View Full Version : LW8 >< CAD?

08-04-2003, 09:32 AM
Sorry if this LW8 topic has already been covered elsewhere in the forums.

Having bought LW7 for MAC a while back I'm not eligible for a free LW8 upgrade and time wise that's fair enough... However, much of that time with LW7-7.5 has been dealing LW-MAC issues and lack of 3rd party plug-ins to the point I finally broke down and built a PC just for use with LW. On top of the thousands spent to get on track I had to purchase a DUO-USB key and PC installer CD from NewTek, so be it, BUT now after having made such an investment of time and over $4K to get on equal footing with the majority of new LWrs learning the app I'm now way less inclined to invest another $500 in LW8. Even as much as I'd like to be on a learning curve par with everyone else.

A few times during my long setup process I had inquires from potential clients needing to animate CAD, AutoCAD pre-developed models and I understand from previous threads some 3rd party apps can be used to deal with import/export steps to maybe get a working model in LW. More PC 3rd party app options than the one (1) on the MAC, which added to my move to a PC, but now I can't justify spending another dime into more 3D upgrades just to pick up some LW7.5 slack. As much as LW7.5 appears to have some things I'm sure I'll like using with it's current features on personal projects a LW8 upgrade without having the potential of generating some return from my client base asking for CAD models to be animated makes the upgrade an even big money pit for me.

Since some of you have now seen some features of LW8 can you tell me if this will finally be address the need to work with this client pre-developed CAD models?

Also, while I'm asking about LW8, will Network Rending be any better? If so, how? What about use of multiple systems networked even when rendering just a single F9 or F10 frame?

Thanks for any insight you may render... ;)

08-04-2003, 10:02 AM
I use LW for similar jobs too (exploded anims, animation of components, visualisation etc.)

From what I saw on the streams from SIGGRAPH it looks like v8 is mainly addressing the character toolset, I guess this is because they lost a lot of ground to Maya for that kind of work.

The only thing I saw that might be useful to the kind of work we do was the new dynamics tools, which looked very cool indeed!

The workflow issues that they have addressed is another potential upgrade reason. For example, if you have several lights and you needed to change them to area lights, you can select them in layout's main window, open up the light properties and change the setting for all, without having to use the Spreadsheet editor.

Only certain aspects work like this now, but it looks like they've rolled it out to many more.

A lot of commands are accessibile via popup menus too.

I haven't seen any talk about ScreamerNet, personally I'm not too hopeful for any updates to ScreamerNet, but I'd love to be proved wrong!

There might be more tools in the final release but we'll have to wait and see whether there are any major changes like the new IK / dynamics tools previewed at SIGGRAPH or whether they are just 'nice' plugins.

Hope that helps!

P.S. Oh and the UI will change a little too!

08-04-2003, 11:20 AM
Auto Cad can save as 3ds and LW can import a 3ds with some loss of info. So you may want to ask them to export to a 3ds and give it a shot.

08-04-2003, 12:25 PM
It also depends on the job, for most renders CAD files have far to much information in the model.

For example most people doing architectural work have to simplify the models, often it is quicker to rebuild them from scratch.

right hemisphere do a model convertor called deep exploration

08-04-2003, 12:52 PM
I have been using LW to do previz for furniture and sculpture pieces, and although it is very capable in the modeling and rendering of these pieces, when it comes to actually trying to export a usable model for manufacture, LW definately needs some help. Perhaps it is due to the lack of a "real" NURBS system...I'm not sure. And for those poised to flame the NURBS comment, don't...I'm not bashing LW in the least...far from it. I use the "sub-d" tools all the time, but the fact remains that LW doesn't support formats like IGES, STL or Solid Works. However, LW is definately more a tool for artists than technicians...If you need something for hard core CAD-specific projects, you may want to look into Studio Tools or Ashlar Vellum...the latter is also available on OS X. Hope that helps.

08-05-2003, 08:34 AM
Hi all,

Thanks for the replies... I appreciate the points made, but still really hope NewTek addresses these needed features (asked for by others as well from the threads I've read from months if not years back) by the time they release LW8.

The problem I've found with more than one potential client in the last year with having to start from scratch and remodel their already developed CAD files is they are not willing to spend the extra time and/or $ it would take for a re-modeling. They already had it developed in CAD and they claim to find other 3D media creators able to use the files as is from the CAD software they use. I recall IGES as a file type on one potential project that fell through.

Yes, it appears their maybe some 3rd party apps to help with a future potential client, but so far from what I can tell those apps for this one file transfer purpose are hundreds, which if NewTek would rather I and maybe others spend with them maybe they could work on this. I see some great looking renderings from LW out there and I myself look forward to become proficient enough with it to explore some Sci-Fi personal projects with it, BUT NewTek really needs to help us small non-game developing indi guys to meet our corporate client needs. I've yet to have one ask me to animate a 3D character for them. Nor doubt they will... Maybe down the road if I ever get good enough at that sort of thing I could talk a clientele into adding a character to promoting their product, but for now they're asking to have CAD pre-modeled files animated (not re-modeled or screwed up in some conversion process) and that's what will pay the bills here to justify the investment. It's near impossible after having $pent what I have to get a good working version of LW here going to now upgrade at another $500 when the features clients are asking for are not there.

This thread was not meant to be a bash by any means, but was an inquiry as to what I NewTek's client need to meet my potential clients needs and without NewTek's support how can I or others like me in turn support them. I would much rather continue to invest in them and keep them going than have to look to investing with another 3D company.

BTW, better Network Rending is important in that I was also sold on LW over apps like Maya when told I wouldn't have to keep forking out more and more $ for render nodes, BUT if the set-up and features of Network Rendering are to continue to be as they are one might re-consider how great a deal that really is. Yes, I understand some 3rd party apps are suppose to be out there to pick up the slack for LWSN II, but as noted before I have invested far more than I ever intended (especially with having to switch platforms) and buying even more apps rather than having these features under one LW roof I mean to state in the fairest of ways. Heck, I use to think beta testing for 3D apps was fun and before that tapping away at writing DOS like code we are being asked to do with LWSN II command files, but no longer... I just can't continue to invest the time in such trials and still pay the bills.

Thanks again for the input thus far and reading my concerns for LW staying my 3D app of choice in the future. My fingers are crossed LW8 addresses these needs for my potential client base by the time it goes golden cause I'd rather support NT. ;)

08-05-2003, 11:42 AM
Have a look at this tutorial specifically devoted to getting Screamernet running under OSX: