Maximum model size????

Hi Guys,


I've been back working in lightwave making some models that i'm thinking about selling as a kitbash online.

just curious.  is there a limit to the size of a model hitfilm can take?

these models are 1:1 in Lightwave as they're to be used on a short film i'm working on (then being uploaded)  and the models are quite large in file size.  but it makes setting up cameras simple as i can enter exact measurements without having to scale down.

but i'm not sure if they'd even work in hitfilm



  • @Jarrahv1 ; Sadly, I do not know if there is a limitation on models but I did just recently learn that the latest version of Express will let you import a 3D model and work with it without purchasing the add-on and it  only watermarks the clip.  So you might be able to experiment if you are able to use Express 12.  I am interested though in when you do upload your models where you place them for sale and looking to see if there's any that I can add to my collection.

  •  @tddavis

    the models i'm making at the moment are an interior of a spaceship that looks more like a submarine.  i'll provide some hi res parts as well as lower polycount parts that will all be interchangeable.  they'll also be laid out so you can either buy an entire section or just parts.  all the parts will have replacements made to fit areas.  ie there's some deck plates on the model which can be removed and replaced with the mesh flooring and you'll be able to see pipes and things under that which won't be there unless you add them.  though all the work will be done and the intersection parts will all be able to be simply turned on and off (cross section will just turn into a T section and you can place a camera on the one end of the T and it becomes another section with basically no work)

    i'm interested in seeing what express 12 can do.  but sadly my pc is now 12 years old so i'm not even sure it'll run it.  i'm hoping to have a new one in a month so i'll likely just by 12 pro and use that until the computer dies lol

  • @Jarrahv1 ; Definitely sounds like something I might use in the future.  If you would be interested,  my email is  and I woukd be happy to test one of the higher density ones in 12.3 Pro and will honestly delete the model when you are happy with the testing and until they become available.

  •  @tddavis i'll send you something that's incomplete (and way to high res i think)
    i've still got to reduce the poly count down on it.  but it'll answer the question.  don't worry about deleting it.  at least we'll have some idea


  • @Jarrahv1 ; Sounds like a good plan.

  • @ttdavis sent you an email.  just let me know if you got it

  • @Jarrahv1 ; Just sent you a couple test renders with some super basic motion and generic texture on them. 

    For anyone else following the discussion, I had no issue importing the hi res model into 12.3 PRO so the only limit must be what your system can handle but someone more knowledge may know differently. I have a AMD 8 core CPU with an NVidia 1060 6 GB GPU but only 16 GB RAM.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Jarrahv1 model performance in Hitfilm, like many things, will relate to the power of your GPU. I can't give exact numbers here (I haven't gone that far in depth in testing), so all I can say is a GPU with 8GB of VRAM can handle larger and more complex models than a GPU with 2GB.

    Best advice is to test, as Terry said. 

  •  Thanks @Triem23

    i've sent a model to Terry and he's loaded it with no issues though the poly count is just way to high due to how i made it.  i'm going to merge out a lot of the poly's because they're not needed on straight edges. 
    i'm just wondering if you were over 200mb of file without textures would that be a real issue for hitfilm.  a lot of the stuff can be reduced back more and is divided to allow for better surfacing options using lightwave weight maps which i don't think hitfilm can even use, so a lower count version won't matter

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    I'd say you want to cut back your geometry as much as possible in general, anyway. @spydurhank and @NxVisualStudio, our two resident 3D experts would agree here. 

    But, yeah, a 200MB file is going to eat resources like crazy. Remember that the memory required to DISPLAY a frame has nothing to do with it's file size. Most graphics formats are compressed, but the file must be uncompressed to render. So, a 4k frame processed at 16-bit level is eating 32 MB of RAM per frame for a file that might be 2MB on disk. I don't know how much Lightwave compresses files to disk, but your 200MB file might be 500 or more MB in memory.

    At this point we're getting out of my practical experience into theory, so I'll defer to Frank and Tony (tagged above) if they have further insight.

    Obviously anything you're doing now will run much faster once you upgrade your computer. 

  • @Jarrahv1 ; So far, I have imported the model 7 times and given it different names and ROYGBIV diffuse shades and see no loss of function.  I'm heading to my daughters to watch the grandson all day and have packed the file to try on her laptop I recent loaded 12.3 Express on so that'll be useful info there.  I'll keep you advised on results.

  • Ooh  someone that uses Lightwave, Yes cool program! Are you guys able to post a few pics of the mesh wireframe? 

    You're talking about real world measurements, as in width, height and depth. The Hitfilm Camera can only see up to a certain distance in pixels and that is where the limitation would be. No real limitation on how small or large you need the object to be in the 3D viewport. I'm sure you already know this but for clarity, in Hitfilm you can assign a real world scale to your mesh on import and it will look just fine.

    As far a poly count, textures and things of that nature which affect quality and file sizes, the limitation is always your machine because you are forced to work within the capabilities or limitations of that computer. If your machine only allows for painting 3d textures in 4k then the quality of your textures will not be as good as you would like and you will be forced to do a ton of extra work that takes much time to break up your mesh with many UV sets meaning that you have to paint many, many 4K textures to get ideal quality. This is not time friendly at all but it is what everyone and their grandmother does and it is how I initially learned to build my own 3D objects. 

    It is best you use your own logic as to the amount of geometry detail to control file sizes in mb because Hitfilm can handle a high poly 3D object just fine but will certainly struggle when you start adding textures to your 3D object. You'll need to take that into account as you want your 3d objects usable in as many machines as possible.

    So make it as detailed as you want so that your art doesn't suffer but lite enough so that other users can still use it on lower spec machines.

  • edited July 2019

    @Jarrahv1 ; As an aside on my earlier post.  Here at the daughter's her laptop opened the 7 hatches in the rainbow colors just like at home.  I had to dig around to see what her specs are, but if I found it correctly: 


    Intel(R) HD Graphics 520
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-6100U CPU @ 2.30GHz
    8 GB RAM
    Windows 10

    I'll try importing the model some more to see if I can find a place where it starts to stress resources.

     Edit:  I've got 12 in there now on the laptop and all is still smooth...

  •  Thanks guys.

    i've reduced the poly count way down now.  it was 35k for the test mesh (which was way more than it needed to be once you see it) it's now down to 4864.  still a little high, but if you were to add spec and basic colour to it you'd get past most of the issue (even with a simple texture)
    this one is hi res so you can really get up close.

    i'm working with a real world measurement of 1000 = 1 metre (1000 being how many millimeters there are in 1 meter)

    so when i want to snap a camera to a height of a person i simply dial it in without guessing.  I've also had much better luck with lighting and fall off as a result.  Though i'm now working more in lightwave again.  but i was thinking of hitfilm before i started down this path.
    spydurhank i still prefer lightwave even though it's likely to be dated in terms of what can be done now.  it's a very simple interface and working in it is very easy for me.  I wish i had the option to do a similar UI in hitfilm lol

    i'll post some mesh shots so you can see the stupid high res count and the reduced, but still ok count (less than 10% of the original)
    the reason for the high count was i used a profile and extruded around a rail and instead of banging my head against a wall until i got it right i just made it uniform so i could remove the polygons i didn't need.
    this mesh is only a hatch way but i'll do a screen grab of some of the other work as well

  • @Jarrahv1 ,

    That is very cool, looking forward to it. I'm diggin' how you use/deal with real world scale for your 3d scenes and am very interested in learning from it. :)


  • screen shots

    screen shot 01screen shots 02screen shots 03screen shots 04


    I hope these images work.  I don't often upload to this.  so here's hoping :)

  •  sadly i can't get the images to post.  but there's a link that will take you to 4 images

  • Those... are... awesome. Very, very cool. Thanks for posting those. :)

  • spydurhank if you think metric system you can make sets very quickly in HF.  I did it using planes and projections.  using this concept it was 20 meters long (you may be able to find some of those linked on my fb as well).


    the width is 2400 wide (2.4m) and 2400 high.  the width of this door frame is about 900mm wide and 1600mm high  (or about 3 feet wide and 5f 2.992 inches which seems a little small but that's ok i can make it larger if i need also)
    so if i make a plane 5000 x 24000 i know it's 5 meters long and 2.4m (7.8ft) high.  then i can tack on what ever i like knowing i have a mathematical scale to work with.  Using @Triem23 rough calculation from his tutorial you can get a fairly consistent minimal thinking work flow.
    it also means you can scale down using Square rule for adding in miniatures and correct frame rates (1:6 scale =  6sq = 59*fps)

    "The rule is that the camera speed should be the square root of the miniature scale." Since the 18-foot Seaview was built approximately 1/32nd scale, the film was run through the camera at 136 frames per second during filming."

    (or 32 sq * 24 fps = 136 fps @ 1/32 in this case)

    32 being the scale. 1/32 = 5.6* 24 being film fps to give you the ratio

    you can also add track markers but this should allow it all done in camera.  Track markers are then a bonus for adding everything else you want.  Working CG to the same rule makes life consistent and also means if i want to make someone smaller or taller i'll have that sorted in no time at all.  but anyone who can use a camera won't need to learn cg and vise versa



  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator


  • That is very, very cool. I love reading how you guys deal with scale and other measurements... very ,very clever mathematical stuff.  :)

  •  pre digital it's how things were worked out.  it's silly to stop using these methods as they're proven to work.  while hitfilm will allow you to eyeball a lot of things it still makes more sense to just do the work the right way.

    i've also been working with forced perspective concepts and am almost done working out the perfect formula for doing so and that's a lot easier than you'd think

  • I like how you think @jarrahv1 ,

    I'm very much enjoying this thread and especially the math. Thank you very much for sharing, it is fantastic and I appreciate it. :)

  • edited July 2019

    spydurhank said: "That is very cool, looking forward to it. I'm diggin' how you use/deal with real world scale for your 3d scenes and am very interested in learning from it. "

    +1 on that from me!  I'm just a 'baller (an eyeballer :) )  My old brain has a hard time wrapping around the math concepts but wants to learn.  

    @Jarrahv1 ; Your gangway images look really nice.  Looking forward to the finished set.  I think they will dovetail with the USRN Seaview model I had built for me a couple years ago...and have done far too little with to date. :(

  •  thanks guys.

    @tddavis i'll have other variations i'm working on with different profiles.  so you'll be able to get more squared ones if you like but everything else will already be in place (like pipes if you want them)

    Maybe Mike @Triem23 will be kind enough to do a tutorial :)  he does great ones.  or one of the others may

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Jarrahv1 I don't have plans to do a specific tutorial on scale. As you know I kind of covered it in the camera tutorial, and (once I redo the old tutorials that need updating), I'll talk about it again when I get to 3D models, but there not THAT much to say other than "pick a scale and stick with it" and "Camera only can see for 100,000 pixels, so set scale based on how far you need to see.

    I'm American, so, despite the superiority of metric, I THINK in Imperial. My base scale is 10px/inch, which gives a max camera range of 833 feet, 4 inches. From there I'd double/half scale as needed for detail.

    I did one shot where I approached Earth from a distance where it was totally occluded by the Moon... Oh, but the Moon was occluded by the Death Star. I think scale for that was 1 pixel=3  miles, which meant Earth "popped" into camera range just before the camera rounded the moon.

    Metric, with powers of ten is easier math, but it's still just basic multiplication/division. 

  •  True @Triem23

    i hate trying to work in imperial i just never really grew up with it (being an Australian)

    I think for something like a planet approach eyeball away may be the better solution as you're dealing with massive distance and really... who can tell.  it's about how the shot looks.  but for smaller interior or even just faking things like running past a building i think the math helps with the illusion.  distance over time = speed of moving object which can help with if i want to have a person run and hit something, it gives me roughly how many seconds i may have to work with so i can work out cut shots and know before hand roughly what i really need to cover
    (I'll be doing this in the short i'm working on which will help me marry up to the cg set and give me how many cut shots i need as well as working out the stunt part of slamming a person into a wall that isn't there, then slamming them on the ground and having a fair idea before i shoot what i can get away with and making sure i have enough coverage for those parts)


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    For space shots false perspective gets used a lot, but this video showed something interesting...

    The upper left version is using a flat card for the Earth and Moon, eyeballed. On the lower right is what happens if I actually set everything up at proper relative scale and distance. I was amazed at the difference! 

  •  is that your work?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Yup a shot from a larger sequence that's never been finished. Really should get around to it. Need to be more aggressive about picking @NxVisualStudio's brain about some of his tricks for generating stars, cuz that's what I've been waiting for.

    Most complete version on YouTube is here.

    Although that's before I rigged my Daleks properly for animation in Hitfilm.

    The next shot would be


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