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Messages - selden

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Anim8or v0.98 Discussion Forum / Can't import .LWO models: missing LWOBJ
« on: October 20, 2015, 11:14:06 pm »
When I try to import a Lightwave .lwo model file, Anim8or fails. It generates an error popup complaining

Just so you'd know...
Missing LWOBJ

Where can I get a copy of "LWOBJ" and where should it be put?
I have a trial version of Lightwave v 2015.3 installed, but it does not include any file with that name.

Edited to add: this failure is seen in Anim8or v0.98 and v0.98a [build 1185]

General Anim8or Forum / Re: A Matter of Proportion?
« on: October 20, 2015, 10:51:44 pm »
Here's a Celestia SSC catalog which defines three hammerheads using the same model. (If you want them to have different livery, you'll need to create separate models referencing different surface texture images.) The orbital parameters of HH_001 are identical to the ones used for the ISS in Celestia, with a slightly different MeanAnomaly so they're chasing it. The positions of HH_002 and HH_003 are defined relative to HH_001.
Code: [Select]
# three hammerheads chasing the ISS

"HH_001:hammerhead" "Sol/Earth"
Class "spacecraft"
Mesh "hammerhead-lwobin.cmod"
Radius 0.00625                  # length: 11.5 m, wingspan 12.5m

    EllipticalOrbit {
        Period          0.064176392
        SemiMajorAxis   6767
        Eccentricity    0.0016886
        Inclination      51.5684
        AscendingNode   343.1518
        ArgOfPericenter 346.2476
#        MeanAnomaly      13.8216
        MeanAnomaly      13.821
        Epoch           2452028.18381755

    BodyFrame {BodyFixed { Center "Sol/Earth/ISS"}}
    FixedRotation {
      MeridianAngle 90
  Inclination -90
    Albedo       0.10

# place other spacecraft at fixed positions relative to first

"HH_002" "Sol/Earth/HH_001"
Class "spacecraft"
Mesh "hammerhead-lwobin.cmod"
Radius 0.00625                  # length: 11.5 m, wingspan 12.5m

# location
    OrbitFrame { BodyFixed { Center "Sol/Earth/HH_001" }}
    FixedPosition [ -0.015 -0.015 0 ]

# rotation
    BodyFrame { BodyFixed { Center "Sol/Earth/HH_001" }}
    FixedRotation {}

Albedo       0.10

"HH_003" "Sol/Earth/HH_001"
Class "spacecraft"
Mesh "hammerhead-lwobin.cmod"
Radius 0.00625                  # length: 11.5 m, wingspan 12.5m

# location
    OrbitFrame { BodyFixed { Center "Sol/Earth/HH_001" }}
    FixedPosition [ 0.015 -0.015 0 ]

# rotation
    BodyFrame { BodyFixed { Center "Sol/Earth/HH_001" }}
    FixedRotation {}

Albedo       0.10

Unfortunately, there's no CMOD importer for Anim8or. You'll have to learn how to use the CMOD exporter. I tried to make the instructions on the modeling page as explicit as I could. Just follow them "to the letter". Briefly: specify the location of your Anim8or script(s), select the cmod exporter in Anim8or's export menu, concatenate the file's two pieces, place it in Celestia's "models" subdirectory.

Alternatively, you could try cutting the Hammerhead model into several pieces (in Anim8or) so each component mesh is smaller than the 3DS 64K limit. Then you could export them as a single model from Anim8or in the 3DS format. The pilot model looks relatively complex, so maybe making the cockpit separate (as it was in the TV show) would be sufficient.

Below is a screengrab showing the Hammerheads chasing the ISS. Note how dark they are. This is because the model's materials definitions all explicitly specify a base color of 50% grey. To change this, you'd have to modify them all. It might be easier to edit the OBJ .mtl file appropriately (it's just a text file), so I'll zip the obj model and include it below. You'll also have to change the locations of the texture files that're specified in the .mtl file, since you won't have them in the same directory that I have them in.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: A Matter of Proportion?
« on: October 19, 2015, 09:30:32 pm »
I edited the OBJ's .MTL file that was created by Lightwave to replace all of the "/" by "\"  (Lightwave used Linux directory syntax) and .tif and .png by .jpg. I used Imagemagick's convert command to converted all of the .tif and .png images to .jpg format and put them in the same directory with the OBJ model.  Anim8or now loads all of the surface textures automatically when it loads the .obj model. See the first screengrab below.  (Neither Anim8or nor Celestia understand TIF format. Using JPG also avoids the unwanted transparency problem.)

I then exported the model in .CMOD format. Celestia now shows the Hammerhead fully textured. See the second screengrab below.

I then created a Celestia "Addon" out of it. It's in below.

And finally, I zipped the .an8 model file. It's in below. Only the model file is included, not any of the surface texture images.

I hope this helps.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: A Matter of Proportion?
« on: October 19, 2015, 08:52:21 pm »
I downloaded and installed the trial version of Lightwave 2015-3. (It's full-featured but expires after 30 days.)
It was able to read the .lwo file and export it as an OBJ. It could not export it as 3DS for two reasons:
1. the model included thousands of polygons which had more than 3 vertices. 3DS only supports triangle polygons.
2. after using Lighwave to convert them to polygons with 3 vertices (triangles), the resulting model contained more than 64K vertices.

I then imported the OBJ model into Anim8or. Although Anim8or didn't load the surface texture images, the materials were properly associated with the various sections of the model. When I specified which wing textures to use, Anim8or showed them properly. (I only did the wings. I didn't want to take the time to specify all of them.) See the first screengrab below.

I then exported the model as a CMOD. Celestia showed the wings properly. See the second screengrab below.

As I wrote previously, I suspect the problem is with the 3DS model created by conversion site that you used.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: A Matter of Proportion?
« on: October 19, 2015, 07:33:14 pm »
Which online converter did you use?

One of the problems with the model is that it includes 89866 vertices. The 3DS format can't handle more than 64K vertices per mesh, which is why I used OBJ as an intermediate format. My suspicion is that the online service only partially converted the model, so Anim8or can't properly apply the surface textures.

Have you tried rendering the model in Anim8or rather than just looking at the preview provided in the object editor? Rendered objects sometimes can look quite different. The image shown by the editor's preview is optimized for editing, not to be visually accurate.

As I wrote previously, if you can provide the .AN8 model file (in a zip, just as you did the lwo files), I can try taking a look at it.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: A Matter of Proportion?
« on: October 18, 2015, 07:47:44 pm »
Well,  this is the Anim8or forum. :)

I managed to import the LWO into Blender and export it as OBJ. (Format conversion is about all I ever use Blender for, I have to admit. It's way too complex for me.)  No surface texture images were associated with the materials in the model's .mtl file, so they have to be associated manually in Anim8or. The .obj model loaded into Anim8or as a single mesh with no subgroups, which is going to make for more manual work.

I used Anim8or's material menu to associate the wing surface textures with appropriate materials, but the textures were not oriented properly so far as Anim8or was concerned: the wings were drawn solid grey. See the 1st image below.

In "Point Edit" I selected the Right Wing's surfaces and used the UV tool to scale and position the surface texture for the Right Wing. See the 2nd image below.

I then exported the model as a CMOD and created the directories and SSC file that Celestia wants. Although the model was drawn, the wings were transparent. Apparently the PNG images have transparency enabled. As a quick fix, I converted them to JPG images since JPG doesn't support an opacity channel. Now the top of the right wing looks OK. See the 3rd image below.

I'm not sure what problem you were encountering, but certainly managing to get the model into Anim8or with the correct format is a stumbling block.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: A Matter of Proportion?
« on: October 18, 2015, 06:27:00 pm »
Unfortunately, when I try to import your model into Anim8or, it complains about a missing LWOBJ. I don't have LightWave.  What version of it do you have installed? (I'm assuming that's what's needed.)

Can you provide the .an8 file?

General Anim8or Forum / Re: A Matter of Proportion?
« on: October 17, 2015, 04:13:23 pm »
I have to admit I haven't encountered this particular type of error. A possibility that occurs to me is that the wings are composed of multiple meshes and the surface texture is only being applied to one of them.

Can you provide a zip containing your files so I could inspect them?

Alternatively, can you provide more details about the surface texture image (size, dimensions, format) and the model (size, number of vertices, number of meshes)?

3DS models have quite a few limitations. You might want to consider trying my CMOD export script, which is available at

What graphics hardware do you have?

Some cards can only use surface texture images which have sides which are powers of two. Celestia is supposed to be able to rescale non-conforming surface textures so they're usable, but that's relatively recent code and could be buggy. You might try resizing the surface texture image so that (for example) its dimensions are 1024x1024 pixels.



I'm pretty sure it's the 32bit limitation that's biting me.
I'l just have to try to find a workaround -- like using separate meshes, perhaps.

FWIW, the model is of the Valles Caldera supervolcano in New Mexico. It's not as big as Yellowstone, but it would still ruin someone's day if it decided to blow its top.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: windows 10 free upgrade
« on: September 20, 2015, 08:37:27 pm »
In principle, different threads can render different sections of the image. For example, if you have 4 cores, it could render 4x as fast.

This was a standard trick used to speed up POV many years ago: run multiple copies of the program at the same time, each rendering a different section of the image.

Anim8or v0.98 Discussion Forum / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: September 20, 2015, 04:41:09 pm »
A followup:

Unfortunately, Terranim8or is limited to meshes with a max of 1K subdivisions on a side (1 million vertices) and has a bug such that the resulting mesh is rotated 90 degrees with respect to the surface texture coordinates. While one can reproject the surface texture using Anim8or's texture UV feature, it's still quite annoying.

Also, the free version of L3DT is limited to using textures that are 2K on a side.


What's the maximum size of an OBJ mesh that Anim8or can import?

I tried to import a 724MB OBJ mesh (2Kx2K subdivisions: 4 million vertices) which had been created and exported by Blender, but Anim8or crashed.  :(

A smaller version of the mesh (173MB, 1Kx1K subdivisions: 1 million vertices) imported with no problems.

I'm trying to create a 3D map for use in Celestia. Here are low resolution screengrabs of the 1K mesh with a couple of different surface textures.

Anim8or v0.98 Discussion Forum / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: September 08, 2015, 11:56:52 am »

People use hightmaps with a variety of sample depths, which is why I was so vague. Most recently I've been struggling with GeoTIFFs with 32bit floating point values. The GeoTIFFs have been winning. :(

I understand that Anim8or's displacement (if implemented) would be limited to processing gif, bmp, jpeg, and png formats, but that'd be fine, especially if it supports the 64K shades of grey provided by the PNG standard. (256 shades sometimes can result in visible height steps.)

Thanks for the reminder about Terrainimator. I'll investigate that and L3DT.

FWIW, Blender has a Displace option, but it's very difficult (for me) to use and isn't providing the results I need.

Thanks, again!

Edited to add:

Although the original Web site no longer exists, instructions for Terranim8or v7.10.1 are available at
and its Zip file can be downloaded from

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Anim8or on Windows 10
« on: September 04, 2015, 03:00:43 pm »

Anim8or v0.98 Discussion Forum / heightmap to mesh
« on: September 04, 2015, 01:21:01 am »
New feature wish:
2D grey-scale image (heightmap) to mesh generation

I'd very much like to import a greyscale heightmap image and have it deform a planar mesh into a 3D object. Black would cause no displacement, while white would cause the maximum specified displacement.

Alternatively, has anyone written a script which could do this?

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