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geothefaust
04-19-2010, 02:02 PM
Hi all,


I'm looking at buying Project Messiah for my animation work, but I am interested in hearing peoples thoughts on it. I've done some reading, and have yet to check out the demo (About to download it actually).


I'm only interested in the PRO version, as it seems the basic version is very limited in most regards. No 64bit support, limited cores, etc.. So the basic version is out of the equation.

So a few questions:


What kind of experience have you had with Messiah and Lightwave together?
How easy is to to transfer assets between applications? (LW and others, please be specific)
What kind of limitations have have you also experiences? (LW and others, please be specific)
I'm really interested in the rigging tools and weighting tools, also. Any info here?
Does it also work well for vehicle rigging?
How about the auto rigger? What's up with it?



Please be specific with your answers and thoughts. I'd like to make a very sound decision here and getting feedback from experienced Messiah users is paramount. :)

Or, if you have any thoughts on another software package that will let me rig/animate around this price range, I am all ears, so long as it's not an AD product.


Thanks in advance! I appreciate all feedback and help with my purchasing decision. :)

geothefaust
04-19-2010, 02:23 PM
Oh another question came to me:


Can you also drive say, a displacement map with an expression in Messiah?

nickdigital
04-19-2010, 03:59 PM
You should check out Setuptab.com as that's the messiah forum. You'll find a lot of good people who can answer your questions.

>What kind of experience have you had with Messiah and Lightwave together?
I used messiah when it was just a plug-in for animation. As an animation tool it really filled the character animation gap that LW had. LW has improved a lot since then but messiah's focus on char animation really sets it apart. The flexibility of the rigging tools in messiah are awesome. The setup tab alone is amazing.

>How easy is to to transfer assets between applications? (LW and others, please be specific)
Messiah can read lwo files. Even ones with morphs.

>I'm really interested in the rigging tools and weighting tools, also. Any info here?
Messiah's rigging tools are awesome. No need to paint weights. If you need to messiah uses metaeffectors which are really easy to use.

>Does it also work well for vehicle rigging?
I would think so. The basic ideas of rigging would apply.

>How about the auto rigger? What's up with it?
Messiah comes with an auto-rigger. I haven't used it but it creates a pretty powerful rig from what I've seen.

>Can you also drive say, a displacement map with an expression in Messiah?
Not sure about this one but I know the expression engine is really easy to use and powerful.

:peet:
04-19-2010, 04:08 PM
Hi!

Messiah and lightwave work together quite seamlessly, they've been used together in feature films, tv shows and music videos so it's production proofed to boot.

Generally you'll be modelling and setting your surface shaders in LW, then you would load the .lwo into messiah. Rig, animate and then simply export the animation as an .mdd file, which can be read by lightwave using MDPlug, PointOven or the like. Just load your original .lwo in layout, applly the mdd as a displacement and that's it!

Messiah natively reads Lightwave's weight maps and endomorphs so you can use LW to set up morph targets for messiah. It also transfers any non-nodal surfaces that were setup in LW, if you wanted to render in messiah.

.mdd files can be used in most 3d packages these days too - modo, max, xsi, et al, so you can render in whatever you're most comfortable in.

I have done practically no rigging of any sort in it but I hear that it defaults the weights during rigging to 'good', minimising setup and any messy weight painting by being a bit more clever about how it does things.

To be honest, you'll get all the answers you need on their official forums at setuptab.com (http://www.setuptab.com/). The users there include my ol' pal Ulven, who programmed the autorigger amongst other things, so they would be better equipped to give you some specifics ;)
And yup, displacements can be driven by expressions too - check out taron's neckling as a good example of this (as well as messiah's renderer):
Neckling (http://www.projectmessiah.com/x6/vids/gallery/taron_neckling_change.mov)

Quite an essay but I hope it's of use!

The Dommo
04-19-2010, 05:01 PM
Messiah is a tool I've been meaning to learn for a long, long time.

Boris Goreta
04-19-2010, 05:25 PM
What kind of experience have you had with Messiah and Lightwave together?
How easy is to to transfer assets between applications? (LW and others, please be specific)

I'd like to say that messiah also works good integrated into the LW scene. So there is no need for baking and transferring animation using MDDs. I like to work that way since it is simpler but the MDD way has it's strong points too. This project has been done using embedded scenes only: http://www.borisgoreta.com/wp-content/themes/contrast_pack/contrast/fla/hrvatska2_F8_2Mb.flv


What kind of limitations have have you also experiences? (LW and others, please be specific)
Sometimes when you import another embedded scene into your existing LW scene you need to go to Wordpad and copy a couple of lines to the new scene file, not a big deal really, had to do that only a couple of times for the before mentioned project.

I'm really interested in the rigging tools and weighting tools, also. Any info here?
Rigging tools are great, in the couple of latest version you even have the ability to sculpt the poses and tweak them to your liking so you wouldn't have to rerig the character to achieve the same result. Lattice deformations are there too. My favorite expression is softIK, it is a rig/expression setup which prevents IK from popping. Very easy to setup and so very useful. Also there is a great expression for reparenting objects during animation.

Does it also work well for vehicle rigging?
I've never done that with Messiah.

How about the auto rigger? What's up with it?
Auto rigger is a full blown character rig, what you do is adjust a simple rig to the proportions of your character and then run auto rig which adds all the bells and whistles to the rig and you're ready to go.


Messiah is fast, I don't do animation unless the feedback is realtime, Messiah even goes beyond that, it can play animation at much higher frame rate ( basically at the rate that your monitor allows ) which lets you see your animations in a smooth playing way and discover any bad transitions in animation curves. Also there are convenient buttons to slow down the animation ( but also retain high frame per second playback ) also to check for errors in curves which can't be nailed down at the normal playback rate.


Can you also drive say, a displacement map with an expression in Messiah?
Sadly, Messiah does not have the ability to displace the geometry using displacement map ( procedural texture ) for use with other applications like LW, it can do so at render time but this can't be used by LW renderer. Therefore I use LW for that.


I'll be happy to answer any other specific questions you might have.

All in all, Messiah is a lovely piece of software !

geothefaust
04-19-2010, 05:35 PM
Hey everyone! Thanks so much for the replies, and taking the time to do so. They are all very helpful. :thumbups:


Keep 'em coming!

Paul Goodrich
04-20-2010, 10:39 PM
I've been also looking at Messiah as an animation add on to my Lightwave kit. As it now (10 years later) finally has a Mac port. My question is, how is it for lip sync? As audio in Lightwave on the Mac is pretty much useless. I've been looking at other options. I have Minic and it does what it does but I'm looking for better solutions. I've been doing some lip sync'ing in Maya and the difference in how it handles audio vs. Lightwave (Again, on the Mac side as I've told that Lightwave audio on the PC is better) is night and day. I can scrub, it tracks great and is stable and I can pick up the audio anywhere in my scene. Another option I'm thinking about is TAFA but then I have to move everything in and out of Lightwave and set up a PC drive or partition on my Mac. I'd like to have my animation and lip sync in the same environment if possible. Which is why Messiah looks interesting. Anyone with any experience with it, please chime in. Thanks much.

Paul Goodrich