View Full Version : LW8 IK BOOSTER when/why/how...

05-03-2004, 08:05 AM
being a new user of ik booster and reading the help file on it i'm really quite confused to the following!!!

i understand it's another way the ik rig a model with one click and know what ik is so no need to explain that...just why was it created and what is it's main purpose in day to day character animation over standard ik rigging methods we can use now.

what is ik booster?
when would you use it?
what are the advantages of ik booster over standard ik in lw8
what are the disadvantages of ik booster over standard ik in lw8
when and how would you use ik booster in combination with standard ik.

was/is ikbooster really made for use with bone dynamics or also for character animation as i'm finding ik booster to be VERY unpredictable in use with characters [sample rigged one's] and setting up feet to stay planted even with "fix" active the feet are fixed but they continue to rotate rather than stay put...

a full tutorial on character animating with ik booster would be nice as so far it just looks like a "gimmick" and not production worthy for walk cycles...it's great to ik up in "one hit" but the unpredictabe nature of using it so far is putting me off!!!

any info on ik booster usage would be good
as currently i feel there's not enough info on it to get good first time results with it...i think it need explaining a bit better..the help file seems to describe things i isolation not as a workflow method for rigging up a character and animating it....
maybe i need to re read it again....

any help woud be good!:)

phil lawson
05-03-2004, 08:10 AM
I just used the Proton video as ref and its a very, very cool plugin to have.

I've never rigged a character before, but had one posed and rendered in under 15mins...10mins for rigging, which is excellent for me. :)

I suspect the indepth stuff will all arrive when the manuals come out.


05-03-2004, 08:51 AM
I find IKBoost a little weird to use for any serious character posing or animation.

Right now, IKB seems best suited for long IK chains like tentacles, cables and such.

Sure it's cool to use, but it is nearly unusable on my PowerBook...not sure why that is.

Hopefully we'll see some better doumentation and tutorials and fixes in the near future.


05-03-2004, 09:56 AM
I've found IKBoost very useful, but I think that NewTek was a little misleading in the vids. I'm not saying it doesn't do what it should very well, it's just that it takes a lot more than 2 clicks to get it working right. You still have to set constraints and what not just like you used to. As SplineGod has said, it turns IK on EVERYTHING. This leads to a "wet noodle" because IK is turned on even on the bank channel! Yikes! I wish there was a way to select multipul IK Boost Nodes and turn of IK for the bank channel...

I think if I was a new user, and was armed with a better tutorial/dicrections this tool would work wonders for me- but for people who are used to working with the old rig style this tool wors almost the opposite of what you'd expect.

What I like about it is that, like the dynamics engine, 8 has improved on things "talking" to eachother and "seeing" eachother instead of being island plugins in the LW sea.

05-03-2004, 10:36 AM
I too am pretty disappointed with IK Booster. I was expecting an IK animation saviour for lightwave but find IK Booster clumbsy and cumbersome. I am not trying to be negative but the NT guys really really really need to provide a few more detailed video examples of using IK Booster on characters. That may be all we need to get up to speed. [8] was touted as a release for character animators and it should be no suprise that people were expecting IK Booster to be for character animation.

Anyone have a rig up and running? Any tutorials?

05-03-2004, 11:52 AM
I've found the IK Booster a timesaver...

and yep, I do have to disable some rotation angles,
and yep, I do have to go in and add contraints,
and yep, I've been using the mirror bones, etc.

There's always going to be work to be done but this
tool was a great addition to Lightwave, IMO.

Note: Get the visual displays for the rotation angles
going and it makes all the difference.

05-03-2004, 11:53 AM
All it really needs is an extra option for rotation pinning, since as of now it only pins for translation. The pinning needs to be more solid in general too. If these existed, there'd be no need to combine IKB with regular ik rigs (which I'm doing now, in order to get a decent rig).

Some extra little features that would really enhance this tool:

Mirror Tools, for poses, motions, and even transforms in the viewports (realtime).

Saving and loading IKB settings (joint limits, pinning, ikstops, etc) with the rig file format.

Animation Layers. Keytrak rocks. I even liked keytrak's beefier timeline and key visuals. Just easier to read/work with in general. 'nuff said.

Support for loading multiple motion files in IKB. Basically an "Insert
Motion" feature. Rather than overwrite my current keys when I load a
motion, I'd like to be able to insert it at a marker or the current position
on the timeline.

Need to be able to apply IKB in multiple instances (per bone or bone chain if desired). Tying it to the root (mesh) of a heirarchy is too broad a solution. It would also be cool to be able to define the joint limits as a single setting per application. Such as applying IKB to an arm chain with 1D, 2D or 3D (free, like it is now) rotation limits, and then being able to further tweak limits individually. Having to set them all by hand is tedious.

I look forward to the day when I can use IKBooster as my only rigging tool. It's a good start, but needs a bit of work for this to happen.

05-03-2004, 12:15 PM
I was so excited about the new IK booster coming out I held back on learning an alternative to lightwave's own meagre tools.
But I have seldom been so disappointed.
I've had it a week now and have been desperately hoping I might be missing something. But after a while, you start to get a feel for how it works and what it's limitations are.
Personally I feel it's almost impossible to animate (well) with IK booster.. It doesn't seem like REAL IK.. more like auto posing for FK. which then ignores all your IK FIXes if you adjust anything. (and ignores a lot of the IK stops whislt you're animating.)
It does seem like it was made for the dynamics, then someone thought' if you add a couple of extra controls you can make it into a hybrid FK IK system. '
I don't like the messy nature of the baking either. Why oh why didn't they improve and add advanced features to the IK they already had, like being able to envelope goal strengths and Match goal and an easy IK/FK blending tool and spline IK etc.
It seems like we have been given a complete alternative that is much worse unless you use very specialised movements (like tentacles) or Dynamics
I have heard lots of sticking up for IK booster from Lightwave evangelists, but I think Newtek need to know that they havent 'fixed' the character animation weakness in Lightwave yet. It needs lots and lots of work. otherwise companies such as mine will are forced against their will to look at better alternatives.

ps.. The DEMO scenes on the disc all suffer from sliding feet and hands. many of them seem to me like a showcase for IK booster's shortcomings.

05-03-2004, 12:17 PM
The problem with IKB is it is just applying keyframes to all the bones in your chain on each keyframe you make for the "goal" . This works fine for still poses but it is impossible to "lock" an object in place because inbetween your keyframes it interpolates the bone rotation using TCB(or whatever you have selected as default in the graph editor) which causes the bones to wiggle around and your characters feet don't stay in place. I tried setting graph editor to create linear keyframes to solve this, sure enough all of my bone movements are linear but they still do not stay locked inbetween keyframes. Try setting graph editor to "stepped" and then use IKB, no more problems... if you like stepped motions :)

05-03-2004, 12:35 PM
thanks for the replies!...i was starting to think that maybe it was just me "not getting it" with ik booster..

ik booster seems to be good for:

1.setting up a "pose" for a single render frame.
2.animating a character behind a desk or such like
3.animating long chains of bones ala the octopus..

it's also good as it can ik/fk with no effort which is what you can do in character studio in 3ds max rather than being stuck with either fk OR ik...

i'm going to try and disable some rotation channels to see if i can
get ik booster to animate a walk without feet flopping about..
i'll use the sample scenes as a start position

i really don't want to go to "step mode" for animations..that what you have to do in stop frame animation like wallace and gromit!

05-03-2004, 12:44 PM
Originally posted by pooby
ps.. The DEMO scenes on the disc all suffer from sliding feet and hands. many of them seem to me like a showcase for IK booster's shortcomings.

Wow. This comment from pooby says it all (or at least most of it). Please.... please.... please.... NewTek help us out here. I am sure there is a larger vision for IK Booster. A few video tutorials or a glimpse of the future of IK Booster would be great.

05-03-2004, 12:45 PM
Well I'm definitely no evangelist. I resisted the move to using LW in our pipeline in the first place because I felt it was inadequate, and when we did add it I made sure I had an alternative character tool like Motion Builder.

With IKB (and other animation tools) I'm almost able to reconsider using LW a lot more for animation. Like I said, fix a few things in it and it's ready to rock. I've already done animation and rigging with it that was satisfactory, and much faster to implement... it just needs finer control.

I LIKE having a pose-based system of IK over something that is always on and yanking my skeleton around. Its easier to work with (just like Motion Builder). And the IK/FK blending in IKB kicks ***. There's no need to set it up or enable/disable stuff, you just pull on a chain then tweak with rotations. That's as good as it gets. Like I said, the only thing really holding it back is the weak pinning.

The best results I've had were with a hybrid system of custom built rig and IKB.

The important thing to remember is that IKB is meant to be more artist friendly. It's easier to set up (less technical than "old schooling" it), and easier to use. It's a first draft tool that needs some kinks ironed out is all. That's not evangelizing... that's called being objective.

Rather than dump all over the tool and possibly hinder it's development or worse - have Newtek shelve it entirely, I'll support it's development and help it become the tool it should be.

05-03-2004, 12:54 PM
I still think it's a little early to make a clear vote on IKBoost. It seems that as the days go by there are more positive posts on it than negative...

05-03-2004, 12:58 PM
james , yeah i totally agree the idea behind ikbooster is brilliant and yes it's version 1.0 so i have high hopes for it..more documentation around the idea of a tutorial on it would really help out.

have you with only ikbooster been able to lock feet so they don't flop about in an animation?

or can you only get this with a custom rig/standard ik in addition?

i'm going to re watch proton's demo video's then re try a walk with ik booster....

wish me luck!

05-03-2004, 01:07 PM
cresshead: at this point I definitely would not use IKB as a full character IK solution. If they fix the pinning issues I definitely think it would be viable then. At the very least start yourself with a foot rig, then add IKB over that and see how it works for you. The two seem to interact well together - you get problems when trying to save motion files though, which is understandable.

05-03-2004, 01:13 PM
I hope that NT enhances IKB before implementing new stuff. My fear is they are concentrating on other demands such as rendering. Before this, please, please NT, make existing features more usable :(

05-03-2004, 01:30 PM
Originally posted by Librarian
I hope that NT enhances IKB before implementing new stuff. My fear is they are concentrating on other demands such as rendering. Before this, please, please NT, make existing features more usable :(

I sincerly hope you are wrong.

Although character animation is quite high profile and is talked about a lot, I honestly believe there are a lot more people who don't use LW for character animation, but instead rely on modelling and rendering, two areas that have been neglected by Newtek for years.

05-03-2004, 02:58 PM
That`s right, but...
They decided to jump onto the animation wagon.
Now it`s their move to show us that they can do it right.
If not, they would have done better by not spending that much time on a less expedient tool.
But I agree. Rendering should be top priority for upcoming releases. It`s something everyone benefits from.

Dr. Dardis
05-03-2004, 07:40 PM
I try to stay out of these debates, but CA is close to my heart. My feeling is this..

the tools have not been tested thoroughly. I can't help but feel that they went and made "Character animation" tools without consulting enough with guys who animate characters, and ONLY characters. Otherwise issues like rotation pinning and jigglies would have been picked up in 20 mins. Also, no CA worth his salt is going to "REALLY LOVE" baking as a pinning solution. If you want to work fast you need Pinning On/Off, exactly where and when you want it, no "keyframes on every frame" business. Baking is messy.

an important note; THIS IS NOT A SLANT ON THE BETA TEAM. there are very talented people on the team.

It just feels like newtek still don't "Get" character animation.

But... Like [email protected] said very well, it has lots of POTENTIAL to be a very friendly tool. Just been released too early with insufficient testing.

just like splinamate.p, which was TOTALLY Half you-know-whated. I have never ever used it, picked the free dstorm one instead (again :rolleyes: Grrrr that makes me angry).

my 2c