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mattclary
06-05-2006, 06:57 AM
I just got around to giving the nodal documentation another look. I had looked at it in the beginning of the beta and it was almost non-existent at the time. Well, whoever wrote it deserves a raise!

Granted I did not have the time to read it thoroughly, but from what I saw, this is some of the best documentation I've ever seen from NewTek! Which is great, as this new feature will probably be one of the more difficult ones to grasp.

It is written in a tutorial style that gives the user a pretty good idea of how to get some results. It starts off with some pretty basic textures and gradually becomes a little more complex. I don't think you will become a master just by reading it, but it should give you enough info to get a feel for nodal and allow you to extrapolate how to use it creatively.

I would almost have to say I like the style a little bit more than some 3rd party books I've read. Each topic is very short and to the point with some nice illustrations of the node tree involved.

The document is not complete as of this moment and stands at 250 pages already!!

I hope NewTek continues in this vein, I would really love to see their documentation take more of a tutorial approach vs. the dictionary approach of the past.

Auger
06-05-2006, 07:08 AM
:agree: Tesselator would be the man to receive the props.

He will also be writing a book on Nodal texturing.:beerchug:

paulhart
06-05-2006, 10:13 AM
Is there new documentation, or more complete documentation. We are very close to release, so the 'docs' should be thoroughly baked?? Links??

mattclary
06-05-2006, 11:50 AM
Is there new documentation, or more complete documentation. We are very close to release, so the 'docs' should be thoroughly baked?? Links??

If you are on the open beta team, go look at the sticky thread about documentation in the "LW v9 Techniques, Tips and Discoveries" forum.

Tesselator
06-05-2006, 02:12 PM
Mmm, warm fuzzies! Thanks! There doesn't seem to
be enough of those around for me recently so I'll take
them with great happyness and appreciation!

It really makes your day when you do your best and
someone notices!

Thanks again!!!

mattclary
06-05-2006, 02:14 PM
It looks really excellent, Tesselator! NewTek should consider hiring you full time!

Is it true you will be writing a book????! Look out Dan Ablan! ; )

Tesselator
06-05-2006, 03:02 PM
Yup, a general technology and technique repository for
shading and texturing. Will apply to many applications
but uses LightWave3D and the Node Editor for specific
examples. I'm thinking to offer parallel references in
RenderMan and/or another I won't mention till release - as
it's not widely known yet. ;)

*Pete*
06-05-2006, 03:53 PM
"another I won't mention till release"

i hope for Vue 5, as it comes with the bundle and seems to be much more difficult than lightwave 9 nodes.

Thomas M.
06-05-2006, 04:09 PM
Dear Matt,

to what are you refering by "awesome"? So far the documentation about nodes is non existing (about what we don't know). What is described in great detail (compliments) is how the 2d and 3d textures work. But that's pretty much the same way like in the old LW versions. I really do hope that there will be some decent documentation around, about what the diffusion shaders are doing and what not, how to use SSS that it gives you decent results and what the difference is between the specularity shaders and what does reflection shading do. If I can use reflection shaders in the diffuse shading, it's wired to have a reflection and refration shading module. As soon as all this stuff will be explained in the same way like the texture nodes, I'll be pretty happy. And what's the difference between diffuse and diffuse shading. Shouldn't it give you the same result with a diffuse shader??? So many questions...

Cheers
Thomas

wacom
06-05-2006, 04:48 PM
Tesselator is a saint. I really do hope you come up with a rendering and texturing book or DVD someday. Thanks again for the excellent work- the way you explain nodes with such clearity really helps me.:)

Thomas M. - Tesselator has explained many of those things in different threads and I'm sure they'll make there way into the documentation by the end. Expect the nodal master to inform you soon on the points you've brought up.

Tesselator
06-05-2006, 04:59 PM
how to use SSS that it gives you decent results
Just connect it to the Diffuse Shading input... Instant decent results
in many cases.


If I can use reflection shaders in the diffuse shading,
No, you souldn't.


it's wired to have a reflection and refration shading module.
One is refraction. The other is reflection. Totally different things.


And what's the difference between diffuse and diffuse shading.
One is the native LW (Lambert-like) diffuse amount. The other
is for alternative diffusion shaders and their amounts. They
replace the LW embeded model.


Shouldn't it give you the same result with a diffuse shader???
If you are using Lambert then it would be kinda close with some
settings. Otherwise completely different.


I wish I had more time to delve into it here in this thread. :oye:

mattclary
06-05-2006, 05:47 PM
Dear Matt,
So far the documentation about nodes is non existing

The 250 page PDF document I have in my possesion (that anyone on the open beta can download) seems like it actually exists to me.

I've been using LW since 6.x, and I can honestly say that I have never seen DOCUMENTATION FROM NEWTEK that is as good as this document. The document is not even finished yet and it's 250 PAGES long. That, my friend, to put it in scientific terms for you, is a f*ckload of information.

Like I said in my first post, you will not read this document and instantly become Leah van der Byl, but it gives more useful information about how to use LightWave than any piece of NewTek documentation I've ever laid my eyes on. It's up to you to take the info provided and take it to the next level.

Celshader
06-05-2006, 05:58 PM
Tesselator is a saint. I really do hope you come up with a rendering and texturing book...

If the man wrote 250 pages of Node documentation, I think he just did. :eek: :bowdown: :beerchug: ;):D

mattclary
06-05-2006, 06:02 PM
If the man wrote 250 pages of Node documentation, I think he just did. :eek: :bowdown: :beerchug: ;):D

That's what I'm saying!! :thumbsup:

Tesselator
06-05-2006, 06:07 PM
Actually the formatting on that got scrunched
somehow durring the PDF making (which is out
of my hands). Formatted as proper for a manual
it is more like 350 pages. And there is 80 to 100
more comming before it's finished. :D

So if it gets formatted correctly in the layout it'll
be at least 400 pages. And I want to improve that
during the 9.x product cycle. ;) Meaning a little
more and a little better.



I dunno final on the book yet but I would guestimate
somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000~1200 pages
without duplication.

Tesselator
06-05-2006, 07:00 PM
And I want to improve that
during the 9.x product cycle. ;) Meaning a little
more and a little better.


I mean if that is possible with the way distribution
works that is. I'm not exactly sure. Sorry, didn't
mean to be confusing.

radams
06-05-2006, 07:21 PM
Actually the formatting on that got scrunched
somehow durring the PDF making (which is out
of my hands). Formatted as proper for a manual
it is more like 350 pages. And there is 80 to 100
more comming before it's finished. :D

So if it gets formatted correctly in the layout it'll
be at least 400 pages. And I want to improve that
during the 9.x product cycle. ;) Meaning a little
more and a little better.



I dunno final on the book yet but I would guestimate
somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000~1200 pages
without duplication.

I also hope that you show full color images and possible FX's both on the thumbs and on UI/renders. Are you also commenting on the behind the scenes math operations to help those understand what is going on as well ?

Cheers,

Tesselator
06-05-2006, 08:00 PM
Yep all taken care of.

wacom
06-05-2006, 09:00 PM
Really cool. Should turn what is a dark art for some into a brilliant light full of ideas. Other applications throw you to the sharks or expect you to be a TD! Thanks for giving people like me the extra info and understanding I need.

Tesselator
06-05-2006, 09:21 PM
While I am basking in all this marshmellow
wonderful praise let's not forget that really
all of the praise goes to NewTek for setting
this up and allowing it to happen. The four
most significant names being:


Jim Plant
Jay Roth
Chuck Baker
Peter Jesperson

Anyone notice how the first two sound
like familiar rock stars? :D Hehe...

Without them and you fine folks reading
on and using the products none of this would
matter at all.

wacom
06-05-2006, 10:47 PM
Chuck has always been a cool daddi'o, and since Jay Roth and the others came on board everthing has been moving at a good clip. So yes, extra marsh-cream-uni-corn-rainbowpanda-gum-drops for everyone.

Earl
06-05-2006, 11:01 PM
Chuck has always been a cool daddi'o, and since Jay Roth and the others came on board everthing has been moving at a good clip. So yes, extra marsh-cream-uni-corn-rainbowpanda-gum-drops for everyone.
Err, am I supposed to make that image my desktop background? Or can I just acknowledge its existence in this thread and call it good? :question:

Seriously Tess, judging by what I've read, the nodal documentation with LW9 is indispensable. Not to mention your video overviews from before. You made learning a completely new way of shading a breeze!

warrenwc
06-05-2006, 11:34 PM
Tess;
:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Your commercial book'll be the second I'll buy, cause I'm springing for the printed manual as soon as it's available.

wacom
06-06-2006, 12:03 AM
Err, am I supposed to make that image my desktop background? Or can I just acknowledge its existence in this thread and call it good? :question:

Seriously Tess, judging by what I've read, the nodal documentation with LW9 is indispensable. Not to mention your video overviews from before. You made learning a completely new way of shading a breeze!

Hey what's wrong with MLP? You not down with MLP or something? Can't you just feel the LW love? Am I the only one with a LW9 MLP skin?:stumped:

Hey, I just wanted to give NewTek some ideas for the next siggraph- who needs cool cars, space ships and trolls. MLP all the way! I've been trying to get SSS on my pony models for years...now it's not a problem to get that vinal plastic look we all love and a heart decal on the arse!:thumbsup:

Don't worry I'm working on a GI joe version as we speak...

Thomas M.
06-06-2006, 01:52 AM
Hi Matt,

if you recite me it would be great if you don't just pick the most dramatic bits, but the whole sentence. I guess I made pretty clear that the work put into the documentation so far is great, but covers more or less only the bits we do already know. As everybody is curious about the "unknown side" of LW9, I hope we do get some wild stuff in the near future which also covers these topics.

Thanks Tesselator, for trying to lift the veil at least a bit. But so far I didn't have any luck to use the reflection and refration shading to texture an object. Mixing the diffuse and reflection nodes in diffuse shading, showed some great results, but probably its not "correct". Hope I do know more soon.

Cheers
Thomas

Tesselator
06-06-2006, 04:31 AM
Thomas M. wrote:
But so far I didn't have any luck to use the reflection
and refration shading to texture an object.

I think maybe because it s more simple than we think
it is. Some guys are showing really sophisticated node
networks. Allot of them don't even need that level of
sophistication to achieve what the artist is after.
Others only look sopcisticated from the outside.

K, take umm, a bycycle wheel for example. The guy
that designed it just went somethig like: I need a,
axel - some balls in a race will make it smoother - I
need some thin wire spokes to position and suspend
the rim - tube and tire to smooth out the ride - and
oh yeah thick rubber band around the inside of the
rim to protect the tube from the spoke nuts.

For him this natural progression of parts design and
assembly were just common sence. There might be
better ways but he just grabbed parts and started
going for it. He knew what his end goal was. Yet
a guy like me looks at a bycycle wheel and sees a
terribly sophisticated mechanical device that I would
much rather just buy then try and reinvent.

Yet only by reinventing the wheel can I learn just
how much simpler it is to do than to consider.

For reflections there is only "Reflections" and the
anisotropic "Ani-Reflections". Reflections is a pretty
straight replacement for LW's prior native reflection
shading. So just connect it up and go. The node
one features some additions but only 4 and all real
simple poop: Reflection Tinting and Blured Reflections
which do just what the terms imply.

Then there is Dispersion and Samples with everything
else being the same basically as in older versions of
LW. Dispersion is self explanitory if you know the
meaning of the word. If not look it up at:
www.dictionary.com and/or just think of prism
rainbows like on the cover of Dark Side Of The Moon
by Pink Floyd. But in reflections more like a CD surface.

For "samples" all ya gotta know is that higher numbers
mean more accurate and smooth reflections - AND
also slower render times so pick in the middle somewhere.

That's it. Uber-simple stuff. Ani-Reflections is the
same deal all around but now you have two more
variables to play with. Anisotropy U and Anisotropy V.
Again a trip to the dictionary will help but you can
get by with just knowing 2 things about those:

The bigger the difference between the two the
more anisotropic the reflection will be and,
Smaller overall values make smoother more shiney
surfaces while larger values make rougher looking
surfaces.
That's it. The other nodes you mention are equally as
simple but I've spent all my time and text on these two for
now. After a few hours when I need another break maybe
I will address them as well. But don't let the lack of an
explanation stop you from experimenting logically.

Reinventing the wheel is one of the best ways to learn
how a wheel works and what each of the components
are doing.

mattclary
06-06-2006, 05:10 AM
covers more or less only the bits we do already know.

Well, maybe you know it, but the nodal shader is a puzzle to me at this point. I feel like I finally had a pretty good handle on LW surfacing, and understand the various channels pretty well, but connecting nodes to get different effects loses me.

I have experimented with different programs in the past that use nodal shaders and I always gave up in frustration, partialy because the documentation just didn't explain the stuff well enough.

I had fears that the nodal shader in LW would thwart me as well, figured I would have to cross my fingers and hope that Dan or someone else would write a good book explaining how to use it. I can't tell you how happy I was when I saw what Tess had done with the documentation.

I don't know why you keep indicating this is old news and no better than existing documentation. I don't recall old documentation explaining to you how you can overlay several textures to get good effects.

Explaining the hows and whys of making this type of image is something I would expect from one of Dave Jerrard's or Dan Ablan's books, NOT NewTek documentation.

Thomas M.
06-06-2006, 05:25 AM
Thanks so far, Tesselator!

I'm pretty good at texturing in general and don't have any trouble understanding the reflection and refration nodes. I came up with a pretty good looking metallic car paint with nodes, no "big" deal. What I don't get is the reflection and refration shading input in the "base node" (beneath specular and diffuse shading). The car paint just uses the diffuse shading for a mixed input between a diffuse node and a reflection node. So I don't know what the other two shading parameters do, as I didn't get them to work. Hope it's clear what I mean. Thanks anyway and good luck to complete all these docs.

Cheers
Thomas