View Full Version : Series of Short Animations

12-08-2014, 07:53 PM
I am and have been working on animations for a large story I wrote a while back. Ive done a previs of sorts for a current project in Carrara.

I have my limits in time and modeling talent, so aim to use a mixture of 3rd party items, modified as needed, rig characters (a challenging prospect) and hopefully used some of the great features of Lightwave. I've spent years working in Carrara and would do my animations in it but the rendering and dynamics, not to mention, rigging (or even using Daz's Victoria 4) has been cumbersome.

Would you think using primarily 3rd party models, LW rigging, dynamics, and rendering capacity would serve towards creating a series of short, (3-5 min) animations, aiming at fairly realistic characters?

I am to a point were I am ready to devote the next year or so towards it, and really looking for some inspiration. I've seen amazing animations using, at least in part, LW. Ruin comes to mind as one that I found stunning.

Anyway, I think I am looking for a bit of inspiration, and potentially some encouragement to move more fully into using LW . For those who are more experienced, this would be a newbie inquiry.

What are the best things for animation do you think LW is great at?

**Sorry for the rambling post.

12-08-2014, 10:15 PM
I would look at Ryan's videos on Liberty 3D as well as Rebel Hills animation tutorials;



That should get you going with CA as well as this thread on Daz 3D; http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?125710-PIPELINE-DAZstudiopro4-LIGHTWAVE&highlight=daz3d

12-09-2014, 12:52 AM
For rigging use Genoma built into LW which greatly simplifies and speeds up the process. Also RHiggit is a brilliant plugin which will create very robust rigs.

12-09-2014, 04:48 AM
Your biggest problem will be time... You want something realistic... ala ruin for example... and you're pretty new to this whole thing, rigging, animation, etc. Even with that out the way, there's all the surfacing, rendering, all the background items, props, etc. I'd estimate youre looking at 1-2 years for a single 3-5 min piece of actual quality, give that you've got to learn a lot of this stuff as you go. My RHiggit toolset will help a lot with actual rigging and animation (Ruin did its character using RHiggit V1 + mocap)... but honestly... there's no shortcuts... You're in for a long and difficult haul.

12-09-2014, 05:11 AM
Thanks, all.
Yes, I do expect it to take me quite a while to get something good looking out, so your spot on at 1 to 2 years. I can believe it. If I could devote 30 hours+ a week to it I imagine I could shorten it.

Animation, really is an art in its own and the road to get to a point were I am able to start animation (once my characters are created, surfaced, rigged) looks at time daunting. The short cuts I would use really would be the aforementioned 3rd party models to save time. But even then it is a big challenge.

since I am going it alone, per se, I will rely on various 3rd party models and utilities (such as RHigget and Genoma) as well as some good plugins such as DP Verdure tree plug in (which was cool to work with and then replicate to create a forest that didn't kill the system). And, hopefully, I'll learn well as I go along. I do expect to reach out to the LW community often though !

12-09-2014, 06:56 AM
Hey restif - sent you a pm

12-09-2014, 08:55 AM
Most important things are:

Try to learn and get in good habits from the outset. Most knowledge is out there for free.
Get organised on the project as a whole and break it down into small chunks. Asset/prop lists, locations, characters etc. Once you have this, it'll become much easier to progress. If you end up doing a lot of the modelling yourself, make a list of the objects in order of physical complexity. Start with box shaped items, then circular items, and then move onto the more complex things. This way you should learn the basics and slowly increase your skill, but also it'll help burn certain processes into your brain. Hopefully, by the time you get to characters, then you should be feeling a bit more prepared. Use 3rd party where you can, but don't rely on it. There is often work to be done on any 3rd party items, so you still need to understand the process.

But anyways, the key thing is planning, breaking it down into small chunks and achieving each one thing at a time, because if you look at it as a whole you can easily become overwhelmed and disheartened. But the truth is, if you plan it correctly, and know what you want to do (the script helps!) then it all becomes much easier. But since you are learning at the same time as doing, then it'll be vital to try and recognise which bits are easy medium and hard, and approach them in that order.

Anyways, i'm writing this like you've never seen lightwave before, but you clearly have... but you know what I mean.
I'm working on something that probably sounds stupid and implausable, but breaking it all down makes it seem much more realistic. Patience, time, and how you use it are all you really have. The smarter you work the more effective your use of time will be. The tools are pretty awesome these days. You can get results much faster, as a lot of the barriers to creativity have been pulled down.

Oh one last thing, try to be creative in how you present things. Remember that not everything needs to be seen, and clever use of sound can save you a lot of work.

LW is probably the best software for someone who wants to achieve something on their own from beginning to end imho. Anyways, good luck! I hope you stick with it!

p.s. Get into a good habit of saving your work regularly. Have a WIP (work in progress) folder and save increments as you go along. Some things can be hard (or impossible) to undo, so older versions can save your life on occasion. You can delete all the progress versions when you have finished if you need to.

12-09-2014, 01:55 PM
@restif: because of the wording of your post, I'm assuming -- and I may be wrong -- that you haven't gone through the whole nine yards in terms of getting a short together. If that's true, my opinion is that 3-5 minutes is way too long for a 'fairly realistic' quality target, and given some of your unfamiliarity with certain processes, as well as not yet having yet established a production workflow.

I'm a bit conservative, yes, but between personal projects that were too big for me, and professional productions that were surprisingly finished in time, I learned that a concentrated effort is better than a spread-out one. In personal projects, the idea is 'grand', and the solo production guy is spread thin, and the result -- I've seen this in other people, too -- is that the project never gets finished because it's going too slow, there is progress but only in the small areas and soon, without a producer hounding your back, you lose sight and encouragement. Otoh, a paying job will sometimes have a specific brief: 15-30seconds long, with anal fixel-pucking clients, and a producer breathing down your neck: that job will get done, and will be of relatively good quality.

My personal opinion is that, even if you have a year to do spend on this project, I would tackle no more than 2 minutes (or 20 separate shots) and tread slowly and carefully. You can approach it as though you were making a trailer, or perhaps it's the first few scenes of the short, which should end with a resolution. When you finish your first pass, then you can 'polish', which is something lots of people forget to do. The point is: keep the project small enough to fit your chest. Remember that the size of the project you set grows exponentially as you work on it, because almost every stage (don't forget compositing!) will need to fit itself based on that. Keep it small and concentrated. Besides, if you complete it ahead of time, there's nothing to stop your from pressing on. That's my 2 cents on it.

12-09-2014, 05:19 PM
Thanks Kaptive and Faulknermano.
I agree that will need to be very organized and keep my self from overwhelming myself. It has happened on other projects.

And also, Fualknermano, true, keeping it focused and achievable is also important.
As it stands, I wrote the story 20 years ago. When I first started playing around in 3d, I did see an opportunity to create my story in animation.

I have written out an outline script, essentially 24 episodes (which at this rate will take 24 year ;) and also just completed a trailer previs of sorts using Carrara (not quite 2 min and rough, but a lot of fun).
I wrote out the first short in the script, did some story boarding and animatic to see how it will time out and got sidetracked with life.

But I always have gone back and forth to aiming to do it all in Carrara or Lightwave. For sure, with a lot of work, I know the final animations will look better in Lightwave if I work hard enough.
But , as RH said, time is always a challenge. Still, I've loved getting to learn a bit of Lightwave, taken several tutorials (notably William Vaughan's series, quite a bit of RH's, Dan Alban , and some IK booster tutorials from Chazriker) but still need to really practice more.

So I am close in some respects and far in other. That this will take lots of time, I have no doubt. I am so inspired by those who went it alone and did a short. Truly amazing to see and read about.