View Full Version : help understanding 9.2 features

03-15-2007, 02:59 PM
I am completely new to 3d work but am very interested in it. The new features in lightwave 9.2 are really exciting but I am having trouble understanding a couple of things.

1. The first is placing the new features, namely the DOF and shaders/materials in context with the rest of the 3d world. Are these material effects already available in other 3d applications such as cinema4d and maya but are brand new to lightwave, or are they new advancements across the board.

2. I am having trouble differentiating between materials and shaders. Assuming they are two different things, are all shaders comprised of material nodes already available in 3d programs, or are they completely separate entities that require a lot of additional math and such. For instance when somebody has a shader they made that you can download, did they just make it in the 3d program by connecting a zillion nodes or did they program it independently from the tools provided in the program.

Thanks to all who take the time to answer and I hope some of what I wrote makes sense.


03-15-2007, 06:15 PM
I can answer 2, sort of.

Shaders are small programs that are designed to achieve a specific effect. Dielectrics, SSS, AO, etc. They achieve effects by "shading" (coloring) pixels using the appropriate algorithms for whatever they're designed to do.

For the longest time, in order to get shaders into your mesh's surface, you had to write the shader programs by hand using a programming language (or download the shader that someone wrote).

Nodes bring that interface to the user by letting you drop nodes into your workspace and then link them together to perform a specific function. You dont need to know how to code a shader, you just need to know how to plug the nodes together, which is probably a simpler thing to achieve for people who are not coders :) And especially simpler for visual types of people (which I believe most 3D artists are..)

03-16-2007, 01:23 AM
Are these material effects already available in other 3d applications such as cinema4d and maya but are brand new to lightwave, or are they new advancements across the board.

Most 3d application have had these features for a long time, including Lightwave. The new versions are just more accurate/advanced than what we had before. Note that doesn't necessarily mean better! The new materials, for instance, are very realistic but tend to be slow to render. You can probably create a material with nodes or even the old layer system which will look similar but will render faster. So much of the time if you're rendering a glass object you'd just use transparency, fresnel and refraction index to get a good approximation which renders quickly. But when you need that totally believable killer crystal the mat is sitting there waiting for you to stun your client! :D

03-17-2007, 02:19 PM
thanks so much guys for taking the time to answer me. So if I understand correctly, then every single shader you can download from a site such as highend3d.com can be made from scratch using the visual node tools that come with the 3d programs?

03-20-2007, 11:30 AM
I'm not sure about EVERY shader, you may need to write some shaders with the LW SDK in some cases. But generally the node based shader trees give a visual interface to what used to be the realm of coders. I will say most shaders can be made with the nodes available in LW, though they will probably be slower than a shader written by hand (since LW has to spend some time to evaluate the shader tree)