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MAYA LOD!


Mona Mendle
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What exactly are you trying to do? 

The layer editor has nothing direclty to do with LOD, so I'm not sure why you seem to be implying some sort of link between the two. The layer editor is simply a means of organizing your scene for various purposes.  If you really want to, you can of course put each LOD model into its own layer, just like you can put anything else into any layer you want.  But you certainly don't have to.

Here are the main how-to's for the layer editor.  I'm assuming, for now, that you're asking about display layers.  Render layers and animation layers are whole other animals, which, generally speaking, are not of much use if all you're doing is creating mesh models for SL.

 

To put something into a new layer:

1.  Make sure the layer editor is visible.

2.  In any vewport, select the object(s) you want to be assigned to the layer.

3.  In the layer editor, click Layers -> Create Layer from Selected. 

 

To put something into an existing layer:

1.  Make sure the layer editor is visible.

2.  In any vewport, select the object(s) you want to be assigned to the layer.

3.  In the layer right-click & hold on your target layer, and in the context menu that pops up, hit Add Selected Objects.

 

To remove something from a layer:

1.  Make sure the layer editor is visible.

2.  In any vewport, select the object(s) you want to be assigned to the layer.

3.  In the layer right-click & hold on your target layer, and in the context menu that pops up, hit Remove Selected Objexts.

 

To toggle visibility for a layer:

1.  Make sure the layer editor is visible.

2.  To the left of each layer's name, you'll see three little boxes.  Of the three, the box all the way on the left toggles visibility on and off, the one in the middle toggles display mode (normal, template, or reference), and the one on the right shows the layer's color.  So, to turn visibility on or off, simply click the box all the way on the left.  When visibility is on, there will be a little V in the box.  When it's off, the box will be blank.  The box in the middle should be blank, unless you want the layer to be templated or referenced.

 

 

All of this, by the way, is thoroughly explained in your Maya help documentation (User Guide -> General -> Basics -> Scene management -> Organize objects -> Organize objects on display layers).  If you simply search the help for the word "layer", it comes right up.  In Maya 2009 or 2010, it's topic 102.  In Maya 2011, it's topic 162.  In Maya 2012, it's topic 127.

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Hello, thanks for your reply :)

I know how to make a new layer but what i don't know it's how associate a LOD to each level like shown in the picture... i would like to upload my model into sl for test, but for some reason i do not get the different levels of details that i need, please help me =) ty

this is the video i took the image from..

The guy there changes LOD simply clicking on those levels... that's what i want to do too xD

 

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Mona Mendle wrote:

yes! but how do i create each lod? ty

You create the lower LoDs exactly the same as you would create the highest, just with fewer geometry. There's no magic or secret button, just the fact you need to build 4 LoDs, manually or with a modifier which makes your initial model either more or less complex. Also make sure the same materials are used in each LoD, or the SL uploader won't recognise the models as a set.

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From the way Reed described his work flow in the video, it would have gone a little something like this:

1.  Create the simplest version of the chair.  For our purposes here, let's this chairOne.

2.  Make a copy of chairOne, name it chairTwo, and add a little more detail to it.

3.  Make a copy of chairTwo, name it chairThree, and add a bit more detail.

4.  Make a copy of chairThree, name it chairFour, and add even more detail.

5.  Put each model in separate layer, because you're about to make a video, and you want an easy means by which to turn the visibility of each model on and off. 

6.  Because the video is only about uploading, not about the modeling process itself, not about Maya scene organization, and not about how SL's LOD system works, do not devote much time to explaining how you made the four models, why it was four in particular (five, including the physics mesh), and and don't mention why you put them each into separate layers.  Assume that anyone who is at the stage where they're ready to upload stuff already has, at the very least, learned the basics of Maya, including general modeling techniques, and elementary scene organization.

7.  Proceed to confuse the hell out of someone who now thinks layers and LOD are somehow magically tied to each other, because she's watching a video she's not yet ready for.

 

Sorry if numbers 6 and 7 sound at all harsh, Mona.  That wasn't the intent.  I merely meant to emphasize that when you approach things like this out of step, you're bound to run into problems.  As I so often find myself saying, don't put the cart before the horse. Here are a few things you need to understand, before you can proceed.

Each LOD is a unique model, created by hand.  Layers have nothing directly to do with that.  As I said above, layers are just a way of organizing the scene, nothing more.  The reason the author of the video assigned each model to a separate layer, was so that he could easily turn the visibility on and off for each one.  He wasn't trying to imply that merely adding layers to a scene somehow lessens the amount of work that the human artist needs to do.

You asked if you need to start over again.  The only answer any of us can give to that is maybe.  Maybe you do, maybe you don't.  See, you can create the four models in any order you want.  Sometimes it's best to make the simplest version first, and then add details to create the other three versions, just as Reed explained he had done in the video. Other times, it will be better to make the most detailed version first, and then work subtractively to create the other three.  It all depends on the specific project, and your own sense of procedure.

There are even sometimes cases in which you might want the four versions to be radically different from each other, so you won't be adding or subtracting at all, but rather starting from scratch on each one.  For a simple example, imagine creating a "jack in the box" kind of effect.  From a distance the model might be just a simple sign that says "Come here."  Then when you get closer, it pops into existence as some hideous monster or something.

The only hard rules are that whatever model you put into an LOD slot (in the uploader) can't have more vertices than whatever you put into any higher level, and all four models must have the same material(s) on them.  Other than that, use your own judgment, your own creativity.

 

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7.  Proceed to confuse the hell out of someone who now thinks layers and LOD are somehow magically tied to each other, because she's watching a video she's not yet ready for...

LOL i'm just trying to learn! what's wrong with it? i watch dozens of videos xD and NO i've never thought layers and LOD are linked or must be linked to each other for some reason, you made all that layers explanation by yourself etc... as usual i'm never clear asking things  so it's my fault ^^ but i really appreciate that you answered  hihi :))) thanks all for your time!

(I'll be back with more questions soon i'm sure)

xD

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Mona Mendle wrote:

ah, then if i didn't do that from the start, there's no way to go back..i have to do the modeling again? right? and do it by the way...yes?

You have to do the modelling 4 times, or 5 including the physics, anyway. Depending on what kind of object you're making, you can let the uploader generate one or more of the lower LoDs, this will work quite well with organic bloblike shapes. When your build is boxy, like the chair in the video you saw, you have to make all the models yourself for a good result. It makes no difference whether you knew this from the start or not, you will have to do it anyway. So no, you don't have to start over, you do have to model the other LoDs aswell, in addition to the one you already have built.

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Don't worry about modeling it 4 times... just finish your model and unwrap it then for the LOD's just copy your High LOD mesh and delete some edge loops, then copy that LOD and delete some more edges for the low lod.. etc.

Be sure to have your unwrap window visible to see how the deleted edges/vertices effect it, maya does a good job of preserving your uvs. Bake your texture on the high lod and apply it to your mesh so you can see how it looks on your lower lods as you create them.

For physics i suggest using the lowest lod or something basic like a cube or low poly sphere/cylinder and snapping it to fit the bounding box of your mesh, the uploader will automatically scale any physics to fit the mesh anyway.

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Jarmade, you're assuming the model is well suited for that kind of easy reduction.  There's every chance it might not be.  There are certainly cases in which it's good to work from the top down, just as you suggest.  However, in in other cases, it's better to work from the bottom up, and in still others, the only practical way to go is to make each model independently, from scratch.  It all depends on the specifics of the project at hand, and on the artist's own preferences.  There can be no "one size fits all" solution.

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Mona Mendle wrote:

LOL i'm just trying to learn! what's wrong with it?

Nothing, in principle.  However, in practice, things can get confusing whenever any learner tries to go directly from point A to point Z, without taking the necessary time to step through everything in between.

From what you wrote, I got the sense that that was what you were trying to do.  My apologies if I misinterpreted. :)

 


Mona Mendle wrote:

NO i've never thought layers and LOD are linked or must be linked to each other for some reason, you made all that layers explanation by yourself etc...

If that's the case, then I suppose steps 6 and 7 were unnecessary.  I hope steps 1-5 constituted the answer you needed.

 


Mona Mendle wrote:

as usual i'm never clear asking things  so it's my fault ^^ but i really appreciate that you answered  hihi
:)
)) thanks all for your time!

No problem.  I'm still not sure what exactly you were trying to ask.  Whatever it was, I hope you got enough good information from everyone who responded that you now have your answer.  If not, perhaps you could rephrase the question for clarity, and we could take another crack it it. :)

 

 

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