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View Full Version : Back after a long absence and have some questions



Mark R
06-09-2011, 11:00 AM
Hello,
I have been away from Lightwave and 3D for about 5 or 6 years. I just upgraded to v10 from 7. Now I'm trying to catch up and realizing what a mistake it was to be gone that long. I wasn't that serious before, but now I am feeling more driven to really learn this tool.

Some questions..

1)Are the printed manuals for v10 that are available for purchase more thorough than the PDF versions or are they just the same thing?

2)When I install LW, it installs and creates all its directories in the Programs folder. Reading the manual and some different books, they say you should create a content folder somewhere else other than in your programs folder, like C:\Lightwave\Content folder or something like that...and also create a config folder in this new location and change the path on the shortcuts. As far as plugins go, should they all be in one place? Should they be in the programs file directory or in the new content directory? Does it matter if multiple plugin folders different locations? When you tell it to scan for plugs in different locations, does LW recognize these locations or only look to the last place you scanned?

3) Is Msort still available or has something new and improved and free.. come out for organizing? I searched and can't find anything.

Thanks
Mark

Mark R
06-09-2011, 11:06 AM
I just remembered another question I had.
Are there any user groups or LW users in Chicago/burbs?
I checked the map and saw AGA is right up the road and only one other user in the area.

BigHache
06-09-2011, 01:58 PM
On number 2…

Content Directory
Yes it's a good idea to create a content folder that's not in the Programs folder. If you ever reinstall the application you don't want all your hard work to go away. Even here there are two schools of thought: A) Create a master content folder, B) Create a folder per project and set your Content Directory in LW per project. I would even go as far to say to have all your documents on a separate HDD so if the OS needs to get reinstalled you don't have to backup your documents before continuing.

Configs
This should only be needed if you install multiple versions of LW on the same system.

Plug-ins
I keep mine in the plug-ins folder. I create a "Third-Party" folder where any plug-ins I've bought or downloaded go, so if I need to reinstall LW all my third-party plug-ins are collected. Someone else may have more wisdom here.

Celshader
06-09-2011, 03:08 PM
Hello,
I have been away from Lightwave and 3D for about 5 or 6 years. I just upgraded to v10 from 7. Now I'm trying to catch up and realizing what a mistake it was to be gone that long.

Greetings,

I recently worked with some top LightWave artists who were in a similar boat to yours. They had not stopped using LightWave, but they had been so swamped with work for the past several years that they did not have time to pick up the newer features. I'd like to post a list of what they did not know in hopes that it may help you catch up with LW10.0.


They did not know that LW9.3 introduced a "Volume Stack" for transparent surfaces. Artists no longer need to create "air polys" for glass, jewels and water surfaces. Just make the surface transparent and single-sided, and give it the right index of refraction. The Volume Stack will keep track of rays as they enter/exit the surface and make sure they refract correctly. If you have legacy objects and do not have time to delete their air polys, check "Exclude from Volume Stack" on the surface panel to revert to the old refraction behavior for that surface.
They were not accustomed to the new Adaptive Sampling behavior in the Perspective Camera. When activated, the camera renders and re-renders pixels until the contrast between them is at or below the Threshold setting. The lower the Threshold, the more likely the Perspective Camera will re-render aliased pixels. These artists did not know that they could get away with lowering the Light Quality to 2 for Area/Linear lights, set the Samples of Refraction/Reflection blur to 1 and lower Radiosity samples to 4 and let Adaptive Sampling clean up the mess.
They were not familiar with the new Dome light. They did not know that it acts like a Distant light with a fuzzy edge. The bigger the angle, the fuzzier the edge. At Radical 3D they set the Angle to 0.25 degrees and use the Dome light for perfect outdoor sunlight.
They did not know that LW9.6 introduced a "Carpaint" material node that makes car paint a snap.
Some were not familiar with the new Node Editor. The Material nodes were a good starting point for them, because they could get great results with just one Material node. Dielectric is great for glass and water, while Conductor's perfect for metals.
They did not know about the "Thumbnail Review" option in the General Options panel in Layout, but they liked using it for F10 renders. "Thumbnail Review" puts a film strip across the top of the render preview window that shows the last few frames and their render times.
They did not know about the Surface Baker camera, but it helped them a lot when it came to consolidating texture maps on stock objects.
They did not know about the Node Editor in the Volumetric Light options panel, but they liked it because it made it easy to create cool-looking mists and fog with a single Volumetric light.
They did not know that you could control subdivision with a texture map as of 9.x.
They did not know that the Node Editor allowed separate textures to drive Bump, Normals and normal-based bump Displacement.
They did not know that you could easily mix Autodesk geocache deformations and MDD files with ZBrush displacements (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF46N2ENAZc) by loading the XML file into the Displacement Node Editor, and using Bump Displacement for the ZBrush displacement.
They did not know that it was possible to bake out an object's point's path in world-coordinate space in Layout by using ClothFX' EditFX "MakePath" function.


As for me, I did not know that LW10.0 introduced a native Weight Map blur tool to Modeler until last week. :D

I hope this list helps with some of the improvements added to LightWave since 7.x. I know I'm missing a lot, but these were some of the cooler features that the old pros did not know about until recently.

Netvudu
06-09-2011, 03:35 PM
As fantastic as Jens summary is,I would still mention some other key stuff such as Joints, and other new rigging options (native IK/FK blending, native dynamic parenting, etc...), VPR, new stereoscopic function, photoreal motion blur, oh and edge selection which I think it wasnt even possible back in version 7!
You really want to take a look at Linear workflow and how it makes our life so much easier in such a simple way.
Im sure Im still missing lots of stuff...and they say LW was not evolving!! HAH!



EDIT: oh! oh! aaand...IK Booster!! heheh ;D

wrench
06-10-2011, 02:40 AM
...and 64-bit for Windows and OS X; more light options; more camera options; APS; Denis Pontonnier; Viktor Velicko; Studio Production style Layout menus; and so on and on, and on... :D

B

Mark R
06-12-2011, 07:32 PM
Thanks allot. Extremely helpful info. Enough to keep me busy for some time. Back to the woodshed for me.

Celshader
06-17-2011, 04:22 PM
Thanks to everyone who added to the list. This is good stuff.

I forgot to mention one tiny thing that was added in LightWave 9.2 to help correct raytraced shadow errors in the shadow terminators of surfaces: Shadow Offset. If you feed LightWave a tricky surface like double-sided polygons or polygons that occupy the same space, errors can appear in the shadow terminator of the objects. A tiny value in "Shadow Offset" (Object Properties->Render tab) fixes errors like these.

I have attached images of RGB renders and Shadow buffers that show balls with double-sided surfaces and raytraced shadows. The first two images have a Shadow Offset of 0. The next pair of images have a Shadow Offset of 4mm.

Chris S. (Fez)
06-17-2011, 04:24 PM
Greetings,

I recently worked with some top LightWave artists who were in a similar boat to yours. They had not stopped using LightWave, but they had been so swamped with work for the past several years that they did not have time to pick up the newer features. I'd like to post a list of what they did not know in hopes that it may help you catch up with LW10.0....
.

Great reference. Thank you!

probiner
06-17-2011, 05:04 PM
Thanks to everyone who added to the list. This is good stuff.

I forgot to mention one tiny thing that was added in LightWave 9.2 to help correct raytraced shadow errors in the shadow terminators of surfaces: Shadow Offset. If you feed LightWave a tricky surface like double-sided polygons or polygons that occupy the same space, errors can appear in the shadow terminator of the objects. A tiny value in "Shadow Offset" (Object Properties->Render tab) fixes errors like these.

I have attached images of RGB renders and Shadow buffers that show balls with double-sided surfaces and raytraced shadows. The first two images have a Shadow Offset of 0. The next pair of images have a Shadow Offset of 4mm.

I want to kiss you right now... Oh wait this actually sounds bad in this situation... Anyway ty, ty, ty for highlighting that feature!

Celshader
06-17-2011, 07:26 PM
I want to kiss you right now... Oh wait this actually sounds bad in this situation... Anyway ty, ty, ty for highlighting that feature!

Glad to help. I forgot to mention that you only need to apply Shadow Offset to objects that have artifacts in their shadow terminators.

I also forgot to mention another goodie that came out during the 9.x cycle: "Merge only motion envelopes" when using Load From Scene. Two of my co-workers have not heard about this feature, but (as I mentioned above), they've been swamped with work for years and have not had a chance to keep track of all the NewTek announcements.

When checked, "Merge only motion envelopes" will attempt to match objects in both the master scene and the "load-from-scene" scene. If it succeeds, it will update only the motion envelopes of the matched objects in the master scene. If it cannot find a match for an object in the "load-from-scene" scene in the master scene, it will load the entire object from the load-from-scene scene into the master scene.

"Merge only motion envelopes" works best if the scene structures are identical and if all of the objects have the same names. That way one guy can animate while someone else tweaks the lighting and surfacing. It's OK if the objects from both scenes are in different directories, as long as the objects have the exact same filenames.