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radams
06-06-2006, 11:52 PM
Hi All this is a cross post since it seems to have been burried in the third party section...

3D design is much larger than games, video and film markets...in fact there are 100 time more artists creating for design, manufacturing, architectual, etc...firms. They are also needing 3D design tools that have the artist in mind rather than only an engineer...and even an engineer could benefilt from design tools with real time feedback and integration...

from my other post:
...are any of you also able to be transparent with AutoCAD files into and out of LW...since Lightwave does NOT support dwg formats...nor does it support solid modeled objects or parametric ones. Yhe new AutoCAD 2007 added more 3D features but took away 3DS output.

How are you working with integrating this into a manufacturing workflow with realtime section views, etc... auto extrusions based on profiles and views from CAD or vector files ? Do any of you have to create an object say what would be a piece of 1/2" metal...curled up like the outside of a cinnamin role...then you want to unrole it to properly get its 2D dimensions plus angles of the top cuts to see how it is properly angled to the the visual effect you may be wanting ?

I think the LWcad tools are very interesting for many uses but I would love to see a real manufacturing design tool solution ontop of it. Something also nice in Hexegon 2 and the new AutoCAD is the ability to have an object or solid be semi transparent to work with in it.

Cheers,

omeone
06-07-2006, 02:38 AM
ah found it.. cheers Ray... I'll have a think about it before replying - it is a BIG subject.

radams
06-07-2006, 02:48 AM
ah found it.. cheers Ray... I'll have a think about it before replying - it is a BIG subject.

Welcome, and thanks for your time...looking forward to yours and "OTHERS" thoughts on this.

And yes this is HUGE subject and one that the existing user base does not fully understand...nor does NT.

I would like to get a discussion going about this BIG subject and for all to take part.

As the production industry keeps moving further and further into freelancers and limited contract jobs...the more stable job areas are becoming the general design and manufacturing markets...they also pay relatively well and are much more stable. Along with that there are more jobs in those markets than all of the game, video, and film markets combined.

The march for better visual tools for design, presentation and manufacturing are moving forward and for now need more tools that are affordable yet still allow a decent margin.

Cheers,

Kuzey
06-07-2006, 03:20 AM
I'm surprised Hex and Autocad work well together, I'm sure the makers of Autocad will put an end to that down the road. After all, they would like it if you used Autocad with their own products like Max or Maya.

Autocad file formats seem to get changed way too often and having Newtek trying to keep up is not really a solution. IT would be far better if they Autocad, supported the LW format. IT seems it's a closed market becuase they wish it to be so, otherwise they would have supported LW format a long time ago.

PS. I would so love it if LW and Solidworks talked to each other!

Kuzey

radams
06-07-2006, 04:03 AM
I'm surprised Hex and Autocad work well together, I'm sure the makers of Autocad will put an end to that down the road. After all, they would like it if you used Autocad with their own products like Max or Maya.

PS. I would so love it if LW and Solidworks talked to each other!

Kuzey

Hex and AutoCAD do NOT work well together...just that each have the to option to see into an object with semi transparent areas...very helpful when dealing with internal workings, whether solids or not ....

I totally agree that working with solid models and parametrics would be nice ;)

Well, whether AutoDesk likes it or not...they are NOT the only company for design..and PLEASE NT and others take them to task... I hate dealing with them but they are one of the big monkeys in this market...like adobe is with others...

The need to be able to work with their workflows and get things into and out of them is VERY critical...and desperately needed...

Cheers,

Kuzey
06-07-2006, 04:21 AM
My mistake...for a minute there I thought they were becoming better 3d citizens.

:D


Kuzey

omeone
06-07-2006, 05:10 AM
OK where to start? :D

The Market
Historically 3D for illustration and 3D for Engineering started off in different places and the went in opposite directions, though of course there will always be common elements - they are almost unrelated.

Are Autodesk trying to bring them altogether and emulate Adobe's business plan, except for 3D? All we can do it speculate: which is pretty fruitless.
Why they have bought Maya when they already have 3DSMAX is very strange because traditionally the 3D Apps (XSI/Maya) we really only held for their glamour.. they have never been held for any kind of profit - in the engineering world some companies can afford to lose in a month what SoftImage or old Alias would turnover in a year.

(Incidentally, this is why I love NT, they have never subjected themselves completly to the ebbs and flows of one particular market, nor have they ever sold out - one guy, one dream from the cradle to the grave, that consistency is valuable to the customer's business, and inspirational to the customer's hearts)

BTW, there is a much better solution for Engineering design than anythng AutoCAD... look to Bentley Systems. Microstation is for designing not plotting, it also includes a great renderer, 3D plotting (wonderful) and animation. It supports ALL versions of dwg and dxf from the beginning and is committed to supporting them all in the future. It even natively edits dwgs faster than AutoCAD itself. Its 3D tools are mature and they have also, like NewTek been at the front end of technological innovation. And like NT, the founders of the company have kept their hands in the pot to this day... you can even see them active on their forums on a daily basis! (Ray and Barry Bentley)

The Data
Well, like the market - although there are some common elements... really they are almost nothing alike.
3D for Engineering is all mathematically generated, stored and edited.
This is because the finished product must be uniform and accurate.

Whereas 3D for design is just a list of points and polys.
This is because the finished product (usually) needs to be non-uniform and without any engineering type accuracy.

Some design packages are starting to include more and more engineering style modelling tools (parametric) but for their purpose, ultimately, the data types will need to remain seperate for the near future (as far as I can understand anyway).

Would LightWave benfit form parametric modelling and objects? yes
Would it be worth it for NT to develop and include it now? none of my business ;) (but I cant imagine any cost-benefit analysis being too supportive right now)

The technical issues
Yes, I have have a reasonable amount of success working back and forth between the two disciplines (if you need help with anything post a specific thread and I'll try and help) providing you a familiar with the limitations and develop you're own workflow around them it can be quick and easy enough.

personally...
Im very glad things are the way they are, as you know, I was able to switch back to engineering in order to guarantee myself a stable career and early retirement, put my kids through college, and enable a single-income household. I'm embarrased I ever agonized over the decision when it was obviously so good for the important people in my life. There have been many side-benefits too... Im finally really enjoying my design 3D.. Im under no pressure to produce something how someone else wants it to look... I have total freedom of expression now, I dont need to force anything, I can let if flow :)

BeeVee
06-07-2006, 06:52 AM
One of the reasons Autodesk bought Alias has been suggested to me to be nothing to do with Maya, nor MotionBuilder, but rather Alias Studio Tools, a CAD/design package...

B

omeone
06-07-2006, 06:55 AM
ah.. they're pretty highly rated tools alright.
makes a bit more sense, helps ease my paranoia quite a bit ;)

omeone
06-07-2006, 07:02 AM
One of the reasons Autodesk bought Alias has been suggested to me to be nothing to do with Maya, nor MotionBuilder, but rather Alias Studio Tools, a CAD/design package...

B

so answer the 'big one' then B....





why did Google buy Sketchup? eh? eh? :D

BeeVee
06-07-2006, 07:09 AM
That's an easy one! Sketchup is the tool for making the 3D models of buildings in Google Earth...

B

omeone
06-07-2006, 07:12 AM
no no no, you cant just circumvent 1001 conspiracy theories just like that! jeez, I'll have to go feed my paranoia back on the engineering forums...


:D

BeeVee
06-07-2006, 07:19 AM
:D And yes, the astronauts did land on the moon where they also showed that the Earth was round godsdammit! ;)

B

omeone
06-07-2006, 07:22 AM
...and the 3D software used to map the moon was...



MicroStation (well it was becoming microstation)



you see... it all connected, they're all in it together

radams
06-07-2006, 08:27 AM
OK where to start? :D

The Market
Historically 3D for illustration and 3D for Engineering started off in different places and the went in opposite directions, though of course there will always be common elements - they are almost unrelated.

Are Autodesk trying to bring them altogether and emulate Adobe's business plan, except for 3D? All we can do it speculate: which is pretty fruitless.
Why they have bought Maya when they already have 3DSMAX is very strange because traditionally the 3D Apps (XSI/Maya) we really only held for their glamour.. they have never been held for any kind of profit - in the engineering world some companies can afford to lose in a month what SoftImage or old Alias would turnover in a year.

(Incidentally, this is why I love NT, they have never subjected themselves completly to the ebbs and flows of one particular market, nor have they ever sold out - one guy, one dream from the cradle to the grave, that consistency is valuable to the customer's business, and inspirational to the customer's hearts)

Hi Colin, I have to agree and disagree...The worlds of Engineering and presentation (illustration)/design are coming together...in some instances in harmony and others it is kicking and screaming. As for AutoDesk can afford to loose a bundle...well some of their divisions have...old discreet ;)...



BTW, there is a much better solution for Engineering design than anythng AutoCAD... look to Bentley Systems. Microstation is for designing not plotting, it also includes a great renderer, 3D plotting (wonderful) and animation. It supports ALL versions of dwg and dxf from the beginning and is committed to supporting them all in the future. It even natively edits dwgs faster than AutoCAD itself. Its 3D tools are mature and they have also, like NewTek been at the front end of technological innovation. And like NT, the founders of the company have kept their hands in the pot to this day... you can even see them active on their forums on a daily basis! (Ray and Barry Bentley)

No arguement that there are options but even most of the other options will tell you that they have to back engineer AutoDESK's stuff to get things to work...and there is a group funded by the other big players just to do that.
Also now so much for FBX as a uniform format for the industry...I Don't trust AutoDESK in anyway...they also turn on a dime and drop products and whole customer bases...



The Data
Well, like the market - although there are some common elements... really they are almost nothing alike.
3D for Engineering is all mathematically generated, stored and edited.
This is because the finished product must be uniform and accurate.

Whereas 3D for design is just a list of points and polys.
This is because the finished product (usually) needs to be non-uniform and without any engineering type accuracy.

Again I have to agree and disagree....we are now everyday having to work between CAD/engineering materials and those of Illustration/design...Corel/Ilustrator, etc...

There IS a push even with in AutoCAD itself to give more graphic tools and supporting of bitmaps etc... It is no longer JUST an engineering world vs Illustration. Those lines are blurring...along with those who are asked to do both. Look at even yourself with the LUAS project... was that just an engineering project... or was there a mixture. Would it have helped you to be able to take materials into and out of each area ?

Now as for engineering being precise vs illustration not...and engnieering being organized math vs...points and polys... Well, all of this are forms of math...and can be described in either modalities...it is a matter of conversion to those parameters...You don't think that there is math precision with models in LW, MAYA, 3DsMAX ?
If these worlds were so seperate...why would AutoDESK bother to create VIZ from 3DsMAX or make hooks to go between them ? The ability to design in 3D is becoming more and more needed each day and it crosses that line between them often... Also look at the designer themselves...more and more positions are being filled with artists...or artist/engineers. (there is already a pool of talent). Now I agree that some start designing in opposite ends of the process...but in the end they do come together. IMHO


Some design packages are starting to include more and more engineering style modelling tools (parametric) but for their purpose, ultimately, the data types will need to remain seperate for the near future (as far as I can understand anyway).

Would LightWave benfit form parametric modelling and objects? yes
Would it be worth it for NT to develop and include it now? none of my business ;) (but I cant imagine any cost-benefit analysis being too supportive right now)

Well I can see the merging of all these areas and not just in the general manufacturing area. AutoDESK itself is trying to move into this area...just look at the changes in AC2007. Thou I am amazed at how easy a group of engineers are amazed at adding horrible textures and nasty walk thrus with them going wow...

IMHO, there is a ground swell for better design tools in general and more and more are wanting to design in 3D...but the original 3D engineering tools are lets say not as interactive or creatively capable. I see the need to combine both...heck look at the simulation markets...those have some together in Film work and others...why not the other way as well ? :)



The technical issues
Yes, I have have a reasonable amount of success working back and forth between the two disciplines (if you need help with anything post a specific thread and I'll try and help) providing you a familiar with the limitations and develop you're own workflow around them it can be quick and easy enough.

Thanks...I will take you up on that...but again this is where I also would like to see NT help create workflows that make solutions...



personally...
Im very glad things are the way they are, as you know, I was able to switch back to engineering in order to guarantee myself a stable career and early retirement, put my kids through college, and enable a single-income household. I'm embarrased I ever agonized over the decision when it was obviously so good for the important people in my life. There have been many side-benefits too... Im finally really enjoying my design 3D.. Im under no pressure to produce something how someone else wants it to look... I have total freedom of expression now, I dont need to force anything, I can let if flow :)

Again, this is a situation that many an artist/designer are being faced with. My mother was an archtectual & mechanical designer...for years but started out as an artist...but when I came along...you can guess here reason for shifting... Again, with the way jobs and markets are today...I see this becoming more normal for many who are wanting a little more consitency. The tools that drive these markets thou diverse and different...are IMHO being forced from both sides into a middle ground...they may start at different points...but today ALL must be able to be easy to design with both in an artistic sense and engineering one...they need to be able to used for communication, presentation and marketing, they also need to be used to make products and workflows from... For me it is not if they will come together but when and how...who wants to push into this ? I feel that as far as design goes it is now.

I almost forgot to mention the nurbs vs sub D debate....
Colin would you say that nurbs are a more engineering base...vs Sub D's...they each have there place and can be converted between each other...so why not ?



Cheers,

Penforhire
06-07-2006, 11:21 AM
My guys use ProE (Pro Engineer) for all our 3D product design. Traditionally it is much more expensive than AutoCAD but also more capable (and we no longer have to use SGI stations to run it). We use AutoCAD with a custom overlay strictly for 2D product design. Some legacy products are designed using Anvil which, along with Microstation on a Unix box, has to be the most prehistoric CAD system I've ever used.

Technically there is no need for a connection from ProE to Lightwave. It has sufficient built-in lighting and rendering ability for mock-ups and marketing images. I'm not sure I agree there is ANY need for more "artistic" sensibility in ProE (or, say, Catia). Concept sketches don't need to be CAD-accurate.

And while we're on the topic, DXF and DWG formats suck for exchanging complex 3D data. Yes, they are common but also had too many revisions and not everyone translates correctly (unfortunately still true of IGES or STEP). At least Autodesk provides free "DWG TrueConvert" software (see their site for download) or I'd have had a serious beef with their latest files being unopenable (!) in older versions.

radams
06-07-2006, 11:39 AM
My guys use ProE (Pro Engineer) for all our 3D product design. Traditionally it is much more expensive than AutoCAD but also more capable (and we no longer have to use SGI stations to run it). We use AutoCAD with a custom overlay strictly for 2D product design. Some legacy products are designed using Anvil which, along with Microstation on a Unix box, has to be the most prehistoric CAD system I've ever used.

Technically there is no need for a connection from ProE to Lightwave. It has sufficient built-in lighting and rendering ability for mock-ups and marketing images. I'm not sure I agree there is ANY need for more "artistic" sensibility in ProE (or, say, Catia). Concept sketches don't need to be CAD-accurate. .


Hi Penforhire,

I do have some thoughts thou...one is if ProE does all that you are needing why are you on a LW forum ? What does lightwave do that ProE can not?

Also with the workflow I'm trying to build for a National Sign Company...they need to render and comp onto photos and properly setup perspective with REAL WORLD locations and images...with photoreal results. In the design area these are not just concepts but pratical designs to allow quick design of signs and materials to see from any and all angles. Again this is in the design/artistic phase...which then at least in the situation this company is in...goes directly to production. Along with this is the need to have cost effective solutions...spending thousands on software and yearly support (as what was in the beginnings of the film and video markets) is something that has kept many companies out of using these tools...now they want and have to use 3D design tools to compete...



And while we're on the topic, DXF and DWG formats suck for exchanging complex 3D data. Yes, they are common but also had too many revisions and not everyone translates correctly (unfortunately still true of IGES or STEP). At least Autodesk provides free "DWG TrueConvert" software (see their site for download) or I'd have had a serious beef with their latest files being unopenable (!) in older versions.

No arguement there...thou I asked if Autodesk had a conversions utility to go from AC2007 to AC2006 due to the dwg format change...they said NO and that there would not be one. Along with that they took out the 3ds output from AC2007.

So whether you like it or not...Autodesk is going to push dwg's down our throat... :(

Cheers,

Penforhire
06-07-2006, 02:24 PM
Hi radams, I'm a personal at-home user of Lightwave. Has zero to do with my j-o-b. In the real world I'm an engineering manager in a multinational manufacturing company. We make high-volume widgets from boring (on almost every mobo) to interesting (automotive sensors). Among Lightwavers I'm just a CGI dilettante.

I can see your needs (photorealism-for-sales to CAD-for-production) are a bit different. But I doubt you'll find a cheap solution to go from photorealistic proposal direct to manufacturing (unless your products have only simple geometry). The biggest manufacturers (automotive, PC's, and white goods) still wrestle with that and pay the big bucks for integrated solutions. Can you imagine a bank of SGI Oxygen systems being only an "incidental" cost back in the day?!

Does your company use a big-boy operating system like SAP or Oracle? I've got a whole new class of headache linking our CAD data into SAP.

radams
06-07-2006, 02:47 PM
Hi radams, I'm a personal at-home user of Lightwave. Has zero to do with my j-o-b. In the real world I'm an engineering manager in a multinational manufacturing company. We make high-volume widgets from boring (on almost every mobo) to interesting (automotive sensors). Among Lightwavers I'm just a CGI dilettante.

I can see your needs (photorealism-for-sales to CAD-for-production) are a bit different. But I doubt you'll find a cheap solution to go from photorealistic proposal direct to manufacturing (unless your products have only simple geometry). The biggest manufacturers (automotive, PC's, and white goods) still wrestle with that and pay the big bucks for integrated solutions. Can you imagine a bank of SGI Oxygen systems being only an "incidental" cost back in the day?!

Does your company use a big-boy operating system like SAP or Oracle? I've got a whole new class of headache linking our CAD data into SAP.

Hi Penforhire,

Thanks for your comments and responses. Maybe I should elborate more...as you stated finding a photoreal or even an accepetable image for pitching/approvals with engineering 3D design options is VERY expensive and not very interactive and artist friendly...along with long major contracts to try to justify things...Ugggg!

As I tried to compare...the film industry went thru this whole thing with having to have SGI's and very costly software and more coslty service contracts, etc... which for the most part did little to nothing to help... The tools even were clunky and didn't always do what the user needed and thus the need to have to even program your own to get things to work right...another additional cost. All of this kept these tools out of the hands of the average user, artist, designer. Then came the migration away...now I kept hearing how this won't work and that it wasn't possible etc...but software like LW were making changes. NT and others helped to change the face of how productions are produced.

Along with this...(maybe I'm prejudice) but from what I've seen from Engneering based Design approaches...they take away from the designer or at least get in their way at times...while LW, Modo, etc... would allow a more interactive creative experience IMHO. It would then allow a WHOLE design team to have the 3D workflow available to them...not just a few seats...what I do agree with is that we need to be able to go back and forth WITH 3D engineer apps...such as Solidworks, ProE, and AutoCAD/Inventor. Then you could bridge the two...

This would also then allow smaller companies that need to move into 3D design the oportunity to do so without having to make a capital expenditure to do so.

How long have you been working with LW? Can you animate and do the things you want all with ProE...is there anything you would like ProE to have that LW already does well and vice a versa ?

Are you spending 5 to 8+ thousand a seat for all the support and things you need for ProE ? From what I've been looking at that seems about correct along with yearly service contracts both for software and hardware...

How is your SAP integration going...I know that microstation is trying to show off their integration with it.

There is so much that is needed...depending on the business and markets.

Cheers,

KSTAR
06-07-2006, 03:05 PM
PS. I would so love it if LW and Solidworks talked to each other!

Even though its an addtional purchase, how well does LW and Solidworks work together with Polytrans, do you know? I may need to work with Solidworks files in the near future, and I need to get some info on the workflow between the two

Pavlov
06-07-2006, 03:11 PM
Radams, i'm saying the very same thing for years - check my old posts about VIZ subject.
Old NT team never understood Viz is 100 times larger than cinema, games, charanim together. Yes rigging and animating is FUN and for many is work, but business is otherwere.
As example Cinema 4D was a small, marginal app some years ago, but it gained much power just because it became so popular between architect and designers - actually it was just good Osnap tools, fast rendering, flexible architecture and excellent I/O tools.
So hope New team is more aware of this; our I/O DXF and DWG tools are ridiculous or absent, and our Osnap engine is only 3rd party. I finds always embarassing to tell people i teach LW to, they have to buy Rhino for a safe conversion from DWG, and no there's no native Osnap. Many are not interested in learning LW just for this obstacles - There's a truly huge potential userbase saying "No I/O ? no Osnap ? well this tool is not for me".
So these missing things should be unsanely difficult to implement to justify their absence.
Yes, Wtools and pictrix are awesome plugin makers, but Osnap is not at core so it does not work with all tools. GI and lighting toolset need a deep revamp too.
Fortunately with 9 some thing are moving in that directions (Camera, faster rendering, LW_Cad bundle) but it's surely not enough.
So i must insist on this: if NT put good efforts in Viz direction (and with Fprime and new camera tools LW could be an unique Viz tool) they'll earn enough to fully develop all other areas of the software; if they'll keep overlooking Viz like old team, i guess LW will play catchup for a long time.

Paolo

EDIT: regarding Autodesk and DWG dformat, the question is becoming huge and touches virtually everyone. Why Antitrust has not moved yet against Autodesk ? Personally, i cannot see that many differences between Autodesk monopoly in 3d/cad world and Microsoft's one in mediaplayers/browser area.

krimpr
06-07-2006, 03:30 PM
Even though its an addtional purchase, how well does LW and Solidworks work together with Polytrans, do you know? I may need to work with Solidworks files in the near future, and I need to get some info on the workflow between the two


I'm curious about this also, although I've heard great things about Okino's products I wouldn't want to fork out unless I knew more about it. I am partners in a small manufacturing company and we also use Autocad 2007/Autodesk Inventor 10. Every time my partner sparks up inventor and displays it's new rendering and raytracing attributes I quietly moan as Lightwave sits quietly unstarted on my machine. He is seeing great promise in product previsualization with Inventor, and were I able to open Inventor or .DWG I know that I could produce some marketable previz stuff with LW. Still could of course, but it means remodeling everything. I've searched high and low for a plugin to allow me to annotate renders, wires, etc for dimensions, etc. but don't think anything like that exists. So it's off to photoshop. Autodesk is clearly pushing into "our" direction, It would be nice if one day Newtek could push back. I realize that's not the path that LW is on, nor does it have anything to do with CA, just wishful thinking. If .Dwg import/export was possible I'd be ecstatic.

Penforhire
06-07-2006, 04:21 PM
I'm new to LW, coming from many years as a trueSpacer (since v2 and Photoshop v3). I look at all of CGI as an extension of my more serious photography hobby.

You've got a good estimate there on ProE's per-seat annual maintenance cost, including hardware and depending on how many modules you use. The investment is lower than it was years ago. Our CAD admin works for me but I don't do much pixel jockeying myself. I can't say I know of something in LW that we need in ProE. ProE's rendering is fine for shaded exploded views and assembly drawings. By the time we go to market we've got actual prototypes to photograph for any photorealistic needs. I'd say ProE is short on clean publishing exports (EPS output control is so-so).

I need catalog sketches to come directly from our CAD files. In the old days we had an artist reconstruct dimensioned views for publication (too many typos, too much work, really good-looking output). But there are complications. We (not me) want our marketing staff to be able to publish their own datasheets for new products. That means using an application like MS Word for layout (Quark or similar are too exotic to be universally used). Our final web output is always PDF. Microsoft holds a grudge against Adobe so they've never handled EPS (encapsulated Postscript) or PDF files well. At least Word retains the EPS info and Adobe Distiller does the deed okay from there. We tried DXF from ProE but Word doesn't handle that very well either (things like arrowheads get goobered up).

Our SAP integration is grinding along. Our implementation was smarter than some of our sister-companies. We trained just a few "super users" (like my CAD admin) and they guide the rest of us. Our company is over 50 years old so we had perfectly-working custom software everywhere. SAP is a powerhouse but those Germans sure have some funny ideas.

radams
06-07-2006, 04:34 PM
Even though its an addtional purchase, how well does LW and Solidworks work together with Polytrans, do you know? I may need to work with Solidworks files in the near future, and I need to get some info on the workflow between the two

There are issues with converting solid/parametric model data to point/polys... It depends on what your trying to do and how accurate you need things to be and what your repurposing is.

Cheers,

radams
06-07-2006, 04:37 PM
I'm curious about this also, although I've heard great things about Okino's products I wouldn't want to fork out unless I knew more about it. I am partners in a small manufacturing company and we also use Autocad 2007/Autodesk Inventor 10. Every time my partner sparks up inventor and displays it's new rendering and raytracing attributes I quietly moan as Lightwave sits quietly unstarted on my machine. He is seeing great promise in product previsualization with Inventor, and were I able to open Inventor or .DWG I know that I could produce some marketable previz stuff with LW. Still could of course, but it means remodeling everything. I've searched high and low for a plugin to allow me to annotate renders, wires, etc for dimensions, etc. but don't think anything like that exists. So it's off to photoshop. Autodesk is clearly pushing into "our" direction, It would be nice if one day Newtek could push back. I realize that's not the path that LW is on, nor does it have anything to do with CA, just wishful thinking. If .Dwg import/export was possible I'd be ecstatic.

Hi there, you are one of the kinds of businesses I've been talking about....Just like the monolithic film industry WAS...so is the needs and transitions of the general design and manufacturing markets...especially with the small to middle size companies...they have to find faster and better ways to compete and get out there fast !!! While not betting the farm and all limbs in the process.

Cheers,

radams
06-07-2006, 04:50 PM
I'm new to LW, coming from many years as a trueSpacer (since v2 and Photoshop v3). I look at all of CGI as an extension of my more serious photography hobby.

You've got a good estimate there on ProE's per-seat annual maintenance cost, including hardware and depending on how many modules you use. The investment is lower than it was years ago. Our CAD admin works for me but I don't do much pixel jockeying myself. I can't say I know of something in LW that we need in ProE. ProE's rendering is fine for shaded exploded views and assembly drawings. By the time we go to market we've got actual prototypes to photograph for any photorealistic needs. I'd say ProE is short on clean publishing exports (EPS output control is so-so).

I need catalog sketches to come directly from our CAD files. In the old days we had an artist reconstruct dimensioned views for publication (too many typos, too much work, really good-looking output). But there are complications. We (not me) want our marketing staff to be able to publish their own datasheets for new products. That means using an application like MS Word for layout (Quark or similar are too exotic to be universally used). Our final web output is always PDF. Microsoft holds a grudge against Adobe so they've never handled EPS (encapsulated Postscript) or PDF files well. At least Word retains the EPS info and Adobe Distiller does the deed okay from there. We tried DXF from ProE but Word doesn't handle that very well either (things like arrowheads get goobered up).

Our SAP integration is grinding along. Our implementation was smarter than some of our sister-companies. We trained just a few "super users" (like my CAD admin) and they guide the rest of us. Our company is over 50 years old so we had perfectly-working custom software everywhere. SAP is a powerhouse but those Germans sure have some funny ideas.

First, thank you for taking your time to give us your thoughts and impressions. I so hear you as to mixed up workflows and deadends... Try integrating Corel & AutoCAD. UGGGGGG!!!!

You commented that you used to use a seperate artist to recreate everything for your publishing, etc... I don't know how you market...but this is one of the issues I've raised is that the repurposing of data and to be able to take it from either direction...from the creative/design side...or the engineering side...to meet in the middle thus providing creative tools and a real world workflow.

My mother a long time ago worked @ SRI...Stanford Research Institute...

She worked with multiple worldwide scientists and projects. Having to first decipher what they wanted to be able to put onto paper (back then) ... to then engineer it and make proper proposals...to shop drawings was overwhelming....

I see even with the company I'm with at the moment that they are hiring more people with DESIGN sense than just an engineering background...again my reasoning for wanting more artistic tools to work with along with integrating them into engineer tools...

IMHO, I'm seeing the two disciplines merging...thou at times coming from different directions...

Cheers,

eidetiken
06-07-2006, 06:02 PM
I was a machinist before CAD/CAM systems cam along so I never learned it. I still do the manual stuff. All this talk makes me want to break down and get a CNC system. But honestly, if I wanted to that kind of work I would have bought CAD system to begin with. One thing I saw at a conference in Vegas last year was a small desktop 3D laser copier, for ProE I think it was, that I can see animators wanting to use, not just engineers. It made a complete mesh out of the 3D laser image. How does the advent of these new technologies coming out work into your work flow? If you're looking towards the future shouldn't you be including all the technology out there? I'm thinking if someone really wants to get creative with Lightwave they can just write a plugin to turn the .dxf or even .lwo right into G-Code. Your CAD systems are for product production but you still have to convert your .step, .stl, .dxf, .dwg, .igs ...etc... into machine code with a CAM program. I'm sure you know all this. But from what I hear you still have engineers that don't understand the limits of CNC Mills, believe it or not I can still hand mill anything you draw up on a CAD system with a manual Bridgeport Mill, because your CNC mill still has the same limitations. I've sent many an engineer back to the drawing table with his tail between his legs because he just didn't know what a mill can and cannot do.

My point is. There are tons of CAD systems out there already. I'd rather see NewTek concentrate on what it set out to do years and ago and that's create the best program they possibly can for 3D artist and animators. Let the CAD people worry about how they're going to intergrate animation into their products. Some engineering stuff would be useful in Lightwave, but I see them as different products for different industries.

radams
06-07-2006, 07:03 PM
My point is. There are tons of CAD systems out there already. I'd rather see NewTek concentrate on what it set out to do years and ago and that's create the best program they possibly can for 3D artist and animators. Let the CAD people worry about how they're going to intergrate animation into their products. Some engineering stuff would be useful in Lightwave, but I see them as different products for different industries.

Well you and see different things here... I'm not asking LW to be a CAD system... But I am saying that LW needs to work with other systems... Why?

The design process itself and the need for visual creative tools to do this...Not all things are milled...some parts are yes but not all assemblies or even many products for that matter.

We can design from a concept in a few ways...

1) is putting parts together to make something...

2) another is creating a concept then breaking that down into its parts to produce it..

so Top down or bottom up approaches....

In the markets I'm in right now....it is normally a top down approach...thus first comes the concept ...then how do we manufacture it...but first we need that concept...

along with that BOTH methods need to now-a-days be able to be used for presentations, sales, marketing, etc....etc...

More and more companies are not just using sketches of even illustrations...it is now going to photo's, simulations, web interative, etc...etc...

These are all markets that LW and NT should be getting into... there are more possible users out there than the whole markets they are in now.

I am not talking about leaving the markets they are in now...but to expand them...also additional toolsets will just help those already to do what we are doing now...

LW is a creative design tool... NOT CAD....but to be able to be part of production design workflows could open a huge market that until now has been limited to high priced, lack luster output apps with a hit and miss with creative ideas.

I'm also not a supporter that all things in manufacturing need to be computerized... Those machines that we have that are...break down more often, take more time, etc...
The older technologies that are by hand rarely break down and take less time...but the computer machines can do some things that the manual machines can not (In our plant)...

Understand I'm NOT trying to take things away from LW...or its normal markets...I'm looking to help expand it...there is more potential in the Design markets to help BUILD LW...

Cheers,

lesterfoster
06-07-2006, 08:34 PM
This is one of the best threads if not the best that I have ever seen on the NewTEK forums that I have seen in a long time. I have used LightWAVE to make tooling to make aircraft parts. Some of the models that I have made with LightWAVE are now flying over the sky’s.

The biggest obstacle that I am dealing with for using lightwave is there are no dimensioning tools. The very limited dimensioning tools that are available just don’t help me.

If NewTEK or some plug-in developer, was to provide dimensioning tools. Then I could continue using LightWAVE to make them. We have two AutoCAD users at work. If they could do what I do with LW, than they would be making the tooling and not me.

eidetiken
06-07-2006, 08:39 PM
I see where you're coming from. But in order to work and play well with other technologies NewTek will more than likely have to pay a license, making the cost of Lightwave go up in price. It's a never ending battle. I'd rather see NewTek come up with their own inovative way of doing things. Let these other companies buy a NewTek license. Lightwave already fills a niche that other apps don't. I bought it because it's an all around program. I can model and animate, and it comes with physics and other things that other apps charge extra for. It might not be the easiest fastest way to do something in particular but with a little effort I'm finding Lightwave can do it, at a price that hobby people like me can afford.

I don't really see where NewTek has to do these things you ask as most of what you're asking for, it seems to me, can be done by having someone write a LW plugin for you. Maybe that's a little business someone can start? For instance: I'm learning I don't really need Sasquatch to do hair or fur. Found a way of making hair with particles and Hypervoxels, (saw a tut on how to make a vine grow and whalla, it works for making pretty nice hair too), which I suspect is all Sasquatch is doing. Sasquatch makes it easier, but the cost of the full blown Sasquatch plugin is about the same as Lightwave itself. I don't expect NewTek to give me a special hair program, at added cost.

You're right a lot of products aren't milled. Most of the products you buy now are casted or molded, and most of those molds and caste are made on mills and CNC wire machines. I've made enough of them to know. I'm curious to know exactly what it is your machines can do that my Bridgeport can't, except for doing it faster?

Right now I just want Lightwave, as it is now, to run well on my IntelMac. I'm curious to see where NewTek goes with CA and I'd also like the price to stay within range so I can buy copies for my grandkids.

radams
06-07-2006, 09:29 PM
I see where you're coming from. But in order to work and play well with other technologies NewTek will more than likely have to pay a license, making the cost of Lightwave go up in price. It's a never ending battle. I'd rather see NewTek come up with their own inovative way of doing things. Let these other companies buy a NewTek license. Lightwave already fills a niche that other apps don't. I bought it because it's an all around program. I can model and animate, and it comes with physics and other things that other apps charge extra for. It might not be the easiest fastest way to do something in particular but with a little effort I'm finding Lightwave can do it, at a price that hobby people like me can afford.

Hi again,

I can tell from your post that you have concerns that what I and others have stated would negatively impact LW...

That is not what any of us want...

Agreed that if additional licensing of things would jump the price point up...I would suggest that maybe that should be a seperate license to purchase...or some other way...

Understand even thou you are a hobbiest, I think you know that LW is a wonderful design tool...and one that would fit well in the markets I've been talking about...
Again it is adding to...not taking away. Along that path will also add in features that would also benefit the whole community...

I'm not asking NT to stop or drop its existing markets or user base... Or to come out with a different product...but to enhance and existing product LW to help position it better... What do you think AutoDesk is going to be doing with 2 of the top FIVE 3D design systems... Along with squeezing its markets and almost hog tieing companies into Inventor...etc...

LW needs to stay both a pro and hobbiest's tool...
Thanks for your comments and thoughts.

IMHO, NT needs to also market LW as 3D design tool with workflows across markets to survive and grow.

Cheers,

Penforhire
06-07-2006, 09:43 PM
I can see LWCAD growing to fill some of the needs expressed (e.g. better dimensioning tools or quality exports). It is definitely a step in the right direction and anyone using even AutoCAD LT (or even the cheapest TurboCAD) can see what sort of features we're talking about. By making it a plug-in those of us with CAD-like needs can pay for it while not burdening Newtek with a 100% license.

omeone
06-08-2006, 01:59 AM
Ahh Ray... you've re-awaken passions and dreams from heart that I thought I had long ago managed to suffocate. :)

But for the sake of discussion, I will continue with counter-point in some places...


... I'm not asking LW to be a CAD system... But I am saying that LW needs to work with other systems...

This point was lost on me till now, I thought you DID see CAD tools in LW in the future, but to just play better with CAD systems? Absolutely!

That would grow NewTek's market exponentially. How much is LW now - $700? Big engineering companies will regualrily spend figures from $20,000 upwards for seats of software they might use once a year, never mind mainatainance, hardware, training etc etc. while maintaining 100+ CAD seats @ $4000 p.a. without blinking an eyelid.
LightWave has always had the advantage that it is fast and simple to learn the surfacing and rendering side. For $700 - if LW opened a dwg natively, and rendered away... with the right marketing there should be an explosion in LW sales.
The point BeeVee made is very pertinent, Autodesk bought out Alias for the studio tools, MB, Maya etc were just incidentals in the deal.

right, this thread really has moved along since I lasted checked, so I have to skim a bit...


No arguement that there are options but even most of the other options will tell you that they have to back engineer AutoDESK's stuff to get things to work...and there is a group funded by the other big players just to do that.
Also now so much for FBX as a uniform format for the industry...I Don't trust AutoDESK in anyway...they also turn on a dime and drop products and whole customer bases...


We are living proof to the contrary... we dropped all AutoCAD seats a few years back here, we are exclusive Microstation, we recieve data in all kinds of format from pretty much every developent, utitlity company and local authority in the city... in every format - we have NO problems... we have less problems than AutoCAD houses... our software supports every version of dwg/dxf... Autodesk usually used to only support the current and a few of the previous. the Bentley brothers are quite obsessive about this one... every time a new format comes out the disappear into their dungeon until they have perfect emulation. more... (http://www.bentley.com/en-US/Markets/Building/Open+Standards+and+Interoperability.htm)


There IS a push even with in AutoCAD itself to give more graphic tools and supporting of bitmaps etc... It is no longer JUST an engineering world vs Illustration. Those lines are blurring...along with those who are asked to do both. Look at even yourself with the LUAS project... was that just an engineering project... or was there a mixture. Would it have helped you to be able to take materials into and out of each area ?


To be honest I had to bully myself into the position where I could do the work discussed in that interview. I got nothing but resistance from the company, it seems all sweetness and roses in the text - but the Public Relations Dept. had to vet it before it was published ;)
Having said that each company is different, in my country we are generally not progressive so we are not a good example...
Having worked in ArchViz itself from both client and contractor side now.. I see things very different and I dont rate 3D Vis any where near as highly as I once would have tried to sell it. Scale Models and Artisitic Sketches serve the purpose so much better in many different ways.


Now as for engineering being precise vs illustration not...and engnieering being organized math vs...points and polys... Well, all of this are forms of math...and can be described in either modalities...it is a matter of conversion to those parameters...You don't think that there is math precision with models in LW, MAYA, 3DsMAX ?

Unfortunatly it is a one-way-street, when you convert from parametric to point/poly, you need to 'freeze' the model and you lose CAD edit-ability. And no, they dont need the same kind of unit sytem or precision in art-3D. This is one thing that quite annoys me with LW in particular... it means goegraphical references from a local grid - wont fit in... it even causes problems in Character Animation known as Parkinson's syndrome.


Well I can see the merging of all these areas and not just in the general manufacturing area. AutoDESK itself is trying to move into this area...just look at the changes in AC2007.
No thanks... :D :D
To be honest I dont have the opportunity to see ADAC anymore, and of course, we 've always has full viz capability in uStation, so...


IMHO, there is a ground swell for better design tools in general and more and more are wanting to design in 3D...but the original 3D engineering tools are lets say not as interactive or creatively capable. I see the need to combine both...heck look at the simulation markets...those have some together in Film work and others...why not the other way as well ?

Now this is one area where art/design stand to benefit highly from the engineers, as simulation technologies filter down to art/design stuff we can only be onto a winner. The reason I dont think it will work upwards is because the Film industry doesnt have the capital to drive that kind of research.


I almost forgot to mention the nurbs vs sub D debate....
Colin would you say that nurbs are a more engineering base...vs Sub D's...they each have there place and can be converted between each other...so why not ?

Yeah there's a place for each and they can co-exist - though it appears to be quite difficult. Personally I dont care, I model in Sub-Dees for organics and nurbs for mechanics, the right tool for the job. Here's (http://www.bentleyuser.org/LarsWord/larsFeb2002_1.htm) an old article (02/2002) from when Bentley decided to include Sub-Dee type elements based on nurbs.


Some legacy products are designed using Anvil which, along with Microstation on a Unix box, has to be the most prehistoric CAD system I've ever used. I have to use MX on a daily basis, talk about pre-historic! A truly hateful piece of software, the only reason I use it is because it's slightly less error prone than me.

One other thought keeps going through my mind as I read this thread, and I dont know where it fits in, so I'll just throw it out :)

What do we use design software for?
To communicate accurately our ideas. (leaving out simulation / analysis at this point)

Who do we need to commuicate with?
co-designers
politicians
the public
developers / land owners

The last three are the most impotant, because without their support - the project is dead - and the last thing these people want to see is engineering drawings - they need the artistic representations.

We only need to use CAD etc in the detail-design stage, the models and animations have already been made, and engineers dont need animations to communicate their ideas to each other, they should be speaking the same language - a sketch on the back of a cigarette box should be enough.

What was that line form Office Space? "Engineers dont have people skillls"
This might be why the two disciplines are kept quite seperate....

omeone
06-08-2006, 02:05 AM
forgot, people were talking about dimensioning in LightWave... practically impossible without full-blown CAD engine in there... a good consolidated dimension tool like the one in SolidWorks is a massivly massively complicated thing under the hood, I cant imagine anything in LW Modeler is 1/50th the complexity needed.

If I need to dim something up, I always have to export to CAD dim it up in there and then try to re-import.

3D pdf will probably save me the last step most of the time in the fututre though

radams
06-08-2006, 02:52 AM
Hi Colin,

Thanks again for all of your thoughts and insights...

I may not agree with them all but we need the variety of voices and market understandings to better help and implement LW design enhancement recommendations and possible new markets.

As for AutoDESK buying Alias...I totally agree that it was primarily for their Design tools...they want to incorporate them into the AD family...to suck up that market and kill competition. But now what to do with the rest...??? Hmmmm.

I don't see them keeping software on the mac since AD could careless about that platform... Hmm..possible market move for NT...

What I do see happening with AD is that they want to become the ADOBE of Design tools...They want to be THE business, product, AEC, etc...etc... design studio/plant/etc... That if it isn't AD then you have nothing. And when the markets push for that middle ground I've been talking about...AD will be there on both sides... I do not see AD wanting to deal with commodity software solutions at this time...even thou they have combustion, etc... They are not really pushing any vision or market with it...Ah but they may start to roll some of this into presentational tools for.....Their bread and butter.

AD is a cash cow and HUGE bully on the block...and I don't see that changing except to get worse...

I do NOT want AD to become the ADOBE of manufacturing/design etc... They've already done TOO much to screw with everyone.

IMHO, if NT or others do NOT push into this market that you will see AD take it over just as ADOBE has print and web, etc....

I still feel the market it there...but without cost effective design tools such as LW...AD will trying to make their empire on our backs :)

Cheers,

Kuzey
06-08-2006, 02:57 AM
Even though its an addtional purchase, how well does LW and Solidworks work together with Polytrans, do you know? I may need to work with Solidworks files in the near future, and I need to get some info on the workflow between the two

Hi KSTAR,

I'm in the same boat as you. I think you need a 3rd party converter...I'm sure there are a few out there but haven't tried one yet.

Maybe there needs to be a new file format, a combination of the two systems?

If you open it in lightwave, you get point and polygons and if you open it in Solidworks it only reads the information it needs...it's just an idea :hey:

Kuzey

omeone
06-08-2006, 03:15 AM
I remember people going from solidworks to LW were using the STL converter (http://www.chromecow.com/downloads/lscript/shm-stl-tools/) from Chrome Cow (http://www.chromecow.com/).

Pavlov
06-08-2006, 03:59 AM
Anyway what are in you opinion most important tools NT should implement to push in this market area ? It's a relevant issue, because "pushing into a market" is an abstract statement; tools are the only way to do this.
My priority list is above, maybe it would be useful to hear other opinions.

Paolo

omeone
06-09-2006, 04:47 AM
Anyway what are in you opinion most important tools NT should implement to push in this market area ? It's a relevant issue, because "pushing into a market" is an abstract statement; tools are the only way to do this.
My priority list is above, maybe it would be useful to hear other opinions.

Paolo

I don't think markets have too much to do with tools... just sales-skills. But it easier to sell something if you have belief in it backed up by tools that work!

there is only one important one for me:
1. Open *.dwg natively

That would introduce LightWave to every Engineer and Architect in the world overnight, which must be 100s times more people than in its current market.

the rest would be nice too:

2. Unlimited co-ordinate system
3. Realworld lighting models (like IES support)
4. A dynamic UCS (see AccuDraw)

And this one whether or not they want to expand their market:

5. Curve regression and reduction tools

Pavlov
06-09-2006, 05:20 AM
Fully agree with DWG and secondarily IES.
With a single, smart move NT could give a true boost to the number of users. Problem is: is DWG so close that it is necessary to "guess" the most of it ? How do OpenDesignAlliance (http://www.opendwg.org/) and other softwares which can deal with DWG do ?
Again: why this DWG monopoly and enclosure, which is only bad for the market, is still not an Antitrust issue ?

Paolo

Penforhire
06-09-2006, 10:48 AM
I'm not sure the DWG issue even comes close to an antitrust item. DWG is Autodesk's proprietary format, no different than Newtek's LWO. I doubt there is any legal standing to force Autodesk to "open source" their format. I suppose such an argument can be proposed if a format becomes the only game in town but the honest truth is DWG is not that much of a monopoly.

I think the argument is best made to Autodesk that it is in their own best economic interest to make DWG more transportable. Personally I always had higher hopes for their DXF format, originally intended as "drawing exchange format."

Pavlov
06-09-2006, 11:08 AM
DWG is more than a format, is a language spoken by an entire, huge market. Fot this reason i'd find more correct if DWG's issues werent in one group's hands, despite ownership.

Paolo

joao
06-09-2006, 01:49 PM
"DWG is not that much of a monopoly."

I really must disagree......

Penforhire
06-09-2006, 03:07 PM
Joao, how do you figure that. I'm not sure of the veracity of these guys but at http://www.jonpeddie.com/special/CAD.shtml they are selling a CAD market report and they claim out of 20 million CAD users 3.5M are registered AutoCAD users (plus more unregistered). How does that make a monopoly? Do you have some other references?

You've certainly heard enough other packages mentioned in this thread (SolidWorks, ProE, Catia, Microstation, Anvil, TurboCAD) and there are others not touched upon (CADD, CADAM, NX) and depending on your field there are niche CAD programs (Eagle, PADS, L-Edit, NASTRAN, plus assorted Gerber or GDS II editors).

None of these rely on DWG format. Much as Autodesk would like you to believe they own the market they are just a high-volume player.

MicroMouse
06-09-2006, 11:20 PM
Before I comment on DWG and DXF files, I will say who I am:

- I have a one man company that makes a 3D file conversion program called AccuTrans 3D available for download at http://www.micromouse.ca/

- Programming is my hobby. I am self taught in programming and 3D computer graphics.

- I have never worked as a programmer for another company.

- AccuTrans was made for the conversion of 3D drawing entities from AutoCAD DXF files to polygons for Imagine IOB files. When AccuTrans went on sale for the Amiga in 1993 it also had support for LightWave LWO files.

- AccuTrans was not ported to the PC until Windows 95 was available. The PC version went on sale in 1997.

- I'm retired so if you prefer to buy conversion programs from another company that is fine with me.

- Support for AutoCAD 2007 has not been added yet as I have not had any requests from my customers. I need sample files as I do not have a license for AutoCAD.

I am basing my comments on the basis that you are doing 3D as a business to earn money. A business will buy a variety of tools (software). Tools will be chosen based on cost and how fast and effectively they can be used to do a task.

In newsgroups and forums for products like LightWave, Maya, Cinema 4D, XSI and ..., people are asking for years for CAD tools to be added to these programs. They say they need the CAD tools now and it is a crying need. CAD programs are available from free to expensive. Whether the CAD tools are in a real CAD program or LightWave, you will have to learn to use them. So this raises the question: "If CAD tools are needed now, why not obtain a CAD program and use it to build those models that a CAD program builds quickly?". Also if another program builds faster than a CAD program use it.

For 13 years I have seen 3D and not 2D buildings made in AutoCAD and first rendered in Imagine and now LightWave. See http://www.liquidlight3d.com/

Companies such as NewTek, AutoDesk, Softimage, the late Alias, Maxon, Caligari and ... use proprietary file formats. Why? Even though all the programs do 3D, they do not do all things the same way or support all the same features, so it is easier to use their own proprietary file format. As the programs work differently internally, it is also easier to store model building history to their own file format. File formats change over time as new features have to be stored in the file.

Some companies publish technical details on their file formats and some don't. I don't know of any law that requires that file format specifications must be published.

AutoDesk created 2 proprietary file formats for AutoCAD. DWG is a binary file format and no file specification is published. DXF is an ASCII file format and the file specification is available at
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?siteID=123112&id=5129239

With the DXF specification you can read the CAD data from the file. All you have to do then is turn the CAD drawing entities into polygon data that LightWave can use. Don't forget to support the arbitrary axis algorithm or your drawing will look like it has been exploded as it will be scattered all over the place. If you are adventurous, reverse engineer the DWG file to find the same data for the drawing entities.


I am not interested in CAD to CAD file conversion and only do CAD to polygon mesh. As far as I know all the information required to recreate the drawing that is stored in the DWG file is stored in the DXF file. If true, AutoDesk is not preventing anyone from sharing CAD data even though they do not release information on the DWG file. I am not a fan of AutoDesk and do not like their business practices but to repeat they are not hindering sharing of CAD data if it is all available in the DXF file.

People do not like to use DXF files as they are larger than DWG files. Some companies and people are advocating that data should be stored in XML files rather than binary files as these files will be human readable and easily portable between various software. A DWG file stored as a XML file will create a larger file than a DXF file.

Note: CAD programs usually have a menu item so drawings can be exported as a DXF file rather than a DWG file.


Note: AutoDesk owns AutoCAD and has always owned 3D Studio and 3D Studio Max and so it is not surprising to see DWG and DXF support in Max.


For NewTek to add support for DWG and DXF files they can either

write their own reader for DXF files and spend a lot of time and money reverse engineering the DWG file to make a reader for DWG files.

or

license the toolkit for reading and writing DWG and DXF files from the Open Design Alliance at http://www.opendesign.com/

With either approach they still have to write code to convert the drawing entities so that LightWave can use them.

Note: Reverse engineering is not completed so the Open Alliance toolkit does not support AutoCAD 2007. If you read their news you can read their AutoCAD 2007 comments. Check the members list and you will see all the companies that use the toolkit. Note all the CAD companies that are competitors of AutoDesk. If all you require is a DWG file converted to a DXF file, some members sell programs that are in the USD 50.00 to USD 100.00 range.

This still does not give LightWave support for the solid entities that are in the DWG and DXF files. NewTek will either have to develop their own solid modeling kernel or license one. Many companies including AutoDesk use the ACIS solid modeling kernel from Spatial Corp.
http://www.spatial.com/ The license fee is not cheap.

Note: Polytrans and Deep Exploration do not have DWG and DXF file and solid model support in the basic program. You have to buy extra cost modules because they have license fees to pay.

The ideal situation is to have all the CAD tools you need plus DWG and DXF support in LightWave. Only NewTek knows if and how soon they will give support. In the meantime you can work (and could have been working) with CAD files as long as you put up with the inconvenience of using several additional programs. What is your objective? To wait and wait or get your jobs done quicker and make more money.

Wayne

Ark_of_Kaos
06-09-2006, 11:44 PM
That's an easy one! Sketchup is the tool for making the 3D models of buildings in Google Earth...

B

Bentley's Microstation XM also models for Google Earth and is able to embed all sorts of design and historic info about the models in G.E. too.

I use Bentley for design jobs, simply because it relieves us of the need for WAY overpriced, undersupported, non-backwards compatible Autodesk products. Bentley has issued a guarantee that the newest file format for dgn files would not be altered for a minimum of 15 years and after that only if new technologies and feature sets force them into a format re-adjustment. My firm is looking more and more towards more realistic and professional graphic visualisations and animations for proposals and what-not, and it would be HUGELY beneficial if LW could seamlessly import cadd models. It would also give the company a reason to take a more serious look at investments into products like LW. Good for NT and good for us.

Personally, I would like to see Newtek add more file importing options. LW current exports to a number of formats, but supports nothing in terms of importing. Also, it would be grand if Newtek would add better audio support to the animation side of things. Other animation products have robust audio sequencing tools and allow for precise control and output to audio supporting video formats at render time.

Ark_of_Kaos
06-09-2006, 11:50 PM
By Radams...
Well I can see the merging of all these areas and not just in the general manufacturing area. AutoDESK itself is trying to move into this area...just look at the changes in AC2007. Thou I am amazed at how easy a group of engineers are amazed at adding horrible textures and nasty walk thrus with them going wow...

My bosses used to be bedazzled by the mundane and inept, too...Until I showed them a bit of what I could do in LW. They don't seem to be using their old animator a whole lot any more. :D

The only reason we haven't incorporated a flock of LW licenses is because of the poor support with importing 3d formats into LW. Heck, we could use a LOT of our existing models and turn around and import them into LW and start rendering or animating right away for paying projects if LW supported it.

radams
06-10-2006, 12:30 AM
-..... Support for AutoCAD 2007 has not been added yet as I have not had any requests from my customers. I need sample files as I do not have a license for AutoCAD....

Hi Wayne,

Remember me ? I just chated on the phone with you the week before...

In fact, you were very helpful and informative...as you have been with your responses here...Thank you.

Thou I do remember asking about AC2007 support and it was you who also told me that 2007 stopped 3Ds output support.

Well as you can see I'm trying to get awareness up and to get users, 3rd parties and NT if they would to talk about the ins and outs of such support along with what are seen as the needs and the market itself.

I hope you'll feel welcome to make your thoughts and suggestions made known here...

BTW, the second I get AC2007 I'll pass you the files with the new format...

I look forward to talking again with and how to properly setup workflows using 3D design tools from CAD to LW and back again...dwg, dxf...solids/parametrics...LWO2, etc... and back again...

Cheers,

Pavlov
06-10-2006, 06:41 AM
Another example, if it's not enough for NT to go in depth with I/O: i'm looking to start a 60 hours Viz class for architects and students in near future. On 20 interested people, 8 wont attend the class because of I/o and Osnap (but more I/O). They just dont wont fiddle too much with formats and other softwares when they have to open their DWGs.
So i just saw 8 people which wont use nor buy LW in near future just for I/O issues. It's years i see things like this happen.

Paolo

Exception
06-10-2006, 09:59 AM
Very interesting thread...
Funny thing is, when I want my autocad 2D drawings into LW properly, with a result of polygons rather than lines for closed areas, I have found no better solution than to export in EPS from autocad, do a magic bucket operation on all the closed areas in Illustrator, then export as an old version EPS, and import than into LW....
It works well, but that's just rediculous... so many steps.

So far in the building industry I have found little architects who work with autocad in 3D. Vectorworks however, is up and coming and is sweeping autoCad away by its useability, logical planning and interface design, also for 3D. Not to mention the quality of the program is much higher than the convoluted and almost archeological programming and design in Autocad.

radams
06-10-2006, 10:17 AM
Very interesting thread...
Funny thing is, when I want my autocad 2D drawings into LW properly, with a result of polygons rather than lines for closed areas, I have found no better solution than to export in EPS from autocad, do a magic bucket operation on all the closed areas in Illustrator, then export as an old version EPS, and import than into LW....
It works well, but that's just rediculous... so many steps..

I totally agree which is one the points I'm trying to make and see what else can be done... to get this to be an easier transparent workflow.



So far in the building industry I have found little architects who work with autocad in 3D. Vectorworks however, is up and coming and is sweeping autoCad away by its useability, logical planning and interface design, also for 3D. Not to mention the quality of the program is much higher than the convoluted and almost archeological programming and design in Autocad.

You do bring some points home...but the number of vectorworks compared with AC are not even in the same ball park at this time...thou I'm not saying it should not be looked at and supported but it is a secondary issue rather than a primary...I think most of us who've had to deal with AutoDesk would agree that we would prefer to deal with another company or product line...but the reality is they have a HUGE percentage of the market (right or wrong) that is the reality of it.

Cheers,

Exception
06-10-2006, 01:39 PM
Here in the states, yes, but in the Netherlands, Vectorworks is welle stablished, and I know more architects that use vectorworks than autocad there.
That doesn't mean Autocad is less important of course.

These issues are complicated. But in the past couple of years, Newtek has been neglecting their arch viz user base, and that for now is their closest call to some kind of engineering field. It is a shame, because indeed as Paolo points out it is a huge field. But considering that, I don't think there is much hope for DWG in or export or section cutting tools, or Osnaps, or even solids and other such advanced stuff. They just don't seem interested.

radams
06-10-2006, 02:05 PM
Here in the states, yes, but in the Netherlands, Vectorworks is welle stablished, and I know more architects that use vectorworks than autocad there.
That doesn't mean Autocad is less important of course.

Hi again,
This may be true...but one of the foundations and user base at this time is thru AC or its formats...that does not mean that other paths/workflows should not be looked at...but AC workflows should be a target for any dev...or integration with.


These issues are complicated. But in the past couple of years, Newtek has been neglecting their arch viz user base, and that for now is their closest call to some kind of engineering field. It is a shame, because indeed as Paolo points out it is a huge field. But considering that, I don't think there is much hope for DWG in or export or section cutting tools, or Osnaps, or even solids and other such advanced stuff. They just don't seem interested.

Actually I disagee with this...I've had some conversations with people at NT and on the LW team... they are VERY aware that they need to expand into markets...and arch viz and 3D design are markets they are looking at ...and how to proceed...which is one of the reasons I started this thread to get others to discuss and let NT hear what is going on...from various sides. There are some issues that NT needs to hear...and to help them to work out how to dev...and proceed into these markets...Along with showing them how to position LW into them.

Some of the basics do need to be built into the core...other options thru 3rd parties...and some things like Solid model support may require purchase of another module or pack...to pay for license fees, etc... But then NT is looking at building PROPER workflows and looking for end to end solutions to work with other Apps such as AC and others.

Cheers,

MicroMouse
06-10-2006, 02:54 PM
Hi Ray,

I remember you calling me and asking about AutoCAD 2007 support and other things.

Instead of customers I should have said licensed users of AccuTrans. For the later versions of DXF files, only those using AccuTrans have asked for support for the newer additions.

As AccuTrans mainly translates only things that are useable for creating the 3D model, it just skips over most of the new things added to the file. Nothing can be skipped if you are creating a toolkit like the Open Design Alliance is doing.

I will monitor this thread and make some additional comments.

Wayne

Exception
06-10-2006, 02:59 PM
I have three accutrans licences and one computer.
:)

radams: ive been trying for years now. Its good to know they are talking about it but nothing has happened in all those years and all our (the arch viz user base of lw) attempts to improve lw for the field. I have to go by what's on the table here :)
But good luck, perhaps this time they will pay more attention.

MicroMouse
06-10-2006, 03:05 PM
The only reason we haven't incorporated a flock of LW licenses is because of the poor support with importing 3d formats into LW. Heck, we could use a LOT of our existing models and turn around and import them into LW and start rendering or animating right away for paying projects if LW supported it.

If I understand correctly, the company turns down paying projects because LightWave will not import existing models.

Is this because you can not find third party software(s) to convert the models with all necessary materials, lights, cameras, animations, etc?

Wayne

Ark_of_Kaos
06-10-2006, 03:44 PM
If I understand correctly, the company turns down paying projects because LightWave will not import existing models.

Is this because you can not find third party software(s) to convert the models with all necessary materials, lights, cameras, animations, etc?

Wayne

No, we use other (cheaper) software now, not LW in office. I use LW and my company pays me extra to do graphics work from home using LW. But, true, we would do LOT more graphics works for proposals, city & planning/zoning meetings, etc. if "powerful" rendering apps, like LW, had more 3d file import support, like .dxf (at least) or anything we can use with our existing (and EXPENSIVE) cadd software. Sure Microstation has fabulous rendering, for cadd, but not good in areas like compositing, animation, etc. It's the compositing and animation that we really need apps like LW for.

But no...we don't turn down money, Micro.

omeone
06-10-2006, 04:18 PM
Just a couple of quick points from my perspective:

Past performance was lacking bit with LW9 NT have added quite a lot that will directly benefit the Arch Viz people, Advanced Camera Tools and adaptive subdivision are great and of course Vue Inf and LW_CAD for anyone who took advantage of the pre-order deal.

I dont agree the only way into the market is through ACAD - but I do think it is the easiest :)

To be honest the vast majority of users of professional apps like ACAD et al, would not put up with a slightly slow workflow of translating models through middle-man apps unless absolutely forced. That kind of trouble is usually reserved to over enthusiastic geeks (yeah, that's us ;) )

To get its maximum share of the ACAD market LightWave would have to be a plugin for AutoCAD :D :D :D

radams
06-10-2006, 04:42 PM
Just a couple of quick points from my perspective:

Past performance was lacking bit with LW9 NT have added quite a lot that will directly benefit the Arch Viz people, Advanced Camera Tools and adaptive subdivision are great and of course Vue Inf and LW_CAD for anyone who took advantage of the pre-order deal.

I dont agree the only way into the market is through ACAD - but I do think it is the easiest :)

To be honest the vast majority of users of professional apps like ACAD et al, would not put up with a slightly slow workflow of translating models through middle-man apps unless absolutely forced. That kind of trouble is usually reserved to over enthusiastic geeks (yeah, that's us ;) )

To get its maximum share of the ACAD market LightWave would have to be a plugin for AutoCAD :D :D :D

No arguement there...and I do agree that apps like vectorworks, ProE, etc.... are serious options to be looking at as well...but to try to find a starting point foundation to build from is what I'm looking to see. I agree that built intranslation (which is even possible thru some third parties but could be embedded directly into the LW UI...ask Wayne what I'm talking about ;)

Osnap, LWCAD, etc... are the beginnings that we've needed to see...

Colin, and All,

I think it would be helpful to specify features or operations that you see needed...must haves....along with general wish options as seperate lists.

For me something that has yet to mentioned is being able to set up properly scaled and noted prints... Most presentations and marketing NEED to have images that can show proper scale on paper prints/plots...most will want to work in LW or model space in a 1 to 1 unit of measurement...so a 10 foot wall is 10 feet tall...But then I need to print that onto say a tabloid sheet...I need to be able to properly setup say 1"= 1'-0", etc...

More later ;)

Cheers,

StereoMike
06-10-2006, 05:23 PM
Great thread, gives me some hope. I'm the first who buys an additional Newtek package to get those parametric objects into lw....
Most of the time I have to render CATIA data with Lightwave. Importing is a real pain, only vrml export works, so I have to fix sooo much, and if I have to make closeups, i must remodel that area.
Is there a better way? What's that stl plugin from chrome cow, or rhino or even acad, will any of these get CATIA data into well done polys?

Thanks,
Mike

btw, I agree wholeheartly with the points about getting LW into archviz and design markets. That's excactly the area I make money with (visuals for industry, mainly their marketing offices).

radams
06-10-2006, 05:43 PM
Great thread, gives me some hope. I'm the first who buys an additional Newtek package to get those parametric objects into lw....
Most of the time I have to render CATIA data with Lightwave. Importing is a real pain, only vrml export works, so I have to fix sooo much, and if I have to make closeups, i must remodel that area.
Is there a better way? What's that stl plugin from chrome cow, or rhino or even acad, will any of these get CATIA data into well done polys?

Thanks,
Mike

btw, I agree wholeheartly with the points about getting LW into archviz and design markets. That's excactly the area I make money with (visuals for industry, mainly their marketing offices).

Hallo Mike,
Gutten nacht

What options do you have in regards to formats supported from CATIA data...This is a format and system from IBM is that correct? What apps do you use now that can work with this Dataset native outside of CATIA? Anyone know?
What Solid/parametric Kernal does it use?

Gruss,

StereoMike
06-11-2006, 02:31 AM
Hab schön geschlafen, danke Ray!

CATIA is from Dassault Systems (www.3ds.com), I think IBM helped them on distribution.
I don't have CATIA myself, but I can advise the engineers from my clients while they prepare the model export.
Usually it boils down to VRML, cause none of the conversion tools I tried on the IGES and STEP files was able to make polys from the data (the best I could get was a cage of 2point chains).
I tried the deep exploration cad tools on it, but it failed.

These are the export options: IGES, STEP, ACIS, STL, VRML.

Using CATIA data outside CATIA is like a fish trying to live outside water. It sucks. Another point is, you can't set the resolution or density on the VRML export (at least the engineers didn't find it), you have no option to get a better mesh, you have to take what CATIA suggests.

I guess these are common problems for the poly to Solid/para workflow. Having perfect shapes to build actual parts from the data just needs a different approach than doing eyecandy, so I don't blame CATIA, it's just annoying...
btw I love watching these guys showing off CATIA, it looks somehow like "minority report" with all the floating menus, zipping and zooming views and all.

Sprichst Du regelmäßig Deutsch?
Mike

radams
06-11-2006, 07:54 AM
Hab schön geschlafen, danke Ray!

CATIA is from Dassault Systems (www.3ds.com), I think IBM helped them on distribution.
I don't have CATIA myself, but I can advise the engineers from my clients while they prepare the model export.
Usually it boils down to VRML, cause none of the conversion tools I tried on the IGES and STEP files was able to make polys from the data (the best I could get was a cage of 2point chains).
I tried the deep exploration cad tools on it, but it failed.

These are the export options: IGES, STEP, ACIS, STL, VRML.

Well these are other formats that need to be looked at...IGES and STEP...

Have you tried outputing to STL and trying to use that? That seems to be used by others to go from Solids to Polys.. just like the converter from Creative Cow. I'll check on this and see what else can be done... Have you tried PolyTrans with its converters and additional extensions ?




Using CATIA data outside CATIA is like a fish trying to live outside water. It sucks. Another point is, you can't set the resolution or density on the VRML export (at least the engineers didn't find it), you have no option to get a better mesh, you have to take what CATIA suggests.

I guess these are common problems for the poly to Solid/para workflow. Having perfect shapes to build actual parts from the data just needs a different approach than doing eyecandy, so I don't blame CATIA, it's just annoying...
btw I love watching these guys showing off CATIA, it looks somehow like "minority report" with all the floating menus, zipping and zooming views and all.

Sprichst Du regelmäßig Deutsch?
Mike

Ya, Ich spreche Deutsch ein bisschen. Ich bin Deutsch lernen. Meine Freundin ist Schweitzerin ;)

Tschuess,

radams
06-11-2006, 08:10 AM
Wow, Hold the fort...

Check out this link...

http://www.3ds.com/products-solutions/3d-for-all/3d-xml/overview/

This might be the help we've needed for Solid works and for CATIA...

BTW, the link you gave me is for the guys who created the kernel for SolidWorks...but I guess they also helped to develope CATIA...thou I know that I saw IBM marketing and supporting it...

So here might be an option to support a more open attempt at a standard...I'll have to check on this...anyone else come across this...or know of other apps that plan to support it ?

Cheers,

StereoMike
06-11-2006, 09:28 AM
The english Wiki is a little short about it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catia) but on the german page (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/CATIA) they say, Dassault signed 1981 a contract to distribute CATIA through IBM.
CATIA was developed by Dassault (french Jets, Airplanes etc) and was used as an in-house tool before they thought about selling it via IBM.

about the 3D-xml thing, that's hope for the future, but the current versions of solid/para apps would need a new exporter, or even a new release (to earn some more money...).
It has to export to polys, so I hope, they give the user some freedom on mesh density, poly reduction and hide internals.
(hopefully it will be unlike the current VRML exporter).

A swiss GF? that's sweet, they have a cute accent :)
Greetings
Mike

Will have to try chrome cows tool on stl files, I used deep exp and it failed too.. (what a fuss)

MicroMouse
06-11-2006, 06:48 PM
Very interesting thread...
Funny thing is, when I want my autocad 2D drawings into LW properly, with a result of polygons rather than lines for closed areas, I have found no better solution than to export in EPS from autocad, do a magic bucket operation on all the closed areas in Illustrator, then export as an old version EPS, and import than into LW....
It works well, but that's just rediculous... so many steps.

There is nothing in the DXF specification that says that a series of LINE entities joined end to end and enclosing an area should be turned into polygons.

Use the REGION entity to draw the areas.
Export as a R12 DXF file.
Convert with AccuTrans and the regions will be turned into triangles.

If the regions are overly complex, the triangulation routine in AccuTrans will make a mess. Use simpler designs.

Later versions of DXF files, write the data for regions as binary numbers written as ASCII. I will try decoding this data some time in the future.

Wayne

MicroMouse
06-11-2006, 06:49 PM
No, we use other (cheaper) software now, not LW in office. I use LW and my company pays me extra to do graphics work from home using LW. But, true, we would do LOT more graphics works for proposals, city & planning/zoning meetings, etc. if "powerful" rendering apps, like LW, had more 3d file import support, like .dxf (at least) or anything we can use with our existing (and EXPENSIVE) cadd software. Sure Microstation has fabulous rendering, for cadd, but not good in areas like compositing, animation, etc. It's the compositing and animation that we really need apps like LW for.

But no...we don't turn down money, Micro.

I didn't think you would turn down paying jobs.

I should have asked: "Are you using the Mac?" as third party converter support is scarce on the Mac.

Are you using any program to convert DXF files to LWO files?

Wayne

MicroMouse
06-11-2006, 06:51 PM
Great thread, gives me some hope. I'm the first who buys an additional Newtek package to get those parametric objects into lw....
Most of the time I have to render CATIA data with Lightwave. Importing is a real pain, only vrml export works, so I have to fix sooo much, and if I have to make closeups, i must remodel that area.

My contact with solid modeling programs like CATIA has been talking with people via phone and email. I have never seen the parametric modelers first hand.

Except for Rhino, I don't think any of the high end solid modeling programs are interested in providing export support for polygon based modelers. When the solids are converted to meshes the polygon count is always high as they are aiming for high resolution for actually machining the object. If there is control for the polygon count, no one seems to know how to do it. Rhino will let you control the number of polygons created for the mesh. Reports are that Rhino import and export of files is very good.

I don't think I have received a VRML file from CATIA. Pro/Engineer also exports VRML files and I have received those.

If the object is made of one or more parts, sub-assemblies, one VRML file will be created for each part by Pro/E. There will be one master VRML file which references all the other files so the collection of files can be reassembled into one object.

A polygon mesh is stored as an IndexedFaceSet node with a Material node describing the material properties in the VRML file. Output of meshes is wild. Assume you have modeled a bolt in Pro/E. This is one part and you would think that it should be exported as one mesh to one IndexedFaceSet. You would be wrong with that assumption. You will probably get about 4 meshes. For more complex parts the number of meshes created can be much higher. For one object or assembly the number of IndexFaceSets can range into the thousands.

There is no way of knowing how these IndexedFaceSets should be combined. So one layer gets created for each IndexedFaceSet and one surface is assigned to the layer with the properties from the Material node. I had one set of VRML files that was a grouping of several industrial electrical controls mounted on a channel. The layer count was about 60 thousand layers. How do you handle so many layers?

I tell people to vary the material properties of the parts according to how you want the IndexedFaceSets combined into layers. It can be any material property. Assume we want all the bolts to be on one layer and the nuts on another layer and the lock washers on a third layer. Instead of giving all these parts the same base color of RGB = 125,125,125 only give that color to the bolts. Assign the color 125,125,126 to the lock washers and color 125,125,127 to the nuts. Do not assign the same set of material properties to any other IndexedFaceSets. After the VRML files are loaded in AccuTrans and you have 60,000 or whatever layers use the "Tools->Merge layers with same materials" menu command and the bolts, nuts and lock washers all end up on their own layer. Use the "Tools->Triangles to quads" menu command to turn triangles to quads. There is a setting in preferences so you can set how far off planar the quads can be.

If you are using a PC or else use a friend's PC, use AccuTrans to convert your CATIA VRML file. If you have trouble converting and if the file is not too big, email it to me and I will see what is wrong.

Wayne

MicroMouse
06-11-2006, 06:54 PM
Dassault Systemes owns both CATIA and SolidWorks. Read
http://cadinsider.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/05/dassault_and_so.html
as the two programs do not talk to one another.


Well these are other formats that need to be looked at...IGES and STEP...

IGES and STEP are international file formats. Interpretation of these standards varies between the companies implementing them. Some companies advertise that their converters handle problems in these files.

A company that uses AccuTrans has as their clients big companies that use the solid modelers. These big companies do projects together but their solid modelers are from different companies. Result is that they can not easily exchange solid model data and the AccuTrans user needed them to do this. He finally settled on either the IGES or STEP format. The solid modelers could not all read the files generated by the others. The AccuTrans user sent files to one or more of the CAD converter companies for test purposes. Conversion of the test files could not be done successfully and he was told that the files were bad. Bad means the data in the file should be corrupted or missing. The original files could be successfully read back into the program that created him. As the data was eventually needed as polygon meshes some system, unknown to me, was worked out.

As with all conversions, using IGES and STEP files can be between 0% and 100% successful depending on conditions.



Have you tried outputing to STL and trying to use that? That seems to be used by others to go from Solids to Polys.. just like the converter from Creative Cow. I'll check on this and see what else can be done... Have you tried PolyTrans with its converters and additional extensions

For those who do not know, STL files were created for producing rapid prototype models in the StereoLithograpy Apparatus (a laser beam solidifies particles in the shape of the object in a vat of resin). A newer unit is the StereoLithograpy Printer. The STL file only contains triangles. There is nothing else in the file like materials and UV properties. Only one layer or group of triangles should be stored per STL file. Some programs write more than one layer to the file so AccuTrans also supports this.

If a model is made up of several sub-assemblies, SolidWorks will write one sub-assembly per STL file. Use the "File->Multi Open" menu command in AccuTrans and all the STL files will be read to reassemble the model. Each STL file will be placed on its own layer.

Wayne

MicroMouse
06-11-2006, 06:56 PM
Wow, Hold the fort...

Check out this link...

http://www.3ds.com/products-solutions/3d-for-all/3d-xml/overview/

This might be the help we've needed for Solid works and for CATIA...

Just reading this page, the 3D XML file appears to be the solid model equivalent of the Universal 3D, U3D, file for polygon models. You use this file when you are finished building your model and are ready to display it or say render it for advertising purposes. I would guess that the data may still be in parametric format so you would need a converter.

I think if you want to go back and forth between CATIA and SolidWorks while you are still developing your model, you are going to loose the construction history and other important data negating your main reason for using these programs in the first place.

Wayne

Ark_of_Kaos
06-12-2006, 07:04 AM
I didn't think you would turn down paying jobs.

I should have asked: "Are you using the Mac?" as third party converter support is scarce on the Mac.

Are you using any program to convert DXF files to LWO files?

Wayne

We use Windows XP Pro. No converters to convert dxf files. I have downloaded dxf files from 3d model sites and loaded them into LW just fine, but dxf saved from ACAD or Microstation loads into LW with no data or geometry. If there is a converter for Windows, please point me to it.

Ark_of_Kaos
06-12-2006, 09:16 AM
I see what's going on, Micro...Accutrans is YOUR baby. Well I downloaded it for trial. It seems the only way to get model data from Microstation into Accutrans is by exporting *.stl file. For simple models this seems to work great. The lwo file created looks exactly like what I see in Microstation. Perfect. I am going to try to do an entire bridge to test more complex models. At Accutrans price, It would be much easier to sell LW to the company. We are using SketchUp right now, by the way. It works well with our existing model data, but the rendering is cheesy and not at all LW caliber. It also doesn't do much for compositing. I checked the price and it sells for the same amount that LW8.5 sells. That would make it easier to sell to management.

MicroMouse
06-12-2006, 02:56 PM
I see what's going on, Micro...Accutrans is YOUR baby. Well I downloaded it for trial. It seems the only way to get model data from Microstation into Accutrans is by exporting *.stl file. For simple models this seems to work great. The lwo file created looks exactly like what I see in Microstation. Perfect. I am going to try to do an entire bridge to test more complex models. At Accutrans price, It would be much easier to sell LW to the company. We are using SketchUp right now, by the way. It works well with our existing model data, but the rendering is cheesy and not at all LW caliber. It also doesn't do much for compositing. I checked the price and it sells for the same amount that LW8.5 sells. That would make it easier to sell to management.

You missed my post on this thread when I said who I was.

The DXF file should have worked. Did the file load into AccuTrans and was it displayed in the view window? If the object contains lines, the "Lines" check box must be checked in the "Save Object With Options" dialog box so that the lines will be exported to the LWO file. If you want you can email me a DXF file and I will check it out.

A couple of customers who use LightWave, export their LWO files to DXF and import into Sketchup for shadow studies.

Wayne

MicroMouse
06-12-2006, 02:58 PM
[QUOTE=Ark_of_KaosIt seems the only way to get model data from Microstation into Accutrans is by exporting *.stl file.[/QUOTE]

Which file types does Microstation export?

Wayne

omeone
06-12-2006, 03:06 PM
you can see details for downloading Microstation 'Lite' here (http://worldcadaccess.typepad.com/blog/2005/01/free_microstati.html), if you know a student.

Ark_of_Kaos
06-12-2006, 03:15 PM
Which file types does Microstation export?

Wayne

Microstation exports:
Cadd files - *.dgn, *dwg, *dxf
Iges
Parasolids (*.x_t)
Acis Sat (*.sat)
Cgm (*.cgm)
Step AP203/AP214
Vrml World
Stereolith (*.stl)

I can export to dwg then open acad and export a 3ds and that works really well. Our company is trying to lose
it's dependance on it's few remaining acad licenses, so going the 3ds route may or may not be available in the near future. It all depends on if they are planning to keep at least 1 acad lic around for a while.

MiniFireDragon
06-12-2006, 03:36 PM
I saw this thread and thought I'd add my 2 cents to it (I also didn't fully read the thread, so if what I say is repeatative, sorry) .

I use AutoCAD and Lightwave in an Accident reconstruction environment. Which can be viewed similar to a mechanical shop, or an architectual and civil engineering firms, and maybe even production lines. There are really 4 tools I need in my line of work to complete a full project.

AutoCAD LT 2000 (0 3d modeling tools, but it DOES support 3D and XYZ inputs)
EaglePoint Site Builder and Surface Modeler
MSOFT
Lightwave

What AutoCAD does for me is allow me to rapidly create a shell of an accident scene, all my lines and such. I can even plot my points 3d very very quickly (How I wish Lightwave had a Command Prompt like AutoCAD).

Next I fire up Eagle Points Surface Modeling and the Site Design Plug in. I bring in my Drawing File and can apply grades, 3d PLines (LT doesn't have the 3d PLine). Then with a Push of a button I can surface the entire Site. Created a 3d Model of a Shopping Mall parking lot that way so I can play with it in Lightwave.

I then import all the objects I just did into Lightwave using the DXF Format. It works very very well. Just because AutoCAD doesn't talk to Lightwave with a DWG format doesn't mean DXF doesn't work. What you need to do to get it to work the best is seperate your objects into different DXF files. It can be tedious, but the Frozen Layers in an AutoCAD file are still shown.

To finalize my project, I sometimes use MSoft, aka McHenry Crash Simulator. When I am doing a vehicular accident this program plots out my paths to a T. I just need to run a small macro I made to convert the coordinate data into a Lightwave Motion Path.

In lightwave I create my surfaces, and render it out.

I guess the point of my 2 cents is AutoCAD and Lightwave talk just fine with DXF files.

MicroMouse
06-12-2006, 03:55 PM
Microstation exports:
so going the 3ds route may or may not be available in the near future.

Thank you for the export file types.

The 3DSOUT command has been removed from AutoCAD 2007. 3DSIN command still works.

Wayne

MicroMouse
06-12-2006, 04:11 PM
I then import all the objects I just did into Lightwave using the DXF Format. It works very very well. Just because AutoCAD doesn't talk to Lightwave with a DWG format doesn't mean DXF doesn't work. What you need to do to get it to work the best is seperate your objects into different DXF files. It can be tedious, but the Frozen Layers in an AutoCAD file are still shown.

Thank you telling us what you are doing.

That is a lot of work to convert your DXF files.

Try AccuTrans available at http://www.micromouse.ca/

You can convert your whole DXF file at once. Each DXF layer will become a layer in AccuTrans. The frozen layers are also converted so just uncheck the layers so that they do not appear in the view window and then save as a LWO file.

Some people use multiple drawing pens on one DXF layer. Use the "File->Open With Options" menu command. In the dialog box that appears, check the "DXF Divide" button and one layer will be created for each pen used on the original DXF layer.

As DXF files are double sided, you can have a lot of triangles that have flipped surface normals. If you want to flip the normals, instead of setting the surface as double sided, use the "Align->Start/Stop" menu command to activate the controls on the lower part of the "Layers" page in the "Tool Palette" on the right side of the screen. Use the context sensitive help (icons with arrow and question mark) to get help on the buttons. There are shortcut key and mouse combinations.

Wayne

Rayek
06-12-2006, 04:25 PM
This is an interesting thread... Down to a personal level, I can relate to these issues: my brother works in the CAD/CAM bussiness and I work in animation and visualisation.

Every time we talk about our work, it's quite obvious that the two remain very different disciplines. I ask him about rendering possibilities, he asks me which cad related file formats I can handle. He IS very interested in the visualisation process and recognizes that the 3d-apps I work with are superior in that regard. On the other hand I regularly swear in frustration at Lightwave and Cinema4d (or most other 3d-apps, for that matter) for not offering me some of the precise tools which are mainstream in HIS bussiness.

BTW He works at UGS and is a nx-specialist and consultant. In his world, he refers to Autocad as "kiddie-cad".

Just last week he showed me some of the stuff that's possible in nx4 and , I must say, simple things like on-screen measurement gizmo's seem so fundamental in nature, that it still amazes me that most 3d-apps don't support such a feature. Even Animation:Master has some of these features (but not all by a long shot), which make life very much easier.

These last two months I've been working hard at recreating part of a historical city in Lightwave3D. And time and time again SIMPLE tools for alignment, cloning and precise measurement, that would infinitely increase productivity, are just not available to me or are convoluted in use. Those tools ARE available in any CAD-package, though. To work in a more or less precise manner, I'm now condemned at creating splines in a background layer. This takes too much time, in my view.

LWCad works great, but it remains a plugin by nature: this means that those tools don't work as well as they could. I would like to see at least the alignment tools as available in Sketch-up added to Modeller and Layout. And why isn't a guide option included? Heck, even Illustrator has far superior alignment tools compared to Lightwave.

I suppose that Maxon with their CAD & design versions of Cinema4d, which includes a realtime plugin to several CAD-apps, are showing the way ahead. Still, some really basic features should be included in Lightwave.

I know most people scream at Newtek demanding better character tools. But in my daily use of Lightwave, I'd rather wish they'd include the alignment capabilities of Sketch-up and precise and quick measurement and cloning tools. Some kind of library function, which is elementary to all CAD-apps, should at least be included. Cinema4d, MotionBuilder and Animation:Master have this functionality, and it speeds up workflow considerably. (And so does EVERY dtp-app on the market).

Just my two cents.

R.

radams
06-12-2006, 06:18 PM
Hi All,

This thread is bringing some good things out....

Rayek, you did make some suggestions...but would you be more specific in the toolsets and possibly how you would like to see them operate. I love your brother's comment about AutoCAD being "Kiddy CAD"...nice one !!!!!

Wayne and all this is GREAT stuff...

I do feel that what ever we can do to be more specific about what is needed to see as a toolset...(basics, for one list then a general wish list)....What will it take for LW to become more viable in the larger 3D Design markets?

Wayne, Omeone, etc... your expertise and knowlegde is very valuable. This thread has had people from all over the globe commenting on these markets...and the needs they see in their areas. I hope NT that this thread is being helpful... we all have been fairly general in our comments...

I would like to be more specific and for those who are already working in these areas...drop some case issues that you found or needed to help make a solution if possible.

Cheers,

Lizard Head
06-12-2006, 09:56 PM
I have been using MAX @ work in the viz of civil engineering projects.. I have been because of the ease between AutoCAD and MAX.. but I got this bur up my backside and I insist on using LW and bringing inthe results to show everyone.. I have gotten them to the point were they agree LW is an awesome tool and they are thinking toaster is needed as well... but they dont see how difficult it is to bring in geometry to LW from the cad drawings the techs produce.

this is a burden I bare just to use LW

so I have been betting the future of our presentation and marketing imagery in hopes that Newtek will address the cad to lw issue somewhere between 8.X and 10.X.. and make it easier for me to get them to buy into LW and drop MAX

MicroMouse
06-12-2006, 10:29 PM
but they dont see how difficult it is to bring in geometry to LW from the cad drawings the techs produce.

Read my other posts in this thread. You can get 2D or 3D drawing entities from DXF files to LWO files using AccuTrans 3D available at http://www.micromouse.ca/

If you have problems or questions email me at [email protected]

Wayne

MicroMouse
06-12-2006, 10:31 PM
The Real World:

1. Technical: Think of engineers and technicians building a F1 race car and all the precision measuring and manufacturing equipment.

2. Organic: Think of a sculptor making a statue of a horse. The horse is studied using eyeball measurement which may be assisted by the rolled up cloth measuring tape from the sewing basket. Reference sketches may be made using paper and pencil. Finally a chisel and hammer are used to chip away at a block of granite and a perfect model of a horse emerges.


The Virtual World:

1. Technical Modeler Software: Full of precision tools, as Rayek said, to build a model to exacting detail. The modeling results are sent to real world manufacturing equipment and the F1 race car emerges.

2. Organic Modeler Software: Globs of polygons are blasted onto the screen which are moved, stretched, divided, deleted, et cetera. The polygons are positioned using eyeball measurement assisted with a virtual cloth measuring tape. A digitized sketch of a floor plan is shown so a house can be built using eyeball measurement. The statue of the horse remains virtual and may be printed out to a sheet of paper. It does not become a real life statue of a horse unless the data is further processed so that it can be sent to real world manufacturing equipment.

3. Inside the software: Whether the software is a technical or organic modeler there are just lists of numbers and other data which are manipulated by mathematical algorithms.


Using the Software:

For technical software the algorithms are built with precision as a main criteria. One modeler is given the task of building an engine block to certain dimensions. Another modeler is given the task of building the piston for the engine block. When the modeling is completed the piston fits in the engine block.

For organic software the algorithms are built with eyeballing as a main criteria. One modeler is given the task of building an average size adult woman about 25 years old. Another modeler is given the task of building an average size baby about 1 year old. When the models are placed side by side, the baby is twice the size of the woman. A quick scaling of the baby and everything is fine.

A modeler doing architectural modeling with organic software needs more precision than a modeler making a human model. So more precise tools are built to run on top of the organic engine. These tools will be slower and not as responsive as they should be no matter how much work is put into making them. Why? The foundation of organic software is eyeball is close enough which is a design flaw if precision is wanted.


The Future:

I said that inside the organic and technical software that basically they are the same. 64 bit cpus and lots of RAM are now available. It is time to change the design criteria of organic software from eyeball to precision. [as the noise of artists shouting "I don't want to be a CAD technician" dies down] To handle the change, an adaptive interface that is user controlled is required. The computer doesn't care what we tell it do and the human user doesn't really know what is happening inside the computer when the mouse is moved and the keys are tapped.

When you want to do character modeling, you set the interface so that you have only the controls like you would find in LightWave, Silo, Maya, et cetera. The precision tools are all there, you just do not see them. You work like you always have.

The next project is architectural models so some of the precision controls are turned on. ...and away you go.

Basing the model engine on precision and using an adaptive interface you could go from eyeball modeling to CAD modeling within one program. The model is always built with precision even when you think you are just eyeballing everything. You can turn on controls and get precise measurement and control at any time. The problem is designing the adaptive interface.

Feature and price wise there would still be a huge difference between the software used for visualization and the CAD software used for designing the next space shuttle. Besides visualization, the new precision organic software should allow for precision models to be used in the low end of the manufacturing market. The high end of the market needing approval drawings, bills of materials, very high precision, finite element analysis, et cetera would be handled by the CAD software.

Wayne

omeone
06-13-2006, 12:51 AM
LightWave's precision / coordinate system actually does have adverse effects on Character Animation.
You can see these easily by comparing Bones deformations on differently scaled models or by moving a full-time IK Rig a good distance away from the origin of the scene file.
So all users would benefit from the future Micromouse describes.

I still can't see how transfer of parametric data to point/poly data can be anything but a one way street. I know there are some user-assisted regression tools, but they require a whole other level of expertise to operate them still.

This is always going to be a brick wall in how close both industries and softwares might converge in any kind of symbiosis (whether real or apparent)?

Rayek
06-13-2006, 01:09 AM
Hi Radams,

I'll give you a precise toolset that would create a 'perfect' lightwave for more precise and fast (architectural/design) modelling:

1) download sketch-up and play with the tools. Every tool can be used freely, yet also precisely aligned to other edges, vertices and objects and center-points and the like. Illustrator has smart guides. More or less the same thing. Tools should be usable in 'free' mode and a more precise mode.

2) Guides! Or rather, 'Construction lines'. Again, have a look at Sketch-up how it's used.

3) measurement tools. Again, Sketch-up: try the dimension tool. The numbers should be editable in view (on-screen numerical gizmo's). Same for rotational and scale tools.

4) Interactive cloning tools that work both in free and precise mode. The current clone tools in Lightwave barely suffice and take a lot of time to setup and use. I have a vision of an interactive railclone function, which works by dragging the start and end points of a spline and copies are automatically added depending on distance and other settings.

5) VERY IMPORTANT! A library or component function, like the one in Cinema4d, Animation:master, motionbuilder and (sorry! ;-) ) Sketch-up.
These should work like instances of the original object, yet must have an option to detach them. This is a sorely missed function in Lightwave.

6) All tools should have alignment & snap options. To guides (construction lines), to objects, edges, vertices, polygons and selections.

7) All tools should be non-modal and interactive and should use numerical on-screen gizmos as well.

8) Where applicable, both Layout and Modeller should possess these precise guides, measurement & alignment tools.

9) Extend and enhance the layer manager. Make it possible to select objects in a view and make it visible in which layer you're working. When I put objects in a hierarchy, I want to be able to select the whole bunch by selecting the parent object in Modeller. Drag that layer manager to the 20th century! It works great as it is, but needs modernizing treatment.

Wayne, exactly as you state, one should be able to activate and de-activate controls for precise modelling and placement in a simple manner.

Cheers,

R.

Rayek
06-13-2006, 01:25 AM
btw I'm also modelling a lot of furniture and indoor objects. Though I love to work in Lightwave, those I will not model in Lightwave, but in Hexagon and Cinema4d. Why? Because they both have a dynamic modelling history. After lathing or extruding a spline I can always go back to the original spline, make some modifications and presto, the object is updated. The same for other modifiers, and for example booleans. Lightwave needs some kind of dynamic modelling history in the near future, I think. This, of course, is also part of the functionality found in most CAD apps.

Penforhire
06-13-2006, 01:38 PM
omeone, I can envision a two-way street using 3d tools similar to bitmap-to-vector transforms used today in 2d. This would be taking polygon corners and converting to curves (NURBS or whatever your native CAD program uses) at a "sufficient" level of detail.

Perhaps as an intermediate it is sufficient to just "make LW mesh" from CAD data? The point of using LW to complement CAD is, for most of us, probably not to add any modeling details in LW but rather to texture, light, and render/composite/animate.

MicroMouse
06-13-2006, 08:26 PM
CAD (not including solids):

Let's create a parametric surface in a CAD program. A parametric surface is a surface created using a mathematical equation. A circle will be extruded to form a hollow cylinder and then saved to a DXF file.

In the DXF file one line gives a code and on the following line will be the data for the code.

0
CIRCLE
8
50_CONTINUOUS
39
10000.000000
10
64728.385703
20
20608.930892
30
-5323.834413
40
7500.000000
210
0.6762678460828168
220
-0.4222062336182480
230
0.6036585927893358

Code 0 indicates that the type of drawing entity is being defined. We have our circle entity.

Code 8 gives us the layer name.

Codes 10, 20 and 30 gives the X, Y and Z coordinates of the center of the circle.

Code 40 gives the radius of the circle.

Using the equation for the circle, a perfect circle can be drawn in the XY place in the CAD program. A circle in a polygon modeller is represented by vertices and short straight line segments. There are no vertices on the circle in the CAD program.

Code 39 indicates that the entity has thickness which means it is extruded in the Z direction.

Codes 210, 220 and 230 give the X, Y and Z directions of the extrusion's direction. This means the arbitrary axis algorithm has to be used to rotate the entity from it's local coordinate system into the world coordinate system.

The difficulty of converting from parametric surface to polygon surface is dependent on how hard it is too solve the parametric equation.

To convert the polygon mesh of the cylinder back to a parametric described by a circle equation is nearly impossible. The computer will just be searching through lists of numbers. The cylinder can be anywhere in 3D space and can be rotated any amount around the axes. A search has to be made to find a group of polygons connected to one another. Then it must be determined if there are vertices all located in some plane. The center of the group of vertices is calculated and a check is made if all vertices would fall on an imaginary circle. Now the rest of the vertices for the polygons have to lie on a plane that is parallel to the first plane and that these vertices also form a circle. What if polygons were used to form an end cap on one or both ends of the cylinder? These have to be found and ignored from our check. What if some other polygons touched the sides of the cylinders and shared vertices?

Going from polygon mesh back to parametrics is a tough challenge. I don't know of any program that calculates parametrics, as used in CAD, from polygon meshes. Does anyone know of such a program?

3D scanners will create a point (vertex) cloud. Programs like GeoMagic Studio will create polygon meshes and NURBS patches that are fitted to the point cloud. NURBS are a parametric and the only one that I know that is calculated.


Solids:

Primitive solids are combined using scaling, rotation, translation and Boolean operations to either remove or add solid material until the shape of the model is made. A polygon mesh can be calculated to fit the exterior surfaces of the solid model.

If you thought calculating the circle entity from a polygon mesh representing a cylinder was easy, try figuring out the combination of primitive solids and operations needed to create the solid model from some polygon mesh.

If you know of software that does this, please let us know.

Wayne

Penforhire
06-13-2006, 10:01 PM
I know of no software doing this in three dimensions but algorithmically it seems no different than complex (beyond least squares and polynomial functions) curve fitting in two dimensions, only in an exponentially larger search space.

Believe it or not, software for 2d curve fitting gets fairly sophisticated (and expensive) even though free and shareware versions exist. It tends to get bundled with more flexible graphing packages such as SigmaPlot, Origin, Prism, TecPlot (some day I want to be able to justify buying this one at > $1,000!) or math analysis packages like Mathematica, MatLab.

Looking at our growth in computing power (Moore's law keeps on chugging) I figure it should not be THAT far in the future when 3D curve fitting will be more down-to-Earth.

tommymamn
06-13-2006, 10:05 PM
Read my other posts in this thread. You can get 2D or 3D drawing entities from DXF files to LWO files using AccuTrans 3D available at http://www.micromouse.ca/


Wayne,

I would love to use accutrans to speed up my LW importing, but it will not work for me. I model in acad and then export each layer out separately with 3dsout and then open each layer as different objects in LW. After this I copy and paste each object into it's own layer to make the whole model. Very tedious work, but it works. When I model I use solids and regions 90% of the time - so when I open a dxf in accutrans, 90% of the model is missing as there is no support for these entities.

The thought of losing 3dsout makes me sick - so support for dxf or dwg in LW would be sweet to say the least. The only option I am left with is to have all my clients send me dxf files instead of dwg files that way I can still use my older version of acad to model off of their drawings.

I have been using LW for my business for a little over a year and love it. I look forward to the future with Newtek and hope that they are reading this thread! :hey:

Tom

MicroMouse
06-13-2006, 11:17 PM
Tom

If you export regions to a Release 12 DXF file, AccuTrans will triangulate them. If you have a region that doesn't triangulate correctly, replace with regions that are less complex. Regions are written differently in later versions and I need to figure out how they work.

Solids are a big problem. AutoCAD uses the ACIS solid modeling kernel from Spatial Corp. To develop a solid modeling kernel is a very big job so I think companies just license from Spatial. Years ago I saw a complicated pricing document. A yearly license for the kernel was about USD 18,000.00. If you needed help to learn how to use the kernel consultant fees were extra. Also I think the software the kernel was used in had to have a minimum price of about USD 400.00. Not surprising that a USD 20.00 program can not afford it. NewTek would probably have to add solid support as an extra cost option.

AutoCAD should have a command that converts the solid to a polygon mesh with a user adjustable polygon density and then deletes the solid. They have users that never transfer their drawings to other programs who would love that feature.

AutoCAD exports solids to the SAT file format also. Rhino available at http://www.rhino3d.com will read SAT and DXF files. Rhino will allow you to control the density of the polygon mesh when it converts NURBS and I think this also applies to solids. Rhino costs USD 895.00. If this is affordable, you could download the Rhino demo.

With the multiple 3DS files you make, you could use the "File->Multi Open" menu command in AccuTrans to read all the files at once and then save to LWO.

My friends do architectural renderings. When they use a solid they do a 3DSOUT and a 3DSIN and then delete the solid. If you want to do a polygon reduction on the 3DS file, try "Polygon Cruncher" from http://www.mootools.com

They found out that the number of polygons used for the solid when doing a 3DSOUT is controlled by how close you are zoomed to the solid.

Wayne

omeone
06-14-2006, 05:17 AM
If you know of software that does this, please let us know.


Its already on one of my wish-lists above... I called it Curve Regression.

As I mentioned there are programmes that create parametric geometry from points... but they require lots of user-judgement and skill... never mind the training and cash :) The one I use is basic enough (I think) but gets very accurate results.
Im sure there are some research programmes looking into automating this... but I wont hold my breath. Thinking about it... there might be some cross-over in the technology with photogrammetry...

Hey, lets add that to the list of 'things that would make LW sell like hot-cakes' list too.

7. Photogrammetry :)

Another thing that is part of this and related to my wish-list is Curve Reduction.

Both Curve Regression and Reduction could be extremely useful to ALL LightWave users... in terms of making efficient motion paths without sacrificing any of the quality.

The most obvious application would be taking a bucket load of mo-cap data and having it refined into Real curves at the push of a button.

Ive seen them around in CAD apps as long as I can remember, so they cant be too much of an advanced technology?

MicroMouse
06-14-2006, 02:24 PM
Both Curve Regression and Reduction could be extremely useful to ALL LightWave users... in terms of making efficient motion paths without sacrificing any of the quality.

:agree:

Wayne

MiniFireDragon
06-14-2006, 04:28 PM
As DXF files are double sided, you can have a lot of triangles that have flipped surface normals. If you want to flip the normals, instead of setting the surface as double sided, use the "Align->Start/Stop" menu command to activate the controls on the lower part of the "Layers" page in the "Tool Palette" on the right side of the screen. Use the context sensitive help (icons with arrow and question mark) to get help on the buttons. There are shortcut key and mouse combinations.


Actually, the DXF's I have done never had double sided poly's, is this perhaps a function of Trans?

I should clarify that eaglepoint's surface modeler create's triangles, and has the option to put in a seperate drawing file. But the occasions where I open and close the DXF's and purge layers are when I only have a small amount of layers.

Trans also costs $$$, and so far the amount of time it takes me to do the dxf clean and conversion, is only a sliver of the cost of Trans.

EDIT: Ok, I stand corrected, I just went to Trans and... well, the price has undergone a face lift. Sweet.

MicroMouse
06-14-2006, 06:41 PM
Actually, the DXF's I have done never had double sided poly's, is this perhaps a function of Trans?

Single sided is the default when either AccuTrans or LightWave reads the DXF file.

By default, LightWave displays the object as single sided in the OpenGL window and renders as single sided. The user must select double sided for the surface.

By default, AccuTrans displays as double sided in the OpenGL window. As AccuTrans is a conversion program, new users can panic when it appears that some of their model is missing. When set to display as single sided, the user has to set double sided on the layer for that layer to be displayed as double sided and to be written to a file as double sided.

Wayne