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Edwardpickman
10-12-2015, 02:41 PM
I used to use Sasquatch with minimal troubles but I've never got Lightwave's hair to work properly. In 9.6 it kind of worked a bit but styling crashed it every time. I finally tried a demo version summer of 2014, not sure what version that was, pre 2015. It kind of worked but was unstable in that if I reopened the same model the hair was often screwed up. Well after waiting since 9.6 I finally upgraded a year ago and got a free upgrade to 2015 because of when I bought it. Well I hadn't done much with it and had never tried hair until now. The old interface appears to not work at all so I found the one in modeler. Most of the controls are gone especially combing but I seemed to get hair. When I switched back to Layout the hair seemed to not be on the body, I've seen that happen before and usually moving up a frame sorts it. It didn't. Well I figured I'd at least try rendering it. Well I hit render and it seems to render the frame then as the frame came up it crashed. Basically everything I try to do either produces no hair or it crashes. Every time Lightwave tries to improve fiber it makes it worse. If it crashes it's WORTHLESS! Sasquatch was around forever and it actually worked. What I need to do is brain dead simple. I have a moth model and I just need thick clumped hair for the body. Without hair I'm screwed. The fact I could do this 6 years ago I thought I was safe. What is it 2 steps forward and 10 back with hair? It's the most useless feature in Lightwave. I have a year old iMac so it's nothing exotic. I have 32 gig of ram so that's not the problem. I know when I open the old interface and turn it on nothing is displayed, no hair and no guides and when I click on the edit box at the top of the Fiber window it crashes every time. HELP!

Greenlaw
10-12-2015, 03:08 PM
I'm not sure what you mean by 'old' interface...there is only one UI in Layout for FiberFX. For a patch of 'bug hair', it should be fairly easy--I helped somebody out with a bee this past weekend: http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?145141-Hair-animation-with-Lightwave/page8&highlight=bee+fiberfx Scroll down a little till you see the 'bee' example. I think I wrote down a brief explanation of how Edit Guides works in that thread.

To see the fibers in OpenGL, you need to click in the preview column for the layer you want to see. Be aware that if you have a ton of fibers to preview, it will slow down interactivity.

As for the crashing, I'm not sure. FiberFX was fairly stable for me back in 11.5.1. I generally stopped using it during 11.6.x because motion vector output was broken but the devs got that fixed in time for LightWave 2015. I started using FiberFX again this past summer and so far it's been pretty stable for our project (link below).

Maybe it's a Mac thing? You might try posting in the Mac section and asking there.

Otherwise, try resetting your configs--bad configs is usually the main cause of crashing.

The one other thing I can think of is that if you're using old 9.6 scenes, forget it. FiberFX had undergone many significant changes since then (most notably the object format and how it interprets values,) and old FiberFX scenes will not be compatible.

If you're using externally modeled guides (created in Modeler, ZBrush or elsewhere), be sure the guides have the required root point. If you don't have that, FiberFX will definitely crash. StrandMaker can do the proper conversion if you're using curves as the source (i.e., Modo or FiberMesh guides). I posted more info about that in another thread recently--sorry, I don't have the link but a search should turn it up.

If you're using Edit Guides, remember to save your object after editing because the vMap data is now stored in the object file, not the scene file. If you don't, you'll lose your style settings when you close the scene (just like with regular object surface settings.) As a precaution, I also like to save a FiberFX settings file.

Hope this helps.

G.

Edwardpickman
10-14-2015, 05:26 PM
Sorry I didn't know anyone responded. Been swamped. I still can't get the Layout interface to generate guides or even properly display hair. I didn't know before about the modeler interface for creating hair. Through it I got functional guides but it added the hair in two separate layers to the model and I'm still not sure what each represent? Also the layers aren't linked to the model so you have to parent them which you never had to do before. When I tried to render them I got absolutely the worst looking hair I've ever seen. It looked like poorly rendered stiff bristles. I should have saved off a render to show just how bad it looked. Check on the link below you can see some hair tests I did over a year ago that looked fine and no I'm not using old scenes or models. The interface is acting completely different than it did before. I tried everything and could not get it to generate guides in layout only in modeler or generate hair period. I'd love to find a good tutorial? I'll check out the bee link. Maybe that'll answer the questions. Adding the hair module in Modeler for me just confused things. I was able to make hair before that. Not sure what they changed in Layout but like I said I went from what you see on the web page below to hairs that looked like they were drawn by a crayon, I'm not kidding they're that crude. Before hand all you had to do was activate and you got some decent looking hair then you just had to play from there. When I hit activate and turn on visibly I get absolutely nothing on the screen. Just really frustrating because a year ago I could have set it up in 5 minutes and I blew half a day on it before I gave up. I'll check out the bee but any help would be greatly appreciated. It'd look 10X better with hair.

http://thecrimsonbard.com/eye-ballz/

Also here's a link to a test animation on the moth. Ignore the wing speed I was just setting up Inertia for the wings and antennae. It'd look so much better with hair.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/o179d8x103tp354/Moth%20New%20iPad.m4v?dl=0

Okay I looked at the page link. I'm afraid my problems are extremely basic as in it flat out doesn't generate hair in Layout. Maybe there's a extra "on switch" now? Also like I say I get no guides in layout unless I add them in modeler first. I had none of these troubles a year ago when I did all my tests.

Edwardpickman
10-14-2015, 06:38 PM
Okay I knew it had to be something braindead simple. My eye sight is really bad and I some how missed the widget next to the model. There was more than one surface and I apparently didn't select any by activating the model itself.

Okay I still have a major problem. I had this before and I can't remember the fix. The hair should be white but it comes out black like it's unlit. You can see by the tips it's white. What's going on? Just click on the Dropbox link, faster than uploading them to my website.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qfobqq4nv7mqm4h/Moth%20Hair%20Dark.jpg?dl=0

Greenlaw
10-14-2015, 07:03 PM
Here's a brief description of how the system works. It's off the top of my head so there may possibly be minor errors:

FiberFX exists as two different toolsets in LightWave and they are not dependent on each other.

In Layout, you have the FiberFX panel which generates the fibers you render. These fibers can be grown on a surface or can follow guides modeled in Modeler or another application. There is a third mode called Edit Guides, which allows you to create 'virtual' guides in Layout that you can comb and style. Because this style is defined with vmaps, you need to save your object after you create your style. If you need to add dynamics, you can convert the virtual guides using the Polygon Mix command. This will give you guides with a proper weight and UV map for 'skin map' textures.

If you're using Edit Guides, you do not need anything from Modeler to use it. Except for saving the vmaps to the object after editing, the system is pretty much self-contained.

Modeler's tools are actually much older than Edit Guides and they are only used to generate 2-point polygon chains that may be used with FiberFX in Layout.

First there's the Strand Modeler. This is a pretty old tool but it works fairly well. The guides it generates appear in a second layer mainly for easier management. In layout, you can use 'Use Bones From' to affect the guides. The Strand Modeler generates a weight map but it does not generate a UV map.

Strand Maker is used to convert curves to 2-polygon chains but additionally, it generates the necessary root point. It generates a UV map but this is for shading along the length of the guides, not the 'skin map'. It's useful for converting curves based guides created with rail cloning, or imported from Modo or ZBrush FiberMesh. It's not needed for guides created using Strand Modeler.

In general, you should only need the tools in Layout.

When I get home this evening, I'll walk through the basics and post step-by-step pics. Maybe you'll see something you missed.

G.

Edwardpickman
10-14-2015, 07:23 PM
I'm okay with most of it now but the rendering is a massive problem. Not sure why it comes out black no matter the color. FYI I just checked out a tutorial that was pre 2015 and they did move everything around so I'm not crazy. There used to be a place to define the surface you were using in the lower right hand corner. They merged that with the models which to me is confusing. It's alright now that I know it's how it works but I knew it was different the last time I used it.

I'm still stumped with the rendering. The tutorial I found he didn't do anything special and he ended up with sandy colored hair. No matter what I do I get jet black hair with no highlights. I tried adjusting everything and the most I can do is make it look blown out and black like it was black and over exposed. For some reason the light doesn't seem to be affecting the hair. Haven't a clue why?

Thanks. help is greatly appreciated.

jeric_synergy
10-15-2015, 12:06 AM
Just a random GUESS: which camera are you using?

Edwardpickman
10-15-2015, 01:29 AM
I'm just using the standard camera. I remember I had this exact same problem a year ago when I did all my original tests but I did find a solution or workaround. I spent hours changing every setting I could think of as well as using different lights and things like global illumination but nothing helped. All the tutorials show it just works but every time I try to render hair it's dead black. I've gone to pure white and it's still black. I used the texture map to establish the color and it was black. Once again the color map seemed to work because the tips matched the color of the map but 90% of the hair was dead black just the tips had color. It acts like the hair isn't receiving light. I think the tips render because of the transparency not because of the lighting. Intensely frustrating. I've blown a full day on hair and yes I can create hair but it flat out refuses to render properly. I've run out of things to try and web searches have been useless. I wish Lightwave would properly document their software but after 25 years I've given up hope. I'm using standard lights and cameras so I don't know what the tutorials are doing differently than I am?

Okay I've developed a blind hatred of Lightwave fiber! I decided to try some hair tests so I save it and restarted Li8ghtwave. Just bringing in a sphere and applying hair it seemed to render fine so I decided to import the moth animation into the new scene and try some test renders. Guess what? No bloody hair!!!!!!!! I take it you have to save the hair separately. I spent two hours combing and tweaking the hair and it's all gone because Lightwave can't be bothered to save ALL PARTS OF THE SCENE! Sorry but after 25 years Lightwave to me just isn't a professional tool. I don't currently have a Maya license but I never had these kinds of problems with Maya. I have major stability issues with Lightwave and there's a bug in the lighting that causes jagged shadows that's been around for 10 years!

I'll try to figure out how you are supposed to save hair so it can actually be reloaded!!!!!!!! But at this point hair is far more trouble than it's worth!

Greenlaw
10-15-2015, 01:59 AM
Yes, compared to 9.6, there have been many significant updates to FiberFX. The 9.6 version was the first 'Newtek' release of the tool and that was almost seven years ago. IMO, the 9.6 version of FiberFX had problems with network rendering so I avoided it for production use. But back then I did use FiberFX Strand Modeler on several jobs to create guides for Sasquatch. FiberFX in 10 was better but it still had problems.

For me, 11.0.3 was the first version that was usable for production. When I was at Rhythm & Hues, I used the beta version of this release for the 'DmC: Devil May Cry' theatrical cinematic. It worked out well on that job but I had to jump through some crazy hoops to make that work.

IMO, 11.5 was when FiberFX really started to become usable and practical. The biggest change was that styles were now embedded in the .lwo file instead of the .lws file. This made FiberFX significantly more stable and much easier to exchange Edit Guides setups with other scene files. Many of the settings were corrected and improved in this version but this meant older scene settings were no longer compatible. For me, a huge improvement was the addition of motion vector support, which naturally reduced my render times to a small fraction. This was the version I started using for my own project 'B2' (https://vimeo.com/68543424) (see link below for more info.)

11.6.x had some improvements but I stopped using FiberFX during that cycle mostly because the motion vector support got broken.

Which brings us to 2015. I only started working with FiberFX again this past summer and so far it's working out well for me. Motion vectors are supported again and support for multi-sample lighting is greatly improved. Settings have gone through another round of corrections and improvements so older scenes might not render exactly the same as before--it doesn't invalidate 11.5 - 11.6 scenes but you may need to tweak some settings. IMO, 2015 is the best release yet. I recently revived 'B2' and I intend to finish the project using 2015.

If you haven't read the manual since the 9.6 release, you really should. The FiberFX UI in 2015 has been greatly improved over the 9.6 version so it is going to be different. Overall, FiberFX in 2015 is also far more stable and predictable than it was in 9.6. Seriously. :)

As for the black renders, that sounds really weird--I don't get that at all here.

What's your color space? I always use the sRGB CS preset--among other advantages, I find scenes are much easier to light realistically in sRGB space, including FiberFX. But even if you're set to Linear CS, it shouldn't look black. I guess it could be anything--surface, light type, exclusions, shadow settings. Without knowing anything about your scene setup, all I can do is guess what could be wrong.

If you can't post your scene, even a few screen caps might offer some clues.

Unless you're using an unusual setup, it really should work. Here's a test scene I put together just a few minutes ago. I found a low-poly bee model online and I separated the body surface from the head and legs so I could enable FiberFX for just the body. Then I applied FiberFX to the bee and enabled the body layer. This render is basically using the default FiberFX settings but with textures enabled to color the fibers. I'm only using two Distant lights, one key and one fill. Nothing fancy, pretty basic setup:

130339

(Man, that's one puffy bee!)

Hope this info helps

G.

Greenlaw
10-15-2015, 02:13 AM
By 'Standard' camera do you mean Perspective or Classic? Classic is a legacy camera and it doesn't support FiberFX (or Instancer for that matter.)

If you're using Classic, try Perspective or Advanced. (I always use Perspective myself.)

G.

Greenlaw
10-15-2015, 10:20 AM
Note that you can also use masks to control the FiberFX settings. In the above 'quickie', I just threw FiberFX over the body surface evenly, but alternatively I could have used the objects original single surface and painted a mask to contrain the fibers to only the body region. You can also use masks with falloff or gradients to control and vary density, height and other properties.

Another option for detailed control is to use Edit Guides, which allows you interactively 'brush' these properties. I find, with practice, it's very useful and pretty easy to use for animal fur and short hairstyles. You can use it for longer hair too but that takes a bit more practice to master. As mentioned earlier (as well as in the manual,) you need to save the object after using Edit Guides because the vmap it generates for Styles is an object property, not a scene property (just like when you make surface changes in Layout.)

In general, you should also save your FiberFX settings. I usually save variations that I like, or just to have a back up in case a scene crashes. Two examples would be a nice 'hero' look setting for closeups and a less dense and faster rendering version for distant or wide shots. Or maybe variant settings for different animals of the same species.

I don't know how you've set up your moth's surface(s) but those are just some options you have.

Alternatively, you can also model your guides outside of Layout (i.e., in Modeler or other programs). Just be advised that if you want to pattern the fibers, you'll need to create a UV map for the roots (you don't have to do that with Edit Guides fibers.) To do that, I recommend DrainBGVmap or Weighter 2. Also be aware that 'unbound' guides also do not deform properly with sub-patch surfaces--I guess that should be obvious but I learned this fact the hard way in mid-production. (By contrast Edit Guides guides naturally deform with the mesh because they are 'grown' directly from the mesh's vertices.) :)

FYI, for really long hairstyles or very fancy hair styles I like to use FiberMesh to create guides for FiberFX but that's a skill that takes even more practice to master. Sister's hair (in 'B2') was created using FiberMesh. I know I could have created this much more quickly in Modeler but I took this task as an excuse to learn how to use FiberMesh. I really like how it turned out. You can see a brief 'step-by-step' of the FiberMesh styling process in the Production Log link below.

In the case of the 'B2' cats, back in 11.5 I got really good results using Edit Guides for the cats and it only took me about 20 minutes to style each cat. The problem I had was with rendering--for some reason, it popped when rendering through BNR 4. But another studio offered to test my scenes for me it and it rendered fine (I think they had Deadline render.) This told me the issue was not with FiberFX but with how BNR 4 read FiberFX frames. Since I wasn't going to switch render controllers, I switched to FiberMesh for guides, which gave me stable results with FiberFX and BNR 4. Since that time, BNR has been multiple times and I believe the popping issue with Edit Guides was resolved several versions ago. (I'm using BNR 6 now but I'm not 100% sure it's compatible with FiberFX Edit Guides yet. Sorry, I just haven't gotten around to checking that yet.)

G.

Greenlaw
10-15-2015, 10:28 AM
I often feel like I post a lot of the same info over and over again. I guess I should create a big fat FiberFX FAQ and just post a link to it. :p

JoePoe
10-15-2015, 12:48 PM
If you're totally bricked, you're not getting enough fiber...... :ohmy:

Sorry, back to the thread.