View Full Version : Are we able to animate characters reasonable easy yet?

05-29-2006, 07:14 PM
I've loved Lightwave ever since I started learning it in my highschool class, but the worst problem I ever had with it is that while modeling is pretty easy in it, animating charaters is still a total pain for me after all this time.

I've tried weightmaps and various methods I've seen pop up in tutorials to keep the mesh deforming how I want when its in motion. I tried one for using morphs when bones rotate to a certain degree, which kind of works but seems to still get messed up since I have to make the morph in modeler and then switch back to layout to see how it got applied, but even then the morph didn't seem to be applied at the right time or a right way to let it be used as a fake smart skin.

Also the skeletons often act far too strange when animating for me than some other things I tried. As well. In my short experience with Hash, a $300 program I was able to sit down being new to it and found that it animated very well. I can just click a wrist or an ankle and just drag the foot or hand around on the screen no matter my view angle and the arm or leg will bend with it as if you are lifting the limb of a puppet and made it very easy to post a character and animate them. IK Booster seemed at times to try to be attempting something like this, but wasn't really quite there all the way.

I sometimes get the feeling I'm not alone here since any time I get shown examples of animations done with Lightwave, its limited to missiles flying through the air, or spaceships. Pretty much things that don't really have much of any moving parts, let alone ones that bend or flex. That is if you exclude the people using Messiah.

I noticed lately in addition to more modeling tools it also has added CAD tools, moving from the realm of spaceships and rockets, of still frozen objects that are just animated to glide through space to things that don't move or are animated at all.

So I was just asking in curiosity if Lightwave 9 has anything that helps this situation. As I said I love Lightwave and have been sticking with it a long time in hope, but after 5 versions and no real help in this area I've just been wondering if maybe the direction and perceived purpose of this program all these years is a vision that just doesn't include people like me. I understand the core functions and existing features also have to improve over time, but I just wondered how many versions will pass me by with no powerful character animation tools being added, when 3D character animation has been in high demand for over a decade.

06-07-2006, 12:05 PM
Are we able to animate characters reasonable easy yet?

Apologies, I thought someone would have provided the actual answer to your question long before this, as it has been on the feature list and in Jay's comments on the future of LightWave for many months now. The feature list does not include much other than the OpenGL speedups that would impact CA, and that's rather limited. Jay's discussions indicate that we do plan a completely redone CA toolset as part of our future development of LightWave.

LightWave v9 FAQ (http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/lw9_faq.php)

Character Animation:

What character animation improvements can we expect in v9 and when?
For now, we can't provide specifics beyond that we will improve the workflow of rigging and character animation including making these fast and responsive within the GUI, with input from character animators experienced with many rigging and animation toolsets.

Jay Roth - LightWave v9 Letter for Open Beta Launch (http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/lw9_letter.php)

One area that we recognize we need to further enhance is the character animation system. We want to make sure that we get this one right, and we are going to take the time needed to insure the best results. We are all working very hard to insure that you don’t wait too long to get what you want. We hear you.

Since the majority of the thread turned into not-directly-on-topic discussion of IKB, that has been removed to it's own thread in the Techniques section.


06-07-2006, 12:43 PM
thanks very much chuck
i was little afraid for a second or two that nt after reading in this thread would come to the point that everything is fine and no changes nessesary
take your time and may the result be as nice as the node thingi:thumbsup:

06-07-2006, 01:18 PM
happy to read that.
from many years i use lw, i add to my toolset many other software, and at today i must study maya for character animation.
before to start a bad flame, let me tell you some important things.

actually i know a lot of ex lw user that use maya, they move on it for a better ca tools, for different approach of scene, that are confortable for big production, lightwave have a big and large lack when you put in a complex enviroment where you have many animators that work on same scene, it miss real proxi animation, a fast way to move rig froma character to another, and more.

in these last two years i saw many friends that they start production and project with lw to maya, i can tell you why, here, now

- you can find many autorigger and good setup for maya, less for lw (i knwo and test all rig that i found, but large offert of maya is different
- i'm not a rigger, like many of my friends, i know how to build a rig, but i work for too much time, if i find a good autorigger i prefer, i found good solution in tsm, but it die, TSM on maya work fine, fast and with amazing rig, i tried maestro, but is not enought smooth like tsm, or some other rig that i tested
- many of my friends are animator, then an autorig is good solution for them.
- many of them need other animator, and in italy is simplier to find good ca animator under maya or xsi than lw.
- actually they find a good motion mixer solution that are faster and powerful than lw motion mixer.
- integration with complex animation pipeline is simplier think to have a scene where you have 10 character, and some other in the background... a generalist compose the scene during animators prepare the animation, then every times they save their scenes, generalist can see updated its scene with their animation work, and at same time he can work on light and more... be cause animation is not recorded in its scene, but he have only reference.
- actually lw is good, but ik is old and when you are far from 0,0,0 of universe you have problems, in maya you not have this kind of problems
- in lw you have expression that not read or are readed from all motion plugins (with relativity situation is better but not the best) in maya you move the node of deformer, motion deformer, costrain etc, and all are fluent and work
- curve editing is more precise and finer, and curve palette are more controllable than lw.

guys i love lw, and i would like to use it for all my ca project, but, when i work with external clientes, i must use maya, and all big production that are going to start are maya based for these reasons, just to start.

i know that we can do same things in other way, BUT IS OLD WAY, we need to be more flexible, we need a core that communicate all thing to other items, not an old slot structure, be cause is a reason of slowdown of lw in ca situation.

p.s. i use lw for ca animation, but now that i start to learn maya... is simplier and faster... i hope that newtek see that, and develop a completely new section

have a good work dev team.

06-07-2006, 07:14 PM
NICE Moving the thread Chuck
it did have nothing to do with LW 9 CA
I love the fact you don't edit the forums like a mad man is super cool too.

at the moment LW is behide in term of CA animation workflow and rigging options

I look forward to see what Jay and the crew do this cycle
there work on the render is kick ***, showed they got the goods

BUT we still haven't got the them yet so waiting is a issue,
but there coming so that excellent news ;)

06-09-2006, 10:15 PM
I'd looked through the site a lot over time but I think last time I visited that letter wasn't on there, since it was talking about the nodal texturing and all that.

I'm glad you guys feel that way about CA, but since that line came under the section at the end called "The Future", does that mean this is something we can't really hope to see until Lightwave 10? There is no hope for Lightwave 9 or 9.5?

06-10-2006, 07:01 AM
I'd looked through the site a lot over time but I think last time I visited that letter wasn't on there, since it was talking about the nodal texturing and all that.

I'm glad you guys feel that way about CA, but since that line came under the section at the end called "The Future", does that mean this is something we can't really hope to see until Lightwave 10? There is no hope for Lightwave 9 or 9.5?

It's been stated several times that there will be significant improvements to the CA system in LW during the 9.x cycle.