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Pirk
12-03-2009, 07:41 AM
Hi all!

To introduce myself: I'm the vfx producer of Iron sky. It is a feature film about nazis on the dark side of the moon with a budget of 5-6 million euros. It is a co-production between a Finnish, German and Canadian company. Our earlier film Star Wreck was a zero budget film (www.starwreck.com).

I have been using Lightwave since 1998 when we begun the production of Star Wreck. Star Wreck was almost 100% Lightwave rendered of which I did most the work...It took seven years. Iron Sky teaser was rendered also on Lightwave (http://www.ironsky.net/site/).

Anyways, I would like to open a discussion about using Lightwave part of vfx pipeline - mainly shading & rendering. I know that even some of the latest films have been rendered using Lightwave (only for rendering purposes). What I have heard is that many companies are using succesfully Softimage for animation and exporting the scene to Lightwave for rendering. Softimage and Maya will be part of our pipeline when it comes to animation and modeling.

Because our CGI budget is quite limited, we cannot afford building expensive Maya - renderman pipeline. So, of course when talking about money Lightwave comes to mind first :) You cannot beat the free rendering nodes...and of course I would prefer to use Lightwave because of my experience :)

I think we will render the shots in Softimage with mental ray or in Lightwave. I would be very interested to know if some people here have worked with Softimage -> Lightwave pipeline and could perhaps share their thoughts about it. What are the strengths of LW rendering compared to Mental Ray?

Of course the production is very interested in skilled Lightwave/Softimage artists as well :) Although you would need to move to Finland for one year :)

http://www.energiaproductions.fi/images/gallery/20.jpg
http://www.energiaproductions.fi/images/gallery/15.jpg

cresshead
12-03-2009, 07:49 AM
neat looking project for sure!

Lewis
12-03-2009, 07:58 AM
That's looking excellent and teaser is very cool :).

As for transferring data from XSI to LW and back you could use OBJ for models/textures/UV maps but for more complete solution you might check for "Point Oven"

BTW do you have some ETA/Deadline when all that needs to be done? I guess it needs to be before 2018 :D :)?

Pirk
12-03-2009, 08:30 AM
Thanks. We did the teaser on almost zero budget, so for the final film we are aiming much higher quality wise. We aim for more realistic style, not so "Sky captain" as the teaser was.

We have been preparing the film for production 3 years now. The script finally seems to be in order after many script polishing rounds. We have storyboarded the whole film and wardrobe & set design department has already began their work.

a quick timetable for the production:

2009 december - cgi research and previsualisation work begins
2010 january - building the pipeline and cgi previz continues, the CGI production begins
2010 march to june film shooting in germany and NYC
2011 january - effect work completed

biliousfrog
12-03-2009, 09:58 AM
I am incredibly excited...Nazi UFO's...on the moon....sounds awesome. If you can work in some Nazi zombies I'll be on the first plane to Finland tomorrow. :D

The images in your first post are excellent BTW.

I'd really love to be a part of the project but I couldn't leave the UK for a year. I can't wait to see the finished movie.

Mike_RB
12-03-2009, 10:04 AM
We did Iron Man using this pipeline. XSI>LW. We did it like this as we were a LW house and did not have a rendering pipeline setup for XSI. However for District 9 we changed to rendering in Mental Ray as the conversion process wasn't worth the hassle. You easily waste the money saved in render costs with the time spent moving data back and forth and dealing with the mixed pipeline. IMHO.

Nicolas Jordan
12-03-2009, 10:39 AM
Just do the whole thing in Lightwave. :D

Intuition
12-03-2009, 10:39 AM
Mike_RB is dead on. I have done many projects that were either animated in XSi or Maya and then converted to max (for Vray) or Lightwave (for the render nodes).

The MDD point oven / FBX / obj / conversion of data becomes very cumbersome.

I'd render out to mental ray from XSi OR get on the Vray beta.

If you go Maya you can do the mental ray or Vray but, since you are concerned about budget you do have to remember that extra render nodes for Mray or Vray can get expensive. In the end you could ultimately still convert from app A to app B but as Mike stated above, you could learn a new render engine in much much much less time and just get the work out much faster then conversion, render times included.

You just run into a lot of problems converting data with scenes of that scale. If it were a small commercial or short that would be another deal.

----edit----

Oops forgot.

I think that overall mental ray in XSI is very powerful which is why it was used for rendering much of the robot action in transformers but the usual culprits with mental ray are that its motion blur can bog down render times quickly so you will learn where you can use vector blur when possible. On the flipside Lightwave has the best motion blur available in any 3d app. I really like mental ray's implementation if GI + FG though and its colorspace LWF is easy to set up. Lightwave's GI can be tamed though if you know it well enough.

Its a tough call when you are really familiar with one app but, as I have stated in the past, learning multiple 3d apps has been invaluable for finding work. Your options expand and I always could learn a new app easier when on a paying gig. Its scary at first but after a couple weeks you start to feel at home.

Pirk
12-03-2009, 10:46 AM
Thanks for the input. I'm also afraid that the extra hazzle could cost more. The good thing is that space ships with UV mapped textures are quite easy to transfer to any program needed and get the same look.

I did some tests comparing mental ray and lightwave rendering speed/quality with a basic ship flyby scene with motion blur. I got almost identical rendering output. And there was really no difference in speed.

We might set up both Softimage and Lightwave pipelines if we can find enough skilled artists for both pipelines :) It all comes to artists as always :)

Mike_RB
12-03-2009, 10:48 AM
Thanks for the input. I'm also afraid that the extra hazzle could cost more. The good thing is that space ships with UV mapped textures are quite easy to transfer to any program needed and get the same look.

I did some tests comparing mental ray and lightwave rendering speed/quality with a basic ship flyby scene with motion blur. I got almost identical rendering output. And there was really no difference in speed.

We might set up both Softimage and Lightwave pipelines if we can find enough skilled artists for both pipelines :) It all comes to artists as always :)

The pass system in XSI will be a huge time saver as well.

jrandom
12-03-2009, 10:48 AM
Does Lightwave's renderer not compete well with Mental Ray? (Sorry, newbie here.)

Mike_RB
12-03-2009, 10:51 AM
Does Lightwave's renderer not compete well with Mental Ray? (Sorry, newbie here.)

In some ways it does. But it lacks flexibility and has memory problems dealing with large textures or displacements, its also missing some features outright like instancing. Even if it was twice as fast the data transfer still isnt worth the hassle.

Pirk
12-03-2009, 10:52 AM
Just do the whole thing in Lightwave. :D

That would easily be the most cost efficient solution, because we are mostly dealing with space shots and they don't need any fancy gimmicks. But in Finland it's really hard to find good lightwave artists. Well, Softimage guys are really hard to find as well...

jayroth
12-03-2009, 11:54 AM
That would easily be the most cost efficient solution, because we are mostly dealing with space shots and they don't need any fancy gimmicks. But in Finland it's really hard to find good lightwave artists. Well, Softimage guys are really hard to find as well...

Why limit yourself to Finland? Mass Animation used facebook to create an animated short with contributors from all over the world (though not with LightWave). Surely you can leverage the web in a similar manner, no?

biliousfrog
12-03-2009, 12:05 PM
Why limit yourself to Finland? Mass Animation used facebook to create an animated short with contributors from all over the world (though not with LightWave). Surely you can leverage the web in a similar manner, no?

I agree, with good project management multi-national projects can work out very well. It's hardly on the same scale but I work with clients all over the world and one of the things that is often mentioned is how efficient it can be...I'll work a full day, send a proof at the end, the client gets it early in their day, gathers comments and sends it back ready for me to start again the following morning. When working with clients in the UK everything seems to take twice as long when sending and waiting for feedback.

Sending renders back and forth over the net can be tricky but working with models and scenes is simple as the file sizes are quite lightweight. Set up an FTP and naming convention document and you're good to go.

steamthunk
12-03-2009, 12:20 PM
Don't have anything to contribute other than to say that I've been following Iron Sky for ages and I'm glad to here the teaser was done in LW. Good luck! Can't wait to see this.

Pirk
12-03-2009, 01:19 PM
Why limit yourself to Finland? Mass Animation used facebook to create an animated short with contributors from all over the world (though not with LightWave). Surely you can leverage the web in a similar manner, no?

It might work in short films, but we have close to 800 effect shots and quite demanding schedule. Anyways, I prefer to breath on the necks of the 3d guys and demand more, more! :devil: I think it is more creative to solve the problems together in the same room.

Hey, and why limit yourself working only at home, come to finland and meet naked women in sauna! hehe :)

jayroth
12-03-2009, 01:42 PM
Hey, and why limit yourself working only at home, come to finland and meet naked women in sauna! hehe :)

My wife and kids would not approve. :D

hrgiger
12-03-2009, 01:45 PM
I'm moving to Finland immediately. You guys get healthcare too right?

JonW
12-03-2009, 01:50 PM
In some ways it does. But it lacks flexibility and has memory problems dealing with large textures or displacements, its also missing some features outright like instancing. Even if it was twice as fast the data transfer still isnt worth the hassle.

People keep saying this but Id be interested to know how large a scene would one consider LW has memory problems & other issues?

The largest scene Ive done in 11.9gb 19million polys with a stack of large texture files, I was quite happy with LW.



Nice render of the battleship & background.

cresshead
12-03-2009, 02:01 PM
just to note on render costs, with 3dsmax you get unlimited free render nodes via backburner for Mental Ray

3dsmax artists maybe easier to find than xsi due to the large amount of games releated work in europe, also 3dmax was used for production of planet51 i believe which was based in spain.

archijam
12-03-2009, 02:11 PM
Great project. :thumbsup:

The way you describe it, ie. mostly space shots, it seems odd to say that a LW pipeline would be disadvantaged in any way.

Cress: Put it back in your pants, will ya? ;)

Mike_RB
12-03-2009, 02:28 PM
My wife and kids would not approve. :D

You're just meeting them... did you have something else in mind?

Larry_g1s
12-03-2009, 02:32 PM
Way cool Pirk, go for it! I understand where Mike would be coming from. But I also think the pipeline you're considering has been tried and tested. LW is a great app and great price. I think it's inclusion to a pipeline is valuable. I've been taking animations from Maya to LW via Point Oven and really enjoying the best of both apps.

Liber777
12-03-2009, 02:53 PM
You're just meeting them... did you have something else in mind?

Meeting is waaay more than enough for most wives and girlfriends! (:

silviotoledo
12-03-2009, 03:07 PM
People joinned can transfer and share experience better, it's a fact.
But parts of the job like modeling, shading and other doesn't need a lot of integration.

If you want to save a lot of money, also work with people from outside.

I would not swimm at a finland pool if there will be other guys :). If there's only woman, I will start to study lightwave to be the best from now :).
Kidding, my wife would not allow me too.

I see no reason to use XSI or Maya if you don't have human characters or digital double. If you have, please add Maya ( or XSI ).

Lightwave is still weak for cloth simulation, hair simulation, softbodies, don't have muscles and don't have fine tools to edit mocap ( like in layer animation ),no massive hardbodies and fluids.

for the rest it's very usefull and better than all the other softwares.

See www.bittanimation.com their pipelline includes lightwave and only lightwave for everything :)

Come on Mr. Jay Roth, I also need lightwave so good as maya for character to complete my short :) I'm cutting out hair and cloth. My characters will be naked :(. Maya is a boring software :(.

Of Course V ray rendering ( and Mental Ray ) is better for photorrealism, but once you have a kind of photo and post filter over, there would be no difference between LW render and V ray\Mental ray one.

And we also have K Ray wich is, sometimes, faster than V ray.
I would recomend you render all in K ray!
This will add the realism you need.

Looking at your images and trailer ( wich is really an amazing lightwave work!!! )

I imagine you need:

LIGHTWAVE - for everything and render
MAYA - for fume FX purpose only, so you probably will not need a lot of work between pipeline.
MAX+FUME FX - There's no better piro Fx than fume FX


So, will you also have massive hardbodies? digital people? monsters?

Intuition
12-03-2009, 03:34 PM
LIGHTWAVE - for everything and render
MAYA - for fume FX purpose only, so you probably will not need a lot of work between pipeline.
MAX+FUME FX - There's no better piro Fx than fume FX


So, will you also have massive hardbodies? digital people? monsters?

Yeah, you can do fumeFX stuff in maya using fluid boxes and at the same quality as fume FX in max but its much slower to sim and render which is why fumeFX is really handy to have.

If its just space ships I would say staying in Lightwave may not be a bad idea. Lightwave native or even Kray would be great for space ship renders. Battlestar Galactica is testament to that.

raw-m
12-03-2009, 03:36 PM
Pirk, what a fantastic start!

Can I ask, what is your multi-pass rendering technique out of LW?

cresshead
12-03-2009, 03:46 PM
the whole concept for the film, that of the nazis bailing out to the dark side of the moon near the end of the second world war is the most exciting sci fi concept i've seen since aliens back in 1985..if handled properly this could be a fantasic sci fi block buster..i know they may go for a comedy sci fi but i think handling the story with abit of a more serious edge could really take hollywood's stranglehold on blockbusters and throw it out into the bin.

i'm hoping they make it in a similar vein to district 9/ battlestar galactica

H_Molla
12-03-2009, 03:55 PM
That's looking greaaaattttt....

Riff_Masteroff
12-03-2009, 09:12 PM
Pirk: Kudos so far.

You haven't mentioned compositing in your pipeline. Have you checked out cageman and djlithium's threads on a LightWave/Janus/exrtrader/Fusion or a LightWave/exrtrader/Fusion pipeline? They provide a detailed particular pipeline that might give you some additional ideas:

Cageman has about an hour of video tuts available:
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93407
ftp://cageman.dyndns.org/Cageman_Janus_exrTrader_and_Fusion_Introduction/
ftp://cageman.dyndns.org/Cageman_Janus_exrTrader_and_Fusion_Introduction_Z-Buffer/

Kelly 'Kat' Myers relates his experiences with Battlestar Galactica and has some detailed tutorials:
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=103419&highlight=bsg
http://www.battlestarvfx.com/

The compositing app can provide most of the 'punch' not considered within LightWave as a standalone.

jayroth
12-03-2009, 10:43 PM
You're just meeting them...

Been there, done that...

grn
12-03-2009, 11:03 PM
I almost contacted you when you were initially looking for modelers. Now I'm too entangled to other work. Would have been an easy step as I live at the center of Tampere. One of my friends works in your project actually (Riikonen). You really had good luck when you got Jussi Lehtiniemi into your team. The guy is an awesome concept artist.

http://www.newtek.com/forums/images/smilies/brians/023.gif

Cageman
12-03-2009, 11:36 PM
My few cents...

We usually use Maya/MR for rendering but for a couple of shots, we ended up using PointOven to transfer the assets over to LightWave for Light/Shade/Render and everyone were surprised how well that worked. The reason we moved to LW for those two shots was because Maya/MR just refused to co-operate and after spending 2 days trying to clean things up (without any luck), we had to solve it asap. LightWave ended up being very effective.

Depending on how you design the pipeline, it can become very timeconsuming or very easy.

In your case, since you aren't going to have alot of deforming objects, if you design your pipeline correct, only the initial transfers will be the timeconsuming part (since it is actually still part of designing the pipeline), after that FBX should work out for updating animations between applications.

I'm currently working on a project at work where I use LightWave, Maya and Motionbuilder, and even if the data-transfers between the applications takes a couple of minutes, the time I save when using tools that I never have to fight against is where I truly save ALOT of time.

If you are interrested to do the rendering in LightWave, make sure you check out Janus (http://janus.faulknermano.com/) and exrTrader (http://www.db-w.com/content/view/81/104/). That combo is quite amazing and very, very time-effective, especially if you need to break a scenefile up into different layers, and have each layer output renderbuffers. It clearly rivals Maya renderlayers combined with Buffers, without the technical issues. :D

If you are interrested in rendering things out with Mental ray, make sure you use XSI or 3DS Max since both of them has a much better integration of MR. XSI in particular, or so I have heard.

Good luck with this project, and keep us posted on how things work out.

:)

Cageman
12-03-2009, 11:40 PM
Pirk: Kudos so far.

You haven't mentioned compositing in your pipeline. Have you checked out cageman and djlithium's threads on a LightWave/Janus/exrtrader/Fusion or a LightWave/exrtrader/Fusion pipeline? They provide a detailed particular pipeline that might give you some additional ideas:

Cageman has about an hour of video tuts available:
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93407
ftp://cageman.dyndns.org/Cageman_Janus_exrTrader_and_Fusion_Introduction/
ftp://cageman.dyndns.org/Cageman_Janus_exrTrader_and_Fusion_Introduction_Z-Buffer/

Kelly 'Kat' Myers relates his experiences with Battlestar Galactica and has some detailed tutorials:
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=103419&highlight=bsg
http://www.battlestarvfx.com/

The compositing app can provide most of the 'punch' not considered within LightWave as a standalone.

Oh my... :)

Well, let me say this: Those tutorials about Janus and exrTrader are... old! :D *lol* I should make some new ones since I have ALOT more experience with Janus nowdays, and there are things with it that I didn't know about when I did those videos, that truly blew my mind when I figured it out.

:)

geo_n
12-03-2009, 11:49 PM
Oh my... :)

Well, let me say this: Those tutorials about Janus and exrTrader are... old! :D *lol* I should make some new ones since I have ALOT more experience with Janus nowdays, and there are things with it that I didn't know about when I did those videos, that truly blew my mind when I figured it out.

:)

Is it easy to use janus wizard? I'm still looking for an easy way to get passes of selected objects from lightwave and nodes are just not easy to remember for me. :D

Cageman
12-04-2009, 01:20 AM
Is it easy to use janus wizard? I'm still looking for an easy way to get passes of selected objects from lightwave and nodes are just not easy to remember for me. :D

Actually I havn't used the Wizard. :D

With that said, it is dead-easy to get things out when using exrTrader. If you can send me a scenefile that you would like to see how it is broken out using Janus, I will happily make a video of it.

:)

Janus supports some of the other buffersavers as well, but exrTrader is the one that I love the most, since all buffers can be stored within a single file. Very much like how PSD exporter stores each buffer as a separate layer.

:)

Pirk
12-04-2009, 02:44 AM
Pirk: Kudos so far.

You haven't mentioned compositing in your pipeline. Have you checked out cageman and djlithium's threads on a LightWave/Janus/exrtrader/Fusion or a LightWave/exrtrader/Fusion pipeline? They provide a detailed particular pipeline that might give you some additional ideas:


Thanks. I have checked out exrtrader and will do some tests with it soon.

We are going to use Nuke for compositing. We have quite a lot of virtual sets - because nazis can only build *big* things, one of the visual gags in the film.

And about the film in general. Iron sky will be quite black comedy, more like dr. strangelove meets independence day :)

Modeling and texturing is something what could be done outside finland, so we are accepting resumes and portfolios. If you are interested, send email to [email protected] or directly to me [email protected]

G-Man
12-04-2009, 12:11 PM
Like others have said, it seems to me that if you're doing hard body objects, buildings, spaceships etc. why not just stay in Lightwave? It seems as though if Softimage or Maya were so much better at this, wouldn't the Battlestar Galactica team try to make a switch to either of those apps. From what I can tell, the work they did with Lightwave was pretty amazing.

I don't think any one app is perfect. But if you're trying to stay on a budget and want a quality looking finished product, Lightwave is certainly at the top of my list.

geo_n
12-04-2009, 07:16 PM
Actually I havn't used the Wizard. :D

With that said, it is dead-easy to get things out when using exrTrader. If you can send me a scenefile that you would like to see how it is broken out using Janus, I will happily make a video of it.

:)

Janus supports some of the other buffersavers as well, but exrTrader is the one that I love the most, since all buffers can be stored within a single file. Very much like how PSD exporter stores each buffer as a separate layer.

:)

ey thanks. I attach scene from GI thread. Easy to setup passes for objects and render one time.

Pirk
12-05-2009, 01:08 AM
Like others have said, it seems to me that if you're doing hard body objects, buildings, spaceships etc. why not just stay in Lightwave? It seems as though if Softimage or Maya were so much better at this, wouldn't the Battlestar Galactica team try to make a switch to either of those apps. From what I can tell, the work they did with Lightwave was pretty amazing.

I don't think any one app is perfect. But if you're trying to stay on a budget and want a quality looking finished product, Lightwave is certainly at the top of my list.

Yes, Lightwave animation & rendering solution is a viable choice, not saying otherwise. But the problem is that I haven't found a single Lightwave artist to join the production besides me:) But lets see what happens when we start the head hunting here in finland later this month.

For heavy dynamic stuff including object shattering we have an experimental maya plugin in use & small maya team.

So yes, it all comes to artists, as always :)

OnlineRender
12-05-2009, 02:36 AM
But the problem is that I haven't found a single Lightwave artist to join the production besides me:)

I can name at least 6 top artists that post here that can play ball with the big boys :D ,now are saunas standard in Finland (",) excellent work

Cageman
12-05-2009, 03:58 AM
ey thanks. I attach scene from GI thread. Easy to setup passes for objects and render one time.

Cool! I will probably not deal with this until later today, or tonight rather, but I've downloaded the stuff.

:)

Hieron
12-05-2009, 09:48 AM
Looking great so far!
Would be nice if you can find some good lw artists to join you.. Just don't tell them the average temperatures in winter and the lack of sun hours and repeat that thing about naked women and sauna's :)

dwburman
12-06-2009, 11:14 AM
Find some good artists and give them a good one or two week crash course on using Lightwave. If you can't find LW artists, make LW artists. :)

Cageman
12-06-2009, 03:38 PM
ey thanks. I attach scene from GI thread. Easy to setup passes for objects and render one time.

Sorry for the late reply, but I got caught in some other stuff this weekend... :)

There are two ways to approach a scene like that, so I decided to show both. :)

However, the second method have some limitations regarding how much you can push certain values in a compositing application, but usually when doing things like this you adjust subtleties.

Anyhow... here they are.... (ftp://LightWave:[email protected]:21/Cageman_Janus_exrTrader_and_Fusion_Quick_and_Dirty/)

Have fun!

:)

geo_n
12-06-2009, 10:26 PM
Sorry for the late reply, but I got caught in some other stuff this weekend... :)

There are two ways to approach a scene like that, so I decided to show both. :)

However, the second method have some limitations regarding how much you can push certain values in a compositing application, but usually when doing things like this you adjust subtleties.

Anyhow... here they are.... (ftp://LightWave:[email protected]:21/Cageman_Janus_exrTrader_and_Fusion_Quick_and_Dirty/)

Have fun!

:)

Ey these are great :thumbsup:. Got some questions if you have time more about janus ofcourse since I think you're the only one using it who's active at newtek. Maybe make a thread about the vids.

erikals
12-09-2009, 12:16 PM
Mike, did you guys export many scenes though?

or was it the going back/forth tweaking that was the main problem...?

Mike_RB
12-09-2009, 12:28 PM
Mike, did you guys export many scenes though?

or was it the going back/forth tweaking that was the main problem...?

We had about 30 shots we had to maintain/update/revise. Each shot had the MArk1 suit, which was made up of about 30 'hard' pieces that had to have the motions transfered as they were too dense to make mdds of. Then about 5 seperate 'gooey' pieces that needed mdd loving.

The hard pieces had to be setup on both sides in a limiting and cumbersome way. They had to be rigged in XSI so we could pose constrain bake each piece to using only world coordinates, and then we would FBX that out. Then we had to load the FBX into lw 32 and make an action clip of the whole deal (hmot). Then we would load our render scene and apply the clip to our actor of nulls.... but each null was nested under 2 or 3 other nulls to fix the scale and the coordinate handedness issues. Then the render pieces were parented in under the actor nulls.

Something like that.

When we had to move some geometry to fix and issue or have a custom pieces for a shot it was a pain, and the baking process sometimes made 180 flips in the motion that would screw motion blur, so we had to mdd some hard pieces, sometimes....

Pain.

erikals
12-09-2009, 01:01 PM
ouch! that's a tricky task allright...

it sounds more like an animation problem though,
rather than a multipass render problem...

but i guess it was a mix ov several things...

as far as characters animated in LW, i've read my share of obstacles, so not going there, not with LW96.
(if anything, i'll just do some simple mocap stuff)

the render looks fantastic though, some of the best CG i've seen actually.
makes me wonder where LW96 could have gone with great CA tools...

Cageman
12-09-2009, 02:01 PM
We had about 30 shots we had to maintain/update/revise. Each shot had the MArk1 suit, which was made up of about 30 'hard' pieces that had to have the motions transfered as they were too dense to make mdds of. Then about 5 seperate 'gooey' pieces that needed mdd loving.

The hard pieces had to be setup on both sides in a limiting and cumbersome way. They had to be rigged in XSI so we could pose constrain bake each piece to using only world coordinates, and then we would FBX that out. Then we had to load the FBX into lw 32 and make an action clip of the whole deal (hmot). Then we would load our render scene and apply the clip to our actor of nulls.... but each null was nested under 2 or 3 other nulls to fix the scale and the coordinate handedness issues. Then the render pieces were parented in under the actor nulls.

Something like that.

When we had to move some geometry to fix and issue or have a custom pieces for a shot it was a pain, and the baking process sometimes made 180 flips in the motion that would screw motion blur, so we had to mdd some hard pieces, sometimes....

Pain.

Hmm...

Yeah... I've seen that issue as well. Many times. :)

That said though, I've deviced a pipeline between Maya and LW that allows me to do the upfront work first in the two apps... preparing them for FBX-data transfer, so to speak. Once they are setup in both apps, I can use FBX Merge (legacy FBX) to simply update the animationcurves exported from Maya. I actually did that for one of our more complex Tankrigs and it works really well... around 200 separate pieces constrained in all kinds of ways in Maya.

:)

No pain.