View Full Version : Automatic change of surface properties for a group of objects?

02-16-2007, 11:54 AM
Maybe I'm missing something obvious here, but it's a problem that's been bugging me for a while...

You have a scene with many different unique objects in it - say a group of buildings of different sizes and shapes - which all have parts with common surface properties (e.g. the same type of walls, roofs, etc). Is there a means of changing the properties of a given surface and automatically updating it to all the objects that have which have that surface applied to them?

The only mass change method that I am currently aware of is to alter the surface for one object in the Surface Editor, copy that surface, then manually select all the corresponding surfaces in the other objects, then paste the copied surface onto them (also a similar method using the surface presets panel). This is fine if there are only a few objects, but when there are say dozens of objects to change in a scene this would obviously become an onerous task and prone to error.

This may exist already in the form of a LW feature I have not yet stumbled across or a plugin, but it would be really useful if one could create a surface and designate it to be a "shared" surface (i.e. by various parts in a group of objects). Then, if that surface is then updated, all objects parts sharing that particular surface are automatically updated.

02-16-2007, 12:39 PM
FI's SurfCopy plugin ?


02-16-2007, 01:01 PM
There's a feature for this built into Lightwave.

At the top left of the surface editor you'll find says "Edit by". The pulldown to the right allows you to edit by object, or by scene. If you select by scene, it will edit all surfaces in the scene with the same name as one.


02-16-2007, 01:33 PM
You can also use the pattern field to limit the view to only those surfaces called roof for example, making it easier to copy and paste to those surfaces only. You can also multi select surfaces and edit any texture layers/settings at the same time.

02-16-2007, 02:10 PM
Many thanks chaps.

Seemed strange that something like this hadn't been addressed already.

And there it was staring me right in the face all the time!

I really must go back and read the manual cover to cover again;-)

Dave Jerrard
02-17-2007, 04:38 PM
Originally, this was the only way LightWave handled surfaces, and it could be dangerous. If you loaded two objects that had identical surface names, the last loaded instance of that surface would overwrite any previous one, even if they were different surfaces. Back then, to prevent that, you generally had to name your surfaces with the object name in the surface name so this overwriting wouldn't happen.

This can still happen if you leave the Edit By set to scene, so if you change it, make sure you change it back. If you leave it, any new objects loaded intot he scene that share surface anmes with currently loaded objects will find their surfaces changed. Now, LightWave keeps the original instance of a surface and applies that to any later instances. The Edit By option does not switch back to Object on its own.

He Who Figures A Warning Was In Order Here.