FAQ

  1. FPrime is not rendering Node surfaces Node and ACT support require LightWave 9.2 or beyond and FPrime 3 or beyond. The LightWave SDK does not support Precomputed Nodes like Fast Skin, Occlusion II, Sigma 2, SSS or SSS 2.
  2. My HyperVoxels do not appear in FPrime Preview. Interactive HV support is only available when using FPrime 3.5 and LW 9.6 or beyond
  3. FPrime doesn't update when I change my Hypervoxel settings. LW does not emit notifications for non-numeric values in HyperVoxels panels. This means that many changes to HV settings will require pressing the FPrime refresh button in order for the changes to be seen in FPrime.
  4. How can I assign a key to make FPrime refresh while the FPrime window has focus?. All the "F" keys get passed through by FPrime so you can assign one to the "FPrime Refresh" generic and it will work when either LW or FPrime has focus.
  5. FPrime doesn't render LW's custom lights correctly. FPrime 3.5 and LW 9.6 or beyond are required for custom light support. Due to a LW bug, FPrime can only support Dome and Spherical lights if the LightWave's Light Quality setting is between 3 and 9. Other custom light types can use lower quality settings but no custom light should use a LightWave Light Quality setting higher than 9.
  6. How do I use G2 in FPrime? FPrime automatically intercommunicates with G2.  No switch or setting change is necessary. All of G2's effects will appear automatically and interactively in FPrime's render window and in final FPrime renders. FPrime does not change or accelerate G2's own preview window. Also, make sure you have updated to G2 version 1.7 or later.
  7. Exactly how fast is FPrime's renderer? I want to compare my render speed to Lightwave's. FPrime's rendering speed is highly scene dependent, so there is no exact or constant comparison or ratio. On simple polygon scenes, FPrime's speed is very comparable to LightWave's, though of course FPrime renders interactively. Complex scenes with more transparency, reflections, area lights, and radiosity tend to be faster using FPrime.
    FPrime render mode is significantly faster than the interactive window.
  8. How do I know when FPrime is finished rendering my image? This is a question that is important in classical, old-fashioned rendering, which requires you to pick a numerical render quality before you begin rendering. In FPrime, you don't need to make a stopping quality decision ahead of time! Your FPrime render is finished whenever you want it to be, just by pressing the Stop or Save button. If do you know you want to render to a specific numeric quality, you can use the FPrime Render Stop At Level control, but you will use this less often than you expect. It takes some time to get used to this reversed rendering workflow, but it has no downsides and enormous workflow advantages once you understand it.
  9. My displacements aren't showing up in FPrime. This is probably due to a LightWave bug with Layout's Bounding Box mode. Try changing your camera view to be any mode except "Bounding Box". Also, avoid using per-object scene editor modes of "Hidden" or "Bounding Box" mode.
  10. How do I tell FPrime not to hog all my CPU time? FPrime's rendering threads run at lower priority than LightWave or other foreground applications, so they only use "spare" CPU time. You may worry that your CPU usage is constantly pegged at 100%, but FPrime is not stealing time from your other apps.
  11. FPrime doesn't show my scene radiosity! FPrime can't read LightWave's radiosity panel settings, so instead the controls are duplicated on FPrime's Master Panel. Open the FPrime panel (via the Layout / Plugins / Master Plugins menu) and enter your radiosity settings. FPrime will show the changes in that panel interactively.
  12. I select Equalize render mode but nothing happens when I start rendering. This means all of your frames are already at equal quality and there's no work to do. This is useful final option, not a way to start a new render.
  13. FPrime takes some time to open a window when I first start it. After that, it's fast even when I open more FPrime windows. The FPrime window may take several seconds to first open. This delay is caused by a flurry of communication between FPrime and LightWave, as FPrime learns what objects, lights, and cameras are in the scene.
  14. I changed my clip map parameters, or an image brightness, or an Imageworld seam angle. FPrime didn't refresh, but now I'm seeing strange ghosts in FPrime's render. LightWave announces most changes to its scenes to plugins, so FPrime is able to recognize that it needs to restart its render to show the new effect. But LightWave doesn't report some changes like clip map textures or ImageWorld settings. In these cases, you can just press the FPrime "Refesh" button manually..
  15. I move my objects or lights but FPrime doesn't update. You must have LightWave's AutoKey mode active for LightWave to notice and record your changes.
  16. When FPrime is open, why is it slower to scrub frames or move objects? FPrime asks LightWave about the position of objects whenever you make changes to the scene. If your scene is complex, especially with motion or displacement plugins, this query can cause a noticable delay. The popular and cool ACS4 tool uses expressions which are particularly slow. Scenes using the Messiah plugins can also be less interactive. In extreme cases, you can use the "Pause" button in the FPrime window to halt rendering, which makes LightWave more responsive, then unpause the window after you've done your basic setup.
  17. How do I export channels like Z or specularity? Currently FPrime outputs only RGB and alpha channels. We definitely plan to add support for more channels, but this feature isn't in the initial release of FPrime.
  18. FPrime's window sometimes shows HBO instead of Showtime. Can I activate all of the channels without paying? If your computer is fast enough, FPrime is able to render entire TV channels of content in real time, but it's actually an emulation of HBO, not the real thing. Showtime is less complex, so it requires less RAM and CPU. Usually you can render the Discovery Channel in full HDTV. FPrime currently does not synthesize child actor voices fully, which we plan to fix by banning children from all TV shows. We hope to update FPrime to allow a wider range of surround sound in a future update.
  19. I don't see motion blur in FPrime's window. Motion blur only appears in FPrime's render mode, not the interactive window. Depth of Field appears in both, though the Render mode DOF has the enhanced 2.5D effect which can help for low refinement images.
  20. I don't have a mouse wheel, how do I zoom my view? Press the CONTROL key when you first click in the FPrime window and drag the mouse left and right.
  21. My alpha channel is incorrect. The image saved from the interactive FPrime window supports a simple object silouette alpha, but the full alpha (showing layers of transparency, Unseen By Alpha, and Shadow Alpha) is only computed in Render mode. The interactive mode deliberately uses a simplified alpha to keep CPU focused on visible effects, since the advanced alpha is mostly used in compositing of final rendering.
  22. My FPrime display shows strong bands of colors on smooth gradients. Your computer's OpenGL driver is running in 16 bit mode. Even if your Display Properties may be 24 bit, you need to make sure that OpenGL is also set to 24 or 32 bit mode. Note that your FPrime image itself is at full color resolution (in full HDR floating point range in fact) so you can still save a full quality image. ATI/AMD Radeon driver settings are especially confusing. You do not want to use the option of OpenGL "High Performance" texture mapping! That option lowers OpenGL texture quality to 16 bits for speed.
  23. My saved FPrime frames show very very subtle banding effects in very dark regions with a gradient. This is an effect called Mach banding. 24 bit color is not quite enough numerical quality to make totally visibly smooth transitions in very dark gradients. FPrime hides this in its display window by adding dithering. However FPrime deliberately does not add dithering to saved frames, since this introduces noise (which is usually undesired!). One solution is to use a higher quality image format such as Cineon or OpenEXR.
  24. When an FPrime window is open, I can't move any of my objects or lights! This is a very obscure and confusing LightWave bug. You've activated a hidden mode in LightWave called "Full Scene Parameter Evaluation". Go to LightWave's Options panel and press the ' f ' key to toggle it on and off. There is no GUI button for this in LightWave 8. In LightWave 9, the "FSPE" button in the Options panel allows you to toggle it.
  25. What is the incrementing number displayed in the interactive window? This number helps show the FPrime rendering progress. It is not the same value as the Render Quality displayed in FPrime's Render Mode. It is simply feedback about how FPrime is working. We're still unsatisfied with this design. We want to show FPrime's progress, yet we worry about the natural tendency to equate the progess number with quality or antialiasing settings. We may change the number to a different kind of display like a color or spinning dial.
  26. FPrime's interactive window renders at lower quality than FPrime Render mode! You cannot compare FPrime's Render Quality number with the interactive mode's progress status. See the previous FAQ.
    FPrime render mode has two rendering differences compared to interactive mode. The alpha channel in Render mode is a full, correct alpha (showing the more expensive-to-compute Unseen by Alpha and Shadow Alpha modes.) The interactive window computes only a simplified sillouette alpha. Second, the Render mode supports the (optional) 2.5D motion blur and DOF features.
    Render mode is always faster than interactive mode!