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View Full Version : Looking for proper LW animation course.



Gyrant
05-10-2015, 09:02 AM
Hello LW community!

I want to take a proper, complete course on animation with LW. I live in the Austin, TX area. Does anyone know of any schools/businesses here teaching this?

I have been using LW in an amateur capacity since v.3 (which was something like 15yrs ago), but I am completely self-taught and have been doing my best to learn from tutorials online. I love the software, but effective use of the animation features elude me. I do everything exactly as it is explained in tutorials, but never end up with a practical result. The LW user manual is just about worthless as it never has anything helpful to me. I look online for ways to solve the problems I get and do my best to improvise, but I am getting nowhere on my own so I want to get some expert help. UNFORTUNATELY it seems all the schools teach everything except LW (Blender, 3DSMax, Maya, etc.), so I am at a loss. Any input or suggestions would be great.

I've already done some looking at the schools around town with no luck, but I know there are also independent organizations who give training courses on various things and finding them is just a matter of making the right contacts. If there are no such courses being held in Austin, would anyone be willing to explore the opportunity of starting one? There does seem to be a good amount of LW 'experts' here. I might even be interested in contributing if it came to that.

Thanks in advance!
-G

Ryan Roye
05-10-2015, 09:14 AM
Lightwave isn't typically taught in colleges... and the reason why essentially revolves around the fact that Lightwave's educational version costs money, whereas Autodesk's products offer it for free.

If you're looking for a course on character animation fundementals, Tom Roth's course (http://www.liberty3d.com/2014/02/liberty3d-welcomes-legendary-character-animator-tom-roth/) is the very first thing you should pick up:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed1i1UjPKqw

The above focuses on the non-technical aspects of animation and as such it is the very first thing any aspiring Lightwave animator should get. This stuff applies to every animation software in existence, so even if you decide Later to adopt other animation software the info is just as relevant.

As far as the more technical topics are concerned, you have many options and a lot of them take you in different directions in terms of how you go about completing animation. If you are more of a traditional artist, I'll go ahead and recommend my courses which you can get here (Ryan's animation kit) (http://www.liberty3d.com/2014/06/ryans-animation-kit/).

The most important thing to be aware of is to realize that not all workflows will fit your production needs. There is no "silver bullet" training material out there, so you'll really need to think about what you need out of learning materials. If you have any questions at all about my content or anything on Liberty3d.com, just let me know.

ernpchan
05-10-2015, 09:29 AM
Instead of searching for a place to teach you animation in program X.... Search for a place that teaches the craft of animation. The techniques and principles of good animation are independent of the tools (software, pencil, pen, clay etc) used.

If the educational version of LightWave still costs money, it's foolish that they still hold on to that policy.

RebelHill
05-10-2015, 09:52 AM
You're not going to find very many actual classes teaching animation in LW anyhere... What kind of animation is it you're after learning?

Sekhar
05-10-2015, 11:11 AM
Check out RebelHill's RH Animation. I have both his RH Rigging and RH Animation sets and highly recommend them, IMO they are the best you can get for LW at this time. A good part of each is on YouTube for free so you can try them out yourself and decide if they're worth getting. For RH Animation, see the intro at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AOp5Tso2Gg.

Curly_01
05-10-2015, 12:13 PM
Check out RebelHill's RH Animation. I have both his RH Rigging and RH Animation sets and highly recommend them, IMO they are the best you can get for LW at this time. A good part of each is on YouTube for free so you can try them out yourself and decide if they're worth getting. For RH Animation, see the intro at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AOp5Tso2Gg.

I found this training usefull. The first is a pdf file where experienced animators talk about their workflow. It basically boils down to blocking the animation using a keyframe editor set in stepped mode. Animators don't like curve interpolation between keyframes and then refining the animation.

http://content.animationmentor.com/pdfs/TipsAndTricks_Volume1.pdf

Character animation in 3D with Jeff Lew. I really like this one. It's general animation training. It's applicable to every 3D package. Really good general animation training.

http://www.cgsociety.org/index.php/CGSFeatures/CGSFeatureSpecial/learning_3d_character_animation_with_jeff_lew
https://www.createspace.com/225359

The last one is a book aimed at traditional hand drawn animation, but you could use it for 3D animation.

http://www.focalpress.com/books/details/9781138777965/

Gyrant
05-20-2015, 09:15 AM
Thanks for all the feedback!

I've been watching Tom Roth's 'Animation Alchemy' videos. Frankly it's mostly things I figured out on my own before puberty. I'm feeling a bit robbed at the moment.

I actually have found a school teaching Lightwave in Austin (Media-Tech Institute in case anyone is interested). It was so elusive because it is part of a new diploma program for them. Unfortunately it seems most suited for complete beginners and doesn't get into much of the technical details. For me it would mean a $24,000 tuition and a year of classes I already took for my associate's degree ten years ago (basic stuff like photoshop, after effects, etc.) and I probably wouldn't get anything out of it in the end.

I specify Lightwave because I need a more in-depth understanding of the technical aspects of using Lightwave for animation. With rigging for example, I've only just figured out how to set up pull vectors for controlling the direction of IK joints, after years of struggling with my joints never working right. It was not included in any rigging tutorial I've found. Little things like that are like industry secrets that nobody wants to share and they make a world a difference, which makes learning to use the software much more difficult for self-taught people like me. Perhaps there is some information about it in some of the lesson series you folks have referred to (I'll take a closer look at those between now and the weekend) but I don't have much financial freedom to invest in tutorials that are not free. (As for my search for a formal education, I was hoping to find a single course I could pay for with my savings. It seems schools don't work that way anymore.) I am apprehensive about spending on any more video-series lessons because I can't risk putting all that money into it and not learning anything from it in the end (like with Tom Roth's videos).

ernesttx
05-20-2015, 10:28 AM
What is your overall goal for this information? Are you wanting to be a TD Rigger type person who creates rigs or are you wanting better rigs in order to animate easier?

For me as a character animator, rigging was always the stumbling block. I just wanted to animate. But, not having adequate or incapable rigs, my animations suffered. I must admit, for me, I don't rely on Lightwave to rig my characters. I've only had LW for a few years now, and only when I have time, do I try to learn more about bones and rigging within it. I mostly rig and animate within Messiah and bring in point caches for final layout and render. LW needs a better workflow for character animating. There is IKBooster and I'm dabbling in that.

Since your in Austin, maybe collaborating and starting a user group might be in order.

RebelHill
05-20-2015, 10:54 AM
...I need a more in-depth understanding of the technical aspects of using Lightwave for animation. With rigging for example, I've only just figured out how to set up pull vectors for controlling the direction of IK joints, after years of struggling with my joints never working right. It was not included in any rigging tutorial I've found. Little things like that are like industry secrets that nobody wants to share and they make a world a difference, which makes learning to use the software much more difficult for self-taught people like me...

Then you want whats in the sig... or one of the bundles from here... http://rebelhill.net/html/bundles.html

Cheers.


I can't risk putting all that money into it and not learning anything from it in the end (like with Tom Roth's videos).

Yeah, nah... dont worry about that.

Vong
05-20-2015, 12:25 PM
One of the best investments in LW learning that I ever bought was RebelHill's RHA and RHR tutorials. You will definitely get your money's worth!

jwiede
05-20-2015, 01:33 PM
Check out RebelHill's RH Animation. I have both his RH Rigging and RH Animation sets and highly recommend them, IMO they are the best you can get for LW at this time. A good part of each is on YouTube for free so you can try them out yourself and decide if they're worth getting. For RH Animation, see the intro at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AOp5Tso2Gg.

Yep, I also highly recommend RH's Animation training (and his other training and products) for strong fundamental coverage of 3D animation, and particularly 3D animation in Lightwave. Great, detailed yet concise coverage of what you need to know, with suitable pacing to stay interesting without overwhelming. As Sekhar mentions, there's also plenty of intro content available on YouTube for you to judge if his voicing, pacing, etc. will "work" for instructing you, before you have to commit to the purchase.

bobakabob
05-20-2015, 03:50 PM
I would thoroughly recommend the RH autorigger. I have the basic version and it is as close as LW gets to animating in Maya. The updated Genoma 2 rig is also a huge boost for CA in LW. Been trying this out lately and it's a pleasure to use - extremely fast to set up with sophisticated controls. Thanks Lino!

However, I do wish setting up facial rigging with joystick controls was easier in LW. It's still a bit of a black art for those not into coding and there should by now be a much more accessible method than having to write expressions... It's 2015 but coding to do something which should be basic brings back memories of DOS.

LW actually has a big advantage over Maya in that morphs are much easier and faster to set up. For those Lightwavers not familiar with Maya, you have to go through a convoluted process creating a duplicate model for each blendshape then merge back together which IMHO kills spontaneity. When animating in Maya I've actually created morphs in LW and exported using FBX! The 3rd Powers toolset also make creating facial morphs a dream. Surely there's scope for LW3dG and / or RH to create a powerful LW facial autorigger. Any chance of this happening, guys?

allabulle
05-20-2015, 06:44 PM
Have you tried RebelHill's rigging and animation tutorials? They are really good. Also, if you are interested in IKBooster and alternative workflows Ryan Roye's tutorials are a must too.

http://rebelhill.net/html/rhr.html
http://rebelhill.net/html/rha.html
http://www.liberty3d.com/2014/06/ryans-animation-kit/

You can check previews of all of them to know the style and scope of the training tutorials. You might even want to e-mail them (or pm, they are both here too) with any specific questions you have before buying, to see if they fit your needs. They seem to be quite accessible and responsive around here.
I bought their tutorials and I don't regret it.

Surrealist.
05-20-2015, 09:29 PM
I can recommend and old book.

http://www.amazon.com/Lightwave-3D-8-Character-Animation/dp/1556220995

A lot of the LW rigging principles still apply today more or less. But mostly the second half of the book goes into the animation side of things. Still worth the price today in my opinion for that alone. He was trained at Disney by a some of the old traditional guys. And he teaches how to apply that to 3D which is very useful.

This was my first venture into learning rigging and character animation in LW 8. And it opened my eyes to a lot of concepts and principles I still use today.

Even if you are going to use Genoma IKB or Rhiggit tools or whatever. I think is an excellent primer in the basics.

chikega
05-22-2015, 10:14 AM
What everyone else said about RebelHill's tutorials ... the best out there bar none.