PIPELINE-Lightwave and Designsparks mechanical.

prometheus

REBORN
Hi there, some hours of testing Designsparks again since I updated to a newer version.
Testing how well it can work for some mechanical designs and perhaps even house design etc.

First off is import and export and get the scale right, you have to install translators which is available in the whole downloaded package, but that is done separately after the main install.
As for scale exporting to Lightwave, been trying a lot with various settings.

File formats..
First off, I would recommend using obj export since you can merge trigons/triangles with that in Lightwave, if you export to stl ..that tool doesn´t work it seems.

Scale...
Secondly, when you export to obj, check override units and set it to meters, not any of the other ones, it will give you completely wrong scale in such case, but meters will be recognized
in Lightwave as the same scale.

That´s it for tonight as for export, tomorrow I may add what is needed to import geometry from Lightwave to Designsparks, it´s so easy to save out 3D pdf´s so Anyone without any 3D software can rotate and do bisection analyze and measure the object correct, fast navigate between various viewport presets.

When you work with fillets, rounding, and a lot of other stuff, this is mostly all parametrical and you can change curve radius, corner radius whenever you like, and it has a nice highligh function so if you start on one corner to adjust radius, or fillet, and have done one previously, it will highligh all corners when you do another one so you can get a match with what you just used in measurements.
Easy to just enter values numericly often directly and it will update.

When you import for instance just flat geometry, lets say you draw out a plane design, or select polys and merge them and then want to add specific radius rounding, which is tough in lightwave natively without Senseis true fillet...which is free though, or use LW cad which is expensive, you could do this also in Designsparks on lightwave flat polys.
It´s a bit tricky though, you need to convert the surface to solid, fuse surfaces, but you can´t trim or adjust solids, you need to convert in designsparks to curves, and that is sort of the tricky part I may not be able to explain in another way than record it and put it up on youtube.

Perhaps later this week.
 

JamesCurtis

Active member
Saw the other forum topic in the other section, and wasn't entirely clear on the VDB thing you mentioned. Tried it but couldn't figure it out exactly. Hopefully you can do a vid on this, as I'd like to do some things with VDB. I'm a newb when it comes to LW2020. Been mostly working in LW 2015.3. Had upgraded to 2020 but never actually use it much - but want to, as I had paid for it and want to get my money's worth as they say.
 

prometheus

REBORN
Saw the other forum topic in the other section, and wasn't entirely clear on the VDB thing you mentioned. Tried it but couldn't figure it out exactly. Hopefully you can do a vid on this, as I'd like to do some things with VDB. I'm a newb when it comes to LW2020. Been mostly working in LW 2015.3. Had upgraded to 2020 but never actually use it much - but want to, as I had paid for it and want to get my money's worth as they say.
Hi James,

Did you get that far so you could export the file from Designsparks to VDB?
that I don´t think I need to cover in a video, if you have installed the translator exefile, when you save a file from designsparks and choose in the list, you have all the options there, obj, stl or vdb for instance, so it´s just to save out to VDB, that´s it.

But I reckon the tricky part may be how you then import it, I think there should be videos on that, or covered in lightwave manuals, but the long story short.
In layout since modeler doesn´t handle vdb.

You simply add a null, and under object replacement, there is the VDB evaluatior, just choose that and then click on properties, this will jump in to nodal editor, and from there you need to add the vdb info node, and open that node, select your file from the location where you saved it. then make sure of course to plug this vdb info node in to the vdb main output grid, and voila..you should now have layout displaying that vdb file voxelized(additional scalar node may be used to set voxel resolution), to make it polygon you need to save it out as trans object.

Don´t have time to record much nowadays, perhaps later, I do have some plans for introduction for LW users who may find it worthwile to start construction plans in designsparks, especially useful for flat schematics, which you can save out and enter and rechange parametricly every little fillet or corner radius and all other settings, in a way you simply can´t in Lightwave since it isn´t parametric modeling, so that is one use of it together with lightwave..after that it is easy to export to obj, I do not see any real use of VDB export right now though, other than it will generate a fully quad remeshed object once saved as trans object, with flat schematics al you need is to export to obj, if you export full 3D as obj, those will be trippled and may need to be cleaned up ..Only if you want to add subsurfacing stuff mostly or special extrusions on that model inside of lightwave.

So I am just a bit surprised about you asking about VDB here, what is your intention with VDB for export to lightwave, now that it is there in Designsparks, a plain object VDB export offers not much, the VDB tools like remeshing and fluids, and gas smoke inside of Lightwave Layout is a bit of another story....unlike this Designsparks VDB export that just offers another way to export a voxelized mesh.
 

prometheus

REBORN
Heres the screenshot of the simple node setup you need to import it, once you have exported the VDB from designsparks...

And to the right in the bottom image, you can see the properties tab, object replacement-VDB evaluatior for the null, so simple to setup with just that vdb info node, but you may want more nodes like I said, and filter nodes.

So just take a little more time to look at the export in designsparks, make sure you have at least something that looks like a model:) then save out and choose vdb, if vdb or obj isn´t there as an option, then you haven´t installed the translators for designspars, they should be in the same designsparks content you downloade, but needs to be installed separately

 

prometheus

REBORN
May be off topic, they have to report me in such case...but I have only had one occasion where Designsparks was employed ..a tiny bit for us at my former work, we had to deliver some blue print or schematics of adapters for flow meters, so by using a cad tool, we had dimension tools, and could change every little diameter on the object, apply holes where needed in the right diameter, and leaving it open for change to any diameter change at any time.
Sent to drawing to a company for drilling, I am however not sure if they used cnc on or manually cut it just after the blueprint.
If needed, we could have sent it to Lightwave or open source software and do a visualisation of the product and it´s function, but we never got that far, I don´t work there anymore.

adapters.png
 

prometheus

REBORN
Saw the other forum topic in the other section, and wasn't entirely clear on the VDB thing you mentioned. Tried it but couldn't figure it out exactly. Hopefully you can do a vid on this, as I'd like to do some things with VDB. I'm a newb when it comes to LW2020. Been mostly working in LW 2015.3. Had upgraded to 2020 but never actually use it much - but want to, as I had paid for it and want to get my money's worth as they say.

Bumping..
Did you find your way to use VDB export from Designsparks to Lightwave?
 

prometheus

REBORN
I've hunted everywhere and I can't find any saving or export options related to VDB.
I think I did emphasize that quite a bit in this thread, you need to have the translator installers.
I can´t point to which folder they are in the download content seens I erased it after installation.
But in the whole download file, there should be spaceclaim folder and within that the translator exefile, which you should run after installation of the main program, Only then will you have obj and vdb export in your save as requester.
see here if you don´t find them yourself...


As you can see in my screenshots, the openVDB export is there, and of course you need to have version 5.0 20201.0.7232




Just keep in mind that you do not go to export, you go to save as and in the drop down list choose the right file extension.

Save as.jpg
 
Last edited:

prometheus

REBORN
I was on DM4 installing 5 now. :)
That figures :)

Though I am not sure VDB export is necessary, maybe a tiny bit faster to get where you want, but since lightwave has mesh to volume/level set in the VDB toolset, you could just as well save out to obj, and load in layout and remesh voxelize, while with the export to VDB you can skip that step and just load the VDB file through the VDB info node and plug it to the VDB output grid.

Don´t forget to check the save to pdf facets, or use the export to pdf menu, pretty much the same I think, load your Lightwave mesh designs in to designsparks and save out as full 3D pdf files for any client that doesn´t have a 3D software, so they can see the design in full 3d, from various viewports, ortho, front, perspective etc, they can measure the parts, create a cross section cut out to analyze the model etc.

Exporting from designsparks to obj works ok, though you need to remove triangles if a clean model is what you need, stl export, then you can not merge triangles..so beware of that.
 

prometheus

REBORN
To stress on a thing again, I think many users can be confused and are trying to load the exported VDB file in by changing the null to openVDB, which is not the way to go, that is for smoke volume vdb.

For level set VDB which this is, you add a null and under Primitive/Geometry tab and under object replacement, you add the openVDB evaluator and hit properties to acess the nodes, and then add the openvdb info.

Now..I should have mentioned, even if you plug that to the vdb output grid, nothing is showing up, by default that node has some seqence frames a bit offset, you should set that to zero frames, thena also scrub the timeline so it refreshes before you go to frame zero, that should make the VDB volume show up.

And additionally, you can add a resample node and plug between the vdb info node and the main openvdb node output, but be careful here, if you plug that in before changing the default values 0,01...then it will freeze most likely, so double click on the resample node and change to maybe 0,3 before plugin that to the main openvdb grid.
the higher value in the resample, the lower the mesh resolution will be, and try filter nodes ..gaussian and others to see how it affects the mesh.

This is how you can import liquid VDB meshes from Houdini and Blender as well.

vdb.jpg
 
Last edited:

prometheus

REBORN
and lastly for today...🤔 In this thread.


vdb 2.jpg

nodes resample and filter, this should get you going, resampled to a voxel size of 0.5, and again..Do not plug the resample node in to the main output before changing thise resample value.
 

Tim Parsons

Active member
Yeah - I need to look further into VDBs in LW. I got the Design Spark 5 working and exported some, but I don't know how to make them work in LW. They must have changed something from 19 to 20 as if I follow your screenshots I get nothing and the very first node (OpenVDB info) won't plug into the resample node. :)
 

prometheus

REBORN
Yeah - I need to look further into VDBs in LW. I got the Design Spark 5 working and exported some, but I don't know how to make them work in LW. They must have changed something from 19 to 20 as if I follow your screenshots I get nothing and the very first node (OpenVDB info) won't plug into the resample node. :)

Strange though that you are showing interest for the VDB, just curious to why? since you work mostly with furniture design and such, there must be a specifik reason for you to use VDB here...otherwise just export o obj format instead.

triangles geometry will follow, if that is a problem, cleaning up with merge triangles is a start, but that isn´t so good since some faces aren´t made quad properly, in a certain other software this operation of tris to quads has a face angle control and set to 180 and the tri to quads will look better, though not optimal all the times, but in there it is easier to set edge bevels, either destructively or by vertex group if you assign to each edge, and you can adjust that at any time in the model, and even have profiles, but that I can tell more about in private, On a side note, it won´t work to import VDB level point sets which I believe this is in to that other software, it´s not supported yet, so we can´t export this out as VDB for that software, Only Lightwave.

As for why the VDB´s doesn´t work, weird, I would think you at least should be able to plug the vdb info in to resample node, grid to grid should work, but as I stressed upon, do not plug the resample node in to the vdb main output node until you have changed the voxel size to around 0.5...it´s too small by default and will most likely freeze.

And as I also warned about, you need to scrub the timeline back and forth from 0 and forth, then back to 0, so it refreshes there, and enter the vdb info node and it´s sequences and set it to 0 frames.

Maybe something was wrong with the model, I could post my samples or something for you to check that it´s not a model issue?

And you did follow what I stressed as well? don´t make the null a vdb volume item by changing it´s mode to OpenVDB, it should be in mesh mode, and add object replacement vdb evaluator, enter properties to get to the nodal interface, or else you will not get that to work.
 
Last edited:

prometheus

REBORN
Here´s a sample scene, from lightwave 2019.5.
Vdb very simple object included in the content folders.
So try the scene first perhaps, then try load it yourself and set it up yourself.

In my experience though, VDB´s in Lightwave can be flunky and crashy, on the other hand..I don´t have much else either to compare it too, I just know that it crashes often.

The best bet though,export to obj and import as obj, if you want to remesh it by voxelize to get quads all over, you should be able to do that also in layout, or use another software that you just add a remesh modifier and choose smooth, boxes, sharp or voxelize.
If You want clean edges that aren´t interupted..as they will be when remeshing with voxelizign, go with obj export and import, clean it up with tris to quads/merge triangles, and manually clean it up, and lastly if you haven´t made the rounding in Designsparks, add bevels with rounder in Lightwave modeler or in the other software with modifers..But one important thing, You need to merge vertices before dealing with bevels.

That´s all for the Designsparks to Lightwave pipeline support for tonight, it´s almost four hours after midnight here, and soon that horrible spring bird(can´t recall what bird it is..the blackbird it isn´t, that one is nice) will peep constantly because of the arrival of the spring, it´s gonna be fairly warm this sunday early morning..so I need to catch the sunlight all day as much as I can, so for now..I´m out of words for 9 hours or so.
 

Attachments

  • Designsparks vdb export.zip
    101.8 KB · Views: 12
Last edited:

Tim Parsons

Active member
Strange though that you are showing interest for the VDB, just curious to why? since you work mostly with furniture design and such, there must be a specifik reason for you to use VDB here...otherwise just export o obj format instead.
For one I like to "dabble" in all parts of LW. :) And number two I think there might be something here where I can take solids based hardware (handles and pulls for furniture) that generally imports poorly to polygons and use OVDB to get a decent quad based mesh and then use the the new retopo function in 3DSMax get a nice subD mesh.
 

prometheus

REBORN
For one I like to "dabble" in all parts of LW. :) And number two I think there might be something here where I can take solids based hardware (handles and pulls for furniture) that generally imports poorly to polygons and use OVDB to get a decent quad based mesh and then use the the new retopo function in 3DSMax get a nice subD mesh.

You don´t have to import it as VDB, if you have issues with import, you can save out to obj, send to layout, but use vdb evaluator replacement and instead add the mesh to volume vdb node, and change from volume to level set, that is how we remesh within Layout and voxelize it all, you just skip the vdb export and import.

But still a bit of why quad, if you leave it as it is, you may not need quads, unless wanting to go in and edit the model later, and with subd smoothness of course, perhaps that is what you want?

Let me know how 3Dmax does it´s retopo, I tried with quadraflow in blender, but it´s not capable of maintaining the main hardness shape for items like this.

Lofting is nice in Designsparks, you can draw a circle or whatever curve shapes, clone them or make new shapes, pull the apart to the side or up and then select all and perform a blend, you can do this on a vase for instance, project pull a curve in to the vase surface on two places, then place a cross shape in the air, and then select those edges and face and create a handle, or draw curves directly on flat surfaces and do the same, I will record that later.

but I would just recommend using obj instead, then you have saved the trouble if vdb doesn´t work directly, and can use that model to clean up if necessary, and at the same time you can still use that to convert to vdb with the mesh to volume level set node in layout to get your quad mesh.

Can´t recall if you have lw cad?
 
Last edited:

prometheus

REBORN
And as I mentioned in post 18, skipping the vdb export and import and just vdb remesh the obj instead, instructions below.

The setup for obj to mesh to volume/level set, all you have to do is load the obj file, add a null, add openVDB evaluator under its object replacement drop down list, click properties, add the vdb mesh to volume, target that obj file, and change from volume to level set, plug it to the main vdb output.
The VDB ouput also has Iso settings (double click on it) which you may have to set correctly in relation to voxel sise in the mesh to volume node.
You can see my settings (pasted since we can´t have both nodes opened at once)

Now...another important part, set it to World, and also..the Scale of the obj model, designsparks outputs by default very small scale, so the chances if you go with this workflow of meshing it directly to vdb, that the vdb container and voxel size isn´t appropiate, so nothing seem to happen, or it´s just a big blob..you would then need to resize the obj model.
But I think it´s best to scale it up to a decent mm, cm, or meter size initially before sending to layout.
The proper scale unit export from Designparks, I haven´t researched yet.

So ..if VDB export from designsparks doesn´t work nicely, you could do it this way, and again..you do not work with the vdb properties settings on the actual object, you must have a null and target the mesh, and work with the settings from that null.


obj remesh.jpg
 

prometheus

REBORN
And some more tries, this time with a simple surface constructed in Designsparks by laying out 4 spline curves in sketch mode, then selecting some of the spline curves points and switch to 3D mode to change and move the curve handles in 3 dimensions, this is a bit tricky in Designsparks, since you seem to have to pick tools in the right order for it to work.
I would recommend not trying it until I have recorded it, for your convenience.

Now, I tried to export this surface to lightwave with obj, and sure, it seemingly comes in ok, triangulated in quite a bit of disorder, and I tried to remesh it in Lightwave, using merging triangles, metaforming, plg remesh, poly reduce plus etc, but it failed severely to maintain edges intact.
Now then I tried in blender to remesh with voxelize, smoothing etc...same there, same issues, tried decimate as well first, but not working either, tried quadraflow, not working either.

So here is where VDB export directly from Designsparks may have a function, now blender can´t import that kind of VDB, so off we go to fire up Lightwave and import with the openVDB evaluator, first I noticed nothing, but since it was just a surface without thickness, I needed to change the Iso surface, see settings in the images, so that gave me a voxel remesh that at least maintained the edges without breaking it apart as previous tests did.
saved out to transformed object, and to further enhance the quads, I od copied and pasted it to blender anyway, and this time quadraflow did a decent job of it when working on that VDB remesh from Lightwave.

so three tools at work here, I think I needed all three, if we exclude that I could of course just use Lightwave splines and patch something similar in this case, but that wasn´t the excercise, since we can create curves and splines with exact accuracy in dimensions, and also keep them parametrical open for changes at anytime in Designsparks.

I would still like to see how quad conversions could be made better, and also with the highest degree of accuracy when maintaing overall shape from edge/surface boundaries in the original file.


vdb 3 tools refinement.jpg
 
Top Bottom