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Tesselator
03-08-2005, 10:07 PM
Many of you have read my teases about an unreleased
product codenamed simply "Nodal" and how I think it is
the single most important development for LW since
bones. Those teases were almost all removed from
the public information flow at my request but conditions
have now evolved to a point where free and open
discussion may once again begin.

Anyway, have you ever noticed that displacements in
LW just aren't what they are in other applications?
Have you ever wanted true 3D displacements?

Well, check this out. This is the Crust texture when
used in Nodal (therefor a float deep texture instead
of integer deep like in vanilla LW) with pretty much
the default values and all I had to do to set it up in
Nodal was add Nodal to the displacement chanel
and draw one single line connecting Crust to the
channel. Try this in vanilla LW!

Muahahahaaaa.... :cool:

Also see the demo of this in the attached zip file!

Silkrooster
03-08-2005, 11:52 PM
Hey Tess,
Now that's cool. Is this going to be a plugin your developing, or will this be part of Lightwave down the road? Or is this info not discussable yet?
Anyways, looks good, I think you have something here. Keep up the excellent work.
Silk

Karmacop
03-08-2005, 11:56 PM
Hmm, looks like something you'd have to use with subpixel displacement to get it to work properly. ;)

Great example though Tess, I'm happy to see nodal again :)

Tesselator
03-09-2005, 01:23 AM
Silkrooster,
No I'm just friends with the developers is all.
I get to use it at an early stage - kinda like a
beta tester - but there's no way my evil codding
skillz are anywhere near this good these days.
Probably never were either.

It was designed to be part of the LW core but
things have changed - It will be a 3rd party
offering and escentially a replacement for the
current Surface editor. LOL I should prolly
render a section of my keyboard with the F5
key missing as a promo. :D

Karmacop,
:D SPD... Weee... But no it's just displacements
done right for a change. And I don't mean "done"
as in done by the user. I mean codded correctly.
But as I'm sure you remember from my past posts
this example here is just one trillionth of what Nodal
will bring to the table.

This ofcourse will work in either of the two preview
systems available for LightWave:

Ztreem
03-09-2005, 01:53 AM
Looks great!

Do you have to crank up the subdivisions as a maniac like always in LW to get nice displacements or does this plug-in change that??

Karmacop
03-09-2005, 02:14 AM
It's a pitty that it's going to be 3rd party. I'm sure nodal will be able to do more, but Shader tree at http://home.att.ne.jp/omega/tabo/3dlabo/p_lwp.html will be able to do similar things. Also, Lightwave really needs a built in nodal editor :(

Tesselator
03-09-2005, 02:21 AM
Looks great!

Do you have to crank up the subdivisions as a maniac like always in LW to get nice displacements or does this plug-in change that??


Less than in native LW but you still need
to crank it up. Less because nodal is a
superior sizeof(float); proc system while
most others are sizeof(int); and also at
the same time faster at every turn than
natively available.

:cool:

Tesselator
03-09-2005, 02:37 AM
It's a pitty that it's going to be 3rd party. I'm sure nodal will be able to do more, but Shader tree at http://home.att.ne.jp/omega/tabo/3dlabo/p_lwp.html will be able to do similar things. Also, Lightwave really needs a built in nodal editor :(


"Lightwave really needs a built in nodal editor". You, I and
every single LW user on the planet agrees with this. NoeTek
obviously does not. And that's the real shame to me. But
hey I don't know everything... Maybe someone has a rabbit
up thier sleeve. :confused:

TB's FreeTree is very much like Nodal in appearence and
suspiciously similar UIs control each. But that's about
where the similarities end. I've used both systems quiite
extensivly. I know both products very well. If you're a
beginning hobby user I totally recommend starting out
with TB's Free Tree. If you're an intermediate or advanced
user or are "working" with LW however, I can't recommend
Nodal enough. You can kind of think of the bifferences in
application between FPrime and Viper to get an idea of the
breadth of differences of which I speak. Actually, I think
MentalRay and Viper would make a better comparrison but
I'm trying to stick to LW. :D

:cool:

KillMe
03-09-2005, 02:37 AM
looks great - shame its not going to be part of lightwave though - seems as though you need a plugin for just about everything these days

anyway was a little worried that i saw no shadows but if your having to crank up the geometry then it has to be real right?

anyway look forward to seeing more

Rory_L
03-09-2005, 02:45 AM
Sounds very tantalising! Can`t wait to have a play with this! Now it`s open to discussion could you be a bit more expansive about its length and breadth?

By the way, what part of Japan? There`s a booze up in Naka Meguro tomorrow night. Fancy going?

Cheers,

R

Tesselator
03-09-2005, 02:50 AM
looks great - shame its not going to be part of lightwave though - seems as though you need a plugin for just about everything these days

anyway was a little worried that i saw no shadows but if your having to crank up the geometry then it has to be real right?

anyway look forward to seeing more



Sure thing! I'll post more stuff as I go along.

And yup... it's "Real"... no tom-foolery or fakeristic tricks
going on here. It's a SUB-D ball with "Crust" applied to the
Displacement chanel. Using Nodal ofcourse.

To spice up the coloring I added an incident gradient to
the color chanel. And there are two area lights: yellow
above and to the left and a reddish one below and to the
right. I thought this particular displacement looked kinda
loke a boiling sun so I colored it along those lines. :D



:cool:

Exception
03-09-2005, 04:18 AM
This is nice to see, tess, but why would it be the 'most important thing' for Lightwave?
I either do not fully grasp what this is about, or I can actually name a dozen things which in my opinion seem much more important. And if that is the case, I am sure Newtek can as well... perhaps you should constructively explain why this is so important?

phil lawson
03-09-2005, 04:28 AM
Hi Tess! Great looking plugin, and great to see it seems to work with fprime.

Any chance this will work with normal map images created in zbrush for micro displacments or as close to as possible?

Cheers.

Chris S. (Fez)
03-09-2005, 06:50 AM
What are the limitations compared to other nodal interfaces like Digital Fusion or Shake? For instance:

Can we select multiple nodes and collapse those selections into a "group"?

Can we then mask out that group with another node?

Can there be groups within groups within groups within groups?

Can we temporarily disable nodes?

Can we save and import nodal branches like in Digital Fusion and Shake?

mav3rick
03-09-2005, 08:11 AM
lw 1st need better working arhitecture, renderer, modeler with ngons, new ik, new hv and lot more other things before fancy facelift like nodal surfacing

UnCommonGrafx
03-09-2005, 09:43 AM
Tess,
Give me a head with sss applied, no tracing on, "red weightmaps on the head, pink in the eye area and 0 everywhere else" rendering that finishes in under 1min49secs.

Or, better said, show me how to achieve what LW_ChanLum is able to achieve in the time it does within this nodal system.

And tell me what the penny value would be. Gotta save a lot of'em or a few?

As to what they have up their sleeve, one could presume they pulled two of'em out today with the press release of new hires.

romrom74
03-09-2005, 12:27 PM
I've no doubt that displacements work with fprime and viper, but what about the rest of nodal's SURFACING capabilities ?

Exception
03-09-2005, 03:46 PM
lw 1st need better working arhitecture, renderer, modeler with ngons, new ik, new hv and lot more other things before fancy facelift like nodal surfacing

Whats this Ngon business all about?
I always thought an Ngon was just a polygon with unspecified number of vertices... something Lw has supported as one of the first and since ages! What is the word being used for now? the next poshy render method like SSS or subpixel displacement?
No honestly, im very curious... what's an 'Ngon'?

Para
03-09-2005, 04:10 PM
Whats this Ngon business all about?
I always thought an Ngon was just a polygon with unspecified number of vertices... something Lw has supported as one of the first and since ages! What is the word being used for now? the next poshy render method like SSS or subpixel displacement?
No honestly, im very curious... what's an 'Ngon'?

I think he means ngon subdivision surfaces which are actually quite nice when used properly.

Rory_L
03-09-2005, 09:06 PM
Ohayou gozaimasu!

Guess you went home before you read my post.

Can you give your opinion on how transposable Nodal`s new features will be to game engines? Not at all; needs fancy Lscripting; hops right in, no fuss. Tick the appropriate one please!

And what about tonight?

Cheers,

R

Tesselator
03-10-2005, 02:15 AM
Wow! So many questions. This is good though.
I'll do my best in my limited abilities to address
each one.





Exception Wrote:
This is nice to see, tess, but why would it be the 'most
important thing' for Lightwave? I either do not fully
grasp what this is about, or I can actually name a
dozen things which in my opinion seem much more
important. And if that is the case, I am sure Newtek
can as well... perhaps you should constructively explain
why this is so important?

Exception askes probably the toughest and most important
question of all. Hehehe!

There are four main duty sections in CG that a well rounded
CG application must proform well at.
Modeling & Surfacing,
Texturing & Shading,
Rigging & Animation,
Lighting & Rendering,
This is the case whether you're doing VFX, CA , Anchi,
or anything, though one type of user will depend more
or less on one of these areas more than another. Most
if not ALL of them depend quite heavily on texturing and
shading. Without going into great explaination I assume
you can see their importance in each area.

For example modelers depend on the abilities of the
texturing system as part of the modeling process itself.
As a small example if a modeler knows that creating
rough corners on an object is as easy as connecting 2
lines in Nodal and will actually look better than if modeled
in place his job just got a heck of allot easier and with
better product.

Animators depend weights, morphs, and animated
displacements. Just as a small example if a Rigger knows
just how easy it is to create textured morph maps, apply
weights or animate deformations in Nodal (yes Nodal has
all this and more!) then his design and testing time will
become buttloads shorter and the results will again be
better product.

For set and lighting guys the speed and accuracy that
Nodal offers will have a direct impact on what they feel
comfortable applying to a scene. For an example I can
barely count the number of times I have wanted to use
micro bump surfacing on walls and floors but opted not
to because it's too slow and needs to be heavily AAed.
Microbump in Nodal is a dream! Etc. See images 3
and 4 here (http://www.spinquad.com/forums/showpost.php?p=61523&postcount=5) where no AA was used at all in Nodal.

Ok, so this describes the component structure of the
LW workflow some of their dependancies on one another,
and just starts to hint at the central roll that texturing and
shading play. Try to do anything without maps of some
kind or another. IMHO there's just no other singular
component that impacts so many aspects of the work
we do.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of using a properly
designed surface and mapping tree like Nodal will tell you
that there is just no comparrison at all to a layered system.
1,000% decrease in operator time is too small an estimate
and when you're seeing the results of your efforts just literally
fly into place this work now becomes fun where it was a
headache and a chore before. It's not just a face-lift as
one person here put it. It's a completely different style
and method of working and expands the current capabilities
by at least 10 fold - and you can quote me on that! And at
the end of the work day you can take THAT to the bank! $$

This is why I and others have said that LW so desprately
needs this and why I assert that this is indeed the single
most important tool that has been developed for LW in
recent years - many years even.


phil lawson wrrote:
Hi Tess! Great looking plugin, and great to see it seems
to work with fprime.

Any chance this will work with normal map images created
in zbrush for micro displacments or as close to as possible?

Hey Phil, thanks for the compliment! Yeah, FPrime support
is pretty important to allot of folks - can't leave them hanging!
And the really good news is that YES normal maps from ZB2
etc. are supported. It's a simple node flow to get that happening
and I can assure you it'll be one of the examples in Nodal's
manual!


Chris S. (Fez) wrote:

What are the limitations compared to other nodal interfaces
like Digital Fusion or Shake? For instance: Can we select multiple nodes and collapse those
selections into a "group"?
Can we then mask out that group with another node?
Can there be groups within groups within groups within
groups?
Can we temporarily disable nodes?
Can we save and import nodal branches like in Digital
Fusion and Shake?

Howdy Fez, In order; conserning your first 4 questions I
have been asked not give detailed discriptions the GUI
features because of the plegurism that has already happened.
But I will say that we had "Groups" just as you discribe them
here but opted for a better solution. This said there might
actually be both systems in place upon it's release.

For number five importing and exporting branches yes,
absolutely! And... oh, I can't say more... I want to though!
I'm pretty sure there will be a save disabled demo so you
can try before you buy - but only "pretty sure" it's not my call.


UnCommonGrafx wrote:
Tess,
Give me a head with sss applied, no tracing on, "red weigh
tmaps on the head, pink in the eye area and 0 everywhere
else" rendering that finishes in under 1min49secs.
Or, better said, show me how to achieve what LW_ChanLum
is able to achieve in the time it does within this nodal system.
And tell me what the penny value would be. Gotta save a lot
of'em or a few?
As to what they have up their sleeve, one could presume they
pulled two of'em out today with the press release of new hires.

Hi Robert, Yup I think all that is not a problem. Yes - doable!
There will be step tutorials and explaination on this very kind
of thing with it's release..


romrom74 wrote:
I've no doubt that displacements work with fprime and viper,
but what about the rest of nodal's SURFACING capabilities ?

Hi, Yes, as stated above there are many people wanting
FPrime support and from the start these guys (Nodal's
developers) have been ontop of that issue!


Rory_L wrote:
Ohayou gozaimasu!

Guess you went home before you read my post.

Can you give your opinion on how transposable Nodal`s new
features will be to game engines? Not at all; needs fancy
Lscripting; hops right in, no fuss. Tick the appropriate one
please!

And what about tonight?

Cheers,

Rory, Gokigen ikaga desuka?
1st wow! thanks for the invite!!!! I wish I could get away for that
long! I PMed you some explainations about that. About Game
Engines the answer is: Hops right in with any fuss. I can't
elaborate more untill after the product is released though.

Man, I hate knowing all this stuff and not being able to just
talk about it! :D Still I guessit's fun in an evil kinda way!


Muahahaaaa! :devil:

CB_3D
03-10-2005, 03:50 AM
Ok,now iīm curious. Actually i donīt understand the product at all ;)

Wait and see.

Exception
03-10-2005, 08:20 AM
Ok,now iīm curious. Actually i donīt understand the product at all ;)

Wait and see.

Thats exactly what I thought.
Seems to me a system that allows the linking of every map, channel and value to another via a nodal system such as Digital fusion has, which is by just drawing line sbetween the different 'units'. Its potentially powerfull, but I don't quite see what could be done with it that I can't do in Lightwave that I would actually need.
But well, Tess is excited enough, eventhough it does look a bit like a fancy advertisement... You got a hand of that lately Tess, with Vodka and all... Is this also Tuff Little Unit's doing?

Karmacop
03-10-2005, 08:44 AM
I'm guessing it's TLU too. Those guys should really be given jobs at newtek, because they seem to really know how to make Lightwave do amazing stuff.

romrom74
03-10-2005, 12:51 PM
I can clearly see where the power of a nodal surfacing editor could lead me. I'm currently designing a complex procedural surface for a huge realistic terrain. This is a part of my job and it's to be done collaborativly with our clients in order to check in "quasi real time "the result of the process. i do it with the normal layered system (+ a few visual textures and amelie "nodes") ...
In this moment my surface is already composed of almost 100 layers(!!!), and there's obviously a lot of redundancy in all the different layers I need to copy/past to get all things working. Anyway I m used to it and a nodal system could be less time consuming. But what I finally find the most important is that I m able to see the result of my tweaking in "realtime" with fprime (even if the mesh has a 2 millions polygons and the surface a stacking of 100layers with 200 mo of textures!!!!). The problem is, as it has to be doable collaborativly with my clients, I need the realtime feedback
That's the reason why I stick to the "normal" system and get more and more frustrated every day not to be able to use any fancy shaders that could simplify or simply enhance the result.
That know as, please tell me there will be heavily usefull nodes like raytrace, distance, proximity, real directionnal slopes etc!!!... that will actually work with fprime and wont' increase insanly the render times....

GregMalick
03-10-2005, 03:10 PM
It was designed to be part of the LW core but things have changed - It will be a 3rd party offering and escentially a replacement for the current Surface editor. LOL I should prolly render a section of my keyboard with the F5 key missing as a promo. :D
probably a stupid question... but obviously the old surface editor could still be used, right?

But this is such exciting stuff you're teasing us with...
you should change your name from Tesselator to Tease-elator. :rolleyes:
(I can hear everyone groaning all the way out here in Hawaii)

vee
03-10-2005, 03:47 PM
Tess,

Ive read your post, sounds great! But can you answer the one MOST important question regarding you plug.

Will it work on the Mac?

Also, is there a url I can get more info?

vee

Tesselator
03-10-2005, 04:03 PM
Exception
Thats exactly what I thought.

And probably the best approach to any purchase.

Seems to me a system that allows the linking
of every map, channel and value to another via a nodal
system such as Digital fusion has, which is by just
drawing line sbetween the different 'units'. Its
potentially powerfull,

That's pretty much it in a nutshell.

but I don't quite see what could be done with
it that I can't do in Lightwave that I would actually need.

That is exactly what I said before I learned xSI and used
it's tree. :D If you put this Nodal thing through it's paces
you'll be enlightened. I will be posting more examples in
a very casual pace from now until it's release- prolly after too.

But well, Tess is excited enough, eventhough
it does look a bit like a fancy advertisement... You got a
hand of that lately Tess, with Vodka and all... Is this also
Tuff Little Unit's doing?

Ya, I realize I read like an advertisment sometimes - but
that's just me trying to polite and professional. I think
it's better than some others who take the approach of:
"Everything you have now is crap so that's why this is
needed! Get it or you're a loser". LOL I hate that.

Just to let you know, I'm not up to make anything off
this product. I played just two rolls in Nodal's existance
so far. 1) as a guinne pig / beta tester ans 2) as kind
of technology scout for NewTek - introducing them to
the Nodal system and it's developers.

I think I'm not very good at either but that's my only
relationship to this thing.

Vodka was just plain fun to announce! It was a tech
announcement FYI-kinda-thing. It was so fun cuz it
is an industry first. Unlike Nodal where every other
3D application except LightWave already has this and
for good reason. :cool:

Tesselator
03-10-2005, 04:15 PM
Karmacop
I'm guessing it's TLU too. Those guys should really be given
jobs at newtek, because they seem to really know how to
make Lightwave do amazing stuff.

Well I sure agree with that! Hehhe But the developers
are different. Nodal may be using the TLU marketing
and distribution engine and may even share some common
aspects of their end user support system. This is all still
up in the air and I only know from the little tid-bits they
slide me under my cell door. :D Anyway besides both
entities being supurb masters at their craft, that's the
full extent of the relations between the Nodal Development
Staff and the Staff at Tuff Little Unit - as far as I know.

Tesselator
03-10-2005, 04:25 PM
romrom74
That's the reason why I stick to the "normal" system and get more
and more frustrated every day not to be able to use any fancy
shaders that could simplify or simply enhance the result.
That know as, please tell me there will be heavily usefull nodes
like raytrace, distance, proximity, real directionnal slopes etc!!!...
that will actually work with fprime and wont' increase insanly the
render times....

Wow that's too specific. I'm not alloud to say this. What the
heck, they can kill me later. The answer is Yes to all those
and on top of all that it actually decreases render times under
what the nearest substitute/workarounds incurr.

Tesselator
03-10-2005, 04:33 PM
GregMalick
probably a stupid question... but obviously the old surface editor
could still be used, right?

But this is such exciting stuff you're teasing us with...
you should change your name from Tesselator to Tease-elator. :rolleyes:
(I can hear everyone groaning all the way out here in Hawaii)

Hehehe thanks! Err... I think. :D

Yeah the old layers system will still be there and you
can choose what roll it will play and to what extent.

Tesselator
03-10-2005, 04:48 PM
vee

Tess,

Ive read your post, sounds great! But can you answer the one MOST
important question regarding you plug.

Will it work on the Mac?

Oh hell yes! But I have to say I don't know if they will be released
at the same time or not. They might be and they might not be.


Also, is there a url I can get more info?

So far it's just me spouting off in the forums. More info
can be obtained by logging on to the IRC channel in my
sig below and waiting till someone in-the-know wakes
up or becomes active there. If you're gonna do that
I recomend mIRC from www.mirc.com Once there really
any civil subject is welcome! Lots of family oriented
peeps and ladies drop in so that's why I used the word
"civil". :D This offer extends to all who are interested
btw. Everyone is welcome!

:cool:

Exception
03-11-2005, 03:56 AM
Just to let you know, I'm not up to make anything off
this product. I played just two rolls in Nodal's existance
so far. 1) as a guinne pig / beta tester ans 2) as kind
of technology scout for NewTek - introducing them to
the Nodal system and it's developers.

Yah I know. You're a good one.
You are a bit like Chuck recently, great, but with marketable caution : )

I like your posting style. Very pleasant to read.

spiroz
03-11-2005, 05:05 AM
hmm... reading so far i only got one question left...

IIRC, LW's bump shading is 1D, whereas normalmaps is 3D,
which make them look quite flat, IMHO..
Does Nodal take better care of procedurals in this matter?
If so, could you please post a comparison render with/without Nodal.
(if not, then this would be a great oppurtunity for a feature request, now would'nt it..? ;))

Jok
03-11-2005, 05:18 AM
Tess you are a cruel person, teasing people this way is evul! mwhahahaha! :D

theo
03-11-2005, 05:30 AM
hmm... reading so far i only got one question left...

IIRC, LW's bump shading is 1D, whereas normalmaps is 3D,
which make them look quite flat, IMHO..
Does Nodal take better care of procedurals in this matter?
If so, could you please post a comparison render with/without Nodal.
(if not, then this would be a great oppurtunity for a feature request, now would'nt it..? ;))

Hmmmm.....

zarti
03-11-2005, 06:44 AM
many times ago i suggested for an alternative Surface editor which may run in parallel mode with the Clasic one. ... so i am happy that nodes are coming in LW!
Im sure that in the future LW (like almost every other 3D app.) is going to be 'nodal'. It is logical.
.... my question is this : All these things coming up are compatible with LW 7/7.5?

wacom
03-11-2005, 10:27 AM
I'm glad we'll have the option. Sometimes you need nodes...and sometimes you don't. Right now we have TB_Shader and soon this...

XSI foundation has nodal, but you have to pay more to get the regular layer system! I find that funny.

Red_Oddity has been doing some stuff with TB_Shadder and the Sketch Line Technique that has me thinking I'm going to be in love with this new plug-in. Nodal Shading IS a powerhouse of "workarounds".

Tess: How will it work with exsisting shaders and plugs in the Surface panel? Will we be able to apply those shaders to this system?

Tesselator
03-11-2005, 02:31 PM
hmm... reading so far i only got one question left...

IIRC, LW's bump shading is 1D, whereas normalmaps is 3D,
which make them look quite flat, IMHO..
Does Nodal take better care of procedurals in this matter?
If so, could you please post a comparison render with/without Nodal.
(if not, then this would be a great oppurtunity for a feature request, now would'nt it..? ;))



Hi spirosa,

Yup I know just what you are trying to ask and YES! this
is one of the many things Nodal cures in LW. What should
be 3D (and that's way the majority) now is! :D

I will for sure be posting more head to heads on this.
For "Pure" displacements I'll put them in this thread.

For bump comparrisons I'll start a new thread. Look
for them in the next day or maybe two.

:cool:

Tesselator
03-11-2005, 02:42 PM
many times ago i suggested for an alternative Surface editor which may run in parallel mode with the Clasic one. ... so i am happy that nodes are coming in LW!
Im sure that in the future LW (like almost every other 3D app.) is going to be 'nodal'. It is logical.
.... my question is this : All these things coming up are compatible with LW 7/7.5?


So far yes. Without a hitch. But I have not tested in 7.0
just 7.5b and 7.5c as anyone using 7 should really by now
be on one of the point fives. I can totally understand a
studio still using 7.5 for such reasons as project scope and
dedication - not wanting to retool the main application in
the middle of something.

:cool:

Tesselator
03-11-2005, 03:08 PM
I'm glad we'll have the option. Sometimes you need nodes...and sometimes you don't. Right now we have TB_Shader and soon this...

XSI foundation has nodal, but you have to pay more to get the regular layer system! I find that funny.

Red_Oddity has been doing some stuff with TB_Shadder and the Sketch Line Technique that has me thinking I'm going to be in love with this new plug-in. Nodal Shading IS a powerhouse of "workarounds".

Tess: How will it work with exsisting shaders and plugs in the Surface panel? Will we be able to apply those shaders to this system?



I'm not really sure on this one. I think you
cannot drop a whole nother shader in as a
new node or anything tho. If LW's SDK was
what it is in other 3D applications it could.
If LW's SDK was anything like what codders
have been asking for over the years it could.
Hopefully in the near future it will be made
possible. At about this time last year NT was
showing signs of turnning things around and
a little star named Hope was born and hung
in the sky just above San Antonio, Texas. I'ld
say it's still there and about as bright as it
was then even if the ocasional fog bank
obscures my view of it from time to time.

That said I haven't yet explored all of Nodal.
It's just too deep. There are some things in
there that look like they might be hooks or
accessable channels to other shaders. I will
make a point of finding out for you tho. I'll
drop the info back in here when I'm there.

:cool:

wacom
03-11-2005, 03:16 PM
Thanks! I'm looking forward to more on this.

Tesselator
03-11-2005, 03:16 PM
XSI foundation has nodal, but you have to pay more to get the regular layer system! I find that funny.




Yeah, me too! There is absolutely no advantage of a layered
system over a node based one. There is only disadvantage.
For speed, ease of use, ability, and scope layers are pretty
much in the mud. They don't even have a shorter learning
curve! Nothing! Layers are so 1990! :D

In "Nodal's" case it also addresses many many many of the
ills that were plaguing LW's surfacing.

:cool:

Chris S. (Fez)
03-11-2005, 04:11 PM
Quit torturing us Tess. Forget Friday night and post some coolness :) . Weekends are for woosies.

KillMe
03-11-2005, 05:50 PM
i wouldn't go so far as to say that layers have no advantages - i would disagree with ther learning curve being jsut as steep as it is for nodes for one

also speed certainly comparing using xsi's shader tree or lightwaves layer systems i can throw together a surface in lightwave in seconds for most things - the same cannont be said for xsi or any of the other node based systems i've used - if nodal is as quick and as intuative as layers thats great but i'll be surprised

zarti
03-12-2005, 03:45 AM
Of course 'nodal' is quicker and more intuitive than 'layered'.
In nodal mode you must know which are the rules that you can not break, and then you are totally free. You can insert complex nodal structures at any point in a node project.
You have total control to achieve what you really want.
Layered is a linear applying mode while nodal is 'almost' a 3-dimensional one.
So you can easily have instances of a map applied in different channels.
If im right,... actually you have to apply twice an alpha layer for two normal layers applied in the same channel...., or not ?!?! :cool:

KillMe
03-12-2005, 03:50 AM
i dont deny node based is more powerful - but its NOT as intuative nor as quick

any noob can sit down with lightwaves surface editor and make a glass surface with nice graients etc in about a a minute 5 at the most - witha node based system you sit stareing at it for at least that long before you even try anything the first time

persoanl preference i guess - i would like a node based system in lightwave but i would object mightily if they simply replaced the layered system with it

zarti
03-12-2005, 04:15 AM
Yes, thats the reason why i suggest to have both 'systems' in parallel mode.
But dont forget that in the nodal system you may have allready included basic or full for ex. different glass shaders and you just drag n drop that and you are ok.
Or, if you just realised a basic glass shader effect, than select that and put it to your personal asset tree folder.... that part might be very useful for some other shader or, why not, to someone else in the LW comunity. Everyone of us couldnot release everything, but someone else in this world could have done just the one you need.
We could have a new type of values to share with each other, 'Node Parts'. :cool:

Tesselator
03-12-2005, 07:02 AM
i wouldn't go so far as to say that layers have no advantages - i would disagree with ther learning curve being jsut as steep as it is for nodes for one

also speed certainly comparing using xsi's shader tree or lightwaves layer systems i can throw together a surface in lightwave in seconds for most things - the same cannont be said for xsi or any of the other node based systems i've used - if nodal is as quick and as intuative as layers thats great but i'll be surprised



This is very interesting. Also I feel that it is quantifiyably wrong
on every point. There simple is no way that this could be true
if you know how to use a mose.

Here's just a small example:

In layers you need an image map applied to spec, color, and bump.
Like, this is a VERY common example yes?
so for layers you:
Press F6
Load the images.
Press F6 again to close the panel
Press F5
click the T next to color
select the color image
Set the projection type and size it
copy the layer
click use texture.
click the T next to Specularity
Paste the layer
Select the spec image
Adjust the opasity, etc.
click use texture
click the T next to Bump
Paste the layer
select the image.
Adjust the amplitude, opacity, etc.
click use texture.

In Nodal you would:
Press F6
Load the images
Press F6 again to close the panel
Press F5 (or the key you assigned Nodal to)
Add an Image node
Select the color image
Set the projection type and size it
Copy the node and paste it twice (3 keystrokes
in the same panel)
select Bump image for one
Select Spec Image for the other
Connect them up. Color to color etc. all
righ there in the same panel.
11 Steps to 19 and 5 panels to 2 in Nodal.

No comparisson at all. And this easyness is multiplied for
complex textures. It's the difference between walking and
driving - in that you may have to learn a few new controls
but you will always get there faster! Always. There will
never be an example where layers are easier or faster
than Nodes. And never can layers offer more power either.
Ever.

Now where you may have seen something that scared you
in Nodes they were probably doing something far beyond
the reach of a layered system.

:cool:

Tesselator
03-12-2005, 07:16 AM
i dont deny node based is more powerful - but its NOT as intuative nor as quick

any noob can sit down with lightwaves surface editor and make a glass surface with nice graients etc in about a a minute 5 at the most - witha node based system you sit stareing at it for at least that long before you even try anything the first time

persoanl preference i guess - i would like a node based system in lightwave but i would object mightily if they simply replaced the layered system with it


No "personal preference" in my opinion here. You are
comparring someone with expirience using Layers to
someone with no expirience at all using nodes. Not a
fair comparisson at all.

Anyway as it sits it does not replace the current layered
system and you can choose how to intermix the two
systems - Layers in nodes, nodes in layers, nodes only,
or layers only,. All to any recursive depth that you choose
to take it.

:cool:

Chris S. (Fez)
03-12-2005, 07:44 AM
"Layers in nodes, nodes in layers, nodes only,
or layers only,. All to any recursive depth that you choose
to take it."

This gets better all the time. This sounds much MORE flexible than the rendertree. Would you say XSI has anything Nodal does not?

So, if a layer can be composed of a complex nodal structure, can we then globally adjust the opacity and blending mode of that layer using the native controls and envelopes?

Thanks for posting all this stuff btw.

Emmanuel
03-12-2005, 07:47 AM
That's not a good example, because it only shows that NT's GUI designers aren't the best on the planet :/
If Nt would overhaul the surface editor, applying one image map to multiple channels/layers would be easy.

1.Load Image Map
2.Multi-Select channels (colour, bump, diffuse, spec)
3.Apply

For further refinement and additional layers, go to submenue.

The current implementation of surfacing channels and layers is very basic at best, and
could me much faster and more powerful by overhauling the workflow.

KillMe
03-12-2005, 08:36 AM
obviously i cant say anything about nodal but this much i know - with lightwave when i first got it i opened up teh surface editor and began workign on my surfaces immediately

upon opening up xsi's render tree and this is when i knew alot more about 3d it took me forever to produce anything

sure being able to reuse elements for multiple channels is great but over all teh learning curve is substanially steeper

when shoving a image map or texture into a channel you didn't have to work out where in teh flow it has to go where it connects to which channels

layers are easy to understand and with abit of work could be made jsut as quick as nodes

all that said my sole argument was that somone said that layers ahve no advantages which i think noobs would disagree with and i would like a really good node based system in lightwave and providing this isn't a horrendously expensive plugin then i most likely will get it - if it is horrendously expensive then i'll amke do with teh free node based system for lightwave

wacom
03-12-2005, 08:58 AM
After going from AE to DF I learned the what the advantages and disadvantages were between layered and nodal. I think when it comes down to it there are two factors:

A) How your brain works- do you like flow charts? Are you logical? Nodes are a great way to go then. Maybe "stacking" things makes more sense to you though...

B) What are you trying to do? For somethings a layer based system is much easier to work through, and for others it's a little twitchy or just can't be done. DF wouldn't even have a slight layering system if this wasn't true (aka timeline). Things that are simple in AE (such as layer switching for under over masks) can be a pain in the arse in DF's node based system, or not as intuitive as AE IMHO.


Your example Tess is also one of knowing what you're are going for. Sometimes you're only partly certain...thank dog that Nodal supports Fprime! Fprime cuts the fat on complex texturing like no other...

Here is another question for you Tess and an important one for me- how does Nodal handle envolopes and the graph editor? I NEED these features. I'm hope'n that inbetween each node we'll be able to put in expressions and envolopes. Idealy these will also be able to hook down stream to any other node or receive data from any up stream node. At least it should give each channel access to the graph editor.

The whole thing with the XSI foundation not having any layer based system, but the higher up packages having it is kind of funny. But sometimes all you want is the simplest metal texture, or glass etc. Do you really need to go into the shadder tree for that? Can you really say it's faster for the simple things? You don't even need layers 90% of the time for things like that...

You're smart guy Tess- so we know nodes are your thing. ;)
I'm not that smart, but I'm still looking forward to it!

zarti
03-12-2005, 09:20 AM
Just for fun :)

Do you remember when sometimes you have changed something in Surface Editor and you cant undo that, or if you achieved a nice result but wanted something perfect and then messed things up....? How to turn back?? :eek:

Well, with nodes you could had that nice version of node component near the perfect candidate one with just an copy/paste and disconected. So you could work now safely to achieve the perfect version and turn back to the nice version just disconecting/conecting those... :cool:

theo
03-12-2005, 09:35 AM
After going from AE to DF I learned the what the advantages and disadvantages were between layered and nodal. I think when it comes down to it there are two factors:

A) How your brain works- do you like flow charts? Are you logical? Nodes are a great way to go then. Maybe "stacking" things makes more sense to you though...

B) What are you trying to do? For somethings a layer based system is much easier to work through, and for others it's a little twitchy or just can't be done. DF wouldn't even have a slight layering system if this wasn't true (aka timeline). Things that are simple in AE (such as layer switching for under over masks) can be a pain in the arse in DF's node based system, or not as intuitive as AE IMHO.


In DF, each node has a Mask and a Modifier layer. This, in some sense, can be interpreted as a hybrid nodal/layer system.

I find this to be just extremely freeing as far as the creative thought process goes.

Tesselator
03-12-2005, 10:37 AM
Chris S. (Fez) wrote:

"Layers in nodes, nodes in layers, nodes only,
or layers only,. All to any recursive depth that you choose
to take it."

This gets better all the time. This sounds much MORE flexible
than the rendertree.

Yes it is. Quite allot imo. I don't get this enthusiastic easily
I'll have you know! :D


Would you say XSI has anything Nodal does not?

Yes, two things come to mind but both are LW limitations
in thier current locked up core design: different shader
models and real-time texture display (Open GL etc.)

With Nodal you need to look at the SurfED Preview, Viper,
or FPrime to really see what it will be like, and LW is locked
into lambert+blinn for absolutely everything - period - no way
out of it - just go eat cheese. Cheese of course rocks but... :D


So, if a layer can be composed of a complex nodal structure, can we then globally adjust the opacity and blending mode of that layer using the native controls and envelopes?

Yup!


Thanks for posting all this stuff btw.

NP, it's all fun for me!

:cool:

Tesselator
03-12-2005, 10:59 AM
That's not a good example, because it only shows that NT's GUI designers aren't the best on the planet :/
If Nt would overhaul the surface editor, applying one image map to multiple channels/layers would be easy.

1.Load Image Map
2.Multi-Select channels (colour, bump, diffuse, spec)
3.Apply

For further refinement and additional layers, go to submenue.

The current implementation of surfacing channels and layers is very basic at best, and
could me much faster and more powerful by overhauling the workflow.



No. I'm not talking about 1 image map to 3 channels.
You would almost never want to do that! And your
1, 2, 3 example there doesn't make any kinda sense in
any layered system I've ever used. NewTek's layer
system is not bad as layered systems go. Very little
room for improvment there. Their procedurals and
mixing algos are ummm, well... Nodal fixes it so I
don't need to go there in this thread. The frusteration
you get from layers in LW is not becuase of NTs layer
design. It's becouse it's layers themselves. Anyway
gawd help us if they desde to spend their development
resources doing something like that. The opinion that
Nodes are superior in each and every way to layers
(for surface and texture editing and assembly) is an
industry wide one and there are few or no exceptions
worth considering that I am aware of.

I'm here to talk about Nodal. :D I'll try not to mix
layers into the discussion except where the comparison
is useful.

:cool:

Tesselator
03-12-2005, 11:20 AM
wacom wrote:
After going from AE to DF I learned the what the advantages and disadvantages were between layered and nodal. I think when it comes down to it there are two factors:


Ya, I know what you're saying... But the past 8
years or so of teaching Maya, xSI and LW to Uni
students has taught me that this "brain-type" deal
is simply untrue. It boils down to just one thing
in the end. Number of mouse clicks and mouse
travel needed to achieve a particular result.

If a person is in the "habbit" of using layers then
there is the whole issue of "habbits" and what
that implies but nothing more.


Here is another question for you Tess and an important one for me- how does Nodal handle envolopes and the graph editor? I NEED these features. I'm hope'n that inbetween each node we'll be able to put in expressions and envolopes. Idealy these will also be able to hook down stream to any other node or receive data from any up stream node. At least it should give each channel access to the graph editor.

All I'm allowed to say is that they work as before
and also differently. :D This is gooood!

The whole thing with the XSI foundation not having any layer based system, but the higher up packages having it is kind of funny. But sometimes all you want is the simplest metal texture, or glass etc. Do you really need to go into the shadder tree for that? Can you really say it's faster for the simple things? You don't even need layers 90% of the time for things like that...

Yes, I can really say that Nodes are always faster
than layers given the same user level. Always.

But let me also say that the xSI tree makes it's users
jump thru a few hoops that other node based systems
including "Nodal", do not.

You're smart guy Tess- so we know nodes are your thing. ;)
I'm not that smart, but I'm still looking forward to it!


Heehehe, thanks... but you'll see when this thing demos
to the public.. You don't need no smarts... Just a few
minutes in the manual... Really.

:cool:

private
03-12-2005, 07:18 PM
How can any of you have a decent conversation without having used nodal or seen screenshots of it? This is the utter speculation thread. It's obviously a one way conversation with you in the know preaching to the uneducated (because we haven't seen it or have test driven it) Please give us some more tangible information.

wacom
03-12-2005, 07:19 PM
Yes, I can really say that Nodes are always faster
than layers given the same user level. Always.

But let me also say that the xSI tree makes it's users
jump thru a few hoops that other node based systems
including "Nodal", do not.


OK...so I guess if you just start out with a base node structure each time this is true...but since I'm lazy and own Fprime I'm still going to use layers just to be contrary to you Tess! I can say that once you set up a few base structures then nodes can be easier/more flexable/faster. At least that's what seems to be the case in DF.

When do we get to see some more screen shots etc.


In DF, each node has a Mask and a Modifier layer. This, in some sense, can be interpreted as a hybrid nodal/layer system.

I find this to be just extremely freeing as far as the creative thought process goes.

OK- you got me on this one Theo, I'd even go so far as to say that for many things blend can be used in DF. Talk about kicking a lazy dog when he's down...you guys just don't quit! hehehe

Tesselator
03-12-2005, 07:56 PM
private wrote:
How can any of you have a decent conversation without
having used nodal or seen screenshots of it? This is the
utter speculation thread. It's obviously a one way
conversation with you in the know preaching to the
uneducated (because we haven't seen it or have test
driven it) Please give us some more tangible information.

Yes, this is true. But that's the purpose of this and other
threads to come - To give you as much tangable information
as I can without voilating NDA or the wishes of the dev
team.




wacom wrote:
OK...so I guess if you just start out with a base node
structure each time this is true...

But Nodal starts off with everything available that is
available in the SurfEd plus a few more - so there really
isn't any "base node structure" to setup. Actually, while
there are a "few more" it's also more compact than our
current SurfEd UI so more convienient to set up simple
surfaces (like the LW Glass you all were talking about). :D


but since I'm lazy and own Fprime I'm still going to use
layers just to be contrary to you Tess! I can say that
once you set up a few base structures then nodes can be
easier/more flexable/faster. At least that's what seems
to be the case in DF.

Just to be contrary to me? Well I'm flattered but I'm
not so important. What's important to me is that the LW
User Base in general become more capable by learning
the tools of the trade and more enabled by having and
using a state of te art toolset.

When do we get to see some more screen shots etc.


GUI Screen Shots are out of the question until the product
is released. But that sounds ok to me as they aren't
asking for your money till then as well. :D If all
developers had acted ethical up to this point it would
be a different story but...

Anyway... I would love to be posting GUI elements
and getting those of you interested in this trained and
ready to go way before the release so that there would
be no transition time needed at all but... maybe they
will change their mind when Nodal gets closer to release.
(like, weeks away..) ???

KillMe
03-12-2005, 09:52 PM
ok forgetting all about layers vs nodes for now......

will there be a demo when its released? while you tell us nodal is wonderful and i dont doubt your enthuisism but what works for some people does work for others so it would be nice to test drive it first - with the nature of the plugin shouldn't be hard to make it watermark the surfaces that use it ( subtly please got to be ablew to tell if the reults are good or not )

about the not releasing screenshots of the gui - is this a problem the developers have had on past projects? as since noone has seen nodal seems unlikely someone has stolen ideas from it - anyway i can understand the logic not sure how helpful it will be though as anyone whos gonna steal ideas can do so jsut as easily after its released and screenshots help build anticipation for a product

Karmacop
03-12-2005, 10:16 PM
I think they don't want more screenshots to get out because of the nodal surface editor at http://home.att.ne.jp/omega/tabo/3dlabo/p_lwp.html

I odn't know why though, because any nodal interface would be very much like any other.

KillMe
03-12-2005, 10:21 PM
thats a free one though i doubt its author is putting as much work into it as nodal so i doubt it would be any competition - that said its pretty good awesome value for money anyway :p

there is visual texture which i guess they could be worried about though and i dont know if sabre is still on the go or not

Tesselator
03-12-2005, 11:43 PM
There will probably be a save disabled demo available.
The current demo can load and save objects with the
surface intact but not edit the node flow after reloading
the object - tho you can just start over from fresh by
removing Nodal and readding it. This is for internal
beta testing and I don't know if that is what the public
demo will be like or not.

BTW, there is also a thread about Nodal here:

http://www.spinquad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5359


So is there anything in particular you want to see
examples of Nodal doing? Like normal mapping
or anything? Here's one: 0.4 seconds, no AA, just
one single poly side of a flat box:

sire
03-13-2005, 12:07 AM
If this is a single polygon and the plugin still requires high subdiv levels to properly displace, then why is it a square? Weight map?

Tesselator
03-13-2005, 12:32 AM
Seems as if the nodal nature of this plugin is not the thing which makes it so special but rather the ability to use real displacement. This must be the perfect plugin to use with ZBrush. I'm curious how the hybrid usage will turn out. Would be cool to have instances of the plugin as LW layers, but then it would have to be a procedural texture opposed to being a custom shader. Would also work fine with FPrime then. Although I doubt this would be possible, since textures haven't enough control over the actual shading process, right?

edit: I forgot that you already showed an FPrime screenshot of the crust ball, so obviously it DOES work with it. Sweet! :) Must be a texture then, interesting. On Spinquad I read that actually it still is dependend on high subdiv levels. So the whole point really is about the nodal structure...


The one above there is not displacement. It's normal
mapping. But I can do Normal "displacements" with
Nodal too. For the FPrime shot it was NOT added as a
texture. :)

But displacements are not the "cool" thing about Nodal.
I just used them here as a way to open the discussion.
I could have chosen SSS fakery, surface effectors, SDK
proprietary node development or any number of other
things. Displacements are a sore spot in LW native and
everyone seems to understand them pretty well so that's
why I picked them.

:cool:

Tesselator
03-13-2005, 12:44 AM
If this is a single polygon and the plugin still requires high subdiv levels to properly displace, then why is it a square? Weight map?

It's not SDS. Just a single flat poly. It is possible to use
SDS and stil have square corners tho.

This is Normal Mapping. Normal Mapping or Normal
Shading is a technique that uses 3 colors RGB to shade
the vector directions instead of using the polynormal for
the vector direction information. Red is X, Green is Y,
and Blue is Z. etc. The map I used for this specific
example it included below.

You can read up on Normal mapping or DL a free plug
that does just normal mapping functions here:

http://www.spinquad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4427

but escentially you can think of them as 3D bump maps.
Ths BTW, is a terrible example of a normal map! The
guy who made it used a photo/shadow technique and
there are shadows embeded into the map. lol!

Tesselator
03-13-2005, 07:24 AM
Here it is with Color and Spec...

zarti
03-13-2005, 07:57 AM
A nodal interface is just like any other nodal interface. But i wish (suggest) in case of LW:
* to save and recall any type of component or grouped components within the nodal interface, without leaving it while im working.
* to have the ability to create explorer tree like structures where to virtually collect and backup these components.
* to have a dedicated workspace while im working for example with surfaces. in this case the nodal window will cover the most of screen while leaving some space for other windows like: viper, light properties, a list of other surfaces for easy access, etc,. Becouse while im surfaceing i want only to do that, same as while im modeling and want to do only modeling. Nodes need space. :rolleyes:


im affraid to ask you for any UI screenshot so im not asking it. ;)

Just one question:
Are THEY 'thinking' also for any type of nodal plugin for the MODELER? (Yes plugin) :cool:

phil lawson
03-13-2005, 12:57 PM
Great example Tess!...cant wait now. :)

theo
03-13-2005, 04:24 PM
Tess- you are spending a lot of time helping these guys evangelize what looks to be a killer plug- hopefully you are being compensated in some fashion for your efforts. I find this level of software evangelism very useful and you are very good at it.

Thanks much and please keep us posted.

Tesselator
03-13-2005, 05:56 PM
zarti wrote:
A nodal interface is just like any other nodal interface. But i wish (suggest) in case of LW:
* to save and recall any type of component or grouped components within the nodal interface, without leaving it while im working.
* to have the ability to create explorer tree like structures where to virtually collect and backup these components.
* to have a dedicated workspace while im working for example with surfaces. in this case the nodal window will cover the most of screen while leaving some space for other windows like: viper, light properties, a list of other surfaces for easy access, etc,. Becouse while im surfaceing i want only to do that, same as while im modeling and want to do only modeling. Nodes need space. :rolleyes:


Yup, I think you and the Nodal designer think allot alike.
It's so nice being able to have everythng "Nodal" on one
screen and then the rest of LW on another without the
two closing each others panels. I haven't really started
using the "explorer tree like structures" that Nodal makes
for you so I donno so much how that works... I've been
more dazzeled with what it can actually "do" over vanila LW.

Just one question:
Are THEY 'thinking' also for any type of nodal plugin for the MODELER? (Yes plugin) :cool:

Yeah it works in Modeler just the same. Well, not "Just"-
there are some differences... My meaning is that you
can surface from Modeler quite happily with exactly the
same tools and UI. Oooo, wait I'm gonna try something:

Yeah cool! When you have it open in Modeler and Layout
and the same time clicking on the Nodal UI of the one
you were NOT working in updates it automatically to
reflect all the changes of the one you WERE working in
if you were working on the same surface - No need to
save or syncronize. I donno how useful that is but it's
pretty neat to watch. :D


:cool:

Tesselator
03-13-2005, 06:14 PM
Tess- you are spending a lot of time helping these guys evangelize what looks to be a killer plug- hopefully you are being compensated in some fashion for your efforts. I find this level of software evangelism very useful and you are very good at it.

Thanks much and please keep us posted.


Yeah, hmm... I'm not really looking at it like that though.
I'm not doing anything right now, I mean I quit my job to
care for my wife and have lots of free time in between.
I do need a paying job VERY BADLY but I see this more
like: Out of happenstance I know something useful that
you guys don't know. I'm willing to share and it's as
much or more fun for me than doing on-line crits of
posted wips or technique tuts. So why not. I'm not
expecting anything. But if the Nodal guys do get rich I
won't turn down my own island in the south pacific if
it's offered either! Hehehe...

sire
03-13-2005, 06:52 PM
It's not SDS. Just a single flat poly. It is possible to use
SDS and stil have square corners tho.

This is Normal Mapping. Normal Mapping or Normal
Shading is a technique that uses 3 colors RGB to shade
the vector directions instead of using the polynormal for
the vector direction information. Red is X, Green is Y,
and Blue is Z. etc.

Yeah I know. I asked some stupid questions above. I got it a bit wrong at first when I thought you were showing off some sort of real subpixel displacement stuff. Reading your posts here and on Spinquad more thorughly gave me a better picture. Of course, it still all remains a little mysterious, but this gives a nice thrill... :)

Tesselator
03-13-2005, 08:17 PM
Yeah I know. I asked some stupid questions above. I got it a bit wrong at first when I thought you were showing off some sort of real subpixel displacement stuff. Reading your posts here and on Spinquad more thorughly gave me a better picture. Of course, it still all remains a little mysterious, but this gives a nice thrill... :)


Naw, don't worry about it. You didn't look stupid - besides
it gave me the opertunity to explain what Normal Maps
are - So, I'm greatfull!.

On the parts that are still "mysterious" to you just ask.

I think it's way better to ask questions that might seem
embarassing at first if you gain understanding from it!
You would be really surprised (I thinnk) at the number of
people reading this that are going like: Normal map?
what's a Normal map? like, as opposed to an Abnormal
map or something??? :D

:cool:

sire
03-13-2005, 08:47 PM
Maybe the questions were not really that stupid, but they wouldn't have been necessary, had I tried to find the answers in the threads, where they already were... Anyway. Mysterious to me is what could be that outstanding about Nodal, since there already are some other nodal surface editors around for LW. I personally didn't have a closer look on them (no need for them so far, also I have Dark Tree for many years), so maybe they leave some obvious room for improvements. The integer vs. float thing and real 3D displacement (meaning procedurals aren't just evaluated once at the mesh hull level) may be cool things, but, to be honest, I wouldn't describe them as being that revolutionary. I can't remember a situation where I ever missed either of them. Also I don't see what is so special about applying a normal map to a polygon, it's nothing which wouldn't be possible already.

Don't get me wrong - I believe Nodal will be great, and I'd really appreciate a solid and flexible nodal shader system for LW, but to state that this would be "the single most important development for LW since bones" seems exaggerated to me. I would share the excitement if it was subpixel displacement, so this was what I initially thought it could do. Also, for example, viewing the Maestro demo vids got me excited more than about a nodal shader system because of the ingenuity of that tool. It's just that most of the time the simple layered system (although clearly by far not as "sexy" as the nodal approach) is sufficient for what I do, so Nodal would be a nice addition, but really not mandatory. On the other hand, this could be said about FPrime, too... :)

Tesselator
03-14-2005, 01:16 AM
Maybe the questions were not really that stupid, but they wouldn't have been necessary, had I tried to find the answers in the threads, where they already were... Anyway. Mysterious to me is what could be that outstanding about Nodal, since there already are some other nodal surface editors around for LW. I personally didn't have a closer look on them (no need for them so far, also I have Dark Tree for many years), so maybe they leave some obvious room for improvements. The integer vs. float thing and real 3D displacement (meaning procedurals aren't just evaluated once at the mesh hull level) may be cool things, but, to be honest, I wouldn't describe them as being that revolutionary. I can't remember a situation where I ever missed either of them. Also I don't see what is so special about applying a normal map to a polygon, it's nothing which wouldn't be possible already.

Don't get me wrong - I believe Nodal will be great, and I'd really appreciate a solid and flexible nodal shader system for LW, but to state that this would be "the single most important development for LW since bones" seems exaggerated to me. I would share the excitement if it was subpixel displacement, so this was what I initially thought it could do. Also, for example, viewing the Maestro demo vids got me excited more than about a nodal shader system because of the ingenuity of that tool. It's just that most of the time the simple layered system (although clearly by far not as "sexy" as the nodal approach) is sufficient for what I do, so Nodal would be a nice addition, but really not mandatory. On the other hand, this could be said about FPrime, too... :)



Yeah, you're right. It's not mandatory! But niether are
bones, or like you brought up, is FPrime. Revolutionary?
no. Evolutionary! yes. And a very important step in the
evolution of LW too IMHO. What it has over the others
is mainly intelligence, an unsurpassed level of integration,
and an industry standard operation (so you can take and
apply almost any "other-app" surfacing tutorials and
apply them directly), an SDK for a level of customization
never before offered to the LW community, and a true
fix to most or all the problems in the current system.

You mention that you have never ran up against the 2D
textures wall in LW, the shallow ugly banding of integer
deep frequencies, unanimatabe things like "Octaves"
(because they are busted in LW), and the many many
extra steps needed to achieve by layers what is a only
few clicks for Nodal but I think that just means that as
you say, you don't do or use those things. After all you
have DarkTree so creating a correct texture is cake ya?
The difference between Nodal and DarkTree would be in
applying that texture correctly as well and the ease with
which it is done - and ofcourse it's locality.

For SubPixel displacement or MicroPoly technology to be
useful it NEEDS to be a "core" element in LW otherwise
it's just a pretty effect and not interactive with the system.
If Nodal was made "core" you'ld have your SubPixels
btw.

Maestro is a great system and I believe of nearly equal
importance with Nodal. The reason for placing Nodal
above it in the overall scheme of things is for the fact
that texturing touches so very many aspects of our
work - or at least it should! :D Maestro is an awesome
solution for hierarchal animation setups and especially
character animation. Nodal is the same but touches FX
Animation, Lighting, Modeling, Surfacing, Shading, and
Rendering - simply; every aspect of what we do as CG
artists.

Here, let me speculate a bit. The reason you like
Maestro so much is that it is integrated into the LW
system so well and works with all the existing functions
but adds a degree of unification and focus to the current
tools in such a way that a much greater power is afforded
you. It's not just the toolset. If that were the case you
would be talking about MotionBuilder. It has a much
much better toolset than LW can currently offer without
an external application like MB itself. It's completetly
compat with LW too but it's not integrated. Integration
is very important to all the end users I talk to. Maybe
the most of any!

To use your own example there then, this is one of the
key aspects to consider about Nodal when qualifying such
a statement as "Nodal is the single most important
development for LW since bones". Nodal is completely
integrated with the current system and therefore works
with everything naturally. Everywhere there is an [E]
button (and some places there isn't!) - a true SurfED
replacement that brings LW's texturing and shadding
system into the 21st century for the first time... Along
with all the other major 3D applications available in the
same price-range.

Do a little daance - can't-touch-dis! - sing a little soong - can't-touch-dis!
Doo-dit-dit-dooo-dit-dooo-dit-dooo. Nodal time!!!

But temporary insanity and oddball remixes aside the
only thing I can find wrong or "lack-luster" with Nodal
is that it wasn't included in LightWave 3D version 6.0!

It really isn't just about displacements and normal
mapping as you'll see in some up and comming
examples a little later on.

So this was my attempt to demystify for you some of
the reasons why I'm so on about this thing with more
comming later.

:cool:

KillMe
03-14-2005, 01:31 AM
perhaps you could get a commision on any preorders =)

Tesselator
03-14-2005, 01:35 AM
perhaps you could get a commision on any preorders =)


Hehhe naw, seeing examples of your work with it will be enough for me!

:cool:

CB_3D
03-14-2005, 02:36 AM
Getting more and more curious every day. Subpixeldisplacement if it was in the core? Arrrgh, NewTek, open up that SDK,for christīs sake!!!

LOL ;)

sire
03-14-2005, 03:46 AM
Tess, you should have become a salesman! You're igniting such a firework of excitement, I can't read your Nodal praise verses without a big grin of enjoyment! :D

Your ability to turn almost every doubt of the listener into a reason to get Nodal is incredible! :) I hereby suggest you for the Chuck Baker Award!

zarti
03-14-2005, 04:20 AM
Sorry Tess... I must had been more clear in the last question.
What i meant was this:
Are they 'thinking' to release any NODAl MODELING PLUGIN? :rolleyes:

We could have each object in project-state at any time. :cool:
(nondestructive booleans, editable resolution of meshes on each command at any time, etc,.)
(this is crazy, ... i dont know what im saying .... excuse me!)

Tesselator
03-14-2005, 04:25 AM
Getting more and more curious every day. Subpixeldisplacement if it was in the core? Arrrgh, NewTek, open up that SDK,for christīs sake!!!

LOL ;)



Boy! SPD is so popular? I think it nearly classifies as a
buzzword by now. It IS cool. I think even cooler would
be being able to get out from under the lambert blinn
that we are locked into now. This would be a dramatic
change far far greater than just having SPD, normal
Mapping or "true" SDS for some examples!

Currently you can NOT replace the shading, only affect
channel values! :mad:

If it were opened as you emplore and as so many have
requested countless times over the years the user could
CHOOSE the one they want to use! Like, for example
Orennayar for diffuse... or even Lambert diffuse controlled
by a gradient... Anisotropic, CookTorrance... Etc Etc, Etc.
Whatever the user would connect to the shading values.
You could have color luminosity, colored speculars, colored
reflections... not all bound to 1 color, the surface color...

The trouble is that many or most LWers don't know the
difference that this would make and just how dramatic
of an affect it would have on our finished images. So only
a small number of people who are highly educated in that
specific area know to ask for it and only the ones interested
in LW would. Subpixel displacements would not be first on
my list if they opened up the SDK the way it oughtta be.
It Might be 3rd or 4th though. :D

:cool:

Tesselator
03-14-2005, 04:46 AM
Sorry Tess... I must had been more clear in the last question.
What i meant was this:
Are they 'thinking' to release any NODAl MODELING PLUGIN? :rolleyes:

We could have each object in project-state at any time. :cool:
(nondestructive booleans, editable resolution of meshes on each command at any time, etc,.)
(this is crazy, ... i dont know what im saying .... excuse me!)



Hehehe... No you could apply a node based UI to
modeling operations. So It's not crazy. I think that
it's not significantly more usefull than what we already
have though. Nodes have found a home in systems
disignated for surfacing editing, Image processing
(including for video [image sequence]), and Music
editing - especially to do with scorring and composition,
because of the undeniable improvement in task
management, fexibility, speed, and project
comprehension that they offer there.

But in thinking allong these lines all we are currently
missing in modeler is an editable process history - Now
that history tree could easily be node based. But formed
as a spreadsheet, command list or etc. make equally as
much sense - perhapps more.

To answer your question directly tho, that is beyond the
scope of 3rd party developers IMO and NEEDS to come
from NewTek. They almost had it too... :rolleyes:

BTW, I think history is comming for modeler... It would
only make sense!

:cool:

CB_3D
03-14-2005, 04:51 AM
Subpixel displacements would not be first on
my list if they opened up the SDK the way it oughtta be.
It Might be 3rd or 4th though. :D

:cool:


I am a Modeler before anything else. Volume is my thing,and SPD would enhance so much in that area..for me. Now i do a lot with high Polycounts and Displacements. SPD would beat the crap out of this,polycount-wise ;-)

Tesselator
03-14-2005, 04:52 AM
Tess, you should have become a salesman! You're igniting such a firework of excitement, I can't read your Nodal praise verses without a big grin of enjoyment! :D

Your ability to turn almost every doubt of the listener into a reason to get Nodal is incredible! :) I hereby suggest you for the Chuck Baker Award!

WOW! A Chuck Baker Award!
I'm not worthy of such a great
honor! But an honor it would be!

:D :cool: :D

Tesselator
03-14-2005, 04:54 AM
I am a Modeler before anything else. Volume is my thing,and SPD would enhance so much in that area..for me. Now i do a lot with high Polycounts and Displacements. SPD would beat the crap out of this,polycount-wise ;-)


Can't argue with that bro!

Me wants them too! BADLY!

:cool:

Ztreem
03-14-2005, 05:32 AM
Me wants them too! BADLY!

Me too! :D

Para
03-14-2005, 09:32 AM
Hey Tess, since Nodal seems to have a lot of features and you already said that it can do a lot of things here's a tough one for you (at least this is tough one in my opinion):

Can Nodal generate tension maps in Layout so that I can get animated tension map for any object? Tension map basically calculates the weight value of vertex based on its relative distance to other vertices it's connected (or the length of edges connected to that vertex, virtually the same in this case).

Tesselator
03-15-2005, 01:08 PM
Hey Tess, since Nodal seems to have a lot of features and you already said that it can do a lot of things here's a tough one for you (at least this is tough one in my opinion):

Can Nodal generate tension maps in Layout so that I can get animated tension map for any object? Tension map basically calculates the weight value of vertex based on its relative distance to other vertices it's connected (or the length of edges connected to that vertex, virtually the same in this case).

Hmmm, I have no idea! Maybe.. but maybe not too...

Do I still get to keep my Chuck Baker award tho? :P

MrWyatt
03-16-2005, 01:36 AM
I have read most of this thread since i really am looking for a nodal system in lightwave since i got to work with other apps that have that and i know how poverfull it is. I didnīt read everything thou so if my question was answered before just point me to the answer please.

I wait for truely animatable gradients since a long time and have requested it as a feature several times. By animatable gradients i mean animatable values in color aplha and most important "PARAMETER" so i can hook up connections like in other apps where controll the different parameters from the gradient to anything in the scene. Will that be possible with nodal ? Plus will it be possible to plug textures and procedurals into a gradient instead of just a pure colour ?

for better understanding here is a screengrab of what i mean.

Para
03-16-2005, 06:50 AM
Hmmm, I have no idea! Maybe.. but maybe not too...

Dang :)


Do I still get to keep my Chuck Baker award tho? :P

Tease us with something cool Nodal stuff and you may keep your award ;)

Tesselator
03-17-2005, 10:21 AM
There's some more information posted up here:

http://www.spinquad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5460

Enjoy!

:cool:

MrWyatt
03-18-2005, 12:53 AM
any ifo on the question I posted above?
:confused:

Tesselator
03-18-2005, 01:49 AM
Check the Private Messages.


:D

Lude
03-18-2005, 05:52 AM
It's a pitty that it's going to be 3rd party. I'm sure nodal will be able to do more, but Shader tree at http://home.att.ne.jp/omega/tabo/3dlabo/p_lwp.html will be able to do similar things. Also, Lightwave really needs a built in nodal editor

Hi guys - off topic here but i visited this site but have no idea what to do with the files from it with the Extension .lzh?

Lude
03-18-2005, 05:59 AM
opps - sorry just found out all about it on flay :)

Tesselator
03-18-2005, 10:43 AM
opps - sorry just found out all about it on flay :)



Yup! that TB Free Tree is pretty cool! Really you could
think of it like an extremely scaled down demo version
of Nodal. In actuality about 1/100th the capasity but a
similar enough GUI to really get a feel for working in
these kinds of environments. The TB GUI reminds me
of an early Alpha version of Nodal's GUI.

:cool:

Karmacop
03-18-2005, 06:32 PM
Tess, if you look at his page http://home.att.ne.jp/omega/tabo/3dlabo/p_win32.html , you'll see that he made a nodal program (I think for renderman?) that uses the exact same interface he's using now, and at that time he wouldn't have seen the nodal interface, so I think the interface only looks similar to nodal's because they are both nodal interfaces in lightwave.

Tesselator
03-19-2005, 03:38 AM
Yeah, I noticed that too about a week ago. I'm
not saying that he copied Nodal's interface or
anything. Although I did allude to that once I
believe in a message about 3 weeks ago if that
is what you're referring to. Since then I have
more thoroughly researched all three of his
node based products. I like them too.

Anyway, this doesn't change my recommendation
that TB's free tree is a great place to start off in
order to familierize youself with a properly made
(albieit in a very early stage of development) node
based GUI. This is why I said that it reminds me
of a very early Alpha version of "Nodal".

:cool:

Tesselator
03-20-2005, 03:52 AM
BTW, there has been some pretty interesting
discussion added to the thread over at SpinQuad.
Enjoy!

:cool:

Tesselator
05-17-2005, 06:50 PM
http://www.spinquad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5460

:D