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A.Russell
12-07-2004, 06:14 AM
I'm having a lot of trouble trying to animate the shoulder region. I can't weight it so that won't get all crimped up:

http://www.clubvarie.com/pictures/shoulder_prob_1.jpg http://www.clubvarie.com/pictures/shoulder_prob_2.jpg

http://www.clubvarie.com/pictures/shoulder_prob_3.jpg


Are there any good tutorials on how to weight map this area effectively?

I did find this tutorial for using morphs: http://www.newtek.com/products/lightwave/tutorials/animation/smartskin/index.html

but I can't load any plugins into Layout for some reason (I made another thread about that if anyone can give a heads up).

Any advice, or good tutorials greatly appreciated.

jeanphi
12-07-2004, 06:25 AM
Take a look at this

http://www.puffandlarkin.com/lightwave/tutorials/character_rigging/index.html

There is a 3D model with weights and rig files as sample.

A.Russell
12-07-2004, 05:19 PM
It's all just too hard. I've found someone who will do it for me in Max. He could better results in five minutes than I have in two days, and he hasn't even needed to adjust weights yet. I was amazed.

hrgiger
12-07-2004, 06:06 PM
Once you understand the problem, it's a breeze to get good shoulder deformations. Ok, it's not completely a breeze, but it's not hard either.

Here is one of my models with the arms raised. The problem with this is the arms don't actually raise like this. The clavicles must come into play.

hrgiger
12-07-2004, 06:08 PM
Once you use the clavicles to raise the arms and keep them fairly in line past shoulder level (depending on your model somewhat) you should be able to get a natural looking joint. Mind you that this is subdivision 0 in layout so it looks a bit rougher then it is.

hrgiger
12-07-2004, 06:10 PM
Also, this can be cleaned up any further using a morph technique that is right inside Lightwave without the need for a third party plug-in. I can tell you how to do it if you're interested. Let me know.

A.Russell
12-08-2004, 12:03 AM
Yes, I'm interested. Any way to make a rig without being a rocket scientist is godo for me.

Honesty, I spent two days trying to get it right. I kept thumbing through manuals and hunting tutorials. I had to keep closing and re-opening Lightwave every time I messed up and couldn't undo. Parts of the mesh would stretch even when weighted 100% to one bone and all kinds of horror and deformity.

I read the manual, Inside Lightwave, Timothy Albee's Lightwave animation book, several tutorials on this site, Animating Real Time Game Characters by Paul Steed and spent ages trying to apply what I'd learned just to try to get these shoulders right.

I asked a friend with Max how to weight it, and he made a skeleton and put it in the model at default settings, and it looked like this:

http://www.clubvarie.com/pictures/shoulder.jpg http://www.clubvarie.com/pictures/shoulder2.jpg http://www.clubvarie.com/pictures/shoulder3.jpg

Took him a few minutes, and the whole thing deforms better than my lightwave rig after two days. He didn't even need to weight it or anything to make it look like that.

Of course, this is probably because I'm no good at rigging. It'd still be nice to just be able to put a skeleton in your model and have it look good off the bat.

Very frustrated :( So please, tell me how to make it a breeze.

SplineGod
12-08-2004, 02:14 AM
You dont need to use weight maps to get the shoulders to deform properly. The model needs to flow properly and bones properly placed.
The acid test as far as deformations go is for the model to be able to touch the opposite shoulder or the top of the head without the shoulder turning into a wet dish rag. :)
Check out this thread:
http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=95214

The biggest problem I see is that theres a lot of misinformation about proper rigging out there. The other thing is that I also feel that starting out with putting weight maps on a character is putting the cart before the horse. Bones should be put into the character first, deformations checked and then a determination made as to how to proceed to fix any problems. Many times a hold bone or two will help better then adding in weight maps. Waiting until the end will take no more time but potentially will save time if weight maps are not needed or needed in a complex fashion.

Weight maps will also not fix a character that isnt modeled properly for getting proper deformations. Weight maps will also not fix a lack of having a solid understanding of how bones work and what all the settings do in the bones panel.

Its important to understand that the best way to make anything a breeze is to practice and experiment as well as have a good basic understanding of what the requirements are for a good rig. Messing with weight maps, IK, FK etc etc is like trying to learn about building houses by playing with hammers and saws. Hammers and saws are far more effective when someone has a good basic OVERALL understanding of house construction. It took me awhile to figure that out for myself :)

This is also one of the reasons I developed my professional character series and why it contains over 70 hours of quicktime movies. Modeling, Texturing, Rigging and animating are all interrelated. Modeling and even texturing sometimes are a part of the rigging process. :)

hrgiger
12-08-2004, 05:12 AM
Hey, great plug Larry. Buy anways.... :rolleyes:

The following morph technique was developed my Michael Blackbourn and can be used whether you have weight maps or not in the character.

With your bones setup in Layout and your character rigged and ready to go, bend one of your bones. Using the typical example, bend your forearm 90 degrees. Jot down the angle on a scrap of paper. Sometimes it might be 90 or it might be -90 depending on how you setup your bones/skelegons. (if you're anal retentive like me you can always use bone twist to change it so all your angles are postiive).

Once you have your bone bent, selet the mesh itself. Go to the file menu and select save endomorph. Name it something specific like Left_Forearm_90 (I like to include the angle in with the morph name so I don't have to write it down).

Do this for any bones you want to make joint corrections to. Make sure to use save all objects otherwise your morphs won't be saved when you close layout.

Now open up modeler. Make the Left_Forearm_90 active. Copy the morph map and name it something like Left_Forearm_90 Strip. You'll see why in a moment.

Go back to your first morph, and use this one to remodel the joint so it looks exactly like you want it to when the bone is bent in that position. Once you have it nicely shaped, use the Apply morph plug-in that is included in Lightwave and select the Left_Forearm_Strip from the drop down list and make sure to enter in -100 for the strength. This will remove the 90 degree bend that the bone made but will keep the joint correction information you made in the first map.

If that is confusing, it just means that if you were to keep the morph bent like that without stripping it of the bone angle, Layout would basically be trying to bend it twice. Once for the bone, and once for the morph which you definately not want. This is why you need the second map for stripping the rotation.

Then you can use the joint morph plug-in, also included in layout, to setup your morphs to happen automatically as you bend bones. Or you can also use expressions which I like to since I can blend between different morphs on one bone but that's a whole other tutorial!

Hope that's helpful.

BTW, the shoulder on your model that your friend did in MAX looks ok and it will work but you can do better. The clavicles aren't raised at all which is evident since both bra straps on the model are unmoved and at the same level. Arms just don't work like that. It would be raised somewhat the the shoulder would fold somewhat over the strap as it raised.

SplineGod
12-08-2004, 08:00 AM
Yes, this sounds much closer to the whole "make it a breeze" ethic ..confused:
Luckily Ive rarely had to do anything nearly that extreme nor could I imagine having to do that on lots of characters.
Weight maps could probably work with a lot of tweaking too. The point is that getting to know and using bones properly will get you the desired results 90% of the time.

A.Russel,
You cant watch your friend who is probably pretty experienced at something and pull the same thing off right away. Ive yet to see anyone in any package get perfect deformations right away. Thats why youll find lots of articles and tutuorials dedicated to the subject of deformations. Anyone who is successful at something has become so on the back of a lot of failures first. :)

hrgiger
12-08-2004, 12:35 PM
Yes, this sounds much closer to the whole "make it a breeze" ethic ..confused:
Luckily Ive rarely had to do anything nearly that extreme nor could I imagine having to do that on lots of characters.

If you think the above is not easy Larry, especially for someone who just loves to tell everyone that you've been doing graphics since the 80's, then perhaps it is time to hang it up.
The above steps simplified for you:

1. Bend a bone. that's not hard is it?
2. Save an endomorph. you can do that right?
3. Copy a map. It's easy, it's one click!
4. Make a morph shape. You're not opposed to that are you?
5. Apply a copied map. It's another click!

It takes 5 minutes and I bet you it takes less time then testing deformations, adding holder bones, parenting them properly, testing deformations again, making adjustments, etc... until you deem it "good enough". It may sound complex to you to, but it gives you the exact shape you want the first time out. No trial and error.
There is nothing wrong with using bones without weight maps and using holder bones, but perhaps you should just accept (for once) that there are other methods that warrant condsideration besides what you teach in your $900 training courses.
If you want to be helpful, then be helpful and post some examples or take somebody that is struggling with a problem like A.Russell is here through some steps that may actually help him instead of

A) Telling him that certain methods are wrong or contain misinformation because it's not what you use especially when they are methods that work for others
B) Feed him some useless analogy about what it takes to build a house when what he's looing for is way to get better shoulder deformation I'm sure he appreciated the free lecture though.
C)taking the opportunity once again to plug your training courses because someone needed help with a specific issue.

hunter
12-08-2004, 04:04 PM
Not to be rude or necessarily to defend splinegod but in fairness it's a bit more than 5 easy steps.


With your bones setup in Layout and your character rigged and ready to go, bend one of your bones.

Many many clicks.

Once you have your bone bent, selet the mesh itself. Go to the file menu and select save endomorph.

'nother click

Do this for any bones you want to make joint corrections to. Make sure to use save all objects otherwise your morphs won't be saved when you close layout.

More clicks and stuff to remember per bone or joint.

Go back to your first morph, and use this one to remodel the joint so it looks exactly like you want it to when the bone is bent in that position. Once you have it nicely shaped, use the Apply morph plug-in that is included in Lightwave and select the Left_Forearm_Strip from the drop down list and make sure to enter in -100 for the strength. This will remove the 90 degree bend that the bone made but will keep the joint correction information you made in the first map.

Several perhaps hundreds of clicks here...

If that is confusing, it just means that if you were to keep the morph bent like that without stripping it of the bone angle, Layout would basically be trying to bend it twice. Once for the bone, and once for the morph which you definately not want. This is why you need the second map for stripping the rotation.

Then you can use the joint morph plug-in, also included in layout, to setup your morphs to happen automatically as you bend bones.

More clicking.

There is no right way to rig and no perfect rig ini minutes that applies to every situation.

I appreciate both you guys and your efforts to help people.
Don't let it get ugly. :rolleyes:

hrgiger
12-08-2004, 04:31 PM
There is no right way to rig and no perfect rig ini minutes that applies to every situation.



Well, not to be rude back but if you took the time to read the thread in the first place, you would have seen that this was exactly what I had just said more or less.
Splinegod always likes to tell people that if you do it a certain way, it is un-intuitive or the wrong way to do it. God forbid someone should use weight maps or plan to use them outright because they like using them and the predictability that comes with them.
And you've overly complicated the morphing technique. If you consider, clicking on the mesh to select it, then clicking on the file menu, selecting the save endomoprh option, naming it and hitting enter or ok all seperate steps, then you're making it seem more complex then it is. How does it take many many clicks to rotate a bone in layout? Takes me two. One to select it and one to rotate it. This tutorial assumed his character was already rigged and ready to animate.
And it is 5 easy steps and should take no longer then 5 minutes.

And if you remember, I asked him if he was even interested in the technique before I posted it.

hunter
12-08-2004, 04:48 PM
Well, not to be rude back but if you took the time to read the thread in the first place, you would have seen that this was exactly what I had just said more or less.

I'd have say to less, cause I didn't see it the first time I read it or the second.
But I guess you believe that you did sooo. :rolleyes:
oh, unless this is what you meant?

"...there are other methods that warrant condsideration."

Hardly "exactly" the samething.

Like I said appreciate the help, not so much the attitude.

hrgiger
12-08-2004, 07:26 PM
Well, saying that there is no right way to rig and other methods warrant consideration are pretty much the same thing unless you just want to argue about semantics.

Oh, and both the help and the attitude are free.

SplineGod
12-08-2004, 11:23 PM
Not to be rude

Hunter,
Hey no worries, Steves got that covered.
Its business as usual as far as Im concerned...oh well... :rolleyes:

My point of view on much of this is based on rigging literally hundreds of characters. I know all about using weight maps and endomorphs in actual production, not just being the armchair quaterback and quoting what other people have done.

I have used weight maps on characters many many times but as time has progressed I find that I dont need them nearly as much or at the level of complexity that some claim is needed.

Ive used endomorphs on occassion to fix things, Usually its on a very limited basis or in special circumstances. The key is the model and bone placement.

Judging by your model I dont think it would be a huge pain to fix it. It also helps to have an idea of what the extreme poses the character will have to be able to do.

A.Russell
12-08-2004, 11:31 PM
Um, thanks hrgiger for offering some practical instruction. I'll try your method out.

Splinegod: I take it I get to learn where to place the shoulder bone after I buy your course?

SplineGod
12-08-2004, 11:41 PM
Russell,
If you want to sign up thats fine. :)
Ive posted detailed information on this in another thread before.
Some ppl are getting testy and unpleasant in here. Drop me an email
and Ill see about digging up the info for you. :)

hrgiger
12-09-2004, 04:35 AM
And as always, look at the quality of the work of the person you're taking advice from.

SplineGod
12-09-2004, 05:05 AM
And as always, look at the quality of the work of the person you're taking advice from.
Amen to that or their track record

hrgiger
12-09-2004, 06:51 AM
Larry if you want to talk about misinformation being spread, you should look no further than yourself to find it. On this thread, you have done nothing but condemn someone else's method as being too cumbersome or time consuming just because it's not the method that you use. If you've not used this method, I'm not sure you can criticize it anyway. I never suggested it was the only solution and if you remember, I said there is nothing wrong about not using weight maps or using holder bones. But you seem to be good at indicating that there is only one method that is best, and that is yours. That is misinformation.
It is laughable for you to refer to me as an "armchair quarterback" because I have taken the time to show someone else a method that was developed by another user (who by th way, actually knows how to animate). I've used the method many times and it's effetive and easy to setup. As far as quoting other people, it's called giving credit where credit is due. I dont' think you're very good at that either. You always talk about the projects you have done, yet I never see you give credit for the people who shared the work with you.
The whole point is, I first responded to this thread in an attempt to help A.Russell out with a problem and then you come in (business as usual) and tell him how there is all this misinformation and how he should really do it your way. You should learn the words "Another possible solution could be...." or "Something else you might want to try...". You can't just validate your opinions by talking about how your years of so called experience have shown you the best way to do things. What you have found are the best ways for YOU to do things. There are many people in the Lightwave community that have as much as, if not more, experience than you that use different methods. Get over yourself.

SplineGod
12-09-2004, 07:33 AM
Steve,
Condemns whos method? Are you even reading the same thread?
I say its cumbersome because it is. My comments are based on doing this and making a successful living doing this. You can sit there and think you know who does what in this industry and whos better then who at what. Anyone can do that because its easy. I can only comment on my own experiences as opposed to quoting OTHER peoples experiences. If you have your own then post them. It will give a lot more credibility to your remarks. Rather then do that you always start to resort to making personal remarks and taking what was initially a civil discussion down a few notches and reduces your credibility. Luckily *most* ppl are able to figure out that if I dont agree with a method or think its cumbersome that its simply my opinion just like you have yours.

Ive not only been doing this for years but have successfully trained a great many people to do this. Ive posted on this subject many times and people are free to follow the advice or not. I dont get bent out of shape because someone doesnt believe it or doesnt do it. It would be nice if you could learn to do the same.

It would be wonderful if rigging could be taught and learned from few simple posts in a thread on some forum. Its not going to happen however. Whole books and videos have been written and created on the subject. If I have a course that covers the material Im going to mention it if I feel it may help someone. The vast majority of my posts are done to help ppl. Sometimes what someone is trying to learn is beyond the scope of a thread like this. I see you recommending books or other resources to ppl on many occassions. Allow others to do the same. Theres nothing wrong with me plugging my materials from time to time. I would suggest you get over it, move on, get a hobby, whatever... :)

hunter
12-09-2004, 08:24 AM
Just curious hrgiger, Devry student, What's your age?

hrgiger
12-09-2004, 09:09 AM
Ok Larry. Keep spinning your wheels...

And Hunter I'm 32.

hunter
12-09-2004, 10:16 AM
Oh. Ya sound younger.


"Splinegod: I take it I get to learn where to place the shoulder bone after I buy your course?"

I don't think this is what he ever said. I don't think anyone should have to answer the same question over and over again. There are perhaps hundreds of threads scattered on the various boards about this very topic if you bother to look. Just because someone doesn't immediatley give you a solution doen't mean they're some kind of jerk. We all had to learn. I myself won't ask a question until I've exausted all resources for finding an answer myself. But I guess that boils down to work ethic. There is so little of that around these days. Sigh.
Here ya go. Start Reading:

http://members.shaw.ca/lightwavetutorials/Main_Menu.htm

And I am outta here.

hrgiger
12-09-2004, 12:17 PM
Oh. Ya sound younger.

We all saw that one coming a mile away. Good one.


I myself won't ask a question until I've exausted all resources for finding an answer myself. But I guess that boils down to work ethic. There is so little of that around these days. Sigh.
Here ya go. Start Reading:

http://members.shaw.ca/lightwavetutorials/Main_Menu.htm



Wow, you pretty much called him lazy with no work ethic and gave him the least helpful answer I could probably imagine. Another good one.

Paul Lara
12-09-2004, 04:07 PM
Remain civil and keep to the topic, or this thread will be locked.

Thank you.

A.Russell
12-09-2004, 06:19 PM
@Hunter: Your link wasn't helpful. I can't see any reason for you joining this thread except to flame other members.
@Splinegod: You haven't actually helped
@All of you: stop fighting on this thread, I was just having trouble animating the shoulder region and looking for advice. Instead I'm in the middle of a flame war.
@Paul: Please do close this thread.

Dodgy
12-10-2004, 03:31 AM
The biggest tip I can give is to add a Shoulder Blade bone from the end of the shoulder bone down the side of the back, then TARGET this at a bone lower down the back. Then as your shoulder rotates up/back, it moves the shoulder blades up and down, but doesn't swing them out, and the bone stops that area getting squashed as your arm comes down to the side.

Rory_L
12-10-2004, 04:58 AM
I'm having a lot of trouble trying to animate the shoulder region. I can't weight it so that won't get all crimped up:

Any advice, or good tutorials greatly appreciated.

I recommend using Vertex Paint to get your weight maps off to a good start. If you make your skelegons and have them in the same layer as the character object you can hop into VPaint and apply a quick falloff based wt map calculation (Calc tab). You know that holding Ctrl and manipulating the widget`ll show you a preview of the bone deformation, don`t you?

While in VPaint you should also normalise all the maps, from the Edit menu.

In Layout, when you convert the skelegons to bones turn on Weight Maps Only and turn off Weight Normalisation for all your active bones. Bones that are there for hirearchical purposes and that have no weight maps should be made inactive, to avoid them having unexpected influences on your mesh.

One more thing to consider is to give your upper arm an Upper Arm Top bone to help with banking ugliness.

These suggestions are made in the understanding that you are animating for game export, where normalised weightmapping is the only option. Hope this helps and isn`t a case of teaching granny to suck eggs. :)

Cheers,

R

SplineGod
12-10-2004, 10:40 PM
@Hunter: Your link wasn't helpful. I can't see any reason for you joining this thread except to flame other members.
@Splinegod: You haven't actually helped
@All of you: stop fighting on this thread, I was just having trouble animating the shoulder region and looking for advice. Instead I'm in the middle of a flame war.
@Paul: Please do close this thread.

Did you try that link I posted to a thread on CGTalk on the same subject?
If you go down to my 2nd post in that thread I tell not only how to do it by why it works. If that doesnt qualify as helping I dont know what does. :)
Heres another link to the same thread:
http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=95214

A.Russell
01-22-2005, 09:01 AM
Okay Splinegod, you are trying to be helpful. Unfortunately your post goes way over my head :). What you think is simple and takes a few minutes might take me another couple of months to achieve. Of course, it might be the geometry of the model, I didn't understand what you were saying about "edge loops."


I've gone away and got the game this was for into it's BETA stage, but I've still got my crappy animation that I can't fix. So now I'm back to trying to fix these **** shoulders. I've got a friend who managed to make a pretty good rig in 3ds Max, but he can't animate it, and I can't get his rig into Lightwave.

HRGiger, I tried using endomorphs, but I couldn't find the plugins you mentioned (using 7.5). I have to admit I didn't look that hard because I opened up 8.0 and discovered it had a feature to add endomorphs to bones. I also found a tutorial about how to use it, and it looked really easy. Unfortunately, it didn't work as in the tutorial. It seems it needs weight maps painted on, and I ended up with points unevenly weighted and poking out all over the place when I tried that route -even then, there was no actual morphing in Layout, so I must have even screwed that up.

So, I'm back to where I started, and frankly I'm fed up with it.

*** Job Offer ***
If anyone would like to make an offer to rig this model for me, please send me a PM and tell me how much you will charge for it. If you would like to go further and do the animation as well, please send me a quote for that, too.

You can see the current crappily animated model in the BETA version of my game, which you can get from http://www.pachinkoagogo.com. That should give you an idea of what I am after.

Thanks


EDIT> Whoops, **** is a ride word?

norvman
01-28-2005, 04:09 PM
Hey Russell.... all arguements aside...

this is the way I do it... and it works for me... (and a few other guys but not everybody....)

first.... make your Arms and body all one WeighMap.....

I usally like to make Seperate WeightMap for all Fingers ... Toes... Legs... Head... and then a big Body WeightMap....

All my shoulder deformation problems went away when I decided to stop making a seperate Arm Weightmap ....

If you don't have the excellent plug in... CombineWeightMaps... get it here....
http://www.kevman3d.com/lightwave.asp?section=plugins&sub=modeler


Next Create a One Shoulder (clavical bone...) that runs from the upper Spine over to the top of the upper Arm bone....

Then you will have to play around with the bone strength settings between your new Shoulderbone and your Upperarms to get the shoulder area to deform right...

I sometimes have to set my shoulder to as much as 400% to 500%
I sometimes have to set the Upper Arm to as much...

but move the bones around and look at it to get it right... this takes much less time than goofin' around with a weightmap in that area....

once you have done that... it's just a matter of how you want to animate it...

I use two tiny Child bones off of my shoulder bone... (child bones strength set to 0%)
pick the shoulder bone, create and name one child bone....
then go back and pick the shoulder bone again and create yet another child bone ... (set it off at a different angle than the first one...so both of them are not right on top of one another....)

I then goal one of those bones to a null I have placed at the elbow joint... and the other child bone I goal to a null I have placed some where above the shoulder area....
the Null at the elbow is a child of one of the bones or other nulls that move where ever the elbow moves... the Null above the Shoulder becomes my Shoulder postioning null....

because the shoulder bone is goaled by two nulls at the same time the results are a much more realistic and easy to handle shoulder...

Anyway hope that helps... and hey I didn't even get in an arguement....



:D

pooby
01-28-2005, 04:47 PM
that's what I would do too :)

norvman
01-28-2005, 05:55 PM
Hey Pooby I been tryin' to email yah....

Ha... yah you would do it that way you taugh it ta me... ha! :D