View Full Version : Hexagon to Lightwave

06-11-2006, 02:16 PM
Has anyone experimented with Normal Maps using Hexagon - I am speaking of the process for importing into Lightwave to animate and render.

I have a "cartoony" elephant that I modeled in Lightwave and I have exported to Hexagon to detail. I have never done a normal map before - in fact I have never truly mastered UV mapping so I may need some help.

This is a general question post, but as I am working on this I will either post results or ask for more detailed help - stay tuned.

How abbout it - anyone done it with Hexagon yet? (Instead of z-brush)


06-11-2006, 02:32 PM
I haven't. Why do you prefer the normal map route? I've avoided them, thus far.

Matters not. There is an RGB to Normal Node around that converts a hex displacement to normal map info and I have been using it to play. I would say, though, that you should give it a try and share your results so the rest of us will know. ;))

With Hex 2.1, with the texture being automatically flipped, trial and error are easy as pie. And if you get another freebie on the net that auto updates your maps, you can watch it all happen "real-time" as you save in Hex and LW deforms the model after the update. Everyone's mileage will vary. ;)

06-11-2006, 04:38 PM
Thanks, I knew going ahead and asking early in the learning process would be a good idea - allready you have given me info that I did not even know to ask.


06-11-2006, 07:19 PM
Keep us posted :thumbsup:

06-11-2006, 08:07 PM
If you are using LW9 you might be able to follow Proton's video for importing ZBrush Normal Maps using the new Node system. It can be found here... ftp://ftp.newtek.com/pub/LightWave/LW9/zbrush-nodes-aps.mov

Let us know how it goes. I haven't tried it yet.

06-12-2006, 05:17 AM
And if you get another freebie on the net that auto updates your maps, you can watch it all happen "real-time" as you save in Hex and LW deforms the model after the update. Everyone's mileage will vary. ;)

Robert, are you talking about my AutoView plugin? I never thought of trying that with Hex.

06-12-2006, 01:11 PM
Yes, Colin,
I am.

Won't it work? I have to admit to not trying it but the principle ought to be the same. If I'm wrong, I hope it has spurred on to adding a 'feature'. ;)

Colin, You've made some GREAT plugins! Thank you. I hope you get back to releasing them to the public. Or selling them. Either way, you have my support.

06-12-2006, 02:12 PM
I'm not sure it'll work, but please try and let us know. I bought Hex2, but I haven't had time to work my mind around its painting feautres.

06-12-2006, 02:18 PM
I'll try it today.

The 2.1 update f#@$%& up my tablet so I haven't used Hex, yet. I wish NewTek would get that NewTek 3D Paint package ready so I don't have to contemplate getting a 'real' [=expensive] paint/displacement app. I've grown to appreciate the power of Hex, in this regard, and would like to make the most of it.

Colin, is your updater based on a new file or is it based on an event of a program? IF the former, I know this will work. :)

06-12-2006, 02:19 PM
hex 2.1, that is.

06-12-2006, 03:09 PM
Colin, is your updater based on a new file or is it based on an event of a program? IF the former, I know this will work. :)

It's based on the file date. The image itself will update, the question is whether the normal map plugin will update automatically.

06-12-2006, 03:15 PM
I am still trying to figure out how to generate the UVs and the normal map in Hex. I did do some paint-brush work in Hex and exported the resulting 1.3million poly mesh - but modeler did not like that so much - it loaded it but man was it slow!

I watched Proton's Zbrush video - my jaw hit the ground - 10 sec for over a million polys! and APS - wow! :l33t:

I must master normal maps...
still working...

06-12-2006, 03:45 PM
I thought you'd save out your displacement map when you have your subdivision set to high (4/5/6 whatever you were working in), then drop your subdivision to 0 and save your low poly mesh.

Mind you, I've tried to do this to get displacements into LW from Hex and I'm getting nowhere.

Time to read the instructions properly.

EDIT, Hex doesn't seem to recognize .obj UV's exported by LW. If you create the UV's in Hex, create your displacement map, then exporting the diplacement it's (reasonably????) straightforward (last button after the UV & painting tools is the displacement exporter). As I say though, I'm still having difficulty getting these outputs working at all in LW.

06-12-2006, 05:19 PM
So far, I've done everything successfully up to the point of actually exporting the Displacement map out of Hex. I follow the instructions that is in the manual for Hex, but that it doesn't seem to work for me. Has anyone else had this problem? If I can just get that part done, then I could move back over to LW.

06-12-2006, 05:41 PM
I had a big response... but I clicked something and it went away.


More info, Geothefaus,as of 2.1, you can get all exports of maps flipped for you. So, when you say you can't get them out, please offer your procedure.
2.1 does rock in this regard as one doesn't have to be in a higher order of subd to save a higher order; at subd 0, one can save a six level map.

Too bad my danned tablet doesn't work...

One dammed dot at a time!!!


TLight has it right, incorporating the goodness of 2.1 as noted above.

I like Hex. I wish NewTek would give us this functionality as I'm royally pissed with Hex and daz. sso confffliccttted am IIIIIIII!

06-12-2006, 06:50 PM

I wish NewTek would give us this functionality
I'm still keeping my fingers crossed this is the big surprise at Siggy.

06-12-2006, 06:55 PM
I can't really put it much simpler. I Set up everything correct as it says in the provided document with Hex 2.1. As soon as I get to the part where you export the bump map, I get an error window after clicking 'Validate'. I've already got a UV map created, I start painting, finish painting and then save. Then I click the export bump button, and I get the window that comes up. I click validate.... Error, every single time.

06-12-2006, 07:11 PM
What's your level of subdivision in hex? down grade it to 2 or less and then try to save the Displacement map.
Bump maps are automatically saved with an object save, i.e., hex or obj format.

06-12-2006, 07:23 PM
Darndest thing... I just accidentially clicked on a button, I don't know what it's called. But it's on the 'Dynamic Gemoetry' window on the bottom right of the work area. It looks like a little curving arrowing pointing downward.

After clicking it, I could export my image, with out getting the error message! Weird... Thanks for the help mates. :)

06-12-2006, 07:27 PM
Weird, sounds as if you're doing everything the same as me, wether that's the right way to do it's another matter. :D

I'd try a couple of things, make sure you have the object your working on selected before clicking the export button (won't do anything if it doesn't have an object/surface - (older Hex 2's crashed for less than that), secondly, experiment with your output size. cut it down to a 512 etc and see if that makes a difference. Thirdly, you don't need to have a blank image ready for your displacement map (unlike bump maps and image/paint maps), if you do have one there maybe that's causing a conflict.

Here's a pic of my screen, have a check to see if you have something different.

Edit - slow on the uptake, two posts too late. Looks like it may well be something to do with object/surface selection (maybe), still shouldn't crash mind. I tried with and without above, and as I say it just didn't do anything.

06-12-2006, 07:47 PM
Thought I'd follow up your photo with one too. :D

Okay, so I have a smoothing of 4. The object is definitely selected. I made the UV's, saved everything... And as I was saying, it would crash when I tried to click the export map button. That is until I discovered that odd little button on the right hand side there, which is circled in the image.

I don't have a clue what it does, or what it is called. When I hover my cursor over it, it doesn't display a name! What an odd thing. Anywho, now when I click this button it works every single time. I've tested it almost 10 times now since my last post just to see if it was the problem. Sure enough, it works like a charm.


06-12-2006, 08:25 PM
I'm sure that area has something to do with selection (objects or parts or surfaces). I'm only going from memory though, and as I probably couldn't beat a goldfish in a memory competition, I wouldn't take that as gospel :)

06-12-2006, 08:35 PM

I'm there with you!

So, for a while I've been wanting to record a short video on how to export from Hex to LW. I think I'm going to do that now. I'll try to get it done as soon as possible.

06-12-2006, 08:50 PM
Great, I need videos, preferably as simple as a) b) c).

Here's an example of one I did earlier, at the time I thought 'Brilliant'. Model in LW, export to Hex, draw the displacement - Exp to LW. I was chuffed with the results.

Right up to the point when it dawned on me this wasn't displaced geometry but an EXTREMELY HIGH polycount model I'd accidently exported from Hex. :foreheads

06-12-2006, 08:54 PM
Ah man, I hate it when stuff like that happens!

For the video, I think that's what I'm attempting to do, simple, step by step instructions.

06-12-2006, 08:55 PM
OK, and what exactly is that button doing?
I'm sort of not clear on it and for that matter what it even is used for?

Yes, I only just got to start playin with Hex2 last night, even though I've
had it since it came out, but it never would work with my tablet and now
they finally fixed it, even though I never seen taht part mentioned in the bug list.
And I never got any email from anyone letting me know there was even an
update available, yet I read that there was some sort of an email sent out,
though most seemed to say that their's were all empty emails LOL

Anyway, I'm just glad I finally get to start playing with Hex2 and
already it's pretty fun and I blew off some late night hours on it
last night (I was supposed to be sleeping) just finding my way
around checking things out and playin.

I do have a question though, how come in the video they show
them painting on that husky sized animal and the animal is nice and solid.
When I try to do this, every single time I go to paint, then the object turns
into a semi transparent animal which makes it extreamly difficult to
see what it is you are painting on the animal.

Is there some place I go to turn this off so I can see what it is I'm painting on?
When I stop painting, i.e. click on some other tool, then it goes back to being solid.

I searched around and couldn't find why this was this way?

thanx.....from a newbie...........md :)


06-12-2006, 08:56 PM
Hex is wonderfull, it makes mistakes like that so d*mned easy to do.

Good luck with the vid :)

06-12-2006, 09:38 PM
mdunakin, the button lets me export my bump/displacement maps with out Hex giving me an error and crashing. If I don't click it, I will always get an error. It's quite strange really.

As for the transparancy issue. I don't know exactly either. I've searched through the settings to see if that has something to do with it, but no luck as of yet. I think that is one of my biggest issues with Hex so far. It's a real pain to paint on a semi-transparent object.

A good work around for that is, of course what you are doing. Hit enter or validate the tool, and look at it in the solid mode. Then go back and use your displacement tool again. Rinse and repeat.

Hope this helps.

T-Light, thanks. :)

06-12-2006, 09:49 PM
Thanx for that info.
I'll have to give that one a try and see if mine crashes too.

BTW, I lucked out (just started clicking on any button I could find)
and I actually found it!
It's down in the bottom (very bottom) right corner of the screen.
It's that little button spot that has only three buttons in it.
Click on those to see different things occure :)

Now I can paint in nice solid colors.
And where is everyone finding this eledged manual for Hex2.1 at?
Only stuff, in the way of tutorials or anything, are all for version 1.x.

Can't wait till I get this program down a little, cuz then I'm going
to make up my own little tutorials that will help newbies like
myself get past some of the starting confusions.

Anyway, thanx, and check out those bottom buttons
and see if they work for you, like they just did for me?
Oh, and I can see a major seam running down the thing, so I'll need to
figure out where they let you stitch seams up together so you don't see them?

...................md :)


06-13-2006, 12:19 AM
mdunakin, thanks for the heads up on that! Very helpful!

06-13-2006, 12:43 AM
Your welcome and yeah, after that I was actually able to play and have some fun! :)

But sadly, it's late, so I have to go to bed now.
I feel like I'm being punished or something and I'm being sent to bed early or something? LOL

I have to get up early LOL

..............md :)

06-13-2006, 02:54 AM

I'm still keeping my fingers crossed this is the big surprise at Siggy.
I ain't holding my breath, they've too much too tackle in terms of exisiting code needing boosting. That said, the new dev team surely rocks and I wouldn't be ungrateful if we got some form of 3D paiting in the LW9.X cycle, no Sirree Bob-A-roony. ;) :)

06-13-2006, 02:55 AM
Darndest thing... I just accidentially clicked on a button, I don't know what it's called. But it's on the 'Dynamic Gemoetry' window on the bottom right of the work area. It looks like a little curving arrowing pointing downward.

After clicking it, I could export my image, with out getting the error message! Weird... Thanks for the help mates. :)

That's your Hex equivalent to "freezing the mesh" in LW. It turns what was dynamic geometry into pure geometry. There are some action in Hex2 that seem to require the freezing of dynamic geometry, certainly I've had odd situations where only setting this will sort the problem.

06-13-2006, 05:33 AM
If you don't like that dynamic geometry, you can disable that function in Hex. Just make sure the small drop down menu at the bottom of the DG window reads 'No DG'. I believe the standard setting is 'restricted', which means some modelling techniques will be DG, and others wil not make use of that option.

I use the 'full DG' setting. It's interesting to note that some LW-people have some trouble understanding this workflow method. The same thing is available in Cinema4d. Lightwave doesn't have this model history option available, which explains the problems some of us are experiencing, it seems... ;-)

It's very useful: have a go at booleans and select the bool-object in the DG-window. Move it around and marvel at the wonders of a modelling history.

PS the small lightning symbol will 'freeze' your dynamic geometry. The other symbol will do away with the dynamic geometry.

06-13-2006, 05:45 AM
Oh, and the round button on the right of the DG pull down menu activates a control cage for smoothed objects. Also very handy.

06-13-2006, 01:43 PM
I don't think I've ever had to use that button to export...

I usually just paint the displacement on my .obj Save the file as a Hex, take the models subpatch down to 0 then export the mesh. I use the displacement mapper to export that map...

Looking forward to the vid there g-faust.

06-15-2006, 11:51 PM
Okay... So, I got the video recorded. Anyone know of good, cheap web hosting?

06-15-2006, 11:58 PM
What size is the video. My forum now supports up to 12 MB. Hopefully, I tested to 10MB.

06-16-2006, 12:01 AM
It's 170MB. :O

I tried to keep it short, but the video is almost 20 minutes long. I tried to optimize the video for a smaller file size... But alas, I am a real n00b to recording (first video ever like this) and there were not many options to really tweak in the program.

06-16-2006, 01:58 AM
hmmm... sounds like full frames. If the program you are using don't have many options, perhaps you could use lightwave to rerender the video.

06-16-2006, 03:38 AM
Yeah, because I use Camtasia and a 20 minute should be around 20 to 30 megs, not 120megs.

I set my settings to use Sorensen 3 and set the quality to about 40 to 42.
And sound to use Little Indian and 16 mono.

Seems to be what others use, as that's how I got my settings figured out,
was by loading up other people's QT tutorials and examining their settings from the Info thingy in QT.

............md :)


06-16-2006, 09:09 AM
Ok, let me see what I can do. I'm using a free app. :p

*Looks at camtasia*

06-16-2006, 04:25 PM
geothefaust check your pm's

06-16-2006, 06:44 PM
Okay. I have made a shorter version of the video, I also try to be as quick as possible. And... I hate my voice, it's really weird listening to myself. ;D

Also, a few things to note about the video... The audio can get a little choppy, but it's not a real hinderance. I can talk a little fast, but that is the joy of watching it over and over again. :D

I compressed it with winrar. So if you don't have it, get it Here. (http://www.download.com/3120-20_4-0.html?tg=dl-20&qt=winrar&tag=srch)

Get the video Here. (http://www.silkrooster.com/temp/LW-Hex_BackAgain.rar)

Thanks to Silkrooster for hosting the video! I really appreciate it. I hope this helps everyone!

Edit: The video is an AVI.

06-16-2006, 07:34 PM
13 Megs???? Are you kidding????

That's not enough time to say "hello, my name is geothef........"
:D :D :D :D

06-16-2006, 07:41 PM
Haha. Yeah... It's strange. I compressed it and it came out 13MB... The file uncompressed is somewhere just over 100MB. It didn't sound right to me, but I watched the entire movie after extracting it, so it's all fine there. :D

06-16-2006, 07:58 PM
:thumbsup: :D WAYHEY:D :thumbsup:

Just had a quick watch, straight to the point and you've made it easy to follow (who'd have thought that was possible with Hex). THANKS. GREAT WORK.

I'll be giving this a bash first thing tomorrow, got to get some zzz's :)

06-16-2006, 08:00 PM
Thanks T-Light. :) Hope it is helpful.

Luck with those Z's!

06-16-2006, 08:51 PM
Looks like a cool vid Geo, but I'm having weird playback issues. It seems to start OK but then as it goes along the audio seems good but the video starts to slow down. The audio actually finishes before the vid. Could be my computer I guess.
I'll try it on a different machine.

06-16-2006, 08:55 PM
I noticed that one of the times had I watched it. It was weird, because it didn't happen any other time then the one. I don't really know what would cause that... :stumped:

06-16-2006, 10:20 PM
yea my audio stopped (ie finished tut) when you were still loading into LW :D

So I had to put my left lobe into slomo to catch up with video.
It was like


it hurt :)

06-16-2006, 10:29 PM
Sorry to hear that guys. :(

Oh well. I guess the crucial part of the video (for me anyway...) was getting the hexagon stuff in there.

06-16-2006, 11:26 PM
Hmmm. Same problem on my system. Your computer should be more than fast enough for the video. I am wondering if the frames per second was too high. Camtasia runs about 5 fps, but I have seen videos with it as high as 30 fps already.
I am trying to figure out if it is the software you used, or something happened to the avi once is got compressed.
To me it seamed that the audio was in fast forward a few times, I thought maybe you knew some alien language or something.:D
Still, overall it was a nice video. I think you still got your point across.
If camtasia is a little too much cash, Snagit can capture video as avi.

06-18-2006, 03:40 AM
I watched through the video again today, yeah that sucks. Audio lags behind the video toward the end there. Sorry about that. :(

I used CamStudio. I did tweak the video a bit. Oh well. It was my first video ever. Next one I'll be sure to not include lagging audio, lol.

Thanks again Silkrooster, for hosting the video. :)

06-18-2006, 06:14 AM
Hi there!

I would have loved to watch this video, but as Iīm on Mac that codec isnīt available.

Any chance you could reencode with something more universal, like H264 (which is available in QuickTime 7), or divX?

06-18-2006, 08:06 AM
A follow-up:
Yes, Colin, your plugin will work with Hex maps. Very cool!

I've never frozen my models to export displacements; that's a step backwards, in an opinion. Once that's done, there's no going back and that's not a good thing. Besides, I'm hitting hex's limits with 2.9 mill polys. Can't imagine having to deal with that.
But ya know what?! As I've sat here typing this, I'm going to give it a go just to see if Hex is a bit more stable.

2.1 is a lot better.

06-18-2006, 10:25 AM
Didn't want to mention the audio, but it was still easy to follow. As I live with a girl that starts in the middle of a converation that we'd finished hours before, My brain is now finely tuned into the alternative space/time continuum. :D

06-18-2006, 11:59 AM
I'm sorry I haven't participated more actively in this excellent thread (since I was the one to bring it up, you would think I would have posted more), but I have a day job and ran into a little dificulty when I started trying to UV unwrap my elephant.

It seems that the seams of my model are incredibly sloppy! After hours of trying to unwrap it I came to the conclusion that the model was way to messy for a good uv projection. At first I thought I might have to totally remodel from scratch (my stomach did a funny little twisting-flop motion when I came to that conclusion), but I now think I can fix the model, I just haven't had time.

Hopefully I will get some time today and tommorrow.

Thanks for the video - I am just about to watch it.
Thanks to everyone for all the nuggets of gold offered through-out this thread.


06-18-2006, 03:47 PM
You have a day job unwrapping elephants? :stumped:

Joking aside, could you do us a favour and save some screenshots of your progress. Don't know about anyone else here but I know very little about unwrapping UV's. Had a go with Hexagon 2 when it was first released but got tired of all the crashes. Now it seems to be a lot more stable. Could really do with some pointers as to how it's done properly in Hex. :)

Edit - Should add, geothefaust's excellent intro is the first time I've seen UV unwrapping actually done in hex. I get the basics, just need some understanding of how to say unwrap a table, a face, a simple four legged animal etc. :)

06-18-2006, 04:20 PM
Hey, maybe I should do some UV unwrapping videos?

Norlight, I will try to see what I can do. :) I originally planned to make the video in .mov format, but the file size was too big. I'll get back to you on that.

Would people find UV unwrapping videos useful...?

Edit: angman, as T-Light asked as well, could you post some screens of your mesh and your UV map(s)?

06-18-2006, 05:27 PM
Go geo GO :thumbsup:

As I say, just simple stuff will do. a face, a table or a very simple four legged animal (bulb for the head, ball for the body and four stumpy legs). Basically It's just the logic of the where and why.

Cheers :)

06-18-2006, 06:14 PM
Nah...we need one that shows how to get down into the pores and also shows hair roots :D

06-18-2006, 09:32 PM

Nah...we need one that shows how to get down into the pores and also shows hair roots
:D :thumbsup:

OK, I vote for an advanced tutorial on unwrapping a burning bush. Anyone? :D

06-19-2006, 09:33 PM
Funny you would use a reference to unwrapping a "burning bush" of all things - on this thread.

To fully understand the humor, perhaps you should visit my new website at

Please be kind it is a work in progress (done with Lightwave, Flash, and dreamweaver - oh, and I am sure there is some Photoshop in there somewhere to).


06-19-2006, 10:03 PM
Geo - fantastic video - filled in some holes for me. For one thing I couldn't figure out where the negative brush was - now I know to hold down the shift key.

Well I have my Ele back in LW fixin' her up. appears all the joints were way to messy to UV, with intersecting - and sometimes flat out tangled geometry.

The model looks sort of like a "baby" and is really round and chubby - that combined with my limited skills resulted in mesh chaos. I've fixed the neck and now I am going to work on the rear legs - then I'll tak it back into Hex.

Then I could probably show some screen shots of wires and uvs and stuff.

Its been awhile since I did a test render of her - I'll try to find it and post it.

Meanwhile, check out these links to the other tutorials I'm using besides this thread - found below:


Video on unwrapping a giraffe and a discussion to go along with it


UV Unfolding a space ship in Hexagon and discussion there of:


UV unwrap step by step guide in PDF form with discussion there of:


Various other videos, demos and turorials can be found at:


and of course,


06-20-2006, 01:38 AM
Hi Angman,

Interesting and good-looking site, though I'm not sure I would've used flash for the whole site.

Some tips:

- loading the site takes some time, even with my broadband connection (350kb/sec). I was waiting for about 5 seconds before anything appeared onscreen (both Firefox and Explorer). So people with slower transfer rates will probably close your site if they don't get to read some kind of 'please wait' message. Or load stuff with some kind of indicator how long people must wait. Most flash websites deal with this problem with a preloader.

- You used the texts of your menu buttons as a button mask. Therefore only the lettering is clickable and it's difficult to click on a button. Make sure you use a rectangle as a button mask in Flash. Otherwise it becomes a hit-and-miss affair for any user.

- The site does not fit on a maximized 1024*768 screen when using Internet Explorer on a pc... Scrollbars appear at the bottom and right-hand side. It also looks somewhat cramped and kills your design. If you design a site for 1024*768 resolution, your actual design resolution should be 955*600 pixels, otherwise parts of your design will be off-screen.

-DON'T include a portfolio and resources button if you haven't got anything to show your visitors. Especially the 'will be up 15 may' info may scare any potential customers away. If you can't even stick to your own deadline of publishing the promised content, for heaven's sake, how will customers react to that??!!

- How will longer texts be shown? Will a small scroll bar appear on the right? In most cases users tend to be frustrated by those mini 'flash scrollbars'. Design with usablility in mind. Another reason to go for standard html/css pages.

Your site would be much faster and easier to maintain if you used html/css. Accessibility would also drastically improve and search engines would know where to find your site. Right now your website, & the information presented on it, are more or less invisible to search engines. I'd use flash only for the animated bush part.

Sorry for the comments... I like the design! But Flash websites are often more bothersome than usable. Often designers prefer Flash because it reminds them of apps like Illustrator. For some time now, the number of Flash websites are declining. And a lot of design studios now offer both a Flash website (to show off their design prowess) and a html/css website (which people tend to visit if they're looking for actual information).



06-20-2006, 02:05 AM
Cheers angman, only had time to look at the alien head tut so far, but that pretty much covers what I was after, will take a look at the giraffe when I get some time.

Thanks :)

06-21-2006, 09:24 AM
I have never done a normal map before - in fact I have never truly mastered UV mapping so I may need some help.

yeah, I just got that deal on Hexagon 2, so I'd like to know myself.

I put off learning UV textures until I started making models for 3D games for which UV tex is essential.

IMO this is the basic reliable way to do UVs in LW.

1) Start by texturing the surfaces of your model with different solid colors so they can be easily identified apart from each other.

2) Make map, choose "atlas"

3) FOLLOW the "Bake texture" instructions in the manual docs.

4) Bake textures will export the atlas UV map with all your color textures to an image file that can be painted/edited in your favorite paint app.

5) Now resave your model to whatever_UV.lwo and apply a single surface to the whole model, and name the surface bla-bla_UV for example.

6) In surface editor, use UV projection, select the UV map you created, then load in the image that was saved by Bake textures.

7) Now the model looks the same as before, except that it's just one UV texture.

8) With your paint app open in one window, and LW modeler in another window, use modeler to rotate and view the model so that you can identify the colored surfaces that are on your 2D UV map image in the paint app.

Now the atlas UV image is not confusing, and you know which surfaces are being painted.

9) As you make progress, you can save the image then reload LW image editor to see how the model is turning out.

I like to save lots of back-up versions of the UV map image as I paint so that it's easy to go back and fix things without starting all over.

hope this helps and any advice on the steps is welcome of course.

06-22-2006, 04:13 PM
KiteGlider - that's a bit of a 'brute force' way of texturing and probably handy if you've got a deadline a couple of hours away but letting the Atlas mapping decide for you which parts of the model are more important than others isn't very efficient. You'll need to over compensate with very large textures to get adequete pixel resolution in certain areas.

Going back to Hexagon, I was dissapointed with the UV unwrap function. It's basically not good. Which leads me to conclude that there aren't really any shortcuts to good UVmapping. Doing it manually is best for getting the textures applied how you want.

06-24-2006, 03:52 PM

I don't think the hex unwrapping is horrible. It's useful. You can select seams pretty quickly and unwrap it just as quick. Then for minor tweaking bring it back over to LW (or just do it in hex). I'd say it's a little quicker then unwrapping it manually. But I could be wrong. :)

Sidenote, sorry I haven't updated with anything. I currently do not own a computer, as I am still waiting on parts to build one from newegg. Hopefully, I'll have a video to update with sometime soon after putting the new PC together.

Digital Hermit
06-25-2006, 01:43 AM
IMO this is the basic reliable way to do UVs in LW.

1) Start by texturing the surfaces of your model with different solid colors so they can be easily identified apart from each other.

2) Make map, choose "atlas"

3) FOLLOW the "Bake texture" instructions in the manual docs.

BTW KiteGlider This sounds like a great process and one I will surely implement, thanx for sharing!

I am no programmer, but I was curious...

Why doesn't the LW UV function (i.e. atlas etc...) have an option to divide your UV map by the named surface, part, weight map or even by your process "a color differentiated mesh?" Does a option like this sound like it would run into problems? (or is there something like this already, in LW, that and I have overlooked?)


Digital Hermit

06-25-2006, 05:50 AM
Yes, you've overlooked it.

And Hex's unwrapping, not counting the fact you can't come back and edit the seams, is beyond anything we have natively in LW. Atlas is a nightmare if you want any control at all. As well, the map needs to be massaged and tweaked quite a bit to get it 'right'.

My personal favorites right now are Nitasara's unwrapper and the trick with dynamics and endos. The trick with dynamics and endos requires the least amount of tweaking; it also allows you to learn a WHOLE bunch about how LW works in many areas. Nitasara's unwrapper needs a few more options and much of the tool explained a bit better to be as comfortable but it works nicely, nonetheless.

06-25-2006, 07:18 AM
Another good (and free) option for unwrapping is Wings. With just a few clicks you can get a very good map. I've come to swear by it.

06-25-2006, 07:36 AM
If YOU say it Colin, it's worth my downloading. ;)

What's the difference or bonus of it? Guess I can find out with a download, huh? ;)

Up awfully early, there in the west...

06-25-2006, 08:12 AM
If YOU say it Colin, it's worth my downloading. ;)

What's the difference or bonus of it? Guess I can find out with a download, huh? ;)

Up awfully early, there in the west...

I'm an earlier riser . . . I actually got up late today because it's Sunday. :)

I've only tried the free unwrappers, but Wings is best I've tried so far. Here's what you do:

1. Export to .obj
2. Import the .obj into Wings.
3. Select entire model (ctl-a.)
4. Right-click on the model and select UV Mapping > Direct. The UV Window opens.
5. Again right-click the model and select Continue > Unfolding.
6. If I'm working with a subd model, I will usually right-click and choose ReMap UV > Stretch Optimization. This helps alleviate pinching in tight areas.

If I'm unwrapping a head, I have a slightly different workflow. First, I create a spherical map in the usual manner. And in Wings, I'll select model, but go directly to the UV Window and run ReMap > Unfold. For some reason, this seems to work better (at least in the version I'm using.)

06-26-2006, 01:23 PM
Greetzzz fellow Lightwave - Hexagon users,

There have been some problems relating to very obvious seams when creating displacement maps in Hexagon. If anyone is interested, I've found a way to get nice-looking normal maps out of Hexagon.

Try these steps (working in Hexagon):

1) save the lowres version of your model (make sure this one's got a nicely layouted uv-map!)
2) save the highres version of your model
3) Start Nvidia's Melody. Load the lowres version as your working model. Load the highres version as your reference model
4) Click the button marked "Normal Map Settings". Change the settings to "Use Decal Texture Coordinates" (this makes sure the uv-map of the lowres model is used) For more info, have a look at: http://reality.artificialstudios.co...n/NormalMapping
5) The resulting normal mapping renders quite nicely in any 3d-app with normal mapping capabilities. Great for realtime work.


6) To create a displacement map, convert the normal map using a tool such as "Displacement Map Creator" ( ) Free download again!
7) Use the displacement map.

Both tools are free to download and use.

Melody may be downloaded at:

This procedure works and has been tested by me. Depending on the quality of the mapping, etc. seams will be neglible, but it depends on the mapping and models. At any rate, those pesky and VERY obvious seams as generated by Hexagon are gone. And you will still be able to use your displacement mapping you painstakingly created in Hexagon. The maps created by Melody don't have to be flipped, as in Hexagon's case.

By the way, it is possible to create displacement and height maps within Melody, but so far it seems to crash every time I try to process a displacement map (at least in my case). If I get it to work, this is the preferred way of doing things: a dds-file is generated that can be read by nvidia's dds plugin (for photoshop) and you'll have the choice of creating a 8, 16, or 32 bit displacement map file. Let me know if someone figures this problem out. I would prefer to create the displacement files in Melody, because I believe the method mentioned above saves 8-bit displacement files.

I'm using this method now to create normal maps for my realtime archviz project. Works quite nicely!



06-26-2006, 04:11 PM
THanks for the info!!!
Ssss weee T!

06-27-2006, 01:10 AM
Yes Thanks.....

06-27-2006, 02:02 AM
I just remembered that there's another good normal and displacement conversion tool available: Orb.

Free download at:

This one doesn't crash when I tried to create displacement mappings.



06-27-2006, 08:06 AM
Two quick questions..

I know melody will work with regards to Low and High Subdivision Models made in Hexagon, but would Melody work the same with low and high polygon models built in Lightwave.

Do both versions require a UVMap or just the low version.

06-27-2006, 08:38 AM
It does not matter what application you use to create a high-poly and low-poly model. As long as they more or less 'fit'. As for Lightwave, good results are possible by creating a high-poly model and crunching that with Polygon Cruncher (which is a great tool/plugin anyway if you have to do anything with realtime models!). The crunched low-poly model can be used as the low-poly model. Make sure that one is UV-mapped in a coherent manner!

Only the low version needs to be UV-mapped.

I just learned from someone on the eovia forum that there's another (!) normal mapper available as a free download. This one also creates ambient occlusion maps. Download at:




06-27-2006, 09:00 AM
Thanks for the confirmation. I am trying to find out why Melody might crash. My two models made in LW have 272619 Polygons and 4366 polygon.

All works great until I press the "ExportModel Data" button, where upon the program closes with an error.

Will try the xNormal v3.7.3 normal mapper

06-27-2006, 12:09 PM
Thanks for pointing out xNormal. It works great for me, meaning no error crashes and the ambient occlusion is a plus.

06-29-2006, 05:59 AM
Appologies first off for what must seem like laziness on my part.

I'm working on something that's taking most of my time at the minute, and don't have anywhere near enough left for experimentation with Hex.

When I first bought Hex there were so many crashes when dealing with LW models I had a play around with the import options for the wavefront.obj loader.

Now Hex is a lot more stable, every object I bring in is fine. BUT, the UV maps from lightwave are being imported incorrectly.

Does anyone know off hand, what the correct settings should be to import an object and UV map from Lightwave? My current default settings are attached below.

Thanks :)

06-29-2006, 06:50 AM
My maps import correctly with the same settings as yours.

06-29-2006, 07:37 AM
Thanks Sculptactive.

I was hoping that would be the problem, unfortunately it looks like it isn't.

When I bring the model in to hex for painting, the paint starts streaking along parts of the model. Seemed to me like an incorrect UV import.

Here's some basic info.
Model is a human head.
Model only has one surface (Head)
Model only has one UV
Painting the UV in photoshop gives correct results in LW.

Anyone have any ideas?

06-29-2006, 07:45 AM

You might still be correct.
I was refering to the Map importing and looking OK in Hex. I have not tried the paint tool on it.

06-29-2006, 07:58 AM
Ah, Cheers :)


06-29-2006, 10:39 AM
Let me rephrase the question. :)

Has anyone managed to successfully import their LW model with UV map into Hexagon 2 for painting?

06-29-2006, 10:58 AM
Yes! It wasn't easy.

You may already know this, but you must make sure you have the UV Map assigned to a surface (doesn't matter which channel), otherwise the obj exporter won't know that there is a UV map.

My experiments seemed to work just fine, though I haven't done anything serious with it yet.


06-29-2006, 12:58 PM
Thanks Auger.

Checked the UV is assigned to a texture and it is. It's assigned to 'Head'.

It might be something I'm doing in Hex - ie not assigning surfaces correctly.

This is what I'm getting at the minute, Picture on the left is the rough and ready UV in LW, on the right is what I'm getting through in hex. I'm just wondering if Hex is simply banging in this UV because it can't find the one from LW?

06-29-2006, 01:19 PM
Yeah my UVs come in perfectly from LW. Without the sub-d interpolation, of course.

In your pic it's hard to tell if that's the one from LW or from Hexagon. You shouldn't have to do anything in order to see the LW-assigned UVs. If you have to click on anything in Hex in order to see UVs, then those are not the LW ones.

Now when you say you have your UVs assigned to "head" do you mean as a texture or as a part name, UV name, etc.?

You have to go into the surface editor and click on the T Button for color, for instance, and assign that head surface to that UV map with an image. Doesn't even matter what image, but I believe there has to be an image for it to work although I could be mistaken.


06-29-2006, 01:26 PM
Ah, I'm with you, give me a minute. (I wondered what you meant by channels :foreheads )

06-29-2006, 01:35 PM
:bowdown: Thanks Auger :bowdown:

It did the trick.

06-29-2006, 01:39 PM
:bowdown: Thanks Auger :bowdown:

It did the trick.

No problem. And believe me, it took me a long while to figure that one out. :bangwall:

06-29-2006, 01:50 PM

No problem. And believe me, it took me a long while to figure that one out. :bangwall:
I was about to give up, thanks again :thumbsup: