Text Editing Pz3 Files


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Post Text Editing Pz3 Files

#1  Endosphere 16 Oct 2008 08:09



Something frustrating happened to me today that I've never experienced before.  I've been working on a spooky scene for Halloween in Poser 4 and made a lot of progress today by meticulously setting up the lighting which consisted of eight spotlights with various falloff zones and intensities.  Earlier in the day I had added the monster character I wanted to use in the scene, the (free) Lemurtek Wolfgang werewolf.

Normally as I'm working on a scene whenever I finish some significant aspect I'll save the scene as a slightly different name (file1a, file 1b, etc) because I have an old computer and I sometimes have troubles with Poser 4 and memory allocation.  I had Poser open continuously for about 7 hours today working on this scene, though, and when I finally exited Poser and came back a little later my pz3 file wouldn't open.  Poser just sat there showing an hourglass as it tried to open the scene, but this process never finished even after waiting a considerable amount of time.  I was upset, but went back and tried to open the pz3 from 1 step earlier.  It wouldn't open either (same behavior), and I was even more upset.

After a lot of experimenting I determined that the problem was the werewolf character.  I just downloaded it and never used it before, and it seems that it doesn't work for me; whenever I try to save a Poser scene containing this character, I can't open the pz3 file later (I verified this by making a blank scene with just the werewolf and the ground plane--I couldn't open that save file).  The readme file for the werewolf suggests deleting the PoserGeometries rsr file if the creature won't load.  I did this and it didn't matter.  Since adding the werewolf was the first thing I did today in the scene, all my considerable work for the day seemed lost.

The way I recovered most of my work was to start a blank Poser scene and import the faulty pz3 file into the new empty scene.  Luckily almost everything imported properly, strangely including the werewolf (although if I saved the new scene with that character present the new pz3 wouldn't open).  I deleted the problem character.

Unfortunately not everything would import from the original/faulty pz3 file, namely the all the lights I had spent so much time on.  The lights loaded all clumped together and were faulty somehow.  When I selected any of them no parameter dials would appear, and although the lights appeared as black dots in the lighting globe thingy they were shining a bright white light that couldn't be adjusted.  I deleted all the lights.

With that lengthy preface I'll now get to my point in this thread.  After briefly considering giving up on the whole scene rather than trying to reconstruct the lighting, I had a thought that the lighting info was stored in the faulty pz3 file so I opened it in a text editor.  After deciphering what was going on with the way the info was stored, I was able to pretty quickly set up the lighting in my new non-werewolf scene by just looking at the parameters in the pz3 file.  This was much faster than trying to manually do the lights over again.

If anyone else ever has to do this, the way the lighting info is stored is a little confusing.  After opening the pz3 file in a text editor, search for the word "light" and eventually you'll come to the section where the light info is stored.  The start of it generally looks like this:

Code: [Download] [Hide]
  1. light spotLight 5  
  2.    {  
  3.    storageOffset 0 0.3487 0  
  4.    geomResource 7    
  5.    lightType 0  
  6.    name    LIGHT1  
  7.    off  
  8.    bend 1  
  9.    dynamicsLock        1  
  10.    hidden        0  
  11.    addToMenu    1  
  12.    castsShadow        1  
  13.    includeInDepthCue        1  
  14.    parent UNIVERSE  
  15.    channels  
  16.        {  
  17.        liteFalloffStart Angle Start  
  18.            {  
  19.            name Angle Start  
  20.            initValue 0  
  21.            hidden 1  
  22.            forceLimits 4  
  23.            min 0  
  24.            max 160  
  25.            trackingScale 0.25  
  26.            keys  
  27.                {  
  28.                static  0  
  29.                k  0  0  
  30.                sl  1  
  31.                spl  
  32.                sm  
  33.                }  
  34.            interpStyleLocked 0  
  35.            }  
  36.        liteFalloffEnd Angle End  
  37.            {  
  38.            name Angle End  
  39.            initValue 70  
  40.            hidden 1  
  41.            forceLimits 4  
  42.            min 0  
  43.            max 160  
  44.            trackingScale 0.25  
  45.            keys  
  46.                {  
  47.                static  0  
  48.                k  0  70  
  49.                sl  1  
  50.                spl  
  51.                sm  
  52.                }  
  53.            interpStyleLocked 0  
  54.            } 


The confusing part is that most of this info is not needed to reconstruct a light setting.  For each of the light parameters/channels (Angle Start, Angle End, etc) the value you should set the light parameter dial in your scene is the second digit after the "k" value.  For example in the pz3 clip above for liteFalloffEnd Angle End k is "0 70" so you'd set your "Angle End" parameter dial in Poser to 70.  If the "rotateX xrot" parameter (not shown above) has "0  -22.6729" for k, you'd set your x rotation for the light on the parameter dial to -22.6729 degrees.

One more confusing thing is that all lights, even infinite lights, are listed as spotlights in the pz3.  The only way to tell that a light is infinite rather than a spotlight is that the k value for the one or more of the parameters "translateZ ztran," "translateX xtran," or "translateY ytran" is a huge number, in my case 95.2 ztran.  Nonetheless to exactly restore infinite lights I found that I first had to set all the parameters as if it was a spotlight and only then go to the light properties in Poser and change the light from spotlight to infinite light.

Using this technique I was able to pretty quickly reconstruct the lighting in my new/imported good scene by creating new lights, looking at the parameters in the faulty pz3, and putting in those settings on the new lights.

Perhaps someone with more knowledge of text-editing pz3 files could help me with two questions that I wasn't able to resolve.

1) I wasn't able to exactly reconstruct my camera angles from the faulty pz3 by copying the camera info in the way I did with the lights.  The cameras in the new scene were at similar but slightly different angles using the old info, and were way off place in the Z plane.  Why would this be?

2) Would there have been a better way to handle the whole general situation?  I was thinking that it might have been possible to edit the pz3 to remove just any references to the problem werewolf character but didn't feel comfortable trying this, especially with my text editor struggling and crawling through the 15 MB text of the pz3.  Would this have been safe to try, and would it have worked effectively?  Is everything for each 3d object in one continuous area of the pz3, or is the info spread out all over?

So overall after some frustration and learning, my scene is mostly back to where it was without too much trouble except that I now need to find a new scary monster to terrorize poor Posette.  Does anyone know of any good and free monster characters that would work in Poser 4?

Thanks

Endosphere
 



 
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#2  Posy 16 Oct 2008 08:09

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Post Re: Text Editing Pz3 Files

#3  Tormie 19 Oct 2008 22:25

A good work, I can only suggest to try importing the fault pz3 in a scene where you've deleted all lights... About the werewolf problem, I don't know, if it is the P4 character I had no problems using it, I also remember a wolf/werewolf p4 character made combining two different figures, if it is the case, maybe it's because of it... What version of Poser are you using for this scene ?
 




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Post Re: Text Editing Pz3 Files

#4  Endosphere 21 Oct 2008 02:27

I've got Metacreations Poser 4 with a Curious Labs patch taking it to version 4.03.  I'm not sure why I'm having trouble with the werewolf.  I've never had an item that would load fine from the Poser library, pose fine, render fine, but not save into a pz3 file.

In the end I couldn't really find any other appropriate monsters to use in my scene (the only other actually menacing thing I have is the "Looks Like Alien" as in from the movie of the same name by SixPacWolf, but it wasn't really appropriate for this scene) so I decided to use the werewolf anyway.  I brought it into the reconstructed scene, posed it, and did a bunch of renders since I couldn't save the pz3 to go back if anything was not quite right.  Overall it worked out ok and I was satisfied with the results I got.

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Post Re: Text Editing Pz3 Files

#5  Tormie 21 Oct 2008 08:04

Well, if the pz3 import is working simply save the light set and upload it after importing the pz3 file...
 




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Post Re: Text Editing Pz3 Files

#6  Endosphere 22 Oct 2008 08:29

That's a good idea, Tormie.  I didn't end up going that route since once I reconstructed the lights and reloaded the werewolf from the Poser library I was basically finished except for renderings, but your idea might have saved me the trouble of also starting over with the camera angles as they probably would have still been correct in the import.

I forgot to mention earlier that I tried your idea about deleting all the lights from an empty scene and importing the faulty pz3 to get the lighting back.  Unfortunately it didn't work (the lights were still in a big clump that couldn't be adjusted), but it was a good idea to try anyway.

Although I reconstructed the scene in question and am finished with it now (actually I put a close-up render in the gallery area), I am still interested in hearing if anyone has ever tried to text edit a pz3 file to remove a scene element or character.  When I get some time I will try this myself just to experiment, unless anyone already knows things just don't work that way.

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Post Re: Text Editing Pz3 Files

#7  VRLowkey 25 Oct 2008 02:22

http://ultrawoman.fc2web.com/download.html
Ultrawoman monsters. One should fill the bill quickly enough. If you have time to edit a texture map, www.artist-3d.com has a .3ds werewolf head that can prop-replace a Dork head.
Fang Morphs on Dork will make a quick vampire.

[Edited by Tormie: removed link to commercial product]
 



 
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Post Re: Text Editing Pz3 Files

#8  Tormie 25 Oct 2008 08:25

Welcome back VRLowkey and thank you for the hints :).

Just remember not to post links to commercial products on PF
 




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Post Re: Text Editing Pz3 Files

#9  Endosphere 27 Oct 2008 09:25

Thanks for the suggestions, VRLowkey.  Those Japanese robot ladies are pretty freaky, but there definitely are some neat (all free) creatures on that ultrawoman page and I thought the green fish-man thingy was pretty cool.  I've been to that artist-3d site before a few times and they're especially good for some free furniture and household electronic item models, although unfortunately many of the files there are in .max format which is bad if, like me, a person has an older computer as I haven't been able to find any non-Windows XP freeware converters out there that will work with .max files.

I still haven't had a chance to play around more with the text editor on the pz3 files but I'll hopefully get to it soon.

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