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probiner
06-09-2006, 03:39 PM
Here are some ideas for LW that came to me in this year of try out. In following ideas iím not tottaly aware of LW8 capabilities and new LW9 stuff, and this is the only 3D software i "know", so give me a break if a say things that already are there or exist in other programs. If that is the case tell me please.
(Sorry too for all the flaws in my english)



-Modeler-

-The user should be able to draw (and perform other tasks) in 3 dimensons and not just in 2d. When we use for example sketch tool we have to adjust our points later so they have depth cause they are done over a 2d plane, its just like drawing in Ilustrator, wich is fine if i want to do a precise thing; I go point by point (spline draw) in a view and then put depth in other views, all with precision. But imagine i want to draw an expresive line in 3d actualy, usign sketch tool, not so mental, not so planed. Imagine the motion paths that would create; imagine using magic bevel with real 3d direct drawing. Don't know if this is possible or even interesting for you but ur good inventing new things, and that would be a smash, drwaing in 3d for real. I dont know either how it would be operated: mouse wheel for depth? wacom pen pressure? 2 keyboard buttons for more and less depth?; maybe u could invent a 3d mouse :) 4 points of reference and voilŠ, your hand would be drawing in the air, resulting in a 3D drawing. Maybe we need a new microsoft windows for all that.


-Translate Plus is "the tool"; i can rotate, translate and scale using many types of axis and origins. Too bad i can't operate it numericly like the others, not even an -info display- information. Unleess i am misunderstanding, when i press enter (Make) with quick preview, it doesnít go to the place preview was, just deselect the translate plus tool.


- I noticed that when i Subdivide a box (Metaform mode with maximum smothing angle of 179 or 180), the resultant geometry has a lack of simetry, and when i do bevel to that sudivided box, points and faces that should be coincident in the ortogonal projections, arenít, only in profile projection (side view). It just get right if i choose an octave of my object and mirror it. I experimented that by in the putting first layer a box that is just subdivided , copyed that to second layer, iíve choosed X+Y+Z+ octave and mirror it, till i have the whole subd box. You can already see that normals dont match in layer one. Next i bevel the 2 layers, no inset. You can clearly see the difference. Am i doing something wrong or this subdivision results shouldnít be simetrichal anyway? Same thing happens with subpatched box (patch division=2 to be the same that Mutiply: Subdivide) that its freezed. But this time it happens in all viewports making the "error" looking more smoother, no so noticed.


-Bounding Boxes when creating boxes, balls, cones, discs, etc... are not very interesting. I think in many aspects (maybe because i first used Photoshop) there should be a lot of things that should pick a look in how 2d graphic programs work, cause they are more "user friendly". Im happy for photoshop blending modes in LW9, finally i have the multiply i know well.
"Create: Box" bounding box should give me the possibility of choose the center and grow the box from there, like with ball i should be able to grow it from a corner or a side. And there are other things, im just thinkin i Photoshop bounding. I know this can be arranged in numeric panel, but is slower. Photoshop uses for the effect- ctrl, alt and shift key- .I know that in LW8 "alt" key with combos is used for fast view options (pan, zoom and rotate) but "shift+click" on geometry creation has no use and "ctrl+shift+click" pops up a useless menu (that i dont thnik to be very interesting, cause i know the shortcuts for all those operations that show up). This combos could be realeased for more bounding box options and other operations like using tools, just like in Photoshop.


-I think LightWave could have some options that would speed (less clicks) a variety of operations that are needed but in a big amount they can make the process a bit more boring, without that need. When i do a robot, i put things in layers already thinking in the hierarquy to come. So, for example: we could have a button in Modeler's layers panel that it would make automaticly layer1 parent of layer2, layer2 parent of layer3 and so on to all layers with content. If i had a mechanical spider i just had to click this button, go to the beggining of each leg and change parent to spider body, and voilŠ, 33 layers (4 per leg and 1 for the body) parented with few clikcs.
Also the option "Mirror Pivots" would be great. I had put 16 pivots in half of my spider, why do i have to go a and do the same 16 in the other side. BOORRRINGGG :P just mirror it like it would be done with skelegons. I dont know how would that be programed, but might be easier to make Mirror(add new) layers to selected layers, with pivot Xcoordinate inverted.
Another thing i think that would decrese the clicks and time, is the "apply" button for most tools. Many times we dont get to those values we want (visually) right away so aplly button would be like "preview on demand". No need then to: say ok and then call the tool again to correct the values, and again and again until its right where you want (example: Set Map Value). I know that modify tools have that, and its great.
Like i said i think speed is in less clicks and avoiding redundant tasks, but cause im not a programer and im not awhare of the resouces that programs consume to do what they do, the things iíve told maybe (dont have a clue) would increase LW weight on memory and processing. And I know that is one of the major concerns in LightWave is to make the program the most light as possible to the computer :)


-Simetry should have the possibily of being used with the 3 planes not only in YoZ (Profile plane), one at a time. XoY (Frontal plane) sometimes is handy, although the same might not happen to XoZ (Horizontal plane).


-One thing i dont like in LW8 is when i want precision (im a picky guy) and i use mouse mode, cause i want to rotate or translate right over that point or right in that space most of the times i have to zoom a lot to ensure that everything is done right, especially on things that the existing numeric options cant help. "Zoom in" to the limit and then "zoom out" back a bunch of times its also boring. Every improvement done so the user can do the biggest amount of operations without have to zoom much, when precision is wanted, are very welcome. The solution, my naif mind thinks, is something like this:
-Axis Question- Most tools should have the more axis options, analog to what happens in translate plus, just the possibility of choose two points (segment) for axis would do a big diference.
-Center Question- Tools could have snap to point option and when operated, they use a neighbour point in that viewpot has action center control instead of its position (mode: mouse). Or for this effect it might would be easy to create "pivot jump" tool, that would consist in selecting a point activate this tool and pivot would automaticly jump there and then you just have to use "mode:pivot". Well but somtimes you work with many layers and the pivot used might not be the wanted one. So other possible solution would be a "copy point coordinates" button and a "paste point coordinates" button. Operating really simple. Select a point, then copy coordinates, deselect point , next go to numeric panel of "Rotate", for example, and near Center input there would be a "P" button, that would paste point coordinates to Center input. This last solution has the potencial of being apllyed in many other situations not just in tools numeric panel. Copy a pointís XYZ all in one time not in 3 times.
Solutions like this, i think, would make "Mode: mouse" to be used just in a fast and easy way to move things around or when there is no point for reference, and forgotten when precision is the goal, so there would be no need to zoom in and out the whole time.


-Recently i had to do a work for Geometical Representation in school and i had needs that LW8 didnt cover in a fast way. Although LightWave isn't a Mathematic Geometry software, like Autocad. i think it should have some things for this use that can help the construction of objects and scenarios. They are Calculation of prerimeter, area, volume, distance, angle etc... and all with numeric editing, all with few clicks and precise. Well, There is the Measure and Angle tool, but they are not very precise, i have to zoom, so i think they should have snap to points and edges option, not only to grid.
The calculations and editing that i talk could be done on info window, for example. Aplied to points (only 2 points for distance and 3 for angle), imagine to select point #13 and point #20, press "i" for info, then on "Edit Value" tab, where now is just "Position" ,select "Relative Distance" and get the distance between points #13 and #20, and you can change it numericly. Change the "Edit Value" to "Angle and it shows the angle that the segment defined by #13 and #20 do with Xprojection, with Yprojection, and with Zprojection, and edit it numericly. Next, choose plus to those two points point #9, go to info window, on "Edit Value" choose "Angle" and i see the angle value of #13-#20-#9 (order of slection counts) and edit numericly the position of the tips (#13 and #9) or the distance of center #20 to segment #13-#9.
This angle editing apllyed to polys (only 1 or 2 polys, allways planar i think), for 1 poly would give poly angle to Xprojection, Yprojection and Zprojection. For 2 polys (that share edges) would give the angle beetwen them, and once again edit it numeric, with axis on shared edge.
To the Area calculation, once again, select polys, info window, "Edit Value", "Area", with edit possibility.
Same for Perimeter
I think all this examples are good in obtainig precise information that helps in constructions of real modelssince that info can be used in modify tools for precision, or edited right there. This i think improve LW Mathematic Geomertry capabilities.
And dont have a clue how that would be done for Volume. Closed objects only?

-A last minute thought about modeler i remebered one more thing that its quite insignificant and probably with no big use. but might be cool: Move in Multi-axis. Well, some tools use it like "smooth shift" or "point normal move", but they are based in normals, so there canít be no change in those axis. My idea is once again use a point for reference(maybe in background, dont know). For points i think is like this:
Each point would have its own axis, that consist in the line that passes by itself and by the Reference point. So pointís axis would be all radial lines, with different radius, centered in Reference point. But you say: thatís "Size" tool, but in size tool we work with size Factor, i was thinking in movin the points, Offset, so 2 points in a radial line always keep the same distance. Effect: geometry will grow like size tool but (imagine two centered spheres, different sizes) its thick will be the same. Not very interesting? Hum.. ok
This thing with polys, might be more interesting. I dont know how you can make a line between points and polys but i got an ideia. What about, this imagginary tool make (just calculate it) "Weld Avarage" to each group of connected points, so each of those resultant points plus the Reference point would be the axis, for each respective group of connected points. Result: For example, an explosion of different objects(each with all points connected) in radial direction but with no change in size what so ever. I think thats cool although might be a bit heavy for computer, no clue. Once again, notice that it would be used Offset, just like "Move tool", not Factor like "Size tool". Same kind of axis but diferent use.



-Layout-

-Both in Modeler and Layout, LW should be able to export 2d-vector files. Why? For guys like me that use a bunch of programs for a bunch of things, having a 3D program communicatin with a 2d-vector program is great. In modeler that would consist, maybe in selecting a view, select perspective amout, and then make it flat and export it (EPSF loader inverted :P ). This is cool with modeler, but in layout that would be great cause you could export, after a full render, .swf files (Macromedia Flash). Wow, that would put Swift 3D in the recycle bin. Poor thing.

-Render log file. Normally i let LW rendering and go out for a while. I would like to know after how many time the whole process toke, and each frame render time, so i can identify the parts of my animation that are slower to render. This exists? Make render time bigger?


I humbly hope these ideas help to improve a program that i love. Any feedback is welcome.

Pedro AlpiarÁa Santos
([email protected])