View Full Version : MotionBuilder or Messiah?

03-19-2004, 11:22 PM
I currently own a license to Messiah animate 3.3b, and have the PE version of Motionbuilder which is due to expire in June, Before the window of opportunity closes on the 495.00 permanent license upgrade for MB 5.01, I was wondering what the consensus is with respect to these products. Which one is most commonly used, and which one has the best bang/most robust feature set for your buck.

There are things I like about both of them, the FBX format seems to be a great step forward in applications finally communicating with each other, and although other companies are adopting it, it doesn't appear to be working at 100%. They both have incredible interfaces that appear relatively easy to navigate around and are well organized, but MB's appears more flexible and intuitive to me.

Motion Builder has incredibly quick redraws, at least from the demos I've seen but so does Messiah. There are good things about MB but there are great things about Messiah as well; the connection plugin with LW for instance, which makes it great to use with LW specifically isn't available in Motion Builder. There are more online resources available for Messiah for rapid learning than there are at present for Motion Builder, so it may add cost to the total purchase.

I'm a bit torn which one to learn, does it make sense to have both of them?

Any opinions would be appreciated.



03-20-2004, 01:17 AM
What's the "PE" version of Motion Builder? Is it still available?

I was trawling around on the Kaydara website and was surprised to hear Proton mentioned on one of their training videos. His "Ninja" model is also used as one of their demo models.

Capt Lightwave
03-20-2004, 02:13 AM
I would go for messiah....but that's me.

03-20-2004, 07:02 AM
PE=Personal Edition

Sorry Beam, It isn't available any longer, it was a one year temp license to the regular version that automatically stops working 12 months after it's installed. I think it was a good marketing ploy on Kaydara's part to get people exposed to this application. I think this approach must work given the other companies that have also created learning additions. (Alias Wavefront and Softimage).

I'm leaning toward continueing with Messiah, the current version looks like they've made some advancements and given the improvements of LW's own toolset, the two combined may just be the killer combination.

That said, I'd still be interested in hearing other opinions and experiences both with the products and the companies.

On a side note, it was interesting to see that Kaydara is yet another Canadian company that's been successful in this space, apparently they're right next door to Softimage in Montreal. There must be something in the water!



03-20-2004, 09:02 AM
i thought the upgrade to permenant MB 5 offer ended in december reguarless of when you got your mb 4 pe version

i've not used motionbuilder alot to be honest though but at $200 it seemed a steal so i took it incase someday i need it

though i'm hoping lw8 will satisfy my charcter animation needs if not then i will have to look more into motion builder again

03-20-2004, 11:04 AM
The great things about MB are that it truly does realtime animating, which is very freeing. Equate it to the experiences people report with FPrime and setting up a scene - it's the same deal. You make a keyframe and can watch it in accurate timing without rendering or watching floating bones.

Other big things are the story tool which lets you edit mocap and animations like non-linear video editing - very sweet.

The last great thing- to me, is unlike Messiah, the animations are not deformations, so you could tweak in LW if you want.

The benefit of messiah, as I know, is that you can rig in anyway you want, anything at all - not so easy in MB (though they're supposedly working on it). Also deformations in Messiah are superfast - and it works tightly with LW, which MB does not.

I like MB, and where it's going - which may be the biggest drawback on Messiah. MB is soon to release MB 5.5 with nice tweaks, where 5 was just out!
When was the last Messiah update?

03-20-2004, 11:04 AM
Think of Motion Builder as a plug-in for Lightwave, 3dsMax, Maya and C4d. A plug that gives you the fastest and most unbreakable humanoid and quadraped auto-rigging I've ever seen. You can also render animations, though not as nice a LW's render. The renders are very fast and work great for dailies.
I find it to be outstanding. Having done character animation in Lightwave and Messiah, I don't think there is a real comparision. The realtime feedback makes all of the difference for me.
According to Kaydara, you can still upgrade the PE version for $495 as long as it is before the license expires.

If you are really going for bang for the buck I think messiah might be better due to the extra features.
If you do character animation. I don't think there is a better choice than Motion Builder.

03-20-2004, 11:29 AM
ah right - yeah i upgraded for $100 that must have been teh deal that ended in december

as for the tweaking in modeler after MB hmmmmmm it can be done but argh i hate teh way it bakes every keyframe - probally need to runa that keyframe reducer plugin first otehrwise would be anightmare trying to edit it afterwards

03-21-2004, 05:52 AM
Originally posted by KillMe
as for the tweaking in modeler after MB hmmmmmm it can be done but argh i hate teh way it bakes every keyframe - probally need to runa that keyframe reducer plugin first otehrwise would be anightmare trying to edit it afterwards

Just do your edititing back in MB. Easy. I dont see any real need to tweak in LW, just get it right in MB and go. Do all other cloth deformations or what ever in LW and render. Decide you need to tweek the character animation just open back up the MB file tweek and load back into LW.

03-21-2004, 01:27 PM
What are some of the reasons why Messiah might be better than Motion Builder (and visa versa, for that matter)?

I'm not an expert in either, so I'm also interested to hear these responses. I know that Motion Builder is cross platform, which I like as it gives some choice in hardware. Kaydara's fbx file format seems to be becoming a 3D industry standard for the exchange of files.

My impression is that Messiah is tightly integrated with Lightwave, but not with other apps. Is PMG losing momentum? I don't hear of them much these days.

03-21-2004, 02:04 PM
It is more of an apple and oranges thing. But they are the same in many respects. Messiah is designed to do more than Motion Builder,.. things like softbodies, melt FX, powerful expressions and such. It is more flexible than Motion Builder. You may find that you don't need these features as you can add them in LW.
Motion Builder is fast for character animation. MB does have particle shader FX,.. somewhat like Illusion. MB has nice lip sync tools and all kinds of motion capture features. MB has strong non-linear animation features. MB animates LW bones so other plugs work well with MB. MB can render out Flash animations. MB is updated and promoted frequently.
As you can tell,.. I like Motion Builder but when I used Messiah,.. I liked it too,... but maybe not as much. :-)

03-21-2004, 10:20 PM
i'm so glad someone asked this. i'm considering buying motion builder and this discussion has been really useful for me.

can anyone comment on motionbuilder's performance under OS X?

03-21-2004, 11:40 PM
Originally posted by themaxx
can anyone comment on motionbuilder's performance under OS X?
On Kaydara's website (http://www.kaydara.com/) you can download a free trial version of Motion Builder for OS X. It is completely functional, but expires after a month.

While Motion Builder's renderer is great for speed, I think you'd always import your animation back into Lightwave for rendering.

03-21-2004, 11:47 PM
thanks. unfortunately, i downloaded the trial and installed it, then got distracted and didn't get back to it for a month. :(

anyone know what file i can delete to reset the trial?

03-22-2004, 02:08 AM
re install Windows, that always works :p

03-22-2004, 02:11 AM
I was looking at MB over the weekend, it is fantastic, and in a studio which can afford dedicated animators who simply need excellent animation tools - then export their work to be picked up be the staging artists... I think this sort of package its a no brainer - esp at the price.

However, for me, working either on my own or with one or two others.. another "package" is looking like another cog in the machine. What I love about MB is the Rig, and the animation layering.. (there are tones of other cool features), but after careful thought - my main priority being keeping things simple - I am going to focus on setting up a good Rig in LW and then work with LW Motion Mixer (or rather, find ways to make MM work for me!).

So, trying to keep production simple - here is a list of my main concerns:

* potential problems importing and exporting LW scenes in .FBX format - I have read of problems - and I don't think .FBX supports ALL LW features.

*Its my preference to animate a character in its environment - I feel its better for interaction and reaction to other scene components - exporting a whole scene to another package is starting to look like duplication of effort - even if the tools are good

*I noticed in on MB tutorial that textures were not auto assigned to models - so a bit of palaver there to re-assign textures - and I have a LOT of UV maps

*I am a test render geek (FPrime on its way) I know I can test in MB, but, well... I just don't feel good about testing the look/feel in a different packager to the one I will finally render in.. also it would mean setting up lights and cameras in MB then should I adjust them in the master scene (simply for better composition) I would have to be sure to match adjustment is MB etc...

I am sure there is more, but I don't really want to babble on! - someone out there I am sure can make a longer list of advantages! - this is just how I feel after a weekend of playing with MB - GREAT package ... but if I can get my result in LW anyway.. I simply don't need the extra cog. PHEW!

03-22-2004, 02:38 AM
Originally posted by themaxx
thanks. unfortunately, i downloaded the trial and installed it, then got distracted and didn't get back to it for a month. :(

anyone know what file i can delete to reset the trial? Possibly you can install the new one over the old one. I'm not sure if Kaydara will give you a second registration number, though. You might have to register a different email address to get that. Or just buy the thing!

03-22-2004, 04:28 AM
Most people are just going to be animating in MB anyway, so just colour your surfaces. You don't need to transfer UV Maps.

Things I love about MB:
- Indestructable rig (biped/quadruped) that is a breeze to set up.
- Effector pinning on demand when you need it (translation or rotation or both).
- Animate in full body mode (pull the wrist and the whole body follows) or in body parts mode (pull the wrist and only the arm is affected).
- Automatic "smart" feet and hands that react to surface planes.
- Animate in layers (kind of like photoshop).
- Storing poses (produce a walk cycle in 5 minutes).
- Supports Endomorphs and weights (to a degree... good enough to animate with).
- Pipeline from LW to MB and back is smooth.
- Ability to mix mocap with keyframed data.
- Mix different Mocap clips together to get new movement.
- Everything is drag-and-drop.

I could go on and on. MB has allowed me to produce more quality animation in less time. I've been using MB with LW since December 2002, and I'm so glad I got in when I did. LW8 could be a contender, but that has yet to be seen.

Drawbacks are that it is limited to biped/quadruped.

LW8+FPRime and MB is a killer combination!

03-22-2004, 06:34 AM
Originally posted by LFGabel

Drawbacks are that it is limited to biped/quadruped.

Another bonus is they are VERY responsive to users input.
They are like NT in that the actual company President and programmers will respond on their boards.

They are unlike NT in that requests are responded to almost immediately and seem to actually get coded into the product.

I know the new 5.5 has features specifically requested by users.

The above drawback has been touted on almost from day one- and while there are ways to make six-armed creatures, it's not automatic.

I bet by v6 they will have that ready to go!

03-23-2004, 04:18 PM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
Possibly you can install the new one over the old one. I'm not sure if Kaydara will give you a second registration number, though. You might have to register a different email address to get that. Or just buy the thing!

installing over the old one didn't work, but after talking to jim nasser over at kaydara i ordered it. if they put as much care and attention into their software as they put into their customer service, motionbuilder should RAWK!!!. those guys are super nice and treated me, a lowly hobbyist, like i was lead animator on the next final fantasy feature film.

kudos to kaydara. can't wait to get my hands on MB.

03-23-2004, 08:38 PM
Well thanks guys and girls for all your input. After mulling it over, examining the two packages, and reading the discussion here and elsewhere about this subject, I've decided to go with Kaydara.

I too fell victim to their friendliness and professionalism. After downloading version 5.1, a soft sell customer service rep named Robert Plante contacted me to see how I was making out. After a lengthy conversation about the company and how they've evolved over the last 10 years to a company of a hundred souls and are quite literally taking the animation industry by storm. I thought what the hell, I'll cough up 500 bucks and give it a whirl. Well, the guy who called thanked me and told me to call the sales office or go online to make the purchase, he hadn't called me to solicit a sale but to see how I was making out.. yeah I was surprised as well. The surprises didn't end there, I don't feel totally comfortable talking about some of the things that are on the horizon for this product, but WOW! wait to you see what they're doing with version 6. Also, the online tutorials, some 60 odd, over 420 pages worth are excellent. Add to that the online courses that they sponser through 3D Buzz and there's no way you can't be proficient with this software in a short hurry. And!!!! they're Canadian, that's a huge plus in my book, considering I AM CANADIAN!