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Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions:

Q: Has it been released?
 

A: WorldBuilder 4 is for presale. The first orders will be shipped on August 1st. Check our BUY section.


Q: Where can I obtain a Demo Version of WB3?
 

A: Check here


Q: What operating systems do you currently support? What do you plan on supporting in the future?
  Currently WB runs on NT 4 service pack 5 or better and Windows 2000 service pack 2 or better, Windows XP service pack 1 or better. We are considering porting WB to the other operating systems, but currently there are no set dates.

Q: What 3D file formats does it import?
 

A: 3DS, DXF, OBJ, Vista Pro DEM, USGS DEM, VUE, LWO, LWS, MOT, AWB Poly Mesh, AWB Animation, AWB Archive.


Q: What 3D file formats do you export?
 

A: 3DS, VRML, DXF, LWO, LWS, MOT, AWB Animation, AWB Archive.


Q: What 2D file formats does it support?
 

A: BMP, JPG, Targa (*.tga), TIFF (*.tif, *.tiff), Compuserve GIF, Maya and Amiga IFF (support for Maya z-buffer), RGB, Macintosh PICT, Autodesk CEL, Autodesk FLIC, AVI, WB Z-buffer (*.zbf)


Q: What are the system requirements?
 

A: Intel Pentium (Celeron, Xeon), AMD Athlon (Duron) or compatible processor 600 Mhz or above, 256 Mb of RAM, 300 Mb on a hard drive is minimal. Production level system is Dual processor CPU 1.5 GHz, 1 Gb of RAM, 1 Gb on hard drive.


Q: Is WB version 3.2 compatible with version 2.x?
 

A: Any project or object created in WB version 2.x can be loaded and used in version 3.2, i.e. it is completely backward compatible with respect to file formats. The appearance of the landscape surface, water and some other objects may be slightly different.

   
Q: What's new in version 4?
 

A: For the list of new features please take a look here.


Q: Where can I see some artwork done with WB4?
 

A: Examples of some artwork done with WB3 are posted in our constantly updated galleries. Check them out here: Image gallery, Users gallery. Also take a look in our Links section for other sites that have WorldBuilder artwork online.


Q: What is the difference between WorldBuilder Pro and WorldBuilder Genesis?
 

A: WorldBuilder Pro supports animation, camera movement and has a full CD of additional plants. Also it supports network rendering, and the Rosetta Communicator plug-ins. The Rosetta Communicator plug-ins allow seamless integration between WorldBuilder Pro and other 3D packages such as LightWave 3D and 3ds max.


Q: Does WorldBuilder work with LightWave?
 

A: Yes: WorldBuilder 4 supports Lightwave 6 and up. WorldBuilder Pro users can order the Rosetta Communicator LWWB to make Lightwave 7.5 and WorldBuilder 4 integration even easier.


Q: Does WorldBuilder work with Maya?
 

A: Yes. WB 4 includes the full set of import/export and compositing plug-ins for professional work with Maya 3.x. Currently, we are working on the communication plug-in for Maya with the same functionality as it is for 3ds max.


Q: Does WorldBuilder work with Softimage, Cinema 4D and etc.?
 

A: Yes, via supported 3D file formats. We are considering making specific plug-ins for Softimage XSI and Cinema 4D.


Q: Is WorldBuilder a plug-in for 3ds max?
 

A: It can act almost like a plug-in, but WB is a stand-alone program with unprecedented capabilities for communicating with MAX through the special plug-in bundled with the Professional Version or purchased separately.



Some technical questions:

Q: To place architecture on the landscape, I need to adjust the landscape surface under models of buildings. How can I do this?
 

A: A special footprint feature adjusts landscape surfaces under models to make landscape surfaces fit perfectly.
To apply footprint select Landscape --> Skin --> Add Property --> Footprints in Area --> OK.
Footprints in Area modifier is designed to make an illusion of the interaction of landscape and objects lying on it. It can be used to simulate drifts of sand or snow around stones in deserts, or sites of plowed dirt around trees in parks.


Q: Is it possible to save rendered shadows and then render the scene without rerendering shadows using the prepared ones?
 

A: Preparing shadows is a common practice in WB.
Generally, you have to make two render passes in order for your scene to display them.

  1. Make sure that "generate first frame" is set for shadows in all light sources.
  2. Render the scene. Note that the "Generate Map" radio will automatically change to "Generate Never".
  3. You can now render you scene as many times as you want without recalculating shadows.
   
Q: Is the WorldBuilder terrain model based on fractals?
 

A: WorldBuilder uses skeleton lines to specify thelandscape surface. Skeletons give full control over the surface and allow the adding of exact features at precise locations with ease. Also, skeletons give comprehensive and compact representation of the terrain geometry. Skeletons are reusable. The WorldBuilder CD contains a large library with ready-to-use landscape forms.
Skeleton-based surfaces can also be modified by applying different procedures like water erosion, profiling by gray-scale map or mesh-based footprints. Footprints are especially useful for merging architecture with landscape. Finally, real-world elevation data can be imported via DEM files.


Q: I imported lights and cameras into Maya but I can't see them in viewport.
 

A: It's very likely that the WB scene is significantly larger than Maya scene.

Follow these steps to make them visible:

  1. Increase the "Far Clip Plane" parameter of viewports where you want to see the imported objects by a high value (100000);
    topShape->"Camera Attributes"->"Far Clip Plane";
  2. Move those viewports to a sufficient distance (increase translate) so that the imported objects locate at their visible parts.
    top->"Transform Attributes"->"Translate";
  3. Increase the "Orthographic Width" parameter (2000) for the parallel viewports
    topShape->"Orthographic Views"->"Orthographic Width";
  4. Set the scaling of imported objects to high value (100). This will affect only the view of cameras and light sources, not their functionalities
    camera1->"Transform Attributes"->"Scale";

You can partially automate these operations by editing the "AWBAnimImport.mel" script.




Working with 3ds max:

Q: I just upgraded to WorldBuilder 3.55 Pro, and now I can't see my 3ds max Communicator plug-in. What's wrong?
 

A: You will need to re-install your 3ds max Communicator plug-in. Once you have re-installed the plug-in, it should function normally.


Q: Can I combine models from MAX with WorldBuilder scenes?
 

A: Yes! The best way is to run the MAX-WB communication plug-in and get a view of your MAX models in the WorldBuilder camera window. All cameras, lights, meshes, their animation and even shadows and reflections from MAX will be automatically updated in WorldBuilder. The final rendering can also be performed using the communication plug-in (the simplest way), or by regular z-buffer composing (for the best quality).


Q: Will WorldBuilder 4 communication feature work with MAX x.x?
 

A: The current version of WorldBuilder works with MAX 3.x, MAX 4.x, MAX 5.x and MAX 6. It will support all future versions of 3ds max as soon as they are on the market.

   
Q: Can I export WorldBuilder scenes to MAX?
 

A: Yes, but a better way to use the full power of WorldBuilder is to export only a few reference objects and use them in MAX to make models and animation. Final composing of these models with the environment can be done using MAX-WB communication or z-buffer composing.


Q: I need to animate a character in MAX and the character must follow the landscape surface. How can I do this?
 

A: There are at least two ways. If the animation already exists, the best way is to adjust the landscape surface is under the character. In MAX, make a mesh along the character path and export it to WorldBuilder. Use the footprint feature to apply this mesh to the landscape surface.

Another way is to make a road in WorldBuilder (set the road skeleton width to zero, if you don’t want to change the surface geometry). Export the road to MAX and use the road mesh as a reference surface for your future animation.


Q: I want to make composite scenes of MAX and WorldBuilder using z-buffer sequences. What do I need to do for that?
 

A: There are two ways of doing that.

Method 1: Using the Image Composing option in WB.

  1. Render the z-buffer sequence in MAX into ZBF format using the option "Z-Buffer File Format" provided by the DE plug-in for MAX.
  2. Export the camera path in Max into VUE format using the option "VUE file" provided by the DE plug-in for MAX.
  3. Import the camera path of VUE format into WB.
  4. Render composite scene in WB using the Image Composing option.

Method 2: Using Video Post in 3ds max:

  1. Render the z-buffer sequence in MAX into ZBF format using the option "Z-Buffer File Format" provided by the DE plug-in for MAX.
  2. Export the camera path in Max into VUE format using the option "VUE file" provided by the DE plug-in for MAX.
  3. Import the camera path of VUE format into WB.
  4. Render the z-buffer sequence in WB into ZBF format.
  5. Create a new empty scene in MAX.
  6. Open Video Post (Rendering --> Videopost).
  7. Click on "Add Scene Event" button and setup VP Start Time and VP End Time.
  8. Click on "Add Image Filter Event" button, click on "Setup" and choose the first ZBF file of WB z-buffer sequence. After that the dialog will offer you static frame. Click "No".
  9. Click on "Add Image Filter Event" button, click on "Setup" and choose the first ZBF file of MAX z-buffer sequence. After that the dialog will offer you static frame. Click "No".
  10. Click on "Add Image Output Event" choose the output file format and the destination folder.
  11. Click on "Execute Sequence" button. Setup the proper Range and Width&Height.
  12. Click on "Render".

The update for plug-ins is available for download here.

The archive has six files. Two for each version of MAX (3,4 and 5).
To get it working you must have these plug-ins installed before (has to be done by WB installer).
Choose the files for the version of MAX you have and replace the old ones on WB folder (where wb3.exe is stored).
The plug-ins work with WorldBuilder 3.0 or higher.