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Thread: 'must have' plug-ins for LW 9.6? Need advice from LW Masters!!

  1. #1
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    'must have' plug-ins for LW 9.6? Need advice from LW Masters!!

    I'm trying to figure out which plug-ins to buy in this tax year, and I thought I'd ask the experts (as I'm certainly not).

    Other than JimmyRig and RealFlow (which are not really plug-ins), I haven't purchased any yet.

    I'm running Win7-64 on a dual quad core Xeon Nehalem, 24GB RAM, GTX 285 - if that affects my choices.

    FPrime and HD Instance certainly seem interesting (loved the santa's helper video created with HD Instance).

    I just saw some cool work on LW done using x-dof, but it seems like they've stopped development on it. They also have, what seems to me, a cool shadow plug-in. But, again, they seem to have done no work since maybe 2004 and 2002.

    This is the 'cool' work I was talking about (apparently with LW, x-dof, Photoshop and JimmyRig)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9noxrPD6Vw

    I just want to create magical things like that (but, I expect talent and skill are still back-ordered - drat!), and am looking for ways to do that while speeding up my workflow, increasing render qualty and lessening rendering time (contradictory desires).

  2. #2
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    I would not be myself, if I don't recommend EasySpline from TrueArt's Modeling Pack http://modelingpack.trueart.eu

    ps. I think so that Fprime, HD_Instance and X-Dof are mutually exclusive. For 99% you cannot mix any of them with other two..

  3. #3
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    a lot of plugs don't work in 64 bit so check b4 u buy
    Andrewstopheles

  4. #4
    Super Member JonW's Avatar
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    LWCad, is a must have.

    Onyx trees, not a plugin but very good.



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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrewstopheles View Post
    a lot of plugs don't work in 64 bit so check b4 u buy
    Using 64 bit Modeler doesn't make sense. You never run out of memory. Long time before reaching it, refreshing and editing is not possible..

    With Layout, agree.

  6. #6
    Super Member gordonrobb's Avatar
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    For uving try PLG UV Edit. Plus it's free.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    Using 64 bit Modeler doesn't make sense. You never run out of memory. Long time before reaching it, refreshing and editing is not possible..

    With Layout, agree.
    I'm a day away from getting Win7-64 running on my new box. Are you saying I'll need to dual boot to 32 bit to run Modeler, or will I be ok?

  8. #8
    Super Member geo_n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3dWannabe View Post
    I'm trying to figure out which plug-ins to buy in this tax year
    I think you should buy only the plugins that you really must have given that core is a capable modeller and then some right now.
    Remember you will not be able to use them anymore in core.
    And because of that only lwcad is offering a free upgrade to core version so its a good buy right now. So your investment won't be obsolete.
    Maybe invest in layout plugins since that might still be usable in lightwave hc version. hdinstance, kray.

  9. #9
    Old Dog Learns New Tricks RudySchneider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3dWannabe View Post
    ...Are you saying I'll need to dual boot to 32 bit to run Modeler, or will I be ok?
    Nope. You can run 32-bit apps on a 64-bit machine. I use 32-bit Modeler ('mainly 'cuz so many plugins are 32-bit only), and 64-bit Layout for memory-intensive scenes.
    There are no problems, only opportunities...

  10. #10
    LWCAD would be the only plug-in I'd consider at this point if you really want a plug-in. Not only is it the best modeling plug-in EVER for Lightwave, buying the most recent version will get you a free upgrade to the CORE version when it comes along. And the only reason I say that I wouldn't be buying a lot of plug-ins is mainly because CORE is going to be replacing classic Lightwave (eventually).

    I would have said Fprime too but CORE is already going to have an interactive renderer built into it.

    Dont' forget there are a lot of useful free plug-ins out there as well. If you do any UV work and painting textures for your UV maps, you'll want UVImaginator. This will export your UV map to whatever resolution you need to an image file.

    I used a free lscript called thickener to add volume to polyganal objects but now that function is in LWCAD 3.5.

    I don't own any, but you may want to take a look at Sensei's plug-ins.

    And yeah, if you want to run plug-ins that are 32 bit and you have a 64 bit machine, you'll have to install both the 32 and 64 bit versions of Lightwave. You can run 32 bit apps in a 64 bit environment, but the 32 bit plug-ins will not work in the 64 bit app.

  11. #11
    Super Member JonW's Avatar
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    You don’t need dual boot. But while you are at it put you OS on an SSD.
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  12. #12
    How Old? Really? Aww Heck colkai's Avatar
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    Another shout to LWCAD (I see a pattern forming ), could not live without it.
    I also use Bevel++ but beyond that, most of the "essential" plugins I use are free, (normally from Pictrix ).
    Too old to die young.

  13. #13
    Almost newbie Cageman's Avatar
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    If you are heavy into rendering, or want to be able to wrangle things out QUICKLY, especially complex scenes that has to be broken up into several renderscenes, I would be a fool not to recommend Janus. I use it ALOT.

    If you are a compositing junkie and want to be able to play around with renderbuffers in the compositing application, I would add exrTrader to the mix. Janus has a built-in exrTrader interface and the two works extremely well together.

    Regarding nodes and node-editors, I simply can't refuse to recommend everything done by Dpont. Appart from his DPKit and NodeItemMotion, he has a great set of procedural textures found in Renderman collection as well as a set of Lights and a couple of cameras. It's all free of charge!

    Another usefull tool is MentalFish motionbaker script. Pretty much THE tool to use if you want to bake constrained items to keyframes (you need to do this if you work in a multiapp pipeline, or simply want to be safe when sending to a renderfarm).

    A bunch of tools from Chris Peterson are really usefull, such as Clone Hiearchy Repeat, PointsToNulls and ReplaceSelected.

    And, of course, one of my multiapp pipeline savers; PointOven! Actually, PointOven generates vertex caches directly to disk, unlike LW where the scanning is done to memory and then dumped to disk. So, there is no real polylimit when using PointOven for generating a vertex cache. Also, PointOven generates vertex caches enmasse, so if you have a LW-scene with 100 objects that all needs to be baked to a vertex cache, PointOven will do them all in one go.

    Hope that helps.

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  14. #14
    1. i can only recommend fprime, as it is not only a great real time previewer (which makes especially lighting and surfacing setup a completely interactive experience) but also a great renderer - still fast even if you have hundreds of area lights and millions of polys to render...

    2. especially if you are into rendering animations with top level GI, bust also if you need fast high quality stills, have a look into kray. it's an amazingly fast high quality render engine plugin which is not only fun to use but will pay for itself soon if you have to render time critical animations. as it is a complete render engine it will need a bit of attention - but the results are worth it! ...and the kray community is already known for its helpful support in all situations

    http://www.kraytracing.com

    last tip: shadermeister - an ingenious way to shade your scene globally without the need to manually setup each surface again. a few clicks and you are rendering occlusion passes, id matte passes and whatever you need... extremely handy if you need more than the simple RGB + alpha output from your scene. you can even write your own node based global shaders for special needs and apply them with one mouse click. http://www.db-w.com/

    cheers

    markus
    Last edited by 3dworks; 12-10-2009 at 08:12 AM.
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  15. #15
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    As fprime was suggested, I got a response on another forum commenting on it:

    -----
    Personally, fprime is no longer a vital 'must have' plugin. It used to be, because the rendering speed was great, and you could get stuff out pretty quick. But, these days, the Lightwave renderer is so much faster, and also allows you to use other plugins and shaders, which fprime simply cannot render or access.
    Fprimes main use these days (and for which I think it was initially designed for) is checking textures live, and just making sure everything is looking right. Either that, or putting out a very quick render for test purposes.
    ----

    It seems like there are things you must give up with fprime?

    Or - is that user thinking of an older version of fprime?

    I'd looked at the kraytracing site before, as I'd heard it mentioned. Do you have to give up certain features to use it?

    thanks!

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