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lordarka
08-24-2006, 02:08 AM
Hi everyone,

I have a problem with a model that I've invested considerable time and energy into constructing and texturing. The model is a little less than 2 million polys, and is textured entirely with .PNG files generated in Photoshop CS2. I am using version 8.5 on a Powermac G5 2.5GHz (dual CPU) with 5GB of RAM and a 256 MB ATI X800 Video adapter.

The first problem that I have noticed is that whenever I load the object in modeler, there is a particular PNG file that the program can never find. The location has not changed, and i just direct it to the new file every time. I suspect, however, that this is not the cause of my much bigger problem....

I just added a new element to the model, and now, whenever i export the model to Layout for a rendering test, Layout crashes. For a while, it was actually rendering the whole image, though the system would sometimes inform me that the buffer memory had been exhausted. This I could correct simply by reducing the camera resolution, though it doesn't really bode well for when I want to render the model at a higher resolution. Even so, the program now simply crashes mid render, consistently, every time, regardless of the rendering options turned on, the camera resolution settings, or any other factor.

Honestly, I am getting increasingly frustrated with this software; on account of bugs like these, and the excruciatingly long time it takes to transfer files to Layout, it takes me forever to do even the simplest things. I'm hoping you guys have some good advice to offer, as you've always managed to save my *** in the past.

Please let me know if there are any other relevant details I you think might be important.

Thanks again!

Deeply concerned that all my work may be for naught....

Arka C.

Chilton
08-24-2006, 05:51 AM
Hi Arka,


Hi everyone,

I have a problem with a model that I've invested considerable time and energy into constructing and texturing. The model is a little less than 2 million polys, and is textured entirely with .PNG files generated in Photoshop CS2. I am using version 8.5 on a Powermac G5 2.5GHz (dual CPU) with 5GB of RAM and a 256 MB ATI X800 Video adapter.


(excellent setup...)


The first problem that I have noticed is that whenever I load the object in modeler, there is a particular PNG file that the program can never find. The location has not changed, and i just direct it to the new file every time. I suspect, however, that this is not the cause of my much bigger problem....

Wait, don't be too suspicious yet! Most of the 'big' problems people run into in LightWave are actually a series of *unrelated* little bugs, which appear larger when combined. And I'm sure that's the basis for some philosophical discussion about problem solving in general, but that's as far as I stayed awake in class.

Would you mind sending me the errant PNG file?

( [email protected] )



I just added a new element to the model, and now, whenever i export the model to Layout for a rendering test, Layout crashes. For a while, it was actually rendering the whole image, though the system would sometimes inform me that the buffer memory had been exhausted. This I could correct simply by reducing the camera resolution, though it doesn't really bode well for when I want to render the model at a higher resolution. Even so, the program now simply crashes mid render, consistently, every time, regardless of the rendering options turned on, the camera resolution settings, or any other factor.

Are you sure it's *mid* render? There was a bug in 8.5 that caused LW to crash at the end of a preview.

Also, does this happen if you save the model as a .lwo file, then open that in Layout? If so, your hub might be the culprit, as that's certainly been the case before.

Just so you know, NewTek is making a concerted effort to fix *all* of the Mac-specific issues, from workflow to stability. So don't give up yet, the problem(s) might be easier to fix than you think.

-Chilton Webb
NewTek

lordarka
08-24-2006, 01:19 PM
Hi Chilton,

Thanks for your prompt reply.

OK, so I've made one bit of progress since last night. I have determined that the element that was causing Lightwave to crash was, in fact, a piece of the model I just constructed last night. Absent that piece, LW seems to render just fine. I am not sure, though, why it is that this particular piece causes a rendering failure. To answer your specific questions:

- When the offending piece (layer) is present in the model, the rendering generally fails either before it starts, or about 25% through.

- It does not appear to be a texturing issue as applied to the piece. I removed the textures from the piece, and the renders still fail.

- Interestingly, I have been able to get Lightwave to render the object with the offending piece/layer in place, but now, Lightwave refuses to do it... almost as if it's gotten tired of the piece and wants to do something else.

- I have tried rendering variants of the model with and without the wierd .PNG file that Lightwave seems unable to find, and it has not made any difference in terms of the ability of the software to complete a render. Clearly, it's the piece/layer that is the issue triggering the broader failure of the software. At any rate, I will send you the .PNG if you think it might be problematic.

A little bit about the piece that is causing all this trouble.

It is a 432 polygon layer (all 4 corner polys) created using the following method
- Make Polygon
- Lathe Polygon
- Delete excess internal geometry (including the lathe template residing within the object created)
- Cylindrical UV mapping, with coordinate .PNG textures applied (These textures don't seem to make any difference).

I am going to try an alternative approach to the construction, and see if anything changes. In the meantime, let me find that texture....

Thanks again for your help!

Arka C.

PS: To my knowledge, I am entitled to an upgrade to v9 via download, since I purchased my copy of v8.5 as part of a promotional bundle (that included e-on's Vue d' Espirit). How do I take advantage of that?

Chilton
08-24-2006, 01:40 PM
Hi,

Is there any chance you could send me the scene/model that is failing, or at least the offending part? If this is a reproducible bug, I'd like to squash it now, before it becomes intermittent ;-)

I'll ask about your free upgrade.

Thanks,
-Chilton

lordarka
08-24-2006, 04:39 PM
Hi Chilton,

I can certainly send the scene, but the size of the model exceeds my e-mail system's ability to transmit (21.3MB). Perhaps I can post the model on my website, and you can download it?

I posted all the relevant files in www.starved-artist.com/Lightwave. Left Armature modified 1e represents the model in a 'pre-crash' state, and the model post crash file is the same model with the offending layer (Chimney shaft) included. You can also open the 'model post crash' file, delete the layer entitled 'Chimney shaft' and get it to render. Also in located in that folder is 'sample render.jpg' that shows the model rendered in its pre-crash state, as well as scene files for the pre- and post- crash states. I assume, however, that the scene files are useless without the models that they reference to.

I also assume that the textures are not incorporated into the Lightwave model files? You can take a look at the sorts of textures I am employing by looking at the sample render.

Please let me know when you have finished downloading the files, as I want to remove them promptly (they take up a fair amount of space on my server). My e-mail is achatter(At Symbol)san.rr.com.

Thanks again!

Arka C.

lordarka
08-24-2006, 09:56 PM
Hi Chilton,

So, I have a somewhat chilling (for me) addendum/discovery to add to this story. I continued working on the model today, and added a much smaller piece of lathed geometry to the piece. Exported it to Layout, and it rendered fine. Then I put a texture on it... and Layout crashed. Given these facts, I can only assume that I have reached some sort of texture limit, and Lightwave won't let me add any more textures or complex geometry without crashing.

This seems very odd to me. I did 3D work many years ago on old Quadra machines with far less memory or computing horsepower than my current platform, and I was able to do some pretty sophisticated things. Now, while using a pretty well endowed system, I am running into limits like these... Needless to say, I am a little frazzled about the fact that I may have to trash this project alogether...

Nonetheless, I appreciate your tireless efforts to resolve this. I hope that the data that I posted will be of some help to you. If it's a problem on my end, I hope that you'll be able to educate me.

Thanks.

Arka C.

Chilton
08-24-2006, 10:01 PM
Hi Arka,

I suspect I will have a solid answer for you tomorrow.

-Chilton

lordarka
08-24-2006, 10:44 PM
Hi Arka,

I suspect I will have a solid answer for you tomorrow.

-Chilton


Were you able to download the files OK?

To add to the strangeness of this story, I was able to get the model to render the most recent addition, but as I add new geometry, layout is running into more hiccups. In any effort you undertake to repeat the problem on your end, try adding random new geometry to the object.

I am also beginning to suspect that the textures are part of the problem... of course, you don't have access to the textures...

Thanks!

Arka C.

toby
08-25-2006, 02:30 AM
It sounds like you're pushing LW pretty hard, enough to make it unstable, so sometimes it crashes but sometimes it finishes. Anything you can do to improve stability should help you, like these:

1. Turn off the Hub
2. Clean up your geometry as much as you can; merge points, unify polys, triple all non-planars and N-gons. ( set your Flatness limit to .25 instead of the default .5, you will see more non-planars )
3. turn off 'show render in progress' ( saves memory )
4. render with F10 instead of F9.
5. Reduce your segment memory limit, low enough that the render is done in multiple segments

I personally have seen a limit of of almost 5 million polygons before LW refuses to render, without textures, but half that with textures. And I've seen a limit of 4-500mb of textures, but less if there's lots of geometry. And it is less stable than normal at these limits.

Rendering a high-res image demands even more ram.

And whenever you have a consistent crashing problem, it's a good idea to delete your preference files, they can be corrupted by a crash and cause more crashes.

lordarka
08-25-2006, 03:38 PM
Hi Toby,

Thanks for all of your advice. I've implemented 3 and 4, but am not sure how to go about doing some of the other things you suggested. I confess that I'm new enough to the program that I don't always know the best way to optimize my geometry; I'm famililar with fusing Polygons and all that, but I have no idea how to deal with non planars and the like. Also, how do I turn off the hub without having the programs close? And finally, how do I set my segment memory limit? That will definitely be important, as this model will certainly be getting more complex as I continue to work on it.

Thanks in advance for your help. For the moment, suggestions 3 and 4 have allowed the file to render, though I don't know how long it will be until I run into the upper limits again...

Arka C.

Scazzino
08-25-2006, 03:58 PM
Also, how do I turn off the hub without having the programs close? And finally, how do I set my segment memory limit?

You can turn off the hub using the -0 switch. Here are instructions (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/cmdline_files.html#hubSwitch).

Also, here's how to set the segment memory limit (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/config_files.html#segmentMemory). Keep in mind that this is just the upper limit used for the image buffer. If LW doesn't need as much as you set there, it won't use it anyway. It also has no effect on any other memory use.

lordarka
08-25-2006, 05:04 PM
Mike, thanks for linking your expansive tutorials. I've bookmarked the site for future reference.

A question about segments. With the segment limit set to 32, I end up needing to render the model in 19 or so segments. If I lower the limit to 16MB (as I just did), will it actually make more efficient use of memory while rendering? I have 5GB of RAM on this system.

Thanks again!

Arka C.

Scazzino
08-25-2006, 06:27 PM
No problem Arka,

Most of that Mac ScreamerNet tutorial is actually included in the LW9 manual.

In general you want to set the segment limit high enough to use 1 segment if you have enough memory. That will be the most efficient use, unless you are running low on memory.

I would set it high enough to render in 1 segment and then check the activity monitor to see how much memory LightWave is actually using during rendering. If there's still free memory when using 1 segment, then there shouldn't be any reason to lower it. It sounds like you have plenty of RAM on your system.

toby
08-25-2006, 10:19 PM
You can turn off the hub using the -0 switch.

It's much simpler to just drag the Hub application out of the Programs folder!

To clean up your geometry, press 'm' to Merge points, then press shift "I" to unify polygons. Unify polygons will merge polygons that have accidentally been created with the same points.

To get rid non-planar polygons, press 'w' for the stats window, click the "+" next to where it says "non-planar" which will select all of them. Then press shift "T" to triple them. Forgot to mention also to delete any 1 or 2 point polygons, unless you need them, in the same manner. If you want to make sure that you get rid of any troublesome polygons, do the same thing with N-gons, polygons with >4 vertices.

lordarka
08-26-2006, 02:38 AM
I appreciate all of your advice. I implemented your suggestions, and even though I was able to reduce the polygon count substantially, the problem in Layout remains.

I will be waiting to see if v9 might allow me to continue on this project, but given the amount of time that I spend just fighting with the program to do simple things, I am about ready to give another 3D package a try.

Thanks again for all your help. If you have any other ideas, I am certainly game. If you want to take a look at what I have so far, check it out here...

http://www.starved-artist.com/Lightwave/Sample%20Render.jpg

Thanks again!

Arka C.