View Full Version : Working on 3D Max Units?

12-31-2006, 07:29 AM
I'm do models for videogames and working on LW units and then usually just export to FBX and then into Max where I scale my models to the correct size in Max units. Like say working like 12 units = 1 foot in game or something.

I've always done all my modeling in Lightwave and because of our engine I'd export it to Max for the last few things because we have no Max support.

But a situation has come up where I need to be making certain kinds of things that are very precise and need to have some points exactly on the grids in 3D Max. So I'm curious if there is any way known by anyone for being able to model in Lightwave on units that will match 3D Max units when exported.

I'm try to work in 3D Max as little as I can because I hate it and the interface. But kind of get forced into doing my UV Mapping and final positioning of the model and exporting in 3D Max.

I'm going to probably throw up in my mouth if the only solution ends up being modeling in 3D Max as well. I'm not really in any kind of position to request a Lightwave exporter to be made, and even if I had one there would still be the issue of working on the proper grid units.

12-31-2006, 07:46 AM
How does Max let you set up the coordinates? I know Lightwave will do meters or feet, and standard which is basically meters.

I would think if you have them both set to feet then it should export/import correctly.


12-31-2006, 08:05 AM
Internally LW uses the metric system. I.e. A vertex at 1.0, 0, 0 is 1m away from the origin.
All other unit options are display options in LW only (which makes sense, since actually computing in the imperial system would be a huge pita).

I have no idea of what happens with the said vertex at 1.0, 0, 0 in max though, but a few tests should sort things out for you.


12-31-2006, 08:29 AM
Hmmm, good to know that Lightwolf. Yes using the imperial system is a pita no matter what in my opinion.


12-31-2006, 11:01 AM
here you go...

1.first set you units in lightwave to meters....
save your object as a obj file [no adjustment needed]

2. load max
3.set the max units to meters
4.import using the import obj file requester
5.set vertx scale to 100

the attatched screen grab is of a box that is 1m by 1m by 2m high with 10 segments

12-31-2006, 11:05 AM
as an additional note i use 3dsmax 4 for importing my lightwave models as that version as a lwo importer plugin which brings the lwo objects in with the correct size and all the surface poly groups...

the plugin is no longer available for the latest versions of 3dsmax which is why i keep max 4 installed on an old pc!

12-31-2006, 11:13 AM
What's with the Z-axis going up and down. I remember a real old Mac app that did that (also Vue) and it drives me nuts.


12-31-2006, 11:23 AM
Thanks thats great info.

Only thing that confuses me though is that in Max by default, when I say Max units, the grid seems to just be set by default as a Grid Spacing of 10 it says in the Grid and Snap settings. Nowhere that I see does it say anything about if these units are in metric or whatever. So I was just calling them Max Units.

I really only just know that a set number of max units we use as 1 ft in game, and in our level editor the grid units are made to match the grid units in 3D Max. So this is why I can be in situations where the my points might need to be 100% on the max grid so things will line up fine for people in the level editor.

So even if I can find where to set Max units to meters, it seems to be the default grid measurement that is required to be matched, and in some cases depending on what I'm building, will need the points snapped onto the grid.

Like I said though, I try to use Max as little as possible because I hate it, but given some of the things I'm working with demand Max format I have to export to it and use it a little. But any solution here that can stop me from having to model in Max as well would be a huge help.

Is there a method in Lightwave where I can set up a grid that matches those default Max Units on a Grid Spacing of 16?

12-31-2006, 11:23 AM
autodesk has for the past 20 years had a ''z up'' policy for autocad so when 3d studio dos and later 3dstudio max were created they kept their z up policy for intergration with other autodesk products...not exactly a show stopper but just something to know.. imported obj come in from lightwave with no rotational issues or anything like that so it's not a real issue you have to deal with with each import into 3dsmax.

12-31-2006, 11:25 AM
to set up your units in max go... [top tool bar]

12-31-2006, 11:29 AM
sorta confused by your last reply...are you trying to adapt lightwave to max or are you trying to adapt max to lightwave?

12-31-2006, 01:17 PM
I'm trying to make the grid in Lightwave match the grid in 3D Max when the Grid Separation is set to 16.

01-01-2007, 03:12 AM
16 what? [units]

01-01-2007, 08:09 PM
This is where my knowledge is sketchy.

In the attached pic this is the grid setting that I have to use so it matches the level editor. By default it is always 10, but I change it to 16.

However it is due to the fact of the exporter to the necessary format only existing as a 3D Max plugin that I only ever use 3D Max just to import my model and then export it after a few tiny tweaks.

Because of that, I don't know what exactly it is measuring on the grid. Like when clicking points or objects I get coordinates for their location, but I don't ever see anywhere in that god forsaken program if these numbers are feet, inches, centimeters, meters or something else. For that reason I've just called them "Max Units" to myself. This is part of why I'm having trouble giving you the information you need.

I'd be much happier if I just had a export plugin programmed for Lightwave but that isn't happening anytime soon.:(

01-02-2007, 04:42 AM
see attatched pik

''100 generic max units'' = 1m if you customise max to use mertric instead of generic units.

01-03-2007, 05:22 PM
Ah ok. BTW thanks a lot for all the help so far.

So it seems that if 100 generic max units is 1 meter then its working with those generic units actually being 1 centimeter. I set my grid spacing to 16 and then changed the mode to metric and then it seems that the grid spacing at 16 in metric comes out to 0.406 meters for every intersection in the grid. I figured this by moving a vertex onto a grid intersection next to 0,0,0 and checked the location.

So given that I need to leave the max grid as it is, I guess the real question now that I know how big these units in max are, is how I can set Lightwave up to have a grid that intersects at 0.406 meters, so that way I have matching grids in both programs? 8/

01-03-2007, 05:36 PM
Oh also I realize that if 100 generic units is = meter, which 100 centimeters is also 1 meter that I could just try to work in centimeters, but my real problem is I have to work on a grid of 16, where we imagine 16 units as being 1 foot length.

If I can get Lightwave's grid to match it will be great because then I can build everything in Lightwave and have it match the game grid, and certain points that I need snapped onto the grid will be possible to do as I model and not have to do something sloppy and inefficient like resnap later in 3D Max and possibly rescale the model as well.

01-03-2007, 05:45 PM
I haven't found any config files just yet that seem to let me edit it.

But in short I guess I mean that if 100 max units is 1 meter, (100 centimeters) and the game uses a grid based on 16 max units, then in Lightwave I would just need a grid set to split every 16 centimeters, and I would be set.

Sorry for the spam replies too, this forum seems to give me like 2 minutes and then I can't edit my post.

01-03-2007, 05:48 PM
can you not just run a 'scale guide box' in max and lightwave...that's what i was taught in the discreet advanced game module dvd's....and it was people use for using vue and lightwave as well..

maybe just create a poly grid..rather than trying to edit config files!

the animation tracking lightwave clip should help you out.

01-03-2007, 06:04 PM
I can manage on working on centimeters. I made a 32 centimeter cube and sent it to Max and the points were all perfectly on the 16 intersects on the grid.

My only real remaining issue was being able to toggle grid snap and quickly snap points into the grid. Since I can't do this I think I'm going with what you have also said which was just making a polygon into a grid and just keep it in the background for quick reference to where my 16 grid is, and I'll just snap onto a centimeter based grid from what the poly grid shows me.

Anyway, thanks so much. I think you may have saved me from having to model in 3D Max even though its the required format. I can just stick in Lightwave for modeling and just kick it to Max long enough for a few final tweaks and export.

01-03-2007, 06:06 PM
no probs, good luck on your project!

01-25-2007, 08:20 AM
thanks a lot cresshead
multible uv maps from lw to / max to/ my "game engine"
thats it