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Greenlaw
07-05-2018, 01:08 PM
I'm surprised I never had to do this before today but I want to use a Curve from Modeler as a Spline Control path in Layout. This seems to work okay but I have a question:

How to you correct the bank for the nodes in the path after sending it to Layout? Even though I modeled the Curve 'flat', as in flat along the ground plane, the bank of the nodes in Layout are all rotated 90 degrees so the ribbon is aligned sideways like this:

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For now, I'm just offsetting the bank of the object that follows the path but I was wondering, is there a way to correct the imported Spline Control path's bank alignment? For that matter, can I adjust the rotation of the nodes individually?

Maybe there's a way to convert this Curve to a regular Spline Control path with animateable nodes? I haven't looked into that yet but if anybody has the answer, the info will be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Greenlaw
07-05-2018, 01:24 PM
Hmm...I see a Curve-To-Spline python script. Maybe that's it? BRB.

Greenlaw
07-05-2018, 01:28 PM
That did it.

If anybody else needs this info, the command is under Setup>Edit>Curve to Spline. With the path selected, I clicked on the button and, voila!, I now have a regular Spline Control path with properly aligned and individually editable nodes.

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Wish I knew about this earlier. If I need to create a Spline Control path that will need lot of nodes, this is a much faster way to set it up.

I'm sure this is all old news but I think it's neat! :)

Axis3d
07-05-2018, 02:20 PM
Yes. That is a very handy tool, creating a spline control path from a curve. Here's a video using it from a few years past: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yft6Z6wbyM8 (about 2.5 minutes in).

The thing I have found over the years is that, after creating a spline control curve with many nodes, that I may need to add some in-between nodes for control. It is very easy to add a node at the end of an already existing spline control setup.

But to add a node somewhere between the existing nodes, I have found that you need to:

1. add a new control node (null),
2. Turn off the Spline control in the object's Motion menu.
3. position it where you want on the spline
4. Re-order the null in the Scene Editor (placing it in the list in-between the ones that you want), and finally -
5. Turning back on Spline control in the object's Motion menu.

Just adding a new control node null always places it at the end of the chain, so you have to go through the above steps to make it usable where you want it in the setup.


***I've noticed in LW 2018, that they moved the Curve to Spline script into the Utilities > Additional list :(

Greenlaw
07-05-2018, 02:46 PM
There's an easier way to insert and re-order nodes.

To re-order: in Scene Editor, click on the Item Name header until it says Item Sequence. Now you'll find you can re-order the nodes in the Spline by dragging them to new positions in the heirarchy.

To insert a new node: after changing to the Item Sequence mode in Scene Editor, create a new null, select it in the Scene Editor, and drag it in-between the nodes where you want it to fall. You'll see a line appear in-between the nodes. Release the null. The null is now inserted as a new Spline Control node within the Spline. Then in Layout, move the node to the desired position in the Spline. The rest of the Spline will remain more or less unchanged.

Another user here pointed this out to me a few years ago. It's been a great time- and work-saver.

Edit: I just re-read your post. Maybe this is kinda what you were already describing? If so, never mind. :)

jwiede
07-05-2018, 02:49 PM
How to you correct the bank for the nodes in the path after sending it to Layout? Even though I modeled the Curve 'flat', as in flat along the ground plane, the bank of the nodes in Layout are all rotated 90 degrees so the ribbon is aligned sideways like this:

142097

It'd be nice if there were indication of, and means of adjusting, the bank at time of curve creation/editing in Modeler, instead of having to fix it up after the fact. I don't see any obvious way of doing so in Modeler, anyone else know if already possible (during curve editing)?

If not, seems worth filing a feature request.

Greenlaw
07-05-2018, 02:56 PM
Maybe. Although I didn't really have to fix anything...all I did was click the button and alignment in the nodes was corrected.

MonroePoteet
07-05-2018, 09:56 PM
Nice hint on the Item Sequence in Scene Editor!

For a more complex curve created in Modeler, and especially one that changes directions (e.g. like a roller coaster path), you may find that CurveToSpline produces some very strange "flips" in the spline.

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The general solution that's worked for me is to select all the node(n) Bones created by CurveToSpline in the Scene Editor, use the Motion panel Controllers and Limits tab to set all of these node(n) to have Heading and Pitch to Spline Control, and then numerically enter 0.0 for the Bank. This aligns the nodes to the Spline in Heading and Pitch and zeros out the Bank, which can then be adjusted to the needs of the animation.

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mTp

P.S. really sad CurveToSpline was relegated to Utilities=>Additional - a VERY useful tool

jwiede
07-05-2018, 11:02 PM
Nice hint on the Item Sequence in Scene Editor!

For a more complex curve created in Modeler, and especially one that changes directions (e.g. like a roller coaster path), you may find that CurveToSpline produces some very strange "flips" in the spline.

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Can't say I'm surprised. Kind of validates that the ability to explicitly edit the curve's bank values in Modeler during creation/editing would be more efficient. I'll file a feature request (tomorrow).

MonroePoteet
07-06-2018, 08:10 AM
How would a per-point "bank" be implemented in Modeler and represented in the LWO file? Maybe suggest a pair of parallel rails (i.e. two curves) to define the spline?

mTp

Greenlaw
07-06-2018, 08:56 AM
...really sad CurveToSpline was relegated to Utilities=>Additional - a VERY useful tool

I agree. At work, we're still using 2015 and it's under Setup/Edit there, which I think made more sense. (Even though I hadn't noticed the tool till yesterday.) :p

That said, the menus are getting pretty crowded in 2018 (at least on a 1920 x 1080 screen) so maybe they felt some stuff needed to be moved out to reduce 'clutter'? If so, I think what this really means is we're going to need a better way to organize/display menus and buttons in future releases of LW.

jwiede
07-06-2018, 05:15 PM
I agree. At work, we're still using 2015 and it's under Setup/Edit there, which I think made more sense. (Even though I hadn't noticed the tool till yesterday.) :p

That said, the menus are getting pretty crowded in 2018 (at least on a 1920 x 1080 screen) so maybe they felt some stuff needed to be moved out to reduce 'clutter'? If so, I think what this really means is we're going to need a better way to organize/display menus and buttons in future releases of LW.

I've always been fond of the Rhino-like search/filter for commands. Unfortunately, that requires ALL commands be predictably-named, and historically that poses some issues for LW.

MonroePoteet
07-07-2018, 09:40 AM
I agree. At work, we're still using 2015 and it's under Setup/Edit there, which I think made more sense. (Even though I hadn't noticed the tool till yesterday.) :p

That said, the menus are getting pretty crowded in 2018 (at least on a 1920 x 1080 screen) so maybe they felt some stuff needed to be moved out to reduce 'clutter'? If so, I think what this really means is we're going to need a better way to organize/display menus and buttons in future releases of LW.

Yes, I hope that LW modifies their menu implementation to allow workflow specific menus. I've submitted a Feature Request which I *think* wouldn't be a significant, hard-to-implement change to the existing menu implementation which would make workflow-specific, floating menus available, allow any particular Command to be placed on multiple menus, and make assigning a Hotkey to each floating menu easy. Here's the text of the Feature Request (which may be ignored if LWDG has a different strategy in mind, of course):

LW2018 Feature Request - Menu management changes in both Layout and Modeler

I'd like to request that Menus in both Layout and Modeler have the following changes made:

1) Have the ability to create floating menus, even if the primary menus are not floating
2) Have the ability for a Command to be placed on multiple menus
3) From the floating menu panel, have a button to assign a Hotkey to the floating menu by pressing the desired hotkey combination (e.g. CTRL-ALT-F1). The hotkey should both raise and drop the floating menu.

Ideally, Commands could be drag-n-dropped from the primary, fixed menus into a floating menu, but barring that implementation the floating menu should be able to bring up the Edit=>Edit Menu Layout interface directly to configure, add and remove Commands for only the current floating menu, not the entire menu hierarchy.

These changes would allow the user to create personalized workflow-specific menus with only the Commands they use in that workflow without the current requirements that each Command be removed from the primary menus and the menu be place in the fixed menu hierarchy. A specific Command could be in multiple workflow-specific menus as well as the fixed primary menus.



As always, just my opinion on what would be a good start at improving the menus in LW.

mTp

jwiede
07-07-2018, 02:47 PM
I think the real answer is for them to get the UI engine overhaul done, so we can have proper tooltips (desperately needed), fully scalable/customizable/multimon&HiDPI-aware GUI (also desperately needed), and open the door for stuff like pie-/marker-menus, etc. I use pie menus all the time with a different pkg, and they're great w.r.t. muscle-memory, etc. I'd really like to see something a lot closer to C4D- or Modo-level GUI capabilities ASAP, but it all hinges on them migrating to Qt sooner than later. Alas, I'm skeptical that's even still in their plans.

MonroePoteet
07-07-2018, 03:39 PM
Agreed on the tooltips - as long as LW is text based buttons (which I prefer), tooltips would be very helpful.

I think the changes I proposed are a fairly minor project plan within the existing code base compared to a full GUI redesign / rewrite and the resulting functionality would be quite helpful.

mTp

jwiede
07-07-2018, 03:55 PM
I think the changes I proposed are a fairly minor project plan within the existing code base compared to a full GUI redesign / rewrite and the resulting functionality would be quite helpful.

It would, but there's stuff like much-improved HiDPI compatibility, etc. that are now "critically emergent" needs (to be kind), and which require a more general UI engine overhaul.

While what you propose would indeed be an improvement, if they don't address some of the more critical GUI needs urgently, there won't be enough customers left to care about smaller-scoped GUI improvements. The HiDPI situ appears to be one of those rare cases where us Mac LW folks are actually better off than the Windows LW folks, but that just makes addressing it more urgent because it's affecting so many more LW customers on Windows.

Marander
07-07-2018, 04:38 PM
I think the real answer is for them to get the UI engine overhaul done, so we can have proper tooltips (desperately needed), fully scalable/customizable/multimon&HiDPI-aware GUI (also desperately needed), and open the door for stuff like pie-/marker-menus, etc. I use pie menus all the time with a different pkg, and they're great w.r.t. muscle-memory, etc. I'd really like to see something a lot closer to C4D- or Modo-level GUI capabilities ASAP, but it all hinges on them migrating to Qt sooner than later. Alas, I'm skeptical that's even still in their plans.

Well, there are pie menus and tooltips in LW... but not done by NewTek. On the left hand side you see the UI design by NewTek and on the right hand side the one by OD... ;-)

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Note how one must guess or remember what Pri... Re... App... Ligh... Glo... Inst... P... M... E... R... I... R... E... means. I rather not state my sentiments about this.

Marander
07-07-2018, 04:43 PM
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Context sensitive, opens the menu in the location where your cursor is, has a good looking menu editor and different display methods.

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jwiede
07-07-2018, 06:30 PM
Yep, unfortunately OD Pie Menus aren't available for Mac, nor likely to be in future according to Oliver. He did a really great job with them, no question.

I've poked a little bit at what it would take to do a "Pie Menu" service on Mac, but it's a way down my "project list", and unlikely I'll get to it any time soon.

oliverhotz
07-07-2018, 09:46 PM
142132

Context sensitive, opens the menu in the location where your cursor is, has a good looking menu editor and different display methods.

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Glad you like them :)... the hardest part for me is to NOT use them in all the demo vids I do about other plugins, I really like being able to macro things together.