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Thread: Better Alembic support

  1. #1

    Better Alembic support

    Feature request for better Alembic support; the current implementation supports one mesh per .abc file. It should support the multi-mesh per .abc file. Try exporting a scene from Maya via Alembic that has a number of different objects and only generating one file that describes the entire scene.. then try loading that into Chronosculpt. For CS to be adopted it has to have the most up-to-date Alembic (1.5 at the moment) as well as incorporating every feature that Alembic supports. Another avenue is to somehow make it possible that Alembic support is upgradeable - whenever ILM release a new version Newtek should issue an Alembic patch for this and LW 11.6.

    edit: found MrWyatt had requested the same thing at http://forums.newtek.com/showthread....=1#post1335337 So add my request. :-)
    Last edited by beverins; 08-05-2013 at 11:46 AM.
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  3. #3
    President, the LightWave Group robpowers3d's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evenflcw View Post
    +1
    Noted and communicated to the team.
    Rob Powers

    President, NewTek LightWave 3D Group
    Burbank, CA

  4. #4
    +1
    This will be very important.
    How hard will this be to implement?

  5. #5
    Coffee addict SaleVonGeist's Avatar
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    +1 to everything stated above, and thank you Mr. Powers for feedback on this!
    Animator - Vimeo, Behance

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    Not doing nothing.... Tranimatronic's Avatar
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    +1 This is a big deal for our studio

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    +1

  8. #8
    Adapting Artist jasonwestmas's Avatar
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    Multi- object conversion from .abc files appears to work fine now in the latest 11.6 alembic loader. Each object gets converted to lwo and its own point cache modifier applied in the deform tab automatically, as expected.
    All that is powerful or long standing is first conceived in the imagination; supported by the hope of possibility and then made manifest in our commitment of our current physical reality.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonwestmas View Post
    Multi- object conversion from .abc files appears to work fine now in the latest 11.6 alembic loader. Each object gets converted to lwo and its own point cache modifier applied in the deform tab automatically, as expected.
    That's great news!

    I'm very new to Alembic. Can I ask a dumb question?

    When working with other apps (the whole point of Alembic I suppose), is the workflow generally going to be moving point cache (and forgetting about bones/joints/skinning that may vary from app to app and cause interoperability issues)?

    So, if I were using 3ds/MotionBuilder to skin/animate/retarget, etc. - but wanted to render in LW, I'd just export pointCache (like I'd seen in the videos for the 3rd party 3ds/Maya Alembic plug-ins http://exocortex.com/products/crate/tutorial).

    With the goal of using whatever 3D app you're most comfortable with for a particular task, but being able to render (possibly merged from several apps) in another app entirely?

    Also, if I wanted to map certain materials from an Alembic export to Octane materials in Lightwave, how would this be done (Python or some mapping screen?)

  10. #10
    Adapting Artist jasonwestmas's Avatar
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    currently alembic doesn't support renderer specific material settings but it does preserve material groups between polygon faces like FBX does. The most advantageous use of alembic is that it sets up your mutli-object point cache scenes with a single save and load operation and of course point cache is much more accurate with deformations when moving animation between applications. Pointe cache animation also can be processed much faster than deformers and skin weights. This increased FPS performance makes scene previz much more interactive when increasing scene complexity layer by layer.

    Another core advantage in multi-app pipelines that use point cache is that there are far fewer incompatibilities to deal with. In such a import/export situation the scene can still maintain the desired animation effects as if they were still being viewed in the original animation package. . . .as if all constraints and deformers were still active but of course are no longer needed after the cache is created.
    Last edited by jasonwestmas; 10-20-2013 at 09:35 PM.
    All that is powerful or long standing is first conceived in the imagination; supported by the hope of possibility and then made manifest in our commitment of our current physical reality.

  11. #11
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    Hey all, had a quick question related to this. Is it possible to import abc files into existing lwo's? I've not successfully been able to do this as of yet (similar to how an MDD pipeline works). I want to load up a base object (can be from the abc) and setup all the materials and such then import the abc files into the scene. Every test i try just makes the object over again.

    Also tried just adding the deformer to the object and point it to the abc file and that seems to do nada.

    Cheers!

  12. #12
    Adapting Artist jasonwestmas's Avatar
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    I would simply make material presets from your original objects and then apply them to your new abc meshes that come in. For this to work of course you will need to have your material "Polygon Group" assignments be identical (which alembic can save). My workflow would be to export my LW model as an FBX, obj would probably work too, making sure that the polygon group materials are exported to your animation package. Then send the model(s) and cache back to lightwave as alembic, with the same material surface groups. Then load your materials back onto your abc/lwo meshes.

    ime, due to the design of the surface editor verses the deform tab/ point cache modifier it's probably faster to load several materials than it is to load several abc files manually. Perhaps the MDD multiloader will support abc files in the future. I don't think it does currently.

    If you want to still use your original mesh instead, you can load up your alembic scene in layout and send the model(s) to modeler. Inside modeler load your original mesh and replace the abc mesh/layer with the original model and save the swap-out. If the point orders are the same then all should be well with the layout point cache after you resave the abc-newlycreated lwo. I haven't tested that one yet however.
    Last edited by jasonwestmas; 01-04-2014 at 12:20 PM.
    All that is powerful or long standing is first conceived in the imagination; supported by the hope of possibility and then made manifest in our commitment of our current physical reality.

  13. #13
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    I ended up doing just that.. and it works great! Makes for a really nice pipeline!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonwestmas View Post
    Multi- object conversion from .abc files appears to work fine now in the latest 11.6 alembic loader. Each object gets converted to lwo and its own point cache modifier applied in the deform tab automatically, as expected.
    That does appear to work, however I only get one Material Zone per object. Any ideas on how to get around that other than to recreate all the Material zones?

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