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Richard Hebert
10-17-2011, 08:08 PM
Hi guys and gals,

I'm creating a cloth sail for a dock scene and... I'm using ClothFx (yaayyy!) Anyway, things are looking pretty good but I'm needing to know if weight maps work with clothfx. I'd like to keep stretching or movement in some areas of the cloth lower than others. I don't want to eliminate all movement like fixed points but rather have stitched areas of the sail move a little less. Is this possible? You guys have been really helpful over these years. I can't express my appreciation enough for all of the generous help that makes these small projects even possible.

Richard

Dodgy
10-17-2011, 08:20 PM
Hi guys and gals,

I'm creating a cloth sail for a dock scene and... I'm using ClothFx (yaayyy!) Anyway, things are looking pretty good but I'm needing to know if weight maps work with clothfx. I'd like to keep stretching or movement in some areas of the cloth lower than others. I don't want to eliminate all movement like fixed points but rather have stitched areas of the sail move a little less. Is this possible? You guys have been really helpful over these years. I can't express my appreciation enough for all of the generous help that makes these small projects even possible.

Richard
Yup, that's possible. You need to create your weight map then select it using the FX button next to each field you want to control with it. ClothFX will then use the field's value at 100% on the weight map, an in the FX button there's the option to set the value use where the weight map is 0%.
So if you, say, want to have spring at 1000 at 100% in the weight map, set that in the field, and then set spring to 10,000 using the option in the FX button.

Richard Hebert
10-17-2011, 08:30 PM
Thanks for the heads up but I'm having difficulty using those efx buttons... seems that LW 9.6 keeps crashing when I try to use any of them... damn that was close! Almost had what I was looking for. Well, time for tech support... Very quick response, btw! Thanks again for the good news.

Richard

Dodgy
10-17-2011, 09:21 PM
Are you using the Mac or pc version? I've never had any crashes using them, so this has me perplexed...

Richard Hebert
10-17-2011, 10:05 PM
I'm on a Mac Pro. dual quad core with 6gb of ram, nvidia graphics card.

ShadowMystic
11-13-2011, 06:31 AM
Yes the dreaded ClothFX crash. I always save before I work with Dynamics. I;ve had crashes with weights and such seemingly because of coplanar polys and points with weights. Maybe try merging and unifying?

Surrealist.
11-13-2011, 07:18 AM
Hi guys and gals,

I'm creating a cloth sail for a dock scene and... I'm using ClothFx (yaayyy!) Anyway, things are looking pretty good but I'm needing to know if weight maps work with clothfx. I'd like to keep stretching or movement in some areas of the cloth lower than others. I don't want to eliminate all movement like fixed points but rather have stitched areas of the sail move a little less. Is this possible? You guys have been really helpful over these years. I can't express my appreciation enough for all of the generous help that makes these small projects even possible.

Richard


Could you provide a screen cap of the object so we can see what areas of the cloth object you want fixed in this way? There may be other options available.

Netvudu
11-13-2011, 10:07 AM
One topical gotcha with using weight maps for cloth fx is to forget to define the base value. That's the value that lw will assign to 0% values on your weight map, and almost always you DON'T want it to be 0. For instance, a zero value for the cloth weight (as in mass) will frequently crash your simulation for obvious reasons.
Be sure not to fall into this!

Richard Hebert
11-13-2011, 08:52 PM
This isn't the best angle but I wasn't going to tackle this problem until I upgraded to LW11. The sails are attached to the masts at their corners. Each corner is a single fixed point which lets the sail stretch too much in that area. Fixing more than 1 point creates a very harsh transition between the fixed point set and the 'cloth'. I'm needing a weight map to transition from the fixed point set at the top of the sail. The trouble is the stupid software crashes every time I tick the damn box in the dynamics tab. None of those work on my new computer. So... I'm going to upgrade to LW11 and hope that they work on the new Mac. I swear, I see all kinds of great work out there but I'll be damned if I know how the hell it's possible. On this project I've encountered more bugs in the software than I've killed in all the apartments that I've ever lived in... combined. I'm still hashing out bones and .bvh files for this project. That's a whole story in itself. Thanks for the help though. It always comes in handy even if the software won't allow me to use it.

Richard

Richard Hebert
11-14-2011, 08:34 AM
This is the scene that the sailboat is actually going into. The other was just a low poly scene test.

4dartist
11-14-2011, 08:58 AM
Wow that looks awesome. I think your waves need to slow down some, and honestly I would skip cloth for the sail. But that's me.. I'd use morphs and deformations (with a weight map to keep the parts attached. I have just gotten frustrated with cloth each time, so maybe that's why.

I have to animate parachutes a ton, so I guess that's where I'm coming from.

Richard Hebert
11-14-2011, 09:19 AM
I agree with the waves. The speed wasn't evident until the shot had been rendered. Cloth dynamics is fine as long as the features are working... wait... they're not!! Thanks for the kudos and the analysis. The cloth dynamics was done in a smaller scene and then saved out as motion files for the large scene.

Richard

Surrealist.
11-14-2011, 04:53 PM
Outside of LightWave there are a couple of solutions for this. One is Blender which actually respects weights on the hold area so you can get a fall off. If you were around and you got a copy of Messiah when they had that awesome deal then cloth is a cynch there and its real time and all you'd have to do is set up some bones for the masts and you'd be off and running. Both will export .mdd

On the LightWave side, one easy solution would be to do cloth effects on a low poly sail, then use soft metalink to drive a higher polly version.

Another solution would be to rig the sail with bones. Then use a texture displacement set to world and it will flutter the sail. You could even drive it with two textures one for larger blowing and another for detail.

You could probably do some combination of the two LW solutions.

jeric_synergy
11-14-2011, 05:05 PM
One topical gotcha with using weight maps for cloth fx is to forget to define the base value. That's the value that lw will assign to 0% values on your weight map, and almost always you DON'T want it to be 0. For instance, a zero value for the cloth weight (as in mass) will frequently crash your simulation for obvious reasons.
Be sure not to fall into this!
Aiyiyi! That's a VERY handy thing to know. :thumbsup:

Richard Hebert
11-14-2011, 05:31 PM
Thanks for the responses, yes... I could use bones and try to find a way around this issue but I think the real solution here would be to fix the software. Don't create features if you're not willing to fix them if they're broken on a SUPPORTED platform. It's a simple philosophy but it works every time it's tried. I use Adobe software and do not run into these headaches and their programs are massive also... handling tons of data at times. I use to use After Effects as a quasi 3D program creating many layers in a single composition and nesting it with many more layers in 3D to create objects to nest in other comps with lights and shadows and imported 3d objects. It was sluggish to say the least but I don't recall it crashing because I ticked a box. Fix the software... not you, them.

Surrealist.
11-14-2011, 05:56 PM
A fine philosophy. Really. The flip side of that is you have to be aware as to what potentials and willingness the company has to actually fix it. And as a consumer, you have the option to shop elsewhere if they don't.

But I can tell you this much. It is not likely they will anytime soon. And they are not going to do it, and stray from the path they are on, just because we rise up and speak louder now.

We have. You are not the first nor alone in this. It has been going on for years and NT is finally doing the right things about it. It will however take time.

So if you have all the time in the world to wait to finish your sails, then write them a letter, call complain, start a thread that cloth sucks. You won't get too much disagreement there.

I have worked extensively with LightWave cloth. And I mean extensively. I know what it can do and what it can't do and I know why. It an work with some limitations. I know that Mac also has other issues and you have a good case there. I don't know what to say.

I was answering this thread with the idea that all of the above is a given and you just wanted to get your sails done. If you do, I am willing to help.

But if you want to be on a crusade, go for it. File fogbugs,,, whatever. I have been there done that. It is fine.

I am only talking about you, getting your shot done with the tools at hand. If you have another idea then fine. But this thread did not start out that way. If you have a change of heart, that's OK too.

As long as we are on the same page I am good with it. :)

Richard Hebert
11-14-2011, 07:39 PM
Most definitely, this was just a rant I had to get off my chest. When it comes down to it, you're right. I hope that LW11 offers more potential, not necessarily perfect software just fix issues as they arise. This project has been a very good sort of tutorial because it incorporates almost every aspect of CG. What troubles me is that I have spent more time with fixing things that have already been done and have to fix them again and again and again. I have a helicopter in the scene that has each rotor attached to a null at the rotor head to angle them at takeoff. When I visit the model in modeler to examine something (not moving anything) when I go back to Layout everything has flown apart and the scene file has to be reopened. This is one of the many things that has turned a learning curve into a learning sphere. Create, fix, examine... fix, examine,fix,examine... When I asked how does anyone create anything of complexity on a deadline I didn't mean it as a rhetorical question... I really meant how is this possible when I can't even animate a stupid helicopter without this thing happening? As far as cloth goes... well it works very well for what I have in mind, provided the features that are touted actually work and on the platform that the company says is supported. When the dynamics work as intended (and they have) it is really inspiring to see things come together finally, like the sails. I'm actually pleased with the end results of the dynamic calculations... they look interesting. It just shouldn't take 2 weeks and phone calls to figure out why ticking a box is crashing the software. At this rate I will be 50 yrs. old before I can realize the project in it's entirety as envisioned. This project is part of a plan to launch a children's program. We don't have funding for sets so I'm creating things in CG for a presentation. No deadlines but we do have target dates. I'll be shooting the puppet characters green screen with CG mockups for certain shots. I'm aiming to produce a 5 min. reel of content with live actors, muppet characters and CG. So far, the CG has taken a ridiculous amount of time to create the opening shots. Hence, my rant. Sorry to burden anybody on the forum. Everyone here has been magnanimous. I've been on other forums and this is by far the most professional in responses and advice. My hat is off to all of you who have helped me to get this far.

Richard

Surrealist.
11-14-2011, 09:36 PM
Yeah, well I can definitely feel your pain.

I think part of the process of learning stuff is getting familiar with things enough that somehow, some way, eventually things stop going wrong. I am leaning Messiah now and I gotta tell ya, it is frustrating. I am getting my rigs blowing up, things disappearing, things not working, this and that and who knows what all. Just last night, I was trying to put these little icons on the controllers and it just was not working, then all of a sudden -seemingly for no reason - it just started working. And it seems like a cross between voodoo and magic where eventually in the end somehow the magic wins out if you stick with it.

Software is not perfect and it is sort of like breaking in a new pair of boots.

Anyways, if you need help, just shout. I have those ideas and if you need any specifics, I can elaborate. The soft meta link is a real popular solution for that. Or if you got the crashing sorted out then I guess you are on your way.

Richard Hebert
11-15-2011, 12:36 AM
Well, the crashing thing hasn't gone away but I think LW11 will solve some of the issues that I'm having now and I'm just waiting for the final release in December. Until then I'm reconfiguring some of the model layout so that the scene is mostly on one layer as opposed to many layers eliminating those pieces from moving at least. I will definitely give your ear a tug if things get out of hand. I do have some texturing and retexturing to do on this scene but I'll hit you up for input and analysis as things become more final. And yes, I believe there is a magic component to software :P

Richard

Netvudu
11-15-2011, 03:49 AM
I donīt mean to sound rude, but after +15 years of working in CGI, Iīm still in awe that people insists on using Macs for this. They are fine machines, but have always been behind their times regarding 3d software. Someone said many years ago that Macs were better for graphic design, and somehow all those Mac users thought 3D animation was included into this statement...well, it is not. It never has. This huge inertia ainīt gonna change just because "new Macs are cooler". The truth is this is a big business decision when developing a product, and so far 3D software works on Windows, or maybe Linux. Period.
For each case a 3d package works well in Mac I will quote 4 cases where it happens otherwise. Not to mention plugins and other similar stuff...You might consider installings Windows on your Apple computer.


Macs arenīt the deal for 3D. But they are pretty, yes.

EDIT: And I must say, being also a Houdini user, and having tested it on a Mac, it does work very nicely....but still, I stand by my previous statement

Richard Hebert
11-15-2011, 07:07 AM
I would suppose that would depend largely on software developers and not so much hardware. They're not cooler machines, my last Mac performed well over a decade until we gave it to a co worker for use for his small projects. Honda vs. Hyundai, both are cars but you don't see many Hondas on the side of the road (change the oil and you'll get 500,000 + miles from them). No viruses to contend with is also a plus. Software manufacturers perhaps don't take the machines seriously (Adobe does) but having a Mac is not simply 'a cool thing'. We'll get a lot of mileage from the MacPro. I'm not emotionally driven when it comes to major purchases. I'm not trendy and I'm rather frugal with our finances. Btw, Macs are far from pretty... ever see the Alien series for PC's... pretty cool looking. Houdini worked because developers apparently weren't lazy and actually supported the platform listed in their marketing. I cruise the forums too and Macs aren't the only machines having problems with LightWave... or its developers.

Richard

Netvudu
11-15-2011, 08:25 AM
I agree on the problem being dependant on the developers, not the hardware/OS. What Iīm saying is that itīs been like that forever, and it doesnīt look like itīs gonna change.

Richard Hebert
11-15-2011, 08:59 AM
Unfortunately, I must agree. I do want a PC render farm though. They're inexpensive nodes that can handle the job, keeping it offline of course to reduce virus issues. Sort of a closed system. Thanks for the input. I'll be posting stills and vids on this project in the very near future. I'd love to have your crits and insight as things develop here.

Richard

jeric_synergy
11-15-2011, 11:00 AM
They are fine machines, but have always been behind their times regarding 3d software. Someone said many years ago that Macs were better for graphic design, and somehow all those Mac users thought 3D animation was included into this statement...well, it is not. It never has.
I totally agree. :thumbsup: