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

3dWannabe

Member
I'm pretty much sold on HD Instance.

With FPrime, I'm less certain.

If I understand, it is very useful during real-time modification of lighting, but there are many parts of LW - and other tools such as HD Instance and X-Dof - that won't work with FPrime.

Has that changed, or is that about to change, with new versions of FPrime or LW (9.6.1?)

And I'm still evaluating the other suggestions. Hard to try to anticipate what will be useful a few months from now when I'm hopefully making real progress with LW.
 

Sensei

TrueArt Support
With FPrime, I'm less certain.

IMHO this or other real-time interactive renderer is absolute must have for anybody working in Layout. I am starting my interactive renderer first after lauching Layout everytime, and closing last. Not every scene needs instancing, but all needs setting up lights, cameras and textures.

Has that changed, or is that about to change, with new versions of FPrime or LW (9.6.1?)

IMHO that will never change.
 

3dWannabe

Member
Sensei - you make a convincing case for FPrime.

There may be only crumbs left in my stocking for Xmas if I buy it, as FPrime is not cheap!
 

Captain Obvious

New 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.
Except if you do heavy image map-based texturing work, then you can run out of memory really quickly.
 

Cageman

Almost newbie
Maya 2010

A good point!

It makes sense, since a majority of things done in the VFX industry relies on this application, one can never go wrong in knowing the basics about it. Even when you might end up doing all the work in LW, it is important to know how to move the data to/from this application.

:)
 

Captain Obvious

New member
If I understand, it is very useful during real-time modification of lighting, but there are many parts of LW - and other tools such as HD Instance and X-Dof - that won't work with FPrime.

Has that changed, or is that about to change, with new versions of FPrime or LW (9.6.1?)
It could, potentially. Apparently, HD-Instance works in Kray. I haven't tried it myself, but other users have reported it as working. If it works in Kray, it should be possible to get it working in FPrime or the TrueArt renderer.
 

Sensei

TrueArt Support
Kray is not interactive. So user interface is locked and user can't change plug-in settings during rendering.

I have feeling that I have tried HD_Instance v1.x with TH and it worked, but was crashing during changing HD_Instance settings.
..or maybe it was with VirtualRender...
 

3dWannabe

Member
With HD Instance, if Animated Radiosity cannot be used (Happy Digital said he would run some tests on it), what is the 'best' Radiosity setting to use with an animated scene?

He said he used 'full radiosity' with 9.3 for the Santa's Workshop scene ( http://www.happy-digital.com/instance_videoClips.php?videoClips=2 ) and that 9.6 should be 'less flickery' even without using animated radiosity.

Out of curiosity - why doesn't NewTek provide a way for the top plug-ins to communicate so they can work together?

I'm sure Core is going to be great, but - I'd much rather pay more money [to NewTek] and get rapid fixes to LW 9.6 [like 3D Coat provides almost daily], than wait until Core - and all the 3rd parties that will need to integrate with it - to provide a solution.

Tomorrow doesn't exist. I'm interested in today.
 

Sensei

TrueArt Support
Out of curiosity - why doesn't NewTek provide a way for the top plug-ins to communicate so they can work together?

There are several ways plug-ins can communicate, some existing since ever, like making global functions/variables plug-in class (whole LWSDK is one big structure of global plug-in classes). I have used it once while making Kray SDK, for special communication between TrueArt's VirtualRender and Kray.
In newer LW versions v9.x, there is communication ring messaging system.
But almost nobody use them (LightWolf and me, are probably the only one who used them ever) - two or more programmers would have to sit down and talk about it and implement communication layer. With so low number of LW plug-in copies sold chance that customers have both or more plug-ins on their system is low. So, it would be just waste of time.

I'm sure Core is going to be great, but - I'd much rather pay more money [to NewTek] and get rapid fixes to LW 9.6 [like 3D Coat provides almost daily], than wait until Core - and all the 3rd parties that will need to integrate with it - to provide a solution.

Solutions exist, but nobody use them, because it doesn't bring money. Free plug-in makers have even less pressure for using them..

If solutions would not be inside of LWSDK, really desperate plug-in makers could use operating system specific messaging systems. Every OS have tons of them (incompatible with other OS-es).

BTW, I don't see a reason to use 3rd party plug-ins communication in context of this discussion about cached GI file..
 
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3dWannabe

Member
BTW, I don't see a reason to use 3rd party plug-ins communication in context of this discussion about cached GI file..

I may be misreading it, but I took the reason that HD Instance does't work with LW's 'animated radiosity' to be due to some kind of lack of communication between the plug-in and LW.

I 'think' I saw a note on the FPrime site, saying there were some things they couldn't do due to lack of communication (the way LW was built to handle plug-ins) that even affected how FPrime could talk to other Worley plug-ins. (Just bought FPrime, so I'm trying to get up to speed on all this)

And I sure wish FPrime would work with HD Instance (which I'm about to buy), but I don't fully understand why not.

I may be misreading the situation entirely though.

BTW - I'm trying to get my head around this - and while reading db&w's shaderMeister pdf, it mentioned these limitiations (listed below) - so there must be some limitation built into LW currently. I'm just trying to figure out how there affect my ability to work with several 3rd party plug-ins (I hate it when I don't know - what I don't know).

http://www.db-w.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=126

Incompatible with FPrime
Due to LightWave 3D SDK limitations FPrime can't render shaders. As these are crucial for shaderMeister, FPrime isn't able to render any modifications due to shaderMeister.

Incompatible with HDInstance
For the same reason as the FPrime incompatibility, shaderMeister won't be visible on items that are rendered by HDInstance.
 
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Captain Obvious

New member
Kray is not interactive. So user interface is locked and user can't change plug-in settings during rendering.

I have feeling that I have tried HD_Instance v1.x with TH and it worked, but was crashing during changing HD_Instance settings.
..or maybe it was with VirtualRender...
Wouldn't it work if you locked and refreshed the renderer? All I meant was that the SDK connection is there, so it should at least be theoretically possible. The updating bit might prove tricky, though.
 

Sensei

TrueArt Support
I may be misreading it, but I took the reason that HD Instance does't work with LW's 'animated radiosity' to be due to some kind of lack of communication between the plug-in and LW.

I don't have HD_Instance, so cannot check it by myself..
Except your previous message, I have never read that HD_Instance doesn't work with animated radiosity. At v9.3 times there was no such option in Lightwave (cache GI file was added in v9.6). So, maybe he used v9.3 in the animation you mentioned just because newer LW didn't exist?

I 'think' I saw a note on the FPrime site, saying there were some things they couldn't do due to lack of communication (the way LW was built to handle plug-ins) that even affected how FPrime could talk to other Worley plug-ins. (Just bought FPrime, so I'm trying to get up to speed on all this)

Yes, there is couple things never supported because they're not executable from 3rd party plug-ins: shaders, image-filters and pixel-filters. Shaders died after adding Node Editor in LW v9.0. Not to mention there was only two serious shaders: IFW package and infiniMap, both were converted to nodes as soon as v9.0 was released.
Image filters- I don't know any serious one.. Even if Fprime would work with them- it simply doesn't have any buffers that image-filter plug-in needs except RGBA! It would need additional coding to calculate these buffers and use much more memory and slower preview update..
Pixel-filters- there are two serious of this kind- Sasquatch and FiberFX, although some don't count second one as 'serious' ;)

As you can see you don't loose much without support for them..

And I sure wish FPrime would work with HD Instance (which I'm about to buy), but I don't fully understand why not.

When you will buy it, you can share with as whether it works or not..
With two so big enhancements, there is million things that might break working together. And differ depending on last number in version.
 

geo_n

New member
It could, potentially. Apparently, HD-Instance works in Kray. I haven't tried it myself, but other users have reported it as working. If it works in Kray, it should be possible to get it working in FPrime or the TrueArt renderer.

It doesn't work in kray. Kray can see the instances but it doesn't render correctly in kray. I think happy digital might be seeing kray as competition being that kray has the same instancing feature BUT without the coolest animation offset crowd faking massive alternative feature of hdi. So communications between the developers has stopped. According to jure they tried many times to ask for assistance from happy digital.
 

Sensei

TrueArt Support
Wouldn't it work if you locked and refreshed the renderer? All I meant was that the SDK connection is there, so it should at least be theoretically possible. The updating bit might prove tricky, though.

Do you mean press pause in previewer, then do changes in some plug-in and press resume? In TrueHair Preview it would definitely work this way. In Fprime I don't know technical details whether it frees resources during paused stage or not.

I don't know about what SDK connection, you're talking about. Fprime is opening independent, operating system specific window, with OpenGL texture, and writes directly to texture memory from rendering threads..

TrueHair Preview opens fully LightWave friendly window using SDK (so the same code runs without changes in both Windows and MacOS X). In <LW v9.6 or v9.5 it uses operating system specific resources to delay between forcing update. In LW v9.6+ it uses newly added in that version timer.
Only Overlay mode is using serious hack, to force update of LightWave window viewport.
 

3dWannabe

Member
I don't have HD_Instance, so cannot check it by myself..
Except your previous message, I have never read that HD_Instance doesn't work with animated radiosity. At v9.3 times there was no such option in Lightwave (cache GI file was added in v9.6). So, maybe he used v9.3 in the animation you mentioned just because newer LW didn't exist?
.
I won't risk angering the 'powers that be' by quoting, but if you have the 9.6.1 beta look at LW961-ReadMe.txt and search for HD Instance. What it said there caught my attention.

I'm not yet enabled for the beta forum [the docs said it would take a few days], or I'd ask there, and I'm trying to figure all this out to make purchases before the end-of-year.
 

Sensei

TrueArt Support
If I were you, trying to decrease taxes, I would suggest buying HD_Instance.. :)
Even if it won't have use in interiors, you will find it helpful in exteriors as grass, tree and vegetation cloner.

If you're seeking other ideas for plug-ins (TreeDesigner and Fire&Smoke Generator) check out this page
http://www.polas.net/
This is my friend from Poland, who migrated to Australia.
Hehe.. He mentioned me at front page.. ;) I had no idea about it..
 
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Captain Obvious

New member
It doesn't work in kray. Kray can see the instances but it doesn't render correctly in kray.
Oh. Well, never mind then. :( I remember hearing someone saying that it worked, but I guess they were wrong or I misunderstood.


I don't know about what SDK connection, you're talking about.
Accessing volumetric plugins, like HD-Instance.
 

Sensei

TrueArt Support
Oh. Well, never mind then. I remember hearing someone saying that it worked, but I guess they were wrong or I misunderstood.

I have feeling it was in HD_Instance v1.7-v1.8 times.. Check dates of this message, with when v2.0 was released, and Kray version/revision.. This way authors, if have backups, could compare and realize what was changed since then.

Accessing volumetric plugins, like HD-Instance.

There is just one LWVolumetricEvaluateFuncs global, one for all volumetrics. Caller even can't check what kind of volumetrics are there. They are not named in human readable characters, checkable for 3rd party plug-in, or human. TrueHair volumetric, called from Kray, or TrueHair Previewer worked fine (although long time initialization of hairs must be delayed to rendering threads, otherwise whole interactivity is killed; Kray this problem doesn't concern). If it doesn't work with HD_Instance, there is probably something uninitialized from Kray side (while making working Kray with VirtualRender, Grzegorz had real trouble understanding why to send screen coords to volumetric plug-in 2-3 years ago, and I lost patience convincing him that some plug-in can use it for kd-tree/octree type of optimization but in 2d screen coord space; at the end he didn't initialize them AFAIR; don't know how is now). I bet for 1 million bucks that after seeing HD_Instance source code, even without comparing with Kray source code initializing volumetric execution (have the same in TrueHair, so can disable some initializations to simulate effect), I would fix it in 10 minutes.. ;)

If you have HD_Instance and Kray, I can try to find bug. But you would have to make for me series of example screen-shots.
 
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