View Full Version : About Animation Master

12-05-2003, 06:10 PM
I have been using lightwave for a few months now and I absolutely love it. Recently I had a friend tell me about another program that is capable of doing what Lightwave can but was a much cheaper (in price) product and easier to learn.

Regardless I am going to continue using lighwave because I love the workflow and not to mention the hours i logged on it.

I was just curious about animation masters by Hash. Has any LW users ever used this program. I was wondering on how it compares to Lightwave. If anyone can give me their experience in this I would appreciate it.

I am a little suspicious about animation masters becuase of the price and I would have thought I would have heard of it by now.

I would love to hear the comparison of LW and Animation Master, specifically with character animation.

Any help in this would be appreciated, Thanks for your time.

12-05-2003, 06:34 PM
my opinion's are only from other users and not from actual experience but apparently animation master is pretty slick for character animation and has a excellent toolset for this purpose as jeff yew [i think that's his name] the lead animator on matrix 2 uses it and has just produced a training DVD for character animation and uses that to demonstrate how to learn character animarion with it though the dvd is just as applicable for other software such as maya/lightwave/max etc

animation master's short comings are more to do with it's modeling capabilities being only splinepatching and no poly modeling plus the stability and the amount of bug's in the program seem to be quite poor in comparison to lightwave/maya etc.

12-05-2003, 06:43 PM
I started out with A:M. It's a good package but it is not a polygon modeler. It works only in what Hash calls "Hash Patches" which are sort of like subpatches but they crease very easily unless you know what you're doing with them. The renderer is also not as good as Lightwave's.

A:M is a good package if you just want to do character animation. That's what it was made for. It's got a good constraint system and of course it has smartskin which is very intuitive and is quite easy to get good deformations(as long as you can keep your model from creasing on the modeling side of it).

I left A:M because of several reasons. One, you couldn't get a lot of good training material. You had to depend on other users. I also wanted to work with a polygonal modeler since it's much more flexible and offers you many more modeling tools. Not to mention, if you ever want a job in this industry, you might as well get used to working with polygons now. Lighting and rendering is a pure joy in Lightwave compared to A:M. There aren't very many good plug-ins that are made for A:M. I mostly just wanted more of an industry standard package because it offers you so many more options.

12-05-2003, 07:02 PM
If you look at the feature list, you may think A:M can do everything LightWave can do. This is how I (and many others) were suckered into buying it.

First, it has an absolutely terrible modeler (especially in comparison to LW) and almost none of the effects (hair, softbody, particles) work properly (at least as of 9.5). I often get a kick when I hear LightWave users complain about Sas Lite, Motion Designer, etc . . . because these tools are 10x better than the comparable tools in A:M.

A:M does have fantastic CA tools -- in my opinion much better than even MotionBuilder -- that is, if the program didn't crash all the time. I used to say that if I had gone an hour without a crash, it meant that I wasn't working hard enough.

And don't even think about hitting the undo key.

It's with good reason they don't have a demo program.

A Mejias
12-05-2003, 07:11 PM
...Alien Song. :)

12-05-2003, 07:20 PM
Don't forget Killer Bean.

But those guys are so talented, they could've used Simply3d.

12-05-2003, 07:25 PM
They were talented and it had not much to do with A:M.

God Tyvole, I almost forgot about the constant crashing I went through with A:M. I'm not sure if I should thank you for reminding me of this awful fact.;)

12-05-2003, 08:14 PM
Ugh. My first commercial 3d program was Animation Master.

Crashes... crashes... crashes.


Plus I didn't like the way it modeled. Insanely difficult to do inorganic shapes.

12-05-2003, 11:31 PM
My first two programs were 3D studio (DOS) and Animation Master. I have to agree that Animation Master was crash crazy- at the time I thougth it was because I was using the Mac version but now I'm not so sure now...

There is so much to LW...how can you even compare it to AM? AM is good for the price...but really.

12-06-2003, 05:25 AM
Originally posted by TyVole
... I used to say that if I had gone an hour without a crash, it meant that I wasn't working hard enough..

Oh you're being too kind...I think I used to be able to go about 15 minutes between crashes!! :p

A:M was a great program, right up there with Maya in the morphing and posing departments, but not really production-ready software.

12-06-2003, 06:13 AM
Same here. My first 3D app was A:M. It was ahead of its time in the animation department. Things we are all clamoring for like dopesheet, reusable animation clips, poses, etc., were standard fare in A:M. But all of those great features were worth exactly nothing cause the application just was tooooooooooooo unstable. I was able to get A:M to run ok most of the time but it was unpredictable. Once I switched to LW I realize just how unstable it really was. LW has its moments, but it is far more stable than A:M hands down.

12-06-2003, 07:40 AM
Ok, here I dug up some old archives of stuff I did with A:M. Mind you this is the stuff that I did when I first got into 3D about 4-5 years ago so I warn you some of it's pretty bad.

Here was an attempt at a velociraptor. This is a render, not a open gl screenshot (and if I remember correctly, A:M used direct 3D and not Open GL). You can see lots of nice creases and lumpiness to the model. Some of this is my fault as an inexperienced modeler, but anyone who uses A:M knows how hard it is to make a crease free model. I wish I still had my manual because I would show you the page where they actually tell you to place a texture to cover up your creases....:) That sure shows confidence in the ease of the use of their product...

12-06-2003, 07:42 AM
Another A:M work. This was the hideous bathroom in my old apartment.

12-06-2003, 07:45 AM
Here's a shot of choreography. It's the equvilant of our Layout basically.
This was a self-portrait :) I'm not sure why I gave myself fishing boots...

12-06-2003, 07:47 AM
Another render. This was an old fish bowl I had. A:M actually did decent caustics but the overall quality of the render was usually mediocre, especially compared to Lightwave.

12-06-2003, 07:50 AM
Here's a close-up of that self portrait. Look at those creases and that Newbie Lens Flare!!! Can you tell I had just seen the Matrix? ( I think it was that week it came out back in 99).

12-06-2003, 07:51 AM
Anyone else have any crappy renders (or good renders I guess) from their days in A:M?

12-06-2003, 10:15 AM
Thanks guys, that really gives me an idea of what to expect. One more question. It was mentioned that it works great for character animation. How well does it handle mouth animation? I love the way LW handles morphing. I couldn't imagine a better method for this. Can you get the same results from AM as you can with LW with mouth manipulation, haveing a character talk.

I probably wouldn't have even attempted to learn AM and especially not after this forum, it would be like moving backwards. I guess I was fortunate to have lightwave as my first real 3d program.

One more thing, what it the learning curve on this program, I imagine it is probably a little easier to learn than LW. But I guess your results reflect the work you put into the project.

Thanks again for you help.

rabid pitbull
12-06-2003, 10:33 AM
I wonder why the almighty Chuck hasn't come in and stopped this thread, since it is about another package. He stopped a thread about silo immediatly. Must be that A:M is not a true threat to LW.

Either way my opinion on Hash is that they have mediocre product that will never evolve. They have said their target is the entry level artist, if they increase the product capabilities so will the price. Extremely slow modeling, and less and less a good animation package as other programs offer better solutions. The renderer is the worst part of the whole program though. Can you say creases..........

12-06-2003, 10:47 AM

The texture you mentioned was the infamous porcelain.mat, which I believe is still used.

To be honest, though, I still get some of the same type of creases in the LW that I got in A:M (using five-point patches) when five polys intersect at the same vertex. But at least I can spinquad the problem away.


Why not wait until v8 before deciding if you need something else for CA?

12-06-2003, 11:11 AM
Originally posted by TyVole

To be honest, though, I still get some of the same type of creases in the LW that I got in A:M (using five-point patches) when five polys intersect at the same vertex. But at least I can spinquad the problem away.

It's all in how you use them. I don't think the creases I get in Lightwave are anything at all like the creases I got in A:M. Normally, any creases I get now are usually noticable in Open GL but not in the final render. You can avoid creasing in Lightwave, where in A:M, it's just a way of life.

12-06-2003, 12:16 PM
I seriously think you should stick with Lightwave. despite some good ideas they are surrounded in some shoddy ones.

it uses patches and splines which are in LW.

It is wickedly easy to animate in it ver. 8.5 or earlier or 10 and later. They did something weird and screwed up the dope sheet in the 9 series. Lightwave 8 is adding a dope sheet so you aren't getting much new here.

It is broken up much like lightwave into a modeler, and animator, a pose (morph section) and a scene section. You can edit any part in any order and everything is updated. Lightwave is partially capable of doing this. You can change a model and the endos will update to a certain amount. The hub updates surface changes between modeler and layout and even allows you to send out UV to Aura/Mirage.

The animator (Actions) are like the main time line but can be dropped into the main scene and started at any frame or repeated. They can also be blended so one action can have a walk and another has upper body movement. Motion Mixer does not do it this easily and they cannot be reedited after they are created. So LW needs to update this section of their software. LW probably needs to be able to load multiple scenes before this can be added by a plugin. then again maybe LW can add a save action file format to save animation. then we could just load that animation back in again where we want.

The texturing is pretty easy and has no distortion. LW is still working on this.

You can drag and drop models right into the scenes with no problem.

The model contains the whole rig (LW is adding rig files so you can do this in LW 8

The hair module has been greatly improved so you can almost get SAS lite hair in it.

Pricing: It's a Lie... well kind of. You are acutally getting a yearly subscription so if you purchase the software you get all updates for the year. Of course if you purchase it in Sept then you loose out since you will need to purchase it again in Jan to get any more updates beyond that.

You are a beta tester... The software is always in beta. Only 8.5p++ and 10.0n are stable and work fine (not great but you can get something done) any other version may have plugins break, file formats change, they forget to repair something that was working in the last update. they can go through A through z updates just fixing all the stuff they break while fixing something else. It's odd

Tools: Modeling is a pain. no cut, bevels, knife tools or anyway to cut new geometry in without destroying the flow. In lightwave it would be as if you had the spline tool and the add point tool. THAT'S IT. They refuse to update the tool set for some bizaar reason. And the pain of making models is not worth the effort to reach the rest of it. Oh the equivalent of smooth-shift/bevel leaves internal patches so you can't extrude new detail.

Too many splines in one place cause creases. They recently added a better

Cannot import poly models. if you do they are trashed or are useless except as samples to build everything else from.

Some tutorials around but nowhere near the skill level or quantity you have with lightwave.

No OS X version yet.

So overall animating great modeling bad the rest is workable. Crashes are said to be down to a trickle but you have to get a stabler release for this to be true...remember you are a beta tester.

I say save up the extra $200 and just get LW 8. it is just not worth the money


12-07-2003, 08:20 PM
I appreciate all your thoughts on this subject. I definitely plan on staying with LW8, I don't think I would have switched even if AM was more stable. I love the poly modeling and all the features in LW. I hardly use the spline modeling tools. I couldn't even imagine modeling without the smooth shift tool and all the other cut tools.

My work is getting AM and I will probably take a look at it. The reason is that my Art Director is too lazy to learn LW so he is trying to find a quick fix to develop character animation.

Anyway, thanks a lot for all the input.

12-07-2003, 09:00 PM
Originally posted by hrgiger
It's all in how you use them. I don't think the creases I get in Lightwave are anything at all like the creases I got in A:M. Normally, any creases I get now are usually noticable in Open GL but not in the final render. You can avoid creasing in Lightwave, where in A:M, it's just a way of life. Yeah, I think in the A:M manual, it tells you that if you can't get rid of a crease then you should try to hide it behind an ear or something like that. :p

12-07-2003, 10:01 PM
Originally posted by takkun
Yeah, I think in the A:M manual, it tells you that if you can't get rid of a crease then you should try to hide it behind an ear or something like that. :p

Actually, they just tell you to slap a texture over it. I wish I still had my manual, I'd scan it so we could all have a chuckle.

Russell Roberts
12-08-2003, 01:49 AM
sketchyjay was pretty fair on the critique of AM, and I would add that the latest version is 10.5o and this version improve hair, multi pass rendering, weight mapping for the rigging, and rework the porcelain material.

con:The hair is still not near the quality of sas. The rendering is much slower than LW, forget radiosity even though it now has it, still too costly in rendering time. Forget about using boolean function with bone trick for rendering, for it also taxes the memory for rendering.

pro: once you have all the modeling finish, and rigging complete. The animation is a breeze and fairly stable at that point. But getting there is most of the battles. Its true you cant truely import non-native model for animation, but you can import non-native models as prop.

I would use AM for toon render project that involve animation. If you need quick character animation, and needed to composite the character onto LW render animation, then that kind of stuff is possible.

LW8 is going to make animation so much easier, just save your money and wait, its worth it.