View Full Version : Stenciling with curves from Illustrator and boy do i need help.

12-12-2004, 03:16 PM
This stencil operation has now been running for almost 2 days and the status bar still shows only about a third complete. Oops.

When i import my Illustrator 8 file into LW 8.0.1 as polylines and try to reduce the poly count it says i have no polys selected. When i import them as splines and try to reduce points, it tells me that no polygon can have more than 1023 points. So, i couldn't reduce the complexity of the incoming curves before stenciling them. What am i missing?

Also, i realize that the stencil operation is creating far too many points on the new geometry. How can i change that?

Thanks in advance for any help.


12-12-2004, 08:50 PM
Do you have a 2d image of what your trying to import, post that so we can make suggestion on what to do.
Polylines are 2 point polygons, to select a polygon, goto poly selection mode or crtl-H. Then select any line between the points, this line is a polygon.
If you change the import from polyline to polygon. Then you get a flat object that you can reduce the points on before creating a stencil with the drill tool.
You should also change the curve division level in the ESPF Loader to standard or courser.
When you import as splines, and you extrude a spline Lightwave will increase the number of points to keep a smooth curve. Same thing would happen if you were to freeze the spline to make it a polygon. So unless your spline modeling, then importing as a spline is probably not the best to use.
Importing as polygon is what I use 90% of the time, but then it depends on what I am doing, as well.
Hope this helps.

12-12-2004, 10:08 PM
Thanks for replying! :)

Where/how do i post an image? I'm trying to make a sand object. I have rows of ripple and trough lines in Illustrator.

I import them as rough polylines. I select a poly in one of the lines. I hit ] to select the rest of the line. I go to Reduce Polys, accept the defaults and get an error that says "You'll need to have some polygons for this operation to work!". Duhhhhhhh... brain goes dead. Why aren't these polylines seen as polys? Or, what should i be doing differently?

I tried skinning them instead of stenciling them, but i couldn't get that to work as points or curves, either. <shrug>

Thanks again.

12-12-2004, 11:59 PM
Well , lets start by how to post an image. When you post a reply, scroll down to additional options and click on manage attachments. Now you can locate your file to post on this forum. For images it is prefered to use jpg if possible, for one the size is easier your those still using dial up. Two both MAC and PC computers can view the image.

Now back to your problem. The way I take what you were saying is that you had drawn some wavy lines to represent sand. First if you import a poly line, it can not be reduced any further, it is already at the smallest possible size to be viewable (exeption is 1 point polys) The reduce poly tool is to take more than one poly and reduce it down to a smaller number of polys. Since a 2 point poly is only one poly you can not subtract any more polys.
I had to do a little test to verify, before I went any further. The reduce poly tool and the merge poly tool do not work on 2 point polys. I beleive it is because the polys are not sharing an edge. They share a point, but not an edge. If you extruded it first, then your should beable to to use both tools. Reduce poly tool, I don't concider to be relyable as it is based on percentage. The Merge Poly is more accurate, as you pick and choose what polys you want merged into one.

If you have just lines I am thinking you have, then you can either use poly line and just use the extrude tool to give it depth, Then merge polys any place that is straight enough on your original line to reduce the points, then you could use the solid drill and stencil onto a different object. If you want that line to be thicker, use the smooth shift tool or shift-f key. Make sure you have all the polys of that line selected before smooth shifting to make sure only that line get smooth shifted. One more thing, when extruding a polyline, it will be double sided, so when you smooth shift both sides will go in opposite directions, If you want only one side to expand, just select the polys on one side of your line.

Now for a couple of otherways that I can think of to create your wavy sand. One is to use a photo editor and create a gradient bars or perhaps a paint brush with a high feather value to paint wavy lines, So you end up with a smooth gradient from white to black or vise versa(I can never remember which way it is. :rolleyes: ) for a height map, this can then be applyed to your object as a bump map or texture displacement.
The other way is to use procedurals. There is two wavy procedurals already in Lightwave. They are called ripples and ripples 2. Theay can do something similar to what you want. Also use another procedural to add specks to make it look like finite stones.
Anyways I am rambling on here, If you have any questions fire away.

12-13-2004, 12:29 AM
Thanks! Yes, they are wavy lines. I used a procedural in Bryce (oops) to create a height map of sorts, but the gradients were wrong, so i had to do some curve work in PS to get it to work. It still looked bad, so i took the nice ripple line from there and created a set of trough lines to go with it. I need the geometry because it will be a close-up. I'm down with the texturing part.

I reduced the Curve Division to coarse and the stencils worked as polylines with no problem. Now i'm just trying to figure out what to do before the stencil so that the ridge points and trough points will be individually selectable after the stencil. :\ I stenciled the ridge lines, saved those points as a point selection, then stenciled the trough lines and now most of the trough points are also in the ridge set. That's not fair. <arms akimbo> ;) Do you know how i might be able to do that so i don't have to weed through the geometry and create the sets afterward?


12-13-2004, 01:02 AM
If you have Bryce version 5, then you can apply the procedural to a terrain and export that to Lightwave. Bryce will save a bitmap of the color channel, bump channel and diffusion channel. Once you load the terrain into Lightwave, you just open the surface editor and apply the texures to the correct channels.

The only thing I can think of at the moment. Is to lasso select from a side view your top points of the ridge or valley, then use the Statistics window to deselect the point sets you already named. Also try loop select, It may work I don't know. That is a ver 8 tool that can be found at: VIEW>SELECTION>MORE>MORE>SELECT LOOP

Below is a quick render of the procedural I was talking about in Lightwave. I know it is not exactly what you were looking for, but I thought it was neat.

12-13-2004, 01:29 AM
Cool. Thanks. I've tried all sorts of things so far and i think i have to go with what i'm doing now.

The only problem with the selection set is that after i do the second stencil of the trough lines, those points are added to the ridge point selection set and it doesn't do me any good. I'm totally new at selection sets, though, so i might be doing something wrong.

I checked out select loop and there are no loops, so it won't work. :)

By "procedcural" do you mean geometry or texture?


12-13-2004, 04:54 AM
There are several ways that would work better than what you are trying. You would probably be best using a texture displacement.

This is actually a flat sheet of polygons with texture displacement.

12-13-2004, 02:56 PM
As far as i can see, to get a texture that will be good enough to use for displacement, i have to create the geometry first and translate it into a tiff height map to use for the displacement. A horse before the cart sort of thing. I'm still used to texturing in 5.6 though, so maybe i haven't discovered something handly about 8 yet that would give me a really good sand texture that i can use for displacement. I'm sure displacement is generally preferable to creating geometry by hand, but one has to have a good enough texture to use for the displacement. Your example, for example, doesn't give a wave model that would be good enough for this project (if it were needing waves rather than sand).

I've been doing displacement on this project in Bryce but the displacement texture ended up not being workable, so i need to create a realistic model so that it looks realistic. It's probably much easier and faster for me to do that than try to draw or paint a texture displacement map of sand, which would probably never look like sand. ;)

12-13-2004, 06:39 PM
If the points are being added to your original set, then probably you missed one of the steps I posted.
Let's say you have a wavy line, we will call high. Select all these points and give the selecttion set the name high.
Now we will add another line, this is the low. We can select all the points, open the statisics panel, scroll down to the bottom, and press on the minus sign to deselect the high point set.
Now we can give the remaining points a name for the point set, such as low.
Now we can just repeat the process, of loading another high line, selecting all points, deselecting the point sets and giving the remaining points a name.

Procedurals in Lightwave are the same for Bryce or any other 3d package, it is nothing more than mathmatical textures.
The texture displacement works very similar to the way Bryce uses a height map on a terrain. You start out with a flat square or perhaps a box, subdivide it several times, add a bump texture, open the object propertiy panel, on the deform tab, enable bump and then change the height of you object.
The texture can be a image, procedural or a gradient. I haven't been able to get the gradient to work yet, but I am sure there are people who can use gradients better than me. So I won't show an example of a gradient texture for your sand.

Below is another attachment, this I am using an image created with Corel Photo-Paint. I create a gradient of black and white that that look like straight hills. I then used the ripple effect. Then I had to use a gassian blur to get rid of the stair stepping that the gradient created, finally I added a little bit of noise to give it some bump.

12-14-2004, 09:25 AM
Here's an image (sort of) of the curves from Illustrator - some of the lines get messed up making a jpeg out of it.

Here's my recipe: I select every other line of polys and save it to a layer. I call these the ridge lines. I invert selected and save the other lines to another layer. I call these the trough lines. I create a plane with 3 segments on the x axis (so that no polys have more than 1023 points when i do the stencil). I stencil the ridge lines into the plane. I select the ridge points and save as a selection set. I deselect the selection set, set the selection set drop down arrow to NONE in the maps area and stencil the trough lines onto the plane. The ridges selection set now shows all points but the bottom trough line belonging to the ridges selection set.


12-14-2004, 11:40 AM
Of course, if i could get the appropriate gradients between the lines in Illustrator or Photoshop, i'd much rather do that. Have they implemented being able to have a gradient follow a path yet? I'm searching the docs. Gonna try blending between them.

12-14-2004, 08:25 PM
If you blended the lines using one color for high and the other color for low, then you could just apply it as a texture map. I guess it is time for me to look up and see whether white or black is high point of the bump map. I feel a little foolish giving advice when I can't remember the colors for a bump map. :rolleyes:

But, as far as the ESPF Loader goes, well I was going to tell you I don't think it will work, however I did a little test using a black line and white line, blended together, and suprisingly, it loaded. It is all one color, but I can see the blend. It reminds me of a waving flag.

12-15-2004, 10:27 AM
My curves in Illustrator are 2D. Ridges are white, troughs are black. Once i blend them all, i'll export as a bitmap and use it as a height map in Bryce. Ha ha!! I could use it in LW, but i'll try Bryce first. It's gonna take me a while to get fluent in LW again.

Thanks for your help, man! If i get stuck again, i'll repost. Cheers!

12-15-2004, 10:35 AM
Is it important to have these exact lines? Here is a sub-d plane with a ripple procedural for displacement. Is it close? Or is it completley wrong? :)

12-15-2004, 10:52 AM
Yeah, we didn't have procedural displacement textures in 5.6. I'll have to check that out. Those ripples are fine, but i'd have to dirty them up quite a bit. I imagine that's doable by now, too. :) Next go i'll try that. Thanks, hunter!

12-15-2004, 11:41 AM
You can layer your textures.

12-15-2004, 09:52 PM
Don't forget, when you have a problem with Bryce, you can log onto DAZ web site and goto Bryce forum to post questions.Brycetalk (http://forum.daz3d.com/viewforum.php?f=38)