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View Full Version : Request for IMPORT and EXPORT Fixes and More Formats



jaxtone
03-04-2004, 06:02 AM
I started to work with LW 1996 and still cant understand why Lightwave after all these years still have one of the lousiest export and import functions in the whole 3D industry.

Juris Salmins
Creative Director
http://www.salmins.com

Kurtis
03-04-2004, 07:34 AM
jaxtone,

Are you experiencing a particular difficulty with the import/export functions, or do you think they could just stand some imporvement?

If you would like to make suggestions as to ways they could be improved, you are always welcome to send an e-mail to [email protected] This address goes to the LightWave Development Team, so they can consider ways to change and/or improve LightWave for our users.

mkiii
03-04-2004, 07:44 AM
Since we're on the topic. The 3ds Export still doesn't export UV Coordinates properly.

To get a 3ds object into 3dsMax for instance, many hoops have to be jumped through. I have a technique that involves having to create a spare poly for each surface that's uv mapped, but have given up that time consuming way & started using Deep Exploration.

Kurtis
03-04-2004, 07:51 AM
mkiii,

I can't guarantee that the LightWave Development Team is able to monitor this Discussion Forum, but please feel free to post these comments in the LightWave>Feature Requests portion of this forum and send them and e-mail.

Are you the same MkIII that has the excellent LW Aircraft Modeling site?

tektonik
03-04-2004, 08:10 AM
hello from the 3D capital of the world... Montreal :)

for the transfer of files between LW and MAX you should try the Kaydara format "FBX"

there is a free plug-in for both apps at kaydara.com site

exports/imports everything

jaxtone
03-04-2004, 08:28 AM
Hi!

As said I been into LW for a while now... I also have a long experience from industrial Cad systems and as far as I know the only three formats LW have supported for the latest 6 years are just the same as the ones LW support today, (lwo), (obj) and (3ds).

This is narrow though in every project where I have been working with other 3D artists they always have more and better features when we are supposed to import / export different geometries. Especially 3DMax have a lot of positive abilities to import and adjust different formats.

I feel like being left behind by the company I have supported for years now. Today I had this industrial robot sent to me by ABB that is one of the largest robot manufacturers in the world. Guess if I feel like an amateur when I have to look around the whole internet to find out that other softwares have many opportunities to convert, import or export many different industrial standards.

As an example 3DMax have an integrated workflow with Autodesk VIZ to share VIZ Render files and it supports all industry format exchanges .DWG, .DXF, and IGES. Formats such as (stl), (sat), pro engineer and catiafiles would also be preferable when you want to work professionally with customers from the industrial side of 3D. Well I dont really want to do it but since the money is there I ll hang around for a while ;)

I remember my first big project when I was a projectleader for a 3D team and were supposed to deliver animations for Ericssons first worldtour. We had many industrial standard CAD formats to deal with. I contacted LW support but it took too long time to get a negative answer, they couldnt help. So I had to ask my youngest team members if they could read the formats and since these guys used 3DMax they didnt have any problems with reading the files. Hey! This was 6 years ago...

Ive got no intentions to being rude but frankly I think the LW import / export function still sucks.

Juris

Kurtis
03-04-2004, 01:51 PM
jaxtone,

There's no problem with that, as long as we feel it's not outright malicious. If we had a problem with people disagreeing with us, we'd spend too much time deleting threads. :D

Just so you know, LW is able to import DXF.

I will be happy to bring this thread to the attention of the LightWave Development Team, but I am not a part of that group. So, it would still be a good idea to post your suggestions for improvement in the LightWave > LW - Feature Requests (http://vbulletin.newtek.com/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=27) portion of this forum, as well as dropping a line to [email protected]

mkiii
03-04-2004, 05:12 PM
Kurtis:

Ermmm Yes 'tis me who had the semi-excellent half finished aircraft tute - which is now dead until I get around to putting it up elsewhere.

As for the 3ds uv map problem - It's something that I reported way back during the LW6 Betaforce period & afterwards when LW6 came out. Unfortunately it seems to have been forgotten, since the same problems seems to be persisting in 7.5c

However, I will email lwfeatures again just for luck.

jaxtone
03-05-2004, 02:37 AM
Howdy!

Seems like there isnt a high priority at Newtek for customers that want to explore and work with Lightwave against and with the production industry.

When you mention "it seems to have been forgotten", I remember in -96 when I for the first time asked about more recourses in the LW interface. Even in -98 and 2000 I did the same but it seems like its easier to neglect some customers needs than actually TCoB.

Nice aircrafts you produce, really fantastic and ultra realistic models.

All the best from the grumpy old Juris

PS. I made a short film as a joke or a teaser for the customer. It took me about 15 minutes to animate the robot to Brahms old piece Hungarian Dance nr 6. Compared to the 6 hours it took me to concvert and reshape the model from *.sat to *.3ds format I just say like this.

I would like to be more artistic in my production and would therefore prefere a software developer that took my work and needs seriously.

Juris Salmins
Creative Director

You can watch this little piece at my site...
http://www.salmins.com/vfx.html

Kurtis
03-05-2004, 07:36 AM
mkiii and Jaxtone,

I'll bow out now, but I wanted to let you know that, as promised, I have forwarded the URL of this thread to our the LightWave team, so they at least know about it.

Don't take the fact that it hasn't been addressed as a sign that Engineering doesn't care. There is a new development team that has a lot of issues to addess. Different users have different priorities, and they have to address them in some kind of order. Feel free to continue to discuss this, and encourage those who want to see this feature addressed to send those e-mails. The more e-mails they get, the more they know it's important to our users.

jaxtone
03-05-2004, 08:05 AM
I agree with you and thanks for the advices and tolerance with my negativism.

J

jevinstudios
03-06-2004, 06:05 PM
LW's import and export functions are truly horrible -- no denying that. By purchasing Right Hemisphere's Deep Exploration, however, my whole world has changed. I can now model in LightWave to my little heart's content, and export beautifully to any other package, preserving the model's integrity, textures, UV's, etc. Would seriously recommend the investment -- it's very cheap (around $300), and VERY easy to use!!!

jaxtone
03-07-2004, 01:31 AM
Hi!

So you are 101 % sure that a *.sat model with about a million entities will pop up in LW with all 50 layers separated if using DE?

If not I now a lot funnier things to spend 300 bucks on :)

Thanks anyway but I must be sure cause time is running out here!
So if you got a possibility to try it out please tell!

J

jevinstudios
03-07-2004, 04:59 AM
You have to purchase add-on modules for the .sat files, catia, solidworks, etc. (I've actually seen the results using these plug-ins, and yes, they work exactly as needed). BUT, these modules are extremely expensive. DE works fantastic right out of the box for .obj, .3ds, .lwo conversion to/from, etc.

In fact, on a contract job I'm working, we needed the modules for solidworks and catia -- the exported models were perfect, although they contained millions of polygons and crashed Maya on Windows because of the extreme complexity (they worked on OSX, tho, which we used to animate and texture the puppies....).

What you need is specialized for the CAD industry, it appears. Right Hemisphere can work with you to set you up, but it'll cost more than what the average 3D animatior would need. Bummer.....

jaxtone
03-07-2004, 06:49 AM
Extremely expensive locked source code tranlsators isnt my kind of meal, I am just a film and animation maniac :)

I actually made the customer to deliver in STEP format instead of SAT files. Then I used an evaluation copy of Rhino to convert the models into LWO files. It sure is a lot of wheeling and dealing in the tweaking process to get it right.

For one of the models it took me shorter time to model a new object than convert the original geometry. Although
this isnt good enough when the customer notice that a certain radius is about 2 mm smaller than the original :(

However the biggest problem is when the converter creates triangles all the way instead of splitting the geometry into quads.

J

Jockomo
07-26-2005, 10:17 AM
Bumping this thread as I sit here Re-modeling someone elses work using a 3d object as a reference in eDrawings.

Pathetic waste of time imo, and seemingly still no solutions that don't cost more than the money I will make on the project.

SCS5
07-27-2005, 05:31 AM
I use Okino's PolyTrans. It was designed from the ground up to convert both scenes and objects to different formats. Some formats require extra plugins, but It works quite well, for me anyway.

Exper
07-27-2005, 05:52 AM
Bump it to say:
we don't want buy extra software for a decent Import of at least the most common and used formats! :mad:

P.S. How many times we have asked for it? My counter is going to "buffer overflow" error.

robk
07-27-2005, 10:00 PM
I use Accutrans 3d for bringing over my 3ds and dxf models from Autocad. The author has built-in very nice tools for flipping faces if face is white it faces the right way if it is red the normal is reversed.(a lot easier to see tham in any of Lightwave's modes) Very easy to see what is not facing the correct way. I also have many layers in my models and Accutrans lets me turn layers off and on individualy, And by clicking with the middle mouse button you can centre your zooming and rotations around a particular face. makes it easy for getting in and flipping small faces. You can also flip individual faces or set it to flip all faces connected. Works pretty good. i could make a short video of it in action if anyone is interested.
I have attached a screen grab from my laptop to give you an idea of how the red/white contrast looks. Sorry about the size but I wanted it to be clear.

starbase1
07-28-2005, 02:33 AM
:agree:

One specific one that bugs me is weak import of .OBJ with textures.

So I can export something from Poser 5 as an obj file, LW opens it fine, but the textures are not assigned to the UV maps. The UV maps are there, but not used - and it's a real pain working through what might be many different surfaces and channels manually setting them up again...

I suspect a lot of the frustration expressed in this thread is because this kind of stuff, or remodelling to latch something that can't be imported, so clearly feels like an unnecessary waste of time.

I'm sure the coders are bashing away for all they are worth on cool features we will all love, and I understand that you can never support every format people will want.

This just feels like it's broken though...

Nick

3dworks
07-28-2005, 04:15 AM
:agree:

One specific one that bugs me is weak import of .OBJ with textures.

So I can export something from Poser 5 as an obj file, LW opens it fine, but the textures are not assigned to the UV maps. The UV maps are there, but not used - and it's a real pain working through what might be many different surfaces and channels manually setting them up again...

I suspect a lot of the frustration expressed in this thread is because this kind of stuff, or remodelling to latch something that can't be imported, so clearly feels like an unnecessary waste of time.

I'm sure the coders are bashing away for all they are worth on cool features we will all love, and I understand that you can never support every format people will want.

This just feels like it's broken though...

Nick

seems to me that LW, when it loads OBJ files does not care about the MTL files to load textures or UV maps...

markus

jaxtone
08-07-2005, 04:49 AM
LW import and export functions sucks...

Seems like they doesnt listen at all at LW to anyone that works professionally with industrial customers... I mean everyone cant just make a living of producing fantasy space ships and logos...

Well hopefully they make up their minds when 9 comes...

J

Matt
08-07-2005, 07:17 AM
I've found alternative routes to import our CAD data (SolidWorks -> STL -> LightWave using Mike Wolf's excellent STL_io plugin).

But NewTek do need to realise there are users out there who aren't just character people, speaking as an industrial designer, LightWave isn't as widely known as say 3DSMax in our industry because it doesn't support a lot of the import formats.

IGES is probably the most common format people send stuff to us in, but to be honest, even if I could read it in, the meshing process is the part that makes the import useless, because IGES surfaces are all seperate, they have no relationship with other surfaces next to them, so each surface meshes differently, this causes gaps in geometry where points don't match up etc. On a complex model, this could take forever to fully fix.

Parasolid files would be better because they are all 'one lump', but this is a much more complex file format I would imagine.

Ideally the native CAD package should have the ability to mesh its data from source, most can but only as triangles, not quads, so the poyflow is usually awful.

But for starters; rock-solid, fully up to date versions of the following file formats would be handy:

.STL, .OBJ, .DXF, .MA, .3DS, .MAX, .AI (2D)

Matt

starbase1
08-07-2005, 08:10 AM
I can undertsaqnd that things like 3Ds are tricky to say the least - I think they basically store a set of commands to build the object.

But no excuse for simple popular well established polygon based formats like .OBJ

Lightwolf
08-07-2005, 08:14 AM
I can undertsaqnd that things like 3Ds are tricky to say the least - I think they basically store a set of commands to build the object.

That is the max file formatyou reffering to, not 3DS (which has its roots in 3D Studio DOS). 3DS is basically just as simple as .OBJ.

Cheers,
Mike

starbase1
08-07-2005, 09:08 AM
Correct, sorry for the mistake.

Lightwolf
08-07-2005, 09:29 AM
Correct, sorry for the mistake.
No need to apologize... :D I just like to correct stuff like that before misconceptions come up... sorry for being so ... erm ... german ;)

Cheers,
Mike

Matt
08-08-2005, 12:33 AM
Finicky Mike, finicky! ;)

Lightwolf
08-08-2005, 03:21 AM
:beerchug: :screwy: :lol:

Cheers,
Mike

jaxtone
08-08-2005, 04:53 AM
Hi!

Thanks for your reply...

Until now I have met so many different CAD formats that I mostly ask my customers to deliver fully working models in either STEP or other formats than can be transformed into LW from RHINO. But since the industrial customers mostly have very little knowledge about polygon worlds the models they deliver are terribly hard to handle so most of the time its even quicker to remodel everything from scratch with LW. But thats a very bad alternative since its both time consuming and out of the budget.

I have contacted some companies in the US to find out what the rates are to buy specially designed programs for transforming real industral CAD data, not even want to mention Polytrans here), but these progs are so expensive that its definitly not an option. The reason is because the source codes from the CAD prog companies are not free, so they have to buy an option for each license...

Of course LW wont be in the same price rate if we are talking about options to convert industrial CAD data but, hey, Newtek could at least add a few more formats as a standard after all these years of complainings from users that not only use LW for entertainment, space or fantasy projects... these are of course important as well... my deep respect to all users out there... its more about using Newteks sharp and hard working teams brilliant intelligence for more options than now when it comes to import and export functions.

J

Lightwolf
08-08-2005, 05:04 AM
I have contacted some companies in the US to find out what the rates are to buy specially designed programs for transforming real industral CAD data, not even want to mention Polytrans here), but these progs are so expensive that its definitly not an option. The reason is because the source codes from the CAD prog companies are not free, so they have to buy an option for each license...

That is one of the main issues here... I know a company here that does tons of high end car-viz work for Daimler-Chrysler, and they have had massive problems in the past few years getting the data across, relying on VRML for best results in the end (VRML is used internally by DC, since the also do realtime powerwall viz of their cars on SGI/openInventor based systems).
Only this year did they find a tool for Max that works well with the CAD data supplied (mostly CATIA). Shelling out a couple of thousand $$$ for that tool is a no brainer for them, since it saves them _weeks_ of touching up geometry. (Yeah, they do complete cars with millions of polygons...).
The more complex the CAD format, the less likely it is that any 3D vendor will support it natively. Alias have an advantage since they need the same code for Studio which is specialized for CAD/CAM type viz. Max of course has the autodesk people to rely on and Maxon belongs to Nemetschek, a CAD software manufacturer.
It would be nice if NT would OEM something like Polytrans and bundle it...

Cheers,
Mike
Cheers,
Mike

Promethius
08-17-2005, 08:59 AM
I really enjoy the discussion of material on this subject. I kind of have to laugh :) . Because I think LW has a poor import/export features too. I kind of wish this area would be more concentrated on, than quicker and faster features. I can deal with performance issues, but when trying to use an export file and the end result does not come out the way you hoped it would be is very fustrating.

Nothing against the product. For me, I am a fan of LW. :lwicon:

jaxtone
08-17-2005, 12:11 PM
I follow... and can just say that this issue was asked NT 1998 the first time... at least by me...

J