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Thread: 2018 - Vertex Normal Map

  1. #1
    Kamehameha Chameleon BigHache's Avatar
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    2018 - Vertex Normal Map

    "Although LightWave has no way of generating vertex normal maps internally yet, Layout can still work with them in objects obtained from other sources."

    The problem for me is LightWave IS my other source. I'm trying to create game assets for Unity and I have no way to create/edit smoothing groups/vertex normals.

    What are you guys doing for your workflow? Purchasing another full 3D program is not an option for me. Is there a tool that can be had for a few hundred that can assist? I haven't been rendering in LightWave for some time and unfortunately it seems like all the updates for 2018 are geared toward rendering within LightWave.

    This makes 2018 a non-option for me and so my software budget will (hopefully) go toward a tool that allows me to do what I'm needing at the moment.

    On a side note, what, if anything, has been updated for scripting (C++ SDK, LScript, Python)? This is the less sexy side of updates and I've looked but haven't seen any information that has delved into this at all yet.

  2. #2
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    python has access to the sdk, i believe.

    neglecting games dev is a very big mistake imho, blender?

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    Kamehameha Chameleon BigHache's Avatar
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    Last I looked into the Python implementation it was not completely developed for all the hooks into LW. I've seen nothing to note that it ever has been completed. Not only that but the Python documentation was a bit lacking and required you to refer back to the C++ SDK. I feel like that defeats the purpose of Python and I might as well stick with C++ or LScript.

    Last I looked at Blender it didn't even properly handle smoothing groups and required you to split the geometry. This is a terrible habit for a workflow especially as tools exist that do what's needed.

    Well as I quoted from the 2018 online docs LightWave Group has implemented the functionality to see and select existing vertex normal maps so I wouldn't say game dev has been neglected it just hasn't been priority #1. The challenge for me as a customer is with no road map I have no idea when I can expect the functionality to create what I need within LW so I need something else for this one task.

  4. #4
    Had this issue recently with some WebGL VR work. I couldn't find a work around. There are some independent programs that would take an FBX and let you set smoothing groups, but I could never get it to work. Unfortunately I had to take them into Max, set the smoothing, and re-export. I do think it's something that has been needed for a long time.

    st3

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    Kamehameha Chameleon BigHache's Avatar
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    I'd take a stab at some programs. What did you try? I've been researching but haven't even found anything.

    Yeah we use Max at work and that's what I'm used to, but that doesn't help me at home.

  6. #6
    Super Member CaptainMarlowe's Avatar
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    CHeck OD_tools 2018, they have a basic smoothing groups implementation :
    https://vimeo.com/224008697

  7. #7
    Super Member tburbage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigHache View Post
    "Although LightWave has no way of generating vertex normal maps internally yet, Layout can still work with them in objects obtained from other sources."

    The problem for me is LightWave IS my other source. I'm trying to create game assets for Unity and I have no way to create/edit smoothing groups/vertex normals.

    What are you guys doing for your workflow? Purchasing another full 3D program is not an option for me. Is there a tool that can be had for a few hundred that can assist? I haven't been rendering in LightWave for some time and unfortunately it seems like all the updates for 2018 are geared toward rendering within LightWave.

    This makes 2018 a non-option for me and so my software budget will (hopefully) go toward a tool that allows me to do what I'm needing at the moment.

    On a side note, what, if anything, has been updated for scripting (C++ SDK, LScript, Python)? This is the less sexy side of updates and I've looked but haven't seen any information that has delved into this at all yet.
    I really wish they would embrace full support for vertex normals, including allowing multiple normals per vertex (basis for smoothing groups) -- but somehow not optimistic we'll ever see it. I use Maya to harden edges and tweak vertex normals. AFAIK, neither ZBrush nor 3DCoat have tool support for them either, so maybe Blender?

  8. #8
    Dreamer Ztreem's Avatar
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    You can create vertex normals in modeler, it’s just that its not a tool for it you have to do some workarounds, but still possible and you don’t need 2018. Blender also have some tools for it...

  9. #9
    Kamehameha Chameleon BigHache's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ztreem View Post
    You can create vertex normals in modeler, it’s just that its not a tool for it you have to do some workarounds, but still possible and you don’t need 2018. Blender also have some tools for it...
    I'm game to try, how? I've been looking for info and I'm not finding it. When I search all I find are others asking the same questions and no solutions.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by BigHache View Post
    I'm game to try, how? I've been looking for info and I'm not finding it. When I search all I find are others asking the same questions and no solutions.
    There's a hack/workaround where you can cut and paste a section you want with a hard edge split, export that as an obj (with write normal option checked in OBJ tab in general options), load it back into modeler, merge points and you will have a smoothing split. Its really a dreadful workflow. And lack of smoothing groups/vertex normal toolkit is probably the reason that set me off on a search for a modeler replacement about 4 years ago.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #11
    Kamehameha Chameleon BigHache's Avatar
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    Ouch. That is dreadful.

    I emailed Oliver about his Create Smoothing Groups tool within OD 2018 Tool Set and he confirmed it exported in FBX and he was able to bring into a game engine so I'm going to work with that for the moment. I'll test it myself later today.

  12. #12
    Kamehameha Chameleon BigHache's Avatar
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    Ugh. I can't get this work work. It looks fine in LW. Substance Painter doesn't see it, and Unity gives me an error that tangents and binormals dont exist.

  13. #13
    Super Member samurai_x's Avatar
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    Modo indie is a good cheap alternative.
    Check out this gas cooker tut https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5d...abG28FQ/videos
    He also uses the rounded edge shader effectively to use with substance painter.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigHache View Post
    Ugh. I can't get this work work. It looks fine in LW. Substance Painter doesn't see it, and Unity gives me an error that tangents and binormals dont exist.
    I sent you PM.. Mine worked fine in Modo at least.. Write to me through regular e-mail (TrueArt > Contact).
    Then I will send you files for testing,
    and I will send you files for testing..
    LightWave Plugins
    Global Materials for LightWave 2018!
    Custom plugin writing. Request a quote.

  15. #15
    Super Member samurai_x's Avatar
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    What tool do you have sensei? Do you have a new plugin for lw?

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