PDA

View Full Version : IWLUG - Rob Powers 'Avatar' Interview



Matt
02-13-2010, 02:29 PM
Just finished watching the Rob Powers (www.robpowers.com) interview where he talks about his work on Avatar, and how he used LightWave in his workflow.

What a fantastic interview, very insightful.

Thanks to Rob for his time, and to Paul at IWLUG (http://www.ilwug.com) for putting this on.

Look forward to more of these interviews, they are great!

Cheers
Matt

Lewis
02-13-2010, 02:33 PM
Agreed completely, Rob shared a lot of great info :).

Thanks to Paul also he was very good host.

allabulle
02-13-2010, 02:33 PM
Yup.
I wonder if they will edit it and let us download to watch it again. It would be so welcome.

EDIT: Ok, Paul already said it will be available on-line at www.ilwug.com

dalecampbelljr
02-13-2010, 02:34 PM
Awesome interview....Newtek should purchase this interview and send to every user and every possible user!

Why wait....Contact Wes and get it done!!!!!!

Come On....

Get with it Newtek.

Dale

cresshead
02-13-2010, 02:37 PM
good show, nice behind the scenes info on the production of avatar with lightwave

Matte107
02-13-2010, 02:37 PM
Hi Guys! What a great interview.

For those interested it will be available to download soon from ilwug.com

Simon (newbie!)

Matt
02-13-2010, 02:40 PM
BTW: It was me who asked if Rob had James Cameron's mobile number! :D

Lewis
02-13-2010, 02:41 PM
YES, that's the PROPER marketing of LightWave. Again thanks to Paul and Wes for doing it and Rob for will to help and share.

mch
02-13-2010, 02:49 PM
These kind of interviews are extremly welcome to make clear that Lightwave is not only Rob's "secret weapon".

Regards,

Marcus

Cageman
02-13-2010, 03:05 PM
It was a really good interview with alot of information. Not as detailed as I would have wanted it (since I'm a multiapp-user myself), but nontheless, good info and down to earth. And yes, it serves as great PR for LW!

:)

Philbert
02-13-2010, 03:08 PM
Really great webinar as I said on Twitter during it, he was inspiring me to go jump into LightWave but I still wanted to watch more of the webinar. Now that it's over I've jumped right into Modeler. Thanks to Rob and Wes! Maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to work with him. :)

Cageman
02-13-2010, 03:14 PM
Yeah...

I would love to have a chance to work with Rob on a project. Very inspiring person, and it was almost scary to hear how much his views and thoughts regarding the use of multiple applications is similar to mine. Instant sync! :D

linksys
02-13-2010, 04:57 PM
Yep was a nice interview just came in 10min. after it started so i havenīt missed much. Looking forward for more interviews like this.:thumbsup:

Philbert
02-13-2010, 05:26 PM
Yep was a nice interview just came in 10min. after it started so i havenīt missed much. Looking forward for more interviews like this.:thumbsup:

It actually started a few minutes late, so you missed less that you thought.

Larry_g1s
02-13-2010, 07:34 PM
Great inteview and nice to hear how well LightWave performed for such a high profile movie.

** It was also nice to hear that he's excited about the future of LW with the intro. of Core technology. ;)

probiner
02-13-2010, 07:53 PM
downloadable anywhere? I was out today =\

Philbert
02-13-2010, 08:31 PM
Not yet but it will be up at http://www.ilwug.com with some extra Avatar clips that we didn't see in the live version.

SplineGod
02-13-2010, 10:18 PM
Im sure there will be more interviews. The ILUG mtg we did on stereoscopic rendering was also pretty interesting. Ive worked on about 3 stereoscopic projects and two were with Rob : Aliens of the Deep and Avatar. On just about every project Ive worked on with Rob weve relied heavily upon LW. :)

Larry_g1s
02-13-2010, 10:23 PM
Also a big thanks to Wes to get the interview going and get some solid props out there for LightWave. :thumbsup:

Cesar Montero
02-14-2010, 01:46 AM
That was a very nice interview. Thanks for Wes for setting it up. It helps LW reputation a lot.

NanoGator
02-14-2010, 01:52 AM
Even after Avatar I'm still using it. Modeler in particular has some very nice advantages going for it.

OnlineRender
02-14-2010, 06:02 AM
Gutted I had to work ! I'm mad that I missed it . sorry !

ianr
02-14-2010, 09:06 AM
Chuck spend some petty cash on thisz to show at the big shows,
It's a boost for the 'real core' ...i mean your users!
Shame about things in Cinfex,but clearance always comes late.
Maybe Cinefex could do something entitled 'the birth of Avatar'?
But yet again Mr.Powers shows the obtainable with aplomb & ingenuity.

Philbert
02-14-2010, 09:16 AM
I was surprised when I read the Avatar issue of HDRI3D, which is primarily a LW magazine, and found that even they didn't mention LW. In fact, it looked like they were implying that all of the VAD stuff was done in maya.

SplineGod
02-14-2010, 09:59 AM
Who did the article? Most of the jungle sets were LW and all of the floating mountains were done using LW. Nice to have people writing the articles that know what theyre talking about :)

Philbert
02-14-2010, 10:04 AM
Robin Nations. Oddly enough she's from San Antonio. A freelance writer though, not someone at NT. To be fair the article was mostly about the Uncanny Valley and didn't get into software a whole lot.

Edit: Found her website: http://www.msnations.com/

NanoGator
02-14-2010, 02:56 PM
I haven't seen the article but they probably didn't interview any of the VAD people about it. Outside of the VAD, I don't think there was high awareness that we were using Lightwave. It probably didn't help that a lot of our stuff had to make a short layover in Maya to get to MotionBuilder.

Cesar Montero
02-14-2010, 10:36 PM
Who did the article? Most of the jungle sets were LW and all of the floating mountains were done using LW. Nice to have people writing the articles that know what theyre talking about :)

ouuuuuuch!:lol:

You mean, from 0 to 100% completion those where done in LW?

NanoGator
02-14-2010, 10:49 PM
No. The movie was 'pre-made' before it was packaged off and sent to Weta and the other vendors. That's the bit where Lightwave was used heavily. This was in the design phase, not the final. (Although the stuff we provided was the foundation for the finals in a lot of cases.) The work done in the VAD phase had a huge impact on the final aspect of the movie. That's why the Virtual Production aspect of the movie down at Playa is given a nod quite often during interviews etc. :)

SplineGod
02-14-2010, 11:12 PM
That was it. Basically motion builder was used as the realtime engine with hooks to the virtual camera that James Cameron would use to move thru the enviroments created by the VAD.
We would be given concept art from the design artists and then we had to build the sets as low polygon assets.
Once we created the assets in LW we had to run them thru Maya using some scripts Brian (nanogator) wrote and then to motion builder. I cant remember exactly, though Brian probably does, why we had to run the assets thru Maya to get them properly into motion builder. :)

NanoGator
02-14-2010, 11:36 PM
The short version is that we already had Maya handy and it had a reliable FBX exporter. It was dirt simple to get Maya to take LW's input and get it into Mobu in a predictable fashion. (I need to give April Warren credit here, she handled the MotionBuilder side of the conversion. If she hadn't things wouldn't have gone nearly as smoothly as they had.) If time had been more abundant I might have just written a direct-to-fbx exporter myself, but I wasn't sure how long it'd take (or what it'd take to maintain it if new versions of Mobu came along) so I just coaxed Maya into doing it for me. That freed up a lot of time for me to work on the environments and in making them look as aesthetically pleasing as possible given the limitations we had.

I mentioned April's part of the script, figured I'd go into a little more detail, here. MotionBuilder's drawing system is a bit diffrent from Maya or LIghtwave's. It uses 'shaders' to draw stuff on the screen. They resemble materials in Lightwave, I mean in that they are seperate assets that get attached to meshes. So, by default, MotionBuilder does not draw transparency. You need to attach a shader for that. So that was what April's script did. Mine got the geometry, texture, and material settings through. (With working UVs...) And hers brought it into MotionBuilder and applied the correct shader and settings. The result is we could just send assets straight through without having to troubleshoot why MotionBuilder was drawing things in a funny way. It also meant we werent' sending extra garbage through, which, sadly, is way too easy to do with other apps.

A lot of this stuff had to be considered before we got into MotionBuilder. This was something Rob had us sort out before we pulled the lever to start building sets. Steps to build the asset, best practices to avoid trouble down the road, predictable filenames, automation, that was all built to spec before we started. Well.. i haven't seen the interview yet so I'm probably re-treading... my bad. :)

allabulle
02-15-2010, 09:53 AM
The short version is that we already had Maya handy and it had a reliable FBX exporter. It was dirt simple to get Maya to take LW's input and get it into Mobu in a predictable fashion. (I need to give April Warren credit here, she handled the MotionBuilder side of the conversion. If she hadn't things wouldn't have gone nearly as smoothly as they had.) If time had been more abundant I might have just written a direct-to-fbx exporter myself, but I wasn't sure how long it'd take (or what it'd take to maintain it if new versions of Mobu came along) so I just coaxed Maya into doing it for me. That freed up a lot of time for me to work on the environments and in making them look as aesthetically pleasing as possible given the limitations we had.

I mentioned April's part of the script, figured I'd go into a little more detail, here. MotionBuilder's drawing system is a bit diffrent from Maya or LIghtwave's. It uses 'shaders' to draw stuff on the screen. They resemble materials in Lightwave, I mean in that they are seperate assets that get attached to meshes. So, by default, MotionBuilder does not draw transparency. You need to attach a shader for that. So that was what April's script did. Mine got the geometry, texture, and material settings through. (With working UVs...) And hers brought it into MotionBuilder and applied the correct shader and settings. The result is we could just send assets straight through without having to troubleshoot why MotionBuilder was drawing things in a funny way. It also meant we werent' sending extra garbage through, which, sadly, is way too easy to do with other apps.

A lot of this stuff had to be considered before we got into MotionBuilder. This was something Rob had us sort out before we pulled the lever to start building sets. Steps to build the asset, best practices to avoid trouble down the road, predictable filenames, automation, that was all built to spec before we started. Well.. i haven't seen the interview yet so I'm probably re-treading... my bad. :)

Thanks for sharing NanoGator. :--)

ianr
02-15-2010, 10:10 AM
Thanks Bri-gator,
I'm sure many would be interested in more of the 'chops'.
As i posted an informed article 'the birth of Avatar' would
be a lovely an inspiring thuang!
Well done Team VAD***

cresshead
02-15-2010, 11:15 AM
wouldn't it be great if the newtek booth at siggy 2010 had the chaps from Avatar's VAD on stage this year....plus they launch core 1.0 on the same day....would be a hot deal i think.

archijam
02-15-2010, 11:45 AM
Cress that's crazytalk.

But I like it.

Philbert
02-15-2010, 12:03 PM
Sounds pretty good to me!

Netvudu
02-15-2010, 12:09 PM
Iīm really astonished with the great job that this team, and specially Rob Powers, have done. Itīs indeed inspiring, and I concur with the people that said that it would be grea to work with him into a big project one of these days...

You never know, do you?. Itīs not that much of a big sector and not so many people using LW around...

Larry_g1s
02-15-2010, 12:13 PM
The short version is that we already had Maya handy and it had a reliable FBX exporter. It was dirt simple to get Maya to take LW's input and get it into Mobu in a predictable fashion. (I need to give April Warren credit here, she handled the MotionBuilder side of the conversion. If she hadn't things wouldn't have gone nearly as smoothly as they had.) If time had been more abundant I might have just written a direct-to-fbx exporter myself, but I wasn't sure how long it'd take (or what it'd take to maintain it if new versions of Mobu came along) so I just coaxed Maya into doing it for me. That freed up a lot of time for me to work on the environments and in making them look as aesthetically pleasing as possible given the limitations we had.

I mentioned April's part of the script, figured I'd go into a little more detail, here. MotionBuilder's drawing system is a bit diffrent from Maya or LIghtwave's. It uses 'shaders' to draw stuff on the screen. They resemble materials in Lightwave, I mean in that they are seperate assets that get attached to meshes. So, by default, MotionBuilder does not draw transparency. You need to attach a shader for that. So that was what April's script did. Mine got the geometry, texture, and material settings through. (With working UVs...) And hers brought it into MotionBuilder and applied the correct shader and settings. The result is we could just send assets straight through without having to troubleshoot why MotionBuilder was drawing things in a funny way. It also meant we werent' sending extra garbage through, which, sadly, is way too easy to do with other apps.

A lot of this stuff had to be considered before we got into MotionBuilder. This was something Rob had us sort out before we pulled the lever to start building sets. Steps to build the asset, best practices to avoid trouble down the road, predictable filenames, automation, that was all built to spec before we started. Well.. i haven't seen the interview yet so I'm probably re-treading... my bad. :)Thanks Brian. Good behind the scene stuff.


wouldn't it be great if the newtek booth at siggy 2010 had the chaps from Avatar's VAD on stage this year....plus they launch core 1.0 on the same day....would be a hot deal i think.:agree:

Kuzey
02-15-2010, 01:55 PM
wouldn't it be great if the newtek booth at siggy 2010 had the chaps from Avatar's VAD on stage this year....plus they launch core 1.0 on the same day....would be a hot deal i think.

I think Avatar will be on every stand at siggy this year.

Maybe Rob has some secret stash of "LW in action" videos, that they can use :D

Newtek should come up with a good banner though. Maybe have Cameron's mug shot with the Lightwave logo and a quote from him...."Without Lightwave, Avatar would not have been possible" etc. etc. hehe :hey:

Ooooh...I know. Have Rob interview Cameron on video and talk about the early stages and LW's role in it.


Kuzey

Philbert
02-15-2010, 02:06 PM
Unfortunately according to Rob, Cameron really didn't know what software was being used, it wasn't his concern.

Kuzey
02-15-2010, 02:20 PM
Unfortunately according to Rob, Cameron really didn't know what software was being used, it wasn't his concern.

True...but that's not a reason not to do it :hey:

Cameron could do a short intro kinda thing....talking about Rob's early tests and how he wanted him to control the process after seeing his examples. Then, it can be all Rob, talking about all the detailed stuff from there....LW this, LW that etc.


Kuzey

NanoGator
02-15-2010, 02:44 PM
Jim's a pretty busy dude.

Kuzey
02-15-2010, 02:51 PM
It was just an idea :)

It will be interesting to see if and how Newtek uses Rob to push LW.....I'm hoping they'll team up for Siggraph.

btw....is Rob in the HC program?


Kuzey

cresshead
02-15-2010, 02:58 PM
newtek tag line for a banner...."Lightwave made the virtual world a reality for Avatar"

Kuzey
02-15-2010, 03:00 PM
newtek tag line for a banner...."Lightwave made the virtual world a reality for Avatar"

Haha.....now, we're talking :thumbsup:



Kuzey

SBowie
02-15-2010, 03:33 PM
He's Canadian, right? (He grew up in Kapuskasing, about 210 miles North of my hometown). So, we lay out a trail of poutine leading to the NewTek booth, then grab his nailgun from him and nail him to the floor ... ok, it needs a little work yet, but there are a few months left.

BeeVee
02-15-2010, 04:30 PM
@sbowie: Aren't you supposed to say "He's Canadian, eh?" ;)

B

SplineGod
02-15-2010, 04:49 PM
As Rob mentioned, James C wasnt that interested in software. He was definately interested in results and people who could deliver results. I also worked with Rob on another Cameron film, Aliens of the Deep which was also stereoscopic. We had come in on that film after a couple of small crews using Maya had been let go after failing to deliver. This kind of put us under the gun.
I remember James C's visual fx supervisor, Chuck Kaminski looking over my shoulder and saying, "Ive never worked with LW before". After a few minutes of watching us working on some shots he said. "I really love Lightwave". After he walked out Rob and I were looking at each other a bit shocked. :)

SBowie
02-15-2010, 08:19 PM
@sbowie: Aren't you supposed to say "He's Canadian, eh?"Oops, sorry!

monovich
02-15-2010, 09:23 PM
can't wait to see the interview. sounds like I really missed a good one.

NanoGator
02-15-2010, 09:27 PM
Me too.

kurv
02-16-2010, 12:29 AM
I am rendering the video tonight guys, I will do my best to get it online tomorrow but have a little one going in for a MRI in the AM. Depends on the time, thank you for the kind comments.

:D

Brian, we should talk sir... sounds like we should get you online if you have the time.

So guys, who else would you like to see interviewed. Also, we just signed three more interviews today, we will let you know who is coming but the dates are --

Feb 21st - Creating Virtual Sets in Avatar
Feb 28th - LightWave and Emmy's, do the two mix?
March 7th - Adding Sculpting to your work flow, how to do it?

allabulle
02-16-2010, 12:54 AM
I am rendering the video tonight guys, I will do my best to get it online tomorrow but have a little one going in for a MRI in the AM. Depends on the time, thank you for the kind comments.

:D

Brian, we should talk sir... sounds like we should get you online if you have the time.

So guys, who else would you like to see interviewed. Also, we just signed three more interviews today, we will let you know who is coming but the dates are --

Feb 21st - Creating Virtual Sets in Avatar
Feb 28th - LightWave and Emmy's, do the two mix?
March 7th - Adding Sculpting to your work flow, how to do it?

Thanks for the update (and the webinar too, of course.) Nice ones coming up, also.
I sincerely hope you are and will be healthy and happy too (for the MRI bit, if I understood it well.)

kurv
02-16-2010, 10:00 PM
Thanks for the update (and the webinar too, of course.) Nice ones coming up, also.
I sincerely hope you are and will be healthy and happy too (for the MRI bit, if I understood it well.)

Thanks, it was not me it was my daughter :) and she is doing great...

Compressing the render now :)

Philbert
02-16-2010, 10:05 PM
Thanks, it was not me it was my daughter :) and she is doing great...

Compressing the render now :)

Are you using Vimeo or something for hosting? I'd like to direct people to it, but don't want to use up all the bandwidth.

Glad to hear your daughter is well.

kurv
02-16-2010, 10:35 PM
We have a dedicated server for the video. It will be laoded on www.ilwug.com. We 'should' be okay... but if needed we will use Vimeo, YT and VFXCast for it :).

Thank you sir!

Larry_g1s
02-16-2010, 10:49 PM
After a few minutes of watching us working on some shots he said. "I really love Lightwave".Nice.

NanoGator
02-16-2010, 11:08 PM
Thanks, it was not me it was my daughter :) and she is doing great...

Compressing the render now :)

Still sorry to hear about that. My girlfriend has to get an MRI every once in a while and she hates it.

kurv
02-16-2010, 11:13 PM
Still sorry to hear about that. My girlfriend has to get an MRI every once in a while and she hates it.

Yeah it was not fun at all... hopefully she will not have the issues the other two girls have :) We will hear in a week or so.

So Brian you up for an interview..?? Did you see my question earlier? :D

allabulle
02-17-2010, 12:50 PM
Thanks, it was not me it was my daughter :) and she is doing great...

Compressing the render now :)

Glad to hear she is OK, then! :--)

NanoGator
02-17-2010, 12:53 PM
So Brian you up for an interview..?? Did you see my question earlier? :D

Hey Wes,

Possibly. My schedule's in flux right now, can I get back to you?

Brian

kurv
02-17-2010, 01:26 PM
Glad to hear she is OK, then! :--)

Thank you sir :D


Hey Wes,

Possibly. My schedule's in flux right now, can I get back to you?

Brian

NO!!! This is a one time offer or it is off the table forever!!!!!

LOL

Sure man, anytime you like. Totally up to you, no pressure. Just felt the community would like to know about what you did and how LightWave was used.... do you feel the guilt yet.... pack your bags... :P

Philbert
02-17-2010, 02:15 PM
You guys seem to be under the impression that you are Avatar fans. These people would laugh in your face!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk2vR8w2sjc

SplineGod
02-17-2010, 02:46 PM
Thats just wrong on so many levels :)

Cageman
02-17-2010, 03:07 PM
Hehe... Would be fun to see those vs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_ekugPKqFw

:D

Philbert
02-18-2010, 02:51 PM
So now that Rob works for NewTek do you have to get their permission or something before uploading the video? :p

-EsHrA-
02-19-2010, 03:39 AM
yeh..... check back in an hour?! :)

allabulle
02-19-2010, 03:56 AM
yeh..... check back in an hour?! :)

My F5 key is half the height of the rest of the keyboard. It's been a long "hour" :--)

Lewis
02-19-2010, 03:59 AM
Maybe Wes is having F5/Refresh counter on that WEB so he is smiling when seeing us how many times we hit F5 waiting for an hour in last 5 hours :) :) :D?

robertoortiz
02-19-2010, 04:25 AM
Awesome interview....Newtek should purchase this interview and send to every user and every possible user!

Why wait....Contact Wes and get it done!!!!!!

Come On....

Get with it Newtek.

Dale

Agreed....
This is a HUGE PR coup.

-EsHrA-
02-19-2010, 05:28 AM
weird encode though..

no sound in vlc and eats up all cpu in mpc.


mlon

-EsHrA-
02-23-2010, 10:57 AM
so what gives?

i can see a newtek intervention of some sorts..
but will we get the second part nonetheless?

mlon

Markc
02-23-2010, 12:04 PM
Ilwug........Have been waiting a 'long hour' now, for Part 2!
Lol

NanoGator
02-23-2010, 12:05 PM
He's using the Avatar standard for measuring hours. :)

kurv
02-24-2010, 10:29 AM
Okay guys, all three parts are live!

http://www.ilwug.com/

Philbert
02-24-2010, 10:34 AM
Yay! ;)

allabulle
02-25-2010, 10:08 AM
Okay guys, all three parts are live!

http://www.ilwug.com/

Thanks! It's been a quite long hour so I'll enjoy the watch even more. :--)

OnlineRender
02-25-2010, 10:44 AM
was registered for the webinar but had to work glad its online ,just started watching ....... the panel " ITS LIKE X-Factor for 3D " .except not a sexy and men (lol)

I love the modesty ROb/All have , " Ye i was just working on Avatar " I would be LIKE BEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT THAT ... but I’m selfish (",)

erikals
02-25-2010, 10:56 AM
http://erikalstad.com/backup/anims.php_files/smile.gif Great, loved the interview!

(suggestion for next interview,> Jeremy Hardin,> Mr Rid)

OnlineRender
02-25-2010, 11:00 AM
mine's Lee Perry Smith , BLAM . Mikael Burman ,Steph Scot (",)