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View Full Version : "MDD 101 - A primer for MDD" --recommendations?



jeric_synergy
07-20-2012, 06:32 PM
Can anybody recommend a thread or file that covers, from step 1, what exactly MDD files are for and their proper use?

Thanks.

nickdigital
07-20-2012, 06:52 PM
A mdd file has the baked deformation data from a model. You could animate something with bones and then bake the animation to a mdd file. This means you could load up your object sans rig, apply the mdd file and it'll move as if it had bones. Mdd files are very helpful if you're transferring animation data between programs.
Animate in programA.
Generate mdd file.
Load your model into programB.
Load mdd onto model.


Animation in programA and programB will now match.

Ryan Roye
07-20-2012, 07:27 PM
MDDs are also great for us folks with slow computers... you will notice that the more bones, deforms, IK, etc you have happening in your scene at once, the slower layout will get... even with objects set to invisible/100% dissolve... even if you turn off IK it will still be slower. You can take completed character animation, MDScan it as NickDigital suggested (via clothfx >> file tab preferably), remove the rig entirely and notice a significant boost in layout's snappiness. When layout is sluggish, its hard to do stuff, so that's a big reason why I utilize it. When proxy scenes/characters/etc aren't enough, MDDs will save you.

MDDs are also used a lot with simulation data like what is generated with clothfx, hardfx, or anything similar.

SplineGod
07-20-2012, 07:38 PM
The thing is that its like asking the same question about bones, weight maps etc.
We typically think of them as being for character rigging but I tend to use them as much for non character work.
MDD files (motion designer data) files are like super endomorphs. Its a recording of the point data on an object per frame or every several frames. Maya, Max and others have similar features referred to as point cache data. Its just another way of describing deformations in Lightwave. There are other tools that can be used in conjunction with mdd files.For example and mdd file can be used with one object to deform or effect another mesh. Usually thats done using Metalink or Hardlink. Theres other plugins that allow mdd files to drive other meshes.
I did an animation one time where I had to animate an object using shift spline transform on the PC. My client had a Mac which cant run that particular plugin. So I md scanned the animation and sent him the file that way. Ive also done similar things between LW and other 3d apps. It can be an easier way to translate deformation data.

DigitalSorcery8
07-20-2012, 08:31 PM
Sounds like a great best-selling DVD tutorial Larry! :thumbsup:

I'd buy it! :)

SplineGod
07-20-2012, 09:03 PM
Funny you should mention that :)

DigitalSorcery8
07-20-2012, 09:07 PM
Funny you should mention that :)

Excellent!

I'll save up the cash! :dance:

SplineGod
07-21-2012, 12:31 AM
sorry about that...actually I do have some videos that do go into this in depth.....its my displacements and endomorphs 2 at Liberty3d. :)

DigitalSorcery8
07-21-2012, 01:17 AM
Actually I've already got your Displacements & Endomorphs 1 & 2 and Get into Weightmaps.

Oh well... maybe it's time to go back and review. :boogiedow

SplineGod
07-21-2012, 01:51 AM
yes, several of the tutorials on there use mdd files to drive other things. Id take a look again. :)

jeric_synergy
07-21-2012, 10:52 AM
I have those DVDs also, time to review.

I suppose it's not really necessary to know, but does Metalink sort of compare meshes and make an association between vertices based solely on proximity?

jeric_synergy
07-21-2012, 10:56 AM
A mdd file has the baked deformation data from a model. You could animate something with bones and then bake the animation to a mdd file.
Now, are these data the locations of a vertice, or the delta at a given frame?

+++

And, would anyone care to expand on the uses of DPont's "Motion Designer", which uses MDD files heavily?

SplineGod
07-21-2012, 04:37 PM
Dponts got several mdd based plugins...his reader allows large mdd data files to be streamed off an HD as opposed to loading it all into memeory. His mdd player can control the playback speed of the mdd file using an envelope which makes alot of other effects possible. He also has one that plays back bdd files from hardfx with the same control. I THINK another one works like metalink...not sure. Theres all kinds of mdd goodness with his nodes that are possible.

Ryan Roye
07-21-2012, 04:45 PM
Dponts got several mdd based plugins...his reader allows large mdd data files to be streamed off an HD as opposed to loading it all into memeory.

Is that so? ... huh... if I had a scene full of pedestrians that all used MDD files, and my piddly little 2 gigs of ram can't handle it all, I could use DPont's MDD tools to circumvent that limitation, eh? I noticed that no matter what you do, MDDs added via clothFX still sucks away memory from your computer when rendering, regardless of whether the MDD objects are turned off, hidden, not in the camera, camera set to perspective, etc. Obviously, 2 gigs doesn't leave a lot of room for putting in lots of MDDS into a scene at once.

SplineGod
07-21-2012, 04:55 PM
I think clothfx is supposed to have a similar option but its been awhile and it might be broken. In the case of the pedestrians Id probably use instances. DPKit has instances as well. You can also use lower rez versions of characters to drive the higher rez ones, though theres a point where its going to get slow. Instances would be the optimal choice.
There was a show I worked on where we had the Roman Collisseum. We had over 80k ppl done with instance. I had animated several different figures with IKB and/or mocap files, did a little clothfx and saved each anim as mdd files. HD Instance was used to put them all over the seats. It worked out very well.

lino.grandi
07-21-2012, 05:48 PM
Is that so? ... huh... if I had a scene full of pedestrians that all used MDD files, and my piddly little 2 gigs of ram can't handle it all, I could use DPont's MDD tools to circumvent that limitation, eh? I noticed that no matter what you do, MDDs added via clothFX still sucks away memory from your computer when rendering, regardless of whether the MDD objects are turned off, hidden, not in the camera, camera set to perspective, etc. Obviously, 2 gigs doesn't leave a lot of room for putting in lots of MDDS into a scene at once.

We have a lot of different native ways to apply an MDD than using ClothFX, luckily. Try to use the MDD Displacement node for example. ;)

jeric_synergy
07-21-2012, 06:07 PM
Is that so? ... huh... if I had a scene full of pedestrians that all used MDD files, and my piddly little 2 gigs of ram can't handle it all, I could use DPont's MDD tools to circumvent that limitation, eh?
From my ignorant reading of the webdox, that seens to be what the whole 'Streaming' feature is about: loading one frame of MDD data at a time.

For big meshes with lots o' distortion, I bet those files get massive. --hmm, this is a good reason to be thankful Denis always seems to be running out of memory! :hey:

SplineGod
07-21-2012, 07:58 PM
They can get massive, which is one reason you load the files off the HD when needed or use proxy objects to drive higher rez versions. :)

jeric_synergy
07-21-2012, 08:37 PM
Larry: absolute locations, or deltas?

(Thanks man: was listening to your dulcet tones just minutes ago...)

>;^)

dpont
07-22-2012, 12:35 AM
...absolute locations, or deltas?..

Displacements are stored as positions in the MDD file,
this is the specification of the MDD format.

A displacement plugin outputs a new position for
a given point so it just read the MDD and copy
the displaced point position.
new position-xyz

The Displacement Node Editor has a "Displacement" ouput
it is also named more accurately as "Delta",
which is the 'additional' position vector for moving
the point position, which is added internally in the node editor:
source position-xyz + delta-xyz = new position-xyz

So every node reading MDD or other pointcache format,
needs to substract the default point source position
(also equivalent to the World Position in the Spot Info node)
to the MDD displacement point position and then
output this result as an appropriate "Delta".

In all cases, user has nothing else to do than selecting
the MDD file in a displacement plugin or a node,
but knowing the above principle is obviously
a good think for building a complex nodal tree.

Denis.

juice
07-22-2012, 02:38 AM
mdds are also great, if you have to tweak character animation deformations.
Simply load the mdds in modeler, tweak the bad points and write a new corrected mdd... I am still using the free pointoven modeler mdd-plugin for this sometimes

jeric_synergy
07-22-2012, 07:33 PM
Thanks fellas for all the good info. Now, back to basic questions:

I see that ClothFX is used to scan the mesh and write an MDD file, no matter what the origin of the deformation is. (Correct?)

Are there any other MDD generators inside LW???

+++
The LW10 dox say that MD_Reader has become a Legacy tool. Is there a non-nodal plugin that applies the MDD data back onto the mesh?

(dagnabit, just was prepping some failing mdd experiments for upload, and then they started working, and I don't know why. Grrrrrrrrr) :compbeati

SplineGod
07-22-2012, 07:43 PM
mdds are also great, if you have to tweak character animation deformations.
Simply load the mdds in modeler, tweak the bad points and write a new corrected mdd... I am still using the free pointoven modeler mdd-plugin for this sometimes

You can also do this in layout using editfx if you dont have pointoven.
You can isolate areas based on pretty much any vmap LW can generate.

Theres a few other mdd plugins in LW if you poke around. I believe a couple can also md scan and I think theres a new one that can scan a scene file.Others have the option to allows morphs on top of mdd playback.

jeric_synergy
07-22-2012, 09:46 PM
Ok, in my opinion "Enable Deform" should be renamed "Enable Displacement" (which I am now doing in my configs, but this is for Matt and the devs) because to me (Bone) Deformation is a subset of generalized Displacement.

And having "Enable Deform" situated in the Bones section of the Setup tab suggested to me that it was about Bones, not Displacement globally.

I'm not gonna test every case, but ENABLE DEFORM also turns off the Displacement Node Editor effects. I'm guessing it's a global Displacement switch?

juice
07-22-2012, 10:49 PM
yes there is a way in Layouter, but the tools are very limited compared to Modeler. For example, I have to tweak the extreme pose in my character-animation, than it is cool to have stuff like drag-net, smooth points, grow selection...

jeric_synergy
07-22-2012, 11:12 PM
yes there is a way in Layouter, but the tools are very limited compared to Modeler. For example, I have to tweak the extreme pose in my character-animation, than it is cool to have stuff like drag-net, smooth points, grow selection...
??? I think you got the wrong thread. :beerchug:

juice
07-22-2012, 11:24 PM
MDD 101
MDD inside of modeler


...MDD files are for and their proper use?

You can use them to tweak final animation.





.

jeric_synergy
07-22-2012, 11:39 PM
MDD 101
MDD inside of modeler

You can use them to tweak final animation.
.
You mean, to displace the mesh in some fine-grained way???

juice
07-23-2012, 12:01 AM
yes, this is an old divx video demonstrating mdd in modeler
http://www.ef9.com/ef9/Movies/PO/LWMDDEdit2_1.avi

jeric_synergy
07-23-2012, 12:42 AM
yes, this is an old divx video demonstrating mdd in modeler
http://www.ef9.com/ef9/Movies/PO/LWMDDEdit2_1.avi
OK, that's freaky. --I can see how it would be handy, but rather indirect, in that you are animating out of the context of the scene.

Is that a commercial product?

Thanks, I had no idea.

juice
07-23-2012, 01:20 AM
mddedit is a free plugin for LW9.6, it is old now... but still useful

juice
07-23-2012, 01:26 AM
..., but rather indirect, in that you are animating out of the context of the scene.
.

if your director say, "make the extreme pose more extreme, than we take the shot!" You just open the tool and make the pose in that situation more extreme!! Your rigger didnt need to spend many time to develop something new in the rig!
I have experience in Cartoon-Animation for TV/commercials and it is usual to do this, rather than test a new rig, if your animation is almost done...

jeric_synergy
07-23-2012, 09:00 AM
I have experience in Cartoon-Animation for TV/commercials and it is usual to do this, rather than test a new rig, if your animation is almost done...
So, in this case, precision is not a consideration, it's "Go all Tex Avery on this!" ??

That's cool: I can see how that would be very useful.

Checking to see if it's 64 bit.....

EDIT: can't find it via Google nor lwplugindb.com :(

juice
07-23-2012, 10:24 AM
Hello Jeric,
as far as I know, Mark, the developer of pointoven isnt supporting the MDD Model plugin anymore. So you have to stick with LW9.6 32 and the old 1.5 pointoven plugin
search on this side for the words >> MDD Model plugin included << download that build and just install the free included mdd modeler tool

http://www.ef9.com/ef9/PO1.5/PointOven_Downloads.html

here I found an example of maya Geometry Caching, it is the one LW11 is supporting also... on minute 2 you can see a little example how useful modeling tools are for mdd files... just with the difference, Newtek didnt care about old plugins or modeling tools for animators as much Autodesk is doing... With Zbrush you can do this also... but I could not find the youtube link...

http://download.autodesk.com/us/maya/m8demo4/maya8_demo4.html

juice
07-23-2012, 10:25 AM
ahhhh I have my post number 111, I make a party :-) if somebody want to come over here, I have some drinks and food and music to offer :-)

jeric_synergy
07-23-2012, 10:55 AM
Hello Jeric,
as far as I know, Mark, the developer of pointoven isnt supporting the MDD Model plugin anymore. So you have to stick with LW9.6 32 and the old 1.5 pointoven plugin
search on this side for the words >> MDD Model plugin included << download that build and just install the free included mdd modeler tool....

Well, here's a good test case for a specific Kickstarter plugin case, to see if the Kickstarter plugin idea is potentially valid.

Of course;

1) how many people NEED/WANT/Will pay (really, only the last counts, whether they use it or not) $X for a modern version of "MDD Model"?

2) what do coders consider a reasonable rate of pay?

100 users? 500 users? 50? I have no idea. Anybody know how many jumped on the Messiah bandwagon?

This would be good data for NewTek to provide NDA'd developers: raw numbers of users and whatnot....

+++++++
I see from the PointOven website that it supports 64bit LW9.2 , fwiw.

juice
07-23-2012, 11:28 AM
... the BIG problem, and I think also the reason why the pointoven plugin for modeler isnt in developing anymore is, because Newtek didnt care about animation for ages!! MDD tools in modeler was something that Maya-User could only dream about... than after they finally integrated in all autodesk products, the situation has changed... Modeler isnt the great Model-Application to tweak animation anymore, because in Maya (also zbrush) you can use Paint-Modeling Tools and you can also use the mdd with trax-editor(motion mixer) this is something, for sure we can dream for ages, before we see it in modeler!!

SplineGod
07-23-2012, 12:31 PM
yes there is a way in Layouter, but the tools are very limited compared to Modeler. For example, I have to tweak the extreme pose in my character-animation, than it is cool to have stuff like drag-net, smooth points, grow selection...

Thats true but usually youre doing tweaks rather then massive edits. Editfx also allows you to change the mdd file at a particular frame but gives you the option to ease and ease out of the changes so the changes arent abrupt. This is something you would have to take a fair amout of time to do in modeler to get the same effect.

juice
07-23-2012, 12:59 PM
yes you are right.
but today the industry need paint sculpt tools and integrated modeling in animation tool solution!
It is true, if we read the feature-list, than we find everything there what we need... but in many cases it is a workaround, not a workflow-solution from the year 2012!

SplineGod
07-23-2012, 01:47 PM
Another thing to remember as well is that endomorphs can be applied on top of mdd files. At any time this can be rescanned into a new mdd file and edited as usual.

Cageman
07-23-2012, 03:03 PM
Hello Jeric,
as far as I know, Mark, the developer of pointoven isnt supporting the MDD Model plugin anymore. So you have to stick with LW9.6 32 and the old 1.5 pointoven plugin
search on this side for the words >> MDD Model plugin included << download that build and just install the free included mdd modeler tool

http://www.ef9.com/ef9/PO1.5/PointOven_Downloads.html

here I found an example of maya Geometry Caching, it is the one LW11 is supporting also... on minute 2 you can see a little example how useful modeling tools are for mdd files... just with the difference, Newtek didnt care about old plugins or modeling tools for animators as much Autodesk is doing... With Zbrush you can do this also... but I could not find the youtube link...

http://download.autodesk.com/us/maya/m8demo4/maya8_demo4.html

1) The MDD fileformat is still used in PO2.0 (internal beta)
2) We are using PO1.5 at the moment, with Maya 2012, 3DSMax 2011/2012 and LightWave 11.x
3) The PO Loader/Saver in LW is outdated, but on the other hand LW has its own MultiBaker system so, bringing things out of LW and into other apps doesn't require PO, on the LW-side of things.
4) We have our own custom script (developed by Evenflcw) to apply MDDs enmasse to objects, using the native MDD Displacement Node. In cases where we output things enmasse from LW to go into other apps, such as Maya/3DS Max, we have custom scripts to assign MDDs enmasse.
5) Regarding this, I'll talk to Mark to see if he can update his PO Loader/Saver tools for LW11.

Cheers!

juice
07-23-2012, 11:13 PM
hello cageman,
pointoven 2.0 is not supporting mdd modeler plugin, and yes, pointoven is still used and support mdd, I never told mdd is not supported by pointoven anymore.. Mark just didnt develop the mdd modeler plugin anymore... this is what he told in his forum and on his website.
Pointoven is still the best tool, if you have Lightwave in the pipeline, because you get .lws and .lwo loader for maya plugin included, and it combines many 3d apps... we also have a custom script, doing something like pointoven, but in some cases we still use pointoven...

3dWannabe
07-25-2012, 08:13 AM
1) The MDD fileformat is still used in PO2.0 (internal beta)
2) We are using PO1.5 at the moment, with Maya 2012, 3DSMax 2011/2012 and LightWave 11.x
3) The PO Loader/Saver in LW is outdated, but on the other hand LW has its own MultiBaker system so, bringing things out of LW and into other apps doesn't require PO, on the LW-side of things.
4) We have our own custom script (developed by Evenflcw) to apply MDDs enmasse to objects, using the native MDD Displacement Node. In cases where we output things enmasse from LW to go into other apps, such as Maya/3DS Max, we have custom scripts to assign MDDs enmasse.
5) Regarding this, I'll talk to Mark to see if he can update his PO Loader/Saver tools for LW11.

Cheers!
Cageman - you're a Fusion user, I believe?

Is there a workable PointCache workflow between Lightwave and Fusion using PointCache?

I noticed the Fusion cacheLoader plug-in, and was curious if you'd used that in your workflow - or is mdd still the way to go with Lightwave?

Is mdd still the way to go with 3dsMax?

juice
07-25-2012, 12:21 PM
I dont know Fusion, but it sounds familiar to Nuke, and in Nuke you have to turn on "read on each frame" if you work with mdd animation, if not, it is reading only the first frame of your animation