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Noclar7
10-30-2008, 07:47 AM
Hello all, I'm running into a project where we need some vector export of 3d engineering stuff, and was wondering if there have been any advancements on the vector plugin market?


Last time I had to do this with a previous company we used swift 3d, which.. worked, but nothing sensational and hasn't been updated in years. Before i go get this again, is there anything else out there that can be used with Lightwave? specifically LW Mac 9.0 - 5?

safetyman
10-30-2008, 08:50 AM
What I usually do is an anime-style render (minimal smooth shading), then just use the autotrace tool in Illustrator -- works really well.

Noclar7
10-30-2008, 09:19 AM
For a still frame this would work, but too tedious for an animation. I guess i should have specified for "animation" as well.

safetyman
10-30-2008, 11:49 AM
Ah-- I see. As far as I know, Swift3D is the only plugin that will export rendered frames as vector files, at least for Lightwave. There used to be another one, and I can't remember the name, but they dropped off the map.

You might also try Googling "batch raster to vector" and see what pops up. I know there are tools out there which perform this task (which is kinda what Swift3D does when you think about it -- renders a frame, raster to vector it, save vector file/animation).

safetyman
10-30-2008, 11:55 AM
Swift3D was always waaaay too slow for me to use, so I ended up doing the conversion myself to save time.

Just thought of another way: If you have Flash, you can export the frames from LW, import them into Flash, then convert them to vector files with Flash's built-in raster to vector conversion. That way, you even have the finished animation inside Flash ready for export.

Noclar7
10-30-2008, 11:57 AM
Huh, yeah i never thought about doing a batch conversion. Although I was under the impression that Swift3d actually used the vector detail from the geometry to create the flash vectors. This would ensure a more accurate representation of the object.

akrantz
10-30-2008, 05:28 PM
You should note that the Swift3d targets flash as its final output, and that the Swift3D for LW plugin doesn't support UB LW. This is NOT listed on their site which is sadly indicative of their customer service. There is a stand alone version of Swift3d that can import 3Ds files but the UI for Swift3D is tedious and it would be faster to export images from LW and either trace them/process them to make them vector as some of the other posters have suggested or take them into After Effects and make a composition that you can export. Typically I export from AE as an .mov if I plan to use it online with a quicktime plug-in, or if I want to deploy it using the flash player there are two options, I can either export a swf directly, or an .mov file that I can convert to .flv using an .flv encoder.
Hope that helps.

safetyman
10-31-2008, 07:12 AM
Huh, yeah i never thought about doing a batch conversion. Although I was under the impression that Swift3d actually used the vector detail from the geometry to create the flash vectors. This would ensure a more accurate representation of the object.

I believe that's correct, which is why it takes so long to render. It also gives you more vector "pieces", which can be bad in some instances (more memory intensive than a bitmap of the same dimensions). I only suggested the Flash conversion because you have a lot of control over how much detail you want, and it gives you the option of having the video right there so you can add audio, titles, etc.

Whichever way you choose, make sure you are exporting each frame as a separate image to avoid any unpleasantries with lockups, power outages, etc. I'm sure you already knew that.