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Thread: Strand Modeler, import Guides > possible?

  1. #1

    Strand Modeler, import Guides > possible?


    Hi,

    anyone knows if it's possible to load FiberFX guides into Strand Modeler?


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  2. #2
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post
    Hi,

    anyone knows if it's possible to load FiberFX guides into Strand Modeler?


    I donīt think so, it doesnīt load in ffs saved fiberfx from layout..and that wouldnīt be editing guides anyway.
    you could right click on your object in fiberfx layout, and polygonize, then you have to save that layer and reload in to modeler layer, and from there you could edit the strands by strand tool or other tools.

  3. #3

    thanks, yeah, seems that is missing.

    certainly can understand many complains about FiberFX. one has to know what to do / what not to.

    i can wrestle FiberFX, but it's certainly a lot back and forth.
    Modeler<>StrandTool<>Layout back and forth, back and forth.

    LWG has port all FiberFX tools into Layout imo.
    until then...
    Last edited by erikals; 09-20-2016 at 03:49 PM.
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  4. #4
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post
    thanks, yeah, seems that is missing.

    certainly can understand many complains about FiberFX. one has to know what to do / what not to.

    i can wrestle FiberFX, but it's certainly a lot back and forth.
    Modeler<>StrandTool<>Layout back and forth, back and forth.

    LWG has port all FiberFX tools into Layout imo.
    until then...
    Yes..neither strandmodeler or edit guides in layout is really that nice to work with...extremly crashy as well if you switch back and forth with modeler.
    regarding creating strands in layout first with fiberfx, if you polygonize them and send to modeler, if you happen to have to low segments, just select all strands and use aw divide edge on all at once in edge mode, and set number of divisions.

    for deforming, move tool with radial falloff is probably the best working (not point radial) the downside to that is you can only deform push the guides within that fallof that is static till you right click move it somewhere else..and point radial requires exact picking of a strands point while you can move the falloff freely, but that is no good to constantly picking a point on a strand...so they direct modeling tools is quite bad for this, and you are left with fiberfx strand modeler..which you canīt loat any strands and guides created in layout etc..itīs all mostly a loose loose situation with these tools, when deforming/pushing guides, you would also like a way to deflect avoid with collsions, like with blender you have that option so when you push the strands it wonīt go in to the model.

    sensei had some hair modeling tools that looked nice..it just vanished though, and I donīt think he has them for sale even.
    It would be nice if the sculpting tools from 3rd powers could work on any guide, including cutting them properly..we do not have a cut tool for modeler (senseis might have had) and in layout it really sucks...blenders are excellent in that area.

    Though I would prefer the acess and module of fiberfx to start with, rather than blenders which has no hair..it is sort of hidden in the particle fx system where you need to change to hair..and blender does not have as good opengl presentation of hair I think nor the same styling options as fiberfx styling panel has(though I still have to evaluate all the styling effects you can get by all the forces selfinteracting on blender hair particles., what does better is combing though.

  5. #5

    edit: correction, looks like i can load fibers from a layer, and then convert it to guides in Strand Modeler.
    nice to be wrong about that one.

    ...extremly crashy as well if you switch back and forth with modeler.
    yes, LW ain't a fan of that...

    itīs all mostly a loose loose situation...
    hehe. yeah, sorta, i was surprised to see that i could get decent renders though.
    so if one can get past the tweaking...

    sensei had some hair modeling tools that looked nice.
    sort of, i had a look at them today actually, (the video previews he made way-way back, i have a small LightWave library here)
    but those too are nowhere close to the ease of creating guides in for example Blender.

    once i "crack" the LightWave FiberFX-Creating-Guides code, things will be better. 
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  6. #6
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post
    edit: correction, looks like i can load fibers from a layer, and then convert it to guides in Strand Modeler.
    nice to be wrong about that one.
    I was just about to answer that but looks like you got it figured out.

    I haven't used FiberFX Modeler in ages--at this stage, it might be considered 'legacy' but it still has it's uses. I think the last time I used it was for an old man's eyebrows--I cut out the eyebrow polys as a base to Grow from and then combed the guides in FiberFX Modeler. Then, after I clicked OK, I used Strand Tool to edit a few crazy wiry strands to give them some 'character'.

    I really haven't had much trouble using Edit Guides in the current release. I can still crash it sometimes but it's actually way more stable than it used to be.

    Sigh! I need to get back to this stuff at home. I did use FiberFX for some characters and props at work early this year...it was pretty minor use but we were in a hurry and it did the trick.

  7. #7
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Oh, feel free to ask any questions btw. I haven't been very active in the forums lately but I still skim the threads regularly.

  8. #8

    looks like you got it figured out.
    yes, did a test run over here and made it import.

    i like FiberFX for some stuff, but it's limited. kinda tricky / time consuming finding the 'gotchas'   :°
    "kind of" getting the hang of it now.

    feel free to ask any questions btw.
    thank you!
    my next "hack" is to create feathers (outch!) that one will be challenging for sure...
    there is the Khalid Feather trick, but i'm trying more accurate and faster ways about it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOJG9L5S27I

    all help is welcome. thanks again.
    Last edited by erikals; 09-20-2016 at 07:25 PM.
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  9. #9


    did try "Strand Modeler" for short fur, here were my findings... (loong video)

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  10. #10

    it's strange, but i'm actually finding FiberFX Layout Edit Guides worse... as it's no way to tweak in SubD mode... :/

    any ideas on that one?
    https://img.youtube.com/vi/PcKipBV7I...resdefault.jpg

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  11. #11
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    weird..havenīt thought of that before actually, mostly used it on non subpatched I think, itīs the same in 11.6.
    seems you canīt use a dummy freezed and then replace with subpatched version either, it will screw up the guides, I reckon you need a model that by default is metaformed/divided good enough, and instead lower subpatch level in layout.
    I was looking at Khalids feather on his bird, and I thought that was subpatched, but it could just as well have been metaformed/divided a lot.

  12. #12
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    It's not a bug. AFAIK, Edit Guides has never recognized sub-patch levels. I think this is because the Edit Guides guides need to be based on actual geometry. In other words, the base needs to be constant because styling is based on Vmaps, which don't change when you change Sub-D levels.

    For example, if you grew guides from a sub-patch surface and put a lot of work into styling it, all your hard work may get screwed up when you reduce the sub-patch level (guides will disappear) or when you increase it (un-styled guides will appear between the styled ones) because LightWave isn't going to interpolate changes to your vmaps. Normally, you really don't want either of those things happening.

    Technically speaking, working from the base geometry shouldn't matter because the guides are just that, guides. They don't represent the actual FiberFX fibers or the number of fibers that will be rendered, they just define where the fibers will appear and how they will lay over the surface. And if they're growing from the base, they'll always be valid no matter how high you increase the sub-D level.

    Obviously, if you prefer to work with the lowest possible mesh resolution there is a downside to this, as you won't have very many guides available to do really detailed fiber styling. I'm not sure there's anything you can do about that except to be sure to model the mesh to optimize guides placement. In general, however, you typically only need to increase detail in a few areas for that kind of control.

    If you just need detailed guides in certain areas, I sometimes prefer to do is prepare a separate pieces of mesh specifically isolated and up-rezzed for these Edit guides, and then I might use any of the tricks available in Layout to make the mesh 'stick to' and follow the character--like using one of the Meta plugins or maybe just weighting it properly and using the rig's bones.

    Alternatively, you can have guides that don't grow from the vertices, by using Modeler or a third-party program like ZBrush FiberMesh. These tools can place the guides arbitrarily over the surface. However, there are several trade-offs with this approach, mostly involving vmaps.

    If you don't use Edit Guides, here's some of the things you might be dealing with:

    1. Externally modeled guides (including those created using regular Modeler tools) won't normally won't be able to pull color textures from the surface's UV map like Edit Guides guides to. This is because Edit Guides is directly bound to the surface's UV map. There are workarounds for making FiberMesh Guides pull from the same UV and the easiest way is to use the DrainBGVmap plugin (x32 only) or the Weighter 2 plugin (x64) from Liberty. (Note: Weighter does not work properly with 2015.3, so you'll need to use an older version of LightWave.)

    2. You may need to generate a proper weight map for the guides to get them to deform properly with the mesh. You can use the above plug-ins to transfer weights to the guides.

    3. If you have morphs in your mesh, these won't normally be available to the guides. You'll either have to manually create the morphs for the guides or use the vmap transfer plugins. (Man, these plugins really are handy aren't they? In my humble opinion, LW3DG REALLY needs to get something that does this in Modeler natively. I've only been asking that for about five years though.)

    4. You may still have problems if you're using Sub-patch geometry because the guides will obviously not match when you change levels. If your weights work properly, you might possibly not notice but I wouldn't count on it. Depending on the design, you'll probably find the main problems areas will be under the shoulders and inside the pelvis.

    These issues are avoided using Edit Guides because the guides are bound directly to the mesh. Even when you use a higher sub-d level, the guides are still going to follow the mesh even if they're not themselves 'dividing'.

    Something like that anyway. This is just stuff I noticed and figured out a few years ago when I was doing a lot more work in FiberFX. It's not official info so there may be some inaccuracies in the above but it works for me. I might come back and revise some of what I wrote later if I think I of something else or if I made a mistake. (It happens. A lot actually.)

    Hope this info helps.

    FWIW, I'm still working with FiberFX occasionally at work, and I have a personal project where I'm starting to use it again. If I learn something new about FiberFX, good or bad, I'll let you know.

    -----

    BTW, I hope this thread doesn't degenerate into another FiberFX 'hate fest'. I'm not interested in arguing about the tool, just discussing its use and sharing tips and tricks. (Let's see how long that lasts.)

  13. #13
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    One more thing: Remember, there's nothing preventing you from using a combination of techniques. I've had assignments where I used Edit Guides, FFX Modeler guides, and 'hair' curves imported from Modo all on the same character, so don't get too hung up on trying to use just one tool for everything. It would be nice but I find that that's almost never possible. (And I'm not just talking about FiberFX...that's pretty much with every program I use.)

  14. #14

    That's a lot of Good info.  

    thinking, it might be that using Bias maps is a solution to some of these animation/morphs related problems?
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  15. #15
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Maybe. I've played a little bit with creating bias maps using the Strand Modeler in Modeler but had mixed results. That was a very long time ago though. More recently, I think Kryslin was doing some interesting stuff with Bias maps so you might ask him about it (I think he was making his own tool for editing it). I think Bias maps are really mean for defining direction though, not displacement so I'm not sure if they apply for Morph/Anim problems. (Sorry, I might be wrong about that...I'm not really that technically knowledgeable about these things.)

    BTW, (you probably know this already) that's basically what Edit Guides is doing when you create a Style with it--it's generating a bias map. This is why you need to save the object after using Edit Guides. Many new users seem to miss that bit in the manual and wonder why they keep losing their settings. When you edit with Edit Guides, it needs to be treated the same as when you make a surface change.

    I'm not sure there's any way to access that map for editing though (not that I would know what to do with it.)

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