load up both projects and compare. Lightwave is one at a time.

but, anyway, it crashes on calculating four objects falling on three non-moving objects. that's not my learning curve. that's a crappy piece of software. then there's the fact that the objects wiggle and flick around upon impact with the capsule objects. i've tried every object mode for interaction there is and none of them are better (they're worse).

i just can't stand it. if i don't run into technical faults, it usually is quite a bit of effort to get my brain geared up for something totally new/different. i manage a lot of the time, but when glitches appear, i just can't cope. the stress of feeling helpless is too much for me. it didn't used to be like this years ago. life's been horrible and my tolerances are so low now. i've no one to look to for help. no guru. no mentor. no teacher. there's so much amassed data to collect on these topics that you can't get it all from a manual or a book or a forum. there's too much interaction between settings and functions to just figure it out step by step.

but thanks for the positive-minded feedback. it's nice to hear that i'm not alone in finding things to be very frustrating. i just don't know how people can create the things i see in the gallery. i thought my worst problem was not having ideas or not following through on them... but this experience has been really stinging. i thumbnailed some ideas on a sketch pad. i looked for advise on setting it up. i followed the advise. i researched. i asked questions. i tried and tried and tried and all i got from it is the feeling like i shouldn't bother. but clearly thousands of artists use THESE tools to make fantastic art. maybe they all use Windows or 32-bit. or have a magic leprechaun that puts happy technology spells on their systems...

it's voodoo. that's all i seem to get from my extended agonizing trials with 3D software. pure voodoo.

dysamoria
02-02-2011, 03:49 AM
i just re-set up the scene with only four dropping objects, planning to set it up as i've been trying so i could upload the project to this forum and let someone who knows what they're doing tell me WTF i'm doing that's so wrong... and the damn thing CRASHED on me AGAIN while calculating. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.

Surrealist.
02-02-2011, 11:28 AM
Well again I understand about your frustrations with LW dynamics.

Crashing could be many things, not just the plugin. It does also happen that at times your config files or even the LW install files can get corrupted. But I would be shooting in the dark to try an diagnose it from here. The best bet is to upload the crashing file, have other people take a look.

Regarding what artists do to create effects, I can not speak for every artist. But I can say for me, I always work it back from what I want to see. The path to get there is not significant.

It is all to easy to get stuck on a given path. Always realize that it is the end result that is key. Don't become fixated on a method. Change it if you have to to find another way to get the result.

Using something like dynamics for something predicable is always going to be problematic. And even if working perfectly, no two dynamics simulations are ever the same.

You can come to grips with all the dynamics settings. But it takes long hours patience and tons of experimentation.

In the end, just try and refocus on your goal. And ask yourself what you can tolerate. If the idea of beating your head against the wall with dynamics is too much, then simply put on some music, sit back and start stacking the skulls one by one. Never be apposed to doing it the hard way.

Your options:

1) Spending hours of endless head pounding, desk banging and screaming with dynamics.

End result - nothing

2) Hours of tedious placement of skulls and listening to your favorite music and eating a snack or two.

End result - your final image.

Never leave #2 out as an option.

And you can always come back to dynamics at a time when you will just be in the mindset of experimentation rather than the stress of trying to get a quick result.

That is not just a statement about LW dynamics. That is about anything complex where you have to rely on the computer to do it for you. There is no escaping this reality in any 3D program.

dysamoria
02-02-2011, 02:30 PM
that's surely a LOT of stacking of skulls... would there be progress eventually? dunno. they really have to look spilled, not arranged. i'm not looking to sit here agonizing over the translate tool for 100-150 objects...

are there other tools/methods to quickly arrange a lot of instances of the same object in Lightwave?

dysamoria
02-02-2011, 02:55 PM
running in 30-day limited use without my "permanent" license key (WTF?) i'm trying the dynamics again in my scene with Lightwave running in 32-bit (instead of 64-bit as i've been trying to)...

it behaves TOTALLY DIFFERENTLY than it did in 64-bit.

WTF NewTek???

the SAME values produce totally different behavior. this is a HORRIFIC screw-up on NewTek's part for math. and it's been this way for years?? and NO ONE ELSE is screaming??

so now i have to get customer service to issue me my "permanent" license key because for some reason you need totally different licensing for 64/32 bit versions...

EDIT: it calculates FASTER too

dysamoria
02-03-2011, 12:22 PM
end result, unless i'm still doing something terribly wrong, is that using dynamics to arrange these objects isn't going to work. it's too calculation heavy. even reducing the geometry on the skulls, it's far too much to calculate. it'd take hours to do a first trial and i can't work that way. i need a different method to arrange the skulls. i sure hope i don't end up manually arranging them...

but i learned something important about this process...

the Lightwave 9.6.1 beta that's available SUCKS as 64-bit. UTTERLY & HORRIBLY.

here's my scene file (i wasn't comfortable sharing my project but who cares... are you folks gonna steal my idea? it's not that great an idea):

Surrealist.
02-03-2011, 03:04 PM
Without even pressing the calculate button I see several problems with your approach.

1) The collision object has way too many points. Don't use the object you intend to render as the final scene for the collision object. This is probably the most basic thing you could learn about doing these kind of effects. Use a proxi object that has the general form. a very simplified 8 sided cylinder. And don't include any part of the cylinder that the objects won't likely kit like the top. In fact you could simply arrange a few collision planes in the right position to fake it even. Remember the calculation has to take into account all of the points in the scene.

Don't think literally about effects. What you see is never what you get. It is almost always never this way. Always think of the simplest least processor-intensive way to achieve the effect that looks right.

2. The skulls. They look fairly detailed. Nice low poly triangle mesh but together adds up to a lot. I would consider some method that allows you to use a proxi skull object and replace it.

And finally start simple. Set up a mock scene with just cubes and work out the settings and workflow first. Start with something that calculates fast so you can work out the kinks.

I pressed calc for about 15 secs on your scene. That is enough for me. Time to simplify.

Just some tips to get you headed in the right direction. Hopefully ;-)

dysamoria
02-07-2011, 10:06 PM
thanks Surrealist. you're right about everything you suggested. the geometry is too much for these things. the thing about not thinking literally... that's VERY hard for me. i'm autistic. literal and visual are my primary modes of mental processing. i'm a kinesthetic learner. i'm literal minded and visually driven. that's how i am naturally. all else is painful (seriously). that i've managed to get as far as i have with things ... i don't know. i'm more functional than some, but not as functional as i present. when i hit my barriers, it's really frustrating, as seen here.

the problem with using null collision objects for the pill pieces is that the inner surface of the capsule halves need to have these objects arranged in them too, not just the ground plane. maybe i should model simple poly bottom shells??

as for the skulls... i have considered using proxy objects for them, too, but how would i do that? i need skulls to be laying naturally. i could modify the model to eliminate eyes and nose and such, but still... the overall area has to be similar. then, how do i replace the proxies once they're arranged?

i've taken a very basic use of dynamics, a tutorial that demonstrates it, and found a very complicated execution that goes well beyond the technical capability of the tool. this is also common of me with 3D. sigh. it's VERY hard for me to work this out in a non-WYSIWYG manner. 3D is still so primitive, technologically, for my way of thinking/working. i'd rather be building props and miniature sets and photographing them, but i don't have the money for the tools and materials. if i did, i'd be better off with hand-manipulatable materials/tools.

shrox
02-08-2011, 11:51 AM
Most of us Lightwave users are "artistic"...and not primitive.

Surrealist.
02-08-2011, 03:11 PM
thanks Surrealist. you're right about everything you suggested. the geometry is too much for these things. the thing about not thinking literally... that's VERY hard for me. i'm autistic. literal and visual are my primary modes of mental processing. i'm a kinesthetic learner. i'm literal minded and visually driven. that's how i am naturally. all else is painful (seriously). that i've managed to get as far as i have with things ... i don't know. i'm more functional than some, but not as functional as i present. when i hit my barriers, it's really frustrating, as seen here.

the problem with using null collision objects for the pill pieces is that the inner surface of the capsule halves need to have these objects arranged in them too, not just the ground plane. maybe i should model simple poly bottom shells??

as for the skulls... i have considered using proxy objects for them, too, but how would i do that? i need skulls to be laying naturally. i could modify the model to eliminate eyes and nose and such, but still... the overall area has to be similar. then, how do i replace the proxies once they're arranged?

i've taken a very basic use of dynamics, a tutorial that demonstrates it, and found a very complicated execution that goes well beyond the technical capability of the tool. this is also common of me with 3D. sigh. it's VERY hard for me to work this out in a non-WYSIWYG manner. 3D is still so primitive, technologically, for my way of thinking/working. i'd rather be building props and miniature sets and photographing them, but i don't have the money for the tools and materials. if i did, i'd be better off with hand-manipulatable materials/tools.

If I get some time here in the next few days, I'll work out a step by step for you. Not saying that someone else won't beat me to it. But if it is still in need, I'll give it a whirl.

And yes on the capsule. It can contain the skulls but needs to be simpler.

dysamoria
02-09-2011, 12:22 PM
Most of us Lightwave users are "artistic"...and not primitive.

note that i didn't say "artistic..."

dysamoria
02-09-2011, 12:23 PM
thanks, Surrealist. :-)

dysamoria
02-11-2011, 01:49 AM
i decided to give this project some time off... so i went back to bashing my head against learning ZBrush. i'm bloody. but i might have gotten a little progress... i even began a character project... ran into a few minor bugs that made me more bloody... i almost finished with the armature, went to preview the mesh and BAM. CRASH. it's a reliable crash so i submitted to the forum to see what others think.. but there again... a project started, put effort into it... and it's just dead because of software problems. so i stopped working on that one, too. what's the point in trying? it's either massively more complicated to execute the idea within the confines of a piece of software's abilities, or there are so many bugs that i don't want to bother trying (or i just can't because the problems are terminal). so now i look at THIS project again.. maybe i WILL just sit here for a month arranging a hundred skulls... then Layout will crash because of some upward limitation, right? [bangs head on the brick wall that is 3D]