View Full Version : Helpful LW tools

05-18-2003, 11:10 AM
Thought I would start this to see what everyone uses around the house or work area to help them with LW in any capacity, so that others may use them to create a better working inviroment.

Here's what I use to help.

I have one of those spice holders that sit on a table that go around and around to get to the right spice or catsup, a little turntable type of thingy.

then I glued a circular protractor (one of those geeky things that are marked off in degrees of circumfress) to the top (centered).

I use that to sit on the desk and turn objects a precise amount and use my digital camera (a wall Mart 29.00 dollar cheapy) to photograph for textures and modeler background pics. AND if you use it to model, ya can turn the table to say 15 degrees model a section, UV that section, rotate it back 15 degrees in modeler, it will line up with other parts of the model that were different degrees, ya get the pic as a texture from the correct angle every time :D .And if ya want to model humans or anything like that, ya can take a Barbie doll, make 1 leg go straight out and up as far as possable to get out of the way, use candle wax and (Glue her to the turntable...CENTERED) and rotate and take pics every 20 degrees, use as background, make a spline drawing of edges of leg, and continue all around leg,(remembering to rotate the spline the same amount of degrees each time), now you have a perfectly splined leg that you connect at top and bottem, patch and ya get a pretty precise leg, do same for body and head..:D
As the camera is mounted on a tripod, I get the same distance and angle every time. (no hand shake and movement :cool: )

And a Barstool with the same setup (protractor) so that when someone sits on it, I can get precise pics for textures (camera mounted on bigger tripod tho), no camera movement or person movement.

And at a yard sale I picked up some track lights (set of 5) for 3 bucks that I removed from track and wired individually and set on the adjustable camera tripods (12.99 at wall mart) with 10 ft extention cords (.99 at wall mart) and now have adjustable studio lights for that perfect lighting with different wattage and different shades of color bulbs :D

So what else is out there that might help everyone out ????
Get those ideas flowing :)

05-18-2003, 11:33 AM
OOPS almost fergot

Cheapy motion capture :)

Takes 2 cameras (video, any quality)

I bought some packs of half and 1 inch POM POM balls at ( yep, Wall Mart;) )in the sewing section for 1.99 a pack and they come in multi colors.
then I tied the 1 inch on with yarn (tried rubberbands but it kept cutting blood circulation off:D ) and sewed the half inch onto the ends of the fingers of a pair of cheap cloth gloves.
Maby green for left foot and red for right,blue for left hand and yellow for right (ya get what I mean,color coded body parts)\

then I set the action I want and record from directly in front and the side with both cameras going at once with a quick flash at beginning to time both the same.

then in Layout I make a flat poly to fit the screen and map the front camera shot to it. Bkgrnd only gives black images so use poly for the colored coded balls if needed, else just use the bkgrnd.
Now I can animate the part of the body to the color coded POM POM and get the Y and X axis save the scene then change the mapping of the poly and angle to the right or left of object and use the side video for mapping, now I get the Z axis for the movement.

VOILA !!! motion capture and realistic movement.
Save the motion file for other projects ya might need.

05-18-2003, 05:49 PM
Do you have a demo of your cheap motion capture trick in action?

05-18-2003, 10:56 PM
Demo ??
Ya mean a film ?
Pics of how to attach?

All my video goes thru toaster so rather large files. like the hundreds of megs. :)

the color balls are where your IK nulls follow.

Chris S. (Fez)
05-19-2003, 03:25 AM
I've photographed objects on a rotating microwave plate for reference before but never so precisely. It would be really cool to have a dedicated protractor-precise setup. Thanks for posting the specs! Lucky for me WalMart caters to insomniacs. I'm going right now.

07-13-2003, 06:37 PM
nother helpful hint

For users of dual monitors..

when using modeler on right screen and layout on left (that's my setup) I use photoshop to make a background pic of screen size,
and on the Left side I use the Text tool to print all the modeler tips and shortcut keys and all the Layout tips and shortcuts on the Right.

That way when I work in modeler (on right screen)I got all the helpfull info printed on the background screen on the left and Layout on the right.

After they are burned into brain then I do some new tips and shortcuts.

John Fornasar
07-13-2003, 10:03 PM
One of the studios posted a .PDF with all the default hotkeys a while ago, you might still be able to find it. The file name I have is Reference Card Final.pdf

07-16-2003, 09:33 PM

BTW Great Tips, prospector...

07-17-2003, 04:08 PM
Haven't done it in a long time but, if you get an overhead projector (THE ONES THEY USE IN MEETING ETC.) and draw up a grid on some clear film then place it on. You can then project it onto the face/head of yourself or someone you want to accurately model. Take pictures : front, sides, perspective and then use these as back drops. It doesn't give you exact placement of your geometry (cause you want it to flow from the orrifices) but it gives you a really good idea and makes for very useful backdrops.:)