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kevin3d
06-02-2003, 09:09 AM
Does Lightwave have any way to export After Effect project files, as does Cinema4D?

Red_Oddity
06-02-2003, 10:11 AM
Nope

cavalos
06-03-2003, 03:59 PM
I think after effects is a good compositing program but is better to keep compatibility and workflow with the "big ones" like shake, combustion, commotion and DF.

Best
Christian

lunarcamel
06-03-2003, 05:47 PM
I thought I read on flay.com of a lscript or something that would take your rendered passes and automatically set up an AE file for you - I could be wrong but do a simple search on the site.


Also I don't think of DF, commotion or Combustion as the "big ones" hehe

kevin3d
06-04-2003, 07:08 AM
Originally posted by lunarcamel
I thought I read on flay.com of a lscript or something that would take your rendered passes and automatically set up an AE file for you - I could be wrong but do a simple search on the site.


Found it. Works with the Cinema4D plugin somehow. will check it out...thanks

Beamtracer
06-09-2003, 06:07 AM
Sure, there are better compositing apps than After Effects. The big one that comes to mind is Shake. As an AE user, I'd gladly swap it for Shake any day.

However......... After Effects was one of the... in fact I think it was THE... first compositing application, and is still the most popular. It's only in more recent times that there has been more competition in this market.

After Effects, despite its flaws, remains the most popular compositing application used by Lightwavers. Digital Fusion is probably the second most popular. For this reason, it is crazy that there is no decent synergy between AE and Lightwave.

The biggest issues:
1. Motion file translation
2. 16-bpc file support

The lack of these two features is enough to drive any AE-LW user banannas.

8bpc
Most images you see on your computer screen are 8bpc (bits per channel). JPEGs, PNGs AVIs etc are usually 8bc. These image formats, however, should not be used for compositing.

Anyone doing compositing of a professional quality should be using 16bpc or higher. After Effects can be switched to 16bpc mode. Shake can go to 32bpc.

The problems come when you create 16bpc renders in Lightwave for use in a 16bpc After Effects project. There are no image formats on Lightwave's render menu that are 16bpc and readable by After Effects. The professional use of Lightwave with After Effects stops here.

OK, I hear you say that the PSD plug-in can render 16bpc files for AE. Yes it can, but this is not available on the render menu, therefore it is not available to other plug-ins. What if you want use the Corona plug-in and render the corona to a seperate 16bpc file? You can't.

Also, PSD isn't very efficient with file sizes, so if you want to use 16bpc PSD sequences, you'd better invest in a few extra hard drives.

The same problems occur when going from AE to LW. 16bpc Quicktime movies rendered from After Effects are unreadable by Lightwave.

Then there's motion files. AE can natively read Maya motion files, as well as C4D motion files (via a plug-in) but not Lightwave.

So, look at the situation we're in. The most popular compositing app with LW users, and we can't transfer 16bpc images or motion files between the two.

Does it make you feel like pulling your hair out?

kevin3d
06-09-2003, 07:04 AM
Beamtracer,

thanks for the detailed response!!! I feel/share your pain. Supposedly, version 8 will improve integration with 3rd party apps...maybe that will mean after effects (Newtek...are ya listening?)

Valter
06-10-2003, 01:44 AM
excuse my ignorance. But what's formats that I can get 16bpc in lw render? TGA PNG TIFF BMP??

thanks

Beamtracer
06-10-2003, 04:46 AM
There's a couple of 16bpc formats on Lightwave's render menu, like RLA and SGI64, however they don't work with After Effects or any of the other Adobe applications.

There's also a Lightwave PSD plug-in, but because its not available on the render menu it can't always be accessed.

32bpc is a different matter. There are a few 32bpc formats that can be interchanged with Shake, Final Cut Pro, and Combustion, and composited in their full 32bpc range. Unfortunately, AE5 and the soon to be released AE6 don't render in 32bpc.

Lightwolf
06-10-2003, 01:46 PM
Hi Beam,
which 16 bit formats does AE support (besides .tiff I guess). ?
I know that DF supports the RLA formats, as well as .flx natively.
The latest RPF Saver for LW shouls also save that camera coords within the RPF file.
Cheers,
Mike

Chuck
06-10-2003, 02:09 PM
ElectricFX offers an After Effects plugin called Extract3D that will work with RLA and RPF files from various 3D applications, including LightWave (though we aren't mentioned on the web page).

You can find them at http://www.electricfx.com

Bionic Antboy
06-11-2003, 04:12 PM
Beam Tracer...

AE Production Bundle 5.5 supports 16 bits for a number of image formats (import and export), including Cineon, which I render out of LW all the time, just to have that additional control....

http://www.adobe.com/support/techdocs/2aa9a.htm

Similarly, using the RLA and RPF Exporters, as opposed to the standard savers, I can import those formats into AE from LW.

See the following on my website...

http://www.dougplanet.com/tut-rla-fun.html

Now, I do have problems when trying to extract the Materials channel of those renders, but the Production Bundle of AE 5.5 isn't that limited. I AM looking at other tools right now, though :)

Beamtracer
06-11-2003, 10:10 PM
Thanks, Chuck and Bionic Antboy for your replies.

ElecticFX is not OS X compatible yet (strangely, it works with Mac OS8). Maybe the Windows users will find it useful.

Cineon, as far as I know, is a 10 bit-per-channel file format (not 16bpc), and due to its gamma qualities is more suitable to film than video.

Antboy: It's interesting that you have got 16bpc RLA files to work between LW and AE. I'm using Mac OS X, so maybe the problem is only with the Mac version of Lightwave.

I can get standard 8bpc RLA Lightwave images working in After Effects, along with their depth channels. However, when I set the Deluxe RLA plugin to 16bpc, the whole thing gets scrambled.

Searching through the old Newtek forum, there's a lot of posts from people wanting more 16bpc solutions, and a lot of posts from people who want more After Effects integration with Lightwave.

I think it would be worth Newtek's time to improve this area.

Chuck
06-12-2003, 08:57 AM
Better integration with other production tools is indeed one of our priorities for LightWave [8], as we mentioned in our announcement that we would be previewing [8] at SIGGRAPH. Shortly after this thread got started I brought it to the attention of the dev team and our beta group. The beta group confirmed and expanded on a number of the points as to how LightWave could achieve better integration with After Effects, and other compositing software as well. Timely discussion, points well taken, and additional suggestions certainly most welcome.

I'll have our test team check to see if there is indeed an OSX specific problem in the Deluxe RLA saver. If you can add some details about the results you are getting, that might be useful.

I notice that the ElectricFX page listing the requirements has not been updated since last August. Have you more recent information confirming whether or not there is an OSX version of Extract3D? I emailed my contact there a few days ago regarding their status with LightWave (we provided them a Duo copy for development last fall), but haven't had a response yet. I'll do some further follow up.

Chuck
06-12-2003, 09:21 AM
Does this look interesting relative to this discussion? Al Street has a plugin for Mac and Windows (Transmotion Utility Pack) that allows you to share keyframe data between LW and AE, as well as other compositing applications.


http://www.ats-3d.com/

Doug Nicola
06-12-2003, 09:44 AM
Thanks for the heads-up on that one, Chuck. Looks like this is very useful for more DFX+/LW integration. Nice testimonial Al Street got from another DF/LW user.

Bionic Antboy
06-12-2003, 11:40 AM
hey Beamtracer,

Sorry about the confusion in my post. The RPF/RLA exporters ARE only 8 bpc, but I can get at the depth channel, etc. The Deluxe RLA at 16 bpc has never worked for me in AE either. Although it reports it as being "Trillions of Colors", playing with it seems to give me the same range as standard 8 bpc, and I can't seem to extract depth mattes and such.

As for Cineon, I was looking into it, and I was under the impression from the stuff I found online that they were 16 bpc. AE reports them as Trillions of colours, where as 10 bpc images are Billions of Colours - 1.073 billion according to my math :)

Although I do video work, I still like the control Cineon gives me, as it's easy to adjust the levels in AE, and gives a lot more control.

Rendering out a 16 bpc image format, and using the RLA Exporter to access the depth channel and such separately (it can be done in the same render pass and works with network rendering), can give a lot of control, but having 16 bpc file format that contains all those tasty extra channels, like depth, surface norms, Texture UVs etc working flawlessly between LW and AE (or any other comp package) would be the best. :)

kevin3d
06-12-2003, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by Chuck
Shortly after this thread got started I brought it to the attention of the dev team and our beta group. The beta group confirmed and expanded on a number of the points as to how LightWave could achieve better integration with After Effects, and other compositing software as well. Timely discussion, points well taken, and additional suggestions certainly most welcome.

Wow! What a tribute to NewTek support! Thanks Chuck!!
I'd recommend the group look at Cinema4D's support for After Effects & Photoshop. Also look at photoshop/3ds max intergration via ghostpainter :http://www.cebas.com/products/products.asp?UD=10-7888-33-788&PID=5

Intergration with CAD applications would be helpful for architectural viz. examples include 3DS Max linking with DWG files and Cinema4/VectorWorks linking.

Beamtracer
06-12-2003, 07:15 PM
Thanks, Chuck!!!

I'd like to thank Chuck Baker from Newtek for taking on board the issues regarding AE and Lightwave. It is reassuring to learn that this matter has been brought to the attention of the Lightwave development team, and they are looking at solutions.


16bpc

Apart from the issue of transferring motion files between LW and AE, the big thing I'd like to see is a choice of 16bpc image formats on Lightwave's render menu that work with AE.

The Deluxe RLA format doesn't seem to be standardized across the industry. This may be why it is not working between LW and AE (in 16bpc). 8bpc works OK.

As you can see from the image I attached below, when I import a 16bpc Lightwave Deluxe RLA image into After Effects, AE can see that it is "trillions of colors", but the image gets scrambled, as you can see from the preview window. The original image had red spherical shapes.

The same thing occurs with SGI64 images from Lightwave.

I wonder if this could be a Mac issue, due to the difference between Windows and Mac byte order.

Beamtracer
06-12-2003, 07:17 PM
The After Effects project window when you import a 16bpc Deluxe RLA image from Lightwave.

lasco
06-16-2003, 05:19 AM
Hi Beam,

glad to see people interested by the question of LW / AFX relation.

Your knowledge seems great on the matter, I'm currently
making tests exporting different buffers from LW to see
how I can use them in AFX.

Sometimes I get cool results (faking DOF for example) but I must
admit I meet also troubles playing with these grayscale images,
especially when I apply them some Level filters to correctly
set my alpha masks.
I especially noticed in many cases it's impossible to keep smooth
gradients when you increase the constrast, I instead get flat gray
surfaces, see what I mean ? Has this something to do with
the question of 8 bpc images ?

I don't exactly know in what way 16 bpc is better than 8,
except that there are more colors. Can you give me an example ?


PS : seems I read on the website that if ElectricFX does'nt run yet in OS X
it at least SHOULD do in a while…


PS 2 : maybe AFX does'nt recognize LW's motions yet but
I don't know any other compositing soft that does.
I've juste check this this morning and at least it seems that Combustion
does'nt (it does'nt even recognizes Maya's motions, only 3DS… hem, I really wonder why ¿?) and Commotion does'nt even know what 3D is…

So anyway what good compositing app to chose available for Mac ?

vrolfak
06-16-2003, 02:02 PM
combustion is for mac also.

lasco
06-16-2003, 02:15 PM
thanx vrolfak,

i knew this actually and meant apart AFX or Combustion…
The main question may be : OK AFX perhaps lacks of important
features about importing LWs buffers or even motions but anyway,
on Mac at least there are no soft at all that solve those problems…

(besides I also thought even if did'nt write : for the same price
than AFX which is'nt at all the case of Combustion unless you compare
it with the AFX Production Bundle) Anyway I never tried this soft
but it looks quite powerfull.
The strange thing is that maybe it only imports 3DS Max
but I find it's interface looks much like LW's one does'nt it ?

Beamtracer
06-16-2003, 06:46 PM
I wonder if companies contact each other to solve problems. That is, I wonder if Newtek could contact Adobe and work out how they can get some 16bpc image file formats working together, or get motion files working together.

After Effects (Production Bundle) has inbuilt support for Maya motion files. I believe that Adobe did the work for this. Maxon made an After Effects / C4D plug-in which can do the same thing.

If the After Effects specifications page had "Lightwave" written on the list of natively supported file types, this would generate Lightwave sales. It would be an advertisement to After Effects users. This would be better than a separate Lightwave plug-in.

Lasco: If you have all the money in the world, then Shake would be the best compositing application to use with Lightwave. It has 32bpc support.

As most people can't afford Shake, then After Effects and Combustion are the next choices to use on the Mac (Commotion seems to be slipping off the map).

The new version, After Effects 6, is due for imminent release. A lot of production houses are already testing the beta version. AE6 is said to have more 16bpc support, so maybe some of these problems will be solved.

Combustion on the Mac... a lot of people like it. I've always been a bit suspicious of Discreet and their marketing practices, as you can see by their preference for Max support rather than any other 3D apps.

lasco
06-17-2003, 01:43 AM
Lasco: If you have all the money in the world, then Shake would be the best compositing application to use with Lightwave.

I don't :)

Well I hadn't ever hear about this soft before and am
as much surprised I see it's an Apple software !

Anyway I don't understand something : what's that price ???
Don't tell me it's only due to the 16 / 32 bpc availability…?

WHO is going to buy that ?

The worst : I see that it's even twice more expensive for Linux / Irix platforms !!!
Why ? I'm really shocked buy Apple's marketing, one more time, they're
maybe worse than MS in many cases :(

Conclusion : if one day I had like you say all the money in the world I'll rather built a render farm PC based for LW instead of spending money in softs that are so expensive that I will never find anybody (on any forum for example) to help me but will have to pay more and more money to Apple to get a technical support !

vrolfak
06-17-2003, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by lasco
The worst : I see that it's even twice more expensive for Linux / Irix platforms !!!
Why ? I'm really shocked buy Apple's marketing, one more time, they're
maybe worse than MS in many cases :(

precisely because of that, cause it´s not THEIR platform so when your buying in the long run you save money if you switch to mac (if you turn to the dark side) so thats a way of getting ppl over the dark side.

lasco
06-17-2003, 09:54 AM
I understand that volfak
but I'm afraid there's a moment one should stop dreaming.

Apple sells already the slower and most expensive computers of
the world and everybody knows that.
I'm not sure they'll be successful if they do the same thing with softwares…

(and saying this I'm a mac user but I'm able to think
that too much is too much)

Beamtracer
06-17-2003, 04:43 PM
Shake isn't designed for the home user. It's pitched at big budget film makers (eg Lord of the Rings) who will buy the compositing package of their choice, regardless of price.

You can run Shake on a PC if you install Linux. Also, the Linux / Irix version of Shake doesn't cost any more than it did when it was owned by Nothing Real.

Intuition
06-19-2003, 12:29 PM
Hey Chuck,

Has the Lightwave development team ever seen the plug ins for after effects by a company called Trapcode?

the plug ins are

Shine
Starglow
3d stroke.

www.trapcode.com

I think Lightwave should try to achieve these effects natively.

Especially the 3d stroke effects.

IF you guys could come up with a feature that worked just like 3d stroke with the same efected parameters BUT had them inside a real 3d environment thta would be a little easier to control (Lightwave eh?) I think it would be a very powerful tool.


ANy thoughts?