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View Full Version : Better IK - not a BOOSTER



jin choung
06-08-2004, 05:07 AM
if the booster is not meant as a replacement, then it brings to mind a homily created by me:

a booster assumes that the entity itself is sufficient.

a booster seat works because a seat is in and of itself a nice thing. a booster shot is a good thing because the shot itself is a desirable thing that you want more of.

there is no such thing as booster crap.

alas, ik booster attempts to be an add-on, a booster, for an ik that is woefully - nay, dangerously - incompetent!

don't 'add on' to the crap! the crap don't need no accessories! fix the crap!

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just finished a job where i had to use ik in lw... holy crap. if you lwavers only just TRY maya ik for one day, your rage will know no bounds. seriously... night and day.... oh my freakin' goodness. and nobody bring up maya 1 either... today's maya... 4 or 5 or 6... like frickin' night and day.

*
it's slow... sooo very slooooow in lw.

*
the developers have made it almost impossible NOT to turn autokey on because you can't try moving this bone and then that one and then come back to keyframe later... if you move another bone or chain, the one that you previously used snaps back... it can't remember.

*
and so, even though thanks to some from the community's help, i've realized you can use the BANK handle as an ik twist, it's TWITCHY as all hell because you move the ik but that causes your bones to flip out and so you have to adjust the bank but then boom, your ik goes back to its last position.

*
setup time is ABOMINABLE. seriously guys... if you've only played with lw's ik, i really want to be there when you try maya's for the first time. i envy you... it's like never having seen star wars or something.

TWO CLICKS!

maya asks you 1. where to start ik chain - click 2. where to end it - click!!!

it MAKES THE GOALS FOR YOU! why?! BECAUSE WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE IK WITHOUT GOALS?!?!?!

some things just go together man....

and it's not all these drop down menus where it asks you who goes to what and you want it to end where and blah blah blah....
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i've said it before, you can't expect a hyundai to drive like a porsche... if it gets good mileage and gets you where you need to go, the hyundai is fine.

i know lw ain't maya. it's much less expensive.

but still, it does tend to get you where you need to go. during this last job, i was very pleased at coming to grips again on how remarkably capable lw is sometimes... i noticed a lot of little niggles and twits that i wouldn't have imagined this hyundai to have but hey, there it is!

so my tirade comes with that understanding.

the ik DOES WORK. it's slow and tedious and inelegant as all heck but it works like soviet war machinery. and if it is the price we pay (or don't pay in this sense), then so be it.

but lw developers. SPEND ONE HOUR with maya ik. it will change your life. you'll find religion. see lights in the sky. give you a firmer and longer lasting erection.... seriously.

and further, it is VERY SIMPLE. AND it shouldn't cost that much to implement. most of it could probably done with current architecture with a plugin.

my plea is simply:

if you're not going to spend the time/effort/money to fix the crap, for heaven's sake, don't expend effort to dress it up.


jin

jeanphi
06-08-2004, 06:51 AM
LW IK and FK are weak.
IK boost is not a solution but just an other way to manipulate (IK boost is not a finished tool yet, just a beta... alpha, I think... I hope...)

Here is a link to scenes I made with basic LW IK. It's the best IK chain behavior I have made on LW. Those IK chains works in most kind of motions but are not perfect.

http://www.spinquad.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1555&perpage=15&pagenumber=2

(read the whole thread for more info about it)

It's very long to set up and you have to use "buffers bones" in order to have IK chains works in a relatively suitable way.

Maya IK works so much better and you can use IK/FK easily.

I hope NT will do a brand new rotation solving engine that will fit animators requests and not throwing us half usasable tools.
LW need this to survive! Look arround you NT!
It's time to narrow the gap or it will be to late!

Librarian
06-08-2004, 08:39 AM
Originally posted by jin choung


if you're not going to spend the time/effort/money to fix the crap, for heaven's sake, don't expend effort to dress it up.


jin
That hits the nail on the head!
Do it right or spend the effort in something else.
But for gods sake, don`t spend that much time in a crappy tool that is nearly worthless for serious character animations ever again.
Plan it right, ask yourself, "will it be usefull or is it just a nice addition"
Talk with potential users, animators which know best what`s useful or not.
Nobody needs a patchwork IK excuse.
Take the old IK to a new level and you don`t have to wonder why LW is barely used for serious character animation. Booster will not change that.

jin choung
06-08-2004, 09:15 AM
howdy fellows,

good to see i'm not crazy in this area.

i personally don't have that many complaints about FK except for lw's inability to remember the positions of unkeyframed bones....

but is it just me or are the manipulation GIZMOS really difficult to 'understand'! sometimes, you can't quite tell what is oriented how unless you rotate around a bit to get your bearings.... the gizmos in maya seem very clear, especially the rotation ones... but in lw, they're just kinda weird.... i really don't know what it is either.

i guess the worst thing about ikbooster is how it was part of 8 which was supposed to address the character animation dept.

oh well....

but the realities of the situation were probably, it's a new team and not much development resources so in all probability, ikbooster is an acquisition too to buff out the package.... but it's hardly the character solution people were desiring.

also, it's not that great an idea to try to give people not remotely close to anything they've ever asked for!

jin

Dodgy
06-08-2004, 09:31 AM
I have an Lscript which I will post here if Jason Linhart doesn't mind (it was free, but it's his script so I'm not sure I'm allowed to distribute it) which allows you to pick two things and make an IK chain of them, just like in maya. This sort of thing should be included in 8 for Newbies as I always use it then sort out the actually preferences for rotations later.

Apart from that I always use autokey on now, I used to think it was a terrible idea, but now I couldn't do without it.

I do lots of character animating and I love LW's IK, it's very flexible, so I'm gonna have to disagree with you there Jin, but I agree setup could be quicker, and is with this script. Most of the time I only have IK on particular bones out of a chain, so setting those up isn't particularly slow, and if you want a whole chain, use the spread sheet. The goal adding is the slow part for me.

wacom
06-08-2004, 09:33 AM
I've gotten fairly good results out of IK booster when I used it alone, but god was it getting slow and the setup time was ages. I hope there is something we are missing because I can't get it to work in three clicks like in the Proton demo videos. It needs better documentation...or explination.

I haven't tried to use IK booster on an exsisting IK setup as it seems it would just slow the show down even more. When things use only IK booster they do seem to run a little faster...but...

Does IK booster work faster with a frozen model like the regular IK does in LW?

Again: I couldn't agree more- IK boosters main issue is setup time. I was kind of hope'n that IK boost would eventully replace the old LW IK by 9 and have a lot ironed out...I think the guts of it are good...but working with it is like working with a touchy spell....sometimes you get majic...and most to the time...

jin choung
06-08-2004, 11:14 AM
hey dodgy,

but if you haven't, try maya's ik... night and day.... firmer and longer.

jin

durden
06-08-2004, 11:52 AM
hey jin yeah I have been messing with maya too and holy crud...its bigger longer, harder and can do it many times around before lightwave can even get it up...I was looking into path deformations they have lattice deformers along path, the flow path object is god to me...0-60 in 1 second flat...lightwave can't do it at all without the object cracking or some crappy 3rd party plug-in...btw...I think dstorm is a good start... but still can't get it up...

cracking an object in lightwave maya has 3 ways to do it from the get go...lightwave none...and yes I just started with bones in maya, holy crud again...check out this fishing pole tutorial:

http://www.digital-tutors.com/digital_tutors/display_video_details.php?videoX=147

Kvaalen
06-08-2004, 12:24 PM
JIN: you asked for a plugin where you can specify the first and last bone and have an IK chain created with goals...

Well, quite a while ago I created RopeRig that does that as well as many other things. It can be used for things other than ropes too.

You can get it here:
http://mapage.noos.fr/samuelLK/Plugins/RopeRig/Tutorial.html

The one you want is RopeRig - IKChain.

jin choung
06-08-2004, 12:51 PM
howdy fellows,

thanks for the tip kvalen, will definitely look into it.

yah durden, i agree... but that's not to dismiss lw... considering how much less it costs (total cost of ownership including upgrades and FREQUENCY OF PAID UPGRADES [which cuts both ways, sure it would be nice if you get updated frequently but that also means it's much more expensive to own]), you can't deny lw's price/performance value.

maya is great but you pay for it.

for lw, i certainly don't want to bash it. as i said, the bones and ik DO WORK... as in, they're functional and useful for practical work.

but yah, setup time between lw and maya for a character is flat out unfair.

just as modeling a character between lw and maya, lw easily beats maya.

but seriously, first time i setup a character in maya, i nearly wept. it's as if scales dropped from my eyes... i had no idea it could be like this.

i screamed for minutes, THIS IS NOT FAIR! it works the way you would expect an ik to work, without the software assuming assinine things like the ik starts from the character's ROOT and you have to specify where it terminates!

if i wanted it to start from the root, i would have said so!

little things like that.

and again, i point such things out because they're imminently doable under a low budget.

but man, the opengl redraw thing is just ludicrous! that may be a pricier fix but well worth it!

again, because of how fast maya's is, you wonder in lw, WHAT THE HECK IS *WRONG* ! night and day.

and ikbooster - geez, if 90% of people can't find a real world use for it and the <10% who've said they have figured it out enough to make it useful for limited circumstances admit that it cannot possibly be used as a replacement for a ver 2.0 for ik.... ick.

it simply shouldn't be that hard to find a practical use for something!

jin

durden
06-08-2004, 01:28 PM
I agree with what you say Jin...and modelling is better in lw...however I am wondering now if cheaper is actually better...I don't want to knock lw either but I also don't like what I've seen in lw 8, using another program like maya lets you see how big the holes are, and they are huge...I have mentioned them around the forums...I also have been really disappointed with lw 8, what was it like 3 years for a full number upgrade and this what we get...others will point to the team leaving but it doesn't matter you have to do double time to fix that problem...and the marketing team just pulls a sheet over your head...says yeah you can do bone dynamics...until you use it...yeah great how about letting that root bone go..its bs...everything is half arse and I need a work around to use it...and everyone says use a lscript...I am tired of finding work arounds...and...hardbody dynamics don't get me started...I was so happy for this feature and what a HUGE disappointment...maya is more expensive but is probably worth it for me...at least it does what it says...and first I only need complete...its 2grand and the upgrades are 300 more...yeah its a lot more but I don't need a bottle of advil next to my desk...to use it...my relationship with lw is on the rocks...I loved it a lot but it just ain't workin' out...everyone says lw listens to its user base I have made suggestions years ago will I ever see those changes...fat chance...after waiting forever for lw 8 its a joke..I am also gonna look into cinema 4d but I am not sure I want a second tier program anymore, with a so so renderer. At least C4d is cranking out versions, realtime dynamics, real after effects integration, they look like they are trying to compete...look at the upgrade cycles of other companies its at least twice as fast...and they are great...is LW8 even officially out??...not to mention every company I work for now uses c4d or maya..I hope things change...cause I am really sick of this...I did love lw...now it's more like someone I live with, more or less forced to deal with...even policarpo is seeing the light of other programs...

jin choung
06-08-2004, 01:41 PM
hey durden,

actually, if i could afford maya, i would have added it to my arsenal already. i'm sorry, but if you have access to it, it simply does not make sense to animate in lw.

and with POINT OVEN, you can take the best of all worlds for $100....

i would still model and uv map in lw though... it's much speedier BECAUSE of it's primitiveness in this area.

as for newtek listening to their customers, yah, there are a lot of areas that i wonder that myself sometimes, especially when they pass up features that EVERYONE's been clamoring for to give us things that evidently no one wanted.

but i think for the most part, they do listen. having the ability and resources to do anything about it is a different matter. and at this point, it does run into the funds issue.

but i'd check on the complete upgrade price, i checked at alias and it was like $1000.... not $300... $300 maybe an incremental upgrade price for a small version bump - not a .5 or a full version number.

but yah, that's why so many studios buy maya... if you do have the money so that maya is an option, it's DEFINITELY WORTH IT.
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in the meantime, i figured out why maya's gizmos are so much more readable!!!

1. rotation handles - the BACK SIDES of the discs are invisible! really makes a difference in readability!

2. move & size handles - they have SHADED 3d objects at their ends - cones for move and boxes for size... HUGE DIFFERENCE!

ummm... but considering how much trouble lw is having with opengl as it is, it may be asking too much for 2... but couldn't hurt to ask....

jin

durden
06-08-2004, 01:51 PM
thanks... for the advice...opps I meant $300 more than lw...yeah the upgrade is $800, best of luck to you.
D

Kvaalen
06-08-2004, 02:33 PM
Hey Jin,

The plugin I mentioned was written a long time ago and looking back at it, there are many things I'd change to make it better. I'm thinking of rewriting just that part. Make a simple script that would create IK chains with goals, many options and even item shapes for the nulls...

I don't have the time to work on that right now but shall soon, if you have any things you'd like to see in it, or if there are any similar things there are in Maya and you'd like to see in such a script, please mention them.

For now I was thinking of having the user select two bones, run the script, the user will have two drop down menus--chain start and chain end. The selected bones will be chosen but since it is a popup menu, you can change that.

It will also have the options that currently exist as well as an option to apply an item shape to the created null. After running it, if the item shape option was chosen, the item shape properties will be displayed if you choose it.

Any other ideas are welcome. :)

jeanphi
06-08-2004, 04:19 PM
Jin wrote:

"but is it just me or are the manipulation GIZMOS really difficult to 'understand'!"


It's only you Jin who didn't understand how rotations handles works. :)

It's so simple:

*move your mouse from left to right will do a positive rotation on Heading while pressing LMB. Right to left will do a negative rotation on heading.

*move your mouse from back to front will do a negative rotation on Pitch while LMB. Front to back will do a positive rotation on Pitch.

*move your mouse from left to right will do a negative rotation on Bank while pressing RMB. Right to left will do a positive rotation on Bank.

As you know this you are able to do all rotations without using handles. This way you will animate realy faster. No need to be on the handle, just move anywhere and it goes.
The only thing that miss is an other "coordinate system": view coordinate sytem.
I found LW ergonomics better than MAYA ergonomics especially for selections.


For LW FK weakness you can try this and see.

*set Layout to "local coordinate sytem".
*create a null.
*Edit limits of the null:
Heading Limits Min 0 and Max 0
Pitch Limits Min 0 and Max 175
Bank Limits Min 0 and Max 0
*Use the pitch rotation handle and try to incrase Pitch.
You will not be able to go over 90!!!!!:mad: :mad: :mad:

World and local rotation in LW are buged.
And above all there is no native "Euler filter" like in MAYA.
You have to use the "Pitch correction" plug-in from Takahiko Date at www.dtium.com

http://www.dtium.com/log/2003/01_jp.html

It's usefull too when you want to correct "Parenter" and "simple constraint" plugs after baking because they behave like quaternions.

jin choung
06-08-2004, 04:42 PM
hey jeanphi,

actually, that's not what i meant about 'understanding' them... i meant that sometimes, you can't quite PERCEIVE how they are oriented by looking... it looks confusing.

if you read the whole statement, i believe that's what i meant. but also, i've discovered WHY maya's is so much easier to perceive now and stated the explanation in the last post. we should definitely do that.

BUT

i did NOT know the thing about side to side vs. forward and back! THANKS! it always boggled my mind why i could evidently NOT rotate sometimes!!!

i had to make my mouse move all over the frickin screen before i got a motion and now i know why!!! ack... would have been easier if, like maya (yes again), they simply used screen (and gizmo) relative mouse movement which would be INTUITIVE!

seriously... thanks!

yah, euler filter rocks... i can't believe there isn't a plugin for that yet... that is absolutely essential.

kvaalen,

wow... that's a mighty generous offer to work on the tools. thanks from me and i'm sure the community.

actually, the greatest thing about maya's ik setup is decidedly NOT about options.

it's about simplicity: push the button for iksetup, click bone start, click bone end, boom. you have your handle and chain ready to go.

if you do revisit your plug, i would ask for 'simple' and 'detail' versions... the simple would just add the goal and make the chain based on the two selections and terminate the chain properly - no further interaction - no drop down lists - nada.

but as for the 'detail' version, well, you could just make the item shapes themselves the goals instead of having to parent the nulls... this is the reason why they didn't make nulls automatically created when you make an ik chain in lw after all....

it's much more tedious for us without any automation that way but you could take advantage of it to reduce the amount of steps in the procedure.

anyhoo, thanks and look forward to seeing what you come up with....

jin

p.s.!!! OOOOOH!!! in maya, you can control the orientation of a knee or elbow with your ik setup because it has a TWIST control on the ik itself... if you can somehow autocreate a slave relationship on a bone's bank (hopefully bank) with rotating the null and that would approximate the rotate plane twist control very well... and you would gain maya's advantage of being able to completely control your arm or leg without letting go of the null.

p.s.2 and actually, you could probably make a single plugin that is 'configurable' so that it will do the one thing that you set it to do all the time until you bring up the options and make it do something different.

p.s.3 the LESS DROPDOWN LISTS THE BETTER imo... if you can control everything by the ORDER OF SELECTION or just logic (if you select three object, two are bones and the third is a mesh, then clearly, the parent bone is the root, the child is the goal and the mesh is the controller shape right?), that would be great.

i frickin' hate HATE HATE all of lw's dropdown lists!!! it is a convention of a bygone age and we should modernize man....

omeone
06-09-2004, 03:13 AM
That rig from Spinquad is absolutely beautiful, the simplicity and function combined is amazing to me. Thank you very much Jeanphi, Im new to rigging/animating and I will learn loads from this, I adore the useage and movement, highly intuitive!
Thank you again.

jeanphi
06-09-2004, 05:19 AM
Thanks Omeone.

I'm glad to see it will help a bit.

omeone
06-09-2004, 05:36 AM
If you ever decide to teach, sign me up :D

santi
06-09-2004, 05:38 AM
Can someone tell me whats exactly wrong with ikBoost?

AS I have seen u can rig so fast and then can use every single bone as ik target or move using fk with absolutly freedom. For me is great u can get your pose easily, and thats the aim. now we can save our poses, rigs, etc.... I am happy.

I think Ik boost could be better but this is the way to follow in my opinion. freedom..it,s like the biped in max, but we built the skeleton. and is only the begining.

ik is not better now. but ik boost is better than traditional ik. time will say.

sorry for my english

jeanphi
06-09-2004, 05:43 AM
If you want, Omeone I can send you a step by step of my riging workflow.
For teaching, I have to learn english first :D. I don't think there is much peoples in France that learn LW. And I don't know how to becom instructor...:p

jeanphi
06-09-2004, 05:51 AM
IK boost have a big issue.
Ergonomics are bad.
You can't use world and local coordinate system.
You can't use the LW numeric imput.
You can't select with Layout native selection ergonomics.
You can't rotate and move with handles.
You can't rotate and move like Layout native rotation and translation tools.
You can't undo.
You don't have any keyboard short cut.
You have to do tons of clics to enter menus to set your properties.
...

NT chose the wrong way for ergonomics and workflow!
BUT the idea is GREAT. I hope future version of IB Boost will be fully integrated in LW Layout.

Kvaalen
06-09-2004, 06:26 AM
Originally posted by jeanphi
If you want, Omeone I can send you a step by step of my riging workflow.
For teaching, I have to learn english first :D. I don't think there is much peoples in France that learn LW. And I don't know how to becom instructor...:p

Si tu veux ťcrire un tutorial en franÁais, je pourrais le traduire pour toi. :)

Jin: OK. I'll take all that in to consideration. How about this:

You run a script where you configure it. Then you can just click on a button on the menu to apply the chain. You select two bones (if there are more than two, it will only consider the last two), it finds the parent and child bones and applies the chain. You can't select objects and bones at the same time, so if you want to choose the goal null instead of having one created I'll have to find something for that.

There will be NO drop downs. :)

I could create a twist control with a work around. It might consist of applying a motion modifier to the bone. I'll have to think of other posibilities though. Is it only the bank of the parent bone that you want "twisted"?

I hope that makes sens. How does that sound?

BTW, I'm not a Maya user (can't really offord it) and I don't have time to mess with the PLE version, but what is the Euler filter?

omeone
06-09-2004, 06:26 AM
Im humbled by your generosity jeanphi, I would be very interested in anything you can share, as I am sure many others would be.

Im trying to think of a way to return the favour... if you are interested I could package up your notes, clean the English etc, to try and help give them a bigger audience... but that may be of little interest to you...

p.s. your English is quite understandable, as I always say to you guys - its a world better than my pitiful French

omeone
06-09-2004, 06:29 AM
Originally posted by omeone
Im trying to think of a way to return the favour... if you are interested I could package up your notes, clean the English etc, to try and help give them a bigger audience... but that may be of little interest to you...


:D If my understanding is correct Kvaalen has just made an even better offer

of course - Im still willing to help in any way that I can

jeanphi
06-09-2004, 06:45 AM
I will do this this weekend and send both of you.

jeanphi
06-09-2004, 06:59 AM
About the Euler Filter.

When you use local or world rotations in LW, you will see that numerics values will pop sometimes to completly differents values.

The Euler filter try to correct those wrong walue.


Try this.
*create a null
*set Local coordinate system
*Rotate your null with green rotation handle more than 180.
Look numerics values when you rotate and you will see "poping"...

When you animate it have some unwanted results.
For example, when you try to refine a trajectory with FK and use local or world because of the gimballock, this "poping" will break your trajectory at the current key. By using the Euler filter on this refined key, it will correct the value to have the less variations as possible on value without changing the oriantation. I will ask Takahiko Date if he will allow me to send you the plug.

In Maya it's in the graph editor but the "Pitch correction" plug-in from Takahiko Date works any where and it's a great plug that all LW animators will have.

omeone
06-09-2004, 07:16 AM
thanks jeanphi, I'm PM'ing my e-mail addy to you + sorry of the O.T. tangent Jin et al

Kvaalen
06-09-2004, 08:45 AM
Originally posted by jeanphi
I will do this this weekend and send both of you.

Merci. :)

Thanks for the info about Euler Filter. I knew about that popping but didn't know what it was called.

Dodgy
06-09-2004, 05:43 PM
Okay, since Jason hasn't replied I'll assume he's not around anymore or doesn't mind and post this. It's my slight modification of his code to offer choosing which channels to assign IK to and whether to use Match goal orientation. Just choose the root and end of the IK chain and it'll set it up for Ik for you. It's a generic Lscript, so place it in the menu of your choice in layout.

jin choung
06-09-2004, 06:04 PM
hey kvaalen,

also, for me, during renders, i usually don't NEED euler filter unless i'm applying motion blur - usually (in maya at least), the issue is that sometimes when it's solving for ik, it makes the bone rotate not to the 'degrees' that you wanted but that 'degrees' +/- 360....

so it looks fine.

but if you apply motion blur, your arm or leg suddenly rotated at the speed of light.

and for export to games, you get a glitch....

so basically, it examines the curve to see if the values jumped any multiple of 360 in any direction from one keyframe to the next and resets it.

you can do it by hand but it's nice to have a 'filter' that fixes it automagically.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

your plan sounds great kvaalen. hmmmm... dang. too bad you can't select an object too... doh. well, i guess that'll have to be part of the configuration... maybe you can set the goal as:

1- automatically generated null named after the goal bone
2- configuration option so that if there is any object in the scene that is named the same as the goal bone, it will become that chain's goal.

and yes, it is usually is the BANK that controls the 'twist' or the placement of the elbow or knee (although with skelegons, you never can tell although it's never happened to me before, i don't know if there are any guarantees).

i think the only thing you would have to do is make the script setup a cycler relationship between a rotation of the goal object (probably heading) and link it to the bank of the root of the chain (which of course is NOT driven by ik).

oh, and yah... I CAN'T AFFORD MAYA EITHER!!! i only had access to it and from work. but it's seriously nice for character work.

opengl redraw alone.....

jin

Castius
06-09-2004, 08:10 PM
Maya's Ik IMO is good but lacks some things LW IK can do.

But sometimes LW poor documentation makes some aspects of lw seem retarted. Lw has a great FK/IK system. but if you turn on fulltime Ik you loose all those benifits. LW Ik is not the fastest. but if you use uneffected by Ik you can have very similer speed other apps have.

I will say LW can not campare with other aspects of maya but Ik other than some speed is great compared to maya.

Ik booster needs work but is a great start.

Kvaalen
06-10-2004, 01:02 AM
Jin: Sounds good. There is actually a problem with having the bank of the null rotate the bank of the root bone, since many people use the rotation of that null to rotate the foot. Also any work around I can create won't be very clean and nice.

Say I ever decide to make an euler filter. Would you like it to be applied to each channel individually? Or to each bone? or to each mesh?

I'm talking a lot but I have really important exams at the moment and though I'm longing to use LightWave or to program, I just don't allow myself until these exams are over. So don't expect anything too soon. Sorry about that. :)

Kvaalen
06-10-2004, 01:15 AM
BTW, I just saw this thread:
http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=148226

It might interest some of you.

With two scripts already existing, do you all think there is need for a third like the one I described before?

jeanphi
06-10-2004, 05:38 AM
Castius, in Maya 6 you can use IK and FK at the same time thanks to IK blend parameter.
As it's an animatable parameter it's far more effecient than the LW "non full time IK/full time IK swaping and bake" technic.
This cool name resums all things you need to do in LW.
And "buffer bones" IK chains works bad when you swap from non full time IK to full time IK. If you want to use the non full time IK you will have a bad IK behavior... Lots of other things like constraints work great in Maya but not in LW...Maya is better for character animation than LW.
BUT Maya is not as easy for modeling, selections in Maya are messy and not as good as LW selections...
All is possible in LW and you can do great things but sometimes others softwares bring you better ergonomics and workflow.
Perfect softwares don't exist... only in my dreams...

jeanphi
06-10-2004, 05:41 AM
... what did I wrote... I don't dream about 3D!:D

Castius
06-10-2004, 08:05 AM
It's simple hard to compare in this way. These two IK systems are completely different the apps are completely different and it's utterly pointless.

AutoIK script has been around for a long time, FK/IK has been around since 6. IK Booster is now trying to take some of these benefits and make better use of them. It fixes targeting within a IK system it allow for simpler setups in places that donít need it. It allows for faster playback for conditions that donít need fulltime IK to user that didnít understand the previous system. It makes for faster limits setup, it gives you quaternion for joints that need it. It adds dynamics. Itís not Perfect and it there are a few things I canít wait for them to be addressed.

Constraints have issues because of a few issues in LW for one they don't account for pivot rotations.

Comparing it to Maya will not fix these problems. Me I found ways around them till I see how well Newtek new development team can handles these issues. I have offered my auto rigging and other scripts to the pubic as have other people. If you care to keep compare apps then donít expect another reply from me. Time will only tell if these issue can be resolved. It's up to you to deal with that time as you feel is best for you.

Iím not even sure why youíre using Maya IK as an example because there are far better IK system out there to be striving for.

jin choung
06-10-2004, 08:36 AM
hey castius,

you're an odd duck...

how is it that you can say there are better ik than maya but you find it 'IMPOSSIBLE' to compare lw and maya?

if you think that lw ik is much better than maya ik, that's you're opinion and you are fully entitled to it.... it is a really really odd one in MY opinion and i would wager that most people would disagree with you if they've used both to do character animation.

we're comparing lw's ik to maya because i started that comparison - it's the only other app that i've used extensively for character animation. have you used other apps? what other app's iks are better than lw then?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

also, you seem to think lw's method of 'fulltime ik' is an optional notion... which is proliferated by newtek's own attitude by having that option in there....

but that is a TREMENDOUSLY DATED notion in this day and age!!! in other apps (like maya), the ik works so reliably and consistently that in non unique cases, i would never even DREAM of turning it off....

all that i'm saying is that maya's is better. and as you said, there may be many others that are better than maya (xsi?). if you don't agree and think that lw's is the end all be all of ik for some reason, if you have some kind of a compulsion to defend lw at all costs, go ahead.... but as i said, for people who have extensively used both, they would likely disagree with you... and that's putting it lightly.

hey, and take a clue... how many houses use lw as their character animation tool? even studios that USE lw in their pipeline rarely use it for animation! preferring messiah.

that should say something to ya, dontcha think?

as for ikbooster - don't talk about theoretical advantages... what are REAL LIFE BENEFITS RIGHT NOW? what can you use it for except ropes or tails? does it help in most character animation cases? again, i would wager that primarily - right now - it is theoretically cool but practically useless.

jin

Castius
06-10-2004, 09:09 AM
There are aspects of Mayaís IK that are better than LW
There are aspects of LW IK that are better Maya

My point is don't campare it to other software. If you got ideas on how to make it better than you should relate it in terms of LW itself. It's retarded to think something is the best. There will always be a better way to do something! . So for a software company to adopt another software way of working is not productive because there could be a better way. Doing so can be counter productive and take away the identity of the software.

We have all wanted faster IK since we all started using IK. That might not have been possible for 8 so IK Booster was a way to add other needed fixes and some other rather nice new ways to save time. I have allowed myself a certain amount of time for Newtek to recover from the misfortunes they have had in order to be rewarded with software that fits my needs.

Iím all for the advancement of LW to kicks Mayaís butt. I just donít see comparing it to maya is the way that is going to happen. If I did Iíd probable be a max owner because that what they did. But Iím a LW user in a LW forum.

Karmacop
06-10-2004, 09:21 AM
Originally posted by Castius
It's retarded to think something is the best.

Although not stated very nicely, this is true. Just because you think something is better doesn't mean it's better. How about instead of comparing Lightwave to Maya, just describe what Maya does that is so much better.

So far the only good point that I've read is that the handles in Lightwave are hard to understand, and having the back half of the circle a darker colour would make them easier to understand. Other than that I haven't read anything interesting (although I skip rants ...).

So Jin and other. I'd like a simple point form of what could be better/faster in Lightwave without comparing it to lightwave. Here's an example

* Quickly set up the IK for one bone and have the settings for all child bones to be the same as this original bone

I don't know if this is what everyone has been asking for, but just simple points like that make things easy to understand.

jin choung
06-10-2004, 09:30 AM
there are lots of good things about lw... the modeling and uvmapping is arguably better and faster than in maya.

there are things about maya's ik that are better than lw's ik.

there is NOTHING about lw's ik that is better than maya's ik!

seriously! there's not!

lw has many advantages, many areas in which it is superior to maya.

IK IS NOT ONE OF THEM!

WHAT in lw's ik is better than maya's?!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

seriously, lw studios don't use messiah to animate for NOTHING!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

i understand what you're saying about lw retaining its IDENTITY and not just conforming.

i understand.

but i disagree.

STANDARDS are very important. dvd standards are good. if you make a dvd burner that can't be played in many other dvd players, you're screwed! if you make an alternative fuel vehicle that doesn't maintain standards to the next generation of such vehicles, you may be better but never be able to FUEL UP!

if you are too different, you cannot co-exist in a multi-app environment - if you are not the INDUSTRY LEADER.

there comes a point in the evolution of any category of product where you must FALL IN LINE.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ex.

any 2-D app that does not more or less mimic PHOTOSHOP IS SUICIDE.

any mp3 player that doesn't mimic the ipod loses market share.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

you can be different if you don't need to co-exist... lw does not have that luxury.

jin

Castius
06-10-2004, 09:37 AM
Jin

I work at a studio
I am working on a TV pilot
and I am using lw IK.

Do i need to say any more.

jin choung
06-10-2004, 09:41 AM
castius,

i work professionally with both lw and maya.

need i say more?

jin

jin choung
06-10-2004, 09:42 AM
and let's not go around trying to 'pull rank'... that's just lame.....

jin

Karmacop
06-10-2004, 10:06 AM
Jin, you're not listening. You may find Maya's IK better, but others may find Lightwave's IK better. I'd argue that if you used Lightwave's IK as much as you've used Maya's IK then you wouldn;t feel this way, or wouldn't feel as strongly about this. Just Because Lightwave's IK doesn't work how you expect it to (and you expect IK to work like Maya's because that's what you're use to) doesn't mean that it's bad.

So please, as I said, give us points on what LW IK could do better or faster WITHOUT comparing it to Maya. If you can't it means you're not looking at this objectively. Also, what software uses the same standard IK? I thought they all used their own versions?

Dodgy
06-10-2004, 10:38 AM
Jin, how do you make a bone in an IK chain have FK? In LW I just turn off IK for that bone and I can twist or move it and LW still solves (as far as it can reach) the IK. In maya if I try to key a bone within the chain I can't, the IK solver keeps control. I can't find that anywhere....

If I add an IK solver then it takes over all the bones in the chain. In LW this doesn't have to be the case which is more flexible. You can fade on/off IK in maya which is cool, but I'm not overwhelmed with this functionality. I've been animating characters for years and never been worried by this. Maybe an envelope for goal strength could be a feature request?

I've been much more worried by switching between wrist Ik to elbow IK (say resting on hands to going down onto elbows) and neither solution seems satifactory. Maya 6's new blend IK might solve this but I'm still on 4.5 :P

I'm not overwhelmed with IKboost either to be fair. I think comparing it to Lw's old IK is like comparing MD and SoftFX, SoftFX is for quite a different function, it's in addition to LW's IK. It's like splineIK is to RPsolver IK in maya, different in form and function.

You say Maya's IK is a two button setup, I've had AutoIK (like Castius said) for years, this does exactly the same.

I use the bank to control knee joints, my friend uses multiple IK goals, how is maya's IK rotation control better?

Please do explicitly say what maya's benefits are over LW's, as I'm having trouble understanding....

Castius
06-10-2004, 12:18 PM
Personally Iíd love to see a blend value for each axis to control how much each controller has an effect on the item. Not just for IK but blending between point at/key frame/IK. So it can be controlled with an envelope.


More tools that respect pivot rotation

I'd like to see move and scale have a similar setup as rotation.

I'd like to see a better way to set limits commands one axis at a time. So you are not forced to temporally lock axis you donít want to effect with the set limits commands.

We have three places to affect motion. Motion modifiers channel modifiers and rotation controllers. But no way to control order of priority. So it would be nice to see this cleaned up to allow for more control over order or operations.


And always more speed.


These are requests that apply to LW

jin choung
06-10-2004, 08:30 PM
karmacop,

i'm not into this whole, 'nonconfrontational' thing with trying not to compare apps to each other.

i DO compare apps to each other. and i DO constantly evaluate who is better at what. and evidently, castius does too... just not between lw and maya for some reason.

nobody needs agree with me. if you think that lw's ik is better, it is absolutely MYSTIFYING to me, but you're entitled to your opinion, no matter how strongly i personally disagree with it.

the sentiment of this thread is that they shouldn't BOOST our ik unless our ik is up to snuff. it is also the sentiment of the initiator of this thread that our ik is NOT up to snuff. if you and others feel otherwise, fine... that is your prerogative.


dodgy,

0. the only thing that i ever ik in either lw or maya is arms and legs... two bones only - in the arms, they don't even extend to control the clav/scap.

1. in maya, i can move around the handle and adjust the twist without laying down any keyframes OR letting go of the ik handle. that's big. in lw, as soon as i try rotating the bank to get the elbow back in line, if i didn't keyframe, the chain resets.... not good.

2. WHY would you need to switch between fk and ik so frequently that this is an issue? sure, there may be cases but it is very very rare for me at least. do you find this to be a regular situation? and lw has a convention where ik is made almost by destiny to be NOT on full time ik.... that is a notion that i find completely backwards and perhaps reveals their confidence in its ability to boot!

for elbows and knees, the ONLY time i ever need to switch to FK is when the character actually FLIPS COMPLETELY UPSIDE DOWN AT SOME POINT. almost at any other time, i can place all the joints exactly where i need to by iking....

3. TWITCHY... lw's is still a lot more twitchy... things tend to flip out easier whereas maya's is rock solid with a single ik on an arm or leg. you have not found this to be the case? especially with any movement that does not occur in the plane where the ik's preferred angle is set.

4. if there's a plugin fine - i'll certainly have to start using it. but it's not part of the core package and i'm talking about the default setup method....

this does not in the least mitigate my criticism of lw... if the default system is assinine, then that is a genuine flaw. this is why i will not rest until we've rid 'CONSTRUCTION' and 'DETAIL' from the modeler menus... sure, we could CUSTOMIZE it to our taste but that doesn't mean that the default menu should be setup like someone who has a brain injury.

besides, if there are such scripts, they gain whatever desirability they present by specifically copying maya! and need i articulate it again - in this area, i think that is something that should be done.

5. opengl redraw... this isn't just an issue with ik but man does it plague ik just as badly as other tasks when the geometry becomes even mildly dense with bone deformations.....

reasons 0 and 3 alone clearly and instantly make maya the hands down winner with me.

jin

Kvaalen
06-11-2004, 05:28 AM
One problem with comparing LightWave to Maya is maybe there is a better way to do something than the way Maya does. And then when Maya has that better way included, people will complain about LightWave and if NewTek copies Maya again, LightWave will still be, and always be, a follower. LightWave used to be a leader and come up with great tools of its own but that doesn't seem to be the case very much anymore. I have the impression that the programers at NewTek aren't users of the program like it is with say ZBrush and other packages that have amazing new unthought of functions. I think it's because of the fact that the programers are artists and users of the program that ZBrush and other such programs have such amazing functions.

My point is, LightWave should try to implant the best things possible. Better than Maya if possible and be a leader again. We've had many people here that can't afford maya and therefore want LightWave to become Maya so they can afford it (and I'm not talking about anyone in specific, I can't afford it either right now).

People seem to be limited to what they think is possible. Before ZBrush, I can't remember anyone asking for some speed shapeing tool (like ZSpheres) or the ability to paint displacements (like ZBrush does though people did ask for painting options).

Don't get me wrong... I'm not comparing LightWave to ZBrush. I know they are completly different. I'm trying to say... LightWave should strive to become a leader again and bring in new tools of it's own that are greater than what other programs have.

OK... maybe this is a little OT, but I got carried away a bit . :)

jeanphi
06-11-2004, 05:39 AM
By the way, here is the link to a must have plug-in for FK animation.

http://www.dtium.com/software/pitchcorrection/

For those who have some problems using world and local coordinate system with rotations. It corrects value if they have been corrupt after using world/local rotations.

Dodgy
06-11-2004, 07:55 AM
0 How is this an advantage? I use the Ik in all kinds of situations, mostly in arms and legs, but in other forms as well. Limiting yourself to two bones is an advantage?

1 That's a standard maya thing, you can move rotate etc without setting a key, unless you want it to animate, at which point you have to lay down keys. That isn't inherently an advantage of Maya'a IK, just maya. I'll leave it up to you as to whether that's advantage or not. Once you start using Autokey (which is in either package) then that becomes redundant.

2 I don't switch between IK and FK in a joint. Once I set up a channel for Ik I use it thus, and use FK where I want in other joints or even just other channels of the same joint. This is more flexible thatn maya's all or nothing approach. I can have segments in the chain rotate with Ik or not, it's entirely up to me...

3 I don't find LW's IK twitchy if you've prebent your leg. It's fairly stable. Try making a leg perfectly straight in Maya and then adding IK to it. The leg won't bend. It's the same with LW, LW can't figure out which way to bend your leg. Also, I've got maya to flick as well, so it does do it... Neither is infallible. I think Maya is a bit better but LW's is no slouch.

4 I agree it should be easier than it is, and NT should have done something about it, but that has nothing to do with maya. And now I have something that does it for me.

5 as you say has nothing to do with IK.

So the things maya has over LW are maybe less twitching and the twist (which I emulate with banking) and a quick setup.
The thing LW has it the ability to set IK on a per channel per object basis, which is at the cost of set up time.

That hardly invalidates LW's IK which is what you seem to be saying.

Sil3
06-11-2004, 02:12 PM
Originally posted by Dodgy
[B]

3 Try making a leg perfectly straight in Maya and then adding IK to it. The leg won't bend. It's the same with LW, LW can't figure out which way to bend your leg. Also, I've got maya to flick as well, so it does do it... Neither is infallible. I think Maya is a bit better but LW's is no slouch.



Not true, Select the bone, rotate it to where u want it to rotate so that Maya knows to where the bone should rotate.

Dodgy
06-11-2004, 03:19 PM
Originally posted by Sil3
Not true, Select the bone, rotate it to where u want it to rotate so that Maya knows to where the bone should rotate.

But then you can do the same thing with LW.....

Sil3
06-11-2004, 04:14 PM
Originally posted by Dodgy
But then you can do the same thing with LW.....

This is what i meant:

http://web.alfredstate.edu/ciat/tutorials/SkeletonSetup.htm
See Fig 5


In Maya u simply rotate the bone and set itīs prefered angle, then just straighten the bone again and add IK.

Castius
06-11-2004, 05:12 PM
I use negative frames for predefined angles. Maya predefined angle is a better system, but this is no less usefull.

jin choung
06-11-2004, 08:31 PM
brad peebler once issued a challenge - get your best maya modeler and your best lw modeler and have them modeler a character from scratch.

he said that the lw guy would win hands down.

dodgy, in the way that your defending lw, i believe that you would feel that brad's statement was unfair? can't maya people make a good defense for maya's modeling abilities?

i on the other hand believe that the statement is very very fair.

CONVERSELY,

if you get your best rigger for lw and maya and have them rig a character from scratch for ik, maya would win hands down.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

i DO admit that lw's ik is FUNCTIONAL. i've said as much in this very thread. but personally, experientially, compared to my experience in maya, lw cannot hold a candle to it.

if you disagree - fine. i happen to cast my vote EMPHATICALLY the other way.

jin

p.s. hey, all i ever really need ik for IS the arms and legs! i've rarely needed it for anything else! if it works well for arms and legs and two bones, that covers almost 99.9% of my uses for ik.

Karmacop
06-11-2004, 09:11 PM
Brad Peebler is a loud mouth marketeer, he says a lot of stuff.

How many rigs have you made in Maya, and how long have you been rigging in Maya?

Now, how many rigs have you made in Lightwave, and how long have you been rigging in Lightwave?

jin choung
06-12-2004, 01:15 AM
hey karmacop,

are you disagreeing that modeling is not much faster in lw? i don't doubt it for a second.

but that's a fair point. i've made orders greater more rigs and animated characters in maya.

BUT

i remember my FIRST EXPERIENCES with both. i also remember my first experiences with modeling in all apps.

i remember clearly that in modeling, lw just had a natural ease - and a clear superiority. i couldn't articulate it at the time but all the other apps had a notion of objects and so you have to constantly switch from object/subobject etc. i do admit that it was odd as hell (coming from 3dstudio 4) that the only way to select an 'object' in lw modeler was to 'select all connnected' but after modeling a bit, it's advantage was clear.

you have much more immediate access to the mesh and you jump through less hoops to do what you want to do.

CONVERSELY

i remember vividly having spent all my time animating in lw up to version 6 and then trying maya ik for the first time.

it was a conversion experience.

paul, on the road to damascus. the scales dropping from the eyes.

i never new it could be like this.

click, click, click... ik. (and need i say again that the aforementioned lw plugin COPIES THIS MAYA FEATURE? it is as good as it is because it copied maya)

and during that first experience, EVERYTHING was just intuitive and it worked just as you would expect it to.

nothing in all my past experience with the lw ik was like this: UNINTUITIVE, CONVOLUTED, TWITCHY and "WHAT THE F IS ALL THIS FULL TIME NON FULL TIME BS?", etc is what i remember of my first experiences with lw's ik.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

i have no hidden agenda... i have no need for the world to bow under maya rule.

in this, i am being completely honest, truthful and (i believe) fair.

i am giving credit where credit is due and imo, maya's ik wins hands down. it is imo, unqualifiedly superior. and yes, it costs much more. and if you read my earlier posts, i make it perfectly clear that i fully acknowledge that maya owes its superiority to that factor.

i am not disagreeing that lw's ik works. i am not disagreeing that lw is a good value and that you get a functional ik system. but to me, there is simply not a comparison. i cannot put it strongly enough. lw's ik doesn't deserve the right to breathe the same air as maya's ik. many of you fervently disagree... that's fine. you're entitled to.

but karmacop's question can and should be considered to all contrary opinions too however.

jin

Karmacop
06-12-2004, 04:36 AM
By what has been said in this thread, it sounds like the reason you like Lightwave's modeler is exactly the same reason you hate the IK. Lightwave is very simple and lets you easily edit any part of the model with no fuss. The IK too is very low level, and very basic. So really what you're asking for is not really a new IK system, but tools on top of the IK system to allow quick and easy setup like in Maya. Would I be correct in assuming this? If this is the case, I think plugins and lscript could fill a majority of what you'd like to do with IK in Lightwave.

If this is the case, I'd like you to take screenshots, and explain the steps you take in Maya to set up different things, and maybe someone, maybe even myself could try and make some plugins/lscripts that could mimic or improve on what Maya does. Someone in this thread has already made something to mimic maya haven't they?

Dodgy
06-12-2004, 09:07 AM
Originally posted by jin choung
hey karmacop,

click, click, click... ik. (and need i say again that the aforementioned lw plugin COPIES THIS MAYA FEATURE? it is as good as it is because it copied maya)

and during that first experience, EVERYTHING was just intuitive and it worked just as you would expect it to.

nothing in all my past experience with the lw ik was like this: UNINTUITIVE, CONVOLUTED, TWITCHY and "WHAT THE F IS ALL THIS FULL TIME NON FULL TIME BS?", etc is what i remember of my first experiences with lw's ik.

i am not disagreeing that lw's ik works. i am not disagreeing that lw is a good value and that you get a functional ik system. but to me, there is simply not a comparison. i cannot put it strongly enough. lw's ik doesn't deserve the right to breathe the same air as maya's ik. many of you fervently disagree... that's fine. you're entitled to.
jin

See, I don't get that at all. Maya's is very easy to set up, but then so is LW with this script. You say LW's IK is 'functional', but that's all Maya's is to me. It does what it says on the tin. You say LW's IK is twitchy but I don't find that in my experience it's any more or less twitchy than maya's. I don't have any blinding light or religious experience when comparing one with the other. It just seems you write off LW's IK when the only real differences between the two are the ones I've already outlined.

And you say the script copies maya's setup? How else was it going to work? Setting up IK in vanilla LW is a bit slow, so someone wrote a script to do it for you. How should that script work? Well for IK you need to get the tip and the root. The script can't pick them for you. So you select the two. You also need to add a goal. The script can do that too. The script just does these steps for you. It's very useful, but there's nothing there which is dazzling or original. It's like a macro in a word processor. You whole implication seems to be it copies it because Maya is so much better. All they did was automate the task you went through in LW to set up it's IK.

Okay so you love maya's IK, but don' t expect rebuttles when you put LW's down in this forum. I don't think it deserves it.

There's nothing fervent there, I'm just puzzled as to why you get such a buzz out of it.

I will I say I'd like to see envelopes to turn IK on and off/goal strength, but that's really a separate issue.

jin choung
06-12-2004, 06:19 PM
Originally posted by Karmacop
By what has been said in this thread, it sounds like the reason you like Lightwave's modeler is exactly the same reason you hate the IK. Lightwave is very simple and lets you easily edit any part of the model with no fuss. The IK too is very low level, and very basic.

*E*X*A*C*T*L*Y*.

and this is a critique that i have with lightwave on MANY issues. in most areas, except for modeling, the procedures and structures put in place to implement certain tasks are ASSININEDLY LOW LEVEL!!!

1. VMAPS - because lw's unfortunate heritage, we have a way to use bones without 'clusters' and so the implementation of vmaps from six on ludicrously LOW LEVEL and GENERAL PURPOSE!!!

ideally, when all the bones for a mesh has been defined, it should just naturally create a SPECIAL KIND OF VMAP - one for ever bone. instead, the default way of doing things involves actually having to create vmaps for every bone manually.

in addition, while in 99.995% of cases, you WANT the total influences of bones on any specific vertex to be clamped at 100%, lw's is so general purpose that it refuses to acknowledge this! this is why is say that it would be best if we had a SPECIAL KIND OF VMAP, a subset of VMAPS (like uv maps) that have special properties that are specifically keyed to skeletons and bones.

I WANT LOW LEVEL ACCESS!!! when it comes time to do very special purpose tasks, you NEED low level access. but it is perhaps a limitation of budget that they have not finessed the user experience to reflect the most often, and likely used purposes.

2. UV MAP WELD/UNWELD - the fact that we have to do this REFLECTS THE REALITY OF THE MESH! it really does... whenever we create discontinuous uv coordinates, you DO INDEED CREATE VERTEX SPLITS. that is, internally, what appears to be a single vertex actually is unwelded in the data, to opengl and the renderer.

BUT IN EVERY OTHER APP - this fact is hidden from the user because it is simply not useful, helpful or ergonomic to require the user to constantly, weld, unweld the actual mesh in 3d space instead of abstracted entities called UVs that only exists in uvspace.

BTW - it is also true that every time there are multiple surfaces (materials) on a single mesh that it creates vertex splits at the joins... thank goodness, there is no evidence of this at least visible to the user. finally, vert splits are caused at 'hard' un-gouraud smoothed edges.

OT - it would be nice for game designers for 'w' statistics to have field that shows 'ACTUAL VERT COUNT' that takes into accounts all the vertex splits.... not vital but could be helpful.

3. IK - again, for me at least, 99.95% of the time, i'm dealing with two bone chains that invariably end up being arms and legs. the default process is ludicrous.

and yet, and yet, there are other areas in which important details are ABSTRACTED from user intervention

1. edge smoothing - this is simply not rightly a material (or surface) property. this should be revealed to the user as in maya - and for the record, maya deals with this better and at a lower level, with greater ease and accessibility than does max with its 'smoothing groups'.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOT simply a matter of making plugins... BUT, all the problems are not strictly relegated to the IK SYSTEM to be fair - perhaps my critique would more aptly apply more generally to the character animation process in lw.

examples of why maya presents a nicer experience:

1. opengl redraw... UNBELIEVABLY HUUUUGE DISCREPANCY.... after having worked in maya, you don't simply think that lw's is a worse performer. you start wonder what the hell is WRONG with lw!

2. SELECTION ORDER - when you try selecting items that overlap in screenspace, maya allows you to determine a default order....

so if i have a gargoyle with an ankle bone and an ik attached to that bone, in lw, you get a 50-50 chance of selecting the bone or the ik.... sometimes, you may even end up selecting the mesh! in maya, if ik is set for first selection priority (which is again reflects almost 90% of what you intend when character animating) you pick the ik handle all the time.

3. lw ik IS TWITCHY! if i have a leg and i 'open' the stance so that the chain is no longer in the initial 'z plane', if i grab the root and start moving character around, that knee starts doing some weird things in lw. in maya, it is much more reliable, stable and similar to what i WANT IT TO DO.

also, i don't use AUTOKEY... try ik without autokey. it's not a pleasant experience to try to fine tune the placement of an elbow.

if there is a button to activate and deactivate autokey, it is not unreasonable to expect that everything can be done without it.

and again, the fact that we still have an option to turn off full time ik does indeed indicate to me that even newtek is not quite sure if it's up to snuff. that's not an argument that we should get rid off the option. but if you read the documentation and lw books and such, everyone kinda has a fallback position of - well, if it flips out, turn it off... which in my mind is a copout. (but again, perhaps because of budgetary reasons a necessary one. this is not a rant. i'm not saying that we suck blah blah. i'm merely saying that in my mind, it is simply not sensible to say that character animation in lw is as nice as in maya - which is an ammendment... i do have issues with lw's ik but it is probably more accurate to say that i have a greater problem with the general character animation experience in lw.

4. the fact that lw's bones are not objects but SUBOBJECTS can make a mess of trying to go from selecting bones to objects and back again.... in this case, lw is not more immediate or accessible... it is buried as a 'subobject'.... maya's way of putting bones on the same 'level' as regular objects and simply performing a bind operation makes a lot more sense.

jin

jin choung
06-12-2004, 06:26 PM
Originally posted by Dodgy
And you say the script copies maya's setup? How else was it going to work? Setting up IK in vanilla LW is a bit slow, so someone wrote a script to do it for you. How should that script work?

again,

*E*X*A*C*T*L*Y*....

my argument isn't that we should copy maya. i'm saying that in this case, maya's is SENSIBLE! indeed... HOW ELSE SHOULD IT WORK? that's a question that newtek should revisit.

again, in terms of user experience, i do find lw's more twitchy, producing elbow/knee results that are unexpected while moving either goal or root.

i don't use autokey. and trying to use lw's ik without it is trying at best. i know, you're telling me to use autokey.... but would you blame me then if i said i prefer maya that allows me to work the way i way?

and as i said above, my actual beef with the ik is probably not best directed at the ik but the entire character animation workflow... along with all the other reasons i stated, i just find the maya experience better for animating than lw's.

so how about that question then dodgy,

in terms of CHARACTER ANIMATION, do you find that you have a better experience in lw, maya or as some are advocating - simply a different experience?

jin

jin choung
06-12-2004, 06:34 PM
kvaalen,

in regards to your previous post - considering there do indeed appear to be a lot of plugins addressing this, perhaps your time would be better spent in studying for your tests....

as for your sentiment that we should seek to implement THE GOOD instead of just copying....

to a certain extent i agree.... but most of the time, when i advocate that we should copy something that maya does, it is because i see what it does as indeed being THE GOOD. usually, i am not saying that we should be more like maya just for the sake of being more like maya.

i'm saying we should do that because it's better.

you make a point that maybe we can find something EVEN BETTER THAN THAT. perhaps... but if so, in the cases that we've been discussing, i can't necessarily envision one.

finally,

just as there is no inherent value in copying maya just to be more like maya, there is likewise no inherent value in remaining different, just to be different.

i do indeed believe that there comes a time in the evolution of everything where STANDARDS become very important.

keeping the gas pedal in a certain place, the frozen food aisle in a predictable location, having your menus and interfaces resemble others in the same class, etc.

if it is different AND MUCH BETTER, then although it breaks standards, you can make an argument for it and perhaps even others will fall into line with a NEW STANDARD.

but if it is different and merely different or different and much more problematic, we should ditch it like a wildly unattractive blind date.

jin

jin choung
06-12-2004, 06:39 PM
and finally all... once again-

this is not my tirade of saying that we're behind and we should catch the f up for f's sake.

there are very many compelling reasons (most of them financial) that determines a great many of the things that we must contend with.

it IS what it is and considering what we paid for it, it's pretty damn good.

but i am indeed saying that in my judgment, it's simply not as good in these areas. that is my contention. and if you disagree, i'm sure it is heartening for newtek that you feel so.

other more pricey apps are the M1A1-ABRAMS, the F-22s, the AH-64s, the PORSCHES.... we are the T-90s, the MIG 29s, HOKUMS, the HYUNDAIS....

it does the job. and it's a great value. and there's no shame in being 'not quite as good' for far less.

jin

Karmacop
06-12-2004, 08:18 PM
From Jin's points ...


1. There is a plugin that will set up weight maps exactly how you've said, baised on your skelegons. But if you're going to do this, why not just use the boens hwo they are instead of making weight maps?


2. I blame a lot of things on Arnie, especially uv maps. If you look at his first implementation of uv maps in LW6 he clearly had no idea what he was doing. So what you're asking for here is basically a special "un weld uv" that'll unweld the uv map but not the actual 3d geometry?

3. Again, use a plugin or script, the one on this thread seemed to do that for you.

1. Why are we back at 1? :p I agree we need hard/soft edges. I'v put in a feature request for it as it's needed, especially for game models. But I think smoothing should remain a surface property, because I find it useful there too. Anyway, maybe they'll add hard/soft edges soon when they add edges.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. I don't know about open gl redraw as I've never used maya, but I've never felt that LW was slow, and when I tried that Maya PLE it was so slow I didn't even try to use it.

2. This is the point of putting a lock on an object or bone. A lock allows you to only select the object from the scene editor. So you could have the gargoyle locked and the boens unlocked, so you could only select the object from the scene editor.

3. If you're going to keep the key then why aren't you autokeying it? Although maybe it would be nice to have an option when autokey is off to revert to it's position when the frame slider is moved, or when anythign is moved.

4. I agree with this point, but I think it's because of how lightwave was originally programmed. I hate how you can't select a camera and an object and some bones at the same time. Maybe we'll see this soon.

erroLux
06-15-2004, 08:29 AM
Hey jeanphi ,

On the tips & tricks forum, omeone said that you had some translation to do, and I suggetsed to help with it.
He pointed me towards this thread, so if you need some help translating from French to English, do not hesitate to ask me.:)

[email protected]

Dodgy
06-15-2004, 11:39 AM
Originally posted by jin choung
again,
in terms of CHARACTER ANIMATION, do you find that you have a better experience in lw, maya or as some are advocating - simply a different experience?

jin

OOOh now there's a question.

Let's start with rigging.

I prefer Maya's 100% weight mapping editing, when you need just weightmaps (which you do in games) but not how they go about it. That is to say, I like how as you paint in more on one weight for a bone, it automatically removes that same amount from all the overlapping weight maps, so the total remains at 100%. In LW you can have the weightmaps add up to over 100% on a particular vertex. This is very handy and flexible in a lot of cases, but I wish there was a tool in LW which worked that way, and also like Maya one which could smooth between weightmaps. Maybe Vertex paint could have this as an option, as at the moment you have to hit Normalise Weights to get all your maps back to adding up to 100%.

On the other hand, Maya's Hide and Unhiding of geometry is horrible, as it's done on a view basis, so if you're hiding some geometry in one window to paint on something below, then that geometry will still be visible in another window, AND WILL GET PAINTED ON! Argh....

You can also use or not use weightmaps as you wish in LW, so if you want you can use one weightmap for the whole of the arm of a character to stop bones in it from pulling at the body. This means you only have to paint one map, as opposed to one for each bone. Or you might not use weightmaps at all (which I prefer to do) as the falloff settings in the bones panel give you all kinds of handy settings.

With the new Hardlink, you can add non-deforming armour very easily by just parenting it to your character. This is a great strength of LW, you can mix and match so readily.

With Metalink you could bone and animate a very low poly object and then parent your higher res character to it for the final render with little in the way of adjustments needed.

In LW you can also chop up your character into bits and weight it (which is handy!) before merging it back together, and it all works fine, it's a lot less easy to do that seemlessly in maya.

Maya does have the edge when it comes to setting up things like SetDrivenKey more quickly (though again, someone has written a more interactive LW script to do this) as a lot is done in the interface.

Animating

I like very much the Character in Maya, you have all your key animating values in one place, and it's uniform across the entire interface. LW's Favourites is okay, but it's mishmashed in different areas, and Motionmixer's don't match up. It's more flexible again, but you need to set those up separately, and most of the time (there's that phrase again!) you only animate using certain channels. You could keep favourites, but extend them by having such a Character method. You can set up sliders which would be the same kind of thing, but maya 'book keeps' it better behind the scenes.

In LW I like having the tool remembered between different item types, as I tend to move and rotate objects (like IK goals), but only rotate bones, so this saves a lot of switching.

The main problem I have with LW is the inconsistency across the interface. We have the Graph editor, DopeSheet, DopeTrack, IKbooster track, Motion Mixer and timeline, and the methods for navigating and editing within them all is slightly different. This is what slows me down as I animate, trying to remember which key combination does what. In maya it's a lot more consistent.

Now I need to go get something to eat, I'm getting light headed and there's enough there to be getting on with.