View Full Version : From AutoCAD to Lightwave

03 March 2006, 12:06 AM
Hello, everybody!

Does anyone know how to export level curves (heigh curves) from autoCAD to LW? Is necessary any plugin? Is 3DS format capable of doing this?

And, once in Lightwave, how can I use this heigh curves to create the terrain model? With Create Skin tool?

Thank you everybody ;)

03 March 2006, 01:45 PM
Here is a thought (that might work), if you have access to illustrator you can open the file there, remove everything apart from the lines that make up the heightmap, make the lines thin and black, save it to a bitmap format, open it in photoshop, create a new layer, select the magic wand, set it to "contigous" and "use all layers", make a magic-wand-selection of the lowest area on the map, fill it with 100% black (#00000), go to its neighbour section, do a magic wand selection, fill it with 99,5% black (#010101), and continue until all the sections has been filled with a colour. Do a contrast/brightness ajustment until the lightest part of the map turns white, turn off the black lines layer and blur the layer with all the filled in sections, et voila, you got a greyscale heightmap.

Option 2, import it into illustrator, export it to Flash (or import it directly to Flash), and use Flash's own bucket vector fill in between each height line, remove the lines, and then open the result in Photoshop for final touch / blur.

03 March 2006, 03:34 PM
try exporting as dxf or 3ds. (i always use 3ds and scale by 0.001 in LW). if only LW had .dwg import like MAX. look in 'tools' - 'options' - the display resolution seems to affect export detail levels.

3ds i know will break down the curves in to segments. but should work. if it doesn't then try making everything into 3d solids in AutoCAD.

03 March 2006, 03:55 PM
If you have access to Architectural Desktop (2006, i don't know lower versions) you can transform those curves directly to a 3D Terrain using this tool. (

Sorry, it's a spanish version.

It works really well, then you can export to a 3DS file or in case the mesh is too heavy for 3DS format (more than 65535 polys) you can convert the resultant DWG file to LWO with Deep Exploration or something similar.

Tee Double U
03 March 2006, 06:54 PM
Why not just surface them in autoCAD?? then bring it into LW as a 3DS file

03 March 2006, 07:12 PM
Why not just surface them in autoCAD?? then bring it into LW as a 3DS file

According to one of my mates with a vast experience in CAD, using that tool from ADT2006 is incredibly easy and automatic. By the way that tool will be included in the new Autocad 2007.
Other options inside CAD aren`t much easier that patching in lightwave as far as i tried.

03 March 2006, 01:14 PM

It took me 5 minutes to do, see screenshots in animated gif.
1-2 minutes touchup in Illustrator
2-3 minutes filling in Flash + deleting lines in the end
1 min opening it in Photoshop for brightness/contrast ajustment + blurring

It took me longer to re-scale the windows for printscreen and make the animated GIF of the process.

03 March 2006, 01:54 AM
ok - sorry.

i get drawings from architects in AutoCad .dwg. i used to just open them straight up in MAX (it skips the layers that are frozen etc.) - real easy. except i hate MAX and love lightwave. by comparison it's difficult.
...and he was talking about tarrains anyway - doh

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