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View Full Version : started using lw for a mini project at work and epiphany...



jin choung
10-27-2009, 02:15 AM
so it's been a LOooooooong while since i've had to use lw professionally.

i've been doing layout/blocking, physics and cloth simulation and stereoscopic implementation and all of that has been inside of maya.

but after a long stretch of constant main pipeline work, i've gotten an opportunity to do a little tangent project that doesn't have to hook up to anything else... and going back to my ol' favorite chestnut of doing everything - modeling, texturing, lighting, camera, fx etc.

the project is not intricate or extremely technical - relatively speaking.... it's not CHARACTER ANIMATION with the technical prowess something like that requires from the software on a project of non trivial scope.

it is a project of a certain scope. non trivial but not super technical. a kind of project that gives you a little breathing room for... SEXY. and LEGACY LIGHTWAVE, lightwave 9.6... does fine. and more - it gets you to really nice and good... faster.

sometimes, peeps get in trouble (more often than not by ME) for saying this because of not being (as) familiar with other apps. and admittedly, this can be true in my case as well. but this is coming from a guy who spent the last two years doing nothing but maya work.

and funny enough, at about the time i was having this thought, i ran into this little article on after effects and i thought it was a nice parallel in sentiment:

http://prolost.com/blog/2008/12/17/bring-the-sex-aka-preorder-adobe-after-effects-cs4-visual-ef.html

QUOTE:
I had the honor of writing the foreword for AAECS4VFX&CST, wherein I ask and answer the question of why one might want to do such a crazy thing as composite visual effects shots in After Effects CS4:

You’re holding a book on visual effects compositing in Adobe After Effects. There are those who question the validity of such a thing. Some perpetuate a stigma that After Effects is for low-end TV work and graphics only. To do “real” effects work, you should use a program such as Nuke or Shake. Those techy, powerful applications are good for getting shots to look technically correct, But they do not do much to help you sex them up.

Sex them up? Indeed. The central premise of the foreword is that Hollywood is not about reality, it's about glorious unreality—and while there are applications and books that focus on helping you achieve realism, the ambitious effects artist is much better off learning to make things gloriously, cinematically unreal. Sexy even.

“Make it look real.” That would seem to be the mandate of the visual effects artist. Spielberg called and he wants the world to believe, if only for 90 minutes, that dinosaurs are alive and breathing on an island off the coast of South America. Your job: make them look real. Right?

Wrong.

I am about to tell you, the visual effects artist, the most important thing you’ll ever learn in this business: Making those Velociraptors (or vampires or alien robots or bursting dams) “look real” is absolutely not what you should be concerned with when creating a visual effects shot.

Movies are not reality. The reason we love them is that they present us with a heightened, idealized version of reality. Familiar ideas—say, a couple having an argument—but turned up to eleven: The argument takes place on the observation deck of the Empire State building, both he and she are perfectly backlit by the sun (even though they’re facing each other), which is at the exact same just-about-to-set golden-hour position for the entire ten-minute conversation. The couple are really, really charming and impossibly good-looking—in fact, one of them is Meg Ryan. Before the surgery. Oh, and music is playing.

What’s real about that? Nothing at all—and we love it.

You'll have to get the book to read the rest, except that I'll give away the ending:

After Effects may not be on par with Nuke and Shake in the tech department, but it beats them handily in providing a creative environment to experiment, create, and reinvent a shot. In that way it’s much more akin to the highly-respected Autodesk Flame and Inferno systems—it gives you a broad set of tools to design a shot, and has enough horsepower for you to finish it too. It’s the best tool to master if you want to focus on the creative aspects of visual effects compositing.

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in many ways, that's the feeling that i have about lightwave now.

AE isn't a nodal compositor. it's still stuck in a layers kinda mentality and workflow. and yet because of the truly ENORMOUS amounts of plugins and filters that come with it out of the box, as well as the simpler (though less flexible) layer based workflow, it encourages just slapping something till it gets sexy.

and the same can be said about lw.

it may not be technically up to snuff on the really hard stuff. it may not be the fastest or strongest kid on the block. but in its accessibility and its scope, as well as a vast plethora of built in sex buttons, you can massage something till it's buffed up into something quite nice.

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don't worry - i haven't gone soft.

there are still plenty of areas (primarily in involved character animation/rigging workflows) where maya's workflow and aptitude is not only easier and more sensible but far faster and better.

but like after effects, when the project is right - lw allows you to bring the sexy. it ain't best for everything, but it's good for a lot and in certain tasks, in certain areas, indeed lw is better.

anyhoo.... just thought i'd share.

i'm glad i still have my good ol' purple dongle (that i'm currently taking to work) and i'm glad 9.6 is still getting updated and bug fixed (hopefully with the intention of leaving legacy lw in pristine condition for perpetuity).

jin

p.s. all my compositing is in AE and i love that app to death too. i see the warts. but there's a lot of sexy underneath.

cresshead
10-27-2009, 02:33 AM
piks?

jin choung
10-27-2009, 02:38 AM
piks?

not done yet. and even when done, i'm pretty certain i can't show before it is released but i'll give a heads up when it is viewable....

jin

Chris S. (Fez)
10-27-2009, 03:25 AM
I like it: "Lightwave...there's a lot of sexy underneath."

Newtek's next epic marketing campaign: curvy booth babes with tight "There's a lot of sexy underneath" tees and strategically tattooed Lightwave-swirls wander the exhibition aisles flashing the sexually repressed Siggraph masses into submission.

The Lightwave logos will be burned onto their eyeballs forever.

Jim M
10-27-2009, 09:53 AM
I think he has gone soft. Cool.

Stooch
10-27-2009, 12:53 PM
or hard. you never know ;)

Andyjaggy
10-27-2009, 01:01 PM
I also work in After Effects all the time and always laugh when people tell me I shouldn't use it for anything other then animated titles.

Yeah it's not as fancy smachncy as nuke or shake, but ya know what for 80% of the stuff that everyone does 80% of the time After Effects is going to be easier and faster then any of the other options.

BigHache
10-27-2009, 01:41 PM
Nice retrospective.

My production pipeline includes Lightwave, After Effects, Color, and FCP. I have Maya 2008 at work (LW license is mine) but I'm having a time getting used to the flow of Maya. I've been using LW so long that it's so just darned convenient to bang something out in LW. Granted, I am not doing anything complicated, it's all motion graphics stuff.

I can absolutely continue to use LW, but I feel kinda bad that Maya just sits here, and when I go LW goes with me and these scene files become useless to my company. At least they have the renders.

jin choung
10-28-2009, 12:20 AM
alas,

i am familiar enough with maya and lw so that i can see things that are nice in one that i want in the other.

for modeling, there's pretty much no reason for me to model in anything but lw unless it's just editing and tweaking. geometry processing (traditional modeling) only gets so complicated and lw modeler clears the bar. and anything beyond that, it's zbrush. or a NURBS modeler....

in layout, there are some nice things... having grown utterly accustomed to maya's graph editor, lw's TBC curves are remarkably nice to come back to. it's something i do wish maya had.

but it's shocking - SHOCKING - that there's no EULER FILTER to take off the sawtooth graphs every 360 degrees! and either i'm doing something wrong or the simple constraints just don't work. constraints and baking are MUCH more straightforward in maya.

and the ability to just right click any field and setting a keyframe is sorely missed in lw. having to click that 'e' button and adding keys seem very clunky by contrast.

but again, there are a lot of buttons that just turn on the sexy quick so yeah... lot of warts, creaks in the corners... but it's still got some juice left in her.

jin

The Dommo
10-30-2009, 04:14 PM
Gee, bless you Mister :)

geo_n
12-19-2010, 07:39 PM
Raising from the dead. This post by jin is the only one with euler filter word.
Anyone have ideas? Is there a hidden function of euler filter in lightwave like in 3dmax and maya?

Rayek
12-20-2010, 12:25 AM
As far as I know: nope. Perhaps Core has such a function.

geo_n
12-20-2010, 04:00 AM
lw 9.6 needs it now. Core will be modo first before maya. :D
Any plugin devs want to go for it?

Lightwolf
12-20-2010, 05:27 AM
Anyone have ideas? Is there a hidden function of euler filter in lightwave like in 3dmax and maya?
Try the Quaternion motion modifier, it might do what you need.
Mind you, it doesn't change the motion envelopes (it can't technically), so if that's what you're after then there's not way for it to work really.

Cheers,
Mike

Lamont
12-20-2010, 07:08 PM
it is a project of a certain scope. non trivial but not super technical. a kind of project that gives you a little breathing room for... SEXY. and LEGACY LIGHTWAVE, lightwave 9.6... does fine. and more - it gets you to really nice and good... faster.Yeah, it's why I keep my LW lic around. Nothing technical to worry about. Boom. Boom. Boom. Leave for a day and the renders are done.

geo_n
12-22-2010, 01:03 AM
Try the Quaternion motion modifier, it might do what you need.
Mind you, it doesn't change the motion envelopes (it can't technically), so if that's what you're after then there's not way for it to work really.

Cheers,
Mike

Thanks will try it out. Its just too bad that there's no oneclick fix for lw for the values that get flipped.

Lightwolf
12-22-2010, 01:08 AM
Thanks will try it out. Its just too bad that there's no oneclick fix for lw for the values that get flipped.
Hm, that is a one-click fix... unless you expect to see the result in the envelope (which just wouldn't work with the current way envelopes are implemented in LW).

Cheers,
Mike

geo_n
12-22-2010, 03:22 AM
Hm, that is a one-click fix... unless you expect to see the result in the envelope (which just wouldn't work with the current way envelopes are implemented in LW).

Cheers,
Mike

Is it the Quaternion booster modifier? When I applied it, it affected the whole timeline even the new frames I key after the flipping and also creating wierd motion before the flipping values.
The euler filter fixes the flipping and then you could key again as usual and when you have flip values again just select the affected values and click euler filter again.
Maybe Im not getting how to use Quaternion yet :D

Lightwolf
12-22-2010, 03:30 AM
Is it the Quaternion booster modifier? When I applied it, it affected the whole timeline even the new frames I key after the flipping and also creating wierd motion before the flipping values.

Yup. Basically it tries to interpolate in the shortest possible direction, disregarding the actual Euler values between keyframes.

Cheers,
Mike