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jkir
11-29-2014, 04:07 PM
Hi, I had a brief Lightwave experience 16 years ago. And now I guess I would have to re-learn everything even to try things out. So I would be appreciated if somebody could tell me if I can expect to find those features\tools before I'd spend a lot of time :

1. Vertex normal editor and a tool to transfer vertex normals from one model to another . For example from a sphere to lowpoly tree model made by multiple crossing polygons.

2. Texture baker capable to bake multiple geometry details into a low poly shell with adjustable projection direction ( by "cage" for example, not only along surface normals) and able to bake multiple details with alpha cut outs adding their alphas to each other correctly in the target texture . Grass, leaves, small sticks with alpha etc. being baked into a simple ground surface ( with ability to bake depth)

3. Something to construct/prototype realtime shaders (hopefully with nodes) and see the result in the viewport.

4. Reliable FBX import/export to 3dmax pipeline. Basic textures( color, spec, normal bump) and animation

ernpchan
11-29-2014, 05:06 PM
1. There's a third-party plugin that does this.

2. There is surface baking. Not sure it does everything you're asking. There are others on the forum who have more experience with texture baking than me.

3. I believe VPR is what you want. Your viewport will render and update as you change your surface settings. That's the realtime feedback you'd be getting.

4. LightWave 2015 has some improvements to working with the FBX file format.

jkir
11-30-2014, 03:00 AM
Thanks for the answers. What is the plugin name?

jkir
12-03-2014, 06:14 AM
Thanks for the answers. What is the plugin name?

I am specifically interested in that "alpha" baking thing . When several objects with "alpha" is being baked into a low poly surface. Looks like neither Max nor Maya or Blender can do it correctly.

From what I have tested I think Lightwave doesn't have the "cage" option. Am I right? I see "camera" and "object center" direction, not sure how it works although.

ernpchan
12-03-2014, 07:36 AM
Thanks for the answers. What is the plugin name?

Weighter
http://www.liberty3d.com/tools/weighter-2-0-for-lightwave3d-modeler/

jkir
12-05-2014, 04:12 AM
Thank you for the link but I can't find anything in description about vertex normals editing or the transfer of normals direction from other model. Looks like it's more about weights transfer. Does it work not only with weights? Kind of Attribute transfer in Maya?

I know normals editing was impossible in LW before, at least when I tried it last time. Wonder how it's now?


I am also curious if LW recognize edited vertex normals from FBX files?

Lewis
12-05-2014, 07:02 AM
Thank you for the link but I can't find anything in description about vertex normals editing or the transfer of normals direction from other model. Looks like it's more about weights transfer. Does it work not only with weights? Kind of Attribute transfer in Maya?

I know normals editing was impossible in LW before, at least when I tried it last time. Wonder how it's now?


If you are asking about smoothing/vertex normals that's still not possible in LW. LW reads vertex normals/sooth (from CAD data or low poly models and stuff created with smoothing in mind) but you can't edit or create them in LWM :(. sorry

Other questions are easily achievable in LW

cheers

jkir
12-05-2014, 10:48 AM
Not possible to rotate smoothing normals by hand or transfer it from a sphere to a low poly grass object constructed from several crossing flat planes for example? Its a bit different tasks. Or it still not possible to change smoothing other than by angle in surface shader settings?

No 3d party plugin for that?


I just hoped LW did some progress in that area alongside with Modo


ps. Regarding other questions: Am I right about the "cage" ? So I can't change the baking direction for a specific edge/corner of my model, keeping everything other as is. I ask because the suface baking camera does looks like making a kind of "cage" similar to what 3d max or X normal do

XswampyX
12-05-2014, 12:41 PM
You can use the raytrace node to bake any surface detail you want....

The tree on the top right is 10 polys, and the baked surface from the mesh in the other layer....

http://i465.photobucket.com/albums/rr16/xXswampyXx/Baked_Tree_zps8dc0cfb0.jpg (http://s465.photobucket.com/user/xXswampyXx/media/Baked_Tree_zps8dc0cfb0.jpg.html)

DesertRat
12-05-2014, 01:51 PM
Not possible to rotate smoothing normals by hand or transfer it from a sphere to a low poly grass object constructed from several crossing flat planes for example? Its a bit different tasks. Or it still not possible to change smoothing other than by angle in surface shader settings?

No 3d party plugin for that?


If you don't mind a quick trip into Blender there is a LWO importer/exporter which allows you two take advantage of two addons, one is called Transfer Vertex Normals, and that allows for the "projecting" of normals form one piece of geometry onto another. The other is Recalc Vertex Normals, which allows you to manually bend normals, and even has a convenient "tree" and "foliage" button. After exporting back to LightWave, you have to enable the "vert_normals" map under Vertex Normal Map in the Surface Editor. There are a few steps to it, but it's pretty easy.

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?141548-Blender-LWO-Exporter-request-support/page2#19

jkir
12-05-2014, 06:08 PM
XswampyX , could you elaborate please on raytrace node. How do you get vector values? Maybe a node network example? Does it allow to set different direction for different part of the surface? Like the cage?


ps. Do you use world spot and normals as inputs for raytrace node? Wonder if it's possible to recreate "cage" functional by using other object vertexes as vectors directions ?

jkir
12-05-2014, 06:26 PM
Thanks DesertRat? I tried that Transfer vertex Normals plugin in Blender but didn't know it's possible to export result it in LW. Actually found it pretty useless that time since even Blender itself can't save it and nukes them instantly each time after "Tab"

Another question is whether edited normals exportable from LW? To a game engine for example, or just inside fbx file? I work in gamedev and don't need custom vertex normal just to be shown in LW viewport. Looks like fbx import in LW doesn't recognize edited normals, what about export ?

DesertRat
12-06-2014, 08:12 AM
jkir, I haven't had luck getting those edited normals exported out of LW, but I was trying to get them into another 3D app...and I think that app recalculated the normals upon import. Tried OBJ, FBX, COLLADA, LWO.

I know nothing about game development, but I would think that since games make use of edited normals (from what little I have read), maybe they can read them exported from LW. For example, just glancing at the manual under Unity Interchange there is a screen shot of the Inspector and under "Normals & Tangents" it shows Normals with what looks like a drop down menu saying "Calculate" - maybe there is another option to preserve your edited normals? And maybe the new LW 2015 has improved exporting capabilities, I won't have time to test anything until this evening.

Sorry that's not much help.

jkir
12-06-2014, 10:39 AM
I totaly understand, and thanks for the tips. By the way. looks like Blender has improved its FBX a lot in the last release . Looks like it export/import edited normals just fine now. They appears the same in 3d max at least. It's pity LW still misses such an important thing.

DesertRat
12-07-2014, 02:48 PM
jkir - Thanks for the info on improved FBX for Blender, I will have another look at it. I went to test the new LW 2015 FBX, but it is strangely missing from the trial version (from my end) so can't test right now. I hope you found a workable solution. :)

XswampyX
12-07-2014, 05:11 PM
Here's the node set up.

http://forums.newtek.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=125938&d=1417997149

You have your plane for baking and it's normal (direction)
Trace your ray from x units before (scale normal -x%) the plane through to x units past the plane.
Make the result the actual texture of the plane.
Bake the plane.

Tada!

Hope it's big enough. :hey:

Edit :- And here it is in modeler, all baked out. Now it's only 10 polys.

http://forums.newtek.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=125939&d=1417997775

MSherak
12-07-2014, 10:01 PM
Hi, I had a brief Lightwave experience 16 years ago. And now I guess I would have to re-learn everything even to try things out. So I would be appreciated if somebody could tell me if I can expect to find those features\tools before I'd spend a lot of time :

1. Vertex normal editor and a tool to transfer vertex normals from one model to another . For example from a sphere to lowpoly tree model made by multiple crossing polygons.

2. Texture baker capable to bake multiple geometry details into a low poly shell with adjustable projection direction ( by "cage" for example, not only along surface normals) and able to bake multiple details with alpha cut outs adding their alphas to each other correctly in the target texture . Grass, leaves, small sticks with alpha etc. being baked into a simple ground surface ( with ability to bake depth)

3. Something to construct/prototype realtime shaders (hopefully with nodes) and see the result in the viewport.

4. Reliable FBX import/export to 3dmax pipeline. Basic textures( color, spec, normal bump) and animation


1. Nope. Lightwave can store and use vertex normal models from say an fbx and obj import and I think the SDK can access them since they are stored as a vmap. Never know someone might write one for LW2015.
2. Yes. All kinds of baking abilities. A really great plugin for baking in Modeler is http://www.blytools.com/baker.html and it's free for non-commercial use.
3. As for CGFX shaders which I think you are referring to, nothing like ShaderFX in Maya for hooking nodes up. You can use CGFX shaders in the viewport. In the surface panel under shaders you can add CGFX to a surface and point it to a shader. Now you can use VPR to do nodes in the viewport but these are rendering and not opengl or directx11 shaders. I have been using Mental Mill to make shaders since Autodesk bought out shaderfx 3 years ago.
4. Yes LW2015 FBX import/export works great with Maya and Max. Including with all native camera and light types.

-M

Greenlaw
12-08-2014, 03:05 AM
Weighter 2.0 should be able to transfer any vertex map. I've used to transfer Weight, Morph and UV maps from one object to a completely different object. I haven't used it for vertex normals though. As noted above, you can get it from Liberty 3D.

An alternative is DrainBGVmap, which I use for the same purpose. It works a bit differently with different results. I use it to transfer Weight, Morph and UV maps from a character mesh to ZBrush FiberMesh fur guides to use with FiberFX. You can download it from Dodgy's website.

An issue with DrainBGVmap is that it's an orphaned plugin that only runs in x32 Lightwave. Weighter is a newer plugin (recently updated too,) which works in x64 Lightwave. I haven't used either in Lightwave 2015 yet.

I'm not sure there's anything specifically for working with vertex normals for Lightwave, at least not natively. I don't have any experience in this area but would like to know more about it--I think it might solve some render issues when animating objects that have been broken apart with tools like Fracture. If anybody have more info about creating/editing vertex normals, please post. Thanks. :)

G.

jkir
12-08-2014, 06:31 AM
XswampyX, thank you for your example . It's now pretty clear. One thing I still don't understand what's the advantages to use this approach over standard "surface baking camera" Perhaps I am still missing something but it does pretty much the same with its polygon/ smoothed normals option and offset. By the way, I see in your result you are using premultiplied alpha render which gives background color halo, when I try to do unpremultiplied it makes white halo. Is there a workaround?

What I asked was whether it's possible to bake (ray trace) not along normals direction but rather by directions set in-between mesh vertexes and a "cage" object vertexes? It's sometimes an important thing when part of your model has hard(splitted) edges/ shading (vertex) normals and other edges are just all smooth shaded and when you need to bake some fake bevel over hard edges on cylindrical shapes cap . The "cage" allows to set precise tracing direction for each specific place/edge. whatever direction vertex normals pointed.

I still don't see how I could I change ray tracing direction for a specific edge( not the hole surface) in your example.


The same goes for baker plugin too. Thanks MSherak for the link but I see no mentioning about a cage or enveloupe ( maya term) iin its description.

Greenlaw
12-08-2014, 06:38 AM
I'm not sure there's anything specifically for working with vertex normals for Lightwave, at least not natively. I don't have any experience in this area but would like to know more about it--I think it might solve some render issues when animating objects that have been broken apart with tools like Fracture. If anybody have more info about creating/editing vertex normals, please post. Thanks. :)

Okay, gave this some thought. Maybe I can transfer vertex normals from an un-fractured object to the fractured one using Weighter or DrainBGVmap? I haven't tried this but I'm hoping a more knowledgeable user can tell me if this sounds like a proper use for these tools.

Thanks in advance for any info.

G.

P.S., Might have to try this today. If it works, I can really use it right now.

jkir
12-08-2014, 06:43 AM
Greenlaw, thanks for the info. I am curious if UV transfer reliable enough. Like in Maya attribute transfer? Ask because I tried it before with 3d max projection modifier which have to do so by its help description but had always been hardly able to get something beyond a mess of triangles in Uv.

Greenlaw
12-08-2014, 06:43 AM
Oh, almost forgot. There is also the very useful PB Texture Baker (http://blytools.com/baker.html), which runs in Modeler. I've used this on a game engine job a few years ago and it worked really well.

G.

Greenlaw
12-08-2014, 06:49 AM
Greenlaw, thanks for the info. I am curious if UV transfer reliable enough. Like in Maya attribute transfer? Ask because I tried it before with 3d max projection modifier which have to do so by its help description but had always been hardly able to get something beyond a mess of triangles in Uv.

My use has been fairly limited to hair and fur guides. The issue when importing guides from ZBrush is that they do not come with any vmaps from the orignal mesh, but these tools allow me to transfer the UV map coordinates from the base mesh to the root points of the guide chains. The result is that I can use a color texture that was painted for a creature's skin to color FiberFX on the separate ZBrush guides. The two cats in 'B2' (http://vimeo.com/channels/littlegreendog/68543424) are examples of the UV coordinates transfer. I also used this method to transfer Weights and Morph maps from the character mesh to the imported ZBrush guides to use with the rigs, and the deformations on the guides seems to be pretty accurate.

G.

jkir
12-08-2014, 12:44 PM
Oh, I see. Thanks for letting it know.


By the way, I still can't get FBX import be especially great. ( export doesn't work in trial probably) I am not interested it transfer camera and lights , they are not needed in gamedev . But i do interested in transfer edited vertex(shading) normals. Everything I can get looks like being just smoothed based on default shader settings, angle based.

And I had no luck with Blender modified lwo exporter . Some vertex normal map appears in the list but does nothing to the visible shading in the viewport.
But that game recalc vertex normal plugin does work in Blender and shading is even getting saved somehow.


Tried those

DesertRat
12-08-2014, 05:40 PM
jikr, sorry it's still giving you trouble. Trying this recently I re-discovered a few pitfalls, so here's a picture, hope it helps.

For my example, in Blender I used the Recalc Vertex Normals addon. I placed the 3D curser in the center of my leaves and pressed 'Tree'. After I see the Normals all pointing outward, I hit Save. Then, export to LW using this exporter:

http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?336749-The-LWO-import-export-project

Be sure to uncheck 'Recalculate Normals' and check 'Use Recalc Vert Normals addon..."

Now, in LW, change the Vertex Normal Map from none to vert_normals, and you should see the lighting change. And for some reason in Layout you need to check "Smoothing" to see it in the viewports.

However, if you have 'Show Normals' checked in Modeler preferences, you will see the Vertex Normals haven't actually been edited.

jkir
12-09-2014, 06:46 AM
Thanks DesrertRat for detailed explanation, looks like my problem in the Blender. I am getting an error message when try to do lwo export. And selected objects are getting doubled for some weird reason. Do you use the plugin with the current 2.72b Blender release ?

DesertRat
12-09-2014, 08:39 AM
Thanks DesrertRat for detailed explanation, looks like my problem in the Blender. I am getting an error message when try to do lwo export. And selected objects are getting doubled for some weird reason. Do you use the plugin with the current 2.72b Blender release ?

Not detailed enough...:o

I'm guessing you were in Edit mode when trying to export? Exporting it only works in Object mode. Switching back to Object mode might cause the Normals to revert back to their original state. So...

1 - Import your object into Blender
2 - In the control panel for Recalc Vertex Normals, turn on Autoload and Autosave, also click "Show" to show the Normals.
3 - Enter Edit mode, and manipulate the Normals however you wish.
4 - When finished, click "Save" in the control panel for Recalc Vertex Normals - just to be sure.
5 - Switch back to Object mode - the edited Normals should be preserved. If not, try clicking "Reload Normals" in the control panel for Recalc Vertex Normals.

6 - Export as LWO, being sure to uncheck "Recalculate Normals" and check "Use Recalc Vert Normals" addon.

Yes, downloaded current 2.72b yesterday and got this working.

I don't know why objects are getting doubled, that is weird.

Hope that is clearer.

jkir
12-09-2014, 12:15 PM
Looks like something wrong on my Blender side. Think I need to reinstall both Blender and the export plugin. To many other plugins in my Blender installation probably.

jkir
12-09-2014, 12:22 PM
I tried Modo and found that their texture baker could use morph targets as "cage" object . Could the same trick be somehow available in Lightwave? I mean is it possible to use morphing vertexes direction as ray tracing vectors for ray trace node?