• Welcome to the Community Forums at HiveWire 3D! Please note that the user name you choose for our forum will be displayed to the public. Our store was closed as January 4, 2021. You can find HiveWire 3D and Lisa's Botanicals products, as well as many of our Contributing Artists, at Renderosity. This thread lists where many are now selling their products. Renderosity is generously putting products which were purchased at HiveWire 3D and are now sold at their store into customer accounts by gifting them. This is not an overnight process so please be patient, if you have already emailed them about this. If you have NOT emailed them, please see the 2nd post in this thread for instructions on what you need to do

Fun with Lightwave

Celtic Lilly Garden 2.jpg
It was a whole bunch of fun making this simple scene.
Just done as experimentation, to test various functions in Lightwave's Instancing.
There are only five objects in the scene.
The instance generator is a ground plane with 8,192 polygons.
The other four are a blast from the past, Lisa's Agapanthus.
These things are crazy! Each one has 49,839 polygons.
Must have had them for at least ten years.
They were among the first of my Poser aquisitions.

Here they have been converted to Lightwave Objects.
The surfacing (i.e. Materials) works differently in Lightwave.
There are 3,966 instances of a the four Agapanthi combined.

The ground plane is using surface mixing controlled by a monochrome graphic.
The graphic, enlarged as it is, has fuzzy and wrinkly enough edges,
to result in a natural looking border between the dirt and grass.
As can be seen, the graphic is also controlling the distribution of instances.

The render time was just under 2 minutes.

Miss B

Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time
Nicely done sir! I have to say, I have over 50 of Lisa's products purchased years ago, but Agapanthi isn't one of them. Still, this was a nice experiment. :)
Forest Road Plants Rocks 01.jpg

Proceeding with more of a plan now, a forest trail is taking shape.
16 objects (props) in the scene now with about 120,000 instances of a combination of 15 objects.
The trees are Designfera Spruce trees, scaled up to be more the size of fir trees, and with a highly modified surfacing (materials).
Lightwave does not like the transparency mask technique used to make the leaves.
Transparent geometry is treated as a material that transmits light.
Specularity mapping helps, but not as well as in Firefly.
A double sided geometry has diffuse color on both sides but transmits light in the direction of the normals.
So it looks darker on the back side and some compensation is required.
Here, the render time was just over 20 minutes.


Dragon Queen
Contributing Artist
Nice forest.
However, I'm thinking either the path is really big, or the trees just babies. Of course, where I live, the tree trunks (Douglas fir, and spruce, and whatever else) tend to be several feet thick.

Miss B

Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time
I think you're on to something Rowan. I'm thinking the trail should be narrower, as it looks more like a roadway a car could drive through, rather than a path folks would walk on. Other than that, though, it looks like a nice start.


Dragon Queen
Contributing Artist
Check out the promos in these photos Rowan's Forest Backgrounds - Rowan54 Creation at HiveWire 3D
And you'll see Douglas fir, Western red cedar and some other species of trees along forest paths. The forest in the pictures is about a century old, so if you're showing something younger, the trees would be smaller. Some of the paths in my photos are actually single vehicle width as my father used them as woods roads to go get downed trees for firewood.

Couldn't find any way to get those transparency mapped leaves to work in Lightwave.
Even when raytrace transparency is turned off, when light passes through more than
one transparent layer, the rays are bent at the angle between the layers.
So a tree with layers and layers of transparent polygons has the light from behind it bent at all crazy angles.
Even trees that are sitting in front of a hillside have the sky showing through in some places.
All in all it's just a muddled up mess.

Nothing for it but to delete all the leaves in the tree's geometry and just keep the trunk and branches.
Then get busy and make solid geometry leaves for all the kinds of trees that are needed.
With that done, it was better to use instancing to put the leaves on trees, than to put multiple trees on the landscape.

A tree trunk and branches may have around 20,000 polys.
Add the 2 dimensional leaves and there's another 80,000 or so.
But just make a few solid geometry leaves, with maybe 1,200 polygons each and then there are only about 24,000 polys.
Adding a half dozen or so trees to the scene and using cloning results in far better efficiency.

The pine needles started as just a stem.
And inspection of a real pine needle cluster revealed that the needles grow off the stem in intervals of groups.
So it worked out real well to make a needle base-surface placed in intervals along the stem and use FiberFX to generate the needles.
It's then possible to 'polygonize' the Fibers and save them as polygon lines, which can be extruded in Modeler to make 4 sided needles.
Set the smoothing on the needle's surface to 120deg and they look great.
Add them to the pine tree branches with instancing and it's hard to get a better looking conifer.

Lightwave doesn't even flinch at high polygon counts.
This render took about 4 minutes to generate an HDTV size png image.
Here it's scaled down and compressed for a jpg. Not a great representation of the original render, but postable.

And, as always, it's just my own little world. Makin' up new ones every day.


Dragon Queen
Contributing Artist
Nice, very springy look.
Very pleasant spot for a picnic.
I've tried to make forests and there is usually no way to render something that looks real because there are too many trees and the trees take a bazillion little leafies, each, as you've been finding out. This is one of the reasons I frequently opt for photos for backgrounds, which I know isn't always possible or desirable. Especially when I'm doing an alien landscape.
You have managed fairly realistic looking trees, even if they're a bit on the small and young side. Very good.
I really like how there are cones on the pine tree. :)


Dragon Queen
Contributing Artist
Nice trees. Those look better than the ones that Bryce manages to produce.

The Weirhauser Pine

Unusual spelling for Weyerhaeuser, though. I live next to Weyerhaeuser lands, which is why my earlier woodsy pictures (see the freebies up at ShareCG) have more woods in them, and the later ones include large areas with no trees (see the for sale ones on this site). (Or maybe that's just a similar name?)
Careful with those Trade Names!
Honey they clear-cut the Forest today! :(
Oh, didn't the real-estate agent tell you that it's a CROP!
Or maybe what she told you was CRAP!

Those Pines are bred to perfection.
Straight as a 2x6.


Dragon Queen
Contributing Artist
What I'm on was my great-grandfather's homestead lands, well, what's left of them. This whole place was logged in about 1900. The local lumber company logged their part (up against our back line) again in about 1975. And then again like 2 or 3 years ago. There are baby trees out there again, but the lands changed hands to the local county who has them listed as a "park". (Meaning too inaccessible to plant houses on, and a swamp is in part of it, besides.)


Dragon Queen
Contributing Artist
And if I wanted to watch logging, I could do it today, with binoculars from my back line. They're working on the hillside just beyond what used to be a railroad track and is now a trail for walking, jogging and biking. I got some photos of it, yesterday, because one of the giant machines was silhouetted against the sky. Maybe 1/4 mile away. Plainly audible from here. Anyhow.....my place still has trees.