View Full Version : I need help setting up LightWave to go Back and Forth Weight Mapping.

05-06-2005, 03:55 PM
I am new to LightWave and 3D Animation, I am a seasoned Mac Artist from 1989. I am trying to add more Weight Map for the clothing with the body of my character.

I first designed and modeled a character in “Modeler.” I created morphs for the Facial Morph Maps and Phonemes for each facial expression and lip shape. Then, I created Weight Maps setting values and such for the body.

When I finished creating my body, clothes, shoes, textures, morphs and weight maps for the body, I “Sent the Object to Layout” from Modeler.

In Layout, I began rigging and creating “Bones,” and “Control Handles.” I spent some time using “Scene Editor”, “Motion Options” and “Bone Properties” panels. I’ve learned through practicing that these are the most used panels for rigging and making the proper rig.

I installed and used a free plug-in that I learned about called “Morph Mixer.” (It is great!)

In Layout, I learned how to make “Animation Controls and Targets” and “Assigning the Weight Maps to the “Bones.” Weight Maps are created in Modeler only, and Bones in Layout only.

Since I am new and don’t know the “Classic Scene Editor, I chose to reduce my learning curve a little and ignore learning Classic. Because, Classic Editor will eventually get phased out of the toolsets of LightWave.

I’ve noticed an annoying bug with the “Scene Editor Window.” The Scene Editor Window gets under my Mac Menu and I can not close or move Scene Editor panels, as it covers over my “ Scene’s Viewports.” I can’t see my character to work on it.

I finally figured out that under the “Edit menu>Window Config,” I could reset the Scene Editor panel’s position on my monitor screen, but that wigged out LightWave Layout causing errors and repeated crashes when I re-launched the program. And still, it didn’t work seamlessly. I went into the Preference folder and deleted the (*.cfg file) to get rid of the errors.

Somehow, I was able to add my “controls” setting up the “Control Hierarchy” and “Parents” in Scene Editor.

I added “Inverse Kinetics” for legs and arms. Adjusted and tested the animation and facial functions, and mirrored the left bone structure to the right side.

At this point I am happy with LightWave all except the Scene Editor bug. The learning curve was easier that Maya Complete ( Maya, now just set in my Applications folder and never gets clicked anymore, since I got the competitive upgrade from NewTek.), so now I think I can really make something with 3D.

But I could not re-structure and re-organize my Items in the pop-up list in a particular order for ease of selecting them. I found that PC users use a program by Scott Martindale called, “MSort” to easily re-organize items.

Lastly, I set the deformation of joint and bones. Then, I went to adjust the Weight Maps and adding New Weight Maps which required me to switch back from Layout to Modeler to create and edit weight Maps.

I selected my Character and pressed f12 to go the Modeler. I created new maps and adjusted existing weight maps. But when I went to save the weight map work in Modeler I got and error that said, “Unable to open file, Steve:Application:LightWave [8]:Content:Object: Filename01.lwo.” “OK” Not an Apple error, but a LightWave error.

I just could not save the file.

I get a similar error from the Layout file when I save.

I went back to Layout and could not see the Weight Maps that I created either. I re-created the Weight Maps several time trying new things the figure out the problem or work around.

Can someone help me to set up my LightWave correctly to go back and forth between Modeler and Layout? Remember I am new to LightWave.

If I save the file as a different name and to a different location, it saves properly. But the weight map information does not carry over the layout scene that I am working on.

I need help. I am stuck and my brain is fried now.

I need an old Pro the show me the way.

Is this a bug or am I doing something incorrectly.

05-06-2005, 09:38 PM
Okay a few tips.

Look on www.Flay.com (it's the centre for LW plugins!) for Load Bones. In LW you can set up your bones positions in Modeler, the proxies which you use for this are called Skelegons (they're polygons which LW converts into bones when asked)

Load bones will take a scene and place the bones from that scene in your object. You can then use Vmaps>Colour maps>Vertex paint to paint your weight maps. this is specially set up for painting them and testing them and works best if each bone has it's own weight map.

Something you might not have understood coming from Maya is that YOU DON'T have to use weight maps with bones in LW. In fact, LW can calculate the deformation on the fly, so all you have to do is place a few 'holder' bones to stop some unsightly deformation. This is how I prefer to work as maintaining weight maps can be time consuming. Also, you can split your object up into bits to make painting weights easier, then paste it all back together seamlessly without losing your weight maps.

Having said that, you can use weight maps, but they are much more flexible than in maya. You can paint individual weight maps for each bone, but what you might prefer to do is paint one map for the entire right leg, one for the left leg, one for both arms, and one for the head+torso/ separate maps for head and torso. You then select these for each set of bones in that area (for example all the right leg bones are set to 'Right_Leg_Map'. Then LW will limit these bones influence to their respective weight map, but calculate the influence between bones (within the same weight map) itself.

That way by painting just 5 maps you can get really good deformation.

As to your save problem, I'm not a mac man, I'm afraid, so hopefully someone else will be able to help you out there...

05-06-2005, 10:44 PM
Yes, I’ve heard that “Skelegons” is a bone creation tool for Modeler in LightWave. The person who gave me advice was more comfortable explaining how to rig using bones in Layout. But I will try using skelegons in Modeler.

I like the British-ness of your writing style or speaking style. You have very classy way of shading light on a subject. Thanks.

Or should I say, Cheers...

I can't find many good LightWave experts in my area. Is it possible that you could be my LightWave buddy? I just need a good booster push by a guru towards helping me to quickly becoming a LightWave Master.

05-07-2005, 03:35 AM
I prefer to rig in layout since thats where the action and deformations take place. As Dodgy said, you dont have to use weight maps because LW bones are deformers and work as soon as you activate them.
Bones have a variety of settings that control how they interact with vertices. It makes more sense to test your deformations first with the basic bones and then add some hold bones where necessary. After that you can still use weight maps if needed. Typically by waiting until the end to use weight maps youll find that:
A. You probably dont need them
B. You only need very simple ones. For example you may have one weight maps for both arms and one weight map for the rest of the body. All the bones in both arms can be assigned to the arms weight map and all the rest of the bones assigned to the body weight map. This can easily be done in the scene editor.
I also tend to create selection sets of the bones based on weight maps so that they can be easily reassigned if necessary.

I tend to not use skelegons much for character rigging. I do use them for other things where I can get the same functional ity with bones. I alsso tend to not paint weight maps much anymore but use a free plugin called FIs weight map blur.

Its also important to develop logical workflows. I tend to check deformations first then determine where I might need weight maps and at what level. I will usually setup IK or other controls after Ive done that. I tend to not use IK much on the upper body except in cases where a characters hands needs to stick to a surface or follow a surface. There are certain types of motions that cant be done very easily with IK. You get around this by setting up a way to blend between IK and FK by using orient constraints or similar approaches, using IKBoost or baking the IK and then tweaking with FK (after turning off full time IK). In many cases IK is more or less an animation assist tool but lacks the control of FK.

I also tend to break the rigging process into two aspects:
Deformation and Animation. I also handle those separately because combining them usually slows things down.

05-07-2005, 05:39 AM
WeightMapCombiner.. awesome plugin.. Get it from Flay.