View Full Version : Looking for support with bridging to 3dmax

03-28-2006, 10:05 AM
I've been using Lightwave almost daily for about 3-4 years. I am working with 3d max users and directing them the best I can without knowing much about Max. The two 3d apps seem like the same thing to me with different naming convintions. I like LW and I don't think I should have to change my 3d app of choice. Yet my problem is:

When I import .3ds models some of the pieces of the object are shifted or offset. For instance If I import a .3ds chimney the chimney cap would be offset from where it should be on the chimney. I understand that idealy the chimney and the cap should be all one mesh, but the cap was created seperately and it's not.

Has anyone else run into these issues, or does anyone have suggestions for working with 3dmax users and in translating info back and forth?

03-28-2006, 10:35 AM
There is a key frame data section in the 3DS files.

For some 3DS files, the rotations, scaling and translations from the first key frame are used to position all the meshes correctly. I think this is the correct operation for the original version of the 3DS file format.

For some 3DS files, if the data from the first key frame is used the meshes will not be positioned correctly.

There does not appear to be any flag set in the 3DS file to indicate which method of converting the file should be used.

If you are on a Windows PC, download AccuTrans 3d from http://www.micromouse.ca/

Use the "File->Open With Options" menu command to open a dialog box. There is check box there called "Use 3DS Key Frame". Either the checked or unchecked state should position the meshes correctly.

If you have any questions or problems, you can email me directly at
[email protected]


03-28-2006, 12:10 PM
I do not use windows with Lightwave, so i don't think I'll be able to use your plugin. Thanks anyhow! Thanks for the info too. i have a much better idea of what might be causing our problem now. Keyframes!

Also does anyone know the best way to tranfer texture between Lightwave and 3dmax? I opened a .3ds file and it told me there was a problem loading specifically named textures, but it didn't ask me to locate them either.

03-28-2006, 03:41 PM
As 3DS files are an old format, the texture name has to follow the old 8.3 rule. That is 8 characters maximum for the fiile name and 3 characters maximum for the file extension. Some programs, such as AccuTrans, support longer file names but LightWave follows the 8.3 rule.

I can not get LightWave to read or write the UV coordinates to 3DS files.

A 3DS file can contain one or more meshes and each mesh can have one or more materials applied to it. LightWave will only read the first mesh from the file. If you have an object loaded in LightWave that has multiple layers, LightWave will only write the first layer to the 3DS file.

Check into the FBX plugins for Max and LightWave. As I haven't used the plugins I don't know if they work on the Mac. The Alias web site is now gone so you will have to hunt on the AutoDesk web site for the FBX link. The reports are that FBX works good for transferring geometry, basic materials and UV textures. You could encounter problems with animations.


03-28-2006, 04:12 PM
Why am I unable to export .obj in quads? Instead it makes me triple before I can export.

So far .obj files seem to be the best solution for communicating between the apps if I can solve this one...

03-28-2006, 06:37 PM
I have no problem exporting quads to OBJ files.

Quads have to be tripled for export to 3DS files.

Could you be selecting 3DS export instead of OBJ export?

03-29-2006, 01:33 AM
use the OBJ format, remeber though, and this is important, to apply the UV to a surface when you want to export it (even an empty UV texture Layer will do)