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View Full Version : Extreme frustration with LW 9 UI...HELP!



ssutherland
09-02-2006, 08:22 PM
Okay, maybe I expect too much, or am spoiled from my 1-year of playing around with TrueSpace, but why are objects not stored with scenes and textures not stored with objects in LW? I just installed LW 9 and, while I get a critical error when I try to run Modeler, I can at least run Layout.

I wanted to play around with the rendering of LW and get an idea of render speed and quality. So, I load up a scene that I copied over to my HD from the 2nd of the LW 9 CD's, since there is no automatic installer program (I thought that was almost a given these days). I load a scene only to be bombarded with dialog box after dialog box stating that each object in the scene cannot be found and do I want to locate it. I have NO idea where these objects are located, and obviously LW does not know either.

Then I tried to load an object into Layout, only to be bombarded again with dialog after dialog stating LW cannot find the texture maps used on the objects, and again asking me if I want to locate them.

Now, I THOUGHT, given that LW was a very mature program, that I would not run into this type of issue. In TS, when I load a scene, it can be rendered right away, without searching for any objects or textures.

NOW, I really want to learn LW, and I like a hands-on approach. But this issue is really frustrating. Is there a way to set up LW to avoid this happening, or is there a way to structure my stored objects and texture maps so that LW can actually find them?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have hundreds, if not thousands of LW objects and dozens of scenes, but if I have to figure out what objects are in a scene before I open it, I'll need to call the folks from PSYCHE. Same is true if I have to know a priori what texture maps are used for an object.

Feeling frustrated at my first foray into LW...

Scott
Haverhill, MA

connerh
09-02-2006, 08:30 PM
Hm, that's really odd. I only get the search dialog with images when I don't put the images in the /images directory, and only once. After I tell lightwave where to find the images for the object, it never asks again, assuming that I saved the object before closing the scene. The only times I normally get any kind of searching dialog for either objects or images are when I've moved something. It sounds like something may be wrong with your install/configs.

ssutherland
09-02-2006, 08:44 PM
All objects, scenes, and images were moved from the LW 9 2nd CD to my HD. However, there were no instructions as to what directories to put them into. If LW needs to know where related files are, I would have assumed NewTek would have provided an installer program that would have moved these things to my HD and put them in the correct locations.

Is there a standard config for scenes, objects, and texture images? That is, where the directories should be located on the HD relative to the LW executable directory?

If I create an object and add a texture SOMEWHERE on my HD, if I move that object to another computer, will I have to copy the texture(s) as well AND put them in a duplicate directory structure for LW on the 2nd computer to be able to load and render it? That seems VERY limiting, if it is the case.

Sensei
09-02-2006, 09:12 PM
On 2nd computer you will be asked to choose directories where LW can find resources, like this happened to you in main message to this thread..

Paths in LW can be relative or absolute.. Relative have no information about hard disk structure, but Content Directory has to be set properly.. Absolute have all C:\Program Files\NewTek\LightWave\ etc. stuff inside.. Moving scenes or objects with them will surely open information window to select new paths (because they don't exist on 2nd computer and only the last part of name is useful)..

I'm tring to keep local scenes on disk in such hierarchy:

/Projects/[project name]/
/Projects/[project name]/Scenes/*.lws (scene files)
/Projects/[project name]/Objects/*.lwo (object files)
/Projects/[project name]/Images/ (rendered images)
/Projects/[project name]/Textures/ (textures)

BTW, we're offering tool to preview LightWave objects and scenes before loading them, directly from disk TrueLoad.. You can read more and watch video http://trueload.trueart.eu That's perfect and quick tool for learning what you have without loading one by one.. After installing it, it can completely replace Layout's and Modeler's "Load Object" and "Load Scene" commands. When you're doing serious work and making a lot of clones of the same object or scene (there's almost no way to bypass this) this is still useful tool to find resource that you want in tens or hundereds of similar objects..

Warwind
09-02-2006, 09:41 PM
Here's how I have my systems set up (and I got this from the "Inside Lightwave 8" book):

My Documents/Lightwave
My Documents/Lightwave/Images
My Documents/Lightwave/Objects
My Documents/Lightwave/Scenes

My content directory is set to "My Documents/Lightwave". When I start a new project, I go to my content directory and create a new folder for it. Ex: My Documents/Lightwave/Test

Then I copy the new project folder ("Test") into the Images, and Objects, and then I lastly move the folder into the Scenes directory. Leaving me with:

My Documents/Lightwave/Images/Test
My Documents/Lightwave/Objects/Test
My Documents/Lightwave/Scenes/Test

When I want to open an object, LW knows to go to the "Objects" folder, and all I have to do is navigate to the "Test" directory for the object I want. Same with Layout and Scenes, and both Layout and Modeler for Images.

This all sounded really weird to me when I first read it, but I tried it the way the author suggests, and it works great. When I am working with the "Inside Lightwave 8" DVD, I just temporarily change my Content Directory to point to the Projects folder on the DVD.

Hope this helps!

Intuition
09-02-2006, 09:47 PM
Dont worry much SSutherland. I remember back in 1995 when I had the same feeling as you do now. Frustrations.

Later when I understood how Lightwave organizes scenes and objects I was really happy to have the two seperated.

First off you want to have a basic directory structure for Lightwave.

It would be laid out like this ( x=drive letter you keep content on )

x:\Project folder name

It should be a project folder where the project folder's name coicides with the overall project. For instance, I have a client for a space animation and that project folder is called x:\Project-Across. The "content directory" in Lightwave has to be pointed to this folder so that I can load/save scenes, objects, images to it.

Inside that "main/content directory" folder you should have the basic Lightwave subfolder structure.

Objects\
Images\
Scenes\
PFX\ <----particle file calcs are saved here


But beyond the "main/content directory" project folder and its subfolders (Objects, Images, Scenes) the folder names beyond that, like say inside the objects folder, are for your own organization reference.

For example inside the objects folder you could have folders like cars, toys, terrain etc. Lightwave doesn't care beyond the main directory and the images, objects, scenes folders below that.

When you set up the subfolder structure correctly and point Lightwave to the main folder it should automatically save objects to the objects folder and scenes to the scenes folder. The only catch is the Images. Images are saved with object files for texture map surfacing and are saved with scenes when you utilize background images. When you use an image in an object or a scene it will only load from the directory that you originally loaded it from using the "image editor".

So a good habit to have is to pick the images you will use for surfacing and backgrounds and then organize them inside the Images subfolder before modeling (in the case of surface texturing) or scene making (in the case of background images)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
This is how Lightwave works when loading files/scenes.

When you load a scene (*.lws) file it loads camera/lights/object/animation data into the scene.

Yet when it gets to the object data (*.lwo) the objects themselves have references to surfaces and to load textures.

Usually all of the surface settings (Diffuse, reflection, refraction, etc) are saved with the object file but if there are any image files used to texture or surface the object it will make a reference to that texture/image file location on the hard drive as opposed to being saved inside the object file.

So lets say you make a block with 6 sides and you setup a different surface for each side. On 5 sides you just use reflection, diffusion, color values but on one of the sides you want to usean image to texture/color it up.

Well, When you save the object it will save all the surface settings inside th object file but it wont save the image as part of the object file. It only saves the folder location of the image. This image will load up with the object only if the image's folder location hasn't changed since you last saved the object file.

------------------------------------------------------

Currently if you are trying to load stuff copied from the content CD you will have to replicate the directory structure along with it. Usully this is done automatically if you copied the entire content directory as one.

Then you should point Lightwave's "content directory" in Layout to the main folder. Or lets say you are just trying to load objects into modeler. You will have to point the content directory to the same folder.

If its pointed wrongly you will get asked to manually point to every object and image file in the scene.

-------------------------------------------------------------

A typical Lightwave setup in a studio works this way. You setup projects based on this simple folder structure so that when other people use your objects and scenes they are all arranged neatly and will load up the images as well with no trouble.

I am not sure if this is easy to understand right at the start. It took me about a month before I was like "ah hah" then I thought it was genius since working with network rendering would be really hard without this folder habit.

Ask me any questions if you have them.

ssutherland
09-03-2006, 08:48 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions. I was afraid that this might be the case, given what LW was asking for.

Here is what I was ATTEMPTING to do with my system. I have a dozen or so CD's with image maps, and, in many cases, corresponding bump maps or alpha channel maps (i.e. trees so you can map them onto planes for background objects). I wanted a single repository for all my images and textures for maps. That way, if I needed a bricks texture, I could go the a fixed directory, such as C:\Texture Maps, and under that directory would be folders such as Bricks, Woods, Trees, etc.. Then, for any project or object I was working on, if I needed a marble texture, I could navigate to the marble folder and pick one. Having a small preview of the folders would be ideal (like in TS), same for objects (each object folder has a small rendered version of the object so you can see what you are getting before you load it).

I also want to do this with objects, since I have amassed thousands of objects from various sources.

It does not sound like I will be able to do this with LW. It appears that, if I want to use a wood texture from my global folder, I can do this, but if I want
to use an image on a 2nd object in the scene that came from, say, the LW install CD, I would need to reset the pointer to that image folder, OR, possibly, put the LW install CD images in my global folder.

Iis it possible, like in some Windows programs, to tell LW to look in more than one folder? I have seen some programs where it will look in one of many folder paths, starting with the first one in the list. Usually, each path is separated by a semicolon.

I would hate to have to have to find my texture map of choice, then copy it to my project directory in folder named project\images, then apply the copy to my object. My HD is large, but not THAT large.

Any idea if I can set things up the way I would like to in LW, per the description above?

Thanks again for the suggestions.

Scott
Haverhill, MA

Intuition
09-03-2006, 12:16 PM
If you are using Lightwave 9 you can use the custom path tool.


This will make lightwave look in a specified folder for whatever content you are trying to load.

The catch is that you may not be able to use folders inside the specified folder.

Unless you want to save the object again after referring it to the new image locations.

I didn't mention this above but. If you do point Lightwave to the objects/images when loading them up and then do a "save all objects" then a "save scene" the next time you load the objects or scene file Lightwave will remember the new locations.

But, With thousands of objects it may take you a while. Best to just drop stuff in specific folders.

toby
09-03-2006, 12:23 PM
Here is what I was ATTEMPTING to do with my system. I have a dozen or so CD's with image maps, and, in many cases, corresponding bump maps or alpha channel maps (i.e. trees so you can map them onto planes for background objects). I wanted a single repository for all my images and textures for maps. That way, if I needed a bricks texture, I could go the a fixed directory, such as C:\Texture Maps, and under that directory would be folders such as Bricks, Woods, Trees, etc.. Then, for any project or object I was working on, if I needed a marble texture, I could navigate to the marble folder and pick one. Having a small preview of the folders would be ideal (like in TS), same for objects (each object folder has a small rendered version of the object so you can see what you are getting before you load it).

I also want to do this with objects, since I have amassed thousands of objects from various sources.

It does not sound like I will be able to do this with LW. It appears that, if I want to use a wood texture from my global folder, I can do this, but if I want
to use an image on a 2nd object in the scene that came from, say, the LW install CD, I would need to reset the pointer to that image folder, OR, possibly, put the LW install CD images in my global folder.

Iis it possible, like in some Windows programs, to tell LW to look in more than one folder? I have seen some programs where it will look in one of many folder paths, starting with the first one in the list. Usually, each path is separated by a semicolon.

What you can do is set your Content Directory to be your C drive. This way, the path stored in objects for it's images, and to the objects in scene files will be an absolute path.

I worked at one studio that was set up this way, but I don't recommend it. You lose portability of the scenes - if you wanted to render a scene on a different computer you'd have to gather up all the images and objects first. But this can be done with the Content Manager plugin.



I would hate to have to have to find my texture map of choice, then copy it to my project directory in folder named project\images, then apply the copy to my object. My HD is large, but not THAT large.

In that case, Lightwave is actually a better choice! Having scenes separate from objects allows the scenes to be less than a megabyte, whereas programs like Max and Maya can easily have scenes over 100mb each. LW scenes also save instantaneously, since you're not saving the objects every time.

manholoz
09-03-2006, 12:36 PM
Being a newbie, I can tell you that the :cursin: :bangwall: :screwy: :question: :eek: feeling wears off rapidly. It does have a different workflow than most, but is quite easy to pick up. And things are the way they are for a reason.

And anyway, the people in the lightwave are very helpful and friendly, there is never such thing as a dumb question.

Warwind
09-03-2006, 01:45 PM
And anyway, the people in the lightwave are very helpful and friendly, there is never such thing as a dumb question.

As a LW newbie (1 week tomorrow) I'll second that! :thumbsup: