'must have' plug-ins for LW 9.6? Need advice from LW Masters!!

3dWannabe

Member
I'm trying to figure out which plug-ins to buy in this tax year, and I thought I'd ask the experts (as I'm certainly not).

Other than JimmyRig and RealFlow (which are not really plug-ins), I haven't purchased any yet.

I'm running Win7-64 on a dual quad core Xeon Nehalem, 24GB RAM, GTX 285 - if that affects my choices.

FPrime and HD Instance certainly seem interesting (loved the santa's helper video created with HD Instance).

I just saw some cool work on LW done using x-dof, but it seems like they've stopped development on it. They also have, what seems to me, a cool shadow plug-in. But, again, they seem to have done no work since maybe 2004 and 2002.

This is the 'cool' work I was talking about (apparently with LW, x-dof, Photoshop and JimmyRig)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9noxrPD6Vw

I just want to create magical things like that (but, I expect talent and skill are still back-ordered - drat!), and am looking for ways to do that while speeding up my workflow, increasing render qualty and lessening rendering time (contradictory desires).
 

Sensei

TrueArt Support
I would not be myself, if I don't recommend EasySpline from TrueArt's Modeling Pack http://modelingpack.trueart.eu ;)

ps. I think so that Fprime, HD_Instance and X-Dof are mutually exclusive. For 99% you cannot mix any of them with other two..
 

JonW

New member
LWCad, is a must have.

Onyx trees, not a plugin but very good.



You have a nice little computer with 24 gb ram, an SSD would be worthwhile if you don’t already have one.
 

3dWannabe

Member
Using 64 bit Modeler doesn't make sense. You never run out of memory. Long time before reaching it, refreshing and editing is not possible..

With Layout, agree.

I'm a day away from getting Win7-64 running on my new box. Are you saying I'll need to dual boot to 32 bit to run Modeler, or will I be ok?
 

geo_n

New member
I'm trying to figure out which plug-ins to buy in this tax year

I think you should buy only the plugins that you really must have given that core is a capable modeller and then some right now.
Remember you will not be able to use them anymore in core.
And because of that only lwcad is offering a free upgrade to core version so its a good buy right now. So your investment won't be obsolete.
Maybe invest in layout plugins since that might still be usable in lightwave hc version. hdinstance, kray.
 

RudySchneider

Old Dog Learns New Tricks
...Are you saying I'll need to dual boot to 32 bit to run Modeler, or will I be ok?

Nope. You can run 32-bit apps on a 64-bit machine. I use 32-bit Modeler ('mainly 'cuz so many plugins are 32-bit only), and 64-bit Layout for memory-intensive scenes.
 

hrgiger

I'm my Clone
LWCAD would be the only plug-in I'd consider at this point if you really want a plug-in. Not only is it the best modeling plug-in EVER for Lightwave, buying the most recent version will get you a free upgrade to the CORE version when it comes along. And the only reason I say that I wouldn't be buying a lot of plug-ins is mainly because CORE is going to be replacing classic Lightwave (eventually).

I would have said Fprime too but CORE is already going to have an interactive renderer built into it.

Dont' forget there are a lot of useful free plug-ins out there as well. If you do any UV work and painting textures for your UV maps, you'll want UVImaginator. This will export your UV map to whatever resolution you need to an image file.

I used a free lscript called thickener to add volume to polyganal objects but now that function is in LWCAD 3.5.

I don't own any, but you may want to take a look at Sensei's plug-ins.

And yeah, if you want to run plug-ins that are 32 bit and you have a 64 bit machine, you'll have to install both the 32 and 64 bit versions of Lightwave. You can run 32 bit apps in a 64 bit environment, but the 32 bit plug-ins will not work in the 64 bit app.
 

colkai

How Old? Really? Aww Heck
Another shout to LWCAD (I see a pattern forming ;) ), could not live without it.
I also use Bevel++ but beyond that, most of the "essential" plugins I use are free, (normally from Pictrix :) ).
 

Cageman

Almost newbie
If you are heavy into rendering, or want to be able to wrangle things out QUICKLY, especially complex scenes that has to be broken up into several renderscenes, I would be a fool not to recommend Janus. I use it ALOT.

If you are a compositing junkie and want to be able to play around with renderbuffers in the compositing application, I would add exrTrader to the mix. Janus has a built-in exrTrader interface and the two works extremely well together.

Regarding nodes and node-editors, I simply can't refuse to recommend everything done by Dpont. Appart from his DPKit and NodeItemMotion, he has a great set of procedural textures found in Renderman collection as well as a set of Lights and a couple of cameras. It's all free of charge! :)

Another usefull tool is MentalFish motionbaker script. Pretty much THE tool to use if you want to bake constrained items to keyframes (you need to do this if you work in a multiapp pipeline, or simply want to be safe when sending to a renderfarm).

A bunch of tools from Chris Peterson are really usefull, such as Clone Hiearchy Repeat, PointsToNulls and ReplaceSelected.

And, of course, one of my multiapp pipeline savers; PointOven! Actually, PointOven generates vertex caches directly to disk, unlike LW where the scanning is done to memory and then dumped to disk. So, there is no real polylimit when using PointOven for generating a vertex cache. Also, PointOven generates vertex caches enmasse, so if you have a LW-scene with 100 objects that all needs to be baked to a vertex cache, PointOven will do them all in one go.

Hope that helps.

:)
 

3dworks

archvizmacwaver
1. i can only recommend fprime, as it is not only a great real time previewer (which makes especially lighting and surfacing setup a completely interactive experience) but also a great renderer - still fast even if you have hundreds of area lights and millions of polys to render...

2. especially if you are into rendering animations with top level GI, bust also if you need fast high quality stills, have a look into kray. it's an amazingly fast high quality render engine plugin which is not only fun to use but will pay for itself soon if you have to render time critical animations. as it is a complete render engine it will need a bit of attention - but the results are worth it! ...and the kray community is already known for its helpful support in all situations ;)

http://www.kraytracing.com

last tip: shadermeister - an ingenious way to shade your scene globally without the need to manually setup each surface again. a few clicks and you are rendering occlusion passes, id matte passes and whatever you need... extremely handy if you need more than the simple RGB + alpha output from your scene. you can even write your own node based global shaders for special needs and apply them with one mouse click. http://www.db-w.com/

cheers

markus
 
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3dWannabe

Member
As fprime was suggested, I got a response on another forum commenting on it:

-----
Personally, fprime is no longer a vital 'must have' plugin. It used to be, because the rendering speed was great, and you could get stuff out pretty quick. But, these days, the Lightwave renderer is so much faster, and also allows you to use other plugins and shaders, which fprime simply cannot render or access.
Fprimes main use these days (and for which I think it was initially designed for) is checking textures live, and just making sure everything is looking right. Either that, or putting out a very quick render for test purposes.
----

It seems like there are things you must give up with fprime?

Or - is that user thinking of an older version of fprime?

I'd looked at the kraytracing site before, as I'd heard it mentioned. Do you have to give up certain features to use it?

thanks!
 

mike_stening

New member
2 questions (and this is based off what i am learning fromthe current job i am running)
i do alot of his res still shots, but they tend to be one offs at a time. now the current job is alot of shots and they are mostly large format, crunching this lot out in LW takes ALOT of time especially with DOF and MB passes and lots of detailed objects and large textures.

so which would be better? kray or janus?
 

Sensei

TrueArt Support
so which would be better? kray or janus?

These are completely different kind of plug-ins.
Kray is 3rd party non-interactive renderer.
And Janus is script that's generating scenes with disabled/enabled objects/settings ("passes"), that you later have to regularly render in LW..

Kray should be compared with LW built-in renderer, Fprime, TrueHair Preview, Vray, Maxwell Render etc.

Janus should be compared with Surpass and PassPort..
 
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3dworks

archvizmacwaver
As fprime was suggested, I got a response on another forum commenting on it:

-----
Personally, fprime is no longer a vital 'must have' plugin. It used to be, because the rendering speed was great, and you could get stuff out pretty quick. But, these days, the Lightwave renderer is so much faster, and also allows you to use other plugins and shaders, which fprime simply cannot render or access.
Fprimes main use these days (and for which I think it was initially designed for) is checking textures live, and just making sure everything is looking right. Either that, or putting out a very quick render for test purposes.
----

It seems like there are things you must give up with fprime?

Or - is that user thinking of an older version of fprime?

I'd looked at the kraytracing site before, as I'd heard it mentioned. Do you have to give up certain features to use it?

thanks!

fprime as a previewer is still out of competition. doing even fast test renderings is not the same thing as interactively building up lights or texturing a scene. there's however trueart's previewing engine which seems to do a similar job, just without the GI part.

about fprime as a render engine, it depends probably also on what kind of work you are doing. with very heavy scenes, fprime's polygon crunching speed is still unrivaled imo. LW's native engine is very slow when the GI scenes are massive, even if optimizing them as you can. fprime can deliver a very nice montecarlo GI - it's just missing very few things, like caustics and the rendering of external shaders (but it supports texture shaders). 95% of all nodes in 9.6 are supported anyway - just not those which need preprocessing or postprocessing.

same is true for kray - it has also some few SDK dictated limitations + a very few more - like light exclusion lists - just read about those on the company website. in any case, fprime is more 'LW' compliant, which means it will rather well 'mimic' native LW output, whereas kray is an engine which is focused on final rendering, not a previewer - which needs surfacing and light setup tweaks here and there to get the same look. on the other side it gives you way more options for GI scenes. for the way it works, you can compare it more to vray than to the native LW engine. however, it is supporting the same nodes and texture shaders like fprime.

in the end it all comes down on what your needs are. the LW engine offers natively an excellent image quality as well, and if used with some knowledge and not too massive scenes, also its GI is very fast...
 
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mike_stening

New member
These are completely different kind of plug-ins.
Kray is 3rd party non-interactive renderer.
And Janus is script that's generating scenes with disabled/enabled objects/settings ("passes"), that you later have to regularly render in LW..

Kray should be compared with LW built-in renderer, Fprime, TrueHair Preview, Vray, Maxwell Render etc.

Janus should be compared with Surpass and PassPort..

ok maybe i didnt word it right.

basically im looking at possible options for speeding up rendering with global illumination, i love the LW render engine and what it produces but is there anything comparable but quicker (and where did they put the "just 3D it" button?)
i mentioned janus as i had the thought of splitting out things like DOF and MB passes so it renders just that and the other stuff is done in a seperate faster pass.

i wasnt comparing janus to kray as they are obviously very different in what they do just wether one would be a better option over the other for my situation.
 

Cageman

Almost newbie
ok maybe i didnt word it right.

basically im looking at possible options for speeding up rendering with global illumination, i love the LW render engine and what it produces but is there anything comparable but quicker (and where did they put the "just 3D it" button?)
i mentioned janus as i had the thought of splitting out things like DOF and MB passes so it renders just that and the other stuff is done in a seperate faster pass.

i wasnt comparing janus to kray as they are obviously very different in what they do just wether one would be a better option over the other for my situation.

Here is a quick and dirty tutorial where I break out a GI-render with Janus. No DOF or MBlur in that video though, but as you can see it is quite easy to break things out. The good thing with this is also the fact that if you have more than one computer, you can have all of them render different scenefiles.

:)
 
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