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View Full Version : MDD Baking into Pointcache format .pc2 for 3dsMax... what on earth is the deal here?



lardbros
03-04-2013, 06:54 AM
Hey peeps,

I've been struggling with plenty of issues trying to get a softFX sim out of LW and into 3dsMax.

Now, I've got the sim done, and it looks great... and managed to get a working .pc2 file out using the 'PointCache Scan' displacement plugin.


BUT... within 3dsMax, it didn't flip the Y and Z axis on the pointcache.


I tried the MDD scan instead, and there are bloody hundreds of different plugins that APPEAR to do the same thing, but don't work quite right. Flipped polygons, flipped motion, didn't flip the X and Y axis!?! It's a bloody nightmare!

SOOOOO... which is the ultimate MDD baking utility? Why isn't there a multi-MDD baker tool like there is the loader?

What is the actual difference between MD Multi-Baker, and the MD Baker (Motion Designer Baker)???

Does the MD Baker do Pointcache files too?

So many questions... and I've been using LW for years, i dread to think how a newbie would deal with this!


Thanks for any help everyone!

Tim

Thomas Leitner
03-05-2013, 12:54 AM
....Why isn't there a multi-MDD baker tool like there is the loader?

What is the actual difference between MD Multi-Baker, and the MD Baker (Motion Designer Baker)???...

Hi,
as the name should imply the MD Multi-Baker is the multi-MDD baker and thatīs the difference between MD Multi-Baker and MD Baker.
Select multiple object and create MDDs for all of them at once.

ciao
Thomas

lardbros
03-05-2013, 03:15 AM
Yeah, I realised that... it's SUPPOSED to be the one to use... but all of the different options give different results.

That MD MultiBaker made the object flip its polys, and made it really small too. Also, the axis wasn't Z-up like I'd specified, and the animation was reversed... HARDLY a one click solution!! In fact, nowhere near!

So, I used the Pointcache one, and despite having other issues (like 3dsmax thinking it was 3500 frames instead of 140) and also not being the right axis (there are no options for that in the pointcache) it came out pretty well... but I couldn't even imagine doing this for a whole project.

Basically my thread here is asking what people's workflows are from LW to 3dsMax?? It is a complete mess of MDD plugins within LW, and wondered what people's actual real-world testing and use have given them. I understand where the plugins are, and what they SHOULD do... but this isn't always how it goes in actual usage unfortunately.

Have you looked at the interface for MD Multi Baker (from the interface) and the MD Baker from the Add Displacement menu? They are actually SLIGHTLY different, but which one works correctly?? This is an area that needs some sort of consolidation, it's a mess!


Here are all the plugins that bake or read MDD's or geocache files:
MCC_Pointer
MD Baker
MD Reader
MD_MetaPlug
MD_MetaPlug_Morph
MDD_MetaPointer
MDD_Pointer
PC2_Pointer
Pointcache_Scan

I'm not sure which of mine here are third party or not... but it's quite a ridiculous list in my opinion! How are we meant to build a workflow from these?!?

Why can't they all be consolidated into one do all tool??? That would be beautiful!

daforum
03-05-2013, 03:46 AM
Are you using DPonts "DP MD Pack"?

If not, it is here: http://dpont.pagesperso-orange.fr/plugins/MDD_Pointer.html (go to bottom of page for download links)
It can bake (and read) various cache formats for going to and from apps.

Thomas Leitner
03-05-2013, 04:22 AM
Here are all the plugins that bake or read MDD's or geocache files:
MCC_Pointer
MD Baker
MD Reader
MD_MetaPlug
MD_MetaPlug_Morph
MDD_MetaPointer
MDD_Pointer
PC2_Pointer
Pointcache_Scan

I'm not sure which of mine here are third party or not... but it's quite a ridiculous list in my opinion! How are we meant to build a workflow from these?!?

Why can't they all be consolidated into one do all tool??? That would be beautiful!

Hi,
in your list is only one native LW baker (MD Baker). Then 3 different LW displacement modifier. The rest are third party plugins.
So if something doesnīt work ask the developer of your plugins.
In LW the MDD baking and reading works with their tools, if Max has problems to read MDD itīs maybe a problem of Max reading MDD files since MDD was developed by NewTek!

ciao
Thomas

Thomas Leitner
03-05-2013, 05:19 AM
Hi,
have you tried Geo Cache format (MD Multi Baker)?
Since itīs from autodesk Max should read it.

ciao
Thomas

lardbros
03-05-2013, 07:36 AM
Ah, okay... completely my fault then... thought it seemed strange. I just copy my plugins folder from old versions of LW to new, so didn't realise how much stuff I had in there.

I've tried the geocache format, and it comes into 3dsmax at the wrong scale, it's tiiiiny and rotated wrongly. Didn't realise scale was an issue, thought it would just move the points relative to the object.


Basically... I had a scene in 3dsmax.
Exported one object as FBX into LW.
Brought it into LW.
Did a bullet sim on it
Saved the cache, and then loaded that cache back onto the object within 3dsmax.

Somewhere there is a scaling issue with the pointcache coming from LW, despite the scenes using the same scales. Is there something I'm missing? The workflow just doesn't work.

Do I NEED to re-export the mesh from LW... I don't see how this would make a difference.

lardbros
03-05-2013, 07:39 AM
Are you using DPonts "DP MD Pack"?

If not, it is here: http://dpont.pagesperso-orange.fr/plugins/MDD_Pointer.html (go to bottom of page for download links)
It can bake (and read) various cache formats for going to and from apps.

I think I do have these, hence the problem with too many options.


In 3dsmax the solution is a SINGLE modifier, that bakes AND reads all formats. Wish the LW one was more like this.

lardbros
03-05-2013, 03:13 PM
Can't figure out the scale issue though... is there a secret to LW's scaling that isn't apparent?

If something is 400mm across in 3dsMax

and exported as an FBX to LW, and LW shows it as 400mm across...

then when you save a pointcache out and use it in 3dsMax, it comes out around 10000 times too small... what on Earth is going on? Anyone know how to sync the scaling between one and the other? What is LW's internal scale set at? I know many other software just mimics other units, but have an internal scale, just didn't realise LW was like this.

Surrealist.
03-06-2013, 02:46 AM
I am not sure if I can answer your question on particular regarding the point cache out of LW into 3D Max. But I do know that scale issues are present in all of my apps when it comes to importing and exporting. I have to figure out in advance how to deal with it because they all have a different default scale and things come in large or small depending on the direction if import/export. Using FBX. And this comes into play with dynamics for instance which may be tuned for one scale in one app but exported is too large or small for the other one. So I realize I will have to establish a scale solution in advance and figure out where to make the compromise.

You are right, it should come straight through relatively. It is cool that LW and 3D Max actually seem to be tuned to the same relative scale. The point cache scale thing out of LightWave to 3D Max is strange. But maybe just plan for it? Is there a way to make it work that way if you scale the other parts of the pipeline to fit the target in 3D Max? Maybe a way to scale it up in LW before export?

lardbros
03-06-2013, 04:14 AM
Thanks for your comments... I really do appreciate any help! :)

The fact that scales work is great... just cannot understand why the pointcache is tiny weeny! In 3dsMax for now, I have just scaled the object to be the normal size... but this simply wouldn't work in proper production, I simply hate fudging things in this way.

I'll keep investigating... but I'll probably just avoid this workflow in future... a shame really.

Surrealist.
03-06-2013, 07:47 AM
Yeah, I know what you mean. For what it is worth, I posed my issues on the si-community forum and in other places regarding ICE particles importing into Maya regarding scale. The best answer was, scale the null that holds the ICE three before export.

It is my experience that developers do not really look at the realities of scale. There is a scale factor in FBX export import for example. You can adjust it. But that does not take into account the fact that scale is treated differently in different apps. And you'd think that AD owning the top 3 apps people use today would get the developers together on scale. On the Maya side they even dropped the ball on it with nDynamics. nDynamics is tuned to 1Meter while the rest of Maya is tuned to 1cm.

And they promote all of this interoperability with AD products and they never even mention scale. It is as if they expect us to believe that that is all there is to it. Just click send to Maya... done!

And there is scant reference to it. I did manage to Google some obscure mention of it on an AD site as part of the knowledge base. But other than that, it goes on as if it is not that big of a deal. It is. You really have to sort it out.

And I even brought up on a thread where an AD developer was interacting with us over at CGTalk... and he said...
"Can't say I am entirely familiar with the issue but I'll google around or if you have a link to the section of the docs I can toss a query into some of our Softimage folks about it."

I responded but have not heard anything back from him yet.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=7535085#post7535085

I basically was saying that this is the biggest most obvious and clearly easy thing to fix regarding comparability. It is after all just simple math. Almost to me like it is too simple. So it gets overlooked as important.

I only bring this up as an overall view of what I consider an oversight on the part of software developers. So that may be simply all you are running into here.

It would seem to me then, that the fix for this export plugin would be simply just going into the code and adjust a decimal point. I mean how hard can it be? I say that not knowing d&*^k about coding. But how hard can it be really?

On another related note. The import script for .obj in Blender has been broken for a few versions now. I brings it in a random scales (.1, .01, 1, 10 etc. ) regardless of how I have the scale setting adjusted. Strange.

lardbros
03-07-2013, 06:23 AM
Well... thank the lord! (and I'm not actually religious!)... I'm so glad you're here too Richard! :D

It definitely appears that my problem is related to scale... but from my quick diagnosis, the scaling factor isn't obvious to me. It seems that any pointcache from LW is coming into 3dsmax and scaling my stuff down by 77,777. What on earth could this equate to?
I also can't figure out which bit of software is the issue... I've tried all different types of scaling, and nothing fixes it in 3dsmax.

For some reason I thought having a 'relative' option for the pointcache might help... but it doesn't, it's entirely based on scaling.

Sooooo, the only way to have any idea of what's going on is if the Newtek devs let us know what scale pointcaches are saved at. And if Autodesk devs tell us what scale the pointcaches are loaded at. We do have a support contract with AD, so may be worth me giving them a bell.


I'm currently running another test using a 1m cube, just to see where on earth it's all going wrong.
The other area of nightmariness is the way LW handles the roatations from 3dsMax FBX files. Everything looks fine and dandy in Layout, but load the object into modeller, and it's wonky. I think this just confuses matters even more... (although it's down to 3dsmax and it's ridiculous Z axis which isn't used in any other 3d DCC software that I know of.)

I'll post a bug report in due course.... but want to post my findings here first.
I'm not sure yet if the problem resides in me going from Max-to-LW-to-Max so will also test a simpler LW to Max too.

Surrealist.
03-07-2013, 12:23 PM
lol yeah... here in scale hell! ..:D

But interesting ... good luck with that test. Will be staying tuned to see what you find.