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Tony3d
08-11-2010, 04:27 AM
Hi all, I'm having all kinds of issues working with ik. I'm new to it, and don't really understand what I'm doing. Is there a good video tutorial on the subject? I have played with skeletons, and ik booster. I'm having better luck going that route. What's the advantage of using the standard ik, since ik booster seems to do most the setup work for you? Thanks for your time.

RebelHill
08-11-2010, 04:43 AM
The advantage is that standard IK is reliable, and lets you do exactly what you want, and IKB is jsut a nightmare. Its wonderful a a stills posing tool, its really good as an animation editing tool (editing mocap and the like), but for hand animation its pretty pretty terrible.

IKbooster isnt really IK, its FK... it just uses IK to create a pose, but not between poses, so there's foot slide (which has to be baked and fixed afterwards... terrible), and the IK itself isnt that great, and will often give you different IK resutls for the same end position.

There's a LOT to learn about IK, how it works, why it works, what makes it stabel, what doesnt, etc, and it takes a good while to learn it, and then be able to apply it. IKB looks like a nice shortcut past all that, but its not... it is much less work, but also much lesser resuts.

Elmar Moelzer
08-11-2010, 04:50 AM
IKB is not meant to be used instead of LWs classic IK, it is meant to be used WITH LWs classic IK. Thats why it is called an IK Booster. Larry- SplineGod- Schultz can teach you how to use it right.
He is one of the few people that actually understood IKB correctly.

pooby
08-11-2010, 09:17 AM
I'm still waiting to see a decent IK boost animation. I think I'm up to something like 5 years waiting time now.
I've been managing to fill that time with other things to try and keep me occupied, but its been playing heavily on my mind.

I how understand IK boost works, so I KNOW that decent animation is possible with it, in the same way that its possible to make a decent 2d animation by painting each frame in photoshop.

Elmar Moelzer
08-11-2010, 12:39 PM
I wished Larry was not so sick right now. I am sure, he could demonstrate this in his great way.
I cant. All I know is that most people make the MISTAKE of using IKbooster ISTEAD of LWs IK. They should be using it TOGETHER with LWs IK. You apply both IKB and normal IK to the same rigg. Then you get both, the advantages of IKB and the advantages of "normal" IK. Of course that means that you have to spend more time setting up your rigg, unfortunately...

RebelHill
08-12-2010, 04:08 AM
yeah... Ik booster really isnt "supposed" to be used alongside regular LW IK... thats just a workaround folks have found to make up for the fact that the IK in IKB is unreliable, and flaky, making it too much effort to bother with, unless u tack on regular IK and just use IKB to animate the goal nulls and FK parts.

Which means you've still got to go through the regular IK setup process, which means there's no time saving advantage to using IKB.

As pooby says... who's actually seen any GOOD animation done in IKB by anyone? Not he, and not I either.

Elmar Moelzer
08-12-2010, 05:39 AM
yeah... Ik booster really isnt "supposed" to be used alongside regular LW IK... thats just a workaround folks have found to make up for the fact that the IK in IKB is unreliable, and flaky, making it too much effort to bother with, unless u tack on regular IK and just use IKB to animate the goal nulls and FK parts.

Uhm, of course it is supposed to be used together with IK. I dont know where you get from that it isnt.
Why do you think it is called a BOOSTER??

pooby
08-12-2010, 10:58 AM
Its using an IK to 'Boost' the posing of FK hierarchies.
Thats why its called IKboost

Castius
08-12-2010, 11:23 AM
IK Booster ties in pretty well with standard IK or PLG IK. IK Booster can't edit channel controller by plugins or by IK. But with some offsets you can deal with that. There are things IK Booster can do that simply can't be done inside LW otherwise.

That being said. You must use IK Booster where it's helpful or you'll waste a lot of your time thinking your doing something wrong. It is in no way a replacement for good rigging.

erikals
08-13-2010, 02:46 PM
for fast stuff i'm sure it's quite good.
(guy flying through the air, superman, stuntman, misc other creatures)

(anyway, none of us are experts in IKB afaik... so kinda hard to say)

surely looks great for fixing mocap anims though...

sandman300
09-20-2010, 09:28 AM
IK Booster is much more powerful than most people realize. The problem with it is that there is very little information on it. Outside of Splinegod's videos, there is almost nothing. And what training there is, is all very basic. The only way to really learn it is with a lot of trial and error. The other big problem with IK boost is that since not a lot of people know how to use it, there is a lot of negative feelings towards it, this finds its way to the forums and the newbees stay away from it. This was apparently the reason that ikboost.com went down.

I tried using it years ago, got confused and didn't go back to it till recently; mostly because of Splinegod's videos. Incredibly powerful, similar in work flow to animation master, but much more versatile. The coolest thing is being able to change things on the fly.

erikals
09-20-2010, 09:49 AM
earlier i got permission to upload some of the videos from ikboost.com to youtube,
i thought i'd be sad if they got lost, here are the uploaded videos.

ikbooster boosterlink by Colin Larkin,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quNK7KnlBTs&feature=PlayList&p=31382AA24009B98E&index=0&playnext=1

 

sandman300
09-20-2010, 10:12 AM
Sweet! :thumbsup: must watch them now!

pooby
09-20-2010, 10:43 AM
We have been through all this 'IK boost is really great in the right hands' stuff often on this forum.
Don't assume that IK-boosts' 'detractors' or rather, The people who dont think that IK boost is suitable for general purpose character rigging- dont know how to use it properly.

I thoroughly tested it when it came out. I was very excited about a new tool as Lightwave was my only app, and animation is my work and passion.
I tried and tried, and I understood fully how it works and I understood fully how and why it wouldnt allow the results I was after.
Without the experience of being a professional rigger/animator, It is tempting to look at superficially impressive looking posing demonstrations and jump to the conclusion that this is some powerful misunderstood saviour of LW animaiton that people just need to learn. But that is not the case.

There is value in judging IK boost on the results. It certainly gives the animation a certain 'look' but its not one that I'd want my work to have.

RebelHill
09-20-2010, 10:51 AM
We have been through all this 'IK boost is really great in the right hands' stuff often on this forum.
Don't assume that IK-boosts' 'detractors' or rather, The people who dont think that IK boost is suitable for general purpose character rigging- dont know how to use it properly.

I thoroughly tested it when it came out. I was very excited about a new tool as Lightwave was my only app, and animation is my work and passion.
I tried and tried, and I understood fully how it works and I understood fully how and why it wouldnt allow the results I was after.
Without the experience of being a professional rigger/animator, It is tempting to look at superficially impressive looking posing demonstrations and jump to the conclusion that this is some powerful misunderstood saviour of LW animaiton that people just need to learn. But that is not the case.

There is value in judging IK boost on the results. It certainly gives the animation a certain 'look' but its not one that I'd want my work to have.

Couldnt agree more!!!

There are those of us who understand, and know how to use IKB perfectly well... we just dont think much of it.

As ive said, time and again... from my own perspective, it has its uses, as most tools do. But for IKB those uses are limited to simple posing, and the editing of baked, or mocap animations... for straight up, hand keyed animation its very, very poor.

Again, I also think things have to stand by judging them on the merits of their results, and ive still yet to see a decent piece of animation done purely with IKB by anyone... ever.

erikals
09-20-2010, 10:57 AM
...and ive still yet to see a decent piece of animation done purely with IKB by anyone... ever.

did you see this? i think it's decent.

not "wow",... but decent.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvZekbBtkq8

still digging into IKB now and then, to see the areas of use.
boosterlink (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quNK7KnlBTs&feature=PlayList&p=31382AA24009B98E&index=0&playnext=1) for example looks interesting.
maybe bone dynamics can be of use to to set things up fast.

not a fan of IKB, but maybe it has it's use,
i liked for example how IKB can tweak mocap animations fairly easily (http://www.foundation3d.com/forums/showpost.php?p=141133&postcount=7)
(or is there a better LW way that makes it possible to edit large amounts of keyframe data?)

 

pooby
09-20-2010, 11:18 AM
not "wow",... but decent.


I would say not 'Wow or Decent' but not abysmal. The animator has somewhat crudely replicated the functions of the physical motions that a human would do to climb some blocks and move onto swinging from a pole, but it is stiff and lifeless. it is not good character animation.
This kind of animation would be acceptable for a moving technical illustration.

However, I have to admit, considering the animator used IKboost, its quite an achievement.

erikals
09-20-2010, 11:25 AM
This kind of animation would be acceptable for a moving technical illustration...

agree, he'd be perfect actually, as he's quite "robotic" :]

RebelHill
09-20-2010, 11:58 AM
Yup... robotic and lifeless... certainly no semblance of "character"...

But that has to rank as the BEST animation ive ever seen with IKB... which still doesnt say much for IKB really, does it.

I should also add that in addition to mocap editing... IKB can also be pretty good to turn to if you need to stick a tail, or tentacle, or something whip like onto a character, it can save you time there...

But I still stand by the assertion that as a character animation and rigging tool, it falls FAR short of the alternatives.

sandman300
09-20-2010, 12:01 PM
Couldnt agree more!!!

There are those of us who understand, and know how to use IKB perfectly well... we just dont think much of it.

As ive said, time and again... from my own perspective, it has its uses, as most tools do. But for IKB those uses are limited to simple posing, and the editing of baked, or mocap animations... for straight up, hand keyed animation its very, very poor.

Again, I also think things have to stand by judging them on the merits of their results, and ive still yet to see a decent piece of animation done purely with IKB by anyone... ever.

Really, that's strange, because I was under the impression that hand keying was one area that it shined. Then again I find that the simplest rig is the easiest to deal with. All those extra controllers that I see in a lot of rigs really overcomplicate things for me. I don't want to give the wrong impression, I'm a noob as far as rigging and animating go. I've tried every method that I could find (that was within my budget) I even played with your rigger thing. I saw the Jeff Lew's videos and I said "I wonder if I could animate that way in Lightwave". About a week later I found the answer,in the form of Splinegods IK booster videos. My stuff isn't perfect, I never claimed it was, but it's getting better. And it's IK Booster that's helping me get there.

RebelHill
09-20-2010, 12:16 PM
Really, that's strange, because I was under the impression that hand keying was one area that it shined.

Nope... it is honestly the one area where it really sucks.

Believe me, you may think these extra controllers are confusing, or a lot to deal with, but I promise you they simplify your workflow a lot, and are far simpler than having to constantly chop things back and forth, bake and bind, etc in IKB.

Just search "character rig" on youtube, and you'll see rig after rig, in package after package all following pretty much the same, or at least very similar, design and interface... thousands of pro animators the world over aint wrong, y'know.

I promise, all you need is a good lesson in how to use these rigs... or should I say, animation interfaces, and once you get it, you'll see the light.

When I get time, i'll try and throw some things together to help you out in getting to grips with more standard rigs, and Im confident that it'll not only speed up your animation workflow, but help you get better at animation more quickly too.

sandman300
09-20-2010, 12:41 PM
Then maybe I'm wrong but it doesn't suck for me. And yes I've seen a lot of these rigs, and dissected them to see how all the controllers work. Ive seen some interesting rigs and I've integrated many of them into rigs of my own. But I also can't tell you how many times I got a controller to work great on one place (like a knee control) on the left and the exact same setup on the right does not work. Why? No reason it shouldn't work.

BTW IKB works much better than regular IK with motion modifiers like relativity, and RPR.

erikals
09-20-2010, 12:45 PM
 
Maestro (http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/maestro/) is an alternative to animate things faster...

 

sandman300
09-20-2010, 12:56 PM
Maestro is an alternative to animate things faster...

It also costs almost $150 more than IKB. Thanks but no thanks.

erikals
09-20-2010, 01:00 PM
  
that's "nothing" compared to what you get back  :]

also consider RHiggit Lite ($40)

  

RebelHill
09-20-2010, 01:02 PM
Then maybe I'm wrong but it doesn't suck for me.

Id be tempted to say it does, you're jsut unaware of it, having not seen the alternative.


I also can't tell you how many times I got a controller to work great on one place (like a knee control) on the left and the exact same setup on the right does not work. Why? No reason it shouldn't work.

It CANT be exactly the same... there's got to be something you've missed. Plenty of folks dont have these issues, and the only time Ive ever encountered them myself (and I know exaclty the sort of situation you're talking about), its ALWYS been something Ive missed somewhere.


BTW IKB works much better than regular IK with motion modifiers like relativity, and RPR.

Not true at all... i use motion modifiers all over the place, follower, expressions, and I RPR absolutey everything, and with no issues. Its jsut a case of knowing how these things are suppsoed to work together and obeying teh rules.

sandman300
09-20-2010, 01:34 PM
that's a lot compared to what I have to spend.

RebelHill: What are you talking about, autoriggers, or animating in other software. With this kind of thing if it wasn't free or there wasn't a free trial, I didn't take a second look. But everything else I tried.


It CANT be exactly the same...

If there was a difference it was under the hood, I spent hours troubleshooting rigs.

And it's not like I havn't gotten any training, I've got most of the Lightwave books out there, as well as Splinegods Rigging: The Definitive Guide.


Not true at all... i use motion modifiers all over the place, follower, expressions, and I RPR absolutey everything, and with no issues.

Not according to my experience.



Its jsut a case of knowing how these things are suppsoed to work together and obeying teh rules.

Then these rules must be documented almost as well as IKB.


and are far simpler than having to constantly chop things back and forth, bake and bind, etc in IKB.

If your going back and forth all the time your either doing something wrong or you missed the point of the tool.

RebelHill
09-20-2010, 08:18 PM
Well... what I meant... autoriggers, other software, or just doing it by hand in LW... doesnt matter. The other alternative Im talking about is proper solid rigs that allow for a much simpler and most importantly, predictable workflow when animating. Something a little more standard, which IKB is pretty far from.

And as for the back and forth, im talking with respect to things like the well known foot slide issue... U need to bake the range that the foot is in contact with the floor for... but then u later decide you ant to change it... so u gotta go back, do the whole thing again... unless ofc u just dont, and let it slide, only running the fix at the very end. but thats no kind of an animation workflow, to not be able to see everything happening as it should be, all the time. I promise you, if you were more familiar with the more industry standard rigs, and ways to animate them, you'd quickly see what a joke things like this in IKB really are.

And as for your experience having problems with mtoin modifiers, rpr, etc... well i suspect, and i really dont mean to sound harsh here, but tis your lack of experience thats getting in the way... and if the training you've got isnt answering these points for you, then, whilst I cant comment on any one thing specifically, id have to say its just the wrong training, or is falling short somewhere.

Y'know, i didnt just acquire this knowledge by magic, I learned what I know from a handful of tuts.. experience of a couple different packages, and mostly, from the standard LW documentation.

And as for the doing on thing on one side, the exact same on the other, and it not working the same... i PROMISE you... its something you've missed... not an under the hood difference.

If you dont believe me... please... shoot me a scene file that demonstrates such an issue that you have, and I'll find the problem for you, and show you what it is you're missing.

Infact... I'll go so far as to put my money where my mouth is... and say that if I CANT find it, and there is some great unanswerable mystery taking place... then not only will I be the first to admit Im wrong about this fact... I'll send you a copy of my rigging tutorials, AND my autorigger for FREE.

Cant say fairer than that.

GraphXs
09-20-2010, 10:09 PM
Its to bad IKB will never be updated. It would be great if it could pin the rotations of legs,arms, etc, to solve the sliding issues. I do like how on the fly a user can change the ikstop to control bigger chains and that it can work with standard ik and bones. However, I don't like the baking method at all! RebelHill is correct, always getting visual feedback during the animation process is needed and it is amazing what can be done with the standard rigs. Watch any of his videos and you will see how powerful LW rigging can be. As far as IKB, again, I really wish it could be updated with some minor fixes, if it just did a little more to make the rig from being hard to control then most likely power riggers like RebeHill and Pooby would be using it!

erikals
09-21-2010, 06:03 AM
 
the best is probably to combine Maestro and RHiggit.
this is currently quite doable.

bit info on it,
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=111221&page=3
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=111221&page=4
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=111221&page=5

 

sandman300
09-21-2010, 08:05 PM
Well... what I meant... autoriggers, other software, or just doing it by hand in LW... doesnt matter. The other alternative Im talking about is proper solid rigs that allow for a much simpler and most importantly, predictable workflow when animating. Something a little more standard, which IKB is pretty far from.

Im sorry you misunderstand me, My rigs are fine, IK or IKB, the bones are the same. its the method of manipulation that I had difficulties with, in other words the controllers the other extra bits that are needed to make it work. Just the setup of IKB wowed me, can't be much easier.

Now consider a walk cycle, You set up an single stride, and if you want to make that repeat, it's either graph editor (repeat post mode) (which means you would have to get rid of the base pose). You could repeat the process of making the first stride (lots of work), C4D has a pose copy (I didn't like how it worked very much), or you could select all the controllers that have a key on a particular frame and make keys on particular frames, this can be really complicated depending on the number of controllers and ho many key-frames make up a single stride (very easy to make a mistake). I've tried all of these and they are no fun. I'm sure there are other ways but these were the ones I thought of.

Now IKB, I set up the single stride, (I do a walk in place and use bind to pull the body forward. Doing it this way has many advantages when it comes down to changing how fast I want the character to move. Once I have this single stride I can select the range of keys and copy motion, and repetitively paste those keys to lengthen the walk.




And as for the back and forth, im talking with respect to things like the well known foot slide issue... U need to bake the range that the foot is in contact with the floor for... but then u later decide you ant to change it... so u gotta go back, do the whole thing again... unless ofc u just dont, and let it slide, only running the fix at the very end. but thats no kind of an animation workflow, to not be able to see everything happening as it should be, all the time.I promise you, if you were more familiar with the more industry standard rigs, and ways to animate them, you'd quickly see what a joke things like this in IKB really are.

I may have no idea what is considered industry standard, but it makes sense to me to rough out an animation and refine the details. The same thing goes for key frames, set up the main key-frames and then work down to the smaller inbetweeners.


And as for your experience having problems with mtoin modifiers, rpr, etc... well i suspect, and i really dont mean to sound harsh here, but tis your lack of experience thats getting in the way... and if the training you've got isnt answering these points for you, then, whilst I cant comment on any one thing specifically, id have to say its just the wrong training, or is falling short somewhere.

Although I've been using Lightwave since 7.5 (I remember being so excited to get the box in the mail, I read the entire manual cover to cover), I must concede that my bulk of experience is in modeler. Although in the last year I have been spending more and more time in layout rigging and well a lot of rigging, and a little animating. One thing that I do have, is an appreciation that I can always learn something new I can tottally appreciate different ways to get to the same goal. I check out every tutorial I can find. Besides all the books I bought over the years, I've got several DVDs from Kurv, and a bunch a coworker gave me from 3D garage, ans well as many other videos I downloaded from different places. I even had two classes in computer animation at Penn State, back in 94'(used Imagine 4.0 on Amigas).


Y'know, i didnt just acquire this knowledge by magic, I learned what I know from a handful of tuts.. experience of a couple different packages, and mostly, from the standard LW documentation.

Before I started with Lightwave, I tried my hand at Maya (3.0 and 4.0) I only had the version that came with the Inside Maya book.


And as for the doing on thing on one side, the exact same on the other, and it not working the same... i PROMISE you... its something you've missed... not an under the hood difference.If you dont believe me... please... shoot me a scene file that demonstrates such an issue that you have, and I'll find the problem for you, and show you what it is you're missing.

I will have to dig up one of the rigs where I hadn't fixed it yet. If I can't find one I'll put together a rig from scratch. But that's going to have to wait a couple of weeks. I've got other things to do that take precedence.


Infact... I'll go so far as to put my money where my mouth is... and say that if I CANT find it, and there is some great unanswerable mystery taking place... then not only will I be the first to admit Im wrong about this fact... I'll send you a copy of my rigging tutorials, AND my autorigger for FREE.

I hope your right because I hate those damn unanswerable mysteries. Rotten kids and their stinking dog too.


Cant say fairer than that.

If your right then I'll give you credit in the trailer that I'm working on. How's that.

Dodgy
09-21-2010, 10:54 PM
Okay, since I wrote the Lightwiki entry on it, I should know it quite well. IK booster is okay, but it needed to go a little further to make it great. Like Pooby and RHill say, it's great for posing and doing things with keys, and you can pin rotations for hands feet etc by fixing a hand and its child. Unfortunately for this to work, it requires baking which makes it more of a pain in the butt than a great tool to work with. As it stands, you are definitely better off with IK/other handles. You could use it for fingers, or maybe other FK driven items, I really love it for interacting with a mesh, it allows you to pin to other items in the hierarchy easily, lots of good stuff in it. But for tweening, IK based keys handles are better.

I also use Anime Studio which has a very similar system, and you don't have to bake anything to pin items in place. It works very nicely, you just set the frame length for pinning and the foot stays there. As far as I can see there's no reason IKB couldn't be made to work this way, after all, it does it in real time when the user interacts with it, so tweening it should be relatively easy. It's just a shame no-one at NT wants to figure out how it works, and do the next step.

As it is, handles are much easier to deal with.

sandman300
09-22-2010, 07:37 AM
Dodgy, very cool of you to wiwk that, I remember reading that a while back. Looking it over again it looks like there is quite a bit missing. at least 3 other menus full of stuff.
1. right click on Chanel
2. right click on dope track
3. right click and drag on dope track
also I don't see anything on booster link. Of course I had no idea about it till I saw those videos by Colin Larkin.

When I get more time I should add to it.

If the baking thing is all that stands between it being a ok tool and an awesome tool thats no problem, its simple to select a range and delete keys. and you can easily select which items that you want to delete the keys from.

ericsmith
09-22-2010, 09:03 AM
If the baking thing is all that stands between it being a ok tool and an awesome tool thats no problem...

But the fact is, it's not. The real issue is a bit more complex.

This issue has been discussed to death over the years, but I'll try and sum it up one more time.

There are times when you want to drive motion of a hierarchy from the root, and times where you want to drive it from the end. For the former, FK is the correct approach. For the latter, you need fulltime IK to control the hierarchy. Not just a temporary posing assist, but a persistant solve at every frame. So you can actually animate the goal, and that animation is what the audience sees.

Consider the scenario of a character ironing something, or writing on a chalkboard. You want to animate the position of the iron (or chalk, or whatever). Using an IKB approach for this kind of thing would not work very well at all, and of course baking isn't even part of the equation.

For me personally, any time a character is moving his hands in a purposeful manner (ie. not just allowing inertia to make his arms flail about), fulltime IK is the best approach. It doesn't matter if the hands are making contact with anything or not. When we make gestures in real life, we're thinking where our hands are in positional space, not rotating the shoulder and/or elbow at their joints. And animating using the same mental approach is going to make the motion appear better motivated.

So to sum up, many times in the process of animating a character, you need to animate the position of the end of a hierarchy. In this situation, IKB creates inferior results, because it is in fact FK, and the interpolation between keyframes will not match the motion of the "goal" when posing using it's part-time IK.

Eric

bugzilla
09-22-2010, 09:20 AM
You could just skip all these problems and rig and animate in Blender, then export the animation into Lightwave using MDD files. Works great. Here's an example of how fast and easy rigging in Blender is. If I tried to do this in Lightwave I would have to write expressions, worry about pitch correction and manually set motion channels.

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

Blender has the better animation tools, Lightwave has the better render engine and Modeler. Why not use the best of both worlds?

sandman300
10-26-2010, 07:58 PM
Sorry, it took me a little time to make the time to reply to your post.


This issue has been discussed to death over the years, but I'll try and sum it up one more time.

One thing that seems to be misunderstood about IKB, is that it is not a separate tool from IK and FK but more of a expanded tool-set for the existing tool.


There are times when you want to drive motion of a hierarchy from the root, and times where you want to drive it from the end. For the former, FK is the correct approach. For the latter, you need fulltime IK to control the hierarchy. Not just a temporary posing assist, but a persistant solve at every frame. So you can actually animate the goal, and that animation is what the audience sees.

It is also good to mention that since the bone structure for a character; IK or FK; would be exactly the same. The big difference is how the rig is manipulated (controlers, plugins, scripts, ect.). IMHO the FK/IK decision is a choice based on what the individual animator feels comfortable with. The two methods can achieve the same results of a believable animation. Anything more is subjective opinion.


Consider the scenario of a character ironing something, or writing on a chalkboard. You want to animate the position of the iron (or chalk, or whatever). Using an IKB approach for this kind of thing would not work very well at all, and of course baking isn't even part of the equation.

IMHO your example could be animated in much the same way with IKB.
One of many cool features is the adaptability of how a IKB enabled rig can be manipulated. You can grab the wrist bone and pull like IK and then go up and rotate the upper arm like FK all without switching modes or pulling sliders or turning anything on and/or off. But unlike normal IK, all of the rotation data is in the bones themselves and not only in the goal. As far as I have found there is no part time IKB.


For me personally, any time a character is moving his hands in a purposeful manner (ie. not just allowing inertia to make his arms flail about), fulltime IK is the best approach. It doesn't matter if the hands are making contact with anything or not. When we make gestures in real life, we're thinking where our hands are in positional space, not rotating the shoulder and/or elbow at their joints. And animating using the same mental approach is going to make the motion appear better motivated.


Regardless of how you may think about your moving, there is no getting around the fact that a humanoid character's movable joints are all rotational. But this is irrelevant since this is the same for all IK and FK.


So to sum up, many times in the process of animating a character, you need to animate the position of the end of a hierarchy. In this situation, IKB creates inferior results, because it is in fact FK, and the interpolation between keyframes will not match the motion of the "goal" when posing using it's part-time IK.

You are aware that you can add nulls as goals to a chain with IKB? And that any item that is under the hierarchy of that chain gains a IKB control interface. There is no reason that you should not be able to animate in the exact same way. Because IKB is IK when you want it to be and FK when you want it to be.

I would have to say the the most misunderstood part of IKB is the key-frame modes. It took me a while to get my head around it and I'm sure that I could use them better than I do. It is a powerful feature but then again this is just one of many controls that you only have access to with IKB active.

One last thing I wanted to add; way back when, I was trudging through building rigs with complex control structures, and having a difficult time getting the results that I wanted. my search for tutorials led me to http://www.jefflew.com/ . I bought his videos and I was amazed how simple it could be and I wondered why couldn't I do that in Lightwave, then I realized the I can with IKB.:D

Castius
10-26-2010, 10:32 PM
What you are saying all sound good. And all of us want it to be the truth. As many of us have found out the truth is always in the gray area.


Because IKB is IK when you want it to be and FK when you want it to be.

Really it's not. It's IK part-time just like LW is when you leave off the full-time option. IK Booster is just setting keyframe for you. Give it try, make a simple IK setup but leave off fulltime IK. You can rotate the IK bones without turning off IK. So you can manipulate FK and still pose IK goals when you want to. IKB just simplifies this workflow.

IKB allowing you to manipulate the controllers in screen space. Something LW does not do outside of IKB. As you stated IKB has some nice keyframe modes too. Ones i think should be at the heart of LW, not just in IKB. As well as a slew of other nice features. Just not all good for certain limb motion or particulate motions.

This all wraps back around to what most of us have been saying over and over. Make your rig and add IKB on top of enjoy it's benefits. Let it help you save poses let it help to move is alternate spaces. Let it add different selection handles. Take advantage of what IKB has to offer. Just don't go to far and use it on type of motion that it does not do well. Or it will disappoint you. It's not an all or nothing situation. Just use what you have to it's best advantages.

ericsmith
10-26-2010, 11:42 PM
IMHO the FK/IK decision is a choice based on what the individual animator feels comfortable with. The two methods can achieve the same results of a believable animation. Anything more is subjective opinion.


While it's true that different animators have different approaches (IK arms vs. FK arms, for example), there are certain areas that are more concrete. I don't believe there's a single professional character animator out there that would suggest using FK for feet in a situation where the character needs to interact with the ground. The fact is, while there are always more than one way to accomplish a task, in many cases there are tried and true standards that no one bothers to challenge, because there's just no point.


IMHO your example could be animated in much the same way with IKB.
One of many cool features is the adaptability of how a IKB enabled rig can be manipulated. You can grab the wrist bone and pull like IK and then go up and rotate the upper arm like FK all without switching modes or pulling sliders or turning anything on and/or off. But unlike normal IK, all of the rotation data is in the bones themselves and not only in the goal. As far as I have found there is no part time IKB.

This is an honest question, I'm not trying to be snyde here, I promise.

Based on your comment here, have you ever actually animated a character this way over a range of keyframes? Because what you're saying indicates exactly what one would perceive if they only manipulated the rig at a single frame, but never experienced what happens between keyframes.

I've uploaded a simple little preview render that illustrates exactly what I've been going on about:

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/IKvsIKB.mov

You can see the difference in motion between keyframes between the two. Hopefully the image clearly illustrates what I'm talking about, but if you don't get it, I'll try to explain in more detail.

But the bottom line is that the IKB motion is trying to move in arcs between the keyframes, and that's not what the desired motion was in this case. It's true that you can go in and create more breakdowns to correct the problem, but utlimately, the interpolation will always be fighting against the desired result until you have a keyframe on every frame. And that's really undesireable, as well as being a VERY time consuming process.

On top of that, it's a lot more difficult in that scenario to control the accelleration and deceleration as the object leaves one keyframe and approaches another. This is a critical point when creating polished, professional animation.

And the scary thing is, there are even more problems with this very simple IKB demonstration that would make an animator's life really difficult. When you apply these concepts to real world, complex animation challenges, the issues and difficulties grow exponentially.


Regardless of how you may think about your moving, there is no getting around the fact that a humanoid character's movable joints are all rotational.


This is technically true, but the fact is, the human brain is very sophisticated, and can send commands to a complex network of muscles to accomplish fluid motion of the end a limb (just look at what a talented mime can accomplish). Unfortunately, 3d software doesn't come anywhere near this. So the next best thing is to animate a goal that moves where you want the limb to go, and then constrain the skeletal structure to that goal.

Also, in the circumstance where a limb is in contact with a fixed object, the rules change.


One last thing I wanted to add; way back when, I was trudging through building rigs with complex control structures, and having a difficult time getting the results that I wanted. my search for tutorials led me to http://www.jefflew.com/ . I bought his videos and I was amazed how simple it could be and I wondered why couldn't I do that in Lightwave, then I realized the I can with IKB.

I've heard this said about Jeff's videos before, but I have his videos as well, and his workflow is clearly a standard, fulltime IK and graph editor approach. He uses FK for torso, head and arms, but nothing in the animations he goes through in his video would indicate the need to do otherwise. The only real difference is that Hash has a nice interface for rotating bones by dragging on the tip.

Honestly, I think he uses such a simple rig because he's trying to teach the art of animation, and doesn't want to overwhelm or confuse the viewer by adding a lot of rig complexity to the mix.

Eric

geo_n
10-27-2010, 03:25 AM
Eric - any update for the new rigs in maestro? Have you ever created a generic bird rig for maestro or something similar?

LW_Will
10-30-2010, 05:53 PM

the best is probably to combine Maestro and RHiggit.
this is currently quite doable.



Very nice Erik...

I think you might want to change the title of your little piece to "Set Driven Key for Lightwave"

....

:)

sandman300
11-03-2010, 05:58 PM
The fact is, while there are always more than one way to accomplish a task, in many cases there are tried and true standards that no one bothers to challenge, because there's just no point.

I didn't think I was challenging any standards, although as I understand it, it is quite standard to have several versions of a character rigged specifically for a particular action or shot. That is far more work than keying the inbetweeners like people already do.


This is an honest question, I'm not trying to be snyde here, I promise.

Based on your comment here, have you ever actually animated a character this way over a range of keyframes? Because what you're saying indicates exactly what one would perceive if they only manipulated the rig at a single frame, but never experienced what happens between keyframes.

I've uploaded a simple little preview render that illustrates exactly what I've been going on about:

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/IKvsIKB.mov


Honestly, yes I have, although I'll freely admit that I am still new to animating. I have had much more success more quickly with IKB than just using IK alone. There is just much less to worry about.

Your example looked somewhat strange to me so I tried it myself, not knowing what setting you used for IK I used the standard settings for leg joints. Although it looks like your demonstrating a step cycle, it seems to end in a weird way. Nevertheless I reproduced it and with the addition of only 3 keframes to the IKB rig, there is very little difference in the motion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti9biTyRVLY

I went a step further or I should say 2 steps as I used IKB (the same rigs as the other scene) to animate a 2 step that pulls the body forward with Bind. I then tried to match the motions with IK using the same key frames (every 30) you can see the bounciness at the top of the IKB chain which IMHO looks more natural.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh2oXKyIgMY


On top of that, it's a lot more difficult in that scenario to control the accelleration and deceleration as the object leaves one keyframe and approaches another. This is a critical point when creating polished, professional animation.

Being new at this, I don't have the experience to argue this point very well but what I have done suggests that this is all a matter of timing and layering the motions.


And the scary thing is, there are even more problems with this very simple IKB demonstration that would make an animator's life really difficult. When you apply these concepts to real world, complex animation challenges, the issues and difficulties grow exponentially.

Isn't this really about knowing you tools.


Also, in the circumstance where a limb is in contact with a fixed object, the rules change.


Again, a benefit of IKB is it's flexibility. When the rules change, the rig can be changed quickly and easily, and not disturb the previously keyed frames. The same can not be said for a regular IK rig.


I've heard this said about Jeff's videos before, but I have his videos as well, and his workflow is clearly a standard, fulltime IK and graph editor approach. He uses FK for torso, head and arms, but nothing in the animations he goes through in his video would indicate the need to do otherwise. The only real difference is that Hash has a nice interface for rotating bones by dragging on the tip.

The point is that you can get a pretty decent animation without a complex rig. And everything he does can be done with IKB. Actually it can be done easier since there is no need to use the dope sheet.

jasonwestmas
11-03-2010, 06:20 PM
A walking IKB character without full-time IK in the legs and toes = Lame. Try it.

Castius
11-03-2010, 07:01 PM
The question isn't just about getting the same motion. You reproduced the motion but with more keyframes. If you decide to change the animation you have to deal with that. If IK can get you the same motion with less work. What reason do you really have to do it with IKB. You may have a good reason. If you do then use IKB.

Thats what's frustrating about these threads. It's like people arguing about modeling styles. Do what works for you.

sandman300
11-04-2010, 12:00 AM
jasonwestmas A walking IKB character without full-time IK in the legs and toes = Lame. Try it.

Not entirely sure what you mean. Do you have an example of a character with and without so I can see the difference?


The question isn't just about getting the same motion. You reproduced the motion but with more keyframes. If you decide to change the animation you have to deal with that. If IK can get you the same motion with less work. What reason do you really have to do it with IKB. You may have a good reason. If you do then use IKB.

When talking about the amount of work involved in animating there are a few areas that need to be considered. key-frames are just one. For me IKB is a solution that offers ease of setup; the ability to change on the fly how the rig handles; the possibility to copy and paste a full pose or even just part of a pose to another key-frame or another character. also there is nothing to stop me from turning it off and using regular FK/IK whenever I feel the need and then turn it back on at a moments notice. Possibly the best thing about it IMHO is that it's like a buffet of tools, I can take what I want and leave the rest.



Thats what's frustrating about these threads. It's like people arguing about modeling styles. Do what works for you.

That's just it, it's not about modeling style. If it was I totally wouldn't care what anyone else does. This is about understanding that Lightwave has tools that are misrepresented by the user community because a few individuals felt it didn't work for them the way they wanted it to. I've read threads like that, I tried to use it in the past, with little understanding and even less success. In the past there were others that tried to do what I'm doing now but they eventually gave in or gave up. That is what's frustrating.

pooby
11-04-2010, 05:16 AM
Whats frustrating is that, despite Eric, myself and others giving clear reasons as to WHY IK boost is unsuitable for general character animation usage, but point out where it IS useful, people come and start to proclaim that we are wrong and IK boost actually IS a great general character animation tool.
But then have absolutely no visual evidence to back up that claim.

Its not a matter of opinion until you could regularly produce skilled work at a good speed using IK boost. All I have seen from the 'pro IK boost' camp (thats's 'pro' as in 'for' not 'professional', as they all seem to be 'have a go' animators) is visual evidence that supports Eric and My claims.

sandman300
11-04-2010, 07:45 AM
Its not a matter of opinion until you could regularly produce skilled work at a good speed using IK boost. All I have seen from the 'pro IK boost' camp (thats's 'pro' as in 'for' not 'professional', as they all seem to be 'have a go' animators) is visual evidence that supports Eric and My claims.

Well then, that's what I'm going to do then. Visual evidence. Well, something to look forward to.

ericsmith
11-04-2010, 09:24 AM
Your example looked somewhat strange to me so I tried it myself, not knowing what setting you used for IK I used the standard settings for leg joints. Although it looks like your demonstrating a step cycle, it seems to end in a weird way. Nevertheless I reproduced it and with the addition of only 3 keframes to the IKB rig, there is very little difference in the motion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti9biTyRVLY

I went a step further or I should say 2 steps as I used IKB (the same rigs as the other scene) to animate a 2 step that pulls the body forward with Bind. I then tried to match the motions with IK using the same key frames (every 30) you can see the bounciness at the top of the IKB chain which IMHO looks more natural.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh2oXKyIgMY


Okay, let me walk through this step by step.

1. the first move was to move the root down and forward. There were two keyframes to accomplish this, and the IK version moves the hips in a nice, smooth arc. In the IKB one, I had to bake the legs, which made the motion of the root move in a linear fashion, with a keyframe on every frame. Fixing this would be darn near impossible. As soon as you try to edit the motion of the root to smooth it out, you break the fix on the foot. So to sum up, any motion on the root of the hierarchy is going to be linear between keyframes if the end of the hierarchy is fixed. As we all know, linear motion is not good for character animation.

2. The second move was to make the foot step forward while keeping the root fixed. There were three keyframes, one at the beginning, middle and end. In your version, you moved the root along with the foot, so the problem was not as evident. Looking back at my example, I was able to create motion something like an upside down "U" with IK. With IKB, because the interpolation between the keyframes is rotational, the motion looks more like a sine wave, with the foot sliding forward, then arcing up, then the reverse as it reaches the end.

3. the third move was to move the root forward again. This time, there were only keys at the beginning and end, so the motion was intended to be in a straight line. But again, the IKB version had to be baked, so there is no real control over the velocity of the movement. The motion went from zero to full speed instantly, and stopped instantly as well. there was no accelleration or deceleration. So in essence, the motion is again linear. This is exactly what you want to do if you want to make motion look "robotic".

4. the last move was to slide the foot forward. This shows the same basic problem as move 2. The IKB foot actually moves in an arc, passing through the ground, instead of sliding along the path I want. Looking at your example again... Yes, adding a few more keyframes seemed to help. But the fact is, if you watch closely, the motion is wobbly and unstable.

Now here's the thing. It would be easy to think that I'm being way too nitpicky here, and just trying to find fault for no good reason. But the fact is, every piece of IKB animation I've seen has looked wobbly and robotic. This is bad. And I've used the simple demonstration to illustrate why.

Now the real important thing to understand here is that when you take these issues into a more complex animation, they don't fade away, but rather magnify.


Again, a benefit of IKB is it's flexibility. When the rules change, the rig can be changed quickly and easily, and not disturb the previously keyed frames. The same can not be said for a regular IK rig.


I would actually say that this is not true. You can change the way you interact with the rig, but the rig itself is nothing more than an FK hierarchy. That never changes. On the other hand, if you create a rig that has true, switchable IK/FK, you really can change how the rig works.


This is about understanding that Lightwave has tools that are misrepresented by the user community because a few individuals felt it didn't work for them the way they wanted it to.

See, this is what frustrates me. What I presented in my little example is clear, straightforward evidence of how IKB works. How is that "misrepresenting" the tool? If anything, showing demo's of how you can pose on a single frame without ever going into the problems that occur inbetween those keyframes is misrepresentation.


I've read threads like that, I tried to use it in the past, with little understanding and even less success. In the past there were others that tried to do what I'm doing now but they eventually gave in or gave up. That is what's frustrating.

Do you think maybe there's a reason that everyone who's walked down the path you're currently on ends up giving up?


Well then, that's what I'm going to do then. Visual evidence. Well, something to look forward to.

Every time I've seen those words, that person is never heard from again (at least on this topic). So please break the trend and show us all something.

Eric

jasonwestmas
11-04-2010, 09:46 AM
Yep, that's exactly what you get with an FK rig doing the mambo, a jittery robotic motion. Mainly the reason is because of all the key frames you have to lay down and then trying to mimic those smooth archs with FK is just insanity. In the end more keyframes = jittery animation. That's 3D animation 101 really.

3D animation is NOT like 2-D where you can pose, pose, pose your character to success. You have to take into consideration of how software interpolates motion between poses. It's really dumb, the software has no idea what you want the interpolation to look like until you supply the limits of contraint using IK and other motion constraints to get the desired effect.

Edit: So just to clarify what I just said.

Intelligent Constraint system = Less Keys = Fluid Motion Curves = Less Corrections = Faster Corrections

ericsmith
11-04-2010, 10:34 AM
Intelligent Constraint system = Less Keys = Fluid Motion Curves = Less Corrections = Faster Corrections

That's an elegant and consice way of putting it.

Eric