Method

This node renders a 3D object that has been imported from an external file in one of the supported 3D object file formats: Lightwave LWO, Wavefront OBJ, Cinema4D and FBX. As well as being rendered directly, 3D Object nodes may also be used as an input for various other nodes, including Particle Mesh Emitters, Field 3D Object Emitters, Clone To Mesh, Clone To Volume, Collision Affectors and numerous others.

The 3D Object resource must be set via the Object property. If no object is set the node will not render anything. Where the resource contains multiple meshes, for example, an FBX, LWO or Cinema4D file, the Layer Index parameter is used to select the mesh inside the scene. When a resource and mesh index are selected the properties for the materials that are used on that mesh are instantiated under the Materials property group, allowing each material’s properties to be edited independently. Each material also has a corresponding input which allows Material nodes to be connected to them to set their parameters. See Materials for more information about material properties.

Deformers may be parented to Object nodes, causing the mesh to be deformed. The mesh may also be smoothed iteratively via the Smoothing Iterations parameter or subdivided iteratively via the Subdivision Levels parameter. Smoothing and subdivision are processed every frame alongside the deformers uniquely for each Object node, allowing multiple Object nodes to use the same underlying resource but process it independently. Smoothing and subdivision is interleaved with deformation so deformers may be applied to a certain subdivision level. Deformation results may also be smoothed temporally over multiple frames using the “Deformer Temporal Smoothing” parameter. Deformation and smoothing requires mesh normals to be regenerated for the new vertex positions. The Deformer Normal Mode parameter controls whether normals are completely smoothed or whether they obey existing breaks in normals due to smoothing groups. Subdivision, smoothing and deformation may have a noticeable memory and processing overhead.

GPU hardware tessellation is also supported via the Tessellation Enabled parameter. This causes the mesh to be subdivided at render time using the GPU hardware which does not incur a memory overhead and is also processed efficiently. Tessellation is adaptive based on distance from the camera, where the falloff is controlled via the Subdivision Distance parameter. This allows the mesh to become denser when close to the viewer. Tessellation is often useful in conjunction with displacement mapping, enabled by setting a displacement map on a material.

The 3D Object node supports the Lightwave Fertilizer plugin, which allows meshes to be grown outwards from a specified source point as defined by a suitably named weight map. The Fertilizer Value parameter controls the maximum extent of the visible grow value of the mesh, and the Fertilizer Back Value controls the minimum visible grow value.

The 3D Object node may be used as a rigid body in a physics system via the Physics Attributes properties. It must be parented under a Rigid Body Root node for physics to be applied.

Example
Nodegraph Example

Transform

Name Description
Position X Move its position along the x-axis in local space.
Position Y Move its position along the y-axis in local space.
Position Z Move its position along the z-axis in local space.
Rotation Heading Rotate the object about the x-axis.
Rotation Pitch Rotate the object about the y-axis.
Rotation Bank Rotate the object about the z-axis.
Scale X Scale along the x-axis.
Scale Y Scale along the y-axis.
Scale Z Scale along the z-axis.

Inherit Transform Channels

Toggle which transform channels should be inherited. By default, all are on.

Attributes

Name Description
Object Select a 3D Object to be used.
Layer Index Selects the layer from the 3D object resource to use for rendering.
Collision Layer Index Selects the layer from the 3D object resource to use for collisions, if applicable.
Object Dissolve Dissolves or disables the object from being rendered.
Visible Control whether the node is visible or not to the scene.
Fertilizer Value Controls the Fertilizer plugin, used to grow vertices from specified source points.
Fertilizer Back Value Controls the Fertilizer plugin, used to grow vertices from specified source points.
Motion Blur Velocity Scale Scales velocity vectors when rendered to the motion vector pass for motion blur effects.
Lit Toggle whether the object can be lit by scene lights.
Cast Shadows Toggle whether the object can cast shadows.
Render Z Only When enabled, the 3D object is only rendered to the depth buffer in the main camera render. No colour data is rendered.
Culling Enabled When enabled, camera-based culling is disabled for the 3D object.
Render to Shadows Only When enabled, the object is only rendered to shadow map passes, not to the main camera render.
Subdivision Levels Causes the object’s polygons to be subdivided by the number of levels specified. Subdivision may be done before, after or mixed in with deformation. Subdivision is done before rendering. Each level multiplies the number of polygons in the object by 4, which can greatly increase rendering time and memory overhead.
Smoothing Iterations Causes the object’s vertices to be smoothed by the number of levels specified. Smoothing is done before rendering.
Deformer Temporal Smoothing Smooths the resulting vertex positions after deformation with previous frames.
Deformer Normal Mode Choose whether the tessellation remains flat or tries to smooth the object.
Tessellation Enabled Enables hardware tessellation, which subdivides the mesh efficiently at render time on the GPU. Tessellation does not consume memory resources and is more efficient than subdivision.
Max Tesselation Factor The maximum tessellation factor for hardware tessellation. Controls the maximum number of polygons generated from each source polygon in the mesh.
Subdivision Near Distance The near distance from the camera at which tessellation remains the tessellated mesh.
Subdivision Distance The distance from the camera at which tessellation falls off to the original mesh polygons.
Lightmap Width The width of the object’s lightmap, if required.
Lightmap Height The height of the object’s lightmap, if required.
Reload Materials From LWO Reload the material used from the original 3D object file.
Show Weightmap Select which weightmap should be shown on the objects mesh. By default, none is shown.

UV Sets

Name Description
Colour Texture UV Set Change the UV set to use for the colour texture.
Diffuse Texture Set Change the UV set to use for the diffuse texture.

Lines

Name Description
Lines Visible Control whether the node is visible or not to the scene.
Lines Alpha Control the alpha value of the lines.
Colour Control the colour value of the lines.
Use Vertex Colours Colour lines based on the vertex colours of the geometry.
Blend Mode Control how the lines blend with the rest of the scene.
Thick Lines Use lines with thickness relative to their distance to the camera.
Hide Back Face Lines Hides the lines around back faces of geometry.
Lock Width Lock the line width to be consistent regardless of distance from the camera. Only functions with Thick Lines enabled.
Thick Line Width Control the thickness of all the lines. Only functions with Thick Lines enabled.
Show Silhouette Lines Draws lines along the edges of the object relative to the camera.
Show Normal Difference Lines Draw a line along the edges of the mesh, depending on the angle difference between their mutual faces.
Show Unshared Lines Draw lines along all edges of the shape.
Show Other Lines Show all the lines for each edge of the Mesh.
Unshared Lines Weight Greater control over the alpha of the unshared lines.
Silhouette Lines Weight Greater control over the alpha of the silhouette lines.
Normal Difference Lines Weight Greater control over the alpha of the normal difference lines.
Other Lines Weight Greater control over the alpha of the other lines.
Line Normal Difference Angle Change the threshold angle between two face normals that will generate a line along their common edge. Only functions with Show Normal Lines enabled.
Line Normal Fade Sharpness How much the drawn normal lines will fade away the closer the edge angle is to the Line Normal Difference Angle.
Line Depth Bias Exaggerate the width of the lines based on the distance to the camera. not functional with Lock Width enabled.
Line Silhouette Fade Sharpness How much the drawn silhouette lines will fade away based on the size of the edge angle to the camera.

Point-Level Animation

Name Description
Use Point-Level Animation When enabled, PLA contained within the object file will be used to deform the mesh.
Point-Level Animation Blend Amount How much to blend between the PLA and the meshes default position.
Point-Level Animation Speed Modify the speed that the PLA should be run at.
Point-Level Animation Offset Offset the beginning of the PLA,

UV Output

Name Description
UV Scale X Scale the object UV along the x axis.
UV Scale Y Scale the object UV along the y axis.
UV Offset X Move the object UV along the x axis.
UV Offset Y Move the object UV along the y axis.

Materials

See Materials.

Physics Attributes

Name Description
Friction How much other rigid bodies will be able to slide along side this rigid body. When two rigid bodies of different frictions interact, the minimum value is used.
Bounciness How much this rigid body will bounce off of other rigid bodies in the scene.
Density The density of the rigid body. The density is scaled by the area of the shape to determine the mass of the body.
Spin X/Y/Z The spin of the rigid body on the X/Y/Z axes. This scales the inertia tensor on the axes, making the body spin faster in that direction when torque is applied.
Dynamics Mode The dynamics mode of the object
  • Static, A static rigid body does not move and can’t be moved by physics.
  • Kinematic, A kinematic rigid body is not moved by physics but has a velocity that can affect dynamic bodies.
  • Dynamic, A dynamic rigid body has its initial position set by its transform, but transform control is taken over by physics as soon as the simulation starts.
  • Disabled, Physics will not be applied.
Dynamics Transform For Rendering Only (Faster) If selected, the transform of the body is maintained on GPU only. This reduces latency and increases performance but means that parenting to the object, e.g. using it to transform lights will not work
Rigid Body Shape The shape of the rigid body
  • Sphere, A sphere
  • Box, A box
  • Plane, A plane – can only be static or kinematic
  • 3D Object (Convex Hull), A convex hull derived from the geometry of the node
  • 3D Object (Use Original Geometry), The original triangle geometry of the node, if applicable.
Rigid Body Sphere Radius The radius of the rigid body sphere shape if applicable
Rigid Body Box Size X The size of the rigid body box shape if applicable
Rigid Body Box Size Y The size of the rigid body box shape if applicable
Rigid Body Box Size Z The size of the rigid body box shape if applicable
Rigid Body Convex Hull Mode If the Convex Hull shape is used, determines the convex hull mode used – which will be wrapped around the node’s geometry

Inputs

“Default Material” won’t always appear under this name, as it will always take the name of the imported object’s material.

Name Description Typical Node Input
Skeleton Root Input the root bone of a skeleton system to deform the mesh. The object must have weight maps imported with it, or headaches will ensue. Bone
Default Material Override the default material with another material. Material
Transform Modifier Links all transform properties to the input node. Null
Target Node Always faces the x-axis towards the inputs anchor point. Null
Local Transform Override Override the transformation values of the node, relative to its parent. Null

Outputs

This node outputs the normal transformation and translation values, but it also outputs geometry which can be Deformed or used as a mesh source by other nodes.