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Thread: Lightning / Electricity : What ever happened to Vertilectric?

  1. #1
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    Lightning / Electricity : What ever happened to Vertilectric?



    So, I've been using Lightwave since 1995 (on an Amiga back then). Took a break after V6.5 (2003) to go to Maya, and came back 2 years ago with LW2015. Of course, all the plugin architecture is redone, so all of my plugin libraries no longer work (Vertilectric, Realflow, Puppet Master, the list goes on for like ever of what I have). But ok... with the newer features in LW you don't really need them, right?

    WRONG!

    I'm trying to do quick lightning, and it must flow from one point to another (and both points are moving). Vertilectric used to let you do that... VERY quickly. 2 nulls, generate the lightning, tell it how complex you want it... and bamo! You're done. (I think all the Vorlon Lightning was done with it in B5... but don't quote me on that it's been a while since that show was out). It rendered quick and was totally awesome.

    Now that plugin is no more. And the only thing I can find out there is some stupid tutorial that says you now have to MODEL the lightning and use morph mixer, and animate it by hand?! (let alone if you want the two points to move, or lightning to curve around something). Uh... that's way too long, and I've seen the results... it sucks.

    Now if this were Maya, I'd just throw my hands up and multi-pass render my scene and composite in the lightning in Nuke or even AEX. But again, more tedious than using lightwave and just throwing the lightning in the scene (especially if I wanted to use Radiosity to have it emit light).

    Now I know what you're going to say...

    "Just model the lightning"
    "just animate the points and use IK chains"
    "Just add a flickering area light"
    There's about 100 "justs" that you're going to say, when there used to be JUST ONE! (Vertilectric)

    Somebody please tell me I'm wrong. Somebody please tell me I'm not just an old timer sayin' "back in my day..." Please tell me there is a way to generate lightning between 2 moving points in less than 3 minutes (complete with radiosity and a render test of one frame)? Because that's how long Vertilectric took to do all that in 1999 on a Pentium III 300Mhz with 512MB of RAM (a screamin' machine in its day).

    Somebody please tell me?

    Anybody?

  2. #2
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    A Google search for "Verilectric" and "Lightwave" brings up the result:

    http://www.worldcat.org/title/vertil.../oclc/39460755

    showing Vertilectric was distributed on floppy disk by Blevins Enterprises Inc. for LightWave 3D 4.0/5.0. Searching for "Blevins Enterprises Inc." gives:

    http://www.3dgfx.com/plug-ins/

    That page has a pointer for Vertilectric that references http://www.skstudios.com/, which is then derailed by Ampexchange.com and TheClickCheck.com and never gets to the Vertilectric page. You may have to contact the [email protected] to find out how to purchase it, or if it's been upgraded to post-V9 plug-in architecture, and if there's a 64-bit option, etc.

    Or maybe their web page doesn't support Firefox.

    mTp

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    Thank you. Yes... they're gone. Apparently have been gone for quite a while. I'm just hoping that somewhere along the line someone picked up the torch to do electricity effects in lightwave that don't look like they were done in Unity on cards.

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    OK, sorry, didn't know you'd done the backstory research.

    It's probably not what you're after, and definitely more than the "one button solution" kind of thing, but I've had minor success using EdgeTransparency and Turbulence procedural Displacement maps on a jittered, subdivided, subpatched sphere. The basic technique is to create a Z-axis jittered sphere, subdivide it several times, fixing the ends using a Weight Map (Using Modeler Map=>Weights with Radial falloff and shifting the geometry to apply to both ends).

    In Layout, use a Turbulence displacement map to make it move (with Z-axis Position envelope and Bank rotation) or any other variations. The Surface is double-sided, 100% transparent, 100% Luminosity and 0% Diffuse, and in the Shaders tab, add EdgeTransparency to bring the edges into view, setting the threshold to the density / tenuousness you want. Add a bit of Bloom (CTRL-F8=>Image Processing), and WALLA!

    For me, it's a pretty simple setup. The sample scene attached took maybe 10 minutes to set up. Obviously, the color, luminosity, etc. can be effected by various procedurals, gradients, etc.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    As I said, probably not what you're after, but kinda cool.

    Sample MOV and scene is attached.

    mTp

    P.S. Forgot to mention: I bumped up the Object=>Properties subpatch levels to 10 in both Display and Render to smooth out the edges.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by MonroePoteet; 01-11-2017 at 10:50 PM. Reason: Add subpatch bump

  5. #5
    Electron wrangler jwiede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclopse View Post
    Thank you. Yes... they're gone. Apparently have been gone for quite a while. I'm just hoping that somewhere along the line someone picked up the torch to do electricity effects in lightwave that don't look like they were done in Unity on cards.
    Not much help w.r.t. lightning in LW, but if you have access to C4D there's this plugin:



    It's in Python, a MoGraph Tracer-based segment drawing routine pathing between two nulls. Perhaps dissect it to see if you could replace the MoGraph Tracer-based stuff with 2-pt polys or something like that for LW.
    Last edited by jwiede; 01-11-2017 at 11:29 PM.
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    Sorry double post
    Last edited by Marander; 01-12-2017 at 12:29 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwiede View Post
    Not much help w.r.t. lightning in LW, but if you have access to C4D there's this plugin:...
    Yes many one-click options here, also the plugins ElectricFX and XP Electrix

    Attachment 135583 Attachment 135586
    Last edited by Marander; 01-12-2017 at 12:32 AM.

  8. #8
    Robert Ireland bobakabob's Avatar
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    Why spend $$$s on C4D when you can do it in Lightwave?
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-GAMet1q6To

    There was a William Vaughan tutorial but I can't find it. Similar to the above. Create a two point poly chain and use an enveloped animated procedural eg turbulence to displace it. As for the glow you can add noise parameters to the luminosity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobakabob View Post
    Why spend $$$s on C4D when you can do it in Lightwave?
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-GAMet1q6To

    There was a William Vaughan tutorial but I can't find it. Similar to the above. Create a two point poly chain and use an enveloped animated procedural eg turbulence to displace it. As for the glow you can add noise parameters to the luminosity.
    Because I can do that in 5 seconds with better results, start playing around and have all parameters in one place instead of watching an 8 minute tutorial maybe?

  10. #10
    Vacant, pretty vacant pinkmouse's Avatar
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    Cyclops, you're correct, there is no current equivalent for LW. There are ways around it, I'd do something with 2 point polys and a nodal network with nulls as controllers, then you could save it and reuse as required, but nothing as nice as the C4D plugin until we can create geo in Layout.

    How did your old plugin work, do you have screenshots?
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  11. #11
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    Not a LW solution but a lot of fun effects can be done effectively (and quickly) in post using tools like After Effects (which has some damned good lightning plugins). Possibly not what you're hoping for but there it is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkmouse View Post
    Cyclops, you're correct, there is no current equivalent for LW. There are ways around it, I'd do something with 2 point polys and a nodal network with nulls as controllers, then you could save it and reuse as required, but nothing as nice as the C4D plugin until we can create geo in Layout.

    How did your old plugin work, do you have screenshots?

    Thanks guys. I think I do have a copy of C4D R12 or R13 laying around here somewhere (won it at NAB, and don't think I ever installed it). I'll give it a shot.

    On how it worked, just looking at that screenshot from C4D... pretty much EXACTLY the same way. Two null objects, you specify some variables (like branching, glow, texture parameters, complexity)... and it would generate the lightning. You could even generate multiple nulls for destination (so it would branch and randomly go from source and choose destinations, which was very realistic). And finally, you could specify a spline handle null (to curve the lightning around corners and whatnot). I wish I had some screenshots from the old days... but it was pretty much badass. I often used it even on 2D stuff (because After Effects electricity sucked at the time).

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    Electron wrangler jwiede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobakabob View Post
    There was a William Vaughan tutorial but I can't find it. Similar to the above. Create a two point poly chain and use an enveloped animated procedural eg turbulence to displace it. As for the glow you can add noise parameters to the luminosity.
    Couldn't find anything like the William Vaughn reference you're describing, but did find this approach from Prometheus:

    http://forums.newtek.com/showthread....=1#post1384662.

    It'll take a bit longer than one-click solutions like the C4D one, but also potentially offers more aesthetic branching structures. Not sure what operating status of DP_Verdure is now, but you could always use something like Polas' treeDesigner, etc. in a similar manner.
    Last edited by jwiede; 01-12-2017 at 03:51 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwiede View Post
    Couldn't find anything like the William Vaughn reference you're describing, but did find this approach from Prometheus:

    http://forums.newtek.com/showthread....=1#post1384662.

    It'll take a bit longer than one-click solutions like the C4D one, but also potentially offers more aesthetic branching structures. Not sure what operating status of DP_Verdure is now, but you could always use something like Polas' treeDesigner, etc. in a similar manner.
    Thx. I'll check it out. That's a bummer. Granted, electricity effects haven't been popular for a very long time, but I had a need and was looking forward to just spanking it out effortlessly with Vertilectric

  15. #15
    Man of many cells. shrox's Avatar
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    I had that plugin too. Now i do a workaround similar to as has already been described.
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