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Emmanuel
11-22-2005, 08:22 AM
Hi, while I am sitting in a Maya class here, I would like to request some MAYA tools to be made for LW:

1)"Image plane" for modeling from reference images (better than our backdrop images, because it also works in perspective view, very useful)

2)True symmetrical modeling (Maya uses instances for that and allows any modelling tool like creating new geometry)

faulknermano
11-23-2005, 05:14 AM
2)True symmetrical modeling (Maya uses instances for that and allows any modelling tool like creating new geometry)

imo, not really the best of workflows if you're talking about Maya per se. in fact, the insistence of using instances for symmetrical modelling make it difficult to go back and re-edit your model after you have merged it. as for the aspect of using any tool, you're right, though maya does not sport as many good poly tools than what you find in LW.

Emmanuel
11-23-2005, 06:32 AM
I am lacking any in-depth knowledge of Maya, but from what I have seen, all the basic modeling tools are there, and then there are excellent free plugins which mimic quite a lot of other packages' modeling tools.
LW relies on plugins heavily these day to stay a competitive modeling package.

faulknermano
11-23-2005, 07:03 AM
I am lacking any in-depth knowledge of Maya, but from what I have seen, all the basic modeling tools are there,

yes, you're correct. all the basic tools are their. the problem is, it's so basic that it's funny.


and then there are excellent free plugins which mimic quite a lot of other packages' modeling tools.

like LW i suppose. :D


LW relies on plugins heavily these day to stay a competitive modeling package.

as opposed to Maya? out of the box there's not much in Maya. MJPolyTools is a great set of tools, for example, but LW's third party plugin tools are much way advanced. the problem with Maya, imo, is not toolset alone, but the general workflow of selecting, deselecting, moving, pushing, pulling components, etc. it's just plain tedious compared to LW.

if anything, the image plane you mentioned is important. even more, i think layout's camera system should be incorporated into modeler, to assist better in photogrammetry modelling, among other things.

walfridson
11-23-2005, 07:49 AM
The new 'bandsaw' tool in 7 is pretty sweet. You lay the cut using the mouse pointer, nice when doing one cut :)..

Emmanuel
11-23-2005, 08:07 AM
Our teacher told me that not a lot of Maya modellers use the SDS modlling, instead they use the smooth proxy method where You use a lowpoly object as the modelling reference for a higher poly object.
The reason would be that Maya doesn't allow all the modelling tools when using SDS modelling, even in Maya 7.

Stooch
11-23-2005, 01:09 PM
Our teacher told me that not a lot of Maya modellers use the SDS modlling, instead they use the smooth proxy method where You use a lowpoly object as the modelling reference for a higher poly object.
The reason would be that Maya doesn't allow all the modelling tools when using SDS modelling, even in Maya 7.

yep its called CPS tool and its an incredibly fast and efficient way of modeling. all of my maya examples in my demoreel are done with this tool and to this day i find that to be one of my favorite modeling tools. Although now i use lightwave exclusively for modeling (until modo 201). and thats only because i render in LW.

p.s. Lightwave is a great modeler. Just missing some key features that hopefully will be resolved with 9. cant wait!

Nemoid
11-23-2005, 01:25 PM
The modelling toolset of maya as it is out of the box is quite silly compared to Lw's one. plugs like Connect Poly Shape are way better. a thing that i don't like too much is modelling with the mirrored instance, and also as faulknermano said, the workflow for selecting manipulating items.
I also found quite difficult combining and joining correctly the 2 halves of the model. this caused me many headaches.

in Lw 9.0 we'll have edges ngons and more streamlined toolset. another thing i'd like would be a more solid simmetry support.

while animation is among strong points in Maya, i think modelling is a Lw strong point for sure.

Dodgy
11-23-2005, 03:25 PM
Well I've heard they're looking at better ways of implementing symmetry. To be honest I think 9 is still seeing a lot more behind the scenes development, (the modeler core was extracted for 9 after all!) rather than in your face ones. Hopefully that'll show up when 9 comes out, rather than afterwards...

ercaxus
11-23-2005, 10:26 PM
One day (only once in my life) I tried to do some subd modeling in maya 6.0 and really got frustrated.

It's like they don't want you to do it. Maybe I'm just plain dumb (and I am sometimes :D ) but I gave up.

The funny thing is I made a working biped rig in Maya in so short time I was surprised, and the only different thing I did was using point constraints and some other thing that I don't remember the name of (IK plane constraint ?) to point the knees and elbows. A working item list (outliner or whatever it is called) where you can group and parent stuff lightning fast is awesome

Thanks to RV_rigtools I can do the plane thingie (almost)easily in LW now.

I don't believe LW needs much of the stuff from Maya in modeling (poly and subd) department. LW could use stuff in modeling like that is in Wings3d. Working, fast, edge tools. Working mirror/symmetry.
Auto UV is a good feature of wings3d also. It's not the ultimate UV creation tool but it's very close.

Nemoid
11-28-2005, 12:53 PM
The really powerful things in Maya are its nodal structure, MEL script, and things like possibility to convert from Nurbs to polys, from polys to nurbs etc. another cool thing is rigging and animation.

problem is : in modelling the workflow appears to me quite convolute, also due to the selection system.

what Lw could borrow ? more solidity in plugin integration all over the app, for example... more streamlined rigging process, and fk /Ik setting and blending.
other cool things : instances and history.

RedBull
11-28-2005, 02:25 PM
I don't model in Maya.....

But isn't an image plane, the equivilant of modeling a flipped box in modeler
and mapping images onto the box, so you can see in perspective?

Doesn't that achieve the same thing?

jeremyhardin
11-28-2005, 06:14 PM
2 free image plane plugins for LW.

http://flay.com/GetDetail.cfm?ID=1783
http://flay.com/GetDetail.cfm?ID=1549

walfridson
11-29-2005, 04:45 AM
2 free image plane plugins for LW.

http://flay.com/GetDetail.cfm?ID=1783
http://flay.com/GetDetail.cfm?ID=1549
layout :(

jeremyhardin
11-29-2005, 08:54 AM
ah. it seems i missed the point. sorry. :)

Emmanuel
11-29-2005, 09:11 AM
I don't model in Maya.....

But isn't an image plane, the equivilant of modeling a flipped box in modeler
and mapping images onto the box, so you can see in perspective?

Doesn't that achieve the same thing?

Nope, because in Maya in imports the image and maps it on a *correctly sized* (ratio of the image) plane automatically.
Try that in LW (although it should be possible to create a plugin for that...)

Emmanuel
11-29-2005, 09:13 AM
Oh, and Maya's IPR is VERY nice, compared with VIPER its really VERSATILE.

jeremyhardin
11-29-2005, 09:16 AM
Oh, and Maya's IPR is VERY nice, compared with VIPER its really VERSATILE.
you think so? hmm. other than for fluids, i prefer viper to IPR any day of the week. interesting.

Emmanuel
11-29-2005, 09:18 AM
We are currently learning texturing/rendering, in Maya You can animate ramps (gradients)...! Nice idea :)

jeremyhardin
11-29-2005, 09:22 AM
a reliable little bird told me that animated gradients will be implemented in LW9. so that's cool.

Emmanuel
11-29-2005, 09:27 AM
you think so? hmm. other than for fluids, i prefer viper to IPR any day of the week. interesting.

I guess its more flexibel, reacts pretty well to lighting changes, gives a result that is closer to the final render, shows glow and special FX...

jeremyhardin
11-29-2005, 09:36 AM
I guess its more flexibel, reacts pretty well to lighting changes, gives a result that is closer to the final render, shows glow and special FX...
ah, bet ever so much slower. it's just a preference thing. have you tried XSI's render region? it's brilliant. obliterates IPR and Viper.

RedBull
11-29-2005, 01:22 PM
Thanks Emmanuel, i'll look into making a plugin...

I'm with Jeremy with the IPR thing......
I really prefer Viper/G2/FPrime in terms of previews...

And XSI's IPR is years ahead of Maya's.....
So if we must steal features, lets skip Maya's IPR all together... ;)
Indeed the integrated MR in XSI, is SOoooo much faster than the afterthought
of MR in Maya.....

You can set a small square, and render and calculate particles on the fly
And watch it go from a wireframe, to a fully rendered particle (inside the square) and back to wireframe, why it's calculating... (that's awesome)

I like Maya's OGL Hardware texturing.......
It ****s on our GLSL implentation, and enables me to do more in viewports,
without the extreme slow lag, that the LWOGL2 does to my machines.

Emmanuel
11-30-2005, 08:08 AM
Since You mentioned Maya's OpenGL:
I observed that at least in Maya 6.0.1, the OpenGL procedurals preview doesn't match the IPR or final render, like in LW ;)
But for 9 they said that LW's OpenGL preview would match the render...
A thing we shouldn't borrow from Maya is the material editor, thats just not cool.
I like it that in LW I can freely play with all surface shading values right away, while in Maya I first have to pick a certain shader (blinn, lambert...) as a base for plastic, metal etc....a bit like in C4D.
Hypershade on the other hand looks nice and intuitive.
The lights have some more options, too, for shadowing and stuff like that.
As for the IPR, I indeed lack any indepth knowledge so far, but it looked robust and fast anough for me, especially considering it was set to workspace resolution, while Viper is only working til 640x480...and for that, IPR was fast and responsive, and having realtime preview of the glow effects is great....just IMO of course....

Emmanuel
11-30-2005, 08:12 AM
Hey, redbull, such a plugin would be fantastique !

RedBull
11-30-2005, 08:34 PM
No worries, I'll let you know when/if it's completed...

Yep, LW's surfacing and materials, are great in my opinion...
SE is indeed one of it's greatest strengths, in enabling the job to be done so much quicker.... I'd like to see a few enhancements, but it's better than the rest.

I'm interested to see if Nodal, will slow me down....
Any Node based editor is more flexible, but costs you time in the process.

I'm not really well versed in XSI or Maya's editors (or C4D)
As soon as it comes to texturing, i export the model to LW and surface their.

That's just me being lazy, but it seems stupid to make some procedurals
and shaders in XSI and Maya, when by the time i worked out where the material editor is, i would of already finished in LW..... :)

Emmanuel
12-07-2005, 12:43 PM
I like how in Maya I can hold down "x" and all selected points snap to the nearest grid unit axis when moved.Makes snapping the points along the z-axis for mirroring pretty fast.

Lightwolf
12-07-2005, 12:47 PM
Makes snapping the points along the z-axis for mirroring pretty fast.
I use numeric move, shortcut 'v' for that... it at least remembers the axis and values, so it can be quite fast.

Cheers,
Mike

ercaxus
12-07-2005, 07:43 PM
I agree with mike (who is supposed to go back to work on LWPP when he has time from living on forums and a tiny miny infiny plugin which is going to make ram manifacturers send assasins after him) You can do a "select loop" and a "v". Sometimes when model is very complicated or open in different directions "select loop" goes in unwanted directions then I use "volume selection". It's still there (default key: ctrl+j). If you insist on "grid" snapping all I can say is hopefully lw9.x series will bring something.

faulknermano
12-07-2005, 09:01 PM
what would be nice, and probably even better than Maya is to incorporate the functionality of SP_Roll (PICTRIX) into Layout! that'd be really awesome. rotate snap constraints and all that. :)

Lightwolf
12-08-2005, 04:10 AM
I agree with mike (who is supposed to go back to work on LWPP when he has time from living on forums and a tiny miny infiny plugin which is going to make ram manifacturers send assasins after him)
:lol: Man... you just made my day...

Cheers,
Mike - off to do some work then... *sigh* ;)

ibanezhead
12-08-2005, 06:45 AM
outliner
channel box
custom attributes in channel box for easy rigging
connection editor
attribute editor
set driven key
ik solvers
vert/edge connect like mjpolytools
manipulators for extruding, creating insets, bevels, etc
transform gizmos for move, rotate, scale
save action sequences in script editor and quickly add to interface
context sensitive right click component menus
modeling history
detachable drop down menus
normal smoothing based on edges and not surface materials

Emmanuel
12-22-2005, 07:10 AM
We had our first look at Maya's animation tools, so here's my impression:

I found it way cool to setup deformation lattices along a spline path
to deform an object, like for example a fish.
The joint setup process is pretty straightforward, but I don't understand why Maya needs to connect every joint in the rig.
It seems not possible to create separate joint chains within one rig, because Maya always "fills the gap" when parenting (like our bone connect tool).
Also, once an object has been given a skeleton, the object itself can not be moved anymore, becuse now its only controlled by deformation, which means: to simply move the rigged object from A to Z, You need to either move the root joint or You need to create setup where the root is prented to a locator or something.Then move the locator and the child follows.In that case, LW seems to be more flexible, because I can translate the object and the rig follows, which, in my opinion, is more logical (LW and logical ???).
In Maya, it seems You can set up only 2D IK chains ?
Our tutor chose to use another locator (?) to let the thigh joint point to it to be able to control the knee movement or something.
He also mentioned the "pole vector".I didnt see the benefit of that.
Blendshapes, well it seems in Maya You really need to have all the blendshapes in the scene, which can lead up to quite a lot of additional data if You are doing complex character animations.If You delete the blendshapes, Your object still can blend between them, but You can not change the blendshapes anymore.
I would say, here's another plus for LW, endomorphs are a pretty clever solution !
Of course in Maya, You can paint weights right there in Your animation environment, and this is cooler than having to switch between modeler and layout for corrections.
So far, I would say 2:2 between the two.

ercaxus
12-22-2005, 07:44 AM
I'm not a maya guru( actually I'm pretty lame at maya) but I believe that pole vector thing is probably that knee control, and it's a good thing. Some people (me :D ) don't like rotating the upper leg bone for knee pointing. Once I tried doing a basic character setup(with elbows and knees controlled by that pole vector thing) with maya and I had one in no time. It's just easy. Point constraints just "work" there also.
Actually these are tiny things that will probably be adressed very soon in LW.

jin choung
12-22-2005, 03:46 PM
component editor/attribute spreadsheet is not only much more simply implemented, it is VASTLY better than even our new fangled spreadsheet editor.

i really really really would love to edit weights like in component editor. auto redistribution to equal a total value of 1 and the ability to lock off any current assignment is VITA-freaking-L!

weight mapping for bones is handled MUCH BETTER IN MAYA and again, it is because it is SIMPLIFIED and ABSTRACTED for the user! in maya, you just have to think about how much influence a bone is getting - two entities: value and bone. simplified. in lw, we have to worry about: value, bone, weightmap and the relationship that a weightmap has to a bone.

i am ALWAYS for having access to low level information. but in certain things like skinning, the DEFAULT should be simplified with the option for more detail if desired - just as in maya.

and is it me or is redistributing weight in maya just an unbelievable pain? the fact the program does not at all attempt to redistribute values across weight maps/envelopes so that the value normalizes to 100% makes the endeavor INCREDIBLY labor/concentration intensive.

and this whole thing about a value of 0 vs. not being assigned has got to go.... again, too low level access required at the default setting.
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bones are MUCH easier set up in maya. as is ik.... and the fact that you have a twist attribute....

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modeling is hands down better in lw.

jin

Dodgy
12-22-2005, 05:30 PM
Yeah, the nicest thing about weighting in maya is you can edit one value up, and the others a vertex uses go down. On the other hand, You have to use weight maps, rather than LW's nice mix and match approach. And In LW you can parent one object with bones to another object with bones and it keeps the bones separate, but in maya it joins the bones hierarchies together :P
Also, in maya you can't cut your object up, whereas you can in LW and the weights are kept, so you could cut your object up, paint some weights, and them merge it back together and it all works, whereas this is trickier in maya.
Swings and roundabouts, but personally I prefer LW's approach.

faulknermano
12-26-2005, 03:49 AM
component editor/attribute spreadsheet is not only much more simply implemented, it is VASTLY better than even our new fangled spreadsheet editor.



"simply" being the user-definable word there. component editor sucks. i have not met anyone who enjoyed using the component editor. i'm not doing a comparison, okay? i dont care about the spreadsheet editor (forget that they do different things).



i really really really would love to edit weights like in component editor. auto redistribution to equal a total value of 1 and the ability to lock off any current assignment is VITA-freaking-L!



sheesh-kebab. are you serious? i mean, the component editor is freaking unwieldy. if you're just talking about weight normalisation, i'll say "ok". but if you're talking about it as a whole, there's nothing more irritating than editing smooth skins in the component editor.




weight mapping for bones is handled MUCH BETTER IN MAYA and again, it is because it is SIMPLIFIED and ABSTRACTED for the user! in maya, you just have to think about how much influence a bone is getting - two entities: value and bone. simplified. in lw, we have to worry about: value, bone, weightmap and the relationship that a weightmap has to a bone.

weightmaps signify a partitioning of influences. in my opinion, it's not a big deal. will confirm whether or not 100% weight on all points achieve what you're trying to get at..... not sure.

faulknermano
12-26-2005, 03:52 AM
Also, in maya you can't cut your object up, whereas you can in LW and the weights are kept, so you could cut your object up, paint some weights, and them merge it back together and it all works, whereas this is trickier in maya.
Swings and roundabouts, but personally I prefer LW's approach.


and maya has a LAME way of storing weights as a bitmap. LAME. :D i prefer LW's approach but i wish it were as easy to set up rigs and have animation tools like Maya. a pity NewTek didnt buy Alias. no perfect app in this world - a pity.

faulknermano
12-26-2005, 04:00 AM
The joint setup process is pretty straightforward, but I don't understand why Maya needs to connect every joint in the rig.

it does that if it is parented. you can use a parent constraint instead if you dont like this behavior. the "bone" or triangular symbol that connects two joints is a display device. in maya, it's "joints", not "bone" that influence objects. but i only said that to help you understand why maya does that. at other times, just use "joints"" and "bones" interchangeably.



It seems not possible to create separate joint chains within one rig, because Maya always "fills the gap" when parenting (like our bone connect tool).


again, use parent constraint - or any combination of constraints you want.


Also, once an object has been given a skeleton, the object itself can not be moved anymore, becuse now its only controlled by deformation, which means: to simply move the rigged object from A to Z, You need to either move the root joint or You need to create setup where the root is prented to a locator or something.Then move the locator and the child follows.In that case, LW seems to be more flexible, because I can translate the object and the rig follows, which, in my opinion, is more logical (LW and logical ???).

well, coming from lightwave, you can say it is not predictable. but to say it is illogical is going too far. remember that transform nodes have an "inheritTransform" attribute which can be turned off. but hey! this is a newtek forum - i'll keep off discussing too much Maya here. :P



Blendshapes, well it seems in Maya You really need to have all the blendshapes in the scene, which can lead up to quite a lot of additional data if You are doing complex character animations.If You delete the blendshapes, Your object still can blend between them, but You can not change the blendshapes anymore.
I would say, here's another plus for LW, endomorphs are a pretty clever solution !

very true. i've tried simulating this in maya using mel, but havent gotten any luck. you can, alternately, use file references for blendshape targets, so that when you change the file reference, it will reflect in your main scene. the problem with file referencing (and there are many problems) is that you'd have to load it up separately if you want to edit a blendshape. and it's a workflow that you have to *plan* with much care. it's not a "natural" workflow of Maya.

cresshead
12-26-2005, 12:35 PM
for getting a bg image in the perspective view..........

here's my workflow.....
i loadup bg pictures in back n side then use spline draw to trace round the images and create a spline version [outline drawing and details] then ditch the bg pictures all together....i then can put the splines in the bg and if back and side are on different layers i can choose to see either or both..this will of course show up in perspective viewport as well as the orthagnol views...

simple and works well.....
try it...it doesn't take very long to trace out 'what you need'.

steve g

jin choung
12-27-2005, 01:28 PM
hey faulknermano,

that's cool that you disagree but do you prefer lw's method?

if you try setting up a weightmap only skin in lw, there's no possible way of redistributing weights between bones unless you do it MANUALLY. you can normalize but then, it throws values willy nilly and you have no idea what just happened.

component editor is not what sucks imo - it is the NATURE OF THE BEAST of skinning that sucks.

but component editor itself does an EXCELLENT job of showing you who is competing for influence over a vertex! and then, if you need to edit a value, it AUTO-REDISTRIBUTES the remaining values so that all the influences add up to 100%.

imo, opinion, this is the key question to skinning: WHO IS COMPETING FOR INFLUENCE OVER THIS VERTEX AND WHAT ARE THE STRENGTHS IN THIS COMPETITION? component editor does this PRECISELY and does it PERFECTLY.

this kind of feedback is COMPLETELY ABSENT IN LW. it is next to IMPOSSIBLE to do a WEIGHT MAP ONLY SKIN in lw because of a lack of the proper and appropriate feedback. part of the reason the lw community keeps advocating minimal weightmapping + their legacy method may be partially because such a workflow is not a bad way to go... but the other reason is that lw's weightmap only workflow is ludicrously inept.

and lw's methodology of hold bones and such, i dislike it because it is IMPRECISE... you have to go in blind and nail it with trial and error.

i guess that's the biggest gripe against lw skinning - so much of it is working BLIND.

i recently checked out blender.org and took a look at how their skinning tools are progressing and they have some really good ideas...

showing bounding regions for bones and then translating those regions to weightmaps if desired....

we need better thought out GUI and interface stuff in general because 3d apps are getting complicated, ours included, and without the proper data being available to the user (as well as the proper data being withheld), we may as not HAVE certain features!

jin

faulknermano
12-27-2005, 05:17 PM
hey faulknermano,

that's cool that you disagree but do you prefer lw's method?


by the very nature of the two-app system of lw, maya has distinct advantage regarding skinning (ie influence feedback). but this advantage is not capitalised by the use of the component editor. if anything, it's the user interface of the component editor that sucks.




but component editor itself does an EXCELLENT job of showing you who is competing for influence over a vertex! and then, if you need to edit a value, it AUTO-REDISTRIBUTES the remaining values so that all the influences add up to 100%.


all good and fine, if that's simply what you're talking about only. but i hardly think that's a good enough capability to tout it better than LW's current workflow. neither am i a big fan of LW's inability to interactively see the results of your tweaking. both Maya and LW dont have what i personally like to see in a skinning system. specifically, i'd like to see a more visual system, where weights references can be seen in the viewport, instead of finding out which joint name is influencing so-and-so points.

LW, being more visual, seems closer to this, BUT the lack of interactivity (or even the lacking ability to edit weights in Layout!) makes it a bit frustrating.



imo, opinion, this is the key question to skinning: WHO IS COMPETING FOR INFLUENCE OVER THIS VERTEX AND WHAT ARE THE STRENGTHS IN THIS COMPETITION? component editor does this PRECISELY and does it PERFECTLY.


hehe.. "perfect" is a strong term. i'll challenge you on your statement. who really is competing over this darned vertex? depending on your smooth bind settings you may or may not have four or more influences. but wait, let's back up. unless you are really an expert and know what you're doing (i'm not), you may forget, in the course of your joint-creation, to rename them. in light of certain characters requiring many joints (characters that not necessarily complex, but simply require many joints), renaming them might not be your first priority. some would think "i'll rename it later".

but the name is important, because it's the only thing that is used to relate the value to the cluster. so we open up component editor, and for the sake of our insanity we remove all zero values so we get a filtered list of the joints that are influencing our darned vertex. but hold on: the smooth bind did not bind this vertex to THIS joint. but because we turned on "remove all zero values" we cant see it. okey dokey: we'll turn it off again. WHAMO! you get a whole line of joint names you dont need, and you only need to find one ****ed joint (which, btw, you'll have to rename, and if you're wise enough, or lucky, you wont get duplicate joint names that it wont nest the duplicate names to make them valid in Maya, which would suck because you'd not only have to find the name, but the 50-character long heirarchy its supposed to be attached to).

with a conviction borne out of frustration, i say "no". the component editor is the suckiest thing i've ever seen.

i'm in the process of writing my own system. the cluster info is there and needs a little massaging. but i find it totally possible to find a better alternative than component editor.


this kind of feedback is COMPLETELY ABSENT IN LW. it is next to IMPOSSIBLE to do a WEIGHT MAP ONLY SKIN in lw because of a lack of the proper and appropriate feedback. part of the reason the lw community keeps advocating minimal weightmapping + their legacy method may be partially because such a workflow is not a bad way to go... but the other reason is that lw's weightmap only workflow is ludicrously inept.

feedback is absent, and probably the most counterintuitive thing when it comes to skinning.

but, if we can drop that factor for a moment, and pretend that LW did have feedback, what can be said about the weightmapping principle of LW vs Maya's smooth bind?

first, i think you are right in that weight mapping adds another layer of influence. but if you think about how LW bones have an implicit bind on meshes, it makes sense to work with it. in my thinking, LW's weight-mapping methodology has more to to do with how it default-binds. weight-mapping in LW adds a layer of control. i prefer an "add-on" rather than a default smooth skin system that disallows me to do it any other way. that's just me: i can achieve in LW what i do in Maya, but i cannot achieve in Maya what i do in LW. that's important, because it shows flexibility. workflow may suffer, but my acceptance of that would depend on how much it suffers.

however, if weight-mapping can be simpler in LW, that'd be great (although i most, if not all, organic stuff in Maya now). LW's default skin is great. but if there was a simpler layer of control, for example, select a point and say "i want this point to be more influenced by so-and-so bone". so it's like default-skin plus multipliers for bone influences. no need for weight-maps on this level. you get Maya-like smooth-skin, but not closing your whole methodology off for that.



and lw's methodology of hold bones and such, i dislike it because it is IMPRECISE... you have to go in blind and nail it with trial and error.


this option, however, is good, still. smooth skinning in Maya, in my experience, for the stuff that i do, is imprecise as well. the nature of smooth skinning, being an "organic" kind of skinning is supposed to be "imprecise". in Maya, howewer, hold bones will not work. it is also difficult to place bones and re-skin them after detaching them with history on. new joints do not have any influence and must be assigned manually. this is important. why? many times i have failed to place enough joints in the character. i only find out *after* i've started tweaking weights. to detach the skin with history on is the only way to preserve my tweaks. but this prevents the the new joints to influence the object. i must therefore do it manually, or re-skin, which means re-weighting (and please do not talk to me about saving weights in Maya! please! :D ). i'm sure some expert out there has figured this out, but to mere mortals like me, i'm at a lost.

Lamont
12-28-2005, 01:42 PM
Nope, because in Maya in imports the image and maps it on a *correctly sized* (ratio of the image) plane automatically.
Try that in LW (although it should be possible to create a plugin for that...)I think LW just needs the ability to lock the layers so you can use one as a template.

jin choung
12-29-2005, 12:04 AM
hey faulknermano,

agreed... 'perfect' is far too strong. but for what it does and what it tries to do.... anyhoo more to come further down.

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yeah, what you say about re-boning/addingbonesto a character after initially skinning in maya is a pain.... actually, that's an instructive point to me: i always HATED the fact that bones were a subset of a mesh... that is, they are not on the same hierarchy as objects, lights, cameras, etc... they are a subset of an object and for a long time, you had to select the object first before you could access bones.

but i guess because it is and because of the other aspects of lw's method of skinning, it does make it easier to modify skeletons once skinning has commenced.

so good point.

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however,

i did have to modify a rather complicated skeleton of a horse after i started painting weights (i was WAAAAAY off on the skeleton structure of a horse!) and while it was a super pain and i fumbled may way through, i think it could probably be done easier by someone more well versed in that endeavor than i.

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but as for the use of component editor inside of maya, i think we may be using it VERY differently!

first - the thing that i like BEST about maya is the fact that, for skinning, if you don't WANT to, you don't have to be COGNIZANT of the fact that there are such things as CLUSTERS... AT ALL!!!

at this level of work, all you have to know is - many bones can influence a vertex, but all the influences add up to 100%, you shift the influence more toward one bone, it's taken away from elsewhere to make it up.

so....

one of the more common component editor tasks is adjusting the weight around the elbow or knee.

rings of verts must be weighted either toward the BICEPBONE or toward the FOREARMBONE.

what i do is simply SELECT THE VERTS (let's say a ring around the middle of the elbow crease) and....

BOOM... those verts (and ONLY THOSE VERTS) show up in the component editor running vertically (rows). horizontally (columns), the BONE influence is shown - if you changed the name of a bone, it will be reflected in this list. and again, it simply assumed that it is the influence of a bone. no necessary link to a CLUSTER or weightmap is made. it is abstracted from us. it is good.

and if i need to see the value of a single vert, i just select that single vert.

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btw, i RARELY have to allow more than 4 bone influences on a single vert - i certainly don't need potentially EVERY BONE IN THE SKELETON to influence a vert.

so i do not run into the problem of being unable to see what bones are influencing my vert. i certainly don't have hundreds of bones with miniscule weights trying to influence that vert.

and i'm pretty precise: i don't allow miniscule influences like .00001 and such to exist... one of my first tasks is simply zeroing out bones i absolutely don't need if such influence got assigned.

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the nature of skinning is pretty hairy (ahaha). but component editor does what i need it to do. i haven't run into a situation where it failed to do something that i imagined it should do.

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i guess one reason we don't see eye to eye on this is different work methodologies.... that horse re-boning for me was a rarity. i make every effort to make sure i don't have to backtrack along the production pipeline.

also, while i don't mind the difference of lw's methodology perse, i still think that we're lacking access to crucial data in some ways and have too much access to data (by default) in others. and also, while using weightmaps as an ADDITIONAL influence, i never got RELIABLE RESULTS and sometimes, i had to actually tweak values to thousands of percent to get the influence i want.

there seems to be no understandable relationship between the legacy forcefield and the weightmaps.

and if it's nebulous, it's dead to me. they should document this better at the very least.

anyhoo, we're in agreement that skinning is pretty tedious....

jin

faulknermano
12-29-2005, 01:05 AM
BOOM... those verts (and ONLY THOSE VERTS) show up in the component editor running vertically (rows). horizontally (columns), the BONE influence is shown - if you changed the name of a bone, it will be reflected in this list. and again, it simply assumed that it is the influence of a bone. no necessary link to a CLUSTER or weightmap is made. it is abstracted from us. it is good.
...
so i do not run into the problem of being unable to see what bones are influencing my vert. i certainly don't have hundreds of bones with miniscule weights trying to influence that vert.



i think you missed out on what i was trying to say about this. if a particular vertex is being influenced by four joints, say:

JNT_shoulder
JNT_bicep
JNT_spine1
JNT_neck

(take note they are renamed) ;)

but say you want JNT_neck and JNT_spine1 out of the picture. in fact, you need this vertex to be influenced by JNT_forearm and JNT_wrist. what is the course of action? remove the influence of the two joints (easy enough), but then you'd have to locate JNT_forearm and JNT_wrist. and this is the problem. does component editor have a way to load joints on the horizontal? (if so then i'd stop complaining) in other words, i'm trying to find a joint that was never in the cluster in the first place, so i can force the influence myself, because the default smooth bind will not always bind them the way i want them. you'd have to rename the joints to locate them in the component editor. furthermore, if you have a lot of joints, and if any of them are duplicated (which leads maya to display the name as a heirarchy), then it is more tedious looking for them than what it should be.

contrast this with a the lightwave approach of weight maps, which is almost opposite in direction: instead of selecting the vertex, you select the bone, and which weight map it's assigned to. it's more compartmentalised; you'll have more vertices than you have weight maps, and usually more weight maps than you have bones. it is by this point, that while a direct vertex-to-bone relationship is simpler, LW's method has its merits, if only the lack of instant feedback is prohibitive.

they both lack the direct visual approach, however. but whereas in Maya an alternative interface can be written out in MEL (because there is instant access to clusters, vertices, etc), LW's feedback requires weight tweaks in Layout, which is not available. i'd like to experiment if that's even possible in LScript, but i'd feel i'd be wasting my time since i wont be using it. ;)



i guess one reason we don't see eye to eye on this is different work methodologies.... that horse re-boning for me was a rarity. i make every effort to make sure i don't have to backtrack along the production pipeline.

indeed. to me, it's very diffferent. i make *every effort* to make sure that my methodologies are "backtrackable." they must be procedural when they have to be and "organic" when it's more efficient. that is why i use LW modeler, and Maya for animation.

faulknermano
12-29-2005, 06:30 AM
does component editor have a way to load joints on the horizontal? (if so then i'd stop complaining)


of course there is you stupid idiot. it's so obvious i cant believe you dont have the brains to pick it out "Component Editor > View > Load Selected Objects".


any other lame question you have?



(have a happy new year).