View Full Version : noob ? - layer issues

06 June 2003, 05:04 AM
ok, I know alot of you LWers are gonna hate me for this, but Im having some serious problems w/ modeling a scene in layers. I come from the maya/max etc. tradition where I can select and animate objects independently from each other no matter what layer they happen to fall on.
now in lightwave (7), it seems i have to have each object on a seperate layer in order to animate it seperately. so, if i had a complex industrial machine that required 200 objects to animate independently, would that mean 200 layers that would have to be saved in modeller and then imported into layout? doesn't seem like a very good work flow...
is there something similar to photoshop's auto-select in modeller then?
sorry for a noob ? but i've been asked to use lightwave for a complex project & im trying to establish a foundation right away. surely im not the only maya user to encounter this problem(?) are there some obvious alternatives to seperate layers, or do i just need to suck it up like a good soldier?
(not looking forward to rooting through hundreds of layers in modeler just to select a small piston, for example)

06 June 2003, 05:09 AM
As i see it theres 2 ways you could go about making this easier for yourself.

1. Make the models seperately, with only a limited number of parts for each model.

2. Use the layer browser in modeller and label the layers, this will make it easier to find the parts later on, ie: piston1 instead of layer151

I'm sure someone else will have another way of doing it.

Steve Warner
06 June 2003, 05:26 AM
You can animate multiple objects on a single layer using bones and weight maps.

Give each distinct object on the layer a separate weight map. When you bring the object into Layout, assign a bone for each weight map you created. Place the bones accordingly, set their rest position, and make them active. Then assign the proper weight map to the bone. Doing this will give the bone control over that particuler object (including size, position, rotation, squash, stretch, etc).

I'm attaching a scene file. It's really basic, but will give you the idea. Test it out by turning the weight map for the bone on and off. Then watch the results.

Hope this helps! :wavey:


06 June 2003, 05:47 AM
greek_fire: have no fear I am in the same boat as you. I too come from the Maya world and just started LW on Monday. Hope you are having as much fun as I am....Yeah and the layers thing is way different than what we are used to. I just figured layers tongiht. So, make your models with basic parts so that you don't run into that multi layer issue. Other tan that I'll let the pro s answer you..GOod Luck as I:banghead:

06 June 2003, 05:55 AM
thx for the concise responses guys. i just wanted to know that i was interperting LW's functionality properly. the reason im so finicky about the layer issue is that i like to experiment w/ motion tests using all number of objects called on the fly - without having to worry about which objects should be on which layer etc.
but i guess that's just how LW works...

thx for example steve

Steve Warner
06 June 2003, 06:04 AM
I don't have experience with Max or Maya, so it's hard for me to understand the workflow in those programs. But you should be able to do this with the bone/weightmap trick. Using this method, you can have any number of layers you want and still have control over precise parts. By placing the bones into a heirarchy, you can easily get complex motions going. Play with the object and scene file I attached and let me know if that's the type of thing you are talking about.

The other thing to consider is that parenting can be established with the Layers palette in Modeler. This would allow you to set up your basic structure as you model. When you bring the object into Layout, it each layer can be animated independantly, or as a whole.

I apologize if this isn't what you're looking for. It's just so hard to understand the workflow of an app I've never played with. :banghead:



06 June 2003, 07:03 AM
exactly what i was looking for steve!
most other apps work on a per object basis, rather than per layer. say you've got 2 spheres in your scene, all you've gotta do is click which ever you want to select in the viewport, whether they're on the same layer, different layers, or no layers at all - like bones in LW layout. (unless they're on a template/background layer, in which case they wouldn't be selectable at all.)
this saves the step of adding bones w/ weight maps, at least for simple rotation/scale/move animations.
i was expecting LW to operate off this principle & was a little put off by the layering system, as im always forgetting to switch to a new layer before i add a new object - causing a bit of problems!
however the bone method seems the best workaround - i prefer to just click on the object in my view, rather than cycling through a list of names trying to figure out which piston/tube # corresponds to my scene objects. kills my creativity.

06 June 2003, 03:05 PM
there is a way to group a set of polys and name your Group in modler and then use it in layout...haven't used it really so i dont remember how it works.
this could be the answer of your question. however i am not sure if every selection can have it's own pivot point :shrug: ( not possible = big problem :rolleyes: )

06 June 2003, 03:28 PM
Also, if you have problems moving parts of an object in one layer as if it was a separate object and not one mesh, try this:

shift+g (snap tool)
n (numeric)
drag set/connected points.

Now just put your pointer over one point on the 'object' you want to move. lmb and drag the mouse. Tada! :)

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