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Thread: a few questions about LW

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    a few questions about LW

    Hi, I had a brief Lightwave experience 16 years ago. And now I guess I would have to re-learn everything even to try things out. So I would be appreciated if somebody could tell me if I can expect to find those features\tools before I'd spend a lot of time :

    1. Vertex normal editor and a tool to transfer vertex normals from one model to another . For example from a sphere to lowpoly tree model made by multiple crossing polygons.

    2. Texture baker capable to bake multiple geometry details into a low poly shell with adjustable projection direction ( by "cage" for example, not only along surface normals) and able to bake multiple details with alpha cut outs adding their alphas to each other correctly in the target texture . Grass, leaves, small sticks with alpha etc. being baked into a simple ground surface ( with ability to bake depth)

    3. Something to construct/prototype realtime shaders (hopefully with nodes) and see the result in the viewport.

    4. Reliable FBX import/export to 3dmax pipeline. Basic textures( color, spec, normal bump) and animation
    Last edited by jkir; 11-29-2014 at 04:24 PM.

  2. #2
    1. There's a third-party plugin that does this.

    2. There is surface baking. Not sure it does everything you're asking. There are others on the forum who have more experience with texture baking than me.

    3. I believe VPR is what you want. Your viewport will render and update as you change your surface settings. That's the realtime feedback you'd be getting.

    4. LightWave 2015 has some improvements to working with the FBX file format.
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    Thanks for the answers. What is the plugin name?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkir View Post
    Thanks for the answers. What is the plugin name?
    I am specifically interested in that "alpha" baking thing . When several objects with "alpha" is being baked into a low poly surface. Looks like neither Max nor Maya or Blender can do it correctly.

    From what I have tested I think Lightwave doesn't have the "cage" option. Am I right? I see "camera" and "object center" direction, not sure how it works although.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jkir View Post
    Thanks for the answers. What is the plugin name?
    Weighter
    http://www.liberty3d.com/tools/weigh...ave3d-modeler/
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    Thank you for the link but I can't find anything in description about vertex normals editing or the transfer of normals direction from other model. Looks like it's more about weights transfer. Does it work not only with weights? Kind of Attribute transfer in Maya?

    I know normals editing was impossible in LW before, at least when I tried it last time. Wonder how it's now?


    I am also curious if LW recognize edited vertex normals from FBX files?
    Last edited by jkir; 12-05-2014 at 05:22 AM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jkir View Post
    Thank you for the link but I can't find anything in description about vertex normals editing or the transfer of normals direction from other model. Looks like it's more about weights transfer. Does it work not only with weights? Kind of Attribute transfer in Maya?

    I know normals editing was impossible in LW before, at least when I tried it last time. Wonder how it's now?
    If you are asking about smoothing/vertex normals that's still not possible in LW. LW reads vertex normals/sooth (from CAD data or low poly models and stuff created with smoothing in mind) but you can't edit or create them in LWM . sorry

    Other questions are easily achievable in LW

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    Not possible to rotate smoothing normals by hand or transfer it from a sphere to a low poly grass object constructed from several crossing flat planes for example? Its a bit different tasks. Or it still not possible to change smoothing other than by angle in surface shader settings?

    No 3d party plugin for that?


    I just hoped LW did some progress in that area alongside with Modo


    ps. Regarding other questions: Am I right about the "cage" ? So I can't change the baking direction for a specific edge/corner of my model, keeping everything other as is. I ask because the suface baking camera does looks like making a kind of "cage" similar to what 3d max or X normal do
    Last edited by jkir; 12-05-2014 at 11:04 AM.

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    You can use the raytrace node to bake any surface detail you want....

    The tree on the top right is 10 polys, and the baked surface from the mesh in the other layer....


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    Newbie Member DesertRat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkir View Post
    Not possible to rotate smoothing normals by hand or transfer it from a sphere to a low poly grass object constructed from several crossing flat planes for example? Its a bit different tasks. Or it still not possible to change smoothing other than by angle in surface shader settings?

    No 3d party plugin for that?
    If you don't mind a quick trip into Blender there is a LWO importer/exporter which allows you two take advantage of two addons, one is called Transfer Vertex Normals, and that allows for the "projecting" of normals form one piece of geometry onto another. The other is Recalc Vertex Normals, which allows you to manually bend normals, and even has a convenient "tree" and "foliage" button. After exporting back to LightWave, you have to enable the "vert_normals" map under Vertex Normal Map in the Surface Editor. There are a few steps to it, but it's pretty easy.

    http://forums.newtek.com/showthread....pport/page2#19
    Last edited by DesertRat; 12-05-2014 at 02:01 PM. Reason: link added
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    XswampyX , could you elaborate please on raytrace node. How do you get vector values? Maybe a node network example? Does it allow to set different direction for different part of the surface? Like the cage?


    ps. Do you use world spot and normals as inputs for raytrace node? Wonder if it's possible to recreate "cage" functional by using other object vertexes as vectors directions ?
    Last edited by jkir; 12-05-2014 at 10:17 PM.

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    Thanks DesertRat? I tried that Transfer vertex Normals plugin in Blender but didn't know it's possible to export result it in LW. Actually found it pretty useless that time since even Blender itself can't save it and nukes them instantly each time after "Tab"

    Another question is whether edited normals exportable from LW? To a game engine for example, or just inside fbx file? I work in gamedev and don't need custom vertex normal just to be shown in LW viewport. Looks like fbx import in LW doesn't recognize edited normals, what about export ?

  13. #13
    Newbie Member DesertRat's Avatar
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    jkir, I haven't had luck getting those edited normals exported out of LW, but I was trying to get them into another 3D app...and I think that app recalculated the normals upon import. Tried OBJ, FBX, COLLADA, LWO.

    I know nothing about game development, but I would think that since games make use of edited normals (from what little I have read), maybe they can read them exported from LW. For example, just glancing at the manual under Unity Interchange there is a screen shot of the Inspector and under "Normals & Tangents" it shows Normals with what looks like a drop down menu saying "Calculate" - maybe there is another option to preserve your edited normals? And maybe the new LW 2015 has improved exporting capabilities, I won't have time to test anything until this evening.

    Sorry that's not much help.
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    I totaly understand, and thanks for the tips. By the way. looks like Blender has improved its FBX a lot in the last release . Looks like it export/import edited normals just fine now. They appears the same in 3d max at least. It's pity LW still misses such an important thing.

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    jkir - Thanks for the info on improved FBX for Blender, I will have another look at it. I went to test the new LW 2015 FBX, but it is strangely missing from the trial version (from my end) so can't test right now. I hope you found a workable solution.
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