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pumeco
10-08-2007, 08:02 AM
Just out of curiosity, I checked out the LWCAD website recently.

Being a 1.5 owner, you can imagine I was totally blown away with what I saw has been added to it since the version I have. At the moment I'm hell-bent on getting as much 'snapping' abilities into my LightWave as I possibly can.

I've 99.9% decided to upgrade to the latest version, but there's something I'm not sure about regarding the snapping (and it's very important to me). In one of their demo videos (I think it was the first snapping video), it shows that you can use 'near' snapping to snap to a curve. It then shows you 'ruler' based snapping. What I'm unsure about is if the ruler based snapping will also work with near snapping on a curve. The reason I ask is because the demo seems to avoid using a curve when demonstrating the ruler based snapping.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is; would the ruler snapping still work on a curve when you're using near snapping? Kinda like dividing the curve up into equal segments, but not actually putting points on it. It works an perfect edges, but what about curves?

colkai
10-08-2007, 09:00 AM
Does this answer your question? :)

pumeco
10-08-2007, 09:20 AM
Sure does - cheers colkai :thumbsup:

colkai
10-08-2007, 10:03 AM
Not sure how it would react curve on curve but if you've an example you would like me to try, ask away. The snapping tools are cool though, hard to imagine life without them. It's also worth it simply because of the flexibility - sure it's great for Arch Viz, but I'd be lost without it for day to day use too! :)

Sande
10-08-2007, 10:17 AM
Yep, LWCAD's snapping tools are a must have in LW.
I hope Viktor manages to make snapping work also in the UV viewport - I've missed that feature often.

pumeco
10-08-2007, 11:44 AM
@colkai

Cheers mate, if it's ok I'll take you up on that offer and ask you to try that :)

It's important for me that the spline-on-spline works well. Still, my LWCAD 1.5 has worked flawlessly so far, so hopefully 2.5 will be no exception. I agree on how essential it is. I'm already in heaven with version 1.5, which I'm using in conjunction with EasySpline and VirtualMirror. I absolutely LOVE LightWave's modeler with these plugins - and can't wait to add version 2.5 from what I've seen. I seriously could not want a better set of tools to model with - they're a really powerful combination.

I'll wait for your verdict on the spline-on-spline thing, colkai.


@Sande

Is that a feature that was once there but has stopped working, or do you mean something else?

colkai
10-08-2007, 02:08 PM
The snapping curve on curve is fine, however ,getting a 'ruler' measurement on a curve is not 'normal' as your "near" and other snaps tend to take precedence.

As you can see from my snapshot above, the ruler does kick in, but it isn't a "10 segments of curve" but a pure distance thing. That is, you don't get a curve divided into 10 segments, you just get a running measurement, but overall, the 'near' tends to be the dominant factor.

That's not to say it doesn't snap superbly, but if your hoping to join one arc to a curve based on equal distances, I'd personally be inclined to make sure my curve was so divided and use snap on point / end.

pumeco
10-08-2007, 02:26 PM
Thanks for that, I've been sat here waiting to buy :D

Sounds good. If the ruler kicks in then at least there is room to create the geometry that'll cause the desired 'running distance' if needed. It's also good to hear the curve on curve thing works.

Ok, off to purchase!

geothefaust
10-08-2007, 09:00 PM
You wont regret it.

Sensei
10-08-2007, 10:03 PM
Yep, LWCAD's snapping tools are a must have in LW.
I hope Viktor manages to make snapping work also in the UV viewport - I've missed that feature often.

LWSDK does not allow checking whether user is clicking in UV viewport..

Sensei
10-08-2007, 10:28 PM
Pumeco, did you try using Cross Spline tool? It's making point in position where two Catmull-Rom splines are crossing.. If they're not sharing same space in 3rd axis, it's computed as avarage of spline shape position in this location.

pumeco
10-09-2007, 07:08 AM
@geothefaust

Nope, I don't regret buying it - but there's some thing's I weren't aware of regarding different curve types.


@Sensei

Yes, I'm aware of the CrossSpline tool - I've used it quite a lot now. Actually, I might as well take this opportunity to put forward some suggestions for EasySpline and VirtualMirror - just in case you like them - and also because I'd love to see them :D

The first is just a feedback issue with the VirtualMirror button. I'm wondering if you could change it so that it stays highlighted when VirtualMirror is active. There are a lot of times when I'm toggling it on and off, and because the button doesn't stay highlighted - VM is sometimes on when I don't want it, and off when I do. Just a minor niggle really, but it would be great if you could sort that.

My other suggestion is regarding CrossSpline. I like it a lot, but I was wondering if you could update it so that it takes notice of the selection order. For example, instead of choosing the 'avarage' position on the third axis, it would be great if we could decide 'which' position on the axis is used by our selection order. So, I select curve one, then curve two, and when CrossSpline is activated, the point is positioned on the third axis of curve one. If I wanted the point to stay on the other curve's third axis, I simply choose 'that' curve first when selecting.

BTW, if I'm not making sense, please say so and I'll knock-up a screenshot to show what I mean.


@colkai

I'd love to know how you got the ruler snap points on your curve in that screenshot - mine won't work!

I have to agree this is an essential set of tools (especially for blueprinting and profiling etc). I'm annoyed it won't work with EasySpline though, not until I convert the curves to LightWave curves. It's a shame EasySpline doesn't support LWCAD2.5 curves (it worked with 1.5 curves, but they are different). It feels like I've gained a lot but I've also lost a little. I can still do what I want though, but getting there is made a lot more harder because of the incompatibility between the curve types.

Sensei
10-09-2007, 07:26 AM
The first is just a feedback issue with the VirtualMirror button. I'm wondering if you could change it so that it stays highlighted when VirtualMirror is active. There are a lot of times when I'm toggling it on and off, and because the button doesn't stay highlighted - VM is sometimes on when I don't want it, and off when I do. Just a minor niggle really, but it would be great if you could sort that.

I wish it would work this way, but AFAIK it's impossible to program it this way using LW SDK..



My other suggestion is regarding CrossSpline. I like it a lot, but I was wondering if you could update it so that it takes notice of the selection order. For example, instead of choosing the 'avarage' position on the third axis, it would be great if we could decide 'which' position on the axis is used by our selection order. So, I select curve one, then curve two, and when CrossSpline is activated, the point is positioned on the third axis of curve one. If I wanted the point to stay on the other curve's third axis, I simply choose 'that' curve first when selecting.

In other words instead of calculating average, using already calculated point on 1st spline shape.. That's doable and will take 5 minutes..


I have to agree this is an essential set of tools (especially for blueprinting and profiling etc). I'm annoyed it won't work with EasySpline though, not until I convert the curves to LightWave curves. It's a shame EasySpline doesn't support LWCAD2.5 curves (it worked with 1.5 curves, but they are different). It feels like I've gained a lot but I've also lost a little. I can still do what I want though, but getting there is made a lot more harder because of the incompatibility between the curve types.

LWCAD author would have to make LWCAD SDK to allow EasySpline to use its internal curves..

Did you downloaded TrueArt's Bezier & B-Spline? They don't need to be frozen prior using with EasySpline.. And the only difference between TrueArt's Bezier & LWCAD NURBS curves is lack of weight in each point..

colkai
10-09-2007, 11:01 AM
@colkai

I'd love to know how you got the ruler snap points on your curve in that screenshot - mine won't work!

I just strated dragging and every so often, the marker would switch from 'near' to 'rul' - I'm guessing because it was a curve, it was not handling it reliably.

It seems to very much depend on the shape of the curve, sometimes it flicks up quite a bit, others hardly at all.

Sande
10-09-2007, 11:46 AM
LWSDK does not allow checking whether user is clicking in UV viewport..
That's too bad, I guess I've to hope better snapping to LightWave itself or more open SDK then. Probably both wouldn't hurt.
Thanks for the info though! :)

pumeco
10-09-2007, 12:10 PM
@Sensei

It's a bummer about the toggle button, but thanks for going for the other suggestion, that's great and I'm looking forward to the update :thumbsup:

Regarding the Bezier, yes, I've always prefered your Bezier and have always used it with EasySpline. The problem though, is that even with this Bezier, I'm unable to use LWCAD2.5 snapping with it. The only snapping that works is the point snapping. Near snapping and the others just ignore the curve 8~


@colkai

Thanks, I'll just have to play around with it a bit more - I'm probably doing it wrong.

c4eatr
10-09-2007, 12:14 PM
Pumeco,
Nick Pelegrino at www.asilefx.com has a tutorial DVD for LWCAD 2.5. I have it and think its a worthy investment. It really helped me to understand all the snapping options ect, as well as how do model a basic house in about 10 minutes.

Sensei
10-09-2007, 04:50 PM
I just strated dragging and every so often, the marker would switch from 'near' to 'rul' - I'm guessing because it was a curve, it was not handling it reliably.

It seems to very much depend on the shape of the curve, sometimes it flicks up quite a bit, others hardly at all.

Sounds like curve is treated as 2 point poly chain instead of smooth curve shape? Can you convert curve to 2 point poly chain and check this?

Sensei
10-10-2007, 02:39 AM
that's great and I'm looking forward to the update :thumbsup:

How about that? ;)

MacGregg
10-10-2007, 03:51 AM
Hey Sensei,

I second the request for pumeco's suggestion...[[I made a similar request in an email around a month ago... along with a couple others.]]

Emails:
I like this Cross Spline feature, but I would like it extend a bit with an option that doesn't average the distance between the splines. Maybe you can use the spline pick order to determine which spline is moved? Often I know which one is correct and the one I would like to move. Also, how about if there is already a point on the target spline within a tolerance range the splines will join there? This would be handy if I am trying to join a spline to the Head or End of another spline, now you just can't do this without several steps.

How about a variation on the ES Spline Extrude tool. Seems to me that often I want to create a new spline between 2 existing splines and attached to "vertical" splines. Could we have a Spline Extrude that if I select one of these splines and as I extrude it, it tracks the existing "vertical" splines like Rails scaling the new spline to match its new location? Maybe a morph between the 2 splines is the best way. This is just an extension of how you use ES extrude but currently we can only add to the edge of the Spline Mesh, with this addition you could quickly add control/detail to the middle of existing spline mesh.

I would also like to have a "loft" like command that can loft splines, instead of polygons, between a series of cross section spline templates.

Cheers, :D
Gregg

Sensei
10-10-2007, 04:22 AM
I like this Cross Spline feature, but I would like it extend a bit with an option that doesn't average the distance between the splines. Maybe you can use the spline pick order to determine which spline is moved? Often I know which one is correct and the one I would like to move.

Did you get today EasySpline update? It has new interactive Cross Spline tool, where you have Blend parameter- setting it to 0% means that 1st curve point is used, 100% that 2nd curve. 50% is like old non-interactive Cross Spline.. Also this parameter can be adjusted by mouse in viewport - just click and move mouse left/right..

When splines have points, use regular LW Weld Point tool. When only one have point, use Spline Point to make point and then Weld.. That should be as fast as starting Cross Spline, and adjusting Range, if it would have it..



I would also like to have a "loft" like command that can loft splines, instead of polygons, between a series of cross section spline templates.

It's possible to do now, but little harder way - freeze EasySpline model to polygons and use frozen points as source for additional curves.. You can freeze to fg layer having spline cage in bg layer using Freeze Spline & Quick Freeze Spline (Toggle Freeze Spline IIRC didn't accept it)..

MacGregg
10-10-2007, 06:25 AM
Sensei:
By the way when we use Weld, point order is also considered and determines which points to move... the last point selected is the destination of all points to be Weld. For consistency I suggest that you use the same selection order in determining which Spline to move.

colkai
10-10-2007, 06:34 AM
Sounds like curve is treated as 2 point poly chain instead of smooth curve shape? Can you convert curve to 2 point poly chain and check this?
Good Call Sensei,
Indeed, if I replace the LWCad nurb curve with a 2-pt poly chain, the ruler obeys it 100%

MacGregg
10-10-2007, 06:45 AM
I still have a lot of trouble with ES Spline Point. It does not always put the point where I click the Spline. The point is often added on some other Spline way away from where I click. Seems to be related to the long cross hair lines you have coming from the cursor, points will be added where these lines cross some other spline possibly on the other side of the model. It does not occur like this all the time, it just does this sometimes, maybe only one of several Splines will not accept a point where I click. I change the view all over the place and try Clicking the Spline from many different angles with the same result. I really wish you could fix this.

I have not yet tried your new version... sounds great!!

Sensei
10-10-2007, 06:59 AM
I didn't have problems with Spline Point for "ages".. Anything special circumstance to have this problem? Like: double perspective viewport? Is viewport camera inside of complicated spline cage (so, part of object is in positive z-buffer side, and part in negative).. ? Are you adjusting tolerance after enabling Spline Point when it's first time a day used?

Can you try finding problem and immediately take screen-shot and send me object with marker where you tried clicking? Then I will try positioning perspective camera like on your screen-shot and hit marked area..

MacGregg
10-10-2007, 09:23 AM
Sensei It is not the first time I use the tool. It occurs throughout the day many times. Yes, I do set the threshold as there are other splines close by and the point is often being added OUTSIDE THIS AREA when I have the trouble!! It has not been hard for me to have this problem. I am often zoomed in close to try to accurately set the Spline Point which is mostly when I see the problem. As I said I may be setting several points on different Splines and will find one spline that I just can't place a point on where I click, if I zoom back out and hit Ctrl-z I can see where the point got added. Often well outside the threshold setting. I have noticed a few times when zoomed way in that the ES Spline Point cursor with the axis lines do not intersect at a point!!

Once I find a Spline that I have trouble adding a point where I click, I CAN HIDE EVERYTHING ELSE and then the click it and it will work.

Give me a little time and I'll get something to you. Don't know if this is a portable problem of course, it may NOT be with the model. Could just be during execution.

Thanks,
Gregg

MacGregg
10-10-2007, 09:23 AM
Sensei, Did you have any thoughts on the other request for adding splines between 2 splines? At first I thought this would be an extension to ES Extrude on a path like Rail Extrude but I think Morphing between 2 selected splines of a Mesh would be great. I just wanted a way to add more detail inside a mesh more easily.

Your Idea for the Loft is fine if there just a few connecting splines but if I have lots of detail in cross members there could be many connecting splines. It can be VERY tedious to do this manually.

MacGregg
10-10-2007, 10:03 AM
Like: double perspective viewport? Is viewport camera inside of complicated spline cage (so, part of object is in positive z-buffer side, and part in negative)

Don't know what a double perspective viewport is, I am often using the perspective viewport when I see the problem... don't know if this necessary I just edit from there most of the time. I also don't know about the object and z-buffer, how can I tell? I don't know how complex a spline cage is before it is considered complex? I have sent you before what I was working on... a teapot, and yes I did have trouble with Spline Point with that.

Cheers,
Gregg

pumeco
10-10-2007, 12:54 PM
@c4eatr

Thanks for the link, I'll keep it in mind. I'm hoping I won't need it though because it's not as if I don't understand how it works, it just doesn't work the way I understand it ;)


@Sensei

I got a pleasant surprise in my inbox this morning (which made a refreshing change from the usual Viagra and penis pump spam I often wake up to). Thanks for the update, and for doing it so quickly. That's some pretty awesome customer support you've got going on there, Sensei :bowdown:

The new feature works perfect, and now that I've used it, I'm glad you decided to base it on an adjustable percentage instead of selection order. It's much better this way, and more versatile. If it's ok, I'd also like to second that suggestion by MacGregg. The idea of being able to have a definable number of incrementally morphed splines sitting between two reference splines is a great idea. I can see why he's requested this because I would also find that 'very' productive. It would save on a lot of modeling time that - it really would.


@MacGregg

I hope we get that feature you suggested - it's a really good idea. As for the 'double perspective' mentioned by Sensei; I'm thinking he's wondering if you had two viewports 'both' set up to be in perspective mode. Don't quote me on that though - I'm probably wrong.

This thread has turned out to be really informative for me. But now, I'm gonna go and figure out what a 'two point poly chain' is. I'm wondering if it's stopping my near snapping from working :confused:

Sensei
10-10-2007, 06:44 PM
As for the 'double perspective' mentioned by Sensei; I'm thinking he's wondering if you had two viewports 'both' set up to be in perspective mode. Don't quote me on that though - I'm probably wrong.

Actually, you are perfectly right.. :)



This thread has turned out to be really informative for me. But now, I'm gonna go and figure out what a 'two point poly chain' is. I'm wondering if it's stopping my near snapping from working :confused:

2 point poly chain is used by hair generating plug-ins like TrueHair, SasQuatch/SasLite and FiberFactory.. It's basically 2 point poly, where second 2 point poly is attached to the last and so on, so on, making one curved line.. They were not renderable in LW Advanced Camera Tools until LW v9.3 which has Render Globals > Render Lines option, but it's veeery slow.. While loading pre-LW93 scene, you must turn that option OFF! Otherwise if you have not cleaned mesh with at least one 1-2 point poly, you will have render speed decreased dramatically..

Here is video showing how to generate dense 2 point poly chain using TrueHair Styler, and then cutting it in real-time using interactive Cut Hair tool http://www2.trueart.pl/Products/Plug-Ins/TrueHair/Graphics/Movies/TrueHair_CutHair_PolyChain_1.mov

Sensei
10-10-2007, 06:54 PM
Don't know what a double perspective viewport is, I am often using the perspective viewport when I see the problem...

Wait a minute... You mean you DON'T use perspective view port while using EasySpline's Spline Point and using perspective viewport only when you see the problem??? Actually each tool like EasySplit, EasySpline's Spline Point, TrueHair's Cut Hair work only in perspective viewport and not well in any other (when they're polys, splines sharing same area) - it's because in front projected viewports in wireframe mode you don't actually see what is near to camera and what is far to camera.. And z-buffer (closeness to the camera) is the most important factor for these tools to decided which polygon, spline, poly chain is processed..

Sensei
10-10-2007, 07:03 PM
Sensei, Did you have any thoughts on the other request for adding splines between 2 splines? At first I thought this would be an extension to ES Extrude on a path like Rail Extrude but I think Morphing between 2 selected splines of a Mesh would be great. I just wanted a way to add more detail inside a mesh more easily.


I thought doing it other way.. You select as many splines as you want at least four, or entire layer is analyzed.. They are put to regular EasySpline generator used by previewer/freezer.. And then you click on some place in viewport, and bandsaw like effect is made, with virtually frozen geometry, and new spline is made there which looks like smooth transition between your splines.. Then you can click another time making another transition spline, or keep sliding older one..

MacGregg
10-10-2007, 08:54 PM
Hey Sensei,
Well I may have it figured out... I think it is partly my problem and maybe partly a bug too adding to the confusion. What I discovered, while trying to come up with a demo of the bug, was that if a point was selected on some spline(s) somewhere it prevented the creation of NEW points on Splines without selected points. I now see this as a feature, it gives me more control on just which splines CAN get points added to them. BUT... BIG BUT, with your nice ES Spline Point Cursor with the tolerance set nice and small you click on a spline that is NOT one of the splines with selected points then a point will be added SOMEWHERE WAY OUTSIDE THE TOLERANCE CIRCLE along one of the cursor "axis" (xyz) lines extending from it. This last "Feature" I call a bug... unless there is something useful it can do I am not thinking of. Really it should NEVER Add a Point outside the Tolerance Circle, it's just confusing.

I think this may be what I have been seeing. I need to check a bit more. I did not know that having points selected changed the behavior of ES Spline Point, possibly blocking point creation!! I must have missed the documentation talking about this feature.

Thanks,
Gregg

MacGregg
10-10-2007, 09:21 PM
Wait a minute... You mean you DON'T use perspective view port while using EasySpline's Spline Point and using perspective viewport only when you see the problem??? Actually each tool like EasySplit, EasySpline's Spline Point, TrueHair's Cut Hair work only in perspective viewport and not well in any other (when they're polys, splines sharing same area) - it's because in front projected viewports in wireframe mode you don't actually see what is near to camera and what is far to camera.. And z-buffer (closeness to the camera) is the most important factor for these tools to decided which polygon, spline, poly chain is processed..

No, I just meant I was using the Perspective Viewport... not knowing what you meant by double perspective I was just emphasizing that I used the Perspective VP. Still don't understand what you are saying about the double Perspective VP, is that good or bad? You just mean 2 viewports are set to Perspective?

Cheers,
Gregg

Sensei
10-10-2007, 09:23 PM
I confirm your observation- spline with at least one point selected is the only one which can have points moved and created, the all others without any point selected are not processed.. It should obey selection - if there is point selected, no new point is created but just the one selected should be movable.. Same thing is with selected polygons - only one selected can have point dragged & created..

Sensei
10-10-2007, 09:27 PM
No, I just meant I was using the Perspective Viewport... not knowing what you meant by double perspective I was just emphasizing that I used the Perspective VP. Still don't understand what you are saying about the double Perspective VP, is that good or bad? You just mean 2 viewports are set to Perspective?

Exactly, two or more viewports with perspective mode.. It in theory could confuse procedure, that depends on LW internal order of sending input events & redrawing commands to plug-ins..

MacGregg
10-10-2007, 10:33 PM
I thought doing it other way.. You select as many splines as you want at least four, or entire layer is analyzed.. They are put to regular EasySpline generator used by previewer/freezer.. And then you click on some place in viewport, and bandsaw like effect is made, with virtually frozen geometry, and new spline is made there which looks like smooth transition between your splines.. Then you can click another time making another transition spline, or keep sliding older one..

Four splines would just be unrealistic I think. I know you are trying to get the smoothed curves. I understand what you're doing but it really isn't very handy, just too much work to be very useful.

I find I just want this all the time. I don't always know just I want things shaped when i start generating Splines, so this would be really handy to add new splines in the middle of the mesh to let me add detail or attach some doodad. EVEN BETTER would be to let me SPLICE in another sequence or segment of splines in the middle of another mesh morphing the beginning and ending to to match!!! This would be just way cool.


************ Rambling Fantasy Of the Day **************
I think we should be able to put splines together as easily as we can mush play-doh together or Metaballs, Spline mesh objects should be able to just "know" how to attach to each other to create smooth transitions or let me select from a verity of blends. We should be thinking about the model not how splines work. I want A.I. added to Modeler!! We are still in the dark ages, like having to make our own paint and brushes and weave the canvas before we can make the painting. Do we really want to know that Splines have Heads and Tails and can be smoothed by connecting to the next points... it's like I don't need to know how to do boolean multiplies or divides to make my calculator work it just works... push a button and there is what I want... We need to raise the level of 3d Modeling up a couple notches, Modeler needs to KNOW what we want and make it and let the details start to drift out of view. We should be looking for a quantum jump here. Hardware has the power now. We need smarter software that embeds an understanding of objects and how to create them. It should be able to use the method appropriate to what the object is for. We know the rules on how to build sensible objects, now lets get the computer to do it so we can pay attention to more important artistic issues. All this intelligence has been added to the Rendering side now lets do the same for Modeling. I think it is all possible now, we just need to start asking for it.

Cheers All,
MacGregg

pumeco
10-11-2007, 02:28 AM
Thanks for the explanation of two point poly chains, Sensei.

Also, for that new feature request, I just wanted to say I forgot to mention that the splines should be connected - just like Gregg has described. Ignore my description (on re-reading it's very poorly thought out), take note only of Gregg's because he's explained it a lot better than I did :thumbsup:

BTW, your BandSaw like proposition sounds interesting as well.

MacGregg
10-18-2007, 10:07 AM
Hi Sensei,
Thanks for the new EasySpline 0.95 & 0.96 features... they are great!! I do have one more request I have asked for that would be very helpful. I want to generate a Morphed spline between 2 selected splines. So, if I have made a spline cage using your ES Extrude tool or some other means I would like to be able to select 2 spline cross templates and have an ES tool to make another spline as a Morph between the 2 selected splines. This would be very useful.

This may have been explained better in previous posts here if this does not make sense.

Thanks,
Gregg

pumeco
10-19-2007, 08:42 AM
Just thought I'd second the thanks for 0.96, as well as second MacGregg's request :thumbsup: