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Re: Invigorator for Maya

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Zax DowRe: Invigorator for Maya
by on Jun 30, 2001 at 2:38:48 am

Hi Erwin,

Thanks for the endorsement.
Your words as a user are valuable because when it comes from me, people think it's only hype.

You are correct in that the Invigorator for Maya plug-in does not work in Maya 4.

There is no official statement yet from Alias|Wavefront but you are on the right track in your guesses about what will happen. The new standalone has many more features than the old plug-in and it will export files that can be used inside of Maya.

When a model is exported from the Invig ProModeler it is broken down by material and by object. So if you had 4 objects and you applied a single material to each, then you would get 4 independent objects in Maya (or any other 3D program).

On the other hand if each object had two materials applied to it (one on the bevels and one on everything else), then you would get 8 independent objects in Maya. The polygons of the bevels would be separate from the polygons making up the rest of the object.

Here's what determines whether objects are independent or locked together inside the Invigorator....

If all the letters of a word were grouped together in the Illustrator file they will come into the Invigorator as one locked together group of polygons. So all the letters would be considered one object.

If the letters were ungrouped in Illustrator then each letter would be a separate object in the Invigorator and can be moved/colored independently.

There is a third option which, once you start using it, is really the best way for speeding up workflow. It's called the Open By Layer option. With this option you put each thing that you want to be a separate object, on its own layer in Illustrator. For instance say you had the words "Save The World" and they were laid out around a ring with a globe in the center. By putting each word, the ring, and the globe on their own layers in the Illustrator file, they would come into the Invigorator as 5 separate objects. It wouldn't matter whether they were grouped or not, all of the vector paths on each layer becomes one object.

Now the REALLY useful part is next. You can change the Illustrator file, then come back to the Invig and click one button and the vector shapes from the old file are replaced by the vectors of the new file. This means you can change"Save The World" into "Save The Planet" with one click. Everything about the word "World" is transferred to the word "Planet". Position, color, maps, edge profile, depth, everything.

This one feature makes doing multiple versions a snap. You can set everything up once and reload the layers for every language you have to do, every country, every office, every event, every presenter, every anything that comes across your plate. One click and the entire model is rebuilt exactly like the last one. We have users who do most everything in 3D now because it takes less time to build the full 3D model than it does to recreate a 2D effect in Photoshop. Click, render, click, render, amazing.

Maya, and most other programs, have the ability to link to a model file, or to replace a model file. So you can use the invigorator to create the models and then use your main 3D program to animated them. Since the number of objects is based on the number of layers in the Illustrator file, and the number of layers doesn't change, the animation doesn't change, everything just falls into place and works.

So that was probably a little more than you asked for, but if I don't tell you about stuff like that you just might let it slip you by.

Regarding the materials. Each file format supports different things. We don't yet export the maps themselves but we do export all of the basic material settings (color, transparency, reflection, specular, etc). We also export UV mapping coordinates and surface normals if the file format can handle it.

Best,
Zax


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