3D Object Creation Questions

tbslytertbslyter Registered User, Hog Beta
edited December 2005 in DL.3/DL.2
We just go our DL-2s in and we already have several clients that want to take their 2D logos and extrude them into 3D objects and then load them into our DL-2s via the CMA software. The information that I have says these user objects need to be in a 3D-Studio Max Format. A couple of questions.

1. What exact format/file type to they need to be in?
2. What software do you need to just extrude 2D objects into 3D objects? Does it have to be the full-version of 3D Studio Max or is there something less expensive and simplier that will allow you to do it?
3. If other software exists, what is the ballpark price and hardware requirements?

Thanks in advance for your help

Travis Slyter
Ruehling Associates, Inc.


  • tomgrimestomgrimes HES Alumni
    edited November 2005
    Morning, Travis.

    1. The storage format for the 3D objects (meshes) is Microsoft's .x format. The file should be stored as a binary file. The ASCII storage option is also okay but loads slower. Other storage options such as compressed binary should not be used.

    2 and 3) I can't really speak to what is the cheapest, easiest, best software to use for creating objects. The current DL.2 objects were created with Lightwave 3D from Newtek. Lightwave 3D does not output directly in .x format. The conversion from .lwo format to .x format was done with Deep Exploration from Right Hemisphere. Other 3D programs such as 3D-Studio Max can output directly in .x format.

    Deep Exploration is an handy piece of software. It can import and export in a variety of formats. Using it, I was able to convert .obj files from our mechaniical guys and use them in the DL.2 fixture.

    I like Lightwave. Others think the interface is not very user friendly and prefer 3D-Studio. Other options exist. If the need is not imminent, look around a bit more and seek some more opinions. The goal is to store the file in .x binary format or .x ASCII format.

    With all the position, rotation, size, viewpoint DMX values at their default value, a rectangle that is 13m x 9.6m will fill the projector output. The sizing of the objects you create can be an artistic decision. We size the objects so that they fill the output nicely at default DMX values.

    The DL.2 software currently supports a single layer in the mesh and a single texture for the mesh. Best results are obtained if all the polygons are triangles. When creating objects, I prefer to work with polygons containing four or more vertices. This can reduce the amount of work in manually texturing the mesh. Then, just before storing the mesh, I convert all polygons to triangles.

    Pricing. Looking at prices on the web this morning, the Lightwave/Deep Exploration combo is around $900. 3D Studio is $3995.

    As to hardware, most any modern P4 or Athlon-based computer will run the software. More speed, more memory, faster hard drives usually means better performnce. I have run Lightwave and Deep Exploration on 1.6GHz P4's and faster. If all you are doing is creating 3D objects, you don't need all that much horsepower. Now, if you want to start rendering 3D movies, then that is a different story.

    Hope this helps. I can babble on but this response is long enough.

    See y'all at LDI. Onward...
  • tbslytertbslyter Registered User, Hog Beta
    edited November 2005
    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your help. Sounds like we should start with Deep Exploration to just convert existing files to 3D and then work into 3DS or LW for more advanced stuff. I have used both many years ago and don't have a preferrance. Both have increased in price dramatically, but both have also increased in performance as well. Thanks again for you help.

  • adunawayadunaway Registered User
    edited December 2005
    Hi Travis,

    You might try Ulead's 3D Production Studio ($129) which can convert 3D objects to .X format. While definately not as powerful as 3DStudio Max or Lightwave, you can import .AI, .EMF, .WMF, and .3DS files into it and do some pretty cool things. The demo might just be worth a look. I have used it many times for just such a task.
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