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View Full Version : Teaching 3d animation from zero:LW or AM?



MaxRivera
04-27-2005, 09:37 AM
We are planning a 3D course in a New Media workshop for a University. It will last only a semester, and our main focus is in productivity. We want the alumni to see resoults pronto, and their work incorporated in a local cable show.

We will cover text and logo animation and basic to medium character animation with lipsinc.

Wich of these programs (Lightwave or Animation Master) has the lowest learning curve?

Thanks for your comments.

policarpo
04-27-2005, 09:42 AM
We are planning a 3D course in a New Media workshop for a University. It will last only a semester, and our main focus is in productivity. We want the alumni to see resoults pronto, and their work incorporated in a local cable show.

We will cover text and logo animation and basic to medium character animation with lipsinc.

Wich of these programs (Lightwave or Animation Master) has the lowest learning curve?

Thanks for your comments.

If you will be doing Logo Animations, you want a tool which will give you parametric control over your imported .AI and .EPS files, so you might think about using such a system (After Effects with the ZAXwerks plugin comes to mind). For CA work, I have heard AM is great...but I have never used it (but for $199 or whatever it costs) it might be a solution...

WilliamVaughan
04-27-2005, 10:42 AM
As a LW instructor I can say from experience that the LW learning curve is quite low. Students can get up and running in no time. Also LW has a large resource pool for tutorials, videos, and user forums to help the instructor and the students.

LW is also heavily used in all markets (print, game, broadcast, film, multimedia, etc.) This will allow the students that learn it to apply what they learn in the industry.

LW has more of an industry standard with it's tools then AM as well.

LW supports AI and EPS importing and is used heavily for Logo animation...Rich Helvey comes to mind:
http://www.newtek.com/products/lightwave/profiles/RichHelvey-2/index.html


If you have any specific questions please let me know....plus I know the community here will be more then happy to help answer as well.

Big Jay
04-27-2005, 12:03 PM
for logo work you need lightwave. AM does not play nice with eps and ai files and you will need a 3rd party plugin to bring them in and stitch them into solid surfaces. LW does this easily

I've used animation master and done a few animations in it. I eventually moved up to Lightwave and between the two modeling in LW is alot easier. AM tends to crease and cause you to spend time managing splines. New plugins will smooth out all the problems in spline meshes in current version of AM, but I would definitely go with LW if I had to do that over again.

Animation, logos: This is fine in either, see modeling issues above however. I would recomend LW for this.

Character Animation: AM is the best Character animation system I've used (Maya, LW, and 3DStudio Max). No gimble lock, easy constraints, non linear morphs, easy to setup join morphs the list goes on) LW is pretty easy to setup. Not as advanced as AM but it has a solid animation tool set and the morphs (for lip syncing for example) will update if you tweak the base mesh. (great if you use, say, one head and give it to all your students then have them all tweak the head to look different the morphs will mostly be intact and only need a little tweaking.)

So for overall useability use LW if you are doing strictly character animation go with AM.

MaxRivera
04-27-2005, 05:44 PM
Thanks for your comments. We plan to have collaboration between teams, charing models and splitting scenes. Even isolating models and rendering separate backgrounds with a blue screen. Will Lightwave favour this kind of collaboration?

Also, rendering times are an issue, becouse weŽll face time pressure constantly if we plan to air the students animations.

Big Jay
04-27-2005, 09:56 PM
very good for this.

the scenes where you do animation and rendering link to external models so you can have one team do sets and another do characters and just replace the models as they are done. if you keep replacing the current model with updated files with the same name you will have no problems

I did that with a few animations and it works.

SplineGod
04-27-2005, 10:29 PM
You want to make sure you split out the tasks in a logical way. You can run into problems if endomorphs end up getting applied to a model then the model with texture maps/weight maps.

Carm3D
04-27-2005, 11:03 PM
I've used both..

Lightwave is vastly superior for logo work. Lightwave has the advantage in modeling and rendering speed. Lightwave's rigging capabilities are antiquated but usable. The selection of 3rd party plugins available for Lightwave are a big advantage. Lightwave is more stable than A:M.

A:M's tools for character rigging is superior, esp. with it's natively implemented SmartSkins feature. SmartSkin kicks major butt. Modeling with splines in A:M is a pain in the butt (especially for logos). The last version I used of A:M had painfully slow rendering speeds. Also, it would crash if you looked at it wrong. Very unstable.

A:M is made from the ground-up for character animation. Lightwave on the other hand is more of a swiss-army knife.. Flexible for a greater variety of tasks.

howardt
04-28-2005, 06:39 AM
AM does not play nice with eps and ai files and you will need a 3rd party plugin to bring them in and stitch them into solid surfaces.

What version of AM is this comment based on? Since about version 8 there's an ai importer that does a reasonable job (OK, I'm biased - I wrote it) at importing ai vector art and turning it into an extruded solid, with control over beveling and curve subdivision. You do have to use an ai version before Adobe changed their format to pdf (version 9, I think), but many 3d programs, including LW I believe, have the same restriction.

But overall I agree with Carm3D's assessment.

Big Jay
04-28-2005, 11:29 AM
I used version 9 and remember hunting the plugin down, installing it and using it quite a bit. It was very useful. I am not saying it was a bad plugin just that it is a plugin that wasn't included.

I dug around AM 11 today and didn't realize it was hidden in wizards. I went to the import menus and didn't see it and thought it was still external.

I would still say that AM does not give you as much power over using ai files as LW does.

LW I can bevel it, stencil it, drill it out of another object or about 6 kinds of things it can do with an ai file.

sorry for the confusion