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LW - RF Mesh Importer

The "RF Mesh Importer" displacement plugin loads BIN, MD, or LWO RealFlow mesh sequences. There are two ways to add a RealFlow mesh object to the scene. The first method is to add the "RF Mesh Importer" manually:

  1. Select "Items" tab and add a "Null" object to the scene, or press Ctrl/Cmd + N.
  2. Press p to open the object properties window.
  3. Select "Deform" tab.
  4. Add the "RF Mesh Importer" displacement plugin.
  5. Open the GUI by double-clicking on the "RF Mesh Importer" plugin.
  6. Click on the "File Path" button and select one BIN file from the sequence.

The plugin tries to recognize the name of the mesh and the padding size from the file name, and the start and end frame of the sequence. When the mesh is loaded successfully, the "Null" object is renamed to the name of the mesh.

The other way to add a RealFlow mesh object is by using the "Next Limit Plugin Manager" master plugin which executes the above steps automatically.

Using the "Next Limit Plugin Manager" is the preferred way. Without the "Next Limit Plugin Manager", the mesh object is saved with a LWO path for the scene file and LightWave prints a missing file error while loading. If the "Next Limit Plugin Manager" is added then it saves a "[mesh_name].lwo" file to the folder where the mesh sequence can be located and LightWave loads the scene successfully.


The displacement plugin can not be used with network render, it requires a replacement plugin. Thus the" RF_Mesh_Replacement" has to be added to the object. The "Next Limit Plugin Manager" adds the replacement plugin automatically.

How to add the "RF Mesh Importer" displacement plugin.


A custom loader plugin is used for parsing  the mesh files and convert them to a LightWave object frame by frame. The loader is added automatically with the RealFlow plugins. For keeping the surface settings between the frames, the plugin writes and reads a SRF surface file to and from the "Object Folder" with each iteration. A "Custom Surface" file can be set for the mesh. Because of this unique loading mechanism, the caching feature of the particle systems cannot be used for meshes.Do not use the same name (filename) when importing multiple mesh sequences to the same scene because objects could not be identified to apply the surface.

"Start frame" and "End frame" are set automatically after a correct file path is given. Later it can be changed, so the plugin will only render the mesh inside the specified interval.

Frames of the sequence can be shifted and the current frame can be locked. Additionally, the whole sequence can be inverted.

Network rendering is not possible with the mesh importer displacement plugin, because the object replace command is not allowed for the nodes. For network render the "RF Mesh Replacement" plugin has to be used.


"RF Mesh Importer" plugin parameters.


The parameters of the "RF Mesh Importer" setup window are:

  • "File Path" is the path of one of the RealFlow mesh files from the .bin or .lwo sequence.
  • "Name" is a read-only field. The name of the mesh comes from the name of the RealFlow mesh file. Recognized automatically when opening a mesh file.
  • "Padding" sets the padding size of the RealFlow mesh file. Recognized automatically when opening a mesh file.
  • "Object Folder" describes the path of the directory where the mesh surface file (.srf) is generated. Its default value is the directory where the .bin sequence can be located.
  • "Custom Surface" defines a SRF surface file which will be used for the mesh's surface.
  • "Blur Length" affects motion blur quality. RealFlow stores the mesh information of the previous frame into each mesh as an endomorph (speed). The plugin will morph in between frames and allows different motion blur settings for each mesh through the "Blur Length" multiplier.
  • "Start frame" and "End Frame" are the start and end frame of the sequence.
  • "Offset" defines the time shift of the imported sequence.
  • "Lock Current Frame" keeps the current frame displayed.
  • "Invert Sequence" inverts the file sequence.

Every vertex of a mesh has a velocity and texture UV attribute. These can be set on the "Vertices" tab of the "RF Mesh Importer" window. The user can define for every attribute that he or she wants to keep the original value stored in the mesh file ("Keep"), wants to override it by a custom expression ("Add") or does not want any value for the attribute ("No").


"RF Mesh Importer" attribute parameters.

When you import a mesh from RealFlow into LightWave, the UV Map is applied to the mesh if there is a "Texture Gizmo" daemon in the RealFlow scene.

UV applied in RealFlow with a "Texture Gizmo" daemon. 
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