Here you'll find answers too often asked questions or questions I thought you might have.

What is LD4DStudio?

LD4DStudio is a user interface controlled animation tool for LDraw. Please read the introduction page for more information.

Is LD4DStudio related to LD4DModeler?

Yes I'm also the author of the (very outdated) LD4DModeler project. LD4DStudio is it's spiritual succeeder. I tried to give LD4DStudio all the good on steroids and none of the bad. I renamed the project because I like the new name better.

Can I model LDraw files with LD4DStudio?

No, LD4DStudio is primary for animating existing models. There are plenty CAD applications for modeling LDraw files, so there's no need to reinvent this wheel.

How easy is LD4DStudio to use?

Although I have tried to automate and simplify a lot of things, you still should know at least the basics of 3D coordinate systems and the nature of LDraw itself.

But most of all, you must understand you will need to get the hang of it all. Don't expect to be creating price winning animations the day you start the program. It will take some dedication and time to get to know how to work LD4DStudio's magic. A good start is by reading the manual from start to finish.

What are the system requirements?

It's hard to say because I could only test on a couple of machines during development, but based upon my own machines it should work at an acceptable level of comfort on a semi recent PC (max 4 years old), It should bare at least:

  • Windows XP or Vista (other MS OS's are not tested. Please let me know your experiences).
  • An AMD Athlon / Intel Pentium 4 or higher.
  • 256 MB Memory (double for vista).
  • A video adapter with at least 64 MB of memory.
  • OpenGL 1.1 or higher support.
  • Resolution of 1280x1024. (lower is supported but thing get very crowded)

Older machines will possibly run LD4DStudio, but animations could get 'to slow to work with comfortably'. If you are working on lesser hardware without problems, please let me know. That way we can find the 'real' minimal requirements.

What are the recommended requirements?

  • Windows XP or Vista.
  • An AMD Athlon / Intel Pentium 4 or higher.
  • 512 MB Memory (double for vista).
  • A video adapter with at least 256 MB of memory.
  • OpenGL 1.5 or higher support.
  • Dual screen setup with resolutions (far) above 1280x1024.

General rule of thumb:

  • More models -> more memory, faster VGA.
  • More complicated animations -> faster CPU.

What's with the 'weird' interface?

I've chosen a non standard Windows interface to improve working with lots of windows and data. This might be 'weird' in the beginning, but you will come to understand it in time. Reading the manual will help you get started.

When will the next version be available?

I try to continually improve and expand LD4DStudio, to this end I usually release a major new version every 6 - 12 months. Beta versions will follow each other in less time depending on the number of bugs found/reported this usually takes about a month or two.

But of course all these indications are only my own guide lines and things also depend a bit on my mood and the amount of time I have available (or want) to spend on the project.

Does it help if I get a dual or quad core CPU?

The current version of LD4DStudio does not use multiple cores to increase performance. This is due to the fact I started work on the project before the 'multiple core revolution'. Implementing useful usage of more cores means rewriting huge portions of code. I don't think the time needed for this is wisely spent, because the current version is fast enough on single core systems.

Some models are rendered very weird, like half of them is in the shadows.

This happens when the author of such a model uses 'mirroring' of whole submodels using matrix math (Like in the famous star destroyer mpd). The fact this renders weird is not a bug.

I designed the rendering engine to draw whole LDraw parts as fast as possible using as little memory possible. To this end files are optimized at the LDraw part level. The way they are optimized does not allow 'mirror' matrix usage in higher model files.

The only way to get models using these 'short cut' tricks to render properly in LD4DStudio, is to create real mirror image subparts instead of mirroring both halves of something by 'matrix magic'.

I'm sorry if this is inconvenient, but in my opinion the rendering speed and low memory usage gained by this approach is worth it.

Why does LD4DStudio start on my secondary monitor?

LD4DStudio's primary workspace (and the only one with default options) will always start on the monitor with ID number 1. usually your primary monitor also has the number 1 assigned to it. But in some cases (e.g. cables are switched) this can be different. You need to account for this yourself, because as a result of some design decisions it's very hard to let LD4DStudio overcome this on it's own.

You can easily fix it yourself by changing the internal numbering of your monitors. This can usably be done with your drivers configuration tool (e.g. catalyst control center for ATI) or in a last result by switching the VGA cables.

Why does POV-Ray 3.6 hang when I want it to render an multiframe export?

This happens on Windows Vista whenever any of the animation properties (e.g. final_frame) are specified in ether the command line or ini file. This is the result of POV-Ray 3.6 not being Windows Vista ready.

You can get around this problem by using POV-Ray 3.7 (still in beta though) or by configuring the compatibility mode for pvengine.exe. You can do this by finding the "POV-Ray for Windows" menu item in your start menu. When found right click on it and select "properties".

In the dialog select the "compatibility" tab page. And check "Run this program in compatibility mode for:" and be sure the below combobox states "Windows XP (Service Pack 2)". You also need to check "Disable visual themes". Leave the rest of the options to their defaults. When done click the "apply" button and close the dialog.

This should solve the hanging problem when ever you try to render multiple frames in POV-Ray 3.6.

Why does the installation need administrator rights on Windows Vista and higher?

LD4DStudio is a 'mobile' application this means it holds all it's files in the same directory by default. Microsoft 'wants' programs to store only executables and read only data files in the program files location.

'Normal users' only have read rights for that location so in order for LD4DStudio to work correctly on Windows Vista the installer needs to change some user rights for the LD4DStudio installation location, this action requires higher rights.

If you don't want (or can) run an administrator level setup, you can alternatively download the 'archive' version of LD4DStudio and unpack it manually in a directory of your liking. But this directory still needs to be writable for whatever user is going to use LD4DStudio.

Animation playback is to slow, now what?

If the application becomes very sluggish during playback there can only be a couple of reasons for it, namely: 'Bug or unsupported environment', 'The preview renderings can't be done quickly enough' or 'The animation calculations can't be done quickly enough'.

To exclude the first cause you should try to play a couple of the more complicated samples like 'escape' and 'experiment'. If these are also slow it's possible there is a compatibility problem or your PC is just to 'old'. See the minimal requirements to validate this. If you do meet set requirements make sure you have the latest graphical driver installed for your VGA card. You also might want to try running the animation on a different (friends) computer.

When you have excluded the above causes for slow performance the two remaining generic causes (slow VGA or slow CPU) remain. To determine which one it is, try to close all 3D preview windows (also the ones on inactive desktops). After that see if playback still makes the whole application slow. If playback is ok with all windows closed it seems your VGA card can't keep up to the playback.

If the animation uses a large amount of characters it might be a good idea to set the 'render mode' for some of them to a lower quality. Also lowering the animation's 'fps' property to something like 15 or 10 instead of the default 25 could help. If this does not help or is not an option, temporarily 'hiding' characters you are not working with at the moment might be a solution. Or in a last resort you could consider upgrading your VGA card. But this is only really useful if you are working with a budget VGA card or the card is over 3 4 years old. LD4DStudio uses only a limited amount of functionality available on a modern VGA card. And the thing is this 'core' functionality does not improve dramatically with newer VGA generations at the moment. So getting a new card might be disappointing in performance wise.

If playback is slow even without any windows open, you should check the 'Animation calculations' statistic in the expandable statistics panel of the animation player window. If this value is very high (e.g. above 20) your animation has become to complicated for the CPU to handle.

If this happens you could consider dividing your 'movie' into multiple animations, to reduce the number of animation actions. Alternatively you could consider upgrading your PC. But do note an animation has to be fairly complicated to even begin utilizing the CPU in a way which can be considered 'heavy load'.

Why does my mouse cursor still moves while using the tablet in LD4DStudio?

Again this seems to be a Vista problem, Vista has tablet PC compatibility out of the box, but this seems to interfere with applications also trying to use the tablet. At the moment the only workable solution I've found for this is disabling the 'Tablet PC Input Service' all together. If anyone has a better solution please let me know.

Animation playback is weird, also playing backwards is all wrong.

This is the result of 'bad initialization' of animation elements you are manipulating with animation actions. Like explained in the sequence chapter of the manual all animation elements you will be changing in a animation should be initialized at time offset 0.

Can I use LD4DStudio on a Mac and/or Linux machine?.

At the moment the software is Windows only due to the fact I was a windows only developer at the time I began the project.

You could consider using Wine, but I have not (jet) tested this myself. So if you manage to get it working (or not) I would love to hear about it.

If I ever start a 2.0 version it will be a native multi platform application. But don't hold you breath for that, it could take years.

In what language was LD4DStudio written?

The project was started in Delphi 6 Pro, current versions are compiled with Delphi 2007 pro. LD4DStudio is an 100% native win32 application (to hell with .NET).

How long did it took to create LD4DStudio?

Work started around 2003, but I decided to trow the whole project away mid 2005. Restarted from scratch that same year. From then on the work progressed with jumps until the basics where done late 2007. Releasing it took me to mid 2008 because I wanted it to have decent documentation and example projects from the start. Also writing the manual and creating the samples helped in fixing some nasty bugs along the way.

Then after a little break I started work on 1.1 in mid 2008, with the most important new feature being POV-Ray export. Work on this took much longer than expected due to some compatibility issues with POV-Ray (resulting in a new Lighting model for LD4DStudio). But late spring 2009 Beta 1 was finally ready for the world.

Version 1.1 also marked the complete replacement of LD4DModeler, because LD4DStudio now can do everything LD4DModeler could do.

Best viewed with Firefox 2, Seamonkey or IE 7 at 1024x768 or higher resolution.
LEGO is a registered trademark of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, endorse, or authorize this website.