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View Full Version : HELP Please - Space Ship Animatiing



Laticis
01-12-2012, 04:39 AM
Hi,

For about two months now I have been playing with Lightwave,
animating a space craft flying through space and canyon scenes.

Some test have been successful, others a mess and time consuming through lack of understanding.

I need some advice please on how to tackle the issues below.

Moving the ship from A to B through a rough canyon:

300 Frames

I move the ship to the start of the track at frame 0 ( Create Key Frame = CKF ) then move the ship to end of track at frame 300 CKF.

I then parent and target a camera to the ship to study to movement through the canyon to make sure I don't hit walls.

From a top view I move the ship through the timeline and place it at intervals within the track CKF until happy with its snake like movement through the path.

These are the main areas I'm having troubles.

If the track is wonky and irregular, how do I control the ships speed accurately through the timeline path created.

I have also under "Movement Options" attempted aligning the "Heading Control" by align to path.
Sometimes it works but mainly I find my ship doing sharp bouncing turns at the key frames intervals.

What may be causing this or is this the wrong way to go about it?

Is the best method for banking and turning the ships movemnent at corners by CKF or is there a more realistic way to do this?

My camera work is poor, it is something I am tackling as I learn.

For the next issue
Is there a way to Parent the Camera to the ship that is being targeted and have the camera remain horizontal to the ground irrespective of the ships banking and movement?

Any help, suggestions or tips would be appreciated.

Cheers Laticis

Please see some test below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwIGKWc73HU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikVTY8aJjW8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvlXcFKPke4

JonW
01-12-2012, 05:20 AM
Firstly this is really good for 2 months with LW!

You can attach the camera to a Null or even a Null to another Null & then to the ship. This can make moving the camera around a lot easier. If the ship banks left, bank the Null right by an equal amount.

To take out the sharp movements, in Graph Editor, once you have selected the key, adjust the Tension from 0 up to 1 for each of the movements & rotation.

In Scene Editor you can select say everything from frame 185 & move all the keys forward to add some more frames to slow that part down or remove a few frames by dragging everything back.

Or in Graph Editor for a individual key, select say the X channel & then in Frame which was say 185 type in 178 to pull the key key to speed that section up.

djwaterman
01-12-2012, 05:22 AM
None of those are that bad and some look good. One thing, why hold shots so long? Shorter shots mean less problems and is less boring for the viewer, and you can really get the movement correct if it's just one or two moves rather than a whole string of them. That's one strategy.

The other thing that you might think about experimenting with is to split up your X Y Z and rotations by having separate nulls control these, that way you are not fighting the different channels on the same path.

So your ship is parented under a master null that is responsible to moving in the Z X Y, but under that there could be other nulls for rotation and the ship is the last on the chain, and it can also be rotated and moved independently. I'm not saying to split everything up, you find your own level of what's needed for what you want. but the point is that you can give your motion more control because the paths are independent.

I wouldn't use align to path myself because that takes away control and it's not how things are in reality unless they are on train tracks.

Also, if you have your camera target the ship, target it to a null object that is parented to the ship instead, that way you can move that null around to give the camera some float, otherwise it looks like some kind of computer game robot camera.

Just a final thought about long held shots.

Long held shots of actors can be interesting depending on the actor and what they are doing, even if they are still and just holding a thought, but this almost never holds true to things like cars, planes or ships. If you break up the scene into different angles, not only will the scene become more dynamic, but it will actually be easier to pull off. Think about it, that's why films are made that way, it's more difficult to pull off a complete scene with the one camera shot and all the actors trying to do it all in one take with no mistakes occurring.

Anyway what you have mostly looks okay. The first one didn't seem at all wrong that I could see.

Laticis
01-12-2012, 05:50 AM
Hi guys,

thanks for the advice and tips.

Graph Editor important / working with Nulls of great importance for better control / shorter shots to keep interest.

@ JonW "adjust the Tension from 0 up to 1" - will look into that thanks.

I've had Lightwave a little over a year now, hadn't done much with her except for TFD but LW11 has certainly ignited my interest.

@ djwaterman "target it to a null object that is parented to the ship instead, that way you can move that null around to give the camera some float" - excellent that will fix one problem for sure.

The first scene I linked has been a culmination of recent test and some advice from the HitFilm community.

other works / tests.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cZfGogvYmg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2wXgD-xT_E

Lightwave Fracture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ni65EqTi53w

JonW
01-12-2012, 01:00 PM
Attached: A highly complex scene with a door opening with Tension set to 1.

RebelHill
01-12-2012, 01:08 PM
Regarding the graph editor... you can (somewhere in the options/menu, I forget exactly where) turn on show velocity curve... You cant key it directly, but it helps show you any speed changes occurring on your motion.

You can also turn on motion pats in your display options... keeping your eye on the key spacings also gives you a good visual representation of speed, and the consistency of speed between keyframes.

Oh yeah, and also check out the curve constraint motion modifier. Lets u model a curve in modeler, which you can then use as a motion path to attatch an item to and animate it at a constant speed along.

SteveH
01-12-2012, 02:08 PM
A few more things you can try. If you don't like looking at the graph editor you can try this. Under Object properties>Geometry you can Add a custom Object to your ship called Speedometer. If you look at your ship in perspective view you can see the speed of yoru ship as it goes through your key frames. Then in your scene editor you can add or subtract frames between your keys to keep you speed consistent.

I'd key frame your bank by just going to your current key frames and adjusting the bank so it looks good. Then go back a certian number of frames - say 50 frames for conversation sake and set the bank back to zero. Do the same thing 50 frames after your original key frame. You might even consider going back a ways from there and adding a small opposite bank where you are anticipating a big bank to the left. That probably made no sense - sorry.....

Just keep i mind - it's your animation. You can make it however looks good to you. You are doing fine so far keep up the good work!

JonW
01-12-2012, 03:00 PM
You might even consider going back a ways from there and adding a small opposite bank where you are anticipating a big bank to the left. That probably made no sense - sorry.....

It's a bit like when one turns your car into a side street, you don't just turn left (Australia), you swing a bit out to the right then turn left so you don't take out the gutter.

The flight paths will have that refined look with this little bit of opposite movement. But be careful not to over do it. You could add some random movement "Noise" to a Null keeping that separate so you can fine tune it more easily. Also like a motor boat the rear swings out & the craft pushes into the corner because the trust is at the rear.

Also one could add a few bumps in the flight path together with a decaying correction after the craft flies over the larger bumps in the terrane.

It's the usually story, the more detail & effort you put in the better the end result, but it takes an ever increasing amount of time. Usually for a paid job there are time & budget constraints & once it's barely good enough if you are lucky it will just have to do.

Laticis
01-12-2012, 03:38 PM
Thanks for the post everyone.....currently at work though :(

I will go through your advice and tips tonight and then I have all weekend to come up with something.

Will post the results.

With a quick test last night I could see improvements already using a Null for the camera to target.

Thanks again.

Laticis
01-16-2012, 06:36 AM
Hi,

Please see links to recent tests, certainly an improvement on the filming side but still a long way to go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ULxkpUZtt0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNwD1el_CB4

"attach the camera to a Null" - Very Cool, Great control

"Geometry you can Add a custom Object to your ship called Speedometer" - Very Handy

"adding a small opposite bank" - Haven't quite got there yet but understand concept

Tension settings for my path / TCB Splines made things worse in areas but I could see how the settings where affecting my timeline path so I will play more with that in the future.

"about long held shots" will get to that one when I have a bit more to offer viewers.

Thanks for the input, I had them printed by my side and tackled the ones I could.

The real challenge will be a closed in canyon scene again.

Cheers Laticis

bazsa73
01-16-2012, 07:37 AM
I think rising the camera slightly toward the horizon would improve the shots. I would like to see ahead and beyond :)

Laticis
01-19-2012, 09:03 AM
Nothing like watching tutorials from Kelly "Kat" Myers....Thanks Kat

my latest work...this should help moving in the right direction.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSBZtT4x9h0

mcotner
01-19-2012, 11:04 AM
Great thread, I learned a lot just lurking. Can't wait to see the finished product.

@Laticis How do you like your wacom? I've been thinking of getting one for LW.

Cryonic
01-19-2012, 11:21 AM
It's a bit like when one turns your car into a side street, you don't just turn left (Australia), you swing a bit out to the right then turn left so you don't take out the gutter.

Drivers that do that are dangerous. You should be able to make a smooth left without swinging right. If you can't, then you're either going too fast or making the turn wrong.

Laticis
01-19-2012, 03:25 PM
@Laticis How do you like your wacom? I've been thinking of getting one for LW.

I would be lost without the Wacom, love it, there is just no substitute.

Would reccommend testing one out first though, it took me a about a week to get a feeling for it.

JonW
01-19-2012, 07:36 PM
Drivers that do that are dangerous. You should be able to make a smooth left without swinging right. If you can't, then you're either going too fast or making the turn wrong.

Spent a few months in Italy & France looking around small villages. It's amazing the precision drivers require to get their cars through basically impossible streets, then turn into even more challenging side streets. Then you have to negotiate the "tight" sections. Quite a few places they have carved a few cm of car profile into a corner of a building to facilitate "easy" turning. In some villages almost every car had the passenger side ruined due to a misjudged turn.

Attached: I haven't got pictures of damaged cars, but some examples of "wide" thoroughfares! & then you see a car in a garage at the end, past a handful of corners. I often found myself looking for the car access & then it clicked, I was actually standing in the access. I would stand it the centre with out-streached arms & almost touch both sides! Mind blowing stuff!

JonW
01-19-2012, 08:07 PM
The latest fly throughs are looking good!

Laticis
01-19-2012, 08:44 PM
Thanks....got a weekend now to improve and work on a new scene.

I can really understand why story boarding is essential to movie making.

There is no direction for these tests, more or less trying to gain a better understading of Lightwave but its not just tools you have to learn, making the shot work is proving difficult as well ( from a CameraMan's point of view )

It's kind of like trying to build a model of a robot with no mechanical knowledge at all.

Cryonic
01-19-2012, 09:07 PM
It takes a lot of specialties to really get good. Storyboarding, Texturing, Modeling, Lighting, Camera work. As I've been finding out. I'm not anywhere near as good as what you've shown here.

Danner
01-20-2012, 05:12 AM
When animating camera moves or flying objects always less is more. Meaning the least amount of keyframes, the smoother and more beleivable it will look.

To control the speed I just drag the keyframes to different times. If a section is too fast I separate the keyframes that surround it. if it's too slow I place them closer toghether (using the expanded timeline feature is faster than using the graph editor).