View Full Version : Maestro is out!

02-17-2005, 01:58 PM
Hey All,

I'm pleased to announce that Maestro for Lightwave has been released. It can be purchased from Kurv Studios (http://www.kurvstudios.com/software.php). It is available right now for an introductory price of $120.

(The image above is of the Maestro Controller in action. See how clicking and dragging turns the character's head?)

So what is Maestro? Simply, it's a character rigging and animation tool. We're working on a full-length animated movie. During the course of developing this movie, we've developed a really nice character rig + the tools to quickly apply this rig to any character. We needed flexibility, though, so we based the rigging on a simple LScript Commander-style script, thus making it very easy to customize.

We also developed a Controller that started out as a character picker, but evolved into a panel you can directly control your character from. The image above tells the story pretty well, I think. If you click inside the hotspot that controls his head and drag left and right, his head turns. Move the mouse up and down, his head nods. Use the right mouse button and his head tilts from side to side. Use the middle mouse button, and his head snaps back to the default pose.

That really only tells a small part of the story. That's why we have demo videos (http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?p=248419#post248419)!

Check it out. If you've got any quesitons? Please, feel free to ask. :)

02-17-2005, 03:42 PM
Maestro for Lightwave is one of the most powerful tools for character animation I have seen in quite some time. It's obvious that character animators in production helped develop this tool. I've seen my share of "auto-riggers" but nothing gives you this kind of control once the rig has been created. Congrats on making such an amazing tool, and making it affordable for my students and small studios!

02-17-2005, 04:19 PM
Will there be a trial version?

02-17-2005, 04:24 PM
Will there be a trial version?

We're looking into it. :)

02-17-2005, 04:44 PM
What's the deadline for the intro price?

02-17-2005, 05:11 PM
April 15th according to the kurv.com website

02-17-2005, 05:28 PM
That's good, gives me a bit of time to save up for it.

Chris S. (Fez)
02-17-2005, 08:35 PM
Looks great but I still have a few questions.

How customizeable is the rig? Can I control the number of spine bones and forearm bones? Can I safely "bonesplit" the thigh bones and shin bones and shoulder bones etc etc for further control? Can I safely scale and translate bones with this rig? Can I safely add bones?


02-17-2005, 09:33 PM
There's a couple of ways to answer this. I'll start with the simple...

If you are using one of the default rig setups, here are the rules: You need to use the default skelegon structures provided. You can add new bones (ie. hold bones), but their names can't be the same as any of the default bones. You can't delete any of the default bones before rigging. Splitting bones like the spine, thigh or forarm will cause the character to not rig properly. This is because the rigger is looking for specific bones to apply expressions, IK settings, etc. If any of these bones changes name, the rigger won't find them. After rigging, you can do anything you want to the rig, including deleting any bones you don't need, as well as doing things like bonesplit.

That being said, all of the rig files provided are simply macros that tell Lightwave what steps to take to rig the character. You can modify these files all you want, or create your own from scratch. From this point of view, you have total control.

The one limitation in this area that Maestro doesn't have access to is applying and setting up plugins like orient contstraints (with the exception of item shape. We figured out a way of sneaking that one in). This doesn't mean you can't add these plugins to a finished rig, they just can't be applied automatically. But any Lightwave command, from creating nulls, to setting parent heirarchies, to motion settings like IK goals, targeting, stiffness or limits, etc, can be executed through Maestro.

I hope this answers your questions.


Chris S. (Fez)
02-17-2005, 11:54 PM
Thanks for the prompt response, Eric. Only one more question. Can we scale and transform bones without the IK and other rigging particulars going batty?

02-18-2005, 12:19 AM
I'm not quite sure that I understand what you're getting at, but I just played around with the rig, scaling bones (I got a real nice impression of the Mr. Hyde character from League of Extrodinary Gentlemen) as well as moving the bones around. The rig still performed normally.

While I can imagine scaling bones for squash and stretch, I can't think of a situation where I would want to start translating bones in a character. It just tears apart the structure. But as far as the expressions and IK settings, they're all based on rotation, so translation and scale don't really have any adverse effect.

If this doesn't answer your question, could you give me a more specific example of what you're trying to accomplish?


03-09-2005, 02:17 PM
If I want to start modeling some characters and plan to use maestro in the future- are there any things to consider to make sure everything will work with maestro?

Thanks :)

03-09-2005, 03:18 PM
It helps if your character is spread eagle to make it easier to match the rig to your character, but the manual gives ome hints to get around that if you model with the arms in another position.

03-09-2005, 04:24 PM
I haven't done any animation work *at all,* so please forgive me if these are stupid questions, but...

1) Is this PC only? Cross-platform? er...


2) If you use Maestro to do the rigging, can you export it as, say, fbx, and have the model stay rigged if someone opens it in another application?

It looks like a great tool...

03-09-2005, 05:44 PM
Works on both PC & Mac

Once it is rigged it can be treated for the most part like any other rig in LW as far as I know. I really don't know much about the export options in LW 8.2, but once you get the hang of using the Maestro interface I'm not sure why you would need to export anything expect maybe to add Mocap in motion builder of something like that.

03-09-2005, 05:52 PM
Well, for example, to sell the model or pass to someone using a different sw package (although why everyone doesn't use LW completely eludes me).

I've had pretty good success moving models using fbx, but none of them have been rigged.

03-10-2005, 08:04 AM
Works on both PC & Mac

Once it is rigged it can be treated for the most part like any other rig in LW as far as I know. I really don't know much about the export options in LW 8.2, but once you get the hang of using the Maestro interface I'm not sure why you would need to export anything expect maybe to add Mocap in motion builder of something like that.

Would there be a reason using Motion Builder for Mocap stuff? I don't know MB too well. Or to put it that way: Is there something in LW which makes it less suitable for working with Mocap data?

(Sorry for this little jump off topic - Maestro looks very promising btw!)