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blacksmith3D
10-21-2005, 02:33 PM
I am in the process of converting a software package into a plug-in for Lightwave. I am not very familiar with the work flow of a typical Lightwave user at all, so please forgive me if my question seems trivial or downright silly. Although this question involves Lightwave plug in development, I am asking it here to get the user's opinion.

Question...
The plug-in is for LW modeler, and objects will be sent back and forth between it and modeller. The plug-in uses "soft selections", and it would be best to have them stored with the model as it gets sent back to Modeler.

I would like to store them as weight maps, using a suffix to distinguish them from the user's own weight maps like

_b3D_MySoftSelection01
_b3D_MySoftSelection02
etc.

Would there be any reason why this would not be a good idea, from a Lightwave user's point of view, regarding work flow, etc.? I would save them as Point Selection Sets, but I'm not sure if they can have values other than on or off, and the soft selections need to have a value between 0 and 1 (please correct me if I am wrong).

Anyway, your opinions would be greatly appreciated,
Dave

Nemoid
10-21-2005, 02:43 PM
not a great expert but i think weight maps would work, especially if u use them as a soft selection tool. they're based on points applying a value to them so the selection can be a smooth one.
they also can be painted with the airbrush tool.
and they can be used as a modelling tool setting falloff to weight map in numeric panel, so yes, they seem to me the right choice, cause using them is actually simliar to use soft selections in other packages.

the only thing where they can cause probs is rigging, when u apply several weights to influence the bones behaviour Lw slows down its animation skills.
that's why expert riggers avoid to use them or use only a few ones on their characters.

but its not your case, they should fit your needs. :)

blacksmith3D
10-21-2005, 03:15 PM
Thanks for the information!

Another question if you do not mind...

Will the presence of these weight maps in any way interfere with other weight maps that might be used for rigging? I assume that weight maps (used for rigging) must be balanced properly such that no vertex has a total weight greater than 0.

I am not sure how LW users go about balancing weights, but I would hope that the can select the weight maps they want to balance, rather than all of them.

So, just to be clear, can anyone forsee a situation where having these extra weight maps would interfere with a rigged character that uses other weight maps? ( I hope the answer is no, but I'd rather find out now of the answer is yes :) )

Dave

evenflcw
10-21-2005, 03:34 PM
You can create custom vertex maps just as easilly as you can create and work with one of the already existing types (weight, UV, selection etc). If you don't want or need the soft selections visible/accessible in LW then you should look at that.

EDIT: I'm talking about using lscript to create these maps. However, I would assume that custom vmaps shouldn't be that much harder to work with using C and sdk either.

blacksmith3D
10-21-2005, 03:55 PM
Excellent. I was not aware of this. I am debating whether to have them visible or not, as the selection tools in the plug-in are quite powerful, and the user may indeed want to use them to create weight maps for rigging, etc.

Anyway, regaring the custom vmaps, I see that the current types are defined as...

#define LWVMAP_PICK LWID_('P','I','C','K')
#define LWVMAP_WGHT LWID_('W','G','H','T')
#define LWVMAP_MNVW LWID_('M','N','V','W')
#define LWVMAP_TXUV LWID_('T','X','U','V')
#define LWVMAP_MORF LWID_('M','O','R','F')
#define LWVMAP_SPOT LWID_('S','P','O','T')
#define LWVMAP_RGB LWID_('R','G','B',' ')
#define LWVMAP_RGBA LWID_('R','G','B','A')

Now do I simply define my own type like...

#define LWVMAP_B3DSoftSelection LWID_('B','3','D','S')

Do I go on the assumption that no other plug-in or script developer has used this type? Are there any protocols for defining my own custom type?

Dave

Dodgy
10-21-2005, 06:10 PM
Make it up as you go along I'd say :) Make one out of your initials or something :)

SplineGod
10-22-2005, 01:35 AM
Thanks for the information!

Another question if you do not mind...

Will the presence of these weight maps in any way interfere with other weight maps that might be used for rigging? I assume that weight maps (used for rigging) must be balanced properly such that no vertex has a total weight greater than 0.

I am not sure how LW users go about balancing weights, but I would hope that the can select the weight maps they want to balance, rather than all of them.

So, just to be clear, can anyone forsee a situation where having these extra weight maps would interfere with a rigged character that uses other weight maps? ( I hope the answer is no, but I'd rather find out now of the answer is yes :) )

Dave


Weight maps wont interfere with other weight maps unless you are blending them with bone influence. Weight maps should have a value greater then 0 to be useful for effecting bone influence. Balanceing the weights its not a big deal when used with bones unless you are using the weight map influence only. In that case the combined value of every weight map on a vertex cannot exceed 100%. Keep in mind that in other apps that you must use weight maps to tie geometry to bones. In the case of LW the bones are already deformers so you dont have to use weight maps.

Weight maps can be used to effect the following:
1. Bone influence
2. Textures
3. Displacements
4. Endomorphs
5. Hypervoxels
6. Cloth and other dynamics
7. Lots of other stuff
The weight maps can also be used as a modeling tool (soft selections) in modeler. I have a new CD out that covers most of the things you can use weight maps for. The link to my site is in my sig. :)

blacksmith3D
10-22-2005, 01:30 PM
All righty then. So using weight maps for this purpose is fair game them. I just want to be absolutely sure, and not interfere with the typical LW user's work flow.


Thanks for all of the advice,
Dave