At the request of Mike Ballard, a guide to exporting from Lightwave 9.6 to Vue has been written. This process involves UV mapping and good methods of exporting objects plus a number of problems that may arise during the process and some solutions that I have come accross.
This is NOT a definitive guide how to UV map, but maybe some of the ideas and methods I demonstrate will help.
I will be using a model created by Mike Ballard of a rather nice glass house.
The first step I will take is to look at the placement of the materials, how many there are and what shapes they are placed on.
In modeller the surface editor tells me that there are 16 different materials, several of which are procedural.
Procedural materials, i.e. materials that are created usign the node editor, are not compatible with other 3d programs becuase of the way that they are calculated, in order to export these materials a UV map must be created for the area that the material is in. Materials which are NOT procedural should be able to be read in other 3d programs. (hopefully…)
Below is an image of the original render in Vue of the Lwo file, notice that there is a lot of information missing that was in the LW render.
In order to find out where the procedural materials are placed we will need to access the “STATISTICS” toolbar at the bottom of the screen (or by pressing w). Note that you must be in polygon mode for this to display the correct information.
From here scroll down to where you see SURFACES in the statistics menu.
Then click on the arrow facing down, you will be presented with a list of all the materials available, in this case we are after concrete_pillar, Floor_wood, vertical slat, windowbeam_outer, windowbeam_outfacing, WOOD_beam and WOODPLANK_CENTER.
When you have selected the material you want from the list, click the “+” by the side of the material name to highlight the polygons of that material.
In the following sections, I will demonstrate how I would UV map each of the sections, obviously, your own methodology may differ from mine.
concrete_pillar represents 624 polygons which are the pilars underneath the house.
In order to UV map, you must first have Polygons selected. Then go to the map tab, followed by “New UV Map” on the left panel.
the following menu appears…
As there are a lot of cylinders, it is always tempting to just use the “atlas” unwrapping method, however this will dramatically increase the number of seams that your materials have, which is highly undesirable as this leads to a greater number of potential errors.
Easy and quick does not win the race when it comes to UV mapping. My preference here will be to use a plugin called “plg_make_UV_edit” available from the creators site. (if you need help using this see the wiki). This will allow us to create a seam wherever we like using its numeric toolkit.
Notice how all the seams have been placed in the middle, to avoid them being seen so easily from the outside. Obviously if the house will only ever be seen from the front, ensure that they are at the back…
Although the difference isnt necessarily overly discernable at this point, the number of segments included has decreased dramatically which will reduce the number of potential errors when it is transferred.
Moving to Layout we will now make use of the “Surface baking camera”.
Click the cameras button, then properties and then select the surface baking camera from the camera type.
you will be presented with the following menu..
In this instance we are going to be using layer 7 of the model, and the UV map Texture 1 (named earlier). I have found that a UV Border value of around 0.6 is generally appropriate, although others may argue this is too high/low etc etc.
Make sure that all sorts of effects like radiosity and shadows are turned off and ambient light is turned up to 100% while all the other lights are turned down to 0%, this allows the uv map to render properly.
For the cylinders I am going to render at 1500×1500 as I feel this is an apropriate size for a fairly large amount of polys.
The file shoudl be saved in a lossless format, I have chosen 32 bit BMP – DO NOT SELECT 24 bit BMP as this will NOT work in Vue.
In order to get the specularity, diffuse and Bump maps, the same process will occur, but in order to get the map from them we must first copy the procedural layers from the layer editor to the colour editor, and then add a gradient at the top for the previous layer ranging from black to white as shown below.
This will allow a black/white map that can be used for the image layers later.
So now we have the maps we need to put them in their correct places in the surface editor, so in either modeller or layout open the surface editor and in the approriate layer editor do as follows.
Change the projection to UV, then add the UV map that you want to use – this one was “Texture1”, then select the image that you want to use.
This are is now UV mapped and should be ready for use.
Notice how now in Vue the pillars now look like they do in Lightwave. You will need to play around a bit with the settings until they match well enough, Here I used a setting of 40% opacity for the image layer for diffuse, specular and a bump level of 0.1.
Since Floor_wood only relates to one polygon it is pretty easy to map, the poly is simply selected and then a new planar map is created.
Then the map is rendered with the surface baking camera, for this I will use only a 600×600 map.
with the final result of…
This is added to the surface as an image layer and this part is done.
The vertical slats account for 1450 polys, since they are all square objects, it should be alright to create an atlas uv map with little need for adjustments.
Since there are a lot of polys, the map will need to be rather large, however since it is only a bump map, the size can be reduced somewhat 1500×1500 in this case.
Since this is also just another small scale bump map with a low scale, I am not overly concerned about the quality of the map, particularly if it is not going to be used for close ups, therefore for speed I am happy to use atlas mapping. It is however possible to go in and create individual UV maps and move points around so get the look that is required, if this was for a colour map, then it would be more important to do it that way.
The same atlas method for the windowbeam outfacing surface.
for the wood beam there are a lot of parts, and since it has a lot of straight edges, atlas mapping should be ok. Planar mapping creates issues in this instance.
since there are a lot of polys on this map, I will use a large render 2000×2000 to get more details in.
Now the object should be completely mapped correctly and ought to look ok in Vue.
There are a number of ways of carrying out this task and checking it is sorted, in order to create a lwo object you simply need to save, whereas if you want an .OBJ you must export as an OBJ, however, in my experience this is quite likely to bring up unseen smoothing errors, particularly in Vue. Most of these errors can be avoided using the method described in a previous articles.(One – Two)
The lightwave Render.
And in Vue..
Not quite perfect but with a bit of number tweaking it should be just fine.
Any questions of comments please feel free to contact me