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Wonderpup
02-06-2005, 10:55 AM
Hi all,

The news about the new Maestro autorigger has again made we wonder why none have yet been implemented natively in Lightwave.

I'm not wanting to start a Newtek bashing here- I'm sure there are good reasons why this hasn't been done- I'm just curious what they are.

Given the fact that Maestro seems to have been created by a relatively small studio as a by-product of their actual work (ie; making animations) and ACS4 is the work, as far as I know, of one person, these things don't seem, on the face of it, so hard to implement.

Is it that as users we are prepared to accept limitations in third party plugs that we would be shouting about if they came from Newtek themselves?

Or is it that the very nature of autoriggers is always going to produce a solution that is going to annoy as many people as it pleases, so it's just not worth doing?
( From Newteks point of view, I mean.)

As I say, not wanting to create a negative thread here, I just think it's an interesting question- given how often the inclusion of premade rigs is now being cited as a benefit of other competing apps at present.

UnCommonGrafx
02-06-2005, 11:12 AM
Seems folks aren't watching the march of the .rig format.
In theory, this is what the autoriggers of the future will work with. And pose managers. It's a format that has all of that stuff, and more, for them to make use of in making an autorigger.

I'd rather they released a version without bugs than doing autoriggers. They are, however, taking care of the Rig situation. They aren't blind. With a great core will come the tools of the artistic and mathematically inclined. Some of these tools (trees) just aren't going to be seen for the core (forest) they have to deal with.

There are tools happening in LW that are there but not talked about until they are pleased with them. The resourceful 'Waver will find these tools and begin to learn them, once again staying ahead of the field. All of what's going on in IKB and the Rig format are harbingers of what independent artists and necessity, the mother of all creativity, can take advantage of in creating new tools.

Your post only points to the changes in the SDK that have made Maestro possible and what may come from the likes of Worley, et al. No bash on NewTek as I see it. Though a rather backhanded "Well done!". chuckle.

cresshead
02-06-2005, 08:02 PM
that's an interesting hi light to comment on...3dsmax, messiah, xsi all have some sort of pre rig or auto rig with the likes of character studio [max] or the biped guide rig [xsi] so i'd expect a auto rigger in lightwave 8.x or lw9.0...having said that when/if it does appear doesn't mean that it will be better than meastro or acs4 or even the competition's rigger's....

one thing i also find puzzeling is that character studio has a great way to pre viz or rough out animations with "footstep driven animation"...where you place spline based footstep markers where your character walks in those footsteps...weird how come nobody has made any attempt to copy/use a similar way to rough out animations in any 3d app other than 3ds max which was an external 3rd party plugin til max 7....

personally i find the footstep part of character studio a great timesave and would simply jump for joy if someone gave us the usability in lightwave...HINT HINT!!...and would finally nail the last nail in me usiing my max 4 for nearly all time!...

it may not be "perfect" but it can give you a previz walk/animation in 3 mins for a client...i wonder if lightwave will get a 3rd party developer to do something similar sometime or indeed if newtek woud add such a system in lw9?

here's hoping!

Nemoid
02-07-2005, 01:48 PM
well, surely Nt team could do an autorig system for sure. to me, the best thing for NT would be to hire the author of some system, for example Maestro, or t4D or other, and make just like ikeda tools. put it into Lw and possibly expand this system on serious steroids together with sdk changements. :)

why they couldn't do thie by themselves? they could, but hiring an expert, a great part of the job is done yet, and the rest would be a work of integration and enhancing.

Ztreem
02-07-2005, 02:39 PM
Even if it would be nice with an autorigger directly in LW, I think that there are alot of more important things to be brought to lw first.
If you want an autorigger I can recommend SimpleRigger from animationsnippets.com it's free and works fine. :D

riki
02-07-2005, 04:37 PM
Well for a starters we have a number of 3rd party products filling that need, at a very affordable price. So it's not a high priority. Not something people have been shouting for.

Newtek are better off focusing dev resources on things we need, things that people have been asking for.

I can't see any point in reinventing the wheel. In the past Newtek have cherry-picked some of the better plugs, which I think is a good approach, so you never know, one might turn up in a future build.

In any case it's good to support the dev community and buy their plugs.

NanoGator
02-07-2005, 06:01 PM
Well for a starters we have a number of 3rd party products filling that need, at a very affordable price. So it's not a high priority. Not something people have been shouting for.

Newtek are better off focusing dev resources on things we need, things that people have been asking for.

I can't see any point in reinventing the wheel. In the past Newtek have cherry-picked some of the better plugs, which I think is a good approach, so you never know, one might turn up in a future build.

In any case it's good to support the dev community and buy their plugs.

I've got to give Newtek kudos for making LScript powerful enough to make Maestro a reality. Not only are we able to bring our experience as animators to the product, but it also works on both Mac and PC without a lot of fuss. Maybe I'm a bit biased, but I would agree that making Lightwave more 3rd party friendly is a better use of resources. There's something to be said for products developed by parties who created it to fulfill their own needs. :)

Larrikin
02-09-2005, 02:00 PM
one thing i also find puzzeling is that character studio has a great way to pre viz or rough out animations with "footstep driven animation"....weird how come nobody has made any attempt to copy/use a similar way to rough out animations in any 3d app other than 3ds max


It's pattented, so no one else can use a similar system unless they license it from Discreet.
And I agree footsteps is a fantastic system.

WilliamVaughan
02-09-2005, 03:14 PM
The .rig format is very powerful when it comes to "Auto-Rigging". and it's only at version 1.0 ....imaging where it can go from here....

I use the .rig format with my new foot rig and it saves me loads of time....simply load in rig....use tip move and joint move and I'm set.

The new bone tools really make rigging much easier. And if you don't like rigging at all...well...some killer artists and programmers make your life easier with tools like ACS4, Setup Machine, T4D, Maestro, and more.

do a search on flay and you will find all of them and some pretty cool free ones as well.

Wonderpup
02-10-2005, 02:31 AM
Hi all,

So the general feeling seems to be that there is no particular reason why a native rigger couldn't be done- but it's probably not worthwhile when good third party riggers already exist.

Is it a problem that Newtek can't claim bragging rights to third party stuff? People tend to evaluate software on what's in the box rather than what they can plug into it later.

What about the idea of a third party showcase here, on Newteks site- that way potential new users would be able to see things like Maestro and realise that they can have the benefits of Lightwave and some of the desired features of brand X(si) too- the showcase could even have a users review section for each product- and maybe examples of how they use it in their work.

NanoGator
02-11-2005, 01:52 PM
Well, it certainly would be nice for a new Lightwave customer to know that FPrime exists. I think more attention to the 3rd parties would be a great idea. :)

SplineGod
02-28-2005, 04:23 PM
Id like to see Newtek focus on making the software stable and flexible. Id like to see it work internally with itself much more then it does now. Make the SDK more powerful so that 3rd party developers can bring more goodies to the table. :)
Im not complaining, because I believe Newtek is doing this already. I just want to seeit continue. :)

Id rather have a selection of autoriggers to choose from because not all are created equal. Im not particularly an autorigging person myself. I do like being able to reuse my own rigs. :)

cresshead
02-28-2005, 04:46 PM
i'm pretty sure the best "auto-rigger" out there would be splinegod!
...just send him a reasonable fee and your character and a rigged character shall return via email!...no need to learn how to rig at all!....LOL! :D :D :D

well it's a good option don't ya think?

steve g

SplineGod
02-28-2005, 04:56 PM
LOL! Thats a very scarey thought! :)

cresshead
02-28-2005, 05:43 PM
just think you could change your handle to "rig-god" :D
or "spinegod".............. :eek:

back to the topic!...

it's great that there's quite a few options out there now for rigging plugins and also some good training to learn how to rig for yourself in addition to a neat book or two from jonny gorden...

and if that's not enough you have the likes of messiah animate or even use maya, max or whatever along with point oven and transfer your animation back to lightwave for rendering...

options are always good..some are free some need learning time and some will cost a small sum but all give you a way to solve out a need.

SplineGod
02-28-2005, 06:01 PM
As Robert pointed out there are some conventions already like the RIG file format. Apparently people can add to that format. IKBooster can also save poses and motions out as well. What I would like to see is people who are developing 3rd party apps to support what Newtek has in place rather then create opposing standards.

richcz3
02-28-2005, 11:46 PM
I think the drive to have Newtek produce a native Autorigger is based on the idea or belief that they are best suited to integrate it into Lightwave.
Who should better understand the internal code functions of LW than NT. Third party plugin compatabilities are subject to LW revision changes. That being written Maestro is mind blowingly easy to setup and start using.

SplineGod
02-28-2005, 11:57 PM
Newtek may be the best suited to integrate code but who is going to be the one to actually design and implement it? Coding is and integrating code is one thing but coming up with a requirement list, design doc and an awesome implementation is another thing. Character rigging and animation is something IMO that is such a specialized thing that I would be worried about people who are not real familiar with character rigging and animation attempting to implement such a thing. On the other hand you have Maestro being developed by guys using it as a character tool in house. Im not against Newtek doing it but cautious. :)

UnCommonGrafx
03-01-2005, 05:29 AM
Richcz3,
Larry said it well. And I'll up it this way: who gave us IKB? Did they document it in a way that works well for everyone to take advantage of? Nope. Some SplineGuy did.
Look at that AVT_Bump plug that's available now. That's been possible for ages but the core group didn't come up with it.

I think NewTek's job is as it has been: give us a great shell, with tools everyone will need and then OPEN IT UP for us all to at least see the guts of the 'machine'. You know, play a bit o'vivisection with the code - poke there, oooohhh, poke here -- wow, pretty colors. With the technology the way it is, we should have greater access to the depths of the machine cuz it can live longer with our hands in it. Metaphorically speaking.

richcz3
03-01-2005, 09:57 AM
Hi Robert. Those are all good points. I'll be happy when and if NT gets their SDK issues sorted out. (Isn't Worley working on helping them on that?). Until then, 3rd party developers are left working with an incomplete set of tools that have their short comings. On a more positive note, as Nanogator stated, he considers LScripts very powerfull and judging on Maestro, who's going to argue that. :)

UnCommonGrafx
03-01-2005, 10:25 AM
Exactly.

I know how to program, but no patience to do it. I've since learned that there's also an acumen for problem solving in this binary environ that is also a must to really get the most from the software.

What we have isn't perfect. Surely that's been stated and agreed upon. But it seems that the "powerful" part gets dissed often. I don't get why it is such wonderful stuff can be done with the softs {e.g., Jimmy Newtron, I,Robot, Roughnecks, Star Trek emmies} and folks want to scream from the mountaintops what's wrong with it. . .

I've watched this occur and just don't get it. But that's good as my little Polly Anna world works for me. Saved me quite a few bucks (no new software bought), learn a whole bunch (purchased training with the money not spent on another soft) and to become better at the tool I've invested quite a bit of time in.

The 3rd party guys are to be congratulated for their abilities, then, because they've done some amazing things in this crippled state. We should all support them. NewTek, too, with a 3rd party page.

sire
03-02-2005, 11:40 AM
Well, Jimmy Neutron was animated with Messiah, as far as I know. The Star Trek stuff consists mostly of starships and so on, no character animation. I don't know where Lightwave was used in I, Robot, but I suspect it was not for the character animation. The only thing in your list which is LW only and has lotsa character animation in it is Roughnecks. And this was produced with a much earlier version of LW, pre-6 I think.

This makes me curious if LW just has a bad reputation when it comes to CA or if other software really is better suited for this part of the job... :confused:

UnCommonGrafx
03-02-2005, 12:07 PM
Ya know, big studies can't really justify using an 'off-the-shelf' product for the thousands they charge.
Unless they are charging for the skill that goes into making it go at all... In that case, as always is the case, it's about the artist.
LW and her 'bad reputation' really should never be the issue. Your statement is and has always been right on: there is better software suited for this part of the job. But that's not always the answer when you, a) don't have that software, b) don't want that software, c) can't afford all the resouces it would take to support that software, d) couldn't afford it if you wanted it or e) make one up that fits for you.

Though you have discounted the items I listed, they are valid examples of artists getting the job done with LW. Not in a vacuum but in the pipeline.
The studios have a multitude of softs to work with; I don't. But it's nice to know I can go from start to finish in LW, all on my own.
I hope to feel the freedom to sell my MB, soon. If NewTek gives me audio playback and faster layout playback in general, I would very easily be willing to part with MB for all of the tools coveted have been given me in LW through the 3rd party route. Hell, maya's a thirdparty plugin, if your brain throbs the right way. ;)


This makes me curious if LW just has a bad reputation when it comes to CA or if other software really is better suited for this part of the job... :confused:

SplineGod
03-02-2005, 12:34 PM
Well, Jimmy Neutron was animated with Messiah, as far as I know. The Star Trek stuff consists mostly of starships and so on, no character animation. I don't know where Lightwave was used in I, Robot, but I suspect it was not for the character animation. The only thing in your list which is LW only and has lotsa character animation in it is Roughnecks. And this was produced with a much earlier version of LW, pre-6 I think.

This makes me curious if LW just has a bad reputation when it comes to CA or if other software really is better suited for this part of the job... :confused:

CGI TV series done with LW:
LW5.6
1. Voltron 3D (which I also believe was the first CGI TV series done in the USA)
2. Roughnecks
3. Max Steel (Season 1)
4. Dan Dare (Episodes 1-8)

Post LW6.5
1. Max Steel
2. Dan Dare
3. Butt Ugly Martians

Theres others plus many places where its been used for character work in commerials, Discovery Channel episodes, movies, games and other TV shows.
Dan Dare itself was over 9 hrs of animation for all episodes in a 2 year period.
After LW5.6 the character tools have improved dramatically. LW definately is not slouch in the CA area. New tools like IKBoost drastically improve it even further.

richcz3
03-02-2005, 12:38 PM
All of these points should be taken from the area of usage or vantage point of each particular poster.
Meaning that if I was looking to get a character animating job in the larger entertainment field, I would be best suited in learning Maya or oher high profile app. Coming from a person who is self employed or their own producer, Lightwave is probably a more practical program. For all its short comings and or aging warts it is for me the most cost effective and most complete app out of the box.
I simply can't qualify the cost of other applications for the work that I do. Lightwave so far has made my clients happy and helps me pay the bills. :D

NanoGator
03-02-2005, 12:39 PM
D'oh, thanks for bringing that up Larry. I never got to see the Voltron 3D. :(

SplineGod
03-02-2005, 12:48 PM
Brian,
I was just told that its out on DVD now :)

NanoGator
03-02-2005, 12:54 PM
Brian,
I was just told that its out on DVD now :)


ooo thank ya!

Man.. i useta pretend I was Voltron when I was a kid. You wouldn't believe the number of people I attempted to cut in half.

NanoGator
03-02-2005, 01:39 PM
ooo thank ya!

Man.. i useta pretend I was Voltron when I was a kid. You wouldn't believe the number of people I attempted to cut in half.

I hate when I crack a joke like that and the thread goes dead.

cresshead
03-02-2005, 02:52 PM
also add to the list buffy the vampire slayer which had either 5,000 or 50,000 vampires running around doing bad things!

and the freak...which is now in film production......

busy buses from the u.k. [childrens program]

babylon 5 even had some character animation using lightwave in the first season! :eek:

i think that sire has a point to a degree where we see lightwave in large productions such as jimmy neutron film or tv show or the likes of the curent captain scarlet show that use maya or messiah for character animation but at the same time you can spin the whole deal round and ask how come maya or messiah ONLY does the character animation?

is maya not "good enough" for the whole deal :confused:

you could make a thread asking why maya isn't used in productions for the whole "production pipeline" and that lightwave is the "constant solution" for all the big shows on t.v...........


seems to me that lightwave is more of a solution than a problem! :D

colkai
03-03-2005, 02:51 AM
you could make a thread asking why maya isn't used in productions for the whole "production pipeline" and that lightwave is the "constant solution" for all the big shows on t.v...........

seems to me that lightwave is more of a solution than a problem!

Amen to that Brother! :D
Let's face it, there have been doom-sayers since version 4.0 - seems to me, for a package that was supposedly dying/dead back then Newtek / Lightwave are doing pretty darned well. :p

Me - lovin' it - can't wait to see waht they give us next. :D

cresshead
03-03-2005, 04:55 AM
colkia, just read your letter in 3d world...nice one!
good to see a "reality check" for new be 3d artists!

steve g

CB_3D
03-03-2005, 11:58 AM
I see LW being used in everything from Games to tv (full series and ads) to movies, A LOT. And for everything, from modelling to animation and rendering, static AND characters,FX and virtual sets. From the sheer volume of quality work weŽve seen out of LW over the last years (and getting more every day) LW seems to be quite sucessfull.

I really donŽt understand all the negativity floating around some forums. I bet if you checked the other software forums youŽd find the same stuff about "their" software. There are nay sayers everywhere.

LW is great, and just keeps getting better every day! (ey,as long as my feature requests make it into the updates iŽll be happy,and they usually do...Kudos to NT)

CB_3D
03-03-2005, 12:02 PM
Oh, and yes,Maestro looks very cool,too!

Dodgy
03-03-2005, 01:08 PM
I think it's a case most of the people who don't have a problem don't post. I think you'd see that in any forum. I've certainly seen posts on other forums for other software which ask 'why X doesn't do this'. I think LW has a bad rep characteranimation wise, but I've used it successfully in the past, and will keep on using it.

sire
03-03-2005, 09:27 PM
I didn't bring this up to complain about LW, which is a software I really love. I got involved in a project which is planned to be a cel shaded tv series and I have to make a decision whether we should make everything with LW or whether the CA part would be better (read: quicker) getting done with another package. I was thinking about Motion Builder or Messiah. Since I don't have much experience with CA and even less with these both packages, I would appreciate any advice from you.

In this question the available autoriggers for LW should also be considered. This leads my request a bit back on topic. I myself own ACS4 and although I think it's quite powerful, its rigs seem awfully slow to me. At least this is the case on my system. I didn't test the other autoriggers yet, like Maestro etc.; what would you folks recommend?

I should also mention that my LW CA knowledge is mainly still not sufficiently updated to the new features which came with 8.0... (Most of the time I am modeling, surfacing or rendering stills or animating stuff other than characters)

UnCommonGrafx
03-04-2005, 05:06 AM
Sire,
A question: does the decision involve spending more money? That would mean, and entail, training for the new softs.
Maestro is where many will head. It works very well for animation. I know that it has sped my fun, er, animating up. The rig is fast. With or without the controller.
Surely others have such a system? It's so...elegantly mad in how much minutiae (sp) you can get on those panels and easily control.

Get the demo; or, better yet, get your artists a copy of it at the $120.00 cost. Surely, that would be cheaper than some alternatives. If you have any/some/all of the alternatives already, a proof of concept project would be in order.

cresshead
03-04-2005, 05:17 AM
i've tried acs4 and bought t4d plugin plus i'm trying out maestro demo right now too...

here's my PERSONAL view, id expect this to differ from others around...and it's with my pc geforce 4mx card [64mb]

acs4 demo feel rather slugish in respose to dragging the ik handles round.
acs3 also feels slugish too
t4d plugin is VERY slow in user interaction with the characters..quite painful in fact!
this had me really questioning if my system was at fault... so i created a "control character" test.

i used the basic female character from xsi foundation...[i have xsi, max and lightwave on the same system]

1.used biped guide to rig her in xsi...response on my system was fast and good to use even though i've very little time in xsi the interaction was good and well upto animating her with ease.

2.i then ported the character from xsi into lightwave so we're dealing with the same mesh poly count.
i rigged her with t4d plugin...painfully slow was like trying to drag a null through tar...unusable and quite irritating.
it also took some time to set the character up with painting maps etc..

3.acs3 [i haven't bought acs4] was similar to the t4d plugin but a little faster
and was faster to set up as well

4.3dsmax 4 and character studio 3 with the same character was a typical setup with biped and physique..it take a bit of tweeking to get aceptable deforms from physique but was okay after about 50mins tweeking envelopes

the interaction with the biped rig was fine and i have the additional ability to hide the mesh and just animate with the biped which by it's nature means that it have "volume" so i can see if whatever is cutting through and there's no bone deformation needed which makes animating good..the biped rig has a few things missing such as forearm twist [character studio 3...CS4 has forearm twist] but the rig is ik/fk and can use footsteps and mo cap...over all biped was as capable as the xsi rig but laking in some controls but this was offset with the unique abilities of character studio.

at this point i was quite worried with lightwave...so i dug out my splinegod training cdrom and followed how larry rigs up a character...this was a simple rig found on his intro training course with ik legs and fk arms but i needed to see if lightwave was not going to be a good option or not.....

the rigging was easy to follow and the interaction in the viewport was as fast or possibly faster than the xsi rig....to add a footroll capability i could follow the 3d buzz tutorial and that would give me the same controls as the xsi rig..

re the arms i could ik them if needed or use ikbooster this woud then give me a ik/fk rig if i wanted one.

messiah animate demo:- i have followed the butch rig and was amazed at it's speed and simple set up...i have also tried using autorigger but is felt messy to use so i'd choose a self built rig if i were going for messiah.

additional: meastro demo looks good so far and has noce butons for lowering the rez and setting bounding box threshold my only gripe with it so far is that on my couple ofhours playing with it there were times when a controler got out of control such as when i had a thumb stuck inside the hand and could not get it out with the controlers...i had to delete the keys as the reset mm button didn't bring it back to a default state...which i thing it should do...not sure on that though... :)

my personal conclusion:

if in lightwave...

a)either rig it yourself
b) try out meastro demo


xsi...it's fine but then you have the "deal with" xsi's U.I. and depressing way of working....it's still an option for me but i've decided to only spend time on learning how to rig animate in that app as the other parts of that app just drive me nuts!...i really hate xsi for rendering and textureing/surfacing so it's not a whole solution by any stretch of the imagination...though it is cheap...if i were to animate in it i'd buy point oven so i could render out in lightwave.

3ds max:- is a bit painful in the rigging process but you do gain some nice tools such as footsteps, layers, bip files [motion files] you need to offset what you'll lose though such as some capability in certain aspects like forearm roll and the hips arn't great either...overall i'ts quite capable though many outsiders poo poo character studio i would always say try it first then judge for yourself.

messiah:...it looks good n fast but your really only getting a similar capability to hand rigging in lightwave...the BIG deal is the bones are really fast and take zero setup..they deform well...you will ned to learn the u.i and animating in it..plus you'll needd to ove yor models to messiah to do the work.....

conclusion:
lightwave IS capable on it's own ad learning how to rig will make you feel much better in lightwave rather than leaning on autoriggers totally...have a look at the rigging on the lightwave 8 intro disc fro larry shultz in the quadroped he rigs up...

xsi is capable but you'll have some "screaming" to do if you go for a total xsi production..point oven will make it durable though!

3ds max is a capable system with character studio though you might need to export your scenes to lightwave [point oven] for rendering thogu max has a capable renderer and can also use lightscape rendered [pre lit] scenes built in lightwave and taken to lightscape.

messiah is good but you'll need to move scenes to and throw to lightwave and you'll need to learn messiah's "ways" for animating etc.

auto riggers in lightwave...have a good play with the meastro demo it looks to be the best of the bunch....

self rigging....get some training from splingod and look at the jonny gorden book as well..though i'd personally not use his rigging meathod from the first book as it's too time consuming..not looked the the second book in detail as yet though.

motion builder...i hate the drag n drop style of it..it maybe capable but it's "not for me" personally.

maya...no idea..looks okay and is probably similar to xsi or max with native bones.

...was this of any help??

:rolleyes:

ericsmith
03-04-2005, 09:30 AM
additional: meastro demo looks good so far and has noce butons for lowering the rez and setting bounding box threshold my only gripe with it so far is that on my couple ofhours playing with it there were times when a controler got out of control such as when i had a thumb stuck inside the hand and could not get it out with the controlers...i had to delete the keys as the reset mm button didn't bring it back to a default state...which i thing it should do...not sure on that though...

I think I already replied to this issue in another thread, but I'll comment again here as well.

Using the MMB reset sets the control to a user specified position, rotation, or scale (whatever the hotspot is set up to affect). Most of the controllers are set up to rotate, so giving them a default reset is easy, because it's all relative. But for a couple of the controllers, like the thumb and the hand mover, the reset moves them to a position in space. The default reset for these is 0,0,0, because if I set them to some absolute value, it would only be appropriate for the character I set them up for.

But it's really easy to set up the reset values for these controllers for your character. Simply select one of the thumb hotspots, go to Hotspot Properties, and hit the four "Get Reset" buttons (one for each channel). This will set the reset values to wherever the thumb is positioned at the time you do this.

I should also mention that we're working on a quick key shortcut that will set the reset values for all hotspots with one hit. So you could pose your character into whatever default pose you want, hit a key, and all your hotspots will reset to that position when you middle mouse click.

Eric

cresshead
03-04-2005, 12:31 PM
thanks for explaining that much better than i coud ever do!...

as i dart around alot on other 3dapps it may be cool to see if any of these capabilities can be put into meastro's u.i.

such as this http://www.brad-noble.com/ mainly for the hand pose section.
would be nice to have a pose saver for either only hand poses and a mirror tool to mirror them over like what's in the free rigger script for 3ds max

cheers

steve g

Wonderpup
03-05-2005, 05:29 PM
Hi ericsmith,

I was wondering how things stand with using Maestro and Motion mixer at the moment, I read somewhere that there were issues with expressions in motion mixer not being correctly read.

sire
03-05-2005, 11:26 PM
Hey Cresshead, thanks a lot for this review! :) Really interesting and helpful. It confirmed many of my assumptions (or prejudices).

ericsmith
03-06-2005, 10:49 AM
Hi ericsmith, I was wondering how things stand with using Maestro and Motion mixer at the moment, I read somewhere that there were issues with expressions in motion mixer not being correctly read.

The basic conclusion I came to was that Motion Mixer does not work with expressions. It appears that Lightwave's expression engine doesn't recognize the motion event that Motion Mixer sends to Layout. If you bake the motion in Motion Mixer, everything works, but that doesn't really help.

The last thing I want to do is just pass the blame along, but the fact is, this is a basic limitation of Motion Mixer. It's a problem whether you use Maestro or not. I'm honestly surprised that this issue hasn't come up before now. I just can't imagine no one has tried to use Motion Mixer with objects that drive other objects through expressions.

The bottom line is that we could create a rig for Maestro that doesn't use expressions, but I've already looked into this, and I've just never been able to build a rig without them that works anywhere near as nice as what we've been able to accomplish with them. Expressions are simply a fundimental part of building a really good, advanced rig in my opinion.

Eric

Wonderpup
03-06-2005, 02:41 PM
Hi ericsmith,

Thanks for the reply. It's sad that Maestro and Motionmixer can't be combined at this point, perhaps in future versions of the mixer. Still, even as a standalone Maestro goes a long way to addressing my need for a quick to setup character solution- looking forward to it's future development.

CB_3D
03-06-2005, 04:10 PM
Where is that Auto Footroll tutorial you mentioned?

Thx!

SplineGod
03-06-2005, 04:50 PM
It depends also on what you consider to be an advanced rig :)
For the most part i dont think expressions are necessary to get good animation out of a rig. Usually expressions are used for bones etc for deformations (like muscle bones). Ive found that its easier if you separate those two aspects into completely separate tasks. Many studios let the animators use a lower rez rig that lets them animate. The animators typically dont deal with deformations. That is usually handled by technical animators that make sure the deformations work out. People have written scripts in maya to transfer motion between simpler rigs to more complex rigs.

What you might do is use Motion Mixer to do what you need just for the animation part. Once youre done, bake out the motions and start dealing with the expressions/deformation aspect next. This isnt that much different then the approach people use in pipelines based on other software. I would take a careful look at the strengths and weaknesses of Motion Mixier and Maestro and develop a pipeline that works the best with both. This is what developing a workflow/production pipeline is all about :)

ericsmith
03-06-2005, 06:00 PM
Of course there are lots of points of view as to how rigging should be done, and my philosophy is only one of them. That being said, here's some issues that are important to me when doing character animation:

1. I really like certain levels of automation. It's important to have precise control underneath the automation, but I don't want to have to select every spine bone to bend the character's torso. There are situations where tying 2 or three motions together with expressions makes sense, as certain body motions can't happen in real life in isolation.

2. I want my characters to respond as though they are real, cohesive bodies. A good example of this is hip centering. Of course there are times when hip centering is not appropriate, but when I'm blocking out the animation of a character walking around, it drives me nuts having to go back and forth between moving the foot goal around, and then jumping to the pelvis to compensate so the characters foot actually connects with the foot goal, only to find that the foot position isn't quite right. I may turn off hipcentering after blocking is done, but having it on at some points greatly speeds up the process.

3. When possible, I like to minimize the number of controllers that affect a character. Character animation is basically about two things: posing and timing. When posing, it doesn't really matter if you select five bones and put the same rotational keyframe on all of them. But when doing curve cleanup or re-timing, it's much easier to deal with the keyframes or curves of one controller that affects the same five bones.

So in conclusion, I'm not saying that this is the only way, but it's a path that has worked really well for me. I'd also like to say that in a lot of production environments, there just isn't the time available to really develop these concepts to a workable state. I personally think that's why so many animators dismiss automation concepts. But I've had the luxury of fine tuning the same basic rig over the course of over 2 years. I kept pushing and refining until it did everything it was supposed to, and really well.

Eric