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Larky
03-24-2003, 06:40 AM
I have been asked to import some models from SolidWorks into Lightwave, the most universal format it can output is Iges, but I can't seem to find any way to import it. Anybody know of a way?

Best.

Larky.

Oh, please check out my Mountain Bike in the Work In Progress section. :)

Lightwolf
03-25-2003, 11:12 AM
So far, the best route seems to be IGES->Rhino->WavefrontOBJ->LW or IGES->Polytrans->LW.
I've had plenty of bad luck with IGES in the past though, since the conversion to polygons is never an easy process outside of the app that created them.
You might try split layers from Solidworks (i.e. by material type), and then export as stl/stb (stereolithography, so they have to be seemless!). This way, Solidworks will tesselate the nurbs, which usually gets you a nicer result. Use one of the above packages to get the stl/stb into LW. Mind you, you'll get huge polygon counts.
stb/stl only supports triangle meshes, no materials or anything else but... triangles.

I actually wanted to write an stl/stb importer some time ago, but never got around to it...

Cheers,

Mike

Larky
03-28-2003, 07:44 AM
Hi.

Thanks for the reply. I've been trying to get this working, they guy this is for has to decide whether to go for Lightwave or Maya, I think he's going for Maya as it imports perfectly. Shame he won't get Lightwave's renderer. :(

Ah well, maybe this is something Newtek could look at for a later release.

Larky.

JohnL
03-28-2003, 04:17 PM
I have been asked to import some models from SolidWorks into Maya, the most universal format it can output is Iges, but I can't seem to find any way to import it. I thought Maya 4.5 was capable of importing IGES. Thats what their ads say.

Hervé
03-28-2003, 11:55 PM
NT would be well inspired to allows its user to import such files without any problems... look at the poll about how people are using LW for, lots of architectural......;)

Bonedaddio
03-31-2003, 09:12 PM
Check this info out:
Importing OBJ Files (http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=984)
A lot of good stuff that will save you from bleeding to death during this process.

The very best solution out there is would have to be PolyTrans Software. The power behind the company is a gentleman named Robert Lansdale; I don't think anyone else knows as much as he does about the IGES to Lightwave process. Truly a guru, and kind enough to reply to emails. The software costs $, but I don't think there's anything anywhere else like it. Check out PolyTrans (http://www.okino.com/). I hate to sound like such a fanboy, but I've spent a lot of time fixing IGES files in Modeler; I didn't know about PolyTrans at the time, I'd of snapped it up if I had. I will be purchasing it this year, even if I don't get a project that I need it for, because I will eventually!!

Believe me, life is too short to try to fix all the ugliness that seems to invariably accompany any kind of complex CAD import into Modeler.

Les

Hervé
03-31-2003, 10:27 PM
Hey Bone daddio, thanks a lot for the link.... indeed, yes, Polytrans IS THE WAY TO GO, unless like you said, life i too short.....

THanks again;)

Lightwolf
04-01-2003, 02:16 AM
Originally posted by JohnL
I thought Maya 4.5 was capable of importing IGES. Thats what their ads say.

It is, and has been since a long time.

I had some IGES files that I sent to collegues that work with MAX and Maya. Max crashed after 8 hours of importing, Maya couldn't import the file either.
It took Rhino 10 minutes to import, but there were some tesselation problems (probably from the original file).
I have the Polytrans Demo, and the object looked quite good there as well, with the same problem as Rhino (so I suspect the object wasn't modelled properly).

The STL file was perfect, but had a huge polygon count. Quemloss and Decimate can help a lot though.

Cheers,

Mike

Larky
04-01-2003, 03:13 AM
Sorry all, I put IGES into MAya!!! Man, I meant IGES into Modeller!! Oh well, I am as dumb as I thought! :D

JohnL
04-01-2003, 06:20 AM
Larky,

If you want to import directly from SolidWorks into Modeler you can purchase an extra translator for Polytrans. That way you can translate SW files directly into LW scene and object files.

I use Solid Edge (it uses the same kernel as SW) and achieve good results translating Solid Edge files to .lwo and .lws files for use in LW as well as Cinema 4D.

Sometimes I have problems smoothing polygons and have to tweek the smoothing angle in LW a little more than I care. In my experience Cinema is actually a lot better at smoothing polygons than LW, especially with the improved Phong shader in v8.1.

I too can echo all the good things said about Okino Software and Robert Lansdale. He has saved my butt several times!

Matt
04-15-2003, 01:34 PM
My route from SolidWorks:

SolidWorks -> STL

-> Rhino3D -> .LWO / or .DXF (if too many polys)

-> Modeler

Works great, no flipped poly issues, just some bad poly flow on really curvey stuff, but I have ways of cleaning that up.

Lightwolf
04-16-2003, 02:00 AM
I should really get down and write a stl/stb importer :)

Hervé
04-16-2003, 03:19 AM
very nice idea, Lightwolf.... could youdo such importer ?? really ?? cooooollll !!!

Lightwolf
04-16-2003, 03:29 AM
Yep, I could. .stl/stb is quite an easy format, only triangles.
It basically just stores the vertex information for triangles in a list, a bit like this:

triangle1
vertex1
vertex2
vertex3

triangle2
vertex1
vertex2
vertex3

etc. This is easy to read. A smart importer would of course merge the vertices on import (it would use less memory), a quick and dirty one would require you to do it manually.
It looks like there is a need for a .stl/.stb importer, I'll see what I can do and post it here :)

Lightwolf
04-16-2003, 03:35 AM
Oh, come to think of it, a deluxe importer would read an ascii list of stl/.stb files (.stb is the binary format), like this:

module1.stl surface1
module2.stl surface2
plasticparts.stl plastic_surface

And assign surfaces to the single .stl files upon loading :p
Or may be open up a requester allowing you to assign surfaces...

I'm wandering off ;)

Cheers,
Mike

Matt
04-16-2003, 06:43 AM
LightWolf if you need test STLs from SolidWorks let me know and I'll post you some.

Lightwolf
04-17-2003, 08:54 AM
Hi guys,

everybody who subscribed to this thread is now my official beta tester :-)
I've whipped up a stl loader for lightwave, please follow this link:
http://www.gadget.de/garage/plugins/stl_import.zip

* intel only (source code will be available upon request)
* only tested with 7.5b Modeler
* reads binary and ascii .stl

Bugs:
* I've had it crash once or twice with huge .stl files, but this is not repeatable. Save before you import!
I forgot to mention this one:
If you have Napalm installed, .stl files will crash modeler (napalm attempts to read them and fails), so you'll have to remove napalm.p from your Plugin List (Object Importer).
I'll contact Dynamic Realities and tell them about it.

Caveats:
* It doesn't merge the points, you'll have to do a marge points manually.
* the layer name might contain rubbish.

If you have any questions, or found a bug, or whish to send me a .stl file to check, send me a PM please.

Thanks must go to Matt for providing me with an extra set of .stl files to check this with. :cool:
I guess I'll send it to NT to include with the next release.

Cheers and enjoy!

Mike.

Hervé
04-17-2003, 11:19 PM
Hey Lightwolf, you're too cool and too fast, damn, you rock ! OK, let me test it.......

Million thanks in advance !!

Lightwolf
04-18-2003, 07:38 AM
Originally posted by Hervé
Hey Lightwolf, you're too cool and too fast, damn, you rock ! OK, let me test it.......
Hey, hold it, I'm gonna go away, sit in a corner and blush quietly ;)
Actually, I could have been faster, but I lost a couple of hours because I made one stupid mistake, and because I had to wrangle with the compiler.
If you find any bugs, let me know.

Anyone interested in .stl export?
Cheers,
Mike

3dgeek
04-18-2003, 10:43 AM
Hey guys, this is a really interesting thread and happens to be something I am dealing with right now in my adventures....The problem I am running into is in my conversion from Nurbs to Polygons - I get alot of "holes" that are the RESULT of the polys not lining up correctly. The vertices are not lined up...does that make sense? The polys are not overlapping (like sitting on top) each other, but they don't flow at all. In these places where the mesh doesn't flow (which is really bad on some parts) there are seams/holes that are quite visible.
Matt you said you had a way of fixing this? Does anyone have a cure for my detatched poly's?

Thanks alot for any help you genius' can provide.

3dgeek

Matt
04-22-2003, 02:48 AM
Excellent LightWolf!

I'm testing it now with different file sizes.

It works fine with smaller models but I have found one model it bombs modeller with, I'll send you it for testing.

Lightwolf
04-23-2003, 02:41 AM
Originally posted by 3dgeek
The problem I am running into is in my conversion from Nurbs to Polygons - I get alot of "holes" that are the RESULT of the polys not lining up correctly.
Actually, they are the result of two nurbs with a different control point count (or subdivision count) at that edge. And, when they get tesselated into polygons, poof. Loads of gaps.
The best way is to check your nurbs before conversion (actually, the CAD operator should have modelled it properly), fixing those problems afterwards can be a royal pain.
That is why I prefer to let the original program tesselate and do the conversion, and use .stl. .stl has to be seamless, since it is intended for stereo lithography, and you don't want holes in your molds, do you?
Reducing the polygons in a huge .stl file is a lot less work than cleaning up the gaps in a nurbs to poly conversion.

Lightwolf
04-23-2003, 04:26 AM
I've updated the stl importer:

* fixed error with handling of stl file entity names of binary files :D (Whatever, certain binary files load properly now...)
Same link, new file:
http://www.gadget.de/garage/plugins/stl_import.zip
Cheers,
Mike

Again, please PM me if you find any bugs.

Lightwolf
04-23-2003, 06:49 AM
The x axis was flipped, at least with the solidworks files we are testing.
The normals seem to be inverted currently, a flip polygons will do the trick. The next version should handle that automatically (as well as merging points)

Could anybody check some more .stl files, especially for flipped axes?
Thanks.

Oh, before I forget:
http://www.gadget.de/garage/plugins/stl_import.zip
yeah: same link, new file ;)
Cheers,
Mike

Matt
04-23-2003, 07:30 AM
Cool cheers Mike, this works a treat for me! :D

Gonna find this VERY useful!!! Look straight into LW from SolidWorks!!!

Yay!!!

Thanks a lot dude!

:D

JohnL
04-25-2003, 05:13 PM
I've been testing your STL import plugin the last couple of days. I'm really impressed with the results I'm getting so far.

I think where I need the most help is in merging points and reducing my poly count.

All of my files are coming from SolidEdge and the SE's SLA export is very stable. I get huge poly counts and it is killing me when I am trying to render semitransparent objects with anything that resembles realistic lighting.

Does anyone have any tips for point merging and polygon reduction?

Lightwolf
04-26-2003, 05:48 AM
Hi JohnL,

good to hear it works. You are now officially beta tester #2 (Matt is #1, I'm #0) ;)

Well, point merging, the first step, press 'm' and do an automatic merge. In most cases you will be able to split your object up into parts then, by selecting a polygon and doing a "select connected".
Then, it is a matter of choice:
1) Bute force, use quemloss2 or something like that, and let it reduce the poly count. You won't get "nice" geometry, but a low poly count.
2) reduce by hand:
Try to lasso select co-planar polygons (like cylinder ends), merge them by hand 'Z'.
Experiment with "Reduce-Polygons", Polygon Reduction 0 degrees, None or low colinear point removal. (careful, it likes to remove to many polygons, check your model carefully afterwards and undo if needed).
Search flay for a modeler LScript called DSelect (directional select), it allows you to automatically select all polygons thet point in the same direction as the one you manually select, very cool for poly merging.

I hope it helps.
Cheers,
Mike

Lightwolf
04-29-2003, 09:43 AM
Hi there,
I just exchanged a couple of e-mails with dynamic-realities, and build 45 of napalm seems to work with stl_import now.
So, if you have any problems with napalm, get the latest build.
I assume none of you are having any problems? Should I call of the beta and release?
Cheers,
Mike

Matt
04-29-2003, 10:32 AM
Release it to the world! Let it fly, be free!!!! :)

I think you've done an excellent job LightWolf!

Capt Lightwave
07-01-2003, 05:28 AM
Originally posted by Lightwolf

Anyone interested in .stl export?
Cheers,
Mike


Oh, my God, YESSSS, YESSSS, YESSSS!!!!!

This is awesome, Mike.

Been exporting stl files from Solid Edge now and even LARGE files like 103Mb is working like a charm here.

GREAT WORK !

My cincerest appreciations.

Lightwolf
07-01-2003, 05:58 AM
Originally posted by Capt Lightwave
Oh, my God, YESSSS, YESSSS, YESSSS!!!!!
Hey, don't leave any stains on the bulletin board :) ;)
Hm, I guess I'll have a lot of coding to do...
I actually never though people would be that interested in an STL export, but well, you guys prove me wrong.

Cheers,
Mike

sculptactive
07-01-2003, 07:04 AM
Without a doubt having an .stl exporter for LW would improve my work flow 100 fold.

It's the one thing I have been waiting for since LW 5.5

If I had an LW.STL-Export I could say goodbye to having to exporting all my LW files to rhino 3D

kthegene
07-01-2003, 08:13 AM
hi

i'm using LW 7. i've downloaded your pluging. i'm importing from solid edge.

it seems as though it is importing the polygons, however, i can't seem to do anything with the surface. when i save the object in lightwave format, i get a bounding box but that is it. i cant seem to adjust, or place surfaces...am i missing something obvious?

any explanations? it would be most exellent if i could sidestep all of the conversions, and jump right to lightwave!!!

thanks for all of your effort!!!

Lightwolf
07-01-2003, 08:55 AM
kthgene:
The current version has one "bug", it doesn't create a default surface for the imported polygons. I'll fix it for the next release, but I have no date for that so far (I'm busy with other stuff).
So, once you import and merge the points, just press "q" and assign a surface to your files.
If it doesn't work, send a copy of the .stl file to mwolf (at) gadget (dot) de , and I'll check it out.

sculptactive:
You realy make me anxious now :) I'll see what I can do. Do you use a certain flavour of .stl (I reallize that there are two extensions that allow for colours within stl files)?

Cheers,
Mike

Exper
07-01-2003, 09:38 AM
Lightwolf...
please...
contact NT and manage in having it as a default Modeler importer.

THANKS!!! :p

Bye.

Lightwolf
07-01-2003, 09:42 AM
Hi exper,
phew, yet another one of you guys :) I wonder where you all come from all of a sudden ;)
With that kind of support, NT could just include STL im-/export and call it 8 :D
I'm working on it though...
Cheers,
Mike

sculptactive
07-01-2003, 10:10 AM
Lightwolf

I use binary, but usually Ascii will do just fine.

Thanks

Hervé
07-01-2003, 11:19 PM
Hello LightWolf, I have a stupid question, is "stl" the stereo-lithography format you need when you want to "print" in 3d...?

BTW, I've downloaded your infini map plugin... but I dont think I can find these kind of map for Luxembourg.... unless you know of a site, maybe...?

Thanks a lot for taking the time, LightWolf, you're very active for the community, where do you find all that energy ?

Cheers, Hervé

Exper
07-02-2003, 02:22 AM
Originally posted by Lightwolf
Hi exper,
phew, yet another one of you guys :) I wonder where you all come from all of a sudden ;)Maybe cos NT is a little deaf to advices...
so...
we sometimes forget about 3rd-party developers. :(

With that kind of support, NT could just include STL im-/export and call it 8 :D
I'm working on it though...THANKS!!! ;)

Bye.

Lightwolf
07-02-2003, 02:53 AM
Hi Hervé

Originally posted by Hervé
Hello LightWolf, I have a stupid question, is "stl" the stereo-lithography format you need when you want to "print" in 3d...?
Yes, that is the one.
The export shouldn't be too hard to do, if I take the easy route and just export all the three point polygons in the current layer, this can be error prone though...
The safe way (for the user) would be to freeze all meshes, triple them export, and then undo back to the original state :) This much about software behaviour design :)

The good thing about stl is, since it is intended for 3d printing, all CAD apps have to export very clean, seamless meshes.


BTW, I've downloaded your infini map plugin... but I dont think I can find these kind of map for Luxembourg.... unless you know of a site, maybe...?
:) well, getting the data is the hard part, this is why the plugin is currently only a special interest thing, really only intended for people with GIS experience that know how to process the data and where to get it from (I'm not really one of them).


Thanks a lot for taking the time, LightWolf, you're very active for the community, where do you find all that energy ?
Don't ask, it comes and goes :)
I spend my first half hour in the office reading posts and mails... and there are always the times you wait for renders, or the times you have nothing to do 'cause you wait for customers to call :)
I don't tend to do 3D modeeling/animation projects in my spare time, I just can't really think of something to do that is so creative that I want to spend time pursuing it... Which means that I end up programming for fun...
Cheers,
Mike

Exper
07-02-2003, 04:21 AM
This Thread is a new confirmation about how many interest and excite can produce an impoter/exporter.

We've asked so many times about new import/export features but NT never gave us a positive response.

Some people also say:
"Buy X app then export to Z format then load it in K app then export to B format then import in G app then export to LWO".

Sad... really sad!!! :(

Bye.

Matt
07-02-2003, 01:13 PM
if you think of the programming expertise in NewTek, creating a few more importers/exporters would be a piece of cake, dunno why they don't do more, it could one thing that swings a few sales.

good job there are talented users like LightWolf filling in the cracks!

cheers dude!

:)

Hervé
07-02-2003, 11:43 PM
Thanks LightWolf, I was looking yesterday for Co. who makes the actual 3D Print.... whoooa, it looks like a tough process... Has anybody experienced working for prototyping ?

Anyway, I just noticed I could save from LW to obj., then load in Image Modeler (the one from realviz), and from there output a stl file... Ive tried yesterday, and the file become big...

Now there is so many questions that come to mind.... is it supporting overlapping polys, what about the smoothing algo. (I think you really havre to subdivide a lot if you want a smooth surface...?....

It looks expensive though.... no one had a clear price announced, you need to send your file for a quote....

LightWolf, did you ever worked in the prototyping arena ?

Thanks a lot LightWolf for taking the time..!!

Cheers, Later, Hervé

Lightwolf
07-03-2003, 02:41 AM
Hi Hervé,
not, I've never worked in the prototyping area. The reason for me to look into .stl was beacus I had to import CAD data that originated from NURBS, and all import options I tried goofed up the data...

STL does not have any smoothing, nor does it handle overlapping polygons. The file format is very basic:

polygon (actually only triangles)
- point 1
- point 2
- point 3
- polygon normal

That's it. There are some extensions that allow for coloured polygons, but that's it.

Since the meshes have to be clean for the prototyping to work, the CAD apps have to generate clean meshes out of their NURBS data, which is good when you import. I found that reading in IGES for example in Rhino generated by another app can cause some really weird trimming errors that are a pain to fix.
With STL, all you have to do is trim down the number of polys, but you don't have to fix the geometry (which is more time consuming).

So, to sum it up: No, I've never prototyped something (I like the idea though), and I assume the meshes have to be ultra smooth and clean. A bit like the meshes you'd generate for collision objects or radiosity baking. This is something an exporter wouldn't easily automate either, it is more a question of clean modelling.
Yes the files become quite large, binary is better though, but still around 80 bytes per polygon.

Cheers,
Mike

sculptactive
07-03-2003, 03:21 AM
Hervé

Unless I am mistaken ImageModeler saves STL using Ascii as opposed to Binary hence the larger file size.

Lightwolf

My previous post was not correct. To many late nights! I save using Ascii, but find that if I need to email a company the file I use Binary.

It would be nice to be able to choose, like in Rhino, either to save as Ascii or Binary .stl files.

Lightwolf
07-03-2003, 03:26 AM
Hi sculptactive...
Yes, both should be an option. The export will have a user interface anyhow (actually, the import will as well in the long run), and saving out ascii is a piece of cake...

Cheers,
Mike

Hervé
07-03-2003, 08:06 AM
Thanks for the explanation LightWolf ! I have noticed two other exporter in Image modeler... one is Autocad DXF, and the other one is abventATL..... what's that ? Anyway, that prototyping looks very cool, but ultra expensive, too bad...

later, Hervé

Lightwolf
07-03-2003, 08:09 AM
Hi Hervé,
Autocad DXF is just that, but only imports certain DXF entities. DXF is a huge mess, complex and has tons ov versions. If you're lucky you can get the import to work, most of the times it didn't work. Also, the CAD modelling has to be done right.
The other format you have is definately not included in standard LW, and I have no clue wtf it is... Beats me :confused:
Cheers,
Mike :)

caustic wave
07-05-2003, 11:03 AM
no problem-spark up deep exploration, open you image in whatever 3d apps your using and save as lw object.
http://

thekryptonian
07-18-2003, 09:41 AM
is the errors introduced during the translation process, i.e., the poly normals have to be discarded during the conversion process, as Lightwave doesn't store them in its model format. So no matter what, the curvature of the imported surfaces won't be right, and there's no help for it.

Lightwolf
07-18-2003, 09:48 AM
Hi thekryptonian,
hm, at a first glance you're right. However, these are polygon normals from triangles, and there can be only one "right" normal for a triangle (o.k. two if you count in the other side).
From what I gather, the stereolithography process doesn't take into account smoothing, which has to be approximated by a high polygon count.
If you render with smoothing, you generate vertex normals and average (roughly) them across the polygon surface, I don't think this works with the physical process though.
So, this is a problem inherited from the stl file format, on the other hand, since LW handles smoothing differently anyhow, I don't think this is such a big problem.
Cheers,
Mike

jaywar
07-18-2003, 12:47 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Capt Lightwave
[B]Oh, my God, YESSSS, YESSSS, YESSSS!!!!!

I second that. What about for mac too?

dugg
07-18-2003, 07:05 PM
I need the export one... and wishing it was yesterday...

Thanks for your contribution Lightwolf!

Lightwolf
07-20-2003, 04:03 AM
Update on STL im-/export.
Wow, I'm overwhelmed by the feedback from you guys.
Let me just sum up the current status:

* I have a rough export working
* I plan to sell the improved import and the export in a bundle for around 25 EUR / 30$, I still have to work out the serial number / protection scheme as well as payment (PayPal?)
* If you're in need of a solution NOW, shoot me a PM or better yet an email:
mwolf (at) gadget (dot) de

Cheers,
Mike

jaywar
07-24-2003, 10:53 AM
Lightwolf rocks! $30.00 sounds good, paypal is good.

Hervé
07-24-2003, 11:38 PM
I will pay even $50, for I know Mike is cool , and needs to go on Holidays a bit, and to support dev.

Cheers Mike....

Lightwolf
07-25-2003, 02:02 AM
jaywar: Thanks, I'm working on it.
Hervé: :D Holidays would be nice, I'm still waiting for a sponsored trip to Siggraph (just to prove how geeky I can be, Siggraph is what I consider holidays :) ).
Question of the day: How many licenses at 30$ a pop would I have to sell for a trip to Siggraph? ;)
Cheers,
Mike
- and thanks for the support, I'm flattered.

Pavlov
07-26-2003, 12:06 PM
Hi LightWolf,
not directly related to nurbs import/export, but.... something i'd really like to see is a good DWG file importer.
Most files coming from 2D cads are DWG; all people working in architecture/design viz need Rhino just for this.
Beside the fact rhino is a value itself, a good DWG reader would be *very* popular among LW users.
Are there some tech obstacles... ? Or can you write a (commercial) dwg reader ?

TIA
Paolo Zambrini

Lightwolf
07-28-2003, 02:33 AM
Hi Paolo,
Hm, dwg is a different beast alltogether:
* AFAIK the specs are not available, and autodesk likes to change them from release to release, meaning that I'd have to reverse engineer them (yeuck :( ).
* 2D DWG's would only get you polylines, may be even flat polygons, like the .eps import. This is why the DXF import fails so miserably most of the time, since it expects 3D data (which only few people seem to create in Autocad, even though they work in 3D space).
* DWG contains splines as well afaik, I assume these can't be transferred 1:1 to LW.
I'll go and see if I can find some specs...
Cheers,
Mike

Pavlov
07-28-2003, 02:59 AM
Hi,

___
* AFAIK the specs are not available, and autodesk likes to change them from release to release, meaning that I'd have to reverse engineer them (yeuck :( ).
___

that's too bad. But i wonder how Maxon, Bentley, McNeel and other developers could put a good DWG reader into its package.
Maybe there's sometyhing available, beside Autodesk changing specs.

___
* 2D DWG's would only get you polylines, may be even flat polygons, like the .eps import. This is why the DXF import fails so miserably most of the time, since it expects 3D data (which only few people seem to create in Autocad, even though they work in 3D space).
___

Why not write importers which can read 2D drawings? After all, most architecture DWGs are simple lines, polilines and splines.

____
* DWG contains splines as well afaik, I assume these can't be transferred 1:1 to LW.
____

Yes, this can be a problem; but i think that a good importer will give me the option to freeze splines, polilines, hatches and all other "entities" which cannot be read straightly from LW. The reader itself should contain a small geometry engine which can read and transform every kind of data into a LW-compatible one.

____
I'll go and see if I can find some specs...
____

You're great... i'm just curious to know if it's doable.

Paolo Zambrini

Lightwolf
07-28-2003, 03:09 AM
Originally posted by Pavlov
... i'm just curious to know if it's doable.

So am I now, even though it is way back on my priority list :)

Wade
08-02-2003, 01:56 AM
Well as of a day Aug 1st or so ago I need an export to STL. Have been working on a statue to go on a building and now the model maker wants a stl file to have the thing made. I was just doing the rendering and they liked it so much it now needs to be created in resin.

I really would like it so I do not have to buy some other software to make this happen. - When where how much.

Matt
08-02-2003, 02:02 AM
looking forward to seeing this plug LightWolf!

Wade
08-02-2003, 04:10 PM
Where do I send the money and how much. I have a need now, but will not in a few weeks.:)

duderender
08-06-2003, 12:58 PM
I know I'm late in joining this thread, but I bumped into Lightwolf on CGTalk.

I wanted to say something about IGES and why it doesn't work. For most part, all surfaces need to be broken down to a tessalated form one way or another for rendering. The problem in IGES is the b-rep information it uses to create the boundaries is inherently computed differently in CAD packages like Pro/ENGINEER, Solidworks, or Solid Edge etc. Packages like Pro/ENGINEER utilize a "part accuracy" system and in doing so you can end up with unstitched IGES exports, which wreaks havoc on other IGES importing systems.

When you export the to an IGES file, you really need to spend time figuring out what "polynomial" order you will be exporting your nurbs. Natively, the CAD packages are spline based and are of a higher order than that of bezier curves. This discrepancy is where IGES importers for the likes of Max fall short, they don't support high order splines.

I believe someone mentioned an 8-hour import, and that's why, Max doesn't know how to interpret the splines. When you have a CAD package exporting you need to set your trimmed surfaces, and surface boundaries to a IGES code 128 (please note I can't exactly remember all the IGES codes, so I may be off) for bezier curves, where some exports default to 142/144 which is spline based.

So, the moral is to really export as an stl or meshed object from the CAD system.

Polytrans is good and also Deep Exploration has a good set of meshing tools to optimize the mesh. The reason I mention these two products is they will allow native opening of the CAD models to perform the operation, and this is very important because the CAD systems don't generally give you a lot of options for exporting mesh.

If you receive a mesh file from a client, because usually CAD clients cannot give out native geometry, be sure to get the highest triangle count possible, and run it through some mesh tools to reduce the number of triangles.

A long post, but I hope it helps. I have had to deal with this many times from my Pro/ENGINEER models.

duderender
08-06-2003, 01:16 PM
* AFAIK the specs are not available, and autodesk likes to change them from release to release, meaning that I'd have to reverse engineer them (yeuck ).
* 2D DWG's would only get you polylines, may be even flat polygons, like the .eps import. This is why the DXF import fails so miserably most of the time, since it expects 3D data (which only few people seem to create in Autocad, even though they work in 3D space).

Lightwolf,

If you have access to a full AutoCAD seat, you can figure out the datastructures through visualLISP in AutoCAD.

2D DWG's have lines and splines as well.

DXF is not a true 3d format. It was added when AutoCAD started using 3dface command in like release 10. All that is a xyz vertex matrix.

DXF is best, but what people need to keep in mind is the export the DXF as release 12!!! v13 and 14 DXF's really create some havoc with splines and such.

Lightwolf
08-07-2003, 02:11 AM
Originally posted by duderender
So, the moral is to really export as an stl or meshed object from the CAD system.
That's something I like hearing ;)

Lightwolf
08-07-2003, 02:13 AM
Originally posted by duderender
If you have access to a full AutoCAD seat, you can figure out the datastructures through visualLISP in AutoCAD.
I don't have AutoCAD, but actually, there are a couple of CAD developers in the office next door, I might stroll over on a free minute...

Miles
08-10-2003, 02:46 AM
I missed this thread on a previous search and just wanted to let Lightwolf know that they have yet another LWr looking for a CAD model import solution to LW since the request seems to be falling on deaf ears with NT. Seems, can mean they know and are unwilling to do anything for it's clients (us LW end users asking for such a feature) OR they really aren't hearing/seeing the requests. I doubt the later and really hope I'm wrong about the afore mentioned and instead NT is doing something for us which LW8 will resolve for us, but until they do I don't see an upgrade in my future for some time since without it I'll have to allocate funds to yet another 3d app to deal with the conversion process.

I'm unclear following this thread exactly how well the trial & error process is going for Lightwolf and whether or not the end result will make the file format/conversion hoop jump process any less difficult to get a working model from a client's CAD system to my LW one.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed Lightwolf... While I have no idea how I could help if you need any ask and I'd be happy to do what I can to assist.

Thanks for your efforts!

Lightwolf
08-10-2003, 05:24 AM
Hi Miles and all the others,
I'll be busy for the next two weeks with an unrelated project (gotta pay the bills somehow...), so I won't be pursuing any programming on the file conversion related front.
Incidentally Sean Moyer released a free LScript import/exporter for STL files, so I don't think I'll even continue development on my current STL i/o plugin (no point really...). I will concentrate my development efforts on my infiniMap project in the future.
Here is a link to Sean's download page.
http://www.chromecow.com/downloads.htm
Cheers and again thanks for all of your support.
Mike

Pavlov
08-10-2003, 07:27 AM
Hi,

__
I will concentrate my development efforts on my infiniMap project in the future.
__

and so, no more DWG I/O research from you.. so sad. :(
Well, good work anyway ;)

Paolo Zambrini

Lightwolf
08-10-2003, 07:45 AM
Hi Pavlov,
not at the moment, no. It would be too much research at the moment, and I still have some other projects to code first. Sorry.

Miles
08-10-2003, 10:34 AM
I'll be busy for the next two weeks with an unrelated project (gotta pay the bills somehow...), so I won't be pursuing any programming on the file conversion related front.Lightwolf, I -more- than relate how difficult it can be trying to help others of a like interest by developing something for their use and then so many freely take the efforts for granted and not help with supporting the work you've done for them. By that I mean I started a web site for a particular make/model motorcycle and with as many people who are using it and asking for more I can't Pay the Bills doing it alone just for their use of without more show of $upport coming back to keep that effort going. Understanding your position all too well I would like to purpose that if you can set up something like a PayPal donation to your CAD files-to-LW Importer/Exporter efforts I would be happy to make the first donation to the effort while helping to pay the bills while your doing it.

If NT is not able or going to finally get these various CAD file import/exports to work for us then I'll be happy to help another LWr like yourself to make it so... It actually would be in NT's interest to $upport your efforts since as noted before without this feature working easily for me SOON I'm gonna have to look to another 3D app to help me not have to turn away potential clients (handing me IGES, etc. CAD files) like I had last year because of this issue. I'm sure I alone am no big loss to NT's revenues, but I also think I'm not the only LWr faced with wanting to $upport NT with LW, but I can not justify spending more (I also had to build a PC) for use of LW without also being able to meet my potential client requests with these $$$ tools. I've said it before, LW is a great app that I see a personal project use for, BUT I don't have potential clients (corporate types) coming to me and asking for character animations like I have had them asking for their own pre-developed CAD models to be animated. Again, I look forward to doing character stuff for my own projects, it's just not a priority for a corporate project -- animating client's CAD models IS...

Anyway, this maybe getting OT and could maybe also be posted to the proper forum if the moderators feel it should be for NT themselves to enlighten us on LW8's future with CAD support.

Lightwolf, please let us here interested in this know if we can help with the PayPal $upport suggestion based on just your efforts to explore a working end result to the issue. I think if each of us (I'm guessing it could be AT LEAST sveral hundreds of us) were to send a $5-10 donation just for your exploratory (R&D) efforts you might generate a fair amount of $upport to pay the bills long enough to try and make a working product, THEN when it's done you'd have a product you could continue to generate future funding with for other useful LW tools like this.

I wish I knew more about the programming aspects because I'd put as much effort into it as I do my cycle site effort. That is turning out to be a poorly supported effort except for a couple good people out there who can appreciate this stuff isn't developed for free (we still have to pay for the COL (Cost Of Living)) even if we're willing to do the work for them before asking for $omething in return. I'd just like to say I'd be willing to show my support for your efforts pre-release if that's what it takes.

Thanks for considering the idea... ;)

Pavlov
08-10-2003, 10:53 AM
I agree; in fact i stated i'd be glad to pay for a good DWG importer. Maybe you should ask in LW ML for this; maybe there are many users out there interested in this.
For sure, all people working in Viz market (30-40% of total LW userbase) would be interested in this, since they have to deal daily with DWG files. Make some simple computations... maybe this is a good way to pay the bill too ;)
With a low price (15-20$) i think you can easily sell thousand of copies of this.

Paolo Zambrini

Lightwolf
08-10-2003, 11:06 AM
Hi Miles,
wow, I'm overwhelmed by your post. Again, thanks for the support...
Let me go back in history a bit: My initial interest in STL came from the fact that I had IGES files to create animations / stills from, and didn't find a single app out there that loaded them properly (including demo version of rhino, polytrans, I tried collegues with Maya and Max, no go...). STL was the format that solved my problems.
While .dwg is quite intriguing, IGES is another matter alltogether, and I don't think I could write something that competes with the capabilites of the likes of polytrans (which, as I mentioned, isn't perfect either...).
That's actually why I prefer stl, because it plain and simple works _all_ the time, whereas IGES would at best only work in most cases.

NT picking up more file formats would be a good thing(tm) though, agreed :)
IGES would, for them, only makes sense if they incorporate a NURBS toolkit, and I don't really see that happening (...in the near future). (Like you I'd love to do more character work, but my day to day biz involves basically _anything_ customers throw at me, from 30s tv ads to 15 mins. industrial viz)

I do appreciate your pay pal approach, but my current programming focus is on infiniMap which I want to turn into a commercial product soon (again a special interest project, but hopefully with a higher margin ;) ).
Hey this happened before, I was happily hacking away on a snow shader when NT released the natural shaders for 5.6. Sh*t happens and it's o.k.
The good that came out of it is that I finally wrote a license manager for my stl i/o which is really neat, which I had to develop anyhow and which I'll be able to re-use.
So, at least I'll be able to more quickly turn my future endevours into commercial products (Damn, I whish I could just give away the stuff ;) ).
Cheers,
Mike

duderender
08-10-2003, 12:13 PM
Let's just be clear here. IGES is NOT an acceptable format. Maybe for small uncomplicated parts you can use it in a pinch but for large systems.... NO.

To give you an example, the submarine rescue vehicle I help design for the company I work for, I export each system as a mesh. Not IGES, not fancy-shmancy nurbs, M E S H.

I honestly think IGES is a waste of time, and not only me. Why do you think they invented the STEP protocol? It replaces IGES. Now, Lightwolf, if you were to create a step importer then you wouldn't be wasting your time.

Also, be aware for use Pro/ENGINEER users that there is a format called .slp which is slightly better than stl because it retains color values.

If you like, I can supply you with both a STEP and slp file.

Nonetheless, a cheap and GOOD stl importer for LW is good. Bear in mind that MAX imports stl files very, very well. And it is smart enough to treat each distinct volume as an element. I hope you can do something similar with Lightwave. Perhaps what you do is create a named surface for each volume.

JohnL
08-10-2003, 01:49 PM
Lightwolf,
I totally agree with your viewpoints and conclusions concerning file format conversions.

STL in my viewpoint is the best way to bridge the gap between the CAD, solidmodeling, NURBS world and polygon modeling world.

I appriciate your effort with the stl import plugin and want you to know that your work has been a great help.

Good luck with you other projects.

Lightwolf
08-10-2003, 01:53 PM
...need to delete this ... sorry :(

ChromeCow
09-12-2003, 05:38 AM
Hi All,

I'm going to try to add Mac support for the STL tools.

From what I've gathered, the exporter is working, but not the importer.

I am Mac-less, so I'll need an STL file created and saved on the Mac by a modeling app (not my exporter).

If someone can make a simple object (a sphere would do), saved as binary, and zip it up & post it, I can get started.

Just let me know what app it was saved out from.

Thanks!
Sean Hyde-Moyer
www.chromecow.com

Hervé
09-12-2003, 07:56 AM
Is a sphere from Iamge Modeler (realviz) any good ??

Hervé
09-12-2003, 07:57 AM
Oops, I jsut readit HAS to be saved on a mac, sorry;..

duderender
09-23-2003, 04:02 PM
with all this talk about converting files, i did a demo in deep exploration. a quick render and a flight path, and surprising DE has some neat-o tools for a translator+ package.

here's the file, you need divx (http://members.shaw.ca/duderender/copter3b.avi)

ChromeCow
11-09-2003, 10:33 AM
Hi All,

The STL Import/Export tools have been ported to Mac.

You can find them here:

http://www.chromecow.com/downloads.htm

under the LScript links.

Enjoy!
Sean Hyde-Moyer

btalbott
11-10-2003, 10:46 AM
Hey Sean,

I just fell over this thread looking for info on converting Solidworks to Lightwave and was so excited to see the evolution here. Alas, I went to your site to download and got an error message that the zip file was not on the server. :( Will you get it back up? We've been fighting this battle for so long and I am so stoked about this solution!

Thanks!
bt

ChromeCow
12-04-2003, 07:42 AM
There was a version poseted that had a bug on the Mac side (quite awhile ago now). It was pulled breifly, but the latest version (1.10) is available for download:

http://www.chromecow.com/downloads.htm

Under LScript.

Be well,
Sean Hyde-Moyer
www.chromecow.com

Jockomo
08-03-2005, 11:03 AM
Mike,

Dude, you ROCK! Where can I send a check?

Matt
08-03-2005, 12:19 PM
Mike!

Just wondered, did you ever release your version? It rocks!

Lightwolf
08-03-2005, 12:39 PM
If I would have you'd know about it ;)
I did start work on a new version, but got caught up with infiniMap...

Especially since Sean covered the whole pipeline, I didn't see a reason to re-invent the wheel.

Cheers,
Mike

Matt
08-04-2005, 06:54 AM
Awwwwwwwww :(

Stephen0523
03-10-2009, 04:27 PM
Hi all. I have managed to get the new Beta Rhino to export as an OBJ file and import into LW 9.6 on my Mac really well.
I truly truly wish Newtek would allow us to import such standard objects without having to go to another program.

duderender
03-10-2009, 04:40 PM
Hi all. I have managed to get the new Beta Rhino to export as an OBJ file and import into LW 9.6 on my Mac really well.
I truly truly wish Newtek would allow us to import such standard objects without having to go to another program.
Wow, I was shocked to see this email notification to a post I made 6 years ago.

Stephen... IGES is not a standard format that many have to deal with that would make it appropriate for Newtek to develop especially considering the age and deterioration of the IGES specification due to newer formats like STEP and others getting legs. Maya, Max, XSI had some roots in product development/design so we see some IGES import capability there, but hardly anything useful gets done with those importers.

Cheers,