View Full Version : AutoCAD to Lightwave Question

03-22-2006, 11:32 AM
Hello all - I know there's several people on the board that deal with this conversion regularly, so I thought I'd ask here. I'm quoting a job through an agency for some 3D animation work using AutoCAD drawing files - how much clean up is typically involved in the conversion process? I can't afford PolyTrans, unfortunately, so it'd have to be a pretty much straight conversion. The products are Modular Sign Systems, Displays and Graphics, and Show Booth Presentation systems, so it's probably not super complicated. Anybody have rough estimates on time involved? Having never had to go from AutoCAD to LW, I just don't know how long this kind of thing takes on average. Even a gross estimate would be thoroughly appreciated.

03-22-2006, 06:59 PM
Download the Rhino 3.0 Evaluation , Thatís what I use

Here is the link

Hope that helps

Are your AutoCAD files 2D or 3D? And is scaling an issue?

03-22-2006, 07:03 PM
In all honesty I don't know yet - I'm hoping they're 3D (I think), but I'm waiting to hear back from the agency in between. Thanks for the heads-up on Rhino - never used it before, but always heard good things. I'll check it out.

03-22-2006, 07:46 PM
I use Rhino to bridge the gap between LW and AutoCAD. And other programes.

03-22-2006, 09:08 PM
Rhino has actually solved a myriad of import/export problems for me. Between it and Sketchup I can usually get my cad files where they need to be. mokba

03-23-2006, 04:34 AM
Well, sounds like Rhino is worth some checking into! Thanks for the advice, folks.

So, by using Rhino to convert to .lwo, how's the clean-up (in either LW or Rhino)? Is there a lot of it, or not so much on average? I'm trying to work up a quote and obviously the clean-up time is going to affect it pretty heavily.

03-23-2006, 09:41 AM
Clean up has not been to bad. In spite of that I can't emphasize enough the need to do as much as you can in AutoCAD prior to running anything through Rhino. Dump all your extra layers and blocks before you bring it into Rhino, the purge command makes that pretty painless. I have had a few single points to clean up in Rhino before exporting to LW, I have tried to track that down for quite a while with no success. Truly messy conversion has only happened to me when going in the opposite path, from LW to Rhino. mokba

03-24-2006, 04:38 AM
Excellent - thanks mokba. I appreciate the words and advice.

03-26-2006, 09:09 PM
I use Accutrans 3d by micromouse productions http://www.micromouse.ca/ to convert from Autocad to Lightwave. I have used it for converting from Autocad to Imagine and Lighwave for 11 years now. If you don't have solids export the file as an version 12 DXF file and if you are using solids you can 3DSOUT the file (just remember that the tesselation of the 3ds output file is dependent on how close you zoom into the object files in autocad before outputting the file i.e. window around the objects to be outputted and then zoom in close to one of the solids to get more facets on the output object. ) Why Autocad didn't make a variable for tesselation I will never know.
Accutrans has also got face flipping features built into it now that blow Lightwaves away. You can display your objects so the faces pointing towards you are white and the away faces show up red. Sooooo much easier to see than in Lightwave. You can also center on an object by clicking down on you mouse wheel then you can zoom in to your hearts content and rotate around the object face you picked (a great feature).
I would be lost without Accutrans 3D. Since it only costs $20 US it is a great bargain. At my request another feature just got added last week (I may be the only one with that beta version right now) The new feature will allow you to pick a bunch of Graphic files (i.e. Jpegs) and create a lightwave object that has the same proportions as the bitmap and it will map the image onto the Lightwave object so I will be able to convert all the 500 People images in a book I bought recently to objects and it will take me about 5 minutes to do it instead of countless hours. He even added a feature where you can globally set the height of the new object (I use 1.8 metres which is about 6 feet tall) then he added a seperate function so you can set the object height for each individual object as you step through them ( in case you have a mixture of adults and children or trees) I think he is also adding a feature to invert the masks if you want to as all the clip masks in the book are opposite to what Lightwave uses.
This is a feature rich program if anyone wants to spend the time to learn it. The interface may not be fancy but the results I receive have helped me stay in business all these years.
Also for Autocad users he also added region output support when saving version 12 dxf files as well as having dxf point per arch control so if you set you surftab1 value to 24 and then surftab from a line to an arc, the arc will be divided into the the same 24 segments in Accutrans if you set that value in the program. i.e. NO MORE GAPS where the two items meet.
If you want to ask more questions go to the Accutrans web site or my contact information is on my site at www.liquidlight3d.com

Try it you will like it