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View Full Version : PLEASE!!!!! Normals as OBJECT Property



fgreen
11-15-2011, 08:23 AM
Please. please, please, please, please, (did I say it enough?) implement vertex normals as an object property, rather than in the surfaces panel, as a map.

The current implementation as a surface map is EXTREMELY cumbersome and difficult to manage with only intermittent rendering results. Lack of reliable, industry standard, vertex-normal support currently puts LW last in its class for product visualization, or any other use of NURBS or CAD models. This seems tragic to me, as LW is top of the class in so many other ways.

Sensei
11-15-2011, 10:19 PM
Putting vertex normals to Object Properties will be moving backward.
If it's in Surface Editor, you can have as many different vertex normals as you have surfaces. In Object Properties you would have just one, to whole object.

If you have many surfaces and you want to change vertex normal for all of them at once, just select multiple/all surfaces, and pick up vertex normal. It will have the same effect as having just one vertex normal drop-down in Object Properties window.

probiner
11-15-2011, 11:01 PM
I would only like to have them editable. It's quite annoying you can't just select and edge and make it soft or sharp, like most programs do.
In LW I have to break up the mesh, export an OBJ and then "Voilá" I have my Vertex Normal Map. Not a great way to work.

jasonwestmas
11-16-2011, 09:15 AM
Putting vertex normals to Object Properties will be moving backward.
If it's in Surface Editor, you can have as many different vertex normals as you have surfaces. In Object Properties you would have just one, to whole object.

If you have many surfaces and you want to change vertex normal for all of them at once, just select multiple/all surfaces, and pick up vertex normal. It will have the same effect as having just one vertex normal drop-down in Object Properties window.

I feel this way about displacements too. I'm glad there is a way to displace the geometry per surface.

jasonwestmas
11-16-2011, 09:16 AM
I would only like to have them editable. It's quite annoying you can't just select and edge and make it soft or sharp, like most programs do.
In LW I have to break up the mesh, export an OBJ and then "Voilá" I have my Vertex Normal Map. Not a great way to work.

Yes, that is what is lacking.

fgreen
11-16-2011, 11:11 AM
Putting vertex normals to Object Properties will be moving backward.
I dissagree, I don't see normals in the surface panel as an advantage, but rather, as a quick-fix that doesn't work very well. I think LW needs to follow industry standards for compatibility with other 3D apps.

If you have many surfaces and you want to change vertex normal for all of them at once, just select multiple/all surfaces, and pick up vertex normal. It will have the same effect as having just one vertex normal drop-down in Object Properties window.
The problem is too many normal maps for the same object. See the image. This problem would go away if at the object level like the industry standard.

I would only like to have them editable. It's quite annoying you can't just select and edge and make it soft or sharp, like most programs do. In LW I have to break up the mesh, export an OBJ and then "Voilá" I have my Vertex Normal Map. Not a great way to work.
I couldn't agree more! Editing would be a great edition. I'd settle for a full integration with modelers existing tools. In the current implementation, rotating a model "breaks" the normals-- another symptom of the quick-fix.

Rotate model-- normals stay put-- Render looks bad. Not good.

gristle
11-16-2011, 05:08 PM
.... See the image.....

I can see your problem there. Not much use. I use Sensei's trueObjImport for vertex normal maps, just have to hook up a node and it is done. Dont need to select the map name.

Sensei
11-16-2011, 05:27 PM
The problem is too many normal maps for the same object. See the image.

That looks like you had 18 surfaces and you merged them to one, right? But 'q' doesn't handle vertex normals..

Or separate parts?

I don't see other explanation why do you see so many of them, never experienced something like this. Attach .obj to review.



I couldn't agree more! Editing would be a great edition. I'd settle for a full integration with modelers existing tools.

Actually I wrote NormalEditor plugin for doing this, but there was v10, then now this v11.. and it's not released for > half year..


In the current implementation, rotating a model "breaks" the normals-- another symptom of the quick-fix.

Rotating model in Layout doesn't brake normals.
But rotating model in Modeler does it.
Other apps don't have Modeler, just only "Layout".
Rotate tool in Modeler, like the all other tools, have no idea about normals.
If rotate tool would receive feature to rotate normals too, you would complain that f.e. move tool didn't. Then the same with every single tool one by one. And it would be the same as is with Catmull-Clark Sub-Patch Edge Weighting.. (both normals and edge weighting are stored in vertex normals).. All tools must be modified to handle it! Means- rewrite of whole application, just to not break things for less than 1% of people actually using feature, great waste of time and resources..

fgreen
11-17-2011, 08:59 AM
OK Sensei, maybe I should have worded my feature request, "industry standard support of Normals", as that is really what I would love to see in LW.

I've heard from Robert Lansdale, the Polytrans guy, and Michael Gibson, the MOI guy, that it doesn't make sense to have normals in the surface panel, and nobody else does it that way. Since you are also a programmer, maybe you have a point. At least you have more technical background to know what is going on.

Rotate tool in Modeler, like the all other tools, have no idea about normals. If rotate tool would receive feature to rotate normals too, you would complain that f.e. move tool didn't.

Thankfully, the scaling and moving tools work fine in modeler-- normals stay intact. Rotate currently doesn't work, and this can add to the work-around time when combining more than one CAD model, that are not in the proper orientation or scale. I currently have to remember, or go back to rotate in MOI then export again. The other tools would be nice, but not that important, since probably not much editing would need to be done in LW.

By the way, I'm really not trying to complain, but just requesting a feature that I think could be a great benefit to LW. Also, I'm pretty thankful having the normal maps at all-- it was way harder to get any results before. I just hope it doesn't stop here.


1% of users Yes it would probably cost a lot to fully integrate normals into LW, but maybe it could also mean an increase in market share? How many people who do product renderings, architectural visualization or other NURBS modeling. now stay away from LW.

I don't do them very often, or I would probably have to consider switching, as now it takes too much time-- that would be a sad day, as LW is all I've used for many years, and generally I really love using it.

Maybe NT agrees with you, and doesn't care that much about the visualization market. (I hope not)


That looks like you had 18 surfaces and you merged them to one, right?

I didn't do any merging or anything.

The engineers exported this product model as a STEP file from Solid Edge. I imported the STEP into MOI, and then Exported to an LWO file from MOI. Then I opened the LWO in modeler. I didn't do anything else. I am assured by Michael Gibson (developer of MOI) that he is using industry standards to export normals from MOI. This is how it comes in without me changing anything.

I know there are things that I can do in MOI to reduce the number of normal maps, and also in LW I can cut and paste geometry to work around this-- cutting and pasting geometry with proper map applied seems to combine maps into one.

But it does takes a lot of time. I posted that pic as an example of what needs to be "worked-around" when working with Solid Edge models. I can't speak for the other CAD programs, as I've not tried them, but have to assume it would be the same, as they also have to go through a translator like MOI or Polytrans that writes out industry standard normals.

Sensei
11-17-2011, 09:06 AM
If you select 1 polygon and then Select Connected, whole object is selected or just a part? Maybe simply it has 18 separate not connected parts.
It looks like MOI made all these normals, not LW..

fgreen
11-18-2011, 12:10 PM
Maybe simply it has 18 separate not connected parts.

Yes. The engineers create these models based on how the parts will be manufactured. Often one object file contains dozens of separate solids or parts-- all unconnected geometry.


It looks like MOI made all these normals, not LW..

Agreed. My understanding is that MOI computes the normals, as it transforms the Nurbs surfaces into polys. It figures out the angle of the vertex normals, based on the face normals of adjacent polys, and the amount of smoothing needed to make the mesh match the Nurbs original. Apparently LW is interpreting the normals in a non-industry-standard way, and separating them into all these maps.

I've heard that other apps like Maya, Modo, and Max can import translated CAD files, "understand" the normals, and render with no smoothing errors, and no time-consuming editing and work-arounds. I'd love to see LW get there-- hopefully soon.