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twkelsey
01-27-2011, 04:53 PM
I have been using 3DCoat + LW to model/normal map/rig/animate models for use with the Unity 3D game engine. Recently, I have been seeing many posts from others talking about how great Silo 3D is for modeling game assets, so I downloaded it and went through the introductory videos.

I really liked the following things about Silo:

- Manipulators for verts, edges, faces, objects
- Clean workflow an UI
- Nice native tools for cutting meshes and creating edge loops
- Instance mirroring
- Ability to work primarily in perspective view using most native tools

However, it sounds like the devs arenít actively working on Silo any longer and there is no 64-bit version. I am hesitant to spend money on something that may be at the end of its lifecycle. Also, I found it harder to perform precise hard surface modeling in Silo than in LW. The other thing that worried me was that I encountered several crashes in the short time I evaluated the app, making me question its stability.

I noticed that TrueArt has some plugins that provide some of the functionality that I liked in Silo. Specifically, the EasyMesh, EasySplit and SwiftEdgeLoop. I can pick up these three plugins for the same price as Silo Pro, so I am trying to decide upon how to best spend my cash. I know that you can do character modeling in LW using its native tools, but I have found that to be more difficult than using Silo. With these TrueArt plugins it seems like the workflow in LW could be made to be very similar to Silo.

Does anyone have any experience using Silo or the TrueArt plugins. Any recommendations you would be willing to share?

Does anyone know if there is a plugin that allows for manipulators in LW similar to those in Silo?

I will be primarily modeling low-poly organic and hard-surface game assets, but occasionally I like to pretend that Iím actually an artist and create some high-poly stuff too :)

borkus
01-27-2011, 08:23 PM
I have a license for Silo and haven't used it for some time. My uncle still uses it and tells me that they issued an update somewhat recently. I really liked Silo in the beginning. Like you said, it had a very nice interface and the workflow was pretty slick. But, the lack of development and the general bugginess put me off. So, it's my opinion but I wouldn't invest in it at this point. I checked their forums and there wasn't a lot of positive things being said by the users that have used it from the beginning.

Radiolarian
01-27-2011, 08:43 PM
It's an open source project with new versions and improvements coming all the time. It's very easy to learn because it's focused on one thing: modeling. It has good uv tools and excellent modeling tools. And best of all it's free.

http://wings3d.com/

jasonwestmas
01-27-2011, 09:52 PM
If you want a better polygon modeler with some decent sculpting just get modo. It's like having a polygon modeler, sculpting, texture mapping and rendering all in one package. Therefore modo is clearly the best deal for $1,000 in a modeling and surfacing context. It has a more secure future than silo anyway.

Amurrell
01-27-2011, 09:55 PM
Or, heck, use Blender even. It has it's roots in the game industry, since that's how it came about. And it's free and open source. For more info check http://www.blender.org/ but I would download from graphicall.org for latest builds. Check it out and see if it can offer you something. I use it in conjunction with our beloved LightWave fairly often.

Rayek
01-27-2011, 10:45 PM
Or, heck, use Blender even. It has it's roots in the game industry, since that's how it came about. And it's free and open source. For more info check http://www.blender.org/ but I would download from graphicall.org for latest builds. Check it out and see if it can offer you something. I use it in conjunction with our beloved LightWave fairly often.

Second that - and you can test your objects directly in opengl game mode, if required. UV texturing is simple and fast. And modeling, once you get used to some shortcut key combos, can be very fast and efficient.

Wings would be perfect as a polygonal modeler, except for the small niggle that it does not support a wacom tablet (yet).

GraphXs
01-28-2011, 09:10 AM
I still use LW Modeler for modeling for pre-rendered and games. I own most of the TrueArt plugins, and they are a great addition to the LW modeler. I sometimes wish LWM had gizmos but it doesn't bother me or slow me down that it doesn't.

I never tried Silo but a few guys at work love it, I just never thought it offered enough difference in what i could do in LWM.
If you have a grand to spend Modo would be a good choice. If ya just need a few extra tools then just get the TrueArts plugins or look into Blender. For unwrapping the PLG Unwrapper is nice for LWM, you do have 3D Coat as well.

jasonwestmas
01-28-2011, 09:12 AM
I just don't see modeler having much of a future :)

Modo does.

JeffrySG
01-28-2011, 12:14 PM
Just to throw in my 2cents here...

I actually was modeling in SILO before I bought LW. I still love the overall interface of SILO but it has not seen any real love from its developers in a long time now. And for hard surface work it's just not that good. For subd organic work I still think it's pretty good and people do some amazing work with it....

Personally it sounds to me that twkelsey would be better off just getting a few extra plugins to enhance the LW modeling experience. You already have 3DC so you have good retopo and uv tools as well as sculpting and painting - and I didn't get the impression that you wanted to spend $1000 on something like modo.

I would definitely recommend swiftedgeloop for subd work. And then you could pick up a few other plugins to help your modeling. If you've tried the demo of SILO you'll either feel that you want to incorporate it into your pipeline or not. For me I don't really ever open it up anymore but I don't really do any organic modeling. I do miss the great workflow and how you can customize the mouse setting all your want in SILO but there are things you can do in LW to make it more SILO like. I do miss the manipulators and the soft selections though sometimes.

The only way I would maybe recommend SILO is if you just totally love the interface/workflow and you plan on doing your organic modeling in it. If you plan on using it for paid work it would probably be worth the $160 bucks to have it if you love working in it. Just don't expect it to be more than it really is. When you read the forums you'll quickly get a feeling from the users that it's not going to be growing too quickly or very much in the near future. Which is a shame because it had such potential. I bought v1 with a free upgrade to v2 about 5 years ago or so... it hasn't really changed a ton since then - besides adding some displacement painting and some uv tools.

probiner
01-28-2011, 05:33 PM
4. Edge bevelling and rounding suck big time and don't work properly!

Modo has a "Rounder"?

probiner
01-28-2011, 06:35 PM
It's just bevel there with options to round.

Gotcha

jasonwestmas
01-28-2011, 06:41 PM
It's just bevel there with options to round.

Edge Bevel in Xsi is the same kind of thing.

probiner
01-28-2011, 07:00 PM
Anything that will do this? (From the first to the second state) Bevel but keeping original edge...

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s202/animatics/InSeconds_2.png

jasonwestmas
01-28-2011, 07:51 PM
Anything that will do this? (From the first to the second state) Bevel but keeping original edge...

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s202/animatics/InSeconds_2.png

In which program?

Not exactly, but I can get something similar using the extrapolation and sharpness settings in Xsi.

probiner
01-28-2011, 08:48 PM
Not it, but it's close though.
(I was asking any..)

It definetly looks like a modifier stack operation.

Edit: sry for the hijjack

Sensei
01-28-2011, 11:58 PM
For serious game work you should also consider getting TrueArt's BatchBakingCamera, to bake LightWave specific texturing to 3D game engine compatible image maps. BBC is the only thing that will bake hundred models at once.

There is also question- is Silo loosing LW specific textures and nodes settings while remodeling almost ready object? Because if even it supports LWO, but not storing/restoring surface data chunks, workflow will be much harder when you will find out that some polygons or points are not in good locations, and modification of object in Silo will destroy texturing..

Actually this question apply to any 3rd party modeler which supports LWO. Including Modo.

Can somebody load LWO fully textured with regular texturing and nodes and check what happens with texturing after modification of geometry in Modo/Silo and saving object.. ? Will texture layers and node trees survive this experiment? :)

twkelsey
01-29-2011, 01:02 AM
Thanks everyone for all of your insights. I always appreciate that the LW community is so helpful.

My current workflow for organic modeling is:

Use 3DC to voxel sculpt, retopo, UV, bake normal map, paint (optional), export to .lwo. Then I use LW Layout to surface/bake textures (optional), rig, animate and export FBX to Unity 3D. In this scenario, I really only need a poly modeler to tweak the retopoíd mesh (if necessary) prior to rigging/animation. For hard surface assets Iíve just been using LW modeler.

But there are times when I would prefer to create a low poly mesh for a character in a modeler, and import that into 3DC for detailing/normal map generation. After reading everyoneís input I am thinking that perhaps simply adding a few plugins to LW Modeler to make the base mesh modeling a bit easier may be the way to go for now.

Modo definately looks sexy and I have been tempted to drop the money to get it for a while, but since I have already paid for LW HC I would like to see where Newtek takes the modeler before I take the dive into something else that costs $1K.

I did take some time as recommended to sit down with a friend of mine who is a Blender guru and get an overview of the modeling features. I hadnít seen the new 2.5 UI and was impressed with the improvements they have made. I will definitely investigate Blender more as time permits.

geo_n
01-29-2011, 04:29 AM
If you're looking for another modeller besides what's included in lightwave maybe you can try http://www.fragmosoft.com/
Its dirt cheap and looks to be focused for game modelling.
I've only heard of it at 3dcoat forums and become curious.