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WilliamVaughan
01-12-2010, 03:03 PM
Congrats to all the artists that used LightWave on the virtual sets for Avatar. Cool knowing the same software I use was used on movie making history!

Soth
01-12-2010, 03:19 PM
...any printscreens/videos? ;)

WilliamVaughan
01-12-2010, 04:24 PM
75-90% of all the Virtual world assets that Cameron used to shoot the film. So basically the Previs created by the Virtual Art Department.
The assets were designing and created by this team.

I'll see if I can get some of the artists to share more info. I know Rob Powers had a massive hand in all of this and he mentions some of what he did on his site:
http://www.robpowers.com/

I had a lot of good friends working in that department and it was really fun watching the movie knowing they had a hand in it.

SplineGod
01-12-2010, 07:52 PM
what was it used on?


Lightwave was used along with Maya and Motionbuilder to generate the low rez assets /sets so that James Cameron could navigate thru with a virtual camea. This allowed him to have direct input with creating camera motions.
Many of the shots were actually creatded by our group and the motions on the floating mountains, ships etc were saved exactly as we did the them. Weta basically replaced the low rez objects with higher rez versions. Most of what we did were the environments etc. I did alot of work on jungle sets and especially the floating mountains.
If you read Robs website the Virtual Art Department was far more then just "previz" because most of the camera moves or animations were kept intact.
Unfortunately LW was relied upon less and less because of issues with getting LW to work properly with fbx and getting help with that.

geo_n
01-12-2010, 11:42 PM
Yes please more info with actual screen of lw! I'm in constant battle to defend lightwave here. Lol! Its so hard to buy tools for lw but any tools max people want we buy immediately.

ken_g9
01-13-2010, 12:41 AM
Yes please more info with actual screen of lw!

Ditto! Would love to see this one. Not doubting it one bit...I just hope more new artist would know that it's not only Maya out there...

jin choung
01-13-2010, 01:40 AM
I would have put it everywhere that the previz was LW after its out. :mad:


i'm sure someone will correct me if i'm wrong but lw's claims to the show seem somewhat limited. i.e. power, shultz, nanogator & co had more to do with the work being discussed above (for which congratulations are richly deserved) than lw itself did.

the captured motions of cam and vehicle puppets and performers were NOT captured in lw. according to cinefex, it was motion builder.

"75-90% of all the Virtual world assets that Cameron used to shoot the film."

assets. so that means... modeling and texturing. right?

so lw's only proper claim is that it was used (in part) to model and texture the rt, low res, previz assets.

....

*cough*

....

jin

jin choung
01-13-2010, 02:20 AM
I think this is pretty redicculous that you didnt get more help with this considering the size of this project and the exposure from it.

well, it's mysterious why they didn't hire a full time programmer on their own (considering it's avatar and cameron...).

but as for why autodesk wouldn't... well, frankly, why would they?

"yeah yeah, that's rubbish... have you heard of maya? that's really really great with fbx.... or 3ds max? you like that? say... you know what would be really cool for you guys? this new thing called softimage! it just got good again recently," said the autodesk guy.

jin

Mister NO
01-13-2010, 03:20 AM
They used lw to create air in avatar. You cant see it, but thats the point right, it so realistic. :D

korolev
01-13-2010, 04:39 AM
Remember "300" and all the hype about this film in NT site? If LW was used in AVT, then i guess that the January newsletter of LW would be full of details and presentations about it....

UnCommonGrafx
01-13-2010, 05:20 AM
I was wondering what you were doing down under, Larry. Guess that's not all, too, huh?

And Larry, let me take a moment to congratulate you and all the guys working on the film.

Who wouldn't help with the fbx issues? (Asking while all the while knowing...)

walfridson
01-13-2010, 05:59 AM
Remember "300" and all the hype about this film in NT site? If LW was used in AVT, then i guess that the January newsletter of LW would be full of details and presentations about it....

Not so easy... All about money and Autodesk..

Nicolas Jordan
01-13-2010, 08:02 AM
It would be cool if Newtek did a Lightwave profile on this. Those Newtek marketing people need a new project don't they? :D

Stooch
01-13-2010, 06:45 PM
They used lw to create air in avatar. You cant see it, but thats the point right, it so realistic. :D

hahaha. best comment here. as long as you dont manipulate the air vertices, you can interact with air in OGL pretty fast though.

sadkkf
01-14-2010, 09:23 AM
Unfortunately LW was relied upon less and less because of issues with getting LW to work properly with fbx and getting help with that.

*groan*

sampei
01-14-2010, 09:38 AM
:O more info please ?

Yog
01-15-2010, 02:11 AM
Not so easy... All about money and Autodesk..

Not really. Over on the Luxology site they have a modcast over an hour long with a guy talking about the production of Avitar and what role Modo played in it.

If a small company like that can get the message out, why not Newtek ?

Marketing has always been NT's achilies heal, hyping up beyond reason some things that really didn't warrent it (half dozen spears in King Kong :cool: ), and completely ignoring stunning work done elsewhere.

NanoGator
01-15-2010, 06:22 AM
When we first started building the LW --> Motionbuilder pipeline, Avatar was not announced. We couldn't say we were working on it or even confirm that it existed. For that reason, we couldn't name-drop it to get the devs to update the LW plugin. But that probably wouldn't have mattered anyway, MotionBuilder had just changed hands to Alias meaning nobody involved with the LW plugin was around to work on it. Even if they did, it would have to have been rewritten, and we needed results now now now. So I just wrote the exporter myself in LScript. And we used it at least through June of 09, possibly a titch longer.

It was worth it, too. Maya's FBX exporter was, in most cases, 'good enough', so it was quicker to go through Maya to get to Mobu. But LW's Modeler was just a little too good at being quick to model with. On top of that, the ability to build models to exact specifications (down to the millimeter) made it possible to build the virtual environments to match the specs of the stage without boiling holes through our stomachs. We used Lightwave's baking quite a bit, too. Lightwave is very direct and to the point and really doesn't require a whole lot of instruction to say "Gimme a baked map with occlusion".

I work at a place now where virtually everything I do is either in Maya or Mobu. However, I still use Lightwave to model with, especially when working on stuff that's sensitive to proportion. The fact that you can type 3" + 2cm into a field and get the right result... actually I'm stunned that every single app hasn't ripped that feature off. I mean, if mocap actors' feet disappear, I'm in trouble. Anyway, yeah, I do rely on it still. I've used it on other movies, too. John Adams, Tropic Thunder, Alice in Wonderland, etc. It's one of the tools in my toolbox and it is well worn and much cared for.

Stooch
01-15-2010, 11:04 AM
in maya, type into any numeric input field: = then type in your math.

you can also quickly create expressions without using the expression editor this way.

robertoortiz
01-15-2010, 11:32 AM
I was wondering what you were doing down under, Larry. Guess that's not all, too, huh?

And Larry, let me take a moment to congratulate you and all the guys working on the film.

Who wouldn't help with the fbx issues? (Asking while all the while knowing...)

The motion capture seeion were recorded in The 280,000-square-foot studio in Playa Vista, Calif.
An a lot of the preproduction work was alsodone in LA.

Cageman
01-15-2010, 11:55 AM
in maya, type into any numeric input field: = then type in your math.

Hmm... so... does it allow to use different measures such as inch and meters in the same calculation, as in the example NanoGator wrote?

Here is another one:

I type this: 1 m + 3"

And I get: 1.0762 m

EDIT: Oh... and I just tried to do a simple math operation for Translate X on a Cube. None of the lines below works (returns 0)

= 1+3
=1+3
=1 + 3
= 1 + 3

So... what am I doing wrong?

Elmar Moelzer
01-15-2010, 12:30 PM
besides what are those? Meter, Inches, Apples, Oranges?
The presence of a real measurement system with real measures was one of the main reasons why LW was more suitable for us than any other app. If you want to do anything serious in science, you absolutely have to have real measures.

cresshead
01-15-2010, 12:35 PM
hi just dropping by to say excellent work to all you guys who worked on Avatar.

Nemoid
01-15-2010, 01:02 PM
And they deserve it.

p.s.
Modo was used as well for similar purposes. modelling, previz...things like that.
There's a long modcast talking about Avatar too in Lux website.
Dunno if they had similar problems of Lw to Maya.

So all the rest i assume was done in Maya and Motion Builder ?

ali kassem
01-15-2010, 01:56 PM
Congratulations to all who participated in this movie. Excellent work all over.

cresshead
01-15-2010, 02:08 PM
And they deserve it.

p.s.
Modo was used as well for similar purposes. modelling, previz...things like that.
There's a long modcast talking about Avatar too in Lux website.
Dunno if they had similar problems of Lw to Maya.

So all the rest i assume was done in Maya and Motion Builder ?

aps used also were houdini , softimage, max, sketchup, zbrush, mudbox as well as maya, motion builder, modo and lightwave.

Titus
01-15-2010, 02:17 PM
aps used also were houdini , softimage, max, sketchup, zbrush, mudbox as well as maya, motion builder, modo and lightwave.

So basically this is the type of projects involving everybody and everything. I remember the same happened with Titanic.

jin choung
01-15-2010, 02:29 PM
besides what are those? Meter, Inches, Apples, Oranges?
The presence of a real measurement system with real measures was one of the main reasons why LW was more suitable for us than any other app. If you want to do anything serious in science, you absolutely have to have real measures.

huh?

you can set maya's units in preferences - from mm to yard....

jin

Stooch
01-15-2010, 04:15 PM
you arent using the attribute editor, you are usig the channel box.

hit ctrl-a to open attribute editor. the second you enter the = sign, the field usually canges into a text entry mode so you know right away.

as far as mixing units, i never mix units so i dont know if that works.


Hmm... so... does it allow to use different measures such as inch and meters in the same calculation, as in the example NanoGator wrote?

Here is another one:

I type this: 1 m + 3"

And I get: 1.0762 m

EDIT: Oh... and I just tried to do a simple math operation for Translate X on a Cube. None of the lines below works (returns 0)

= 1+3
=1+3
=1 + 3
= 1 + 3

So... what am I doing wrong?

cresshead
01-15-2010, 04:20 PM
So basically this is the type of projects involving everybody and everything. I remember the same happened with Titanic.

well not quite 'everything'

no mention of>>
cinema4d
blender
messiah
3d coat
silo
vue
formz

:D

jin choung
01-15-2010, 04:47 PM
you arent using the attribute editor, you are usig the channel box.

hit ctrl-a to open attribute editor. the second you enter the = sign, the field usually canges into a text entry mode so you know right away.

as far as mixing units, i never mix units so i dont know if that works.

it creates an expression though that you have to break...

lw's implementation is indeed far better, can use it everywhere and as noted, it's amazing that other apps don't just copy it.

THIS is indeed a good lw feature.

jin

Chuck
01-15-2010, 05:14 PM
When we first started building the LW --> Motionbuilder pipeline, Avatar was not announced. We couldn't say we were working on it or even confirm that it existed. For that reason, we couldn't name-drop it to get the devs to update the LW plugin. But that probably wouldn't have mattered anyway, MotionBuilder had just changed hands to Alias meaning nobody involved with the LW plugin was around to work on it. Even if they did, it would have to have been rewritten, and we needed results now now now. So I just wrote the exporter myself in LScript. And we used it at least through June of 09, possibly a titch longer.

That's an interesting note on the project, and some impressive use of scripting.

In our communications with the Autodesk folks, they eventually advised us that they would no longer be updating the FBX plugin for LightWave, and that we would have to do so, but would have to do so from scratch, as they would not provide the source code for the existing plugin. As soon as we could get it into the schedule after that, we launched into developing the Valkyrie I/O plugin for LightWave, with Collada and FBX support. When Rob advised us that he had an interest in seeing the FBX work progress in several areas, we gave him direct IM access to the engineer doing the work and let the engineer know that Rob's requests were a priority. Items Rob entered into the database all definitely show as addressed. The IM discussions were pretty active as well, and the developer's recall is that he was able to address most of the issues requested and for which sample import/export content was provided.

erikals
01-15-2010, 05:37 PM
Thanks http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/smilies/smile.gif
-------------

cool LW work, i'd love to know more.
let's try to get some LW screenshots from Avatar http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/smilies/smile.gif

NanoGator
01-15-2010, 05:42 PM
Dang, I didn't know about that, Chuck. I hope I didn't step on any toes. I was referring to Alias developing the plug-in, not Newtek. If I sounded critical, that was actually aimed at them, not you guys.

We would have preferred Alias to work on it because there were so many little land-mines in MotionBuilder waiting to go off. We kept finding things like if you used the v5 LW plugin, some of the UVs would randomly get destroyed on a big enough scene. That was the sort of thing you wouldn't find out until you were about an hour from your deadline. There are also differences in how MotionBuilder deals with things like transparency that none of Alias's or even Autodesk's plug-ins actually address. It's really quite maddening. That was part of what my script did. If you ran it, when it got to MotionBuilder, it looked like it did in Modeler.

NanoGator
01-15-2010, 06:18 PM
And they deserve it.

p.s.
Modo was used as well for similar purposes. modelling, previz...things like that.
There's a long modcast talking about Avatar too in Lux website.
Dunno if they had similar problems of Lw to Maya.

So all the rest i assume was done in Maya and Motion Builder ?

I can really only speak for my department. Every department had their own goals and their own workflow. Not everything was aimed for MotionBuilder, either. Lots of the concept art was actually done as 3d models. I remember we received several of those models to Mobu-ize. I don't recall Modo being used for any previz. I mean, for most of Avatar, Modo was a modeler and didn't have much to speak of in terms of animation. I know Maya was at some point.

We did use Modo from time to time. Their strength was that they could open an .lwo and save back out as .lwo, so if Modo had a feature you wanted to use it was easy to hop in and out. It could go to FBX, but it had the same problem I mentioned earlier, you still had to fiddle with the transparency and stuff. Without my script to handle that, you'd end up doing a save, then opening MotionBuilder, then running off a checklist of things to look for. (Including wiping out lights in the scene that were inevitably created AND killing that "Modo Take'.)

That said, though, we really did end up using Lightwave most of the time. I mean the Modeler workflow made it possible to whip up new ready-to-capture models in under 4 hours. It struck a good balance for us. It handled real-world measurements well, the viewport displays for displaying stuff in the background to use as a blueprint work really well (not as fancy as other apps, but direct enough that it doesnt matter that much), and it was clear which way the normals were facing (annoyance in most apps, CRITICAL in MotionBuilder) and what stuff was actually going to get sent to Mobu. Other apps had a lot of overlap in terms of feature set. They were superior in some ways, but in terms of actual practical work flow sometimes that 'superiority' meant spending more time being more specific to the app.

Stooch
01-15-2010, 06:51 PM
it creates an expression though that you have to break...

lw's implementation is indeed far better, can use it everywhere and as noted, it's amazing that other apps don't just copy it.

THIS is indeed a good lw feature.

jin

i like seeing the expression. just incase if i had to go back to the previous value or edit the expression into something more advanced, also, this gives you the ability for quicker and easier way to start expressions..
LW expressions are a pain in the *** in comparison. Also, overall, typing in exact values is kind of dubious anyway, so you want to multiple a channels atribute by .5, lol (first of all, LOL at your poor math skills) more often than not, you are better off grabbing the actual curves in the graph editor and performing and interactive offset. or doing a scaling operation. I know that often, typing in math operations in the attribute slots results in alot of trial and error.

i think that in the context of LW, having this ability is useful. but in the context of maya, where the most efficient way to work is with making dynamic relationships, this is much less useful.

i think that both LW and Maya can borrow a few things from each other, with LW being the one that could borrow ALOT more.

as far as mixing units, thats stupid. if you have to constantly mix units, then the problem is with the organization of your pipeline. but if you must work with poorly organized assets, then i guess you are better off with LWs approach for mixed units.

erikals
01-15-2010, 06:57 PM
(Stooch, if interested, Larry has a dvd on Relativity over at Kurvstudios.com)

Stooch
01-15-2010, 07:01 PM
lol im not interested in that pos. but thanks :)\


infact im not interested in anything to do with the original LW, im jus kind of circling like a mildly curious vulture to see if core makes it worth a peek.

NanoGator
01-15-2010, 07:06 PM
as far as mixing units, thats stupid. if you have to constantly mix units, then the problem is with the organization of your pipeline. but if you must work with poorly organized assets, then i guess you are better off with LWs approach for mixed units.

The need to mix units has nothing to do with crappy assets or a crummy pipeline. It's just about being able to communicate with the guys feeding you data about the dimensions of things on set or design requirements or whatever. These people can come from any department from any context and it can rock your boat.

Lack of versatility, that's stupid.

jin choung
01-15-2010, 07:06 PM
as far as mixing units, thats stupid. if you have to constantly mix units, then the problem is with the organization of your pipeline. but if you must work with poorly organized assets, then i guess you are better off with LWs approach for mixed units.

there isn't a pipeline that i've worked with yet where standards were perfectly adhered to.

things always unravel. especially in the heat of production.

again, in this, lw's method is superior. it automatically converts so that no matter what happens or how many third party vendors you have to work with, units can be reconciled and are a non-issue.

this is one less thing that an artist has to worry about so imo, this is another example where lw really does have a nice feature that others should imitate.

it's not rocket science. but it's unequivocally nice.

jin

jin choung
01-15-2010, 07:11 PM
i like seeing the expression. just incase if i had to go back to the previous value or edit the expression into something more advanced, also, this gives you the ability for quicker and easier way to start expressions..

lw's expressions are much less transparent.

but using the = thing in maya's inconvenient if you want to use it like you would in lw, not to start an expression but just arrive at a final numeric value where you're adding or multiplying or whatever.

and it WOULD be nice if maya could do this in the channel box or in the object properties - do it just like lw without the '=' symbol and you just get the final numeric value.

use the '=' symbol and you get what you do now, the expression.

why not have the best of both worlds? cuz lw's method is indeed useful.

and not being able to enter even maya's expression thing in channel box is a pointless limitation.

they should fix that and copy lw's ability to do math in any numeric field.

again - it's not a rocket science high tech feature but it is unequivocally nice.

jin

NanoGator
01-15-2010, 07:11 PM
well not quite 'everything'

no mention of>>
cinema4d
blender
messiah
3d coat
silo
vue
formz

:D

Cinema and Blender were used. I did fiddle with 3D coat but the bit I was working on that would have made use of it was cancelled. Vue was looked at, it might have even been used in small things. (Although I keep hearing alternating tales of that.)

Nicolas Jordan
01-15-2010, 08:13 PM
Were so many different 3D programs used because they were what the individual artists was comfortable with or were they used more for each different program unique strengths?

shrox
01-15-2010, 08:18 PM
I heard the reason Avatar is so long is because the last 45 minutes are CG credits...

jin choung
01-15-2010, 08:21 PM
Were so many different 3D programs used because they were what the individual artists was comfortable with or were they used more for each different program unique strengths?

i would imagine that the honest answer is that for many, familiarity bred the perception that they were leveraging an app's unique strengths. : )

so if it were a different team of people who were maya gurus, i'm sure they would have just used maya. at that point, even if the case could be made that lw was better at low poly modeling or whatever, would it be worth it to train the maya gurus to work with a new program?

and viceversa.

jin

geo_n
01-15-2010, 08:24 PM
are there no screenshots at all from lw?

cresshead
01-15-2010, 08:42 PM
are there no screenshots at all from lw?

i think you have to get 'sign off' to show them...remember all images are the property of the film company not the artists.

btw good to hear both blender and cinema4d were involved too

NanoGator
01-15-2010, 08:47 PM
Were so many different 3D programs used because they were what the individual artists was comfortable with or were they used more for each different program unique strengths?

A little bit of both. There were a lot of contexts apps were being used in. Our context was building assets to be used in MotionBuilder. That had its own set of requirements. Lightwave was the winning choice there. Some of the artists like Ben Proctor or Steve Messing were ultimately trying to get concepts or mattes done in 2D, so they used whatever suited them. Ben used XSI, Steve used Cinema4D. (I'm really oversimplifying that, but I think you get the idea.) Maya was used a great deal for getting animation into Mobu when it wasn't animated natively in MotionBuilder. That made sense, it has the best exporter for doing that sort of work. I know some of the vehicles were designed in Sketchup. Some might make funny faces at that suggestion but those vehicles weren't just going to be built in CG, they were going to be built as live action sets, and in some cases even built to be animated on Stage.

There were crossovers, too. We used ZBrush a bunch, but not in the way that Neville Page did. ZBrush was useful in spray-projecting images onto textures. Whatever gets the job done.

Really what it boils down to was that each app was treated as a tool in the toolbox, as opposed to just using one app to try to do it all. As long as we could get it into whatever app it needed to be in, t'was all good. It was all about getting the stuff in front of Jim as quickly as possible. Everybody (at least in Playa) were specialized, but were generalists about how they approached it. I'm not sure if that statement will make a lot of sense to people, so I'll put it another way: Everybody had a bit of MacGuyver in them. ;)

NanoGator
01-15-2010, 08:48 PM
are there no screenshots at all from lw?

No, sorry. We weren't allowed to walk out with anything, either. Keep in mind that Wolverine was also a Fox movie...

jin choung
01-15-2010, 08:54 PM
A little bit of both.

i think an implication of the question is - did any non lw person learn lw in order to build assets?

also, did anyone learn an app to do something they could do in their preferred app IF THEY DIDN'T ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO (for some reason - technical or whatever)?

i can see people learning zb to take advantage of some of its odd features but i can't see someone in likewise manner taking up lw....

jin

NanoGator
01-15-2010, 09:14 PM
i think an implication of the question is - did any non lw person learn lw in order to build assets?

No, but it never really came up, either. We hired Lightwave folks. We didn't hire, for example, Maya folks then convert them. (That's a silly prospect unless there's a shortage of artists like there was for MotionBuilder.) If somebody else were in charge, they might have used Maya instead. Okay, cool, no problem. But then the movie would have looked different. Better? Worse? Dunno. In the end, though, our department had a good reputation for getting attractive environments out quickly.

The VAD had to use Lightwave. We weren't so strict about it that it had to be that way 100% of the time. As long as the requirements were met, it didn't matter. Strict is good for maintaining efficiency, flexible is good for solving problems. There's a balance to maintain, that's the fun part. :)

Titus
01-15-2010, 09:55 PM
But then the movie would have looked different. Better? Worse? Dunno. In the end, though, our department had a good reputation for getting attractive environments out quickly.


I already wrote about my friend at Weta, they received orders from Cameron to do the stuff like the previz, apparently he insisted on the low-poly models. LW guys 1, Maya guys 0 :D.

NanoGator
01-15-2010, 10:34 PM
Ah. If that's what I think it is, it wasn't that the model was low-poly, it was the photographic texture we used on it. We often used alphas to cut away the edges and make things look 'rougher'. We had some luxuries Weta didn't have.

jin choung
01-15-2010, 10:35 PM
There's a balance to maintain, that's the fun part. :)

absolutely.

jin

erikals
01-15-2010, 11:14 PM
I already wrote about my friend at Weta, they received orders from Cameron to do the stuff like the previz, apparently he insisted on the low-poly models. LW guys 1, Maya guys 0 :D.

it sort of makes sense,
med-res models often tend to appear more distracting than low-res.
maybe that was the reason...

Cageman
01-16-2010, 01:23 AM
you arent using the attribute editor, you are usig the channel box.

hit ctrl-a to open attribute editor. the second you enter the = sign, the field usually canges into a text entry mode so you know right away.

as far as mixing units, i never mix units so i dont know if that works.

Ahh... that works, but here is where I'm not sure I like the way Maya handles it compared to LW.

It actually creates an expression and locks my Translate X axis, so if I want to move it, I have to break the connections to the channel. I usually use math to, for lets say, move keyframes from frame 349 and 2 seconds ahead or in situations like above mentioned examples. In such situations, the creation of the expression is just getting in the way.

On the other hand, as you say, being able to write expressions directly into a channel does make it more versatile.

CORE works like LW in this regard, but can also hold expressions. Best of both worlds I guess.

:)

Elmar Moelzer
01-16-2010, 06:49 AM
you can set maya's units in preferences - from mm to yard....
Does it convert between them too? I mean yards to inches?
Besides 10 inches != 1 foot. So how does it handle that? I am confused. I have never seen that (never used MAYA much, Max a lot more though).


as far as mixing units, thats stupid. if you have to constantly mix units, then the problem is with the organization of your pipeline. but if you must work with poorly organized assets, then i guess you are better off with LWs approach for mixed units.

Well for us, being involved more with science, than VFX (though we do have our share of that), having the possibility to mix units is not only beneficial, it is essential.
Medical imaging data deals with metric units most of the time, but many people, particularily in the US are still more familiar and comfortable with feet and inches (yes, even scientists, medical doctors and engineers).
So things get a lot more complicated once you bring in the English system. Soon you have someone mix something up and you end up gamma knifing someones heart instead of his brain tumor. Ok, that was just kidding, but you get my point right?

Titus
01-16-2010, 08:08 AM
Well for us, being involved more with science, than VFX (though we do have our share of that), having the possibility to mix units is not only beneficial, it is essential.
Medical imaging data deals with metric units most of the time, but many people, particularily in the US are still more familiar and comfortable with feet and inches (yes, even scientists, medical doctors and engineers).
So things get a lot more complicated once you bring in the English system. Soon you have someone mix something up and you end up gamma knifing someones heart instead of his brain tumor. Ok, that was just kidding, but you get my point right?

I'm with stooch. As a physicist I'm clearly aware in science the metric system is the standard. Also, if you need to make calculations then you have to use the same units, so mixing them doesn't has much sense and it's a recipe for problems.

I understand there are some situations were you have to enter different units: 1/2 inch copper pipe inside a 2m box, etc. IMO is as a good programming exercise to consolidate units using functions and work in only one measuring space.

Titus
01-16-2010, 08:20 AM
This is an example of why is a bad idea to use different units:

http://www.cnn.com/TECH/space/9909/30/mars.metric.02/

Elmar Moelzer
01-16-2010, 08:31 AM
Also, if you need to make calculations then you have to use the same units, so mixing them doesn't has much sense and it's a recipe for problems.
LW can calculate using different units. So I dont really see that as a big deal. It is also a matter of the fact that what we get as an input with imaging data is almost always in the metric system, but some users may want to or have to get measurements in the English system. Some of the things they have to compare to maybe have gotten to them in English, etc. I love the way LW handles this.

Elmar Moelzer
01-16-2010, 08:37 AM
http://www.cnn.com/TECH/space/9909/30/mars.metric.02/

I do actually see this as an example that LWs approach makes total sense. No matter what you feed into it, LW will recognize it correctly.
No matter whether an item is modeled to be 30.05 cm or a foot long it will fit into the scene. IMHO this does matter and it does make for an awesome workflow.

Of course mixing units is not a bad idea, but heck, go and suggest that everyone should be required to switch to metric in a room full of american and english engineers, architects, medical doctors and you will see war ;)

shrox
01-16-2010, 09:07 AM
...Of course mixing units is not a bad idea, but heck, go and suggest that everyone should be required to switch to metric in a room full of american and english engineers, architects, medical doctors and you will see war ;)

I was in school during the US metric switch in the 1970's. It didn't take hold though. To me it doesn't really matter in my job, a model rocket might use a 18" long 40mm tube. It is nice that Lightwave will convert whatever you type in. If I have units set to "standard" and I type in 40mm, it will automatically create it at 1.5748 inches.

Elmar Moelzer
01-16-2010, 09:20 AM
If I have units set to "standard" and I type in 40mm, it will automatically create it at 1.5748 inches.

Exactly! Or the other way round. I love that and so do many of our clients.

Lightwolf
01-16-2010, 11:01 AM
LW can calculate using different units.
Just to be super picky here... it doesn't actually calculate in different units, but it converts both ways.
The user display of values (as well as the input) is decoupled of the internal representation which is always the same.
That is more or less metric, with 1.0 being the equivalent to either 1m (distances), 100% (generic values such as colours) or radians (angles).

(yes, Elmar, I know that you know that... ;) )

Cheers,
Mike

Elmar Moelzer
01-16-2010, 11:06 AM
yes, Elmar, I know that you know that...

Yes, I did ;)
But thanks for clarifying my gibberish anyway ;)

shrox
01-16-2010, 11:48 AM
Exactly! Or the other way round. I love that and so do many of our clients.

I also like how LW can do math on the fly, like entering 7*5.854 and getting the proper answer, 40.978

Stooch
01-16-2010, 01:05 PM
here is a tip to anyone who is using maya and is frustrated with units.

by default, in maya, every unit is a centimeter.

when you create a cube in maya, it has a TRANSFORM node and a CUBE node.
so if you want a cube that is 100cm tall, you just enter 100 into the CUBE height attribute...

say you want to work in meters... well, just change the TRANSFORM node scale to 100 on all axes.
now, every unit in the CUBE node becomes 1 meter. Easy...

Say you wanted to work in inches, you simply change the scale of the TRANSFORM node to
2.54, because thats the conversion rate from CM to Inches. Voila, now every unit in the CUBE node is automatically converted to inches...

does this make sense?
you are still using metric calculations (which to me are easier to do mentally than standard) and should still stick to metric as a default unit, but there is nothing stopping you from working with standard scale within your metric setup. And this is the true power of maya, its general. you can make it do what you want with a tiny bit of creativity.

also there are plenty of scripts available for free and easy to make from scratch that can utilize the built in measure tool to help you get extremely precise... for me though, gettig extremely precise rarely matters as much as the directors eye. if he wants something a little bit bigger, or closer, precision will always take the back seat.

now I understand that there are archvis guys who must get everything down to a millimiter and my suggestion is that maya is not made for archvis. its made for animation and effects. but you COULD get a precise scene with a little bit of technique even in maya. The trick is, not expecting maya to work like lightwave :)
Thats why, when someone says, but Stooch... i cant add meters to inches... my response is... this feature is not really critical for me as a maya user. It would be nice to have, but to be honest, even with a decade of LW use behind me, i can count the need for that functonality with my fingers, and quite frankly there is nothing stopping you from just writing the conversion into your expression. Thats the beauty of the = symbol creating expressions in maya..

on a funny note... the number of times there was scale confusion on projects that tried to mix metric and standard, EXCEEDS my finger count. lol.

Lightwolf
01-16-2010, 01:20 PM
here is a tip to anyone who is using maya and is frustrated with units.

That post makes me appreciate the beauty of LWs unit system more than anything else.

And also makes me wonder why any CG app out there doesn't at least offer something on the same level.

Cheers,
Mike

shrox
01-16-2010, 01:21 PM
I use LW for CAD like work too. Like making a two engine motor mount that fits in a tube barely big enough to hold them. I make a thin disk the diameter of the inside of the body tube, then boolean out two cylinders side by side. Super easy too.

Stooch
01-16-2010, 01:28 PM
That post makes me appreciate the beauty of LWs unit system more than anything else.

And also makes me wonder why any CG app out there doesn't at least offer something on the same level.

Cheers,
Mike

first of all, my post is pretty straightforward and simple to understand... and for ME its actually a superior way to handle units.

as far as other apps not copying LWs units... CLEARLY because that feature is not as important as you think it is. If there was a demand for it, im sure Autodesk or Alias would have no problem including it into the epxressions implementation. its not rocket science. But hey, enjoy your unit conversions :)

oh and by the way, my post explains the fact that maya has NODES for TRANSFORM AND CUBES, BOTH have a size and you have to consider how they relate to each other. This goes beyond just units, im explaining to you that there is a fundamentally different way to approach things like conversion, your "simple" approach in lightwave is "simple" because it doesnt have this node structure and doesnt have the option to interactively offset and scale things as easily as maya, again fundamentally different ways to approach the same problem. But keep in min that if you were to type in 6ft or convert 6ft * 3.2m, your result will still be inaccurate if there are any scale transforms upstream... and in maya this happens very often. So i think that the developers in this case decided to keep units universal, but as described in my previous post, its very easy to work within maya to marginalize this issue.

shrox
01-16-2010, 01:31 PM
first of all, my post is pretty straightforward and simple to understand... and for ME its actually a superior way to handle units.

as far as other apps not copying LWs units... CLEARLY because that feature is not as important as you think it is. If there was a demand for it, im sure Autodesk or Alias would have no problem including it into the epxressions implementation. its not rocket science. But hey, enjoy your unit conversions :)

It's our little secret...

Elmar Moelzer
01-16-2010, 01:55 PM
But hey, enjoy your unit conversions

You gotta enjoy the little things in life ;)

jin choung
01-16-2010, 01:56 PM
first of all, my post is pretty straightforward and simple to understand... and for ME its actually a superior way to handle units.

as far as other apps not copying LWs units... CLEARLY because that feature is not as important as you think it is. If there was a demand for it, im sure Autodesk or Alias would have no problem including it into the epxressions implementation. its not rocket science. But hey, enjoy your unit conversions :)

Again, I question your notion of "superior".

you're describing a scenario where the software is forcing you to work the way it wants you to.

With lw's implementation of units, it allows you to work the way you (or any user) wants to work.

THAT is superior.

At work it's all Maya all the time and I can't tell you how many times I have to bring up google to do math or convert units.

You have more flexibility with lw's method. More flexibility and more ease of use.

Again, lw has plenty of legitimate deficits - And you're right, it's not rocket surgery - but the way it handles units and the way it can take math in any numeric field - that is unarguably nice - and superior.

Jin

ps and why others don't copy these features? Alas, perhaps it's because they don't know lw exists.

Stooch
01-16-2010, 02:00 PM
i disagree. i think the opposite. i dont think its a feature that is important at all and rarely have to do math in fields, if i really need to do math, i use expressions and its not some dumb stuff like a+b lol. but thats just me, and im sure there are plenty of users like me, who simply dont miss LWs implementation, we can easily do the basic stuff in our heads. we know it exists but when its missing, it doesnt slow us down at all.

also about your argumen about superior ... I just said it was different AND SUPERIOR FOR ME... are you attempting to force your notions on me or something? because i dont agree with them and just wanted to clarify any confusion or mental blocks about maya units - rather than try to convince you of anything. If someone reads this and learns a better way to deal with maya units then I would be happy. if you are just intrested in a purely fanboy argument then please just move along :)

and as far as workarounds and having the app force us to work a certain way, well... LOL is all i have to say.


Again, I question your notion of "superior".

you're describing a scenario where the software is forcing you to work the way it wants you to.

With lw's implementation of units, it allows you to work the way you (or any user) wants to work.

THAT is superior.

You have more flexibility with lw's method. More flexibility and more ease of use.

Again, lw has plenty of legitimate deficits - And you're right, it's not rocket surgery - but the way it handles units and the way it can take math in any numeric field - that is unarguably nice - and superior.

Jin

ps and why others don't copy these features? Alas, perhaps it's because they don't know lw exists.

Nicolas Jordan
01-16-2010, 02:37 PM
That post makes me appreciate the beauty of LWs unit system more than anything else.

And also makes me wonder why any CG app out there doesn't at least offer something on the same level.

Cheers,
Mike

I have modeled in many programs including AutoCAD and I find Lightwave by far has the best unit system around simply because every thing is relative and you can switch back and forth from metric to imperial on the fly without having to do anything else. Modo has also retained this superior system and I hope Core will do the same.

jin choung
01-16-2010, 02:45 PM
i disagree. i think the opposite. i dont think its a feature that is important at all and rarely have to do math in fields, if i really need to do math, i use expressions and its not some dumb stuff like a+b lol. but thats just me, and im sure there are plenty of users like me, who simply dont miss LWs implementation, we can easily do the basic stuff in our heads. we know it exists but when its missing, it doesnt slow us down at all.

also about your argumen about superior ... I just said it was different AND SUPERIOR FOR ME... are you attempting to force your notions on me or something? because i dont agree with them and just wanted to clarify any confusion or mental blocks about maya units - rather than try to convince you of anything. If someone reads this and learns a better way to deal with maya units then I would be happy. if you are just intrested in a purely fanboy argument then please just move along :)

and as far as workarounds and having the app force us to work a certain way, well... LOL is all i have to say.

I dislike fanboys because they can't see lw's weaknesses.

I dislike blind enemies because they can't see lw's strengths.

I dislike both because it is a failure to embrace and acknowledge reality.

So just as a barometer, can you point out ANYTHING that you can consider a strength of lw?

Cuz it's lookin to me like just as some can't admit the slightest deficit compared to other apps, you've just gone to the other extreme where even simple but nice features can be given no credit.

Jin

Mike_RB
01-16-2010, 02:58 PM
can you point out ANYTHING that you can consider a strength of lw?

:)








App load time.




.

Stooch
01-16-2010, 03:35 PM
I dislike fanboys because they can't see lw's weaknesses.

I dislike blind enemies because they can't see lw's strengths.

I dislike both because it is a failure to embrace and acknowledge reality.

So just as a barometer, can you point out ANYTHING that you can consider a strength of lw?

Cuz it's lookin to me like just as some can't admit the slightest deficit compared to other apps, you've just gone to the other extreme where even simple but nice features can be given no credit.

Jin

lol. of course there are nice things about lw. the learning curve (well it used to be pretty shallow), he simplicity of the layered shading network and the nice ability to use nodes optionally (even though the node setup is half assed imo since you cant connect nodes between different surfaces )

the price of the software and the render node licensing... is really the biggest strength (unless you compare it to 3dsmax and their back burner mray nodes)

ooh ooh! the hypervoxels! still probably the best and quickest way to setup sprite based particles. Of course there are also some huge lmitations but id love to see that kind of approach in maya (oh and by the way its getting there with nParticles).

the modeling used to be fast and powerful, but these days its not, maya is just as good for most things and better because it has history. modeling is a dubious metric anyway, the modeling market is oversaturated and its probably the easiest thing to port between apps.

the renderer used to be super fast but as demands got more complex and GI and SSS and various other things became standard, i really dont see LW being the fastest anymore. whatever speed you gain, you waste with the hassle of breaking out things into passes, etc.

if you asked me the same question about 8-10 years ago, i would be able to give you ALOT more positive things. lol im pretty much the antithesis of fanboy, thats why i tend to get into arguments with them. (not just lw mind you)

as far as blind enemies, i like them. they are easy to hit... since... they are blind. also they are probably not good visual artists.

as far as your baometer.. lol. hey its not my fault that the "nice" feature you speak of is pretty much useless to me (oooooh, lets not use a calculator, we can do the math in our translate Y field!, yaaaay!. Seriously, how much time has that feaure saved you? when is the last time you even used it? lol.)

sorry if that upsets you but you are just goig to have to deal with it.

scratch33
01-16-2010, 04:59 PM
edited...:stop:

NanoGator
01-16-2010, 05:19 PM
(oooooh, lets not use a calculator, we can do the math in our translate Y field!, yaaaay!. Seriously, how much time has that feaure saved you? when is the last time you even used it? lol.)


I just wanted to answer this specific question (as opposed to responding to the whole post) just to give you a little insight into why I brought it up:

I use this feature all the time, virtually the entire time I use Modeler. The reason I use it a lot is because I model a lot of things from photographs. The data for some of the proportions of things from photographs often comes from different sources. I might be modeling a set extension, for example, and I'll get some of the measurements, but not all. I might get that a door is n feet high, but nobody thought to measure the thickness of said door. Off to Google I go. I could convert it there, but by the time I've gone an done that I'm already done and off to the next step in Modeler.

This happens less often, but when I'm working in the art department of a movie, we might be working in metric, but another department working in inches might pass some info along. "This particular prop is 6.5" tall." No problem, just type 6.5" into Modeler. That may sound funny, but art departments are divvied up enough that it makes some sense. Prop guys are in an entirely different context than set designers and illustrators and so on.

And.... it happened a lot on Avatar. MotionBuilder works in centimeters. Set builders work in inches. I'd get told "the grid is 6.25' and the outer ring is 3" for fire safety" etc. On Alice in Wonderland it was even more intense because a lot of the props that were on set would also have to be modeled for the CG shots. So we had to be sure the numbers all lined up. using Modeler, we didn't need to do as much checking.

I brought it up because I've had to do the same work in both Maya and Lightwave and in Maya land, yes, I miss that tool a great deal because running off to do a calculation takes more time and introduces another human-error land-mine.

Anyway, please treat this as an FYI and not a rebuttal to your post. I'm not waving my torch at you. :)

Lightwolf
01-16-2010, 05:20 PM
first of all, my post is pretty straightforward and simple to understand... and for ME its actually a superior way to handle units.
That's not a way to handle units, that's working around the lack of a unit system.
The neat thing is... LW is actually superior in this field as you can actually mimic the Maya workflow that you described using nulls in Layout.
Hey, best of both worlds.
The only downside is that you might need to squint a little to ignore the actual unit readout behind the value - which can be confusing as it isn't present in Maya.


as far as other apps not copying LWs units... CLEARLY because that feature is not as important as you think it is. If there was a demand for it, im sure Autodesk or Alias would have no problem including it into the epxressions implementation. its not rocket science. But hey, enjoy your unit conversions :)
Thanks, I do. I use them every day I use LW - to a point where I try tu use it in every other app I use (luckily Fusion at least allows for in line calculations).


oh and by the way, my post explains the fact that maya has NODES for TRANSFORM AND CUBES, BOTH have a size and you have to consider how they relate to each other.
Oh does it? Well, my post explains that LW has nulls that can be used to the same effect in Layout.

But keep in min that if you were to type in 6ft or convert 6ft * 3.2m, your result will still be inaccurate if there are any scale transforms upstream... and in maya this happens very often.
Maybe in Maya... certainly not in LW.

So i think that the developers in this case decided to keep units universal, but as described in my previous post, its very easy to work within maya to marginalize this issue.
In the case of LW the units are universal as I explained previously. Maya has a user based conversion (i.e. you make up a definition and convert in your head or using transforms because the conversions can get complex) , LW a user defined one (you define the unit system, LW does the work and you can still mix and match).

Cheers,
Mike

jin choung
01-16-2010, 09:17 PM
sorry if that upsets you but you are just goig to have to deal with it.

hahaha...

genuinely amusing!

jin

Stooch
01-16-2010, 10:58 PM
I brought it up because I've had to do the same work in both Maya and Lightwave and in Maya land, yes, I miss that tool a great deal because running off to do a calculation takes more time and introduces another human-error land-mine.

Anyway, please treat this as an FYI and not a rebuttal to your post. I'm not waving my torch at you. :)

lol. point taken, but i think you should have read the rest of my post where i explain how its extremely easy to mix metric and standard systems in maya ;)

Stooch
01-16-2010, 11:03 PM
That's not a way to handle units, that's working around the lack of a unit system. ...
Oh does it? Well, my post explains that LW has nulls that can be used to the same effect in Layout.


nope, thats just a workarond for lack of a nodal system. you are also missing the point.



Maybe in Maya... certainly not in LW.


that was precisely the point. Maya is not LW.


In the case of LW the units are universal as I explained previously. Maya has a user based conversion (i.e. you make up a definition and convert in your head or using transforms because the conversions can get complex) , LW a user defined one (you define the unit system, LW does the work and you can still mix and match).

Cheers,
Mike

i dont even understand why you are still on about the "conversions". again, by doing the conversions with transforms THAT IS A MOOT POINT... you are talking about two different programs approaching the problem in different ways. LOL its superior because you can do both in layout???? Did you even read my example and fully understand it? YOU DONT NEED BOTH... lol. it yould be stupid to try to solve this easy non issue in maya by copying it from lightwave, the same way it would be stupid for you to fake mayas transform way when you already have an easy solution.

but i guess you wont really apreciate most of my points since "you only use lightwave" during your workdays while i use both (this fact also makes your arguments funny, and not in a good way)

by the way, i do alot of plate matching and modeling to existing footage, i prefer it 1000x over lightwave because I dont have to worry about precise conversions and mesurements, i just make sure that my focal length is correct and model to match - in camera, while placing character ( or other known size ) reference objects into the scene. I find that is is significantly faster and more accurate, especially when using history nodes. Of course you simply cant do that in lightwave since modeling operations are all in a separate package, so you have to rely on precise measurements.

The benefit of the maya approch is that you can accurately DEDUCE measurements (as often the measurements are missing).

Again... same problem, different solutions. But seriously, next time you use maya, just for ****s and giggles, try this aproach.
I generally start laying out a scene with cubes and then refine them. so getting that initial size right is really the main challenge.
After that its just setting my cube to appropriate segmentation and moving vertices in wireframe mode to match the image plane.

Cheers!

Stooch
01-16-2010, 11:46 PM
hahaha...

genuinely amusing!

jin

thats the spirit!

NanoGator
01-17-2010, 02:31 AM
lol. point taken, but i think you should have read the rest of my post where i explain how its extremely easy to mix metric and standard systems in maya ;)

I did read it. But since I can't actually try it until Monday I didn't think it was worth saying anything, ya know? There's no point in bugging you with theories when I can just try it for myself. And, frankly, if it works, my life gets easier. WIN.

Lightwolf
01-17-2010, 07:25 AM
nope, thats just a workarond for lack of a nodal system. you are also missing the point.
The point is that you're selling a bog standard feature (hierarchical transformations) as Mayas super advanced solution to deal with units, while it's got nothing to do with it.

that was precisely the point. Maya is not LW.
And this is one of the cases where we should all be happy that LW ins't Maya since this

on a funny note... the number of times there was scale confusion on projects that tried to mix metric and standard, EXCEEDS my finger count. lol.
Can't conceptually happen in LW. I've also seen Max and XSI users bithc about scale confusion though.


i dont even understand why you are still on about the "conversions". again, by doing the conversions with transforms THAT IS A MOOT POINT... you are talking about two different programs approaching the problem in different ways.
No, I'm talking about one application offering no unit system in the first place, while another one does.

LOL its superior because you can do both in layout???? Did you even read my example and fully understand it?
Yes. But it took me a while ot figure out that you weren't actually joking. I read it, re-read it, didn't see a punchline and finally figure that you're not joking.

YOU DONT NEED BOTH... lol. it yould be stupid to try to solve this easy non issue in maya by copying it from lightwave...
Hm, I suppose it's just a feature you have never needed, which is why you don't miss it in Maya.
All of your arguments in this thread otherwise make as much sense as dismissing an optical drive in your machine because you don't need a cup holder... i.e. none. It's a completely different thing.

Oh, while we're at it:

but i guess you wont really apreciate most of my points since "you only use lightwave" during your workdays while i use both

I use them every day I use LW.
Please read carefully ;)

Cheers,
Mike

korolev
01-17-2010, 07:42 AM
Dear Lwers,
Since the thread is shifting to a "LW vs. Maya metric systems" one, can we just see a simple screen grab from LW with Avatar's digital assets from the LW artists?


Cheers
Korolev

Lightwolf
01-17-2010, 07:46 AM
Dear Lwers,
Since the thread is shifting to a "LW vs. Maya metric systems" one, can we just see a simple screen grab from LW with Avatar's digital assets from the LW artists?
I doubt it...

No, sorry. We weren't allowed to walk out with anything, either.
...back to units then ;)

Cheers,
Mike

Elmar Moelzer
01-17-2010, 11:39 AM
It is quite amusing how people will try to dismiss a really useful feature as nonsense just because their glorious app does not support it.
I think that LWs unit support is a very straight foreward, logical thing. It just makes sense and it works.
I used to work in MAX a lot, but that was a long time ago, so I cant say how much has changed. Back in the days at least, it did not have real world units either and that CONSTANTLY caused problems, especially when including assets from 3rd parties, like stock meshes, or meshes that came from the internet. It was a major pain, because NOTHING would fit together. Meshes that came from the US were probably made in inches or feet, so you were never going to get anything that fit together precisely (like e.g. a car engine with a mesh of a car). It caused a lot of wasted time, because you had to try different conversions until one fit. Many times we would just end up eyeballing it, because no possible conversion resulted in anything that made sense. That was probably because Anyone is free to interpret Max- units as whatever they want and when the original mesh had first been built in yet another application, like say, a CAD software, then imported into MAX for conversion to the stock object, the artist probably did not give a crap about what size the MAX units represented in the end. They are after all "whatever you make them", right?

jin choung
01-17-2010, 05:02 PM
Dear Lwers,
Since the thread is shifting to a "LW vs. Maya metric systems" one, can we just see a simple screen grab from LW with Avatar's digital assets from the LW artists?


Cheers
Korolev

no.

as mentioned before, all such shots are property of 20th century fox.

jin

NanoGator
01-17-2010, 10:13 PM
Woo! Best Picture! Best Director!! GET SOME!!

jin choung
01-17-2010, 10:24 PM
wow

jin

jin choung
01-17-2010, 10:54 PM
christoph waltz won for best supporting actor! awesome.

jin

jin choung
01-17-2010, 11:26 PM
"i like a drink as much as the next man... unless the next man is mel gibson. ladies and gentleman, mel gibson."

ricky gervais' intro to the next presenter, mel gibson. wow.

jin

NanoGator
01-18-2010, 12:35 AM
I called my family back home and left a voicemail saying "Avatar won best picture! Tell Grandma!" After I hung up I realized that the voice mail message didn't sound right. I had dialed the wrong number. :/

FAIL

jin choung
01-18-2010, 12:38 AM
I called my family back home and left a voicemail saying "Avatar won best picture! Tell Grandma!" After I hung up I realized that the voice mail message didn't sound right. I had dialed the wrong number. :/

nice! congrats.

i'd expect you guys are a shoo in for best vfx come oscars too so don't max out on the champaign quite yet.

jin

cresshead
01-18-2010, 07:35 AM
It is quite amusing how people will try to dismiss a really useful feature as nonsense just because their glorious app does not support it.
I think that LWs unit support is a very straight foreward, logical thing. It just makes sense and it works.
I used to work in MAX a lot, but that was a long time ago, so I cant say how much has changed. Back in the days at least, it did not have real world units either and that CONSTANTLY caused problems, especially when including assets from 3rd parties, like stock meshes, or meshes that came from the internet. It was a major pain, because NOTHING would fit together. Meshes that came from the US were probably made in inches or feet, so you were never going to get anything that fit together precisely (like e.g. a car engine with a mesh of a car). It caused a lot of wasted time, because you had to try different conversions until one fit. Many times we would just end up eyeballing it, because no possible conversion resulted in anything that made sense. That was probably because Anyone is free to interpret Max- units as whatever they want and when the original mesh had first been built in yet another application, like say, a CAD software, then imported into MAX for conversion to the stock object, the artist probably did not give a crap about what size the MAX units represented in the end. They are after all "whatever you make them", right?

well, you just KNEW i'd turn up eh? :devil::devil::D

3dsmax custom units have been around for YEARS...i started on max 3 [istarted on max2.5 but max 3 came out pretty quickly in 1999] and they had mm, m, feet etc as well as generic
all you need do is 'select' them... :lol:

screengrab>>

Lightwolf
01-18-2010, 07:41 AM
3dsmax custom units have been around for YEARS...i started on max 3 and they had mm, m, feet etc as well as generic
all you need do is 'select' them...:neener: :lol:

Except for the unit scale set-up that looks decent enough (except for: because that seems to bite a lot of productions in the backside considering how much cursing I've been hearing).

O.k., Max now officially sucks as well and is no comparison to the awesomeness of Maya either.

Cheers,
Mike

P.S. Related and fun: http://blog.duber.cz/3ds-max/system-units-setup-in-3ds-max - I take everything back, the Max system makes it almost as good as Maya ;)

Elmar Moelzer
01-18-2010, 07:49 AM
As I said, it was a long time ago ;)

cresshead
01-18-2010, 07:54 AM
As I said, it was a long time ago ;)
so i'm guessing 1997 in 3dsmax 1.0 :thumbsup:

i'm gonna boot up max 2.5 on my OLD sgi320 just to have a peek!
the lack of realworld units totally put me off from xsi..that's just generic stuff which worked out to 1 unit = 1 decimeter

yup max 2.5 has meters, feet, inches, cm, mm and fractional inches too

Lightwolf
01-18-2010, 07:56 AM
so i'm guessing 1997 in 3dsmax 1.0 :thumbsup:

i'm gonna boot up max 2.5 on my OLD sgi320 just to have a peek!
1996 ;) And I did see a beta in '95 if I remember correctly.

Cheers,
Mike

cresshead
01-18-2010, 07:59 AM
Except for the unit scale set-up that looks decent enough (except for: because that seems to bite a lot of productions in the backside considering how much cursing I've been hearing).

O.k., Max now officially sucks as well and is no comparison to the awesomeness of Maya either.

Cheers,
Mike

P.S. Related and fun: http://blog.duber.cz/3ds-max/system-units-setup-in-3ds-max - I take everything back, the Max system makes it almost as good as Maya ;)

yeah but maya has decimal inches WTF!:hammer:

Lightwolf
01-18-2010, 08:01 AM
yeah but maya has decimal inches WTF!:hammer:
That's why I wrote "almost" ;) Methinks you need to file a bug report with AD. :D

Cheers,
Mike

shrox
01-18-2010, 08:03 AM
1996 ;) And I did see a beta in '95 if I remember correctly.

Cheers,
Mike

I was a beta tester for Max when I was at Rainbow, then I got the DEC Alpha with Lightwave.

Which forum am I on now?

cresshead
01-18-2010, 09:23 AM
That's why I wrote "almost" ;) Methinks you need to file a bug report with AD. :D

Cheers,
Mike

:stumped: i think alias had more to do with it than autodesk!

oh...n booted up ye olde sgi320 today

Lightwolf
01-18-2010, 09:27 AM
:stumped: i think alias had more to do with it than autodesk!
But it's Max that's apparently not behaving up to standards ;)

oh...n booted up ye olde sgi320 today
It looks like at least something good came out of this thread then.

Cheers,
Mike

Andyjaggy
01-18-2010, 09:59 AM
Well along the lines of the unit crap we are talking about.

I find being able to type math into the input fields very useful and use it a lot in Modo, but usually only for modeling rigid mechanical stuff.

In Max where I usually do all my animation, I've never really needed or missed being able to do this.

WilliamVaughan
01-18-2010, 10:44 AM
Congrats on the win! Avatar also won several Critics Choice awards

OnlineRender
01-18-2010, 10:48 AM
notice how Cameron beat his Ex-wife for the main award ..............

I would have been like ................................YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS SSSSSS Get that round you , biaaaaaaaaaatch ............

but he went with the poliet version .................

cresshead
01-18-2010, 11:25 AM
full listing of golden globes

Best film (drama)
Avatar
Also nominated:
The Hurt Locker
Precious
Up In The Air
Inglourious Basterds

Best film (musical or comedy)
The Hangover
Also nominated:
(500) Days of Summer
It's Complicated
Julie & Julia
Nine

Best director
James Cameron (Avatar)
Also nominated:
Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
Clint Eastwood (Invictus)
Jason Reitman (Up In The Air)
Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds)

Best actor (drama)
Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
Also nominated:
George Clooney (Up In The Air)
Colin Firth (A Single Man)
Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
Tobey Maguire (Brothers)

Best actress (drama)
Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
Also nominated:
Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria)
Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
Carey Mulligan (An Education)
Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)

Best actor (musical or comedy)
Robert Downey Jr (Sherlock Holmes)
Also nominated:
Matt Damon (The Informant!)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Nine)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer)
Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man)

Best actress (musical or comedy)
Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
Also nominated:
Sandra Bullock (The Proposal)
Marion Cotillard (Nine)
Julia Roberts (Duplicity)
Meryl Streep (It's Complicated)

Best supporting actor
Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Also nominated:
Matt Damon (Invictus)
Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)

Best supporting actress
Mo'Nique (Precious)
Also nominated:
Penelope Cruz (Nine)
Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air)
Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air)
Julianne Moore (A Single Man)

Best foreign language film
The White Ribbon (Germany)
Also nominated:
Baaria (Italy)
Broken Embraces (Spain)
The Maid (Chile)
A Prophet (France)

Best animated feature film
Up
Also nominated:
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
Coraline
Fantastic Mr Fox
The Princess and the Frog

Best screenplay
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner (Up In The Air)
Also nominated:
Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell (District 9)
Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker)
Nancy Meyers (It's Complicated)
Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)

Best original song
The Weary Kind (Crazy Heart)
Also nominated:
Cinema Italiano (Nine)
I Want To Come Home (Everybody's Fine)
I Will See You (Avatar)
Winter (Brothers)

Best original score
Michael Giacchino (Up)
Also nominated:
Marvin Hamlisch (The Informant!)
James Horner (Avatar)
Abel Korzeniowski (A Single Man)
Karen O, Carter Burwell (Where The Wild Things Are)

erikals
01-18-2010, 12:43 PM
i was a bit disappointed District 9 didn't win anything.
well, maybe Neil will make some other cool stuff.

Red_Oddity
01-18-2010, 02:00 PM
Not to add fuel to the unit conversion fire, but the big difference between LW and Maya's unit system is that when you choose a different unit system in LW a 1 meter box for example, becomes a 100cm box, a 39.37 inch box, or a 3.28 feet box, in Maya however a 1 meter box becomes a 1 cm box or a 1 inch box.

That is an incredible weekness on the Maya side, and it has wrecked many a workflow on many jobs in many companies, especially when you start dealing with rigged characters that need fur or objects that need to become dynamic, since scale affect those tools, and simply scaling some transform nodes can cause some really bizarre stuff.
Especially on large projects with many people a single bad unit preference can costs literally days of production time.
Nothing good settings and rules can't fix, mind you, but little things like this do occur, especially when not everyone on a project is under the eye of the same supervisor (freelancers working from home, or offloaded work to another company for example.)

As for another incredible strong feature of LW, and this is so simple and such an incredible missing feature of Maya that i keep wondering why not every damn user is complaining about this (and we keep requesting this every year), is a render viewer that is float and has a color picker build in that does float, right now we still have the same clunky 8-bit render view (with rounding errors in the conversion from float to 8-bit no less.)

erikals
01-18-2010, 02:56 PM
...man, u guys still discussing that?! :)

Cageman
01-18-2010, 03:24 PM
...man, u guys still discussing that?! :)

There is really not much of a discussion though... :D Seems that most people who use LW and Maya agrees. :)

Mike_RB
01-18-2010, 03:31 PM
Agreed, the lw/modo way is superior to the xsi/maya way. :)

cresshead
01-18-2010, 04:48 PM
Agreed, the lw/modo way is superior to the xsi/maya way. :)

edit...>> lw/3dsmax/modo way is superior to the xsi/maya/cinema/houdini way :D

Lightwolf
01-18-2010, 05:13 PM
edit...>> lw/3dsmax/modo way is superior to the xsi/maya/cinema/houdini way :D
Let's be picky (well, I'll be ;) ):
lw/modo > 3dsmax > xsi/maya/cinema/houdini
And that's because max still allows for users to screw up their units (as the first google hit on "3dsmax" and "units" shows).

Cheers,
Mike

shrox
01-18-2010, 05:15 PM
Dear Mike,

I hate Max.

Shrox

Ivan D. Young
01-18-2010, 07:58 PM
Maya's measuring system is broken and if you change the measuring units to anything besides Maya units you introduce errors into animating and IK. So says Autodesk!! I do not know what sort of errors they mean or if they are common, but according to info from Autodesk that is the situation.
Autodesk says that if you need to convert the measuring system to something else you might need to have an engineer compensate or convert data for you!
This might be one small reason why so many folks are animating in Motionbuilder over Maya these days. I am sure there are plenty of other reasons too!

cresshead
01-18-2010, 09:39 PM
Dear Mike,

I hate Max.

Shrox


Dear Mike,

I love Max

:D

NanoGator
01-18-2010, 09:43 PM
I have no opinion on Max. Can I sit between you two? :D

Elmar Moelzer
01-19-2010, 05:09 AM
I dont really like MAX either, at least I could not stand it back in the days.

OnlineRender
01-19-2010, 05:32 AM
ok time to re-jump on the band wagon , I like MAX because I bought it ............... :rock:
although since the purchase I've spent more time learning LW (via work ) but will all my knowledge although limited (",) be totally pointless if Core makes it .................

hmmmmmmmmm

Andyjaggy
01-19-2010, 09:23 AM
Dear Mike,

I hate Max.

Shrox

Dear Shrox Max > LW

NanoGator
01-19-2010, 11:17 AM
I dont really like MAX either, at least I could not stand it back in the days.

I used MAX 3.x on Windows 98 back in... I want to say 99? 98? Anyway, my main memory of it was this: "I better save it before I move this light." *10 seconds later* "Glad I saved it."

cresshead
01-19-2010, 11:36 AM
I used MAX 3.x on Windows 98 back in... I want to say 99? 98? Anyway, my main memory of it was this: "I better save it before I move this light." *10 seconds later* "Glad I saved it."

max 3.0 came out in late summer/autum 1999 and was prone to EXIT fast!:hammer:
but...max3.1 was/is ROCK solid and never crashed out on me...a bug fix that made it almost indestructable...a proper BUG fix.

NanoGator
01-19-2010, 11:45 AM
Was that NT or 98, out of curiosity?

cresshead
01-19-2010, 12:01 PM
Was that NT or 98, out of curiosity?

i ran it on both but NT4.0 is solid with max3.1...was running it just yesterday to keep my old sgi 320 up n running!

NanoGator
01-19-2010, 12:18 PM
i ran it on both but NT4.0 is solid with max3.1...was running it just yesterday to keep my old sgi 320 up n running!

Yeah I suspect that was half the battle. I never got the impression that Max was that good with Win 9x machines. I'm pretty sure it was designed with NT in mind.

BTW I used one of those SGIs and I loved 'em. The video card (chip, really) was right there next to the processor and used the same RAM as the CPU. At the time, AGP 2x was high end and 4x was around the corner. The software company I worked at did some benchmarks on what that was capable of. The details are a lil fuzzy but it was something like this: We could send 1024 by 1024 video at ~15 fps over the AGP port, and 2k by 2k at over 30 fps on the SGI hardware. Again, those details might be a bit off, I'm just trying to give a sense of scale. The difference was immense and I'm truely truely surprised that didn't affect the architecture of PCs to follow.

Edit: Their LCD screens were ahead of their time, too.

Lightwolf
01-19-2010, 12:38 PM
The difference was immense and I'm truely truely surprised that didn't affect the architecture of PCs to follow.

But it has... for low cost machines ;)
Mind you, a few years later SGI had problems competing with run of the mill PC workstation chips, and a little later actually used them for their top of the range machines (ATI if I remember correctly).

Cheers,
Mike

Stooch
01-19-2010, 12:43 PM
i think that its even more amusing that you are blaming units for people not setting their scale conversion when exporting.

your units could be perfect but unless you do that, you wont get the right scale. thats a problem with converting from different standards.

again, for me personally this is a trivial issue in maya, i could give you many more issues that are way up there on the list.
an every time i have made this assertion i said FOR ME. as in, thats my opinion from my use.
the reason why im marginalizing this issue is very simple. It doesnt bother me much... i hope you can understand ;)

however im not just marginalizing it, but taking the time to explain my workaround, which seems to be a popular approach with lightwave users. but all of a sudden has some resistance in mayas case. lol. (you know it almost makes me want to script a little utility, almost)


It is quite amusing how people will try to dismiss a really useful feature as nonsense just because their glorious app does not support it.
I think that LWs unit support is a very straight foreward, logical thing. It just makes sense and it works.
I used to work in MAX a lot, but that was a long time ago, so I cant say how much has changed. Back in the days at least, it did not have real world units either and that CONSTANTLY caused problems, especially when including assets from 3rd parties, like stock meshes, or meshes that came from the internet. It was a major pain, because NOTHING would fit together. Meshes that came from the US were probably made in inches or feet, so you were never going to get anything that fit together precisely (like e.g. a car engine with a mesh of a car). It caused a lot of wasted time, because you had to try different conversions until one fit. Many times we would just end up eyeballing it, because no possible conversion resulted in anything that made sense. That was probably because Anyone is free to interpret Max- units as whatever they want and when the original mesh had first been built in yet another application, like say, a CAD software, then imported into MAX for conversion to the stock object, the artist probably did not give a crap about what size the MAX units represented in the end. They are after all "whatever you make them", right?

Lightwolf
01-19-2010, 12:49 PM
i think that its even more amusing that you are blaming units for people not setting their scale conversion when exporting.

No, he's blaming a system that needs a scale conversion in the first place (or manual transformation set-ups just to display values in the right units).

your units could be perfect but unless you do that, you wont get the right scale. thats a problem with converting from different standards.
That's why LW makes so much sense though. No conversion to set up in the first place.

Cheers,
Mike

jin choung
01-19-2010, 01:48 PM
i think that its even more amusing that you are blaming units for people not setting their scale conversion when exporting.

your units could be perfect but unless you do that, you wont get the right scale. thats a problem with converting from different standards.

again, for me personally this is a trivial issue in maya, i could give you many more issues that are way up there on the list.
an every time i have made this assertion i said FOR ME. as in, thats my opinion from my use.
the reason why im marginalizing this issue is very simple. It doesnt bother me much... i hope you can understand ;)

however im not just marginalizing it, but taking the time to explain my workaround, which seems to be a popular approach with lightwave users. but all of a sudden has some resistance in mayas case. lol. (you know it almost makes me want to script a little utility, almost)

you're being unreasonable.

jin

NanoGator
01-19-2010, 01:51 PM
I don't think he is, not enough to warrant this much response.

jin choung
01-19-2010, 01:52 PM
I don't think he is, not enough to warrant this much response.

he is. it's on a small thing. but it's unreasonable nonetheless.

jin

NanoGator
01-19-2010, 01:54 PM
Small enough to keep circling it like this?

jin choung
01-19-2010, 01:57 PM
Small enough to keep circling it like this?

that's a different point. i would have agreed with you if you said he's being unreasonable but we should let it go because it's getting wearisome.

jin

NanoGator
01-19-2010, 02:00 PM
It is getting wearisome. But he's right that he's been clear that he's talking about his own workflow. It's a technical feature vs. proper workflow debate, which really isn't something that can be 'won'. It's like saying Captain Kirk is better because he has more combat experience vs. Captain Picard being better because Patrick Stewart is a Shakesperian Actor.

It doesn't reflect well on us as Lightwave users.

MrWyatt
01-19-2010, 02:03 PM
...it's on a small thing...

pssst... in which unit system is that small thing exactly and how many units does it have?
:devil:

jin choung
01-19-2010, 03:42 PM
But he's right that he's been clear that he's talking about his own workflow. It's a technical feature vs. proper workflow debate, which really isn't something that can be 'won'.

this is what i disagree with.

first, he seems to be speaking in general terms about objective qualities and then he retreats to subjective preference when countered.

but OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING: this is about a piece of software that is not just being used by him. that being the case, lw's method of dealing with units and math is simply more user friendly and robust.

and whether something is useful to person x does not factor into whether it is in fact a better way of doing something. he may be fine driving nails with a rock but it's still possible to say that a hammer is BETTER (geez, i'm kinda disoriented here cuz i'm usually saying this about lwers).

there is really no room for argument here.

and here are the simple points that stooch can't win a fight on:

1. is it better for the software to take prosaic tasks and automate them or not?

2. is it better for software to let a user work as he/she pleases or if it coerces you to work as it requires?

3. is it better for software to catch errors and operates according to user INTENT or to follow a strict procedure, user be damned?

it's bad if the software MISINTERPRETS user intent and that is possible... but that is NOT an issue here.

-------------------------------------------

lw's methodology of handling units simply DEMANDS LESS FROM THE USER. when all is said and done, that is true. and that is BETTER.

it is a SMALL thing. it is NOT rocket science.

but it is UNEQUIVOCALLY NICE. and nicer than maya's implementation of these particular features.

and as we all know, stooch just enjoys the heck out of rambling on subjects he enjoys so i fully expect a retort.

but this is my case. it is closed. i for one will not further grow this particular, and moot, debate.

jin

p.s. and it reflects badly on lwers when they defend the indefensible. this happens frequently too and i am usually on the other side picking them apart for it.

but it in no way reflects badly on lwers when they simply embrace reality - and this turns out to be one of those rare occasions where reality has lw's back.

jin

NanoGator
01-19-2010, 03:46 PM
>_<

jin choung
01-19-2010, 07:13 PM
The difference was immense and I'm truely truely surprised that didn't affect the architecture of PCs to follow.

my take is that the competitors simply didn't have to.

sgis and alphas were more modern, better designed, more elegant and sported better technology all around...

but moore's law just kicked the elegant pansies by the wayside as a buttugly x86 goes screaming by.

x86 is old as dirt but you strap enough rockets onto an edsel and it'll go. so the architecture WAS old and WAS compromised but they just kept cranking that ugly thing faster and faster and faster. no elegance. no design. just raw horsepower.

so while sgi and alpha expected to enjoy the rareified markets of the premium "high end", the low end, with its ugly as sin architecture not only overtook and passed them but did it FAAAaaaaaar cheaper.

there's a lesson here.... something about "quality", price and the march of progress... must mull that one over some though....

jin

SplineGod
01-20-2010, 02:25 AM
It would be cool if Newtek did a Lightwave profile on this. Those Newtek marketing people need a new project don't they? :D

Unfortunately the person in charge of the VAD (virtual art dept) doesnt want to talk to Newtek because of the lack of support on the film. Newtek seems to always give attention when they need something but are nowhere to be found when you need something. Sad but true...

SplineGod
01-20-2010, 02:37 AM
I was wondering what you were doing down under, Larry. Guess that's not all, too, huh?

And Larry, let me take a moment to congratulate you and all the guys working on the film.

Who wouldn't help with the fbx issues? (Asking while all the while knowing...)

Thanks! Much appreciated. It was actually a challenging project to work on.
I want to also say that Brian aka "nanogator" was also indispensable to work with. His scripts really got us over some tough hurdles. :) Having Brian around to write scripts was alot better then relying on Newtek for help.

What was interesting also were the problems we consistantly had with models created in Maya. For some reason there was always alot of "trash" left when the models were brought into motion builder...extra polys, holes, tearing etc. Many times we would have to fix them in Lightwave.

Another interesting project I worked on with Rob was Camerons Aliens of the Deep. That was interesting because a number of small Maya groups were hired and fired along the way. We ended up coming in at the end and getting it done with Lightwave.
Camerons VFX supervisor, Chuck Kaminski told me that he was unfamiliar with Lightwave and was curious. After a few days he came into the office and said, "I really love Lightwave!" He was just amazed at how quickly we could get things done so he could give feedback on the direction things were going without having to wait so long. :)

Red_Oddity
01-20-2010, 02:38 AM
Unfortunately the person in charge of the VAD (virtual art dept) doesnt want to talk to Newtek because of the lack of support on the film. Newtek seems to always give attention when they need something but are nowhere to be found when you need something. Sad but true...

If that is true, then that is something AD does better, but then again ,with AD you PAY a yearly subscription fee (or per problem/telephone call if you don't have a company where every Maya license is/was Maya Unlimited with gold subscription (you can't/couldn't mix Maya Complete and Unlimited on a site to be able to actually use that gold subscription support)).
Not sure what NTs customer support policy is now with the new membership/subscription model.

Mind you, i think i never used NT support before (never needed it), so i have no idea how good the support really is, for all i know Larry is talking out of his rear end (no offense meant Larry), but i trust him on this, seeing his connections in the industry.

OnlineRender
01-20-2010, 03:06 AM
Seems to be a common theme , ayaM gets used and stummbles ,then they call in the LW artists too correct the problem .

jin choung
01-20-2010, 03:24 AM
Seems to be a common theme , ayaM gets used and stummbles ,then they call in the LW artists too correct the problem .

it happens but let's not go nuts.

in my personal experience, it has more to do with the proficiency of the operators than the app. i've met guru lwers that can run rings around maya users in terms of capability (guilty) but i've also seen guru maya peeps do things that would be incredibly difficult or time consuming to do in lw. but it is true that i do find those kinds of maya peeps pretty rare.

it's the ol davinci with crayolas vs. the 5 y.o. with an airbrush. crayolas ain't better but he sure the f would know how to get the most mileage out of what he had....

and to put things into perspective, how many seats of lw do you think WETA or ILM had for the project?

so it happens. but let's maintain some sobriety and properly attribute credit to where it's primarily due, the artists.

jin

jin choung
01-20-2010, 03:29 AM
hehe... just noticed how ludicrously exaggerated the pic inside the screen was:

http://www.surrealaward.com/avatar/image3dtech/3dhardware002.jpg

now THAT'S marketing (aka false advertising)!

jin

Red_Oddity
01-20-2010, 03:53 AM
hehe... just noticed how ludicrously exaggerated the pic inside the screen was:

http://www.surrealaward.com/avatar/image3dtech/3dhardware002.jpg

now THAT'S marketing (aka false advertising)!

jin

That URL doesn't work.

SplineGod
01-20-2010, 03:55 AM
If that is true, then that is something AD does better, but then again ,with AD you PAY a yearly subscription fee (or per problem/telephone call if you don't have a company where every Maya license is/was Maya Unlimited with gold subscription (you can't/couldn't mix Maya Complete and Unlimited on a site to be able to actually use that gold subscription support)).
Not sure what NTs customer support policy is now with the new membership/subscription model.

Mind you, i think i never used NT support before (never needed it), so i have no idea how good the support really is, for all i know Larry is talking out of his rear end (no offense meant Larry), but i trust him on this, seeing his connections in the industry.

Trust me, I wish I was talking out my rear. After using LW on avatar I was advised to dump LW in favor of Maya because of the lack of committment from Newtek vs Autodesk. Autodesk showed far more interest in what was being done with Motion Builder etc on Avatar then Newtek did. The simple truth is that fewer and fewer places are willing to share what was done on projects with LW because of the things I mentioned. Another sad note...while I was working on Aliens of the Deep I get a call from a friend who was working on the previz for spiderman because he needed some technical help with Lightwave. I asked him why he was calling me for help and he said that he was advised by people at Newtek to call me. I dont mind helping but, like I said, if NT needs you they call but arent around when you need them. Its an ongoing chronic problem NT has and its catching up to them.

Cageman
01-20-2010, 04:30 AM
Also, I'm quite sure that AD was in the know about the movie Avatar. I don't think NT actually knew what project people worked on when trying to get help. I do know that Rob Powers were feedbacking NT on FBX-related stuff, but I'm quite sure he was not allowed to say what project was worked on.

So... would things have been different for you guys if the words "Cameron, new BIG budget movie, we need special LW-support ASAP" could have changed anything? As I said, I'm quite confident in that NT did not know, but AD did... Give the two companies equal share on information before comparing technical support (as in code-support)...

SplineGod
01-20-2010, 10:05 AM
No, Newtek did know. Consider it a lost opportunity for NT in a long line of lost opportunities....
Again, if there were people feeling any warm fuzzies towards Newtek with regards to work done with LW on Avatar Newtek would have those screen shots/assets to show off by now.

Cageman
01-20-2010, 10:59 AM
Ok...

Well... even IF things had been nice and dandy it doesn't mean NT would have any rights publishing a story about it. Remember King Kong? LW was used to do set extensions on some of the shots, the story was published but later removed due to no permission. Of what I've heard, it is getting harder and harder (or very expensive) to get approved, and I think we can thank ADs greed for this.

cresshead
01-20-2010, 11:20 AM
reading what larry has to say about newtek thesedays is like someone going thru a "divorce"...what once was love is now all lost.

still, well done on Avatar everyone who worked don it.

jeric_synergy
01-20-2010, 11:45 AM
Really what it boils down to was that each app was treated as a tool in the toolbox, as opposed to just using one app to try to do it all. As long as we could get it into whatever app it needed to be in, t'was all good.
And THAT is what should be Jay's 'takeaway' message: to get used by the big kids, make sure the app plays well with others.

Which I'm sure he knows, but emphasis is worthwhile.

jeric_synergy
01-20-2010, 11:50 AM
I'm with stooch.
Wow, two people arguing for LESS flexibility.

Very short sighted. very very very short sighted. :devil:

Chuck
01-20-2010, 11:52 AM
Unfortunately the person in charge of the VAD (virtual art dept) doesnt want to talk to Newtek because of the lack of support on the film. Newtek seems to always give attention when they need something but are nowhere to be found when you need something. Sad but true...

If I understand correctly that would be Rob Powers. When Rob indicated that he was interested in getting our FBX support further developed we gave him direct access to the engineer working in that area, by instant messaging. Rob submitted a couple of bug reports and those were fixed, and the engineer also recalls that their IM discussions were active for quite a while, and that he was able to address most of the issues that were discussed in IM. If we missed something important in the exchanges, Rob has our public apologies.

jeric_synergy
01-20-2010, 11:59 AM
you're describing a scenario where the software is forcing you to work the way it wants you to.

With lw's implementation of units, it allows you to work the way you (or any user) wants to work.

THAT is superior.
So few software 'designers' understand this.

Another way: "the customer is always right."

I vividly remember the meeting at DD with Allen and Stuart, and 40 beta testers trying to convince Stuart that something should be implemented*, and him stubbornly saying "there is no need for that".

Stooch is being polite and all, but I'm pretty sure he still believes the proponents of this feature are, at best, misguided and if they'd just comprehend the beauty of his approach they'd see the light.

Bottom line: plenty of people find it very valuable, and there's no downside to including it.


*anybody remember what?

jeric_synergy
01-20-2010, 12:07 PM
yup max 2.5 has meters, feet, inches, cm, mm and fractional inches too
Can you mix&match units arithmetically in text fields and have them evaluated? EG "7.3m+24.5in" ?

jeric_synergy
01-20-2010, 12:16 PM
Seems to be a common theme , ayaM gets used and stummbles ,then they call in the LW artists too correct the problem .
And then AutoDesk gets all the glory in CineFex.

It's like someone at NTek goes to industry parties, flirts with the wrong spouses, pukes on the wrong shoes, and scratches the wrong cars.

That is: NewTek is heartily ignored, compared to AD, in the media. Projects I know used LW get credited to other apps.

jeric_synergy
01-20-2010, 12:19 PM
I don't think NT actually knew what project people worked on when trying to get help.
?? Why are you such an apologist for NewTek's bad behaviour?

You act like their doting mom or something.

jin choung
01-20-2010, 12:26 PM
?? Why are you such an apologist for NewTek's bad behaviour?

You act like their doting mom or something.

thank you!

cage, you make one excuse after another for them... why? i mean ONE excuse may be understandable but then that gets shot down and turns out to be false and you come back with another UNRELATED one?

jin

erikals
01-20-2010, 12:39 PM
the fact is, we don't know everything.

- 'facts' here might be wrong.
- mails could have accidentally ended up as spam
- old fashioned mis-communication

it's tricky for all of us to know just exactly what happened.

robertoortiz
01-20-2010, 12:59 PM
Trust me, I wish I was talking out my rear. After using LW on avatar I was advised to dump LW in favor of Maya because of the lack of committment from Newtek vs Autodesk. Autodesk showed far more interest in what was being done with Motion Builder etc on Avatar then Newtek did. The simple truth is that fewer and fewer places are willing to share what was done on projects with LW because of the things I mentioned. Another sad note...while I was working on Aliens of the Deep I get a call from a friend who was working on the previz for spiderman because he needed some technical help with Lightwave. I asked him why he was calling me for help and he said that he was advised by people at Newtek to call me. I dont mind helping but, like I said, if NT needs you they call but arent around when you need them. Its an ongoing chronic problem NT has and its catching up to them.
This post is worth reposting.
This is a situtation that needs to change.
I do hope that erikals is right and it is just a communication problem.

Red_Oddity
01-20-2010, 01:03 PM
Trust me, I wish I was talking out my rear. After using LW on avatar I was advised to dump LW in favor of Maya because of the lack of committment from Newtek vs Autodesk. Autodesk showed far more interest in what was being done with Motion Builder etc on Avatar then Newtek did. The simple truth is that fewer and fewer places are willing to share what was done on projects with LW because of the things I mentioned. Another sad note...while I was working on Aliens of the Deep I get a call from a friend who was working on the previz for spiderman because he needed some technical help with Lightwave. I asked him why he was calling me for help and he said that he was advised by people at Newtek to call me. I dont mind helping but, like I said, if NT needs you they call but arent around when you need them. Its an ongoing chronic problem NT has and its catching up to them.

Yeah, i saw i posted almost at the same time as you when quoting you.
I wasn't aware you actually worked on the movie, kudos.

Still have to see the damn thing, last Sunday i went the theater was sold out (all showings for that day), and that is more than a month after the movie premiered, and i was really looking forward to it (now I'll have to wait again as I'm up to my neck in deadlines again.)

Titus
01-20-2010, 01:04 PM
Wow, two people arguing for LESS flexibility.

Very short sighted. very very very short sighted. :devil:

Yes, I'm myopic :D. And I gave my reasons why sometimes is bad to mix units.

robertoortiz
01-20-2010, 01:08 PM
And then AutoDesk gets all the glory in CineFex.

It's like someone at NTek goes to industry parties, flirts with the wrong spouses, pukes on the wrong shoes, and scratches the wrong cars.

That is: NewTek is heartily ignored, compared to AD, in the media. Projects I know used LW get credited to other apps.


This is really apparent during SIGGRAPH.

Titus
01-20-2010, 01:08 PM
This post is worth reposting.
This is a situtation that needs to change.
I do hope that erikals is right and it is just a communication problem.

We all know NT fails at good marketing. I agree this situation needs to change, or Core will have a hard time regaining market.

erikals
01-20-2010, 01:18 PM
absolutely,

the marketing side of NT has always had a need for an upgrade.

Lightwolf
01-20-2010, 01:56 PM
So few software 'designers' understand this.

Another way: "the customer is always right."

Almost: "The customer always has a point." Right would imply: Implement feature requests verbatim as requested, which is usually a recipe for disaster (especially because as requested is hardly ever as understood - on both sides of the communication barrier).
Which is why discussion is required.

I think we agree to agree though, I'm just a picky (semi-)old fart... ;)

Cheers,
Mike

Lightwolf
01-20-2010, 02:04 PM
the fact is, we don't know everything.

Well, to just give another story:
Some time ago we had to develop a system around and within LW for a (prominent) customer to be used prominently in the computing industry (the result being the LW based SPEC benchmark).

I did contact NT directly to get some support (as a crucial part of the architecture wouldn't have worked with the LW SDK), dropped some names, got backup and was contacted by a LW developer directly (Bob Hood in this case) with whom I discussed and brain stormed the problem.
One of the ideas ended up as a part of the public SDK (lwtimer.h) - I suspect it's a hidden gem that got exposed, but so what, it does the job.#

So it can work out. We were happy, customer happy, NT happy - a triple win situation.

The only downside really is that it may require name dropping. Ideally that shouldn't be required - but I fear that'd be beyond NTs resources.

Cheers,
Mike - who got neither paid nor nudged to write this, 'onest guv'nor!

SplineGod
01-20-2010, 02:15 PM
Ok...

Well... even IF things had been nice and dandy it doesn't mean NT would have any rights publishing a story about it. Remember King Kong? LW was used to do set extensions on some of the shots, the story was published but later removed due to no permission. Of what I've heard, it is getting harder and harder (or very expensive) to get approved, and I think we can thank ADs greed for this.

It has nothing to do with that sort of thing in this case. It is simple matter of someone who could share not wanting to for the reasons I specified. Someone working on very high profile projects with LW abandoning LW for the reasons I specified. I wish it was due to AD but in this case NT was able to do this all on their own. :)

Kuzey
01-20-2010, 02:19 PM
I want to also say that Brian aka "nanogator" was also indispensable to work with. His scripts really got us over some tough hurdles. :) Having Brian around to write scripts was alot better then relying on Newtek for help.


I would so love to know more about those scripts...were they created to help with repetitive modelling tasks or getting the objects ready for export etc.

Boy, this thread has picked up some steam :D

Kuzey

NanoGator
01-20-2010, 02:20 PM
I was on Avatar for about 3 and a half years. During that time I was the go-to-guy in the VAD for LW to Mobu technical challenges. Three years is a LOT of accumulated memory, so by now the specifics are fuzzy, but I don't remember any disappointment with Newtek. I mean, I remebmer some disappointment with Lightwave, more specifically that FBX workflow wasn't so hot. I never felt that was on Newtek's shoulders, though. Alias wrote the plugin and it was terrible. I'll give you an idea: If you exported a scene from Lightwave into MotionBuilder, then took an object, unparented it, and zero'd out its rotations, it'd lay on its side. They were using a rotated parent-null to fix the orientation of everything in the scene. If we had sent that to stage, Lightwave would have been blamed for every single problem afterwards, even if it were completely unrelated. (If that sounds funny, try to keep in mind how big and complex MotionBuilder is.)

We really needed that plugin looked at, but I think the programmer at Alias that worked on it was no longer available or something. We got no more help after that. To be fair, though, we couldn't name-drop Avatar, either. It hadn't been green-lit, so we couldn't say anything about it. We couldn't say that we were working on Avatar. we couldn't mention Jim Cameron. We couldn't even put Avatar on our resumes until after 2007. I don't know if it would have helped, though. We had a solution, it was working well, and even if a new FBX exporter materialized it's difficult to imagine it replacing the tried-and-true solution I had cooked up.

I can tell you guys that I've talked to Newtek a LOT more than I talked to Autodesk. In fact, Newtek even got some fixes put in the beta for us. Transparency in Modeler is much better than it was back in 9.0, for example. That was great because we abused the heck out of transparency in that movie. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I cannot recall any improvements Autodesk made on our behalf. (It's possible they did for other departments, I wouldn't know either way.) AD saw what we were up to on Avatar but if you were to look at the FBX plugin changes since then you wouldn't know it.

This is getting into off-topic territory, but I want to mention this, too. Newtek has been VERY responsive with Maestro related issues. I haven't had this much personal interaction with any other software company. I don't feel let down by Newtek.

SplineGod
01-20-2010, 02:20 PM
reading what larry has to say about newtek thesedays is like someone going thru a "divorce"...what once was love is now all lost.

still, well done on Avatar everyone who worked don it.

Probably because most of the old time, pro LW users have moved on. After Avatar my supervisor (a longtime LW supporter) GREATLY encouraged me to dump LW in favor of Maya. He felt that Newtek just insnt behind the product anymore. Between the lack of support and the bad showing(s) at siggraph etc he had enough. Hes tired of doing NTs job and pushing LW into the bigger studios and onto big projects like Avatar. It boils down to him giving NT as much support as they gave us.

I know from from direct personal experience and direction communication at LightStorm and outside of Lightstorm with the supervisor of the VAD there that what Ive said about NTs support or lack thereof is straight from the horses mouth.

If it sounds like a bad divorce theres a reason. THe one common underlying theme is exactly what Oliver stated. Ive seen too many instances of this behavior by NT over the years. Ive stayed with LW despite Newtek not because of them. In the end it all finally comes to a head. Im still here because of the community in general even though many think Im nuts for bothering.

Cageman
01-20-2010, 02:23 PM
thank you!

cage, you make one excuse after another for them... why? i mean ONE excuse may be understandable but then that gets shot down and turns out to be false and you come back with another UNRELATED one?

jin

What excuses have I made now?

This particular post makes me wonder how much the devs at NT knew about the project: http://www.newtek.com/forums/showpost.php?p=973358&postcount=36

During the production of LOTR, Alias had people working very close with WETA to assist with codesupport. I have to assume this was done on Avatar as well, and unlike NT (as you can see in that post...NanoGator was NOT able to tell NT what they worked on), I'm quite sure the peeps at AD knew about the project (non of us can know for sure, of course). In any case, NT does not have enough developers to join forces with a production team, where AD probably have alot more resources on that front.

On the note about Marketing:

I've been talking to one of those who are trying very hard to get things like this covered, and this person has told me that it is hard to get projects like this covered. There are even production companies for TV-series that have said no to NT when asked if they can be included in some sort of interview / behind the scenes story because studio X used LW for the VFX. The VFX-studios themselves are not to blame in this cases, since they would love to be allowed to talk about their stuff.

Anyhow... I'm just conveying what I've heard. If you read it as an excuse, then what can I say?

erikals
01-20-2010, 02:30 PM
...In any case, NT does not have enough developers to join forces with a production team, where AD probably have alot more resources on that front.
...more like a small army i'd say...

SplineGod
01-20-2010, 02:34 PM
If I understand correctly that would be Rob Powers. When Rob indicated that he was interested in getting our FBX support further developed we gave him direct access to the engineer working in that area, by instant messaging. Rob submitted a couple of bug reports and those were fixed, and the engineer also recalls that their IM discussions were active for quite a while, and that he was able to address most of the issues that were discussed in IM. If we missed something important in the exchanges, Rob has our public apologies.

If you say so Chuck... I was present during much of that and was informed about much of it before and after the project as well. What I know is that NT took someone who WAS an ardent support of NT and LW and turned him completely against both. Its not the first time this has happened nor the last Im sure. If it werent the case Im sure you guys would have received those avatar assets, interviews etc a long time ago.
Well then again maybe Im wrong and they got lost in the mail....?

Cageman
01-20-2010, 02:38 PM
This is getting into off-topic territory, but I want to mention this, too. Newtek has been VERY responsive with Maestro related issues. I haven't had this much personal interaction with any other software company. I don't feel let down by Newtek.

Thank you very much! This is my experience as well, having had close contact with some of the devs for quite some time. I too have been submitting things related to FBX and my work, and have had a 2-4 hour dedicated session with the developer at NT who worked on the FBX implementation where we sent eachother stuff over Skype to test, re-test and work things through.

Even if there are still issues and workflows lacking from the native FBX toolset, I'm quite happy with the collaboration I've had with NT.

SplineGod
01-20-2010, 02:43 PM
Larry, you have to understand that Newtek is not interested in being at the forefront of the industry. ;) Serious now, the secrets of collaboration seem indeed rather alien to them as does the importance of "smooth representin'", be it at news sites, at important projects or schools - the next generation of users - ...it just does not compute.

I start to see why Brad and the others left - NT's image would have overshadowed their future. Each professional waver I meet has a different horror story to tell. With every move NT does that further brands them as inept wannabe's this shadow grows and it will, and actually already does, affect core.
I'm not talking about the reveal although it touches the "theme". NT does not have to come up with clever ways to market their stuff.
That's what professionals are there for. Pay a good marketing company. Pay a customer to get material. Wait for stuff that is delivered free (oh, and then lose it from time to time...) and thus good enough will not make a difference, just as the info of LW being used on Avatar will not spill outside this forum. Word of mouth can be incredibly powerful - but it is not reliable.

Oh, and there should be professionals making important decisions.
NT apparently operates in a self-contained bubble, while there is a distant "industry" buzzing around them and with every new partnership, convergance of technologies or sub-industries, the distance grows. Arrogance and a blasť attitude somehow just don't work as good as modesty when dealing with superiors.
Hm. Well, the moment the current development team (the only part that gets respect no matter who you talk to) jumps ship... I know I'll stick with them (if I'm still around for private stuff, using different tools professionally most of the time).

I have to agree. If Newtek was actually serious about support LW in a serious way it would be the case. It feels like the video side and the 3d side are two completely separate companies.
I also now see why Brad and others left. Newtek has very little passion about the 3d side of things. Its unfortunate that Lux broke away and handled the breakup in the way they did. Its amazing how a small company like NT has spawned 3 other companies and it always seems to be for the same reasons...
The old toaster group broke off and formed Play.
Another group broke off and formed PMG.
The old LW dev team broke away and formed Luxology.
Then the old CEO of NT, Dwight Parscal was fired, he does to Play and starts up EIAS with Jay Roth then Jay Roth is fired from that company and ends up at Newtek. Whatever is going on internally at NT isnt good to be in such turmoil. I can see why trying to develop Core or truly support end users under those conditions is worse then climbing Mt Everest blindfolded....

jayroth
01-20-2010, 02:56 PM
Then the old CEO of NT, Dwight Parscal was fired, he does to Play and starts up EIAS with Jay Roth then Jay Roth is fired from that company and ends up at Newtek. Whatever is going on internally at NT isnt good to be in such turmoil. I can see why trying to develop Core or truly support end users under those conditions is worse then climbing Mt Everest blindfolded....

Correcting the record here, Larry: Dwight never started EI with me. EI was formed in 1987, by myself, Mark Granger and Markus Houy. EI merged with Play in 1998; Play effectively died with Paul Montgomery, even though it remained on life support for a few years afterward. Dwight Parscale was hired by Play management after I stepped down from the CEO role post merger (I was too burned out, and needed a break -- it was a decision I regret). Dwight cooked up a buy back scheme from Play, in which he ended up running EI (into the ground), and I left, as we were oil and water. The EI that formed after Play was essentially his far more than mine (as he got the funding for the buyback).

Stooch
01-20-2010, 02:58 PM
this is what i disagree with.

1. is it better for the software to take prosaic tasks and automate them or not?

2. is it better for software to let a user work as he/she pleases or if it coerces you to work as it requires?

3. is it better for software to catch errors and operates according to user INTENT or to follow a strict procedure, user be damned?
jin

i think that you arguing what I SHOULD THINK - is unreasonable. Im not here to change your POV, just to share my experiences and try to improve the experiences of others by suggesting ways to work around issues. You, on the other hand, just love to flap your mouth and listen to yourself talk. As stated before, if my point of views upset you, then deal with it. Dont cry to me with this "unreasonable" bs.

As far as "stooch cant win those arguments".

i will make only one point.

Even though lw has an arguably "better" approach on units and performin math in attribute fields (a dubious advantage for me). Maya still vastly surpasses LW in workflows that TRULY MATTER. Thats really the only point that i will argue. Your unit complaints. well, if they were so important and so overwhelmingly valid, as to warrant ths pointless argument - dont you think that newtek would do better against maya?

if anyone is going to make the foolish mistake of basing their pipeline around an app that can perform simple math in attribute fields or lets them add inches to meters... well... thats their prerogative.

personally, i recommend using a very simple and fast workaround and enjoy the vastly superior architecture (and will gladly argue what makes a better architecture). and by the way there is nothing really stopping me or anyone from writing a python based attribute editor or outiner or scene editor, whateer you want to call it, and enable this feature. The reason why nobody bothered is... well... as i was saying, its not really important. Its not just my opinion but a fact that is supported by current market. If you REALLY want to see this feature in Maya, then please, by all means, submit a feature request to autodesk. Arguing with me, is not going to get you anywhere. So... move on.

erikals
01-20-2010, 03:26 PM
i think you're wrong Stooch, besides writing a feature request for Maya is like talking to a wall.

robpowers3d
01-20-2010, 03:54 PM
Ok first of all, I wasn't aware of this thread or I would have posted sooner. I would first like to say Larry, I love you but please let me speak for myself. Especially in public forums. capiche? There is nothing worse than someone attempting to speak for you in a public forum. So here it is. Directly from the Direhorses mouth.

Having just come of of Jim Cameron's previous film "Aliens of the Deep" where I was lead creature designer and designed the main title opening around the "Spork" winged alien creature. I was the first CG / Animator to be hired directly by Jim on Avatar. I worked from early 2005 on the film in the Art Department with an extremely gifted team of designers, illustrators, and the production designer directly with Jim every day. The sole reason Lightwave was used on the film was because I used it and knew the strengths of the software. At that time I was the only CG person working directly for Lightstorm on the project (There was a brilliant Zbrush Modeler named Andrew Cawrse from ILM brought in as well). I was asked to rig and animated motion tests of the creatures for the film like running and walking of the Direhorse, The attack dive positions and flight cycles of the The Great Leonopteryx, and early alien plant and landscape concepts (for which I used Lightwave with VUE). It was very demanding work and I had to be able to do a wide range of things very quickly and make it look good.

This went on for several months to a year or so and as the film transitioned into the production phase I was able to take a motionbuilder scene from the first concept Virtual Production test and turn it into something that actually looked appealing and invoked the artwork. There had been comments made to Jim from the folks leading the realtime test that it wasn’t possible to give him shadows, light shafts, atmospherics, or many plants in the jungles and I knew that this wasn't actually true. So I took one of the scenes and I used Lightwave and Motionbuilder to prove my point by developing some of the fundamental "cheats" that became the foundation for our Virtual Art Department or (VAD). When Jim saw these lush jungle scene with all of the light shafts and appealing atmosphere he told me that he wanted me to start the head up the VAD department for him from that point forward. So that was when the VAD was born.

Brian was one of the first guys I called because his rigging plugin had been useful to me when I was rigging the Direhorse concept animations (by myself and animating running and walk cycles in a day BTW). I knew from our conversations about the rigging plugin that he was working on a small budget indie animation film using Lightwave and I thought he might be interested on coming on board for Avatar. I wanted someone strong in Lightwave scripting skills because I knew we would likely need that skill and I saw a lot of potential in him. Next I looked to the Dave school to hire the majority of the rest of the crew because I knew they had a great sense of Lightwave as a whole and would be easy to train for the pipeline I was setting up. Boy was I right. Not only did they become valuable to me they have since gone on to work on several other great film projects. And I am so proud of giving each and every one of them their break on Avatar. Especially because I had to fight to even bring them onto the project in the beginning because there were concerns that students right out of school wouldn't do good work. I knew with proper training and guidance that was b.s. I knew that no one would work harder than them. So I called on William Vaughan at the Dave school and he agreed to hand pick the top of the class for me. This was so helpful because I knew already the guys I would be getting would be great. From that point on I served as Virtual Art Department (VAD) supervisor and I trained the team and built the VAD department up to be an extremely important part of production. It is true that I brought Larry S. onboard but it was actually for a very brief time before the VAD actually moved to the Playa stages for full Virtual Production.

Yes the VAD did primarily use Lightwave to model and texture bake most of the jungle and many other set and prop assets for the film but again this was pretty much due to my position on the film and the fact that I knew it would work well in this role. I knew its precise polygonal modeler and incredible render engine would help us quickly achieve our goals. It worked well for this. As mentioned before largely due how easy it is to be extremely precise with the measurements in modeler, its ability to easily manage polygon counts and optimize uv layouts, and the fantastic render engine that could give us a much more high quality render look with ease. By baking the Lightwave render engine and advanced lighting into the uv maps we essentially added this production value to all of the real time Motionbuilder assets and they looked great. This made Jim happy and that made us happy too. Of course ultimately the Virtual Production Motionbuilder real time scenes served as amazing templates for Weta and provided plant placement, lighting, and atmospheric cues in a way never attempted in preproduction. But actually there were so many contributions from the VAD that made it into the final film. The overall placement of things down to where specific plants were placed and light shafts, etc… VAD had a huge impact on the final film images and there were actual a few sets that were created entirely in VAD and made it into the final film. One such scene was the scene where Jake runs through the bioluminescent jungle. The portion where he touches the plants with his hands and they glow originated in VAD from me. Also, one of the great burned jungle sets were created in VAD by Brian. Again most of the environments or sets had great artwork from the Art Department group lead by Rick Carter and Rob Stromberg but often times due to the large volume of environments needed it might be a single painting from one perspective. So the VAD did amazing work turning these into actual jungle locations with depth and volume layout that would look great from any angle.

Additionally one of the achievements that I am most proud of is the large number of special techniques and tools that the VAD developed to help make the real time environments as flexible and modular as possible. I set up a modular system to help with this and we literally had thousands of different plant species assets alone. Managing that would have been a nightmare without proper organization and without being able to address Jim’s changes quickly. I asked the team to create a system to sphereize our assets so that we could work in localized “Spheres” of the immense jungles and not overload the real time engine, instant asset replacement tools, and a way to change any jungle from day to night (with glowing biolum plants and alternate lighting). Brian Pace, April Warren, and Motoki Nishii were such a big help in developing these tools both in Lightwave and in Motionbuilder (even a few in Maya). They were my superstars. But the entire VAD team was special and proved to be very talented and invaluable to the production.

Now as far as the FBX issue, it is true that we had to work around certain limitations built into the plugin created by Autodesk which was sort of abandoned it was pretty much something that we were able to work around through tools created by Brian. It did make our job a little harder than it could have been but it wasn’t a deal breaker. Also, I had initially asked Newtek if they might be able to write a new FBX plugin and they never told me “no” it was just that starting from scratch on something like that would take time. Something that we weren’t able to wait on when we were in production already and needed something now. So Brians tools solved that and we went on with our work. After finishing on Avatar I did get back involved with Newtek on the FBX plugins that they had been working on because they were now to a point where they could be evaluated. I saw some problems. Contacted Jay and he graciously assigned Dave F. to work directly with me on ironing out any issues. I sent Dave F. scene files back and forth and explained how I felt the plugin should work and we fixed all of the problems that I was facing. This FBX thing wasn’t an issue of Newtek not being willing to help us it was simply a time frame thing where it takes a considerable amount of time to write a plugin from scratch when you don’t have access to the source code of the original. It would have been nice if Autodesk would have given the old FBX Lightwave code to Newtek but I’m sure they had reasons which I am unaware of why they chose not to do that. Bottom line is I brought Brian onto the team for exactly these types of reasons and it proved to be the right decision because he was able to do exactly what was needed and we accomplished our goals.

Wow, I see this post goes on forever, please forgive me but I wanted to try and explain the whole story from my point of view. I also realize that I left out a large portion about the realtime system that I used in the VAD and it's virtual cameras which was pretty interesting as well. Maybe in a future post. Cheers!

UnCommonGrafx
01-20-2010, 04:03 PM
Chuckle,
Rob, I'm sure, no one would have begrudged you had you taken two... well, maybe one more page.

Thanks for the insight.

NanoGator
01-20-2010, 04:07 PM
Thank you, Rob. :)

Chris S. (Fez)
01-20-2010, 04:46 PM
So here it is. Directly from the Direhorses mouth...


That was genuinely fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

jeric_synergy
01-20-2010, 04:50 PM
So here it is. Directly from the Direhorses mouth.

Thanks Rob. I'm sure everyone here would like to read any articles by you that may come out.

robpowers3d
01-20-2010, 05:01 PM
Yes unfortunately Cinefex has a long history of doing that. They certainly didn't do a great job researching that article in some ways and the read although fascinating contains serveral inaccurate statements.

adk
01-20-2010, 05:08 PM
... thanks for the fascinating read Rob & for clearing a few things up. Much appreciated & kudos to you and your team on a fantastic job :thumbsup:

robpowers3d
01-20-2010, 05:16 PM
Thanks for all of the kind comments and support. The team worked very hard and I'm so proud of our efforts. Cheers.

Stooch
01-20-2010, 05:22 PM
i think you're wrong Stooch, besides writing a feature request for Maya is like talking to a wall.

whatever man. have YOU ever submitted a feature request for a units system? I know that i personally had the pleasure of talking to a maya programmer directly to address my issues. not only that but he was russian too... and seemed to understand my issues immediatelly..

also it seems that all the big feature productions get what they need from AD... odd isnt it? i wonder why they didnt ask for precise units by now?
maybe it wasnt a dealbeaker for anyone afterall... or maybe the programmers had a reason for it?? i mean, its kind of hard to imagine a brilliant development team behind maya, max, etc not sparing any thought on this... its not like newtek are the only people that are smart enough to develop a units system that is exactly to your liking. lol. and by the way, just because you like it, doesnt make me liking my way of working wrong...

also interesting how 3dsmax is also accused of poor units... its odd to accuse the world leader in drafting software about having units issues.

its as if the programmers know more than people like you and jin,... maybe they considered the impacts of higherarchy on scale and deemed it confusing to have your attributes tied to specific units of measurements (remember, modeler doesnt have true higherarchies), and that all scale is RELATIVE TO HIGHERARCHY. What i see here are people who are used to lightwaves way of working and whining about software that is fundamentally different - instead of following their creed as LWer and WORKING AROUND the issue... and seriusly... what a trivial issue it is. its one thing if you had problems with dynamics, or various dead ends or development roadblocks... but this i just frivolous

Poor weta and their inferior units...

but hey...

ill just say... i think that you are wrong. And i still dont see where this whole problem with precise scale is coming from???

enable distance tool, place one null at bottom, one on top.
done. it tells you the distance and gives you an exact, floating number. eat your heart out
Also, as i stated - you can actually automate this with scripting to tie say a primtive to the handles of the distance tool, IF that floats your boat.
So maybe you can move the top null up and thn move the side nulls out and have an interactive distance measurement, which in turn, drive the primitive attributes. and the primitive is centered between the handles...

The day this would be raised on MY watch, is the day you would get this script, ready to rock. No plugins needed.

by the way, adding meters to feet and have the result echo into your attribute is quite doable with maya scripting :)

I did a little bit of research and found that people already scripted a tool that lets your multi edit all selected items using any attribute, it simply parses the last command fired by maya and applies the same value to the selected items - containing channels with a matching attribute name. One could use the same method to do a math equation and return the result into an attribute in question. I really dont see the benefit of that FOR ME, but its doable.

SplineGod
01-20-2010, 05:34 PM
Ok first of all, I wasn't aware of this thread or I would have posted sooner. I would first like to say Larry, I love you but please let me speak for myself.

My apologies Rob. I wasnt my intention to try and speak for you. I was only trying to relate things I had direct experience with or conversations about. Thanks for posting the details though. I think its interesting for ppl to see the whole process that was used. I was always pretty amazed at how good everything looked in realtime. You did a great job under some very extraordinary circumstances. :)
BTW didnt you do an extensive article on the whole process online? Heres reference to a couple I remember...
http://www.xsens.com/images/stories/PDF/The%20New%20Art%20of%20Virtual%20Moviemaking%20-%20Autodesk%20Whitepaper.pdf

http://www.awn.com/articles/production/virtual-rebirth-cinema

Ivan D. Young
01-20-2010, 05:41 PM
why do you insist on contacting Autodesk about fixing units in Maya? it for the moment is not correct and Autodesk knows it and has no immediate plans to remedy the situation. I dont know how they define immediate, that is anyones guess.

They told Elctronic Arts in so many words that units are broken.

I think EA would qualify as a large production, what do you think?
They try to animate alot in Motionbuilder at the team I work on. obviously alot is still animated in Maya.

no software is perfect and arguing about this is Stupid!!

We use a model of a charcter to base everything in the game off of. Can't use the measre system otherwise nothing matches.

Stooch
01-20-2010, 05:57 PM
why do you insist on contacting Autodesk about fixing units in Maya? it for the moment is not correct and Autodesk knows it and has no immediate plans to remedy the situation. I dont know how they define immediate, that is anyones guess.

because arguing about it on forums, is stupid.

incase you havent noticed, the question is not about if its superior, the question is if its even broken in the first place.

Ivan D. Young
01-20-2010, 06:23 PM
I dont think there is really any way to measure superiority, but in the case of using Maya to animate with or using IK in any system other than Maya Units leads to errors.

For obvious reasons I am not allowed to share the memo we have. But there is not point really, Maya has a way to get quality work and be succesful while doing it. It is really a nitpick.

Stooch if I came across as I was calling you I am sorry that was not my intent, but I think I crossed the line accidentally--Sorry.


To Rob and my DAVE peeps congratulations.
I see some names in there I remember.

Stooch
01-20-2010, 06:48 PM
no worries.

yes im aware that maya has issues with scale and changing units, thats exactly why the workaround i suggest works so awesome...

to be honest, since i do alot of effects, I worry about maya scenes that arent in centimeters because I read somewhere that dynamics might have problems, the fact that they break animation is news to me. So as a rule of thumb, i leave that setting alone. In general, i usually work IN ALL APPS, using the same unts. centimeters seem like a reasonable default.

you could technically make a transform, label it something like "inches" and then set its scale to a multiple of CM to make any children scale, relatively to inches... Maybe even create some scale presets, so that you can quickly select a unit type. Also its very easy to see at a glance, too.
so anyway, what im saying here is very simple to do in practice and infact makes for a very organized scene. Thats why TO ME, this is a non issue and thats why I appear that im downplaying it more than I am. Personally, id rather see a better integration with python in maya and a shift to a better UI library (which is supposedly on its way!)

mikala
01-20-2010, 06:49 PM
Mr Powers post does not sound like someone that is totally disenchanted with Lightwave or did I miss something in his post?

Ivan D. Young
01-20-2010, 07:08 PM
As of Last week. DAVE is still teaching LW, ZBrush, Fusion, some Nuke, Motionbuilder and introducing Maya.

I do not know offically where the policy stands going forward since I am not working at DAVE anymore, but I think the goal is to teach Maya and LW in the future.

But for now DAVE is still a LW school.

Of course, With Autodesk introducing Excalibur and supposedly making a UI switch to QT for Maya. I dont know if Autodesks longterm goals include Maya. a QT overhaul for Maya is not my idea of leading. When they are turning around and giving Max the full treament. That is only my opinion, but just look at their moves and make your own specualtion.

DAVE is a four quarter style setup, every 3 months a new class begins. So it would take some months to get enough students thru the pipline that were Maya only.

I started as a LWer and use Maya at EA, several of my friends are DAVErs that learned LW and are using Maya.

DAVE is not app specific but technique specific. Yes using LW or whatever does not allow all workflows but the school emphasizes thinking on your feet and being smart about how you work. Skills that translate to any app and pipeline. More of the why and not necessarily just the how.

Titus
01-20-2010, 08:51 PM
Bob, what a great post!

EDIT: Sorry, I've should wrote Rob. That's what I get for posting from an iphone.

A Mejias
01-20-2010, 09:22 PM
This is an example of why is a bad idea to use different units:

http://www.cnn.com/TECH/space/9909/30/mars.metric.02/

Apparently it IS rocket science. See! They should have used LightWave. :)

A Mejias
01-20-2010, 09:27 PM
I was in school during the US metric switch in the 1970's. It didn't take hold though. To me it doesn't really matter in my job, a model rocket might use a 18" long 40mm tube. It is nice that Lightwave will convert whatever you type in. If I have units set to "standard" and I type in 40mm, it will automatically create it at 1.5748 inches.

Yup. I remember that too. If I recall correctly, it was U.S. steel industry that lobbied to reject the change over. It eventually drove them out of business. :p

shrox
01-20-2010, 09:36 PM
I could see NewTek not wanting to promote a program that's about to be replaced. If you bought Lightwave based on it's use in the production of Avatar, then six months later find out it's now out of development, that could make for unhappy customers.

jin choung
01-20-2010, 10:22 PM
I don't see that at all. Lightwave is being replaced by a BETTER version of Lightwave. Just like XSI was completely rewritten - do you think they would not have promoted XSI if it was used on a HUGE film like Avatar just because it was being completely rewritten? Highly doubtful - regardless of the huge differences in the newer version.

not to mention that it's more than about the software - it's about reputation and your BRAND.

even if the next version was powered by a fusion reactor for some reason, you still support the older version - especially when used in a high profile (seems like a modest adjective here) project like avatar - so people remember you fondly.

jin

jin choung
01-20-2010, 10:34 PM
Perhaps this is another case where AutoDesk "forbids" talking about any other software than their own?

another? why and how would autodesk gain such leverage?

i would imagine that perhaps some fx houses rely on an autodesk handout and so would be constrained but regarding avatar with its multihundred million dollar budged and ilm and weta working on it.... i kinda don't think autodesk can say sh1t unless they want cameron riding up in an ampsuit and shaking the living sh1t out of each and every one of them.

jin

A Mejias
01-20-2010, 10:34 PM
That URL doesn't work.

It does, but you have to hit the Go button or Enter key when you get the error. It won't work from a referer link only direct access.

A Mejias
01-20-2010, 10:41 PM
Trust me, I wish I was talking out my rear. After using LW on avatar I was advised to dump LW in favor of Maya because of the lack of committment from Newtek vs Autodesk. Autodesk showed far more interest in what was being done with Motion Builder etc on Avatar then Newtek did. The simple truth is that fewer and fewer places are willing to share what was done on projects with LW because of the things I mentioned. Another sad note...while I was working on Aliens of the Deep I get a call from a friend who was working on the previz for spiderman because he needed some technical help with Lightwave. I asked him why he was calling me for help and he said that he was advised by people at Newtek to call me. I dont mind helping but, like I said, if NT needs you they call but arent around when you need them. Its an ongoing chronic problem NT has and its catching up to them.

Sad but true. I've heard the same from others and have had the same problem myself when trying to get NT support for getting LightWave into a very large effects shop and later some schools. One of the reasons I stopped being a NT dealer long time ago. It's my biggest concern regarding any new version of LightWave. :(

NanoGator
01-20-2010, 10:43 PM
Not really, no. Cinefex is a VFX magazine, not a CG magazine.

A Mejias
01-20-2010, 10:45 PM
Also, I'm quite sure that AD was in the know about the movie Avatar. I don't think NT actually knew what project people worked on when trying to get help. I do know that Rob Powers were feedbacking NT on FBX-related stuff, but I'm quite sure he was not allowed to say what project was worked on.

So... would things have been different for you guys if the words "Cameron, new BIG budget movie, we need special LW-support ASAP" could have changed anything? As I said, I'm quite confident in that NT did not know, but AD did... Give the two companies equal share on information before comparing technical support (as in code-support)...

That should be irrelevant! And in my case they did know and missed a prime opertunaty. Granted it was a long time ago, but as far as I know some of the folks I dealt with are still around today.

NanoGator
01-20-2010, 10:48 PM
That should be irrelevant! And in my case they did know and missed a prime opertunaty. Granted it was a long time ago, but as far as I know some of the folks I dealt with are still around today.

We didn't get any new exporter plugins from Autodesk for Lightwave or even Maya.

geo_n
01-20-2010, 10:53 PM
Having just come of of Jim Cameron's previous film "Aliens of the Deep" where I was lead creature designer and designed the main title opening around the "Spork" winged alien creature. I was the first CG / Animator to be hired directly by Jim on Avatar.

Great post. Since you are one of the pioneers in Avatar and could talk to Jim Cameron directly, maybe as a courtesy he could allow lightwave to be mentioned and even some screenshots or making of be included in print, dvd, blueray, etc. Shame there is no mention of lw at all.

NanoGator
01-20-2010, 10:59 PM
It's not really being 'disallowed' we just weren't allowed to walk away with the content.

jin choung
01-20-2010, 11:00 PM
I honestly know of none specifically - but I do recall others making the accusation and it going around the various forums. And then you see articles like in Cinefex that don't even MENTION LW at all. Considering that it really was VERY helpful in production - and is used in MANY productions, albeit in a reduced capacity in regards to the "big boys" - it just seems unusual that LW is not mentioned more here and there. Again, I don't KNOW the facts, but it does seem unusual, doesn't it?

i chalk most of that stuff up to an inferiority complex + conspiracy theories.

there are countless cinefex articles where lw IS mentioned... from xmen3 to the core to 300 to ironman to pan's labyrinth, etc. truly it's countless.

most of the time, when lw's not mentioned it's because it was either used incidentally or by lone users who happened to like lw... i.e. it wasn't part of a company's recognized workflow.... like the dude that modeled some building stuff for dark knight.

in avatar, it certainly COULD have been legitimately mentioned when it came to cameron's personal cabal... but then again, i don't remember reading the names of any of the VAD group in the article (somebody correct me if i'm wrong) though plenty of other artists were... so why they or lw wasn't mentioned... who knows?

it seemed to me that the emphasis of article focused on the performance capture technology itself rather than the effort that generated the proxy assets to enable it... that was glossed over. perhaps the production of previz assets wasn't sexy enough?

and then the article moved on to cover the inarguably sexy work of final render stuff being done at weta and ilm. and i would be SHOCKED if a single seat of lw existed at either facility.

so yeah, i call bs when peeps whisper about AD keeping the man down. cry me a fing river and just get on with it.

jin

jin choung
01-20-2010, 11:25 PM
Quite possibly correct. I don't know for certain one way or the other. But I certainly wouldn't bet against you. ;)

It just seems a shame for Newtek to NOT capitalize on the workflow that went into Avatar. Considering that the other players in the industry DON'T have an inferiority complex...

well here, you needn't be paranoid to recognize that the only real "other player" is autodesk. i mean, they've got maya,max,motionbuilder,mudbox and softimage under one roof for cryin' out loud.


Newtek marketing should take some REAL initiative and DO something. But then we are talking about NT marketing.... :grumpy:

they don't make great choices but realistically, they're hampered by money. and this is the only time that *I* ever really defend newtek - if you don't got the money, you don't got the money... what're you gonna do? sometimes, i can imagine the newtek folk turning beet red pounding on the table and screaming at the forum criticism - "these things don't grow on motherfing trees! this costs money!"

as for lw's role in avatar... i dunno... it sounds like a good idea at the face of it but it can be a double edged sword in terms of marketing and p.r.

the shockingly beautiful and photoreal imagery seen on screen was brought to life through maya, zbrush, renderman and the like and here we are touting that lw built the low res, real time, previz proxies.

: |

see what i mean?

not at all to diminish that truly essential contribution. it's just that i can see how that can be seen as (or played up as)... unsexy.

but that's kinda the current situation for lw in motion pictures. to take a ludicrous liberty at a paraphrase:

always the pornstar fluffer, never the pornstar.

jin

SplineGod
01-20-2010, 11:37 PM
Sad but true. I've heard the same from others and have had the same problem myself when trying to get NT support for getting LightWave into a very large effects shop and later some schools. One of the reasons I stopped being a NT dealer long time ago. It's my biggest concern regarding any new version of LightWave. :(

This is one of the major concerns I have about Core.
The more it diverges from Lightwaves workflow the less people will have any experience using it in production. It s always been the end users who have sold LW into studios not Newtek and they do it because there used to be a significant number of good LW generalists who could use and demo many aspects of LW enough to show off to co-workers or supervisors just why its a valuable tool to have. With a completely new 3d app that abandons the great features of LW that made it easy to use or demo then who is going to sell the software? As Jin pointed out its about reputation and brand name which the video side of Newtek seems to have but certainly no longer on the 3d side.

I do agree to a point also about the lack of money on the marketing side. There are however, other ways to be creative about marketing. Unfortunately we get things like the whole Core reveal or extremely lackluster demonstrations at siggraph. Even though NT has forewarning every year that there will be another siggraph its always the same ol from previous years or being asked for content 2 weeks before siggraph etc. The biggest problem is the lack of passion or enthusiasm thats obviously present on the video side is totally lacking on the 3d side of things.

Ive also worked for or with NT dealers years ago and this hasnt seemed to change much over the years.

NanoGator
01-20-2010, 11:42 PM
The flip side of that, though, is that the limitations of Lightwave in its current incarnation are making it difficult to hold on to.

robpowers3d
01-20-2010, 11:44 PM
Great post. Since you are one of the pioneers in Avatar and could talk to Jim Cameron directly, maybe as a courtesy he could allow lightwave to be mentioned and even some screenshots or making of be included in print, dvd, blueray, etc. Shame there is no mention of lw at all.

geo, The thing is that I'm certain that Jim has other things that are a priority for him. Why would pushing Lightwave or any other specific software necessarily be a duty for him or any other filmmaker? Just because it may be important to you or I doesn't mean that others would have that same focus. It's just the way things are sometimes. Many times the reality of things gets lost in the perception and distorted media bias or sometimes simply oversight.

A Mejias
01-21-2010, 12:01 AM
Yes unfortunately Cinefex has a long history of doing that. They certainly didn't do a great job researching that article in some ways and the read although fascinating contains serveral inaccurate statements.

Yeah, that's too bad. I know some other artists that worked on Avatar that did not get credit and were not mentioned in the Cinefex article. Such a land mark project and so many uncredited. :(

Rob, thanks so much for your posts!!! If you have time please give us more! :)

NanoGator
01-21-2010, 12:02 AM
One thing production did do was post a thank you ad in Cinefex listing all our names. That was pretty cool.

A Mejias
01-21-2010, 12:11 AM
I think you should read what Rob wrote before agreeing too quickly. NT is not quite THAT bad. :stop:

I did and I stand by my statement and experiences.

A Mejias
01-21-2010, 12:15 AM
We didn't get any new exporter plugins from Autodesk for Lightwave or even Maya.

Well, I wasn't talking about AD. :)

NanoGator
01-21-2010, 12:18 AM
Well, I wasn't talking about AD. :)

Right, but I'm saying it's not like we were treated better by Autodesk. Just making a comparison.

Intuition
01-21-2010, 02:03 AM
the shockingly beautiful and photoreal imagery seen on screen was brought to life through maya, zbrush, renderman and the like and here we are touting that lw built the low res, real time, previz proxies.

: |

see what i mean?

jin

Yeah, we have some of the finest world class Lightwave people in the world here at DD, btw I do not include myself in that list, and many of them have moved to Maya or Houdini now.

After trying to run LW in Speed Racer, Benjamin Buttons, Transformers, and even some test on 2012 it just ran into too many hangups. Maya and Houdini guys were running circles around the LW teams. One by one I helped the LW crew learn Maya and many of them are now on Tr2n. Sure I still hear a few ("if I only had a, b, c from LW") especially in regards to camera animation, but in general they can go much farther and deeper with HUUUUUUUGE data sets.

Now that is not to diminish LW's role where it can be a razor blade. In the TR2n teaser trailer LW was used to block out the previs scenes with the light bikes. Eventually these got handed to Maya guys for finaling character animation who then kicked the data over 3ds max for rendering in Vray. Which is now superceded by the fact that Maya has Vray so max has almost completely disappeared from DD too. Especially in regards to its windows only status which, like lightwave, causes the need for linux render nodes to be booted to windows for rendering which we no longer do. Its all linux now. Which also saves money when you factor in windows copies and upgrades and servicing.

For the longest time during the mid/late 90s through early 00's the story was that Lightwave guys, especially when armed with f-prime could scream through a production. Which was why DD had so many LW guys on staff. Eventually though, the bar gets raised (seen 2012 lately?) and the programs that get used are pretty much the ones that CAN actually pull the ideas off. The results used to be that different groups of guys would get a task for a project bid, Houdini, maya, max, lightwave guys would go do tests. Lighwtave used to produce the needed result the quickest. Now that is no longer true. Houdini and Maya results always end up being much better and quicker. I guess the feature set of Maya 8.5 and newer as well as Houdini 9+ have just become phenomenal.

Here are some car commercials we have done with this pipeline at DD.

Lincoln MKZ - I did the Car in Vray and James Atkinson did the flying lights in Houdini. We MDD'd the lights into Vray to be unseen by camera but they would still light the scene and appear in the reflections.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HiHo75q0vI&feature=related

Lincoln MKS - I did the car in Maya w/Vray and the Houdini guy (James Atkinson) did the particle fx which are the little water drops as well as the circuit board signals crawling along the circuitboard. Daisuke did the circuitboard model/shading in Vray. The houdini signals light the whole thing up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFwTPMyaLbU&feature=related

We got nominated at VES for this audi commercial which is all Vray in Maya. fully CG.

Audi rubix

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVQKrxSOx7Q

So, the era of LW guys running circles around Maya/Houdini guys is over. We kept having guys say, oh I have this neat setup with hypervoxels coming along while the Houdini guy had already nailed it.

Sure, you will always have examples one way or another of artist A being faster then artists B and so its not the tools but the people etc etc talk... but in the end whole teams of Lightwave guys moved to maya because they could do the work needed better, faster and more efficiently then good ol reliable Lightwave. Does this mean Lightwave sucks? Hell no! Just having f-prime is no longer exclusive. All the big render engines have real time versions these days.

Yet you can see Core taking another aim at Maya, etc the way old Lightwave did. Gathering the technologies and workflow so it can be capable of enabling artists to hit the ground running.

Will Lightwave as we know completely die off? I don't think so, but I don't know for sure. Many TV productions will probably always use its current version feature set to get the shows out. That is starting to change now that fast XSi and Maya guys can turn things around in similar speed.

Regardless I have a feeling Lightwave will always have a community of dedicated users that may even continue adding tools and features years down the road even when Core is more feature complete.

In closing I would like to say that in a perfect world an artist could show a demo reel and be given a task and software would not be discussed. End of story. Great work comes from all the packages under proper hands.

Yet when it comes to running a business of CG you do have to build networks around the work. For DD this is a Maya, Houdini pipeline that runs under linux. It produces astounding results, especially when you see the Zbrush work (whoa!).

None the less. Core is getting a Linux version and as such will be considered here at DD. If it can match the good old Lightwave + f_prime combo then it will be in good company.

jin choung
01-21-2010, 02:33 AM
Sure I still hear a few ("if I only had a, b, c from LW") especially in regards to camera animation, but in general they can go much farther and deeper with HUUUUUUUGE data sets.

right. that's a significant point. lw can do ok in "small, limited" situations. but when the complexity gets up to something like 2012 or avatar for final render scene management with physics and fully skinned and rigged creatures etc... i mean really - it's UNTHINKABLE.

complexity management is indeed the area where lw drowns. to go along with weapon analogies, it's still a gun. you can kill a man really really dead and really really well with the lw gun. but that's one man... when there's a legion of peeps behind him. lw's is a revolver when you need an m-60 or an electric gatling gun.


The results used to be that different groups of guys would get a task for a project bid, Houdini, maya, max, lightwave guys would go do tests. Lighwtave used to produce the needed result the quickest. Now that is no longer true. Houdini and Maya results always end up being much better and quicker. I guess the feature set of Maya 8.5 and newer as well as Houdini 9+ have just become phenomenal.

right. lots of times when lw is being touted, it's usually a comparison between a lw guru and a maya hack. you put a lw guru up against a maya guru and you start getting results like this.

when talent and proficiency is equal, the tool DOES make a difference. all of a sudden, it's an F1 race and the horse power and money in your rig makes a difference.

sure davinci can rock your world with crayolas. but he can take you to another dimension with an airbrush.


So, the era of LW guys running circles around Maya/Houdini guys is over. We kept having guys say, oh I have this neat setup with hypervoxels coming along while the Houdini guy had already nailed it.

Sure, you will always have examples one way or another of artist A being faster then artists B and so its not the tools but the people etc etc talk... but in the end whole teams of Lightwave guys moved to maya because they could do the work needed better, faster and more efficiently then good ol reliable Lightwave.

right. again with the F1 analogy. but to be fair, there is a substantial price discrepancy and it is indeed shaking out to be "you get what you pay for".

but if you DON'T need to do an avatar aerial battle at 4k res for left and right eye or west los angeles disintegrating under a private plane and you have a tight budget, lw can indeed be right for you.

cameron ain't gonna shoot anything with a super 8mm camera... but i might. different scales, different costs, different tools.


Yet you can see Core taking another aim at Maya, etc the way old Lightwave did. Gathering the technologies and workflow so it can be capable of enabling artists to hit the ground running.

yeah but it's gonna be a good loooooong while before it gets to feature parity (if ever) with maya unlimited (hell, with lw 9.6)! and as i keep sayin', maya ain't standing still.


Regardless I have a feeling Lightwave will always have a community of dedicated users that may even continue adding tools and features years down the road even when Core is more feature complete.

right. imo, the very best thing they can possibly do for lw legacy is release the source code to the community once they are done with it... use whatever licensing they need to maintain control and so that people can't recompile and sell it. it needn't be free... just like the source codes that id releases aren't free.

but it can allow the community to keep developing it.

newtek maintains the ip, newtek is the only entity that can sell the license, newtek does NOT spend money to develop, but it can keep evolving and maybe more important, getting bugs squashed.


In closing I would like to say that in a perfect world an artist could show a demo reel and be given a task and software would not be discussed. End of story. Great work comes from all the packages under proper hands.

Yet when it comes to running a business of CG you do have to build networks around the work. For DD this is a Maya, Houdini pipeline that runs under linux. It produces astounding results, especially when you see the Zbrush work (whoa!).

absolutely. and to TRAIN someone who has absolutely no idea how to run maya is NOT a trivial task, no matter how talented he is in infini-D or hash animation master.

agreed, in an ideal world, all that would matter is talent, not software. but this is not an ideal world and no one has time to hold your hand. it is indeed all about hitting the ground running.

in the hobbyist and prosumer market or one man shops, the cost trade-off may indeed make all kinds of apps reasonable choices. but as i have said ad-nauseum round these parts, it's not an accident or incidental or some conspiracy that the big shows are done in the likes of maya and houdini.

jin

jin choung
01-21-2010, 02:44 AM
btw, i fing love that lincoln commercial - nice job. everything works so well together especially with that song - do you know who does the cover?

jin

OnlineRender
01-21-2010, 03:06 AM
Another way: "the customer is always right."


:hijack:
you see this is where people are miss-guided " sorry to pick this comment out from the crowed " .

if the customer is always right , then everything would be free .
sometimes you need to say to clients / customers look this is wrong choice . I would highly suggest another method ."that's the PC version " .

othertimes you need to be blunt and just say NO or shove your cash where the sun don't shine .

I've seen many customers thinking that they are owed something due to being the one that hands over the cash .

I think people forget that whatever side of the fence you sit on , NT are here to make money ,that's the whole agenda full stop .
this may be interprupted in many forms .
bending over backwards for CLIENTS
Developing a new App
Bug fixes and so on ......................

The quicker you get the idea " the customer is always right out of your head " the better things will progress . [not aimed directly]
Don't get me wrong you should always let the customer speak first and have there say/feedback and try to direct there aims towards your goals " kinda like the core project" but in end . The ball is always in suppliers court ......................

Peace

OnlineRender
01-21-2010, 03:19 AM
Ok first of all, I wasn't aware of this thread or I would have posted sooner. I would first like to say Larry, I love you but please let me speak for myself. Especially in public forums. capiche? There is nothing worse than someone attempting to speak for you in a public forum. So here it is. Directly from the Direhorses mouth.

Having just come of of Jim Cameron's previous film .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ..

I wanna have your babies :rock:

robertoortiz
01-21-2010, 04:24 AM
I honestly know of none specifically - but I do recall others making the accusation and it going around the various forums. And then you see articles like in Cinefex that don't even MENTION LW at all. Considering that it really was VERY helpful in production - and is used in MANY productions, albeit in a reduced capacity in regards to the "big boys" - it just seems unusual that LW is not mentioned more here and there. Again, I don't KNOW the facts, but it does seem unusual, doesn't it?

One factor to consider is that there are marketing agreement between Autodesk and certain 3d facilities.

It is my understanding that certain shops get sweetheart deals with their products if they help promote the Autodesk Brand.

The reasoning I have been given is that if at least ONE ELEMENT of the shot was done with one of their products it can be shown on the reel.

Of course most people dont have a shot breakdown list so it is indirectly implied that X PRODUCT did the whole shot.


Maybe Newtek should do a decade in review reel to SHOW what they really have done.

Matt
01-21-2010, 07:11 AM
Can someone at NewTek please interview Mr. Rob Powers. Luxology had no such issue interviewing David Stripinis (http://www.luxology.com/modcast/audio.aspx?id=103) and modo's involvement in the film.

Andyjaggy
01-21-2010, 09:12 AM
Yeah, we have some of the finest world class Lightwave people in the world here at DD, btw I do not include myself in that list, and many of them have moved to Maya or Houdini now.

Unfortunately this is all too true, most hardcore LW users I know have moved on. The only thing that keeps me using it is I don't want to buy a copy of Max for personal use, otherwise, LW wouldn't be in my arsenal anymore either.

There are just too many things that are easier in other packages, and not enough of those, "oh I wish I had this LW feature" moments to justify keep keeping it around.

I guess NT knew this and that's why the moved on, who knows what core will become.

robertoortiz
01-21-2010, 09:46 AM
I guess NT knew this and that's why the moved on, who knows what core will become.

Well CORE is shaping out to be a decent program.
But before we get off track, I pose this question.
With big projects, like Avatar, how should Newtek fight the marketing monster that is Autodesk?
Should it, considering the resources AD has?

Lightwolf
01-21-2010, 10:13 AM
Should it, considering the resources AD has?
Rethorical question: Do SideFX or luxology? Granted, SideFX caters for a niche within a niche. Then again, luxology doesn't but the also have some nice strategic partnerships to help them stand up against the behemoth.

Cheers,
Mike

Intuition
01-21-2010, 11:49 AM
I have to disagree on the "Maya here Maya there Autodesk rocks" remark about Cinefex.

Yeah, I dont think Cinefex is biased. Didn't they do an article on iRobot? That was rendered mostly rendered in LW if I remember correctly. I think cinefex pointed that out too.

jayroth
01-21-2010, 12:06 PM
While I respect Cinefex immensely, and appreciate the position the editors are in, there have been historical issues of editing of facts to support certain relationships that I have directly experienced. So, while the statement that they are unbiased is not one I would disagree with, the editors are subject to the preferences of those entities who are the primary sources of the stories that they write over the years. Those sources have, on occasion, exercised their considerable clout to mold the final articles.

That said, I am not asserting that was the case here. More likely, people like Rob Powers had moved on by the time Cinefex writers arrived on scene, effectively omitting any comments Rob may have made on LightWave's behalf.

jin choung
01-21-2010, 01:03 PM
again,

lw is mentioned FREQUENTLY in cinefex.

jin

A Mejias
01-21-2010, 01:09 PM
... 9.6 is a pretty damn nice piece of software! Although their marketing... well, enough said about that.

Then you agree with me!

Titus
01-21-2010, 01:12 PM
again,

lw is mentioned FREQUENTLY in cinefex.

jin

I find boring and irrelevant when editors do mention brands in their articles. "We modeled all this stuff with Maya"... "rendered with MR"... "animated with X".

I like cinefex, I'm subscribed actually. We don't see much technical advances between projects featured on cinefex or the other magazines. Then someday we find special projects like Benjamin Button and Avatar when the state of the art makes a considerable leap. Even then, the brands doesn't really matter, at least to me.

TeZzy
01-21-2010, 01:30 PM
Well CORE is shaping out to be a decent program.
But before we get off track, I pose this question.
With big projects, like Avatar, how should Newtek fight the marketing monster that is Autodesk?
Should it, considering the resources AD has?

in all fairness, pixologic seems to be doing fine and yet they don't have nearly as much resource

jin choung
01-21-2010, 01:39 PM
in all fairness, pixologic seems to be doing fine and yet they don't have nearly as much resource

but they have a state of the art product that speaks for them.

whatever lw legacy is, it is not that.

if you're already beautiful, you don't have to spend that much on make-up.

jin

TeZzy
01-21-2010, 01:53 PM
definitely not arguing that point. Just wanted to point out that when something doesn't compete, the word resource or money is brought up.

jin choung
01-21-2010, 02:01 PM
definitely not arguing that point. Just wanted to point out that when something doesn't compete, the word resource or money is brought up.

right and it's brought up because it's relevant.

zbrush gets mentioned in every publication not because it's expending money - they get it for free based on how truly awesome it is and everyone singing its praises unsolicitedly.

lw wouldn't get that so much. at least not from the peeps who get interviewed for publications like the folks at ilm or weta or whatever.

so we are less exposed to begin with, have less "technological superiority" to work with and to make up for that deficit would require money.

like i say, it doesn't take much to make a pretty girl look pretty. it takes quite a lot to make a homely one look good.

jin

Mike_RB
01-21-2010, 02:05 PM
I thiNk the cinefex about ironman got a plug from us for lw. I'd have to go look it up to be sure.

Cageman
01-21-2010, 02:13 PM
no worries.

yes im aware that maya has issues with scale and changing units, thats exactly why the workaround i suggest works so awesome...

to be honest, since i do alot of effects, I worry about maya scenes that arent in centimeters because I read somewhere that dynamics might have problems, the fact that they break animation is news to me. So as a rule of thumb, i leave that setting alone. In general, i usually work IN ALL APPS, using the same unts. centimeters seem like a reasonable default.

Regarding scale, dynamics, renderers as well as IK-solvers... ALL apps get wonky if scale is too large or too small on all these areas. Take a Volumetric light and move it away from the origin a couple of kilometers, and it will suddenly not render if the camera is too close. I asked Jonas about it and it has to do with floating point precision. After a certain threshold (both low and high) these numbers get rounding errors.

When we did the Silkmonkey trailer (World in Conflict: Soviet Assault), the IK went crazy with the Silkmonkey rig, since we usually treat 1 cm = 1 m in Maya (which is also how PointOven converts between Maya and LW.. very neat indeed and why it makes things so easy to move between different apps). Anyhow... a Silkmonkey is about 10 cm tall in real world scale, so when treating the monkey with our rule of thumb: 1m = 1cm, you can guess how small that ape became, and as a result, the IK solver was dealing with units way below 1; and became highly unstable; rounding errors on floating point calculations.

We ended up treating the monkey in real world scale, meaning that 1 cm = 1 cm. We then had to build the set in two scales, where one was treated with our rule of thumb, and one was in real world scale. The monkey was animated within the real world scale set, then geometrycached. The geometrycache was then applied to a non-rigged version of the monkey, grouped and scaled down to fit our rule of thumb scene.

Then came all the issues with fur... but that is another story. In the end it came out quite nicely, but my point here is that a solid unitsystem, such as found in LW and Modo, seem to have a much broader threshold where things within the low and high will work.

TeZzy
01-21-2010, 02:14 PM
right and it's brought up because it's relevant.

zbrush gets mentioned in every publication not because it's expending money - they get it for free based on how truly awesome it is and everyone singing its praises unsolicitedly.

lw wouldn't get that so much. at least not from the peeps who get interviewed for publications like the folks at ilm or weta or whatever.

so we are less exposed to begin with, have less "technological superiority" to work with and to make up for that deficit would require money.

like i say, it doesn't take much to make a pretty girl look pretty. it takes quite a lot to make a homely one look good.

jin

:thumbsup: right, not saying it's irrelevant. The points you make I agree with. But using resource as an excuse doesn't cut it. Which is why I brought up pixologic.

Just wondering though, when CORE is fully reading and a complete app, would it be able to fight off the giant that is autodesk.....if it doesn't is it because of less "technological superiority" or a matter of resource? :D

I don't want to go OT so I will just leave it there.

Intuition
01-21-2010, 02:23 PM
I thiNk the cinefex about ironman got a plug from us for lw. I'd have to go look it up to be sure.

I assumed you guys rendered in Mray so I was really blown away when you mentioned it was rendered in Lightwave back when you posted about it.

Great stuff for Lightwave.... would be a um "Top Row" if we had one here. ;)

Cageman
01-21-2010, 02:58 PM
like i say, it doesn't take much to make a pretty girl look pretty. it takes quite a lot to make a homely one look good.

jin

If there are only three pretty girls in the whole town, it is much easier to notice them as well (ZBrush, Mudbox, 3D-Coat).

ZBrush was a revolution, and forever changed the scope of the type of artists that works within CG. You have to remember that before ZBrush was avaliable, 3D as a form of art, was alot more tedious (especially modeling detailed characters, since you actually had to model them, not sculpt them) and way more technical compared to nowdays. Of course it is mentioned.

Those that do sculpting on daily basis here at Massive use ZBrush because it was the only package avaliable at the time they jumped in. I'm quite sure that Mudbox is capable of similar / equally good results, it is just that those that are really, really good at sculpting are using ZBrush because of what I just mentioned above; avaliable (at the time). It has become an industry standard for sculpting, just like Maya became for 3D.

Kuzey
01-21-2010, 03:01 PM
zbrush gets mentioned in every publication not because it's expending money - they get it for free based on how truly awesome it is and everyone singing its praises unsolicitedly.

lw wouldn't get that so much. at least not from the peeps who get interviewed for publications like the folks at ilm or weta or whatever.

jin

Zbrush is different, in that it doesn't compete with Maya directly...it's more or less Switzerland....neutral and safe to mention, as it wont make any app look bad, but rather...better....much...much better.

There are dozens of animation packages out there, all trying to be top dog and only a few programs that can do what Zbrush does...if that.

Just saying...apples and oranges, that kinda thing :D

Kuzey

UnCommonGrafx
01-21-2010, 03:15 PM
You guys are just funny.

Some artists used at least a tool or two we all used on one of the biggest blockbusters in the world. One of those tools, that it appears the vanguard artists used, was used to prep most everything we got to see in the biggest movie blockbuster known to man. And you guys bicker because YOU know about this tool that the industry has relied upon to make tons of money and yet they, the industry your passions obviously follow, want to ignore and cast this tool YOU know about aside in favor of the program de Maya Jour. So?
Fix the hoops that were the problems they had on Iron Man and who knows? Maybe they, too, would still be making use of a tremendous renderer with lots of free nodes. I dunno...
I do know that sometimes, hidden gems are just that. That everyone doesn't know about it or use it doesn't lessen the value, to you, of said gem. Workflow-wise (ugghh, buzz word of the day) if its not a diamond helping with the laser ya gotta set it aside. I get that. Thus breathed Core.

All that aside, celebrate these folks accomplishments, start your own threads and go bicker there.

Again, Kudos to you for your efforts on the film and sharing them here. Hope more of your sharings get published.

SplineGod
01-21-2010, 03:49 PM
Well CORE is shaping out to be a decent program.
But before we get off track, I pose this question.
With big projects, like Avatar, how should Newtek fight the marketing monster that is Autodesk?
Should it, considering the resources AD has?

You always seem to approach this with the assumption that LW not getting mentioned is somehow due to the bad evil giant AD squashing NT.
The unfortunate and sad truth is that they dont have to. Im sure when AD saw the Core reveal they were shaking in their boots.