View Full Version : Frustrated Maya User: Steam in Lightwave?

08-21-2007, 12:12 AM
Hi guys, I'm a Maya 8.5 user, and I'm embarking on quite an ambitious project that is giving me serious headaches in Maya. Most of the stuff we need to do is fairly straightforward, but the biggie is particle effects, in this case, we need realistic steam, and lots of it. It's going to be coming out of a bunch of pipes, a few of them moving, and the light should interact properly with it as well.

If someone could help me out with a basic "It's thoroughly easy" or "can't be done" etc, that would be greatly helpful. I did some brief searches, but didn't find anything conclusive, but I may have missed something, I've got a shocker migraine :( so I do apologize

Two other tiny questions if you feel so inclined, I'm sure it would be fine, but rust? I'm just envisioning displacement and grungy textures. And is Lightwave able to utilize multiple cpu's (quad core) in the gui or renderer? I found a list 12 pages long of features but couldn't figure this out.

Thank you tonnes, I'm losing hair over here lol

08-21-2007, 12:39 AM
Fairly realistic steam should be do-able with particles, hypervoxels, and the appropriate hypervoxel texturing.

try this node texture on your hypervoxel as a start:

Rust should also be easy with nodes in the texture editor. I'm not sure I'd use displacement for this unless you are really close up, just use bump.

this grit node and some of these example node trees might help you:


Lightwave is multi-threaded and it should be 99% transparent for you. Hypervoxels might not be. Be sure to bake your particle motions to a .pfx file before you network render or you'll get mad flickering.

Hopefully this will help.

08-21-2007, 01:36 AM
For something completely different, I've been filming a fog machine with an HV20 and combining the results with minimal rendered hypervoxels and some compositing tricks. My goal has been to replicate a steam locomotive, with smoke and steam coming out of all the appropriate places. The motion changes from racing across a landscape to pulling in to a depot, with variations from over-exposed to under shadow lighting. So far its working out.
Deeper interactive lighting or 3D events might pose to be a challenge, depending on what kind of look you need to have. Filming smokey fog against black with a few obstacles to displace it and someone to lend a hand passing a light source past it works well, and saves a lot on render time. In compositing things like color and timing changes, relighting, and reflecting can be done to a certain extent. Just another angle to consider. Kind of fun to delve into some practical special effects along with the vfx.

-Bill C.

08-21-2007, 01:44 AM
here is some rust..
SimbiontLWShader its a free plugin..works great for rust..

Also there is IFW2 its a great shader to.

And Yes LW takes advantage od the quads

My new machine I am building is a quad core x 2 with mass amount of ram, 4 gig of ram per cpu or more as i will have plenty of empty slots to fill
later on..

the more horse power and ram the better

08-21-2007, 02:06 AM
Dudes, thanks! you've totally made my evening, I'm quite impressed with what I've seen.

I'm going to experiment with the trial version this coming weekend, but so far lightwave is shining.

My animator/co-director seems happy too :)

You guys are awesome, if there's any more info on the steam side of things I'd be quite interested, but otherwise I'll be sure to let you all know how things turn out.

Thanks :thumbsup:

08-21-2007, 02:16 AM
One option for steam would be Dynamite (www.cantarcan.com), assuming you are running Win32. I think you can get a Win64 version by contacting the vendor, and there is a build available for PowerPC LightWave (no UB version yet, as far as I know).

The cache files from Dynamite can be rather large (12 GB has not been uncommon here), but you get far better results than anything that HyperVoxels in LW offers.

08-21-2007, 02:32 AM

any news on that dynamite plugin?? herd anything lately???

08-21-2007, 05:14 AM
Work is continuing apparently, but as a single developer, Can seems overloaded and slightly frustrated.

I'm half-hoping that NewTek will ride in, hire him and integrate the plugin into LW (fixing the few threading issues along the way and extending the lighting support beyond the 0,1,2 or all limitation that also impacts LW).

Mr Rid
08-21-2007, 05:51 AM
Always, use the real thing if anyway possible. I would shoot video with a cheap smoke machine over black.

For 3D, I would use a volumetric light with real smoke texture mapped sequence instead of HV. Volumetric lights are greatly overlooked substitutes for HV that render faster.

HV will just never look too realistic.

08-21-2007, 07:04 AM
or you could request a port of Fumefx for Lightwave...

just dreaming.

08-21-2007, 07:41 AM
Also, depending on the thickness of the steam you wish to achieve, you can use two point polys and motion blur to get some good steam/smoke like results using the new 9.3 release.

08-21-2007, 08:08 AM
Kia Ora!
Do you have some sort of reference in mind? Steam can behave in all sorts of ways depending upon several factors....is it just welling up from a vent, coming out of a hole under high pressure...etc etc? How it needs to look will very much drive the methods used. :)

08-21-2007, 02:49 PM
Steam can be done in Maya : a "friend" of mine did it for a french movie.
He created steam and fumes for matching with the real steam of the movie.
If i remember, he did it cerating A LOT of particules and applying to them sprites with a very low opacity.

However like said Phil, you can do it with lightwave using Dynamite plugin.

08-21-2007, 04:22 PM
You can do steam in LW using HVs, Geometry etc that looks quite good using procedural textures or animated texture maps. Again, when you say steam it could be any one of a dozen different looks.

08-21-2007, 06:00 PM
Wow, thank you guys.

I must confess VFX isn't my specialty, between my partner and I we have most of the 3d field covered fairly well, but I'm having to learn VFX as we go. I'm not complaining though, it's plenty fun ;)

Thank you guys, you've given me plenty to think about, I am truly grateful.

In a perfect world the effect would be of medium-high pressure steam coming out of leaky pipe seals, slowly rapidly, and having an object or character pass through the remaining cloud. Looking at dynamite, it can interact with geometry, which I'm pleasantly surprised about. I was envisioning having to fake it with volumetric materials and an animated shape.

I'm still a long way from fully understanding how it all works, but I'm definitely going to enjoy playing with this over the weekend. And I didn't realise there were so many ways of going about this, so thank you all, I'll be considering each method for sure.

Thanks again guys, and I'll most definitely keep you posted!

08-21-2007, 10:39 PM

any news on that dynamite plugin?? herd anything lately???

Just heard from Can! UB Dynamite is done, his threading issues are resolved and there's an update coming very soon. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

08-21-2007, 10:55 PM
Just heard from Can! UB Dynamite is done, his threading issues are resolved and there's an update coming very soon. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

don't know what this smiley for but thats great news! :) :)
thanks Phil... I'm wondering if he will tell us more about the updates on his website?

08-22-2007, 11:16 AM
great news indeed!