View Full Version : IkBooster still in R&D or Messiah ?

09-12-2005, 10:12 AM
hi folks,

I am using LW8.3 for now (maybe 8.5 one day).
My question is for animators:

Is it risky to setup a character with IkBooster (bugs, workarounds,etc..) or is it better to invest in Messiah:animate and forget about LW bones system (old and newone).

I am testing Ikbooster now for the first time (I know it's late) and I am not convinced by the tool (looks like unstable ): some posts on the forums seems to say that is buggy.

Can you give me some advices ? I prefere to pay 300$ (or more) and have an "universal system" than loosing time with a buggy feature.

My other question if the answer is: Messiah..
What do you recommand ? XSI foundations (with Pointoven) or Messiah for character animation ?

Some of did you choose Motionbuilder ... better than Messiah ?

It's serious question: I have more clients asking me to make character animations... need to upgrade my pipeline ( have the budget: ready to buy, but don't know what to choose).

In your studios, what do you use ?


09-12-2005, 11:47 AM
u should look at MAESTRO, seems very neat for a lot of thing regarding animation, also very easy to setup and go. i think u can get a demo, try it and see how it fits you, might find it useful.

09-12-2005, 12:16 PM
I think much depends on the type of characters you are animating. If you are animating cartoon style characters and only once in a while,.. I'd say stick with lightwave. If you are doing lots of character animation and the characters are more complex or realistic,.. maybe consider a 3rd party application.
I find that staying in lightwave is easier than jumping from app to app unless the work really demands better tools.
The main thing you will gain from other apps is more control and a faster interface for character animation.

Concerning Motion Builder or Messiah. I've used both. It has been a while for Messiah as I tend to use Motion Builder due to an easy and fast setup and fast interface w/ realtime feedback. But with that in mind, I don't think you could go wrong with one or the other as both are great.. but for me,.. I use motion builder.

09-12-2005, 01:04 PM
I actually bought Project Messiah (the app before Messiah:Animate) and I liked the program. I didn't like the problems I had getting stuff from one app to the other. And I assume that's how it is going ot be on every application. I never tried the demo to Messiah:Animate, so I don't know how the transfer will go.

09-12-2005, 01:56 PM
i surpose it depends on your personal needs...

if your going for hand keyed character animation then i'd say take a good look at maestro and t4d plugins before any 3rd party 3d animation programs...

of those to choose from...messiah and xsi

messiah seems very cheap and will work out of the box with lightwave

xsi has a biped/quadroped guide rig to rig and setup your characters though you'll most probably want some 3rd party tutorials training to get you thru the steep learning curve of xsi's ways...

if your looking at motion captured animation then both xsi and messiah will support it but both only have limited editing of a mo cap file...

motion builder and 3dsmax are your alternative for mo cap animation editing and character animation...not sure what training is out there for motion builder and alias seem to be crippling motion builder of late for use with other apps than maya so you need to tred carefully.


i use 3dsmax with the character studio animation for my animations with freeform hand keyed animation, footstep driven animation and motion capture files.

you'll see there's a nice tutorial on this board today to get 3ds max animations out over to lightwave.

good luck! :thumbsup:

09-12-2005, 01:59 PM
ohh additional info!

with xsi you'll need to buy pointoven which is $99

i also have meastro and td4 plugins for lightwave and both are quite nice plugins...

meastro gives me neat ways to animate characters

td4 give me ways to fast rig and share my rigged characters with those who do not have any plugins such as td4 or meastro.

09-12-2005, 02:22 PM
thanks a lot !

IkBooster is not that bad but need more improvement.

About Maestro and other LW plugs :
-I believe in the use of an external application than to stay in LW. Applications such Messiah or Motionbuilder are programmed for animation with every tools we could need for rigging a character.

I have seen some video of messiah, I like very much the fast process and the look closer to LW. I will try to see a demo of Motionbuilder ( wich is very expensive). I don't want to wait for an ultime version of LW.

On others forums some LW's animators told me that they use Messiah.

Thank you for your help.
I will wait few days to have more advice. I will certainly buy the applic next week...

thanks again ! :thumbsup:

09-12-2005, 02:34 PM
thanks cresshead !

.. I am not sure to use motioncapture .. who knows ?!! but I said, staying in LW ..hummm this idea don't seduce me.

I am sure those plugs 4td,maestro,etc. are very good.... they still use the Lw bones system ...

249$ for messiah:animate.. is not so expensive ? and it support Max,maya,LW and work as a standalone. This way I can share my work with everyone.

Character Studio is fantastic but I have to pay for 3DSMAX !! (wich is very expensive). For that price I will migrate to a light version of Maya or XSI.

But after reading some post, it's good to see that I am not the only one who don't like lightwave for animation.

Thanks people !

09-12-2005, 04:18 PM
thanks cresshead !

I am sure those plugs 4td,maestro,etc. are very good.... they still use the Lw bones system ...

Maestro is definitely built on LW's existing system. We won't, for example, speed up IK or anything like that. What it does do, however, is provide much quicker access to the character after it's built. Want the head to turn? Well, without Maestro, you have to select the item, click on the rotate tool, then you can finally start dragging around to turn it. With Maestro, click on the hotspot, start dragging, and instantly he's turning his head. No more having to rotate your viewport around just to select the right item or trying to click and drag on the hard-to-reach handle. The IK itself may not be any faster than Lightwave already provides, but you spend a lot less time getting to the point and doing your tweaks.


^ Hopefully that'll illustrate my point a little more clearly. We built Maestro as a 'get to the point' tool for both rigging and animating, and it's paying off for us.

Whatever you decide, good luck. I'm happy to answer questions, if you like. :)

09-13-2005, 07:39 AM
I am a motionbuilder owner and I came very close to purchasing messiah. I would say get motionbuilder if you are animating over motioncapture and are only working with biped and quadpeds. Its layer implementation is great. For keyframe animation, the auto rig is powerful, its posing is nice because of its effector pinning but adjusting animation is awkward in the graph editor because the auto rig is so complex.

Messiah is alot more flexible than motionbuilder but I hear complaints about their autorig functionality so you will probably be doing your own rigging. I do not know this first hand but from reading forums so it may be completely wrong (just like this post).

Both are great applications.

I own t4d, acs4 and have tried maestro and all are great plugins. I really liked maestro for its control panel. Some of these plugin's rigs are complex and therefore less responsive in lightwave.

For me, I find a simple lightwave rig (ik legs, fk arms, weight maps, no expressions, proxy object if needed) to be very responsive and fast to pose and gives me realtime playback around 21 fps (not as fast as messiah or motionbuilder but effective when animating at 24 fps). I find the new bone tools very powerful although most lightwave crashes that I experience occur while using them. I have not tried ik boost yet because I find the standard ik implementation fast and easy to setup.

I am enjoying animating in lightwave so much that I am checking with Alias to see if I can sell my motionbuilder 6 license.

I have attached an animation test that I just did in lightwave 8.3

09-13-2005, 12:01 PM
for hand keyed animation:-
if you stay in lightwave with no need to 'share' a rig then maestro is the biz...very cheap and it does stuff that no other app does with such great ease and power too.

for motion capture files than 3dsmax is the biz:-with multiple props transferable motions to other characters and layered animation plus quick pre viz capability with footstep animation and fig/bip files....and also note that max 8.0 bring mo cap's to standard bone rigs too.

For the occasional character animation then lightwave is well upto the task 'as is' out the box.

xsi foundation is okay but you'll want point oven to bring it back over to render out in lightwave.

lightwave, xsi and messiah has [as i currently understand] poor tools for rigging/editing/data thinning and layering motion capture files for characters

09-13-2005, 07:41 PM
NanoGator: yes, I have seen very positive comments about Maestro. I will give a try with the demo.

richgrafx: Maybe Motion builder is too much mocap oriented. after reading you, it seems to be limited to biped and quadriped ( of course I can add extra bones in LW to tune the rig.

cresshead: Biped is a powerful tool for newbies (like me), footstep, autorig,etc.. only 'physique' plugin is bad. There is CAT 2.0: take a look to it, very impressive.

I have been playing with messiah ... not bad at all ( of course no Lw's weightmap or morph support,... but, the armature option is cool and there are some tools (like curve) wich help to bulge muscles. I like the handle system.
Of course, you have to setup your character yourself but I did it much faster than LW.

I did more tests with the new bones tools in LW (Bone twist, reset pivot,etc..) Lw is in the good way to have an interesting system but NT must work faster ... we can't work with R&D features, maybe I must wait the 8.5 upgrade, I hope there are more improvements than they said.

About Maestro ... ( can I add expression, extra bones, etc... can I tweak the model after rigging ?

thanks ! :thumbsup:

09-14-2005, 04:01 AM
:thumbsup: regarding 3dsmax bone modifier 'physique' being difficult to use...
many people use 'skin' inconjunction with biped rather than physique [skin was the built in bone deformer modifier as of max 3] which has grown in capability over the subsequent releases of 3dsmax and which there's a new feature video on it here...


and also a feature video on new capabilities of biped too


as you can see from the feature video's there's quite a few neat things that i'd ike to see in lightwave and or something like maestro taken from biped and skin!

cheers...sorry about the max rant but i'm soooo looking forward to my max 8.0 subscription update arriving soon!

:thumbsup: :lwicon:

09-14-2005, 09:16 AM
I can understand, it 's always exciting to receive a new toy !!

I found interesting link about XSI and messiah: (plus and minus ..)
Interesting because there are some comments from LW users ; they don't use LW bones.

Hope this link will help some poeple :


I wish to see similar to endorphin and AI in LW. (I like dynamic bones).

09-14-2005, 09:34 AM
I wrote a muscle bone creation plugin for lightwave. You select the bone you want to be the muscle, and the target bone which bend to drive the muscle, and it adds in a bone which the muscle bone targets, and a motion modifier which controls the bulging/shrinking of the muscle bone..

Have a look on my web page.

You can use follower and a bone to do the same type of thing. I use Lw's bones and have had useful deformations out of them. I don't see why people are so down on them myself...

09-14-2005, 09:48 AM
About Maestro ... ( can I add expression, extra bones, etc... can I tweak the model after rigging ?

The rigging component of Maestro is really more of a macro executer, so it just executes a whole bunch of native Lightwave steps. What this means is that the rig created is totally native LW, as if you had rigged it manually.

There seems to be two very big misconceptions out there about Maestro.

The first is that the rig is somehow proprietary, and can't be changed. The rigging part of Maestro was created to allow you to take any series of tasks and automate them. This can be handy even after the rig is built. For example, I've got a macro that automatically changes all my camera settings and such for a specific project I'm working on. One click and a new scene is ready to go.

But the real power of Maestro is in the controller. I can't stress enough how much of a productivity boost this can have in the actual animation process. When you can pose your character so quickly and effortlessly, without ever having to struggle to select the right control item, or switching between move and rotate, it keeps you focused on the flow of bringing the character to life. It's not just about animating faster, although I've been consistantly producing 30 seconds a day per character. It really makes the animation process more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.

I hope this doesn't sound like a huge sales pitch. The truth is, for me, having Maestro has guaranteed that Lightwave will be the core of my pipeline for a while. It's tempting to look at some of the other packages out there, but in spite of the advanced feature sets that some of these other packages have, there doesn't seem to be a single software company out there that is interested in making the fundimental task of posing and keyframing less convoluted and tedious than it currently is right now.


09-14-2005, 12:30 PM
ive used all major packages in the business to animate and so far messiah is by far the most powerful hand key animator and the best IK setup and animation workflow. all of this is easy to implement and faster then anything ive used so far. However, its not perfect. there is alot of problems with SBD, there is no autorig at this point (you can use V1, but v2 has been taken out because of python compatibility issues).

overall, my main complaint with messiah is SBD (when used for clothes). However, animation wise - nothing touches it. Not by a long shot. in my opinion that is.

09-14-2005, 09:13 PM
hi folks,

I am sure now ... I don't want to use LW bones ! :bangwall:
After testing and testing ... hummm crash, bugs, etc.. :devil:

That's why I will not purchase Maestro ( as I said before I am sure you did a great job, unfortunatly I don't want to use LW anymore).

I like Messiah: very fast setup, close to LW interface...

but I think I will buy XSI, I just received 30 days demo (foundation). There is not all features but there is a tip to activate them.

This way I will have a good solution to move on.( good animation system, mentalray, professional grapheditor, etc... ).

I don't know when 8.5 or 9.0 will be out..than I change slowly my pipeline to
a pro. solution.

thanks for your help !

09-15-2005, 02:22 AM
I agree with Dodgy. I use LW bones all the time and find them stable and easy to setup and use. IKBooster also works fine. Keep in mind that in many cases that its designed to work on top of the current IK system and offers a nice blend of LWs full time IK and its part time IK. :)

09-15-2005, 06:26 AM

Did you use an other bone system than LW ? 8/ I have been using softimage 3.0(along time ago .... ) for animation. It was very powerful, I imagine now. As you can see a lot of studios use XSI for animation and renderer.


I don't know the kind of animation you are doing , but I have some needs, like: switching geometry (proxy object), weightmap transfer, bones transfers to new setup,... hard to explain with my bad english all the stuffs missing in LW.
But, after playing with LW I feel like I have a lot of small plugins in Layout and Modeler to make my character setup working...
It 's long to explain but LW is not good for animation (ok for cartoon, ok for quick setup (I have done a medical animation to explain how muscles works, I did a fast setup but not perfect (a lot of mistake outside of the camera view)
I had to use weightmaps, morphing, expression to make it work correctly...
of course it will be the same in an other package but too long under LW and some time it's impossible to come back few steps before to correct it (no "stack" or "history mode") ...
you can't use modeling tools in Layout after the setup to correct geometry deformation ( you have to use savetransformed or softfx tips...etc...)

Human with cloths, animals, cartoon characters are easy to setup , because you don't see too much the deformation mistakes.. a naked human is a big challenge because your eyes knows how the body must react.

The graph editor is bad ( bad interface, tools missing, editing mode missing too ... ).

Lw needs more improvements in animation part.

But now , people use Silo,Modo or Zbrush ... there are less reasons to use LW as a "full" package ... Xsi, Messiah or Motionbuilder for animation ....
About rendering ?.... Vray, Final render, Maya, Mentalray ...

Lw is not a challenger anymore. It will take too much time to be at the same step as other packages. :cool:

Using XSI: It's a way for me to stay competitive.

09-15-2005, 07:29 AM
I've used maya a lot, cinema 4d a little and xsi for a couple of hours. I did want to give xsi 3 exp a fair chance since it seems to be so loved.

I made a ball, added some bones, and then enveloped them. That worked fine. Then I tried to delete the bones. And I couldn't... Why was that? I could delete everything else in the scene, but not the bones. And no explanation as to why. That gives a really good impression. My friend who is a real XSI evangelist even says it was nowhere near stable till 3.5. So now I'm thinking it's just like maya, over-hyped. Don't get me wrong I know it has a lot of great things, but it also has a lot wrong with it. I'm not saying Lw is the best thing ever either, just that it works for me.

For me, I love that you don't have to weight map bones, or just use them for particular bones, rather than having to weight everything. I know IKB hasn't been the most stable of things, but I have noticed that it's gotten better the last few point releases. I've even started migrating some of my rigs over to it. The only thing which doesn't seem to work at the moment is the Target function for me.

In that thread you quoted, I read most of it, and the initial question was from someone who owned xsi and was asking about messiah. Why should LW come into it? Anyone who uses messiah is only going to talk about that, anyone who uses LW in preference isn't really going to add to the discussion, so that thread isn't really useful in this case.

As to bone transfer, why aren't you just copying the scene, replacing the mesh and moving the bones to the correct place? I have one rig which I just adjust for other characters. To create a joint morph is easy too.

But really at the end of all this, I think you've decided on a package haven't you? In which case, go for it. I like Lw, you like XSI. Go for it.

Having said that, I'm enjoying your muscle thread, it'd be a shame to see you go :)

09-15-2005, 08:41 AM
I typically use LW for a lot of things including character animation.
LW is quite capable of getting good deformations which, like anything else, depends on how well you know the package. Getting realistic muscle or cloth takes some work to do regardless of the package. Ive yet to see a push button solution. I suppose thats why most places have teams to handle things like that. I like the fact that LW bones work without having to go thru the hassle of weight maps. Its also nice to have the weight maps there if needed. Endomorphs sure beat having discreet morph targets. I think Dodgy hit the nail on the head. It sounds like youve already made your choice awhile ago. Good luck with it. :)

09-15-2005, 09:00 AM
Operation. I think you have made a good choice in XSI.. I would recommend it to any serious animator.
Our studio is doing what I feel is probably our last Character Animation job using LW for similar reasons to ones you have discussed.
I feel Newtek is pushing the rendering side of LW more now. Which is good in a way, as it's always been LW's strength, but not so good for the few remaining professional LW animators.

09-15-2005, 11:50 AM

about "In that thread you quoted": I was upset to rig a character and want to know how people was working. And step by step ..I have seen that Lw user sometime use don't feel confortable under LW: They use an other system.
"you must use the tool that fit to you" that's why some people prefere Max, Maya or what ever ... LW is a good package , but since Amiga I never felt confortable with animation. I have just decided those last days to push the software ;) ... because I have seen a lot of effort done in this way by newtek.
But as I a professionnel (I am freelancer),I have short deadlines (ie: the post you have seen about muscle, it's for a tv show, they called me the afternoon for the next morning ... that why I said I was working during the night to model, animate and render (thanks Fprime) I spent too much time for animation and rendering ( I had to setup the deformation of the muscle,skin,etc... and render by pass (bones, muscles,skin)... I was dreaming dor something like "Surpasses" (I did a small script during the night to render by pass...) but honeslty I prefere to spend time on my animation than setup workaround.

Don't worry, I will use LW of course. I will always. but I don't react like a fan anymore ( I am freelancer, I can buy software for my "work". I don't have the moral problem to stay on only one software ). At end my question was: Why Maestro, T4D, AC4, etc... exist ? :help:

I will keep LW in my workflow. Maybe just had some weapons in my toolbox ! :thumbsup:

This year all my projects were done with LW. Next time I will post more of my work and explain the difficulties I had with LW (radiosity pblms, baking, modeling ...). Maybe "advanced users" needs more communication with NT developpement team.

NT knows this problem of migration very well, some of us don't use LW for years and come back to it... others use it and prefere to move on.
We are always moving and coming back to it.

you was unable to delete a bones under XSI...It's curious(I will give a try).

I am going to make a serie of tutorial under LW :D

SplineGod: I am sure your a big master of LW bones ! :agree: I wish to see more of your work. Do you have some quicktime or link to your work ? I like your participation for the communauty!

Pooby: Yes you did understand between the lines what I meant... yes I think that LW is focusing on the rendering ( it was the strength of LW for years... the quality of the render engine). And honestly I am talking to everyone (freelancers, studios, friends, etc...) since 1 years ... some of them use LW as a "renderfarm", Fprime bring a boost to LW for rendering. But I don't know if they did change the way to work.. an exemple:

" "We used every technique in the book, including XSI, (Alias/Wavefront) Maya and LightWave, according to the artist's preference and the application," says Gordon. ""

I like to share point of view. :thumbsup: