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View Full Version : Animate a long rope or cable, what's the best method?



Sebasvideo
03-28-2014, 12:04 PM
I have to animate a cable that will be in the air and will be subject to the wind. I tried dynamics but it takes too long and I don't get the results I want. So I have to learn to do it with either bones or morphing. This will be a very long and thin cable, like 1cm diameter and 100 meters long. Ideally it would also be pulled into a reel, but obviously animating that would be far beyond my current knowledge of LW, so I'll try to fake it somehow, probably with a clip map.

But the cable motion, what would be the optimal method, bones or morphing? And if it's bones, is there a simple way of creating them along a really long cylinder (in this case the cable) rather than create the first one and then hitting = and Enter a thousand times?

erikals
03-28-2014, 12:20 PM
hi, check >
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?140049-Tail-Whip

Sebasvideo
03-28-2014, 01:13 PM
Thanks! So for what I'm reading, either I can use spline control or bones. Spline control doesn't seem the best for me because it's a very long cable, and I don't see a bend the cable all at once. With bones I can select all the bones, and if I rotate the parent bone it will rotate all the others proportionally and the cable will look like it's bending. You can't do that with spline control, or with the DP spline deformer, right? The thing is the DP plugin deforms in a much smoother way, to achieve a deformation that smooth I'll probably have to setup hundreds of bones.

erikals
03-28-2014, 01:37 PM
yep,

you might want to go with ikbooster,
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?140049-Tail-Whip&p=1370694&viewfull=1#post1370694

if so, here's a trick to set up a bone chain fast... >


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlY9NhgHDQ0

ernpchan
03-28-2014, 01:41 PM
Dp spline is good, or the newer spline control in 11. If you just need a loose general control you could put a small amount of bones that aren't parented in a chain and just animate the bone.

Sebasvideo
03-28-2014, 04:22 PM
One thing I was wondering, with either spline control or bones, am I constrained to just one layer? For example, if I have the cable but at one end of the cable I have another object, which is a separate layer in Modeler and Layout, can I use the same bone hierarchy or spline control null array to deform the cable and make that other object go along with it, or do I have to merge the two layers together in Modeler before?

prometheus
03-28-2014, 04:46 PM
Hi Sebastian.

You couldnīt get any decent out of my dynamic sample I posted a while ago? just curious.

for bones and splitting, I want to tip you about doing it in modeler.
if you select one edge or if you have made a disc cylinder with a lot of segments, you can select one edgeloop, then in modeler create/polygons/more/edges to poly, so you get that edgeloop in to polys..that is needed(or a curve) for you to convert them to skelegons....then go to setup/skelegons/more/convert skelegons...all that in modeler that is.

so this way you can for instance select outer edges of a toroid, and create skelegons in a circle ..which you later can use to deform the toroid like a rolling mushroom for some effects.

By the way, it took me some hours, but I have done a system recovery on my desktop now, seem to work.... I was about to replace harddrives, so I could put a fresh new one in and keep the older one to check if I needed something...but
it was such a mess to access the harddrives on my antec case, it was horrible and I didnīt want to mess with it now...if I have lost some things..so be it...my brother put it together, and I thought it should be easy to replace harddrives, but it looked horrible compared to older casings.

I also had difficulties to get it to recognize the harddrives, the boot up sequence was all wrong with the drives and I had to switch drive boot ups.

I just wiped out the faulty drive since it wasnīt any wrong with the drive itself, just the windows system.

So Im almost up and running with the desktop now at least.
I still need to install the final builds of lightwave 11.6, on the system recovery I only had
lw 9.6 and lw 11...and core which expired.

Then I have to do another system recovery on my laptop and hope it isnīt any hardware issue, but only the windows system or formatting that is screwing me..what a mess it has been.


Michael

Sebasvideo
03-28-2014, 04:55 PM
Hi Sebastian.

You couldnīt get any decent out of my dynamic sample I posted a while ago? just curious.

Hey Michael, please refresh my memory, did you post that here or sent me an email with it? I totally forgot about it, unfortunately my memory is never too good. However, I think that this I can do with the DP Spline Deformer plugin, since it gives me that roundness that comes in perfect for this, and probably I don't need many nulls because it does a nice smooth deformation between them, while if I use bones I would need tons of them and for such a long rope I would have to spend like 20 minutes hitting = and Enter over and over.

However, what I'm wondering is if I can use the same spline control to control an object that is at the end of the cable but in another layer, or if I have to merge the two layers in Modeler before I make the spline control.

prometheus
03-28-2014, 04:59 PM
Hey Michael, please refresh my memory, did you post that here or sent me an email with it? I totally forgot about it, unfortunately my memory is never too good. However, I think that this I can do with the DP Spline Deformer plugin, since it gives me that roundness that comes in perfect for this, and probably I don't need many nulls because it does a nice smooth deformation between them, while if I use bones I would need tons of them and for such a long rope I would have to spend like 20 minutes hitting = and Enter over and over.

However, what I'm wondering is if I can use the same spline control to control an object that is at the end of the cable but in another layer, or if I have to merge the two layers in Modeler before I make the spline control.

I posted that sample on our email conversations, you have to check for it, it was zipped, it was basicly just a crude disc wheel reeling in a long polystring with bullet, but there was no geometry setup just the the basic dynamics on the polystring, for it to develop..you would have to metalink the polystring with a cable geometry.

About spline control, I have rarely touched it, I will later on..but I have had other issues to deal with up til now...so
someone else has to fill in about that.

Also I would recommend checking dynamics and details by greg sullivan on youtube.

Sebasvideo
03-28-2014, 05:05 PM
Cool, thanks, I'll look for it. By the way, if you have boot problems and you have more than one hard drive in your PC, you might want to unplug the SATA cable in any other disk/s that is not the one you want to install Windows on. Then after you install Windows and it's up and running, you can plug in the other drives and it all should work. This is not always necessary, but sometimes Windows gets drunk or something and doesn't know which drive to boot from.

If you need any help that I can give from the distance shoot me an email, I've installed Windows on many computers for almost twenty years so I have some experience on that.

prometheus
03-28-2014, 05:09 PM
well itīs no biggy now, it starts by checking the first sata drive and donīt find any and it just flashes by as error message, but then finds the other ones and boots up windows correctly.

I would probably like to get that sorted out later on, but man ..it is a mess to get acess to the drives and cables, so much stuff in front, and the casing has a side fan mounted too, so you canīt move that away properly without demounting it...might take a photo of it..and perhaps send the description of the casing etc.
No problems no I gues, but once I get something that fails with the drives, I will have to confront it anyway.

Sebasvideo
03-28-2014, 05:18 PM
Yea, small cases can be a pain. After having one of those, I made my next build with a Cooler Master ATCS 840, which is like a small fridge, but it gives me plenty of space to work on everything, and the hard drives are mounted from the side, not from the back as usual with smaller cases. The side fan you should be able to unplug the fan connector from the motherboard, unless it's routed in a way that makes that difficult.

If the computer takes a while to start booting you might want to check the booting order in the BIOS and set the right drive to boot from there.

prometheus
03-28-2014, 05:29 PM
Changing the boot order I did, I thought..have to check the bios setup again later.

not my computer, but this is the casing...antec 900 gaming case, might look good empty ..but wth all the cables its hard to reach the drives, should be easy to pull out in the front otherwise I guess.
The system specs are in my signatur for the desktop(drives excluded), the laptop lesser good specs, but decent anyway.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8a/Antec_900.jpg

Sebasvideo
03-28-2014, 05:31 PM
Just curious, can you turn all those LEDs off? I would go crazy if I had one of these with all light coming from inside.

Sebasvideo
03-28-2014, 05:45 PM
Dp spline is good, or the newer spline control in 11.

How does it work with the native spline control? I know how to set it up, but I never saw it being used for deforming an object, just for setting up a path for an object or camera to travel through. The DP spline deformer worked great in a simple test project, but now that I'm trying to use it, it's creating the spline 90° perpendicular to the object. If I sit the cable so it extends along the X axis, it creates all the knots starting from the surface and then going downwards, but with the knots in horizontal. If I make the cable perfectly straight up, it creates the spline along the X axis. So I thought about creating an array of nulls and use them for spline control, but I don't know how to set them up so they influence the object's morphing.

ernpchan
03-28-2014, 05:53 PM
Did you watch this video? The only difference would be that you're not moving your object down Z.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWTPk-wQhuk

As for DPSpline I think your object should be modeled down Z+ but someone else could confirm.

XswampyX
03-28-2014, 06:03 PM
What about bullet & MetaLink?

http://i465.photobucket.com/albums/rr16/xXswampyXx/Bullet_Rope_zps78a9a2f9.jpg (http://s465.photobucket.com/user/xXswampyXx/media/Bullet_Rope_zps78a9a2f9.jpg.html)

Sebasvideo
03-28-2014, 08:12 PM
Did you watch this video? The only difference would be that you're not moving your object down Z.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWTPk-wQhuk

As for DPSpline I think your object should be modeled down Z+ but someone else could confirm.

So basically to use LW's native spline control, you also have to setup bones? But in that case, if you don't intend to have the object follow a path like in the shark video, what's the point of the spline control? I mean, you already have the bones setup. But maybe I'm missing something, I don't have a lot of experience with bones or spline control.

geo_n
03-28-2014, 08:30 PM
Have you tried this?
ftp://ftp.newtek.com/multimedia/movies/w3dw/pulley.mov

Lots of tips here
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?77002-Hours-of-Free-LightWave-Training-%2824-Hours-%29

Sebasvideo
03-28-2014, 08:33 PM
What about bullet & MetaLink?

http://i465.photobucket.com/albums/rr16/xXswampyXx/Bullet_Rope_zps78a9a2f9.jpg (http://s465.photobucket.com/user/xXswampyXx/media/Bullet_Rope_zps78a9a2f9.jpg.html)

Quite remarkable. Now, is it that easy if you have another kinematic object attached to the other end of the rope?

Sebasvideo
03-28-2014, 08:41 PM
What about bullet & MetaLink?

Wait, I'm taking a closer look at the scene and now I'm a bit confused, because you have two layers for the rope, one where the rope is not visible but is the layer used in the dynamics setup, but the 3rd layer, which is the visible rope, also acts. How does that work?

ernpchan
03-28-2014, 10:59 PM
So basically to use LW's native spline control, you also have to setup bones? But in that case, if you don't intend to have the object follow a path like in the shark video, what's the point of the spline control? I mean, you already have the bones setup. But maybe I'm missing something, I don't have a lot of experience with bones or spline control.

The spline will be what deforms the bone chain. Getting a bone chain to follow a nice curve is difficult otherwise. Before this tool was add the plugin plg curve ik was the only way to make this type of setup.

Skywatcher_NT
03-29-2014, 05:34 AM
Metalink ;)

prometheus
03-29-2014, 06:55 AM
Wait, I'm taking a closer look at the scene and now I'm a bit confused, because you have two layers for the rope, one where the rope is not visible but is the layer used in the dynamics setup, but the 3rd layer, which is the visible rope, also acts. How does that work?

That was sort of the tech behind the scene I posted you before, though I think Xswampy has made it in to a much better scene for you...since I didnīt do any metalinking to geoemetry:)

dynamics takes place on the polystring, not on the actual rope geometry,
you just need to parent the object geometry to the polystring, then add metalink to
the polystring, click on the metalink and choose the object to follow.the rope geometry only deforms along the polystring, you can of course add additional softbody to the rope geometry as well so it actually
also collides from the rope geometry.

the process is explained also in dynamics and details by greg sullivan on youtube ..where he goes through a whole fx scene with power voltage wires being torn apart and colliding with some stuff.

Michael

prometheus
03-29-2014, 07:00 AM
Metalink the simplest way with nodes...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRBY0vQmsJc

older from William Vaughan...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLtuK99R4Bo

some other with text...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8PXLcFya8g

Greg sullivan dynamics and detail, somewhere at the end he is going through making polychains, and metalinking..thou with some tools today ..you simply convert a curve to polychains.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xTKd7pA3rU&list=UUF4SeH6gEOiVKcCxX2tcxZg

Sebasvideo
03-29-2014, 09:29 AM
Lots to learn here, which no doubt I want to, but I'm pressed for time on this project and I need to do something fast. If anyone can answer this, will this simulation work as good if I attach another kinematic object to the other end, and this object sometimes would be doing the pulling, but then at other times the reel would be doing the pulling, reeling in the rope and the object attached to the other end at the same time. Would this setup work in that case?

I mean, all of this would be great to learn, but if I realize at the end that it won't serve my purpose then I will have spent several hours learning a method that I won't be able to use, and I'm pressed for time.

prometheus
03-29-2014, 09:42 AM
Lots to learn here, which no doubt I want to, but I'm pressed for time on this project and I need to do something fast. If anyone can answer this, will this simulation work as good if I attach another kinematic object to the other end, and this object sometimes would be doing the pulling, but then at other times the reel would be doing the pulling, reeling in the rope and the object attached to the other end at the same time. Would this setup work in that case?

I mean, all of this would be great to learn, but if I realize at the end that it won't serve my purpose then I will have spent several hours learning a method that I won't be able to use, and I'm pressed for time.

I think it should, work...a rigid body will count in keyframe moves you do as a motion force, and if attached with a wire(polystring and cable geometry) to another rigid body..it should pull that body to, and vice vera. havenīt tested that exactly though except for knowing that rigid body reacts that way.
But this type of sims might be hard for even an experienced user.


Michael

XswampyX
03-29-2014, 10:21 AM
It seems that you can attach things....


http://youtu.be/2qF_UtBhZFw

Sebasvideo
03-29-2014, 10:58 AM
I think I'm going to go with the DP spline deformer. I've spent an hour running tests with the reel and rope, with a box attached to the other end, and after running like 40 or so simulations and being nowhere near what I need I think it would probably take me too long to achieve my goal. This however will be very useful because I still need to show the reel with some cable around it, so I think you can actually freeze the geometry once the simulation is done, right?

XswampyX
03-29-2014, 11:44 AM
Well good luck!

What you gain with using bullet you often lose in control. :(

Save Trans Object will save out your deformed mesh.

prometheus
03-29-2014, 11:50 AM
I think I'm going to go with the DP spline deformer. I've spent an hour running tests with the reel and rope, with a box attached to the other end, and after running like 40 or so simulations and being nowhere near what I need I think it would probably take me too long to achieve my goal. This however will be very useful because I still need to show the reel with some cable around it, so I think you can actually freeze the geometry once the simulation is done, right?

yes..you can freeze, for still though as xswampy mentioned, if you want to get rid of the sim, you can also use clothfx, and scan the deformed body and save it to mdd file, or use mdd scanner.


It seems that you can attach things....


http://youtu.be/2qF_UtBhZFw

Yes..I tested that too, it was also in a scenefile posted to sebastian.