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ackees
10-28-2003, 04:08 AM
Will there be a boost to LW 7.5 before 8 or is 7.5 now officially dead n the water?
I now realise that the sluggish performance is not my sys config. but LW, I have started fooling with Motionbuilder and it runs like grease lightening on the same system using LW models. Will there be another much needed tweak for LW 7.5?

ackees
10-29-2003, 11:56 AM
So NT, is 7.5 dead or what?
Have you killed developement and updates on 7.5? I know it is still being sold, is that just to upgrade to 8?
What's going on with 7.5?

Matt
10-30-2003, 02:24 AM
I think it's safe to assume there will be no updates to 7.5 with 8 so close.

ackees
10-30-2003, 03:33 AM
I think NT should then come out and say exactly that if thats the case and not leave it hanging (the dead but undead - zombie). By being clear and upfront NT will seem in control, but like this you loose a little confidence in the future. I notice a push towards print people, dangerous if you do not have CMYK support.

colkai
10-30-2003, 05:20 AM
To be fair to LW,
Motionbuilder is a specialised tool and it's main selling point is it's speed. Heck, take a look at when Buzzz tries to use IK in Maya - It is so slow it really is pathetic. MB's strength is its near real-time feedback, but I'd love to see a scene set up purely in MB that could get anywhere near LW. Different tools for different jobs.

Motionbuilder is a no-brainer for those who jumped on the PLE wagon. Just as, for me, the upgrade to LW8/DFX+ was a no-brainer.

I think it is still possible that 7.5d (or 7.6) may arrive, after all, not everyone will / can afford to upgrade.

Newtek have previously suggested another point-fix would be available for 7.5 - of course, I accept that plans may have changed ;)

gjjackson
10-30-2003, 05:54 AM
As far as MotionBuilder, it's speed is good for just characters. If you import a complex seen though you'll see there's no more speed. The same scene in LW moves around great. So it depends on what you're doing.

ackees
10-30-2003, 05:55 AM
All that is very well but if I can get such a performance from MB then I should be able to get it from LW on the same system spec. (naturally without the fantastic extras that LW provides also running Ė I mean like for like the difference should be small, at the moment LW canít cope and I now know itís not my system setup, itís LW).
Is this going to be improved or do I buy 8 and cross my fingers?
If all development on 7.5 is closed then I would like to know
I am more likely to buy 8 if I have a good 7.5 than if I have a bad 7.5.
I am not entitled to a FREE upgrade because I bought into 7 early, now if I am punished for that then next time I am going to be more careful and not so trusting.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
The existing owners of 7.5 are worth more than possible converts to 8.

mattclary
10-30-2003, 07:36 AM
It's pretty normal for software companies to discontinue maintenance on previous versions of a product once a new version comes out. Do you see them putting out patches for 6.5? Would you want them dedicating resources to 6.5 when they should be working on 8? 7.5 will NOT be patched further. I don't work for Newtek, but I do work for a software company. Stop stomping your feet and demanding to know if 7.5 will be patched, it won't happen.

And don't get your hopes up for major performance improvements in 8 either.

ackees
10-30-2003, 07:53 AM
Well mattclar, it did seem at one time that they would, but if NT donít think itís now possible it would be good of them to clarify, after all it would give them more space on the 8 development, and that would mean a better 8. Software companies can do incredible things (look at MB $3000 to $200), the best ones keep users informed, no big deal really, just 7.5d is coming or 7.5c is final.

colkai
10-30-2003, 09:21 AM
As to performance updates in LW8 (or 8.X),
I'd be amazed if we don't find some improvement, just based on things that have been said up to now.

As for LW's performance, I'm getting frames 0 - 55 of the Hummer scene, with all OGL bells and whistles on, in around 6 or 7 seconds. S'ggod enough for me, but I'd be the first to admit, I'm no power user.

I wonder how smoothly MB updates with a high res figure in?
Might try it for a giggle, a lot of the time, especially with sub-D objects, you can forget just how many polys LW is juggling.

<shrugs> I guess when all is said and done, we will find out soon enough what gives - no doubt some will be thrilled and no doubt also we will have plenty of tirades as and when LW8 is out. Plus the inevitable "Newtek has missed the boat ... I'm leaving if they don't ...." :p
After all, s'been that way since version 4.0 - why should we expect any different this time ;) ;) ;)

Any bets on how longs it will take?

ackees
10-30-2003, 09:51 AM
Well I am working on a figure at the moment, a LW model, but LW starts crawling in sub-d with it, but MB whizzes along, sub-d also. All I am doing in LW is setting the bones etc but the refresh etc is painful, itís a relief when I get into MB and I can work interactively.
I think there will be too much pressure on the engineers to get 8 out fast, it would be much better for NT to give everyone a preview of whatís coming in 8 around Christmas, update 7.5 and release a killer 8 in January or even March next year.

TyVole
10-30-2003, 11:01 AM
MB doesn't recognize subds -- you must freeze the model when exporting.

colkai
10-30-2003, 11:03 AM
Ackees,
Hear what your saying, and maybe in an ideal world that would be best.

However, market forces being what they are, I doubt Newtek have that luxury. Even so, I'm sure most of us will be keen to get our grubby little paws on [8] ;)

Sub'd object in MB, do you mean as a frozen mesh or in Sub-D form? Because I didn't know MB could do the latter. (Still saving up to get me 5.0 upgrade :D)

ackees
10-30-2003, 11:36 AM
I did not sub-d the model before export to MB (so no need to freeze), but MB does its own sub-d as good as I got from LW. Sub-d the thing in LW and the whole interactivity slows to a crawl, painful. Personally I would like to see 7.5 performance boosted, I think there will be a whole set of new issues with 8 if it is rushed out. But if LW have killed 7.5 I would like to know now, not a complaint, just want to know where NT is going with it all.

wacom
10-30-2003, 11:45 AM
I've noticed that when I use IK on a semi complex sub-d object, that has more than 1 layer, things get slow. My only solution has been to make the object a front face wireframe or to hide it all together. Either that or save the model in "un-sub-d" form or as a low poly model for animation. After that things run really quickly again. This holds true for MD too- hide the parts that aren't being calculated and everything speeds WAY up during a calculation- even if MD dosen't "know" it's there.


Concerning IK again...
I don't know jack about Direct X9 or newer OpenGL...but would an update to these help our preview times? Maybe this is really a video card issue as a sub-d object can have loads more tris than a frozen object? More being done by the graphics card engine and less by the main CPU is never a bad thing...

I'm almost sure that IK is going to be sped up in 8 as they demonstrated it at Siggraph with a totally new and faster IK engine...but 7.5...hmm...if you don't have that Motion Builder promotion to get it for 300 bucks it looks like 8 might be your only choice...

ackees
10-30-2003, 02:15 PM
There are so many poorly thought out things in 7.5 itís scary (incomplete). Take a look at the schematic view of your bones, the schematic is all on top of itself, you have to spend ages pulling it around just to see whatís there, no matter what setting you fix it to. Look at the schematic in MB or some other apps and they are logically placed and arranged. There is more to an app than just adding this or that feature, the older release is like a foundation, if its weak then the new version suffers.

colkai
10-31-2003, 04:01 AM
I must admit, the shcematic takes so long to organise into a viewable structure that it tends to put me off using it.

One thing DFX+ has is the ability to group items, if you could do that and auto-arrange them a group theat would help. Of course you still would have to re-jig them, but putting them into a coherent form would be nice.

Mind you, as I say, don't use it much - so maybe something like this already exists <shrugs>

hrgiger
10-31-2003, 04:37 AM
I did hear that there was going to be a 7.5d before 8 was released...I will not reveal my sources but I take it as fairly reliable. I could be wrong though...

ackees
10-31-2003, 06:08 AM
Thanks hrgiger, I can also reveal that I have a source too. A spy camera in the board room at NT.
Exclusive, this is the position:
Pre turkey or post turkey.
There are two camps and the debate is raging.
I think the post turkey camp have the upper hand now, itís just too late to release 8 before Christmas (unwise to do so now even if it is completely ready). There is just not enough time to whip up a good marketing campaign before Christmas and to distribute and ship 8 before the turkey deadline is almost impossible, if NT did there would be the turkey break effectively breaking the momentum of the release. With a post turkey release there would be the upswing of optimism for the new year, everyone will be looking for something new and refreshing, something optimistic. New projects wont get running until the new financial year (April), with a new release studios and animators can plan to have the hot new features in the up and coming productions (a good sales point to clients).

So the plan is:
Pre turkey mouth watering videos and details about up and coming 8.
Post turkey, by now users are almost wetting themselves with anticipation after being exposed to the pre turkey campaign.
This means that there must be a 7.5d, 3 to 4 months is too long to leave LW hanging without improvements and fixes.

hrgiger
10-31-2003, 07:24 AM
Well, I don't think that's the case. Nothing has been said to the contrary that 8 won't be released in 2003.
No time to whip up a good marketing campaign? What the heck has the DFX deal been? I think marketing wise, Lightwave 8 is more then ready to ship. It's just up to the software engineers to put the finishes on it and get it out the door.

Dodgy
10-31-2003, 08:03 AM
Automatic layout of the schematic view seems like a fairly easy problem. I'll knock up an Lscript if anyone wants one...

ackees
10-31-2003, 02:24 PM
Thanks Dodgy, just post it here.
Well I think a pre Christmas release would hinder Ďtakeupí of 8, anything pre turkey becomes stale post turkey, better to release in the new year.
I have just made a little acid test:
A LW model, also boned and weighted in LW.
Export to Motinbuilder for animation
Render in MB, time taken for 190 frames was 45secs.
Import same animation back into LW
same model, Same codec
LW render time 410 sec
This is a dreadful performance from LW
Actually LW had an advantage for while MB had two preview windows running live with the render LW had all previews turned off, also MB rendered sub-d while LW did not (forgot to activate it for the test), also I had to fiddle around to make sure there were no additionals on like radiosity.
This render performance has got to be fixed quickly, if LW is to stay in the top league of animation and rendering, itís no good being packed with features if it takes a lifetime to render them.
And yes you can say Ďbut LW is designed to do a lot moreí, but that all the more reason why it should even do better on the basic renders.
Come on NT we all need this speed fix now.

mrunion
10-31-2003, 04:09 PM
This post is not meant to offend, but only to offer a potential reason for Lightwave appearing more sluggish.

<Programmer hat on...>

Motionbuild is made for ONE thing -- animation with skeletons, right? You can't do particles, surfacing, raytracing, and lots of other stuff. Lightwave is a tool that has to be many things to many people all at once. In motion builder, when you click and move a bone/handle, all MD has to do is worry about moving that thing and it's geometry.

Lightwave is doing a great deal of other things besides just moving characters. It is keeping track of a lot of data for the spreadsheet, surfaces, particles -- alot of extra stuff. Whether or not you're using this stuff, Lightwave still has to have a little concern about these things.

Now, I'm sure if lightwave didn't exist now and was going to be re-wrote from scratch things would be different -- and probably a little faster. But all in all, LW ain't THAT slow. MD is streamlined for a single purpose. LW is designed for a much broader base. If you are in production and NEED the MD speed, I'm sure buying it is a cost that can subtly be passed on to the clients.

TyVole
10-31-2003, 06:41 PM
Actually, MB does do particles, surfacing, and rendering (not sure if it raytraces) that includes antialiasing, motion blur, and depth of field. It's just that not many people use these features.

ackees
11-01-2003, 02:38 AM
I bought LW when they were talking about taking advantage of technologies on the NVDA board, this never seemed to really happen, or if it did it doesnít work well. Others seemed to have got this working, actually the MB render was all software, but it had an option for hardware rendering, not sure how to get that going yet, but with hardware rendering support this thing is going to blaze. LW is feature rich, but dare you use them at its current rendering performance? Certainly there will be major rendering problems at this kind of performance. The big question is can it be fixed or improved? Of all the features coming in 8 it is the rendering performance that I will be watching closely. A lot of new features but no increased rendering performance and LW will just drop to a snails pace.
Another big question is will 8 be optimised to run on the current systems or will we all have to upgrade PCís and Macs to get decent performance out of it.

hrgiger
11-01-2003, 09:11 AM
I think some judgement should be waived until Lightwave 8 is released.
There was some definate reorganization with Newtek in the last year or two with the whole Luxology issue. As far as the people developing Lightwave, you're pretty much dealing with a whole new company especially considering the two creators of Lightwave are included in that group.
We've been led to believe that after Lightwave 8 there will be more of an aggressive update policy with the software so I think you'll see more things addressed more quickly. But we don't even know what's even in 8 yet completely.
But I see a lot of good things being addressed, things in my opinion that should have been done long ago. It's not really fair or accurate to say that Lightwave hasn't been developed well over the course of it's history since now we do have a new team just picking up where others have left off.
I just say wait and see what the new people can do...

ackees
11-01-2003, 10:04 AM
Yes, a new team is a good thing because something has gone wrong. I hear 8 feature this and 8 feature that, but what I havenít heard about is speed, speed is now the big issue, you get every tom dick and harry of a 3D app adding features in a leapfrog fashion but what sorts the men from the boys is speed, because without the speed all the features are almost useless, no one wants to wait days for a render that could take hours on a competitive package. I would like to see a speed bump in 7.5d because I donít think we will see a fully functioning 8 before Christmas.

hrgiger
11-01-2003, 10:24 AM
We won't know the final features (or speed) of 8 until it's released. It doesn't mean there aren't improvements we don't know about yet.
Newtek has stressed that there are big improvements in character animation tools most likely due to the fact that it has received criticism in the past for lacking such tools.
As far as speed, it did say that IK and FK are now faster. There also was mention of a speed increase in rendering in a recent review of LW8 in 3D World. It didn't go into details though.
And I'm confident that 8 will be released 4th quarter as announced.

ackees
11-01-2003, 11:11 AM
OK Higiger there are a lot of things we do not know yet, but what we do know is that LW is sloooow. So is there any one in the inner circle who could stand up and say 8 is going to have the fastest render out there? You know real confidence about this, like they have cracked the issue and know they have something big. I am more concerned about how fast LW is going to be above any other issue. You see at the moment there are a lot of workarounds in LW because when you use those sexy features they take too long to render, the little test above just shows how much need to be done on speed.

hrgiger
11-01-2003, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by ackees
OK Higiger there are a lot of things we do not know yet, but what we do know is that LW is sloooow. So is there any one in the inner circle who could stand up and say 8 is going to have the fastest render out there?

By the same token, I can ask you if there is anyone in the inner circle who could stand up and say that 8 is not going to be any faster?
Besides, Lightwave doesn't have to have the fastest renderer out there to be a great application.

ackees
11-01-2003, 04:25 PM
Does anyone actually know who has the fastest render? I know the old Electric Image used to boast they were the fastest, Cinema 4D has a boast also, but I havenít a clue who holds the crown. Wouldnít it be great if come 8 it was LW. Itís getting a little tricky to tell because some are splitting some of the load out to hardware (video board).

colkai
11-03-2003, 03:02 AM
Whilst a faster renderer is a good thing.
Wondering who's is the fastest and saying LW should be that fast or faster is not really a logical thing to do.

Let's face it, package "B" has a super fast renderer, blazingly quick *but* it does not have the final quality, or anywhere near it of LW.
So does one say "LW should render as fast as 'B' or Newtek have dropped the ball", or do you say "Can the speed of the renderer be improved WHILST retaining it's quality?".

I'll take the latter any day ;)

So if one must ask for speed - it must be against equivalent renderers ot better I guess.

It's all moot to me. After all, as I said when 6 came out, and when 7 came out. The new release will have what it has, be ready when it is and no amount of second guessing Newtek will make a damn.

To be honest - at this stage in it's development / release program, I am pretty sure they will not be taking suggestions on board anymore for LW8.0 That is not to say that they won't add them to the list of things *to think about* for LW8.XX :D

ackees
11-03-2003, 10:31 AM
It has to be good and fast, no one wants a render that says ďwe are the best but we take the longestĒ or ďitís a crap render but itís quickĒ.
The little test surprised me because the LW render was worse (no sub-d), LW should have been much quicker, it wasnít quality that slowed LW down.
I think that over the years NT have put more and more features on top of the original architecture and itís now starting to show itís age, the renderer just canít cope any more. What I hope we get in 8 are new features but updated architecture to cope with those features. Simply depending on faster available hardware is not good enough, the underlying architecture has to be improved. A good fast renderer is not a feature or additional extra it is a basic prerequisite.

hrgiger
11-03-2003, 10:55 AM
Nobody is saying Ackees that Lightwave renderer should not be boosted as far as speed goes. I think I speak for most Lightwave users when I say a significant speed boost would be a very welcome addition. As long as the quality is still there or better.
As far as the architecture goes, I hear people suggest all the time that LW is creaking under it's outdated code or that it's "showing it's age". However, I can't really get much out of that as most of these people are not actually programmers and perhaps, well, they don't really know what they're talking about. I actually start school tomorrow at DeVry, I'm going back for computer programming and one of my goals is to be writing plug-ins for Lightwave so maybe who knows? A year from now, I might be able to tell you somehting differently?
Anyway, I'm sure that Newtek developers, and again, these are new guys for the most part, can decide what the code can handle and what it can't. But I'm going to wait to see LW8 and maybe a point release or two after that before I pass judgement on what Lightwave can and can't do then and see if it still suits my purposes. My guess is that it will.

Cheers.

ackees
11-03-2003, 02:39 PM
I did another test, I keep thinking I must have done something wrong, handicapped LW in some way; made sure LW rendered in one segment, nothing sexy turned on etc. but same thing Motionbuilder trashed LW for speed, also MB is showing a render progress and the camera view all updating in real time to the render and still it beats LW by a long way (all LW previews turned off).
There is no reason why the renderer should get worse, render quality is not the issue here it is speed. Why should the quality decrease, after all LW already has its quality benchmark. You see the thing is LW wasnít just a little bit slow it was a lot slower. A small difference you could put down to this or that or other possibilities but the difference in performance was shocking. I would like to see some tests from others who have MB and LW. Is there a site that tests the relative speed of 3D apps?
I look forward to seeing your plugins.

Rei
11-03-2003, 03:18 PM
ackees : sure MB is probably a faster render than LW, but whats its quality like. Can it do caustics, radiocity, fast and well? prehaps LW isnt the fastest render out there, but its a good one though, and its final image is what counts in the long run. Do an AA test, see if MB compares to LW's. post the results too!

wacom
11-03-2003, 04:08 PM
I've heard some people who worked with Pixar (programers) talking about how they (pixar) rarely use Raytracing as it's slow- so instead they try to fake it right and left with shaders etc etc.

Instead of MB comparisions I'd like to see people using MentalRay or something like that with it's raytrace functions. In many cases I think it would still be faster, but it seems to be a better head to head test with LW. Am I wrong in thinking that most of LWs advanced fetures use raytracing and that the other engines which are faster are using other routes to get the resaults they do?

Maybe the LW Raytracing engine is still fairly good...but the other "stuff" needs some help? Anyone who knows this stuff care to correct me?

It would be nice if LW would alow hardware previews that were more advanced though...

PS hrgiger- I can't wait to see what you'll come up with for LW plugs...or maybe being on the LW team in the future...

hrgiger
11-03-2003, 06:13 PM
Well, it's no surprise that Lightwave is not the fastest renderer out there. It doesn't mean it's crippled though. Yeah, but does MotionBuilder have sock monkey?:D

Wacom,

Yeah as far as plugs go, I started getting into Lscript lately and C++ is now making a lot more sense to me now. It'll be even nicer once I'm studing it in school. I've got some good ideas for plugs, it'll be nice to see those ideas unfold as programming becomes more comfortable for me...

ackees
11-04-2003, 01:09 AM
I am not sure what an AA test is. I have only just got to the basics of MB and it was an idle test that surprised me. Why would anyone want a 3D app to slow down as if it is doing raytracing when it is not? The renderer should be smart enough to know that you have not selected caustics and not slow down for caustics, LW should actually be even faster when it is doing basic renders (more in the tank Ė more head room), not slower.

hrgiger
11-04-2003, 08:49 AM
The fact that Lightwave's renderer is not as fast as you'd like isn't because Newtek has ignored it. Advancements will be made on the renderer even if significant work hasn't been done on it in version 8. Lightwave is a big program and there are a lot of other features to focus on and I say, rightly hold priority.
If you look at it form a marketing angle, you should go back and look through every review of Lightwave in the last few to several years. What you'll find is that Lightwave received great marks on inclusive package as well as rendering and affordability. It has received poor marks for it's documentation and character animation tools. It only makes sense for them to focus on bringing both of those up to speed. We have already seen that Lightwave 8 focuses on character animation tools and Proton has done some nice work on the help files that you can get for Lightwave and hopefully, some of that will be reflected in the new LW8 manual.

EDIT: Another thing to consider about the render speed. Even big studios like pixar for example using renderman have very long render times. Theyr'e frames take anywhere from 6 to 90 hours to render a single frame. It's just that they have several hundred computers rendering at a time.

ackees
11-04-2003, 11:00 AM
The future is speed, this should not be ignored, a number of the features that you so rightly state were cutting edge at the time of inclusion are nothing special now even quite low end packages can include them, so the difference becomes speed, especially on basic renders where you have decided to forgo whiz bang for speed of render, turn on radiosity and caustics and voxals etc and then try to render your high poly model animation and you are in for a long wait, so mostly these are only used in carefully selected situations, now if LW is crawling on the basic render there is a problem, especially when low end apps start to go faster and also give good results.
If the architecture is not updated to improve speed then what do we have other than a bunch of plugins that could have been added to 7, surely 8 is going to be more than a few added plugin features? If it is going to be more than that then the performance has to be improved, this is how it will be judged. It say very worrying when you say there will be no improvement in performance.

hrgiger
11-04-2003, 12:19 PM
Speed is not being ignored.
And of course 8 is going to be more then plug-ins.

ackees
11-05-2003, 03:58 AM
Thanks. Do you know why NT have not publicised an improvement in rendering speed for 8? After all itís not like a secret feature, I would love to hear NT say something like: take scene X from the 7.5 content CD, in 8 you will be able to render this twice as fast (actually to catch up with MB it would need to be more like 10 x as fast).

hrgiger
11-05-2003, 05:27 AM
Well, once again, I said earlier there was a mention of a speed increase in this month's 3D World Magazine but it did not go into details.

ackees
11-05-2003, 07:04 AM
Sounds good. Come on NT spill the beans on this, you must know what you can achieve in 8 by now.