View Full Version : Node Enhancements and Thoughts!

08-18-2006, 08:12 PM
I'm interested in hearing from other users opinions of Nodal and their thoughts and suggestions and who would like to see more Nodal enhancements, and any limitations they have and enhancements they would like to see.

I notice that if i delete and or copy and paste a Node at the wrong time with Viper or NE preview, LW will crash frequently especially on complex setups where Viper is evaluating the preview and i delete or copy a connected node. I'm guessing this is due to the widely known threading issue. I hope this is really looked at for 9.1. I've crashed dozens of times today with this problem. (lwtools9.dll) Anyway, onto some of my thoughts for improvement.

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Better Gradients: (Options that at least match the layer system)
Better OpenGL and Viper Interaction with Nodal
Custom Shortcut Keys. - Node Editor Shortcut Key Editor
Full scripting of nodes and functions.
Dbl clicking the surface node, should open the legacy surface properties panel.
Dragable resizable thumbnail size.

Surface Outputs: A way to connect surfaces to surfaces.

GroupNodes, selecting a bunch of Nodes and selecting Collapse-Group.

BypassNodes Toggle: To avoid having to disconnect Nodes during tweaking,
the ability to bypass certain Nodes like Digital Fusion allows.

Automatic conversions: Connecting for example two color nodes to the same input and having the NE make the appropriate conversion, or possibly automatically adding and connecting a mixer or blend node.

Tree list at the left, should allow me to select and see other surfaces and not just nodes in the current surface.

I should also be able to switch to any of the other editors from the Node Surface panel to for example the Displacement Node editor panel. (for copying of surfaces etc)

Increase the usage of Nodal to places like HV and Texture Environment.

Allowing displacements and clip or mask maps to be done on a surface basis,
and bypassing the need for a clip map node editor. Allowing surface presets for displacements and clip maps. and a far better workflow in the process.

Increase the SDK examples using Nodal, for example an NT sourcecoded version of Dponts NodeVol plugin would allow many users to modify or add a Node Editor to almost any plugin or future implentation or area of LW, and thus reducing the need for NT to do this internally as a priority.
This way Taiki,Groundfog,PixieDust would all already have Node volume
Architecturally it's likely a fault that one NodeVol plugin wouldn't work with all volume plugins and would require individual tweaking for compilation.

It's a shame to see only outputs on many items.
In fact i'm having a hard time seeing why for example we can't control
all Camera's, Lights and Motions with Nodes for example. (apart from the architectural limitations) In fact is there a real reason this can't be done for Camera's for example already? As we do have access to Camera's in the SDK.
(there is no light class obviously)

But for example a Light Info Node that could have inputs and outputs,
so surfaces and gradients could control intensity, colour etc. Basically anything that has channel info could be utilised in a very Houdini'esuqe way...
Essentially it could leverage quite a lot of power out of the Node Editor and LW in general. The Node Editor would become a very intergral part of LW's interface in that everything from selection of lights to objects and their properties could all be controlled via the Node Editor. Basically creating a very dynamic workflow, that could blow the others away IMO...

At some stage i would like to see the multiple editors made to be just one editor that enabled all functions to be done via a single NE rather than a surface, displacement, vlight basis editors. Phew i think that's all that comes to mind.
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This was going to be a feature request post: But i decided get a broader spectrum of what other users thought were good and bad things with Nodal,
before posting it as such. Agree/Disagree all thoughts and ideas welcome..

Oh.... And Nodal should come with an addiction warning on the LWBox.... :)
And i should have a warning on my long posts... ;)

08-18-2006, 08:25 PM
I don't see anything wrong with that little lot Redbull, might be lucky if we had it for 9.1 though. :)

Oh and something like fastskin shader, how many thousands of folks round here would just love that :thumbsup:

08-18-2006, 08:54 PM
I don't see anything wrong with that little lot Redbull, might be lucky if we had it for 9.1 though. :)

Oh and something like fastskin shader, how many thousands of folks round here would just love that :thumbsup:

Heheh i'm not hopeful we would see many of them in 10.1, but you can only hope..... The threading issue which has affected Fprime for a while seems to be quite evident with Nodal and crashed way too much yesterday. It needs to be addressed before the other requests. And in a future point release.

Expanding the Node infrastructure to a Houdini type power i think makes a lot more sense than trying to follow some of the other larger 3D applications.
But i understand it's going to take time to leverage the power so i figure i'll ask now.... :)

Yeah XSI's fastskin shader is good and i understand people wanting similar.
I was hoping TB's fakeskin would be updated for LW9, but i don't believe he currently has plans to do so.....

Also it would be nice to have a Nodal Simbiont for Darktree textures.
This would give Nodal users a free 300+ procedural textures and shaders for Node texturing.

08-19-2006, 06:13 AM
having nodes for channels or item motion will kick major butt in terms of animation.

08-19-2006, 07:45 AM
having nodes for channels or item motion will kick major butt in terms of animation.

I agree.

I also love that list RedBull came up with. GJ!

08-19-2006, 11:04 AM
I'm not a programmer, just a scripter, but could node editors be added for areas the sdk has access (like a node editor as a Motion plug-in)? I know I have amelie, and that plugs in pretty much anywhere...

08-19-2006, 12:25 PM
I'm not a programmer, just a scripter, but could node editors be added for areas the sdk has access (like a node editor as a Motion plug-in)?


08-19-2006, 06:09 PM
Which kind of begs the question why more people didn't buy amelie, since it provides a node interface for all these parts. Although having an sdk for nodes does seem to be giving LW a big boost.

Thomas M.
09-28-2006, 11:43 AM
One point about nodal which is disapointing is it's documentation.

One big point which is a shame is that I can't save nodal tress above 110 nodes without loosing all the connections on reload. Major bug!!!

Big bug also is if you forget to purge your history, nodal will crash after a few actions with heavy tress.

Then there are a view crashes I can't relate to anything. If this stuff would work alright, I'd be more than happy.

Nodal is so great in general, but the time I lost through annoying bugs did rather upset me in the past and now.

Wishlist: Gradients with more options. I don't need an extra thickness node all the time. Include it in the gradient input choice.

A fresnel gradient. Denis transfered one already. Make it stable if it isn't already and include it.

All the shaders should be transfered to nodal (from the pull down menue). The stress map is so useless if you can't use it in a node setup as an alpha to blend textures.

Well, and NT should explain to its folks what the reflection and refraction input at the base node could be used for. Documentation update would be more than welcome. I want the SSS nodes explained. What do they do and how can I change their looks. Without input nodes, they look all the same, even if I change their parameters in extrem ways.

09-29-2006, 03:33 AM
this one is strange but I will explain.

I want a global nodal option. I would like to turn in on and have it override all surface settings. The reason?

Ambient Occlusion. I am getting sick and tired of having to set one surface the way I want and then copy it to all the other surfaces.

THEN!!! if I'm an idiot (and I am) I have accidentaly hit save all objects a few times. Just because I'm in the habit of always saving in case of a crash. Then when I reload.. TADA all the surfaces are white Ambient Occlusion. All the other surfaces are gone!!

I would be nice to just activate "Global Nodal" and override the surface without actually changing every surface. If I decide to change it to say 8x24 from 4x12 I don't have to copy and paste for every surface on every object. It would make render passes a lot simpler.