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A Thread - All About LOD


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This is a thread all about LOD.

What do you tell a newbie about LOD?   What about items that say STRONG LOD...are these items still in vogue today, or is a lower LOD more in vogue today because of mesh?

Is is better for your machine to run on a lower LOD or does it makes not much difference?  

And, especially what are the most important things to tell a newbie about LOD?

Edited by EliseAnne85
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Low LOD means an item will distort when viewed from a distance. Any mesh build I import has the LOD maxed out to prevent this. Low LOD means a lower LI though.  It kills me when I see a really nice mesh build item that turns into random triangles as I move away from it. 

Edited by Charalyne Blackwood
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12 minutes ago, Charalyne Blackwood said:

Low LOD means an item will distort when viewed from a distance. Any mesh build I import has the LOD maxed out to prevent this. Low LOD means a lower LI though.  It kills me when I see a really nice mesh build item that turns into random triangles as I move away from it. 

Especially when it happens while I'm still in my living room! When the whole reason I have the item is to see it while I'm hanging out in there.

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24 minutes ago, Charalyne Blackwood said:

It kills me when I see a really nice mesh build item that turns into random triangles as I move away from it. 

 

11 minutes ago, BookishMelinoe said:

Especially when it happens while I'm still in my living room! When the whole reason I have the item is to see it while I'm hanging out in there.

Your living room is too big.

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There's some really rubbish stuff around, LOD-wise. Lots of it based on the same source of full-perm meshes. I ended up making my own tables simply because the one I liked turned into a mess if I stood at the far end of the room unless I set my LOD factor all the way up.

LODs should be designed such that the object looks right at any distance, within reason depending on its intended purpose and at a reasonable viewer LOD factor. I tend to design for factor 2, and at that, my stuff will look the same shape at any distance, even when it drops to much lower detail. You'll be hard pushed to see the change, but I can still get very low LI. My tables and chairs are 1LI, quite detailed up close, and in any reasonable size room (even at SL giant scale) you'll never see them look bad. That's how it can and should be done.

 

 

Edited by Rick Daylight
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2 hours ago, Charalyne Blackwood said:

Any mesh build I import has the LOD maxed out to prevent this.

That's what I call "Mole mesh" and it's not a good idea either although not nearly as bad as butchering the LOD models. If it was that simple there would have been no point in having LOD models at all.

You want to get rid of smaller details on objects that are viewed at some distance. Fewer tris and vertices improves the frame rate a little bit and it improves load time quite a bit. But perhaps msot important, with LOD all maxed out, you soon get tris so small the viewer has to find a way to sqeeze several of them onto a single pixel on the screen and then you're really giving your poor GPU some work to do. I seem to remember that  @Beq Janus posted an article about this in her blog a while ago. I can't find it now but maybe she can help.

Edited by ChinRey
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25 minutes ago, ChinRey said:

That's what I call "Mole mesh" and it's not a good idea either although not nearly as bad as butchering the LOD models. If it was that simple there would have been no point in having LOD models at all.

You want to get rid of smaller details on objects that are viewed at some distance. Fewer tris and vertices improves the frame rate a little bit and it improves load time quite a bit. But perhaps msot important, with LOD all maxed out, you soon get tris so small the viewer has to find a way to sqeeze several of them onto a single pixel on the screen and then you're really giving your poor GPU some work to do. I seem to remember that  @Beq Janus posted an article about this in her blog a while ago. I can't find it now but maybe she can help.

I'm not building intricate structures, but I really don't like when walls on my house reduce to a random triangle. How much detail do I remove from a flat surface? In Blender I remove any face that will not be seen to lower the triangle/vertex count. A 75 piece, two story building with stairs typically has LI around 35-40 by my design and maxed out LOD

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As a creator, you can't rely on all customers turning their viewer settings to whatever the creator deems convenient. As a rule of thumb, if an object turns into triangles from way too close with the SL viewer's default LoD setting (2 in Firestorm), then, as a creator, you're just doing it wrong. Making mesh with good LoD requires more effort from the creator's (making additional lower-poly models of their product).

But then again, maybe it's all just matter of L$L$L$. The less time a creator spends making decent low-LoD models, the more time they can spend on churning out new stuff that will likely sell anyway, regardless of what it will look like from further away.

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Hand crafted LOD models are the way .. little over 3K tris on left, 240 on the right

I did make an even lower version but in testing with the linden viewer on the lowest object detail it was only ever seen from hundreds of meters away, so I omitted it let the uploader mash the model to 3 tris for the lowest.

Always test model in world, especially for bigger structures. sometimes you can can get away with not making an entire set of LODS, some just aren't ever seen (so why have a model no one can ever see), and it can really inform how far down the rabbit hole you need to go.

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I can testify to the fact that turning your LODs up to 4 (or more but I never did that) definitely hurts your computer. I crashed a LOT when I had my LOD at 4 and burned up a couple of power supplies.  2 is good for most folks and that is what I design for but also have the items viewable from longer away than most folks would need -- so really LOD 1.25 which is the Linden default for most folks. 

 

In my mind the most important thing is to TEST your builds and see how others will see them.   And of course building SIMPLY is a good plan. No "render mesh".   

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If you don't jack up the LOD factor a bit, SL just looks plain ugly half the time when you go out to explore or shop
The LOD factor battle is lost long time ago. Ever since sculpties came in to play, so even from before mesh.
My advise: If your machine can handle it, at least somewhere around 2. Max 4.

I have my machine always at 4 when I go out. No crashes at all. And I'm doing this for more than 7 or 8 years now.
Trail and error I guess.

Edited by Sid Nagy
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1 minute ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Low-LOD will only look "bad" on stuff that was created poorly for low LOD! (Bad low LOD models, etc.)

A chair or table should not look like a pile of kindly at lowest LOD, if done properly.

Amirite?

the uploader will make auto LOD models if you dont make all the models manually, and it will oftentime butcher the shape of the object, if you dont give it enough room (tris) to work with.

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3 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Low-LOD will only look "bad" on stuff that was created poorly for low LOD! (Bad low LOD models, etc.)

A chair or table should not look like a pile of kindly at lowest LOD, if done properly.

Amirite?

Yes of course, but when exploring it is only a matter of time until you stumble over this stuff.

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2 minutes ago, Sid Nagy said:

Yes of course, but when exploring it is only a matter of time until you stumble over this stuff.

I'd rather NOT see it then.  There's plenty to see at a lower LOD setting that doesn't bog you down by setting it at 4+.  People constantly complain about lag this and that when doing just a few simple things will make your SL experience better.  So I miss that house that falls apart at anything less than LOD 4.  Not that big of a deal to me.

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1 hour ago, Charalyne Blackwood said:

I'm not building intricate structures, but I really don't like when walls on my house reduce to a random triangle.

Oh yes, big unbroken surfaces are an exception of course but that's not the most common kind of mesh in SL.

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I hate it, when I see crippled stuff. And my computer and Internet can handle a LOD factor of 4, so when I'm building I set it low to be able to check things out and when I explore I go to 4. To enjoy the views a bit more.

Edited by Sid Nagy
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I typically keep my LOD setting at 2 in Firestorm.  Sometimes when doing a Hunt, I'll bump it to 4 so that I can see the hunt items from a bit farther away.

When shopping for items in my home, I always reduce my LOD setting to 1.5 and then start walking away from the item to see how far I get before it becomes unrecognizable.  It if is going in a smaller room, it must be properly visible from 3-5 meters away. If going into a larger room, then anywhere from 10-15 meters. 

Outdoor stuff all depends on what it is and how large it is.  I do not want my trees looking like a triangle to my next door neighbor.  However, the person that is half a region away doesn't need a finely detailed view of my tree.

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7 hours ago, Sid Nagy said:

And my computer and Internet can handle a LOD factor of 4, so when I'm building I set it low to be able to check things out and when I explore I go to 4. 

What is it about your computer that makes it able to handle LOD 4?  Might it have anything to do with it's cooling system?  I'm asking because many laptops do not have great cooling systems and I'm afraid my friend will burn out her machine at a LOD of 4.  LOD 4 came into vogue with sculpties (I think - at least that's what I remember) but back then we had desktops with separate fans most likely, and I'm not a computer geek (I'm just guessing) about how computers 'used' to be.  

There are many nice items for LOD 4 but they may be dated for some computers because most are laptops now.  I use a desktop and clean my fans with compressed air and fine brushes regularly.  I don't know how to clean a laptop fan, even though I have a laptop I think SL would burn it out as it's a cheapie laptop and probably full of dust.   I can't get to the fan in my laptop like I can my desktop.

Edited by EliseAnne85
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13 hours ago, EliseAnne85 said:

This is a thread all about LOD.

What do you tell a newbie about LOD?   

I can't believe no one has said this yet: What you tell a newbie about LOD is... what LOD stands for. (Seriously, not quipping.) Y'all are rambling on about LOD this and that, but if this is truly a 101 thread then... someone needs to dumb it down, and that someone can't be me because despite being in SL 13+ years I don't know what you are talking about. (I probably do, but... not off the top of my head.) Not everyone is a builder. Some of us just turn our computers on, set it to default and go. (I can do some wicked sliders and settings when taking photos and LOD is probably impacted, yeah?) 

Edited by Seicher Rae
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1 minute ago, Seicher Rae said:

I can't believe no one has said this yet: What you tell a newbie about LOD is... what LOD stands for. (Seriously, not quipping.) Y'all are rambling on about LOD this and that, but if this is truly a 101 thread then... someone needs to dumb it down (and that someone cannot be me because...)

As far as I know it means "Level of Detail" :D

 

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