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jasonazure
08-27-2008, 04:05 PM
Is anyone out there using Happy Digitals "HD Caustics" plug-in with Lightwave 9.3 or 9.5?

I am thinking of buying it as I really need rock-solid caustics for a glass bottle animation I have to produce and Lightwaves caustics are either too splodgy looking or take hours per frame to render.

If anyone out there is using it, does it work with the new Perspective camera and area-lights? All the examples on the HD website seem to have hard-edged shadows!

jasonazure
08-28-2008, 03:37 AM
Does no-one out there have this plug-in?

I'm surprised as there are loads of posts complaining how slow/ugly Lightwave caustics are!

dwburman
08-28-2008, 09:51 AM
You could try emailing Happy-Digital directly. I've had Graham or his wife reply to me every time I emailed a question to them.

jasonazure
08-28-2008, 11:11 AM
I emailed them yesterday!

No reply so far :grumpy:

I can't believe no-one has this plug-in.

Iain
08-28-2008, 11:17 AM
I wouldn't buy it based on the gallery images.

You can get decent caustics from LW when you need to but most of the time they're overdone for effect in CGI.

3dworks
08-28-2008, 12:03 PM
i guess this plugin is faking fast refraction caustics only (and probably does a great job doing so) but it is not a replacement for real reflection and refraction caustics as seen in other render engines. imo it's time for NT to rewrite their code to fit the other excellent GI features in LW.

markus

jasonazure
08-28-2008, 12:17 PM
It's decent, fast and 'stable' refractive caustics I'm after for a glass bottle animation.

I've got OK results from LW caustics for a still image, but you have to crank up the numbers really high which means ridiculous render times which aren't acceptable for animation. Plus they have a tendency to flicker.

I've got really nice, 'true' caustics with the same bottle model imported into my copy of XSI 7 with better render times, but I only have one license of Mental Ray so it isn't practical to render the animation in Softimage (I wish they would drop the price of MR licenses, they are ridiculous - but that's another discussion for another forum).

So until Newtek sorts out Lightwaves Caustics it's either Happy-Digital or some sort of spotlight/image projection cheat.

Carm3D
08-28-2008, 12:29 PM
I just tested it with 9.3.1. I can't get the chromatic aberrations to work. But other than that, it does do the funkified shadows. They're just monochromatic. It has been a while since I used it. Maybe I'm doing it wrong. Better talk with Mr. Digital to verify.

Note: HDCaustics works best with point lights. Prepare for compositor trickery if you want to use it with other lights.

jasonazure
08-28-2008, 04:24 PM
thanks or that Carm! I'm still waiting for a reply from Mr Digital.

When you say it works best with point lights, have you tried it with an area light?

Can you tell me how this plug-in is applied? Do you have to apply it to the source surface or the receiver or both?

Carm3D
08-28-2008, 08:13 PM
Just the source surface.

It works with area lights but doesn't look as good.

jasonazure
08-29-2008, 10:14 AM
I finally bit the bullet and bought HD caustics.

It doesn't seem to work!!!!

As soon as I increase the refraction above 1.0 the area in the shadow that should get lighter, gets darker and I get a wierd black area in the shadow as well.

I've emailed the people at Happy Digital, but seeing as I didn't get a reply to my original question, I'm not holding out much hope.

archijam
08-29-2008, 12:04 PM
Just a thought - It's been around for quite a while. Perhaps also ask Graham which version of LW it was optimized for, and if it's tailored to the latest versions (8.5, 9, 9.2-9.31, and 9.5 are all different stories as far as I know).

I may also be camera type sensitive for the same reason, so test that too.

Graham ALWAYS replies, so he must be on holiday (I'm an HD I customer...) ;)

Apart from that, there's just this message (http://newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88097) from Chuck..

Carm3D
08-29-2008, 06:47 PM
I finally bit the bullet and bought HD caustics.

It doesn't seem to work!!!!

As soon as I increase the refraction above 1.0 the area in the shadow that should get lighter, gets darker and I get a wierd black area in the shadow as well.

I've emailed the people at Happy Digital, but seeing as I didn't get a reply to my original question, I'm not holding out much hope.

Are you playing with the cowsticks, nominal thickness and object size settings?

jasonazure
08-31-2008, 05:38 AM
I just got an email from Happy Digital.

Apparently it doesn't work with 9.x, it does work with 7.5 and 'maybe' 8.5!!!:stumped:

I think it would have been useful for them to have put that information on their website. All it says is "for Lightwave 6.5 and UP". Seeing as the 9.x cycle of Lightwave has been around for well over a year now, I assumed (obviously wrongly) that "6.5 and UP" would include 9.x!!!

I know this plug-in is relatively cheap, but I could have thought of a number of better things to spend $60 on than a plug-in that will get absolutely no use, unless I want to downgrade the version of Lightwave I use.

Carm3D
08-31-2008, 11:44 AM
Sorry about that.. You could see from my test that it was only partially working for me. I thought that would have dissuaded you from purchasing it.

jasonazure
09-01-2008, 01:59 AM
No problem Carm! Partially working would have probably been OK, as I was planning to render the generated Caustics onto black and then use a luminance map to comp them into the final scene. Unfortunately it didn't work at all for me and the big weird black areas appearing in the shadows completely killed any hope of using it this way.

I complained to Happy Digital and they have agreed to refund me and update their website so no-one else gets caught out. So no real harm done.

Unfortunately it's back to the drawing board for me as Lightwaves built in caustics just don't cut it for animation work :(