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ericsmith
06-06-2006, 09:23 AM
In response to another thread (in the LW9 features about character animation) I have created a demonstration video of creating a walk using Maestro. You can find it here:

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/Maestrodemos/MaestroWalk.mov

My goal is to make a series of these, but I've got to get myself educated better on how to capture and encode them. This one is 17 minutes long, and is 50 megs with fairly low quality. There's also no sound.

Hopefully, future videos will get smaller and better looking as I investigate different compression codecs, etc.

Additionally, I've uploaded a few simple animations that I created with Maestro, just kind of playing around. My primary goal was to practice bringing a character to life quickly (the last three were animated within one hour each). I wouldn't say these are demo reel quality necessarily, but I think they're pretty fun.

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/Maestrodemos/karate.mov

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/Maestrodemos/heavyball.mov

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/Maestrodemos/doorslam.mov

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/Maestrodemos/suicide.mov

Eric

wacom
06-06-2006, 11:36 AM
This look really good Eric. Anyone wanting to stay in LW with CA should take a seriouse look at these tools.

ericsmith
06-06-2006, 12:17 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully, the more I show, the better it will look.

Eric

Celshader
06-06-2006, 12:22 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully, the more I show, the better it will look.

I already think highly of Maestro. I missed the LW User's Group demo of it, but I heard nothing but good things about it from folks I trust.

omeone
06-06-2006, 01:10 PM
I'll help out with the compression if you like, PM me if you still need it.


This look really good Eric. Anyone wanting to stay in LW with CA should take a seriouse look at these tools
Form what Ive heard and seen, what this tool does for CA pretty amazing and that's only a fraction of it's power.

GregMalick
06-06-2006, 02:10 PM
Eric,

Nice walk cycle vid. I'm glad I bought Maestro. :D

I noticed you didn't do any hip movement at all.
Was that a matter of choice or did you forget? :stumped:

ericsmith
06-06-2006, 02:14 PM
Thanks for the offer, omeone. I'm doing some experiments with xvid, which are showing promise. From what I can see, you're using sorenson, which is what I did for my walk cycle demo.

I'm also considering scaling them down like you did. It seems readable enough at 70%. I just want to make sure nothing gets too small to see.

I guess I'm just a bit surprised that better compression quality/file size isn't easier, considering how much of the screen doensn't change at all for most of the video. Still, 50 megs is only around 5% of the original 900 megs, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

Eric

tyrot
06-06-2006, 02:18 PM
dear eric

thanks for the videos. I was almost buying maestro earlier. This time i wont sit and wait. I hope next week i can get it. I watch very carefully, it works so smooth, hotspots are really intuitive and everything Locks as expected and its own timeline pretty useful.

It can be Our MotionBuilder in our Layout..Who knows eric may connect it with IKB when IKB gets polished... I see so much potential in this tool.

Thanks eric once again.
BEST

ericsmith
06-06-2006, 02:19 PM
Greg,

It was a concious decision. I get a lot of my animation principles from observing real life, and have spent a lot of time watching myself and others walk. I've found that especially in males, I don't see much if any hipsway. It seems like when I do it in my animations, it looks too exaggerated.

Females are a different story. I find, however, that it's harder to study women walking without it being taken the wrong way. Especially when focusing on the hips...

tyrot,

Glad it helped. I've gotta say, for me personally, it takes character animation to a whole new level.

Eric

pooby
06-06-2006, 02:31 PM
Well.. If it were a face off between Maestro and IKboost, It would be a no-brainer.

GregMalick
06-06-2006, 02:36 PM
Greg,

It was a concious decision. I get a lot of my animation principles from observing real life, and have spent a lot of time watching myself and others walk. I've found that especially in males, I don't see much if any hipsway. It seems like when I do it in my animations, it looks too exaggerated.

Females are a different story. I find, however, that it's harder to study women walking without it being taken the wrong way. Especially when focusing on the hips...
Eric
I asked because just yesterday I started reading Richard William's Animators Survival kit. I was watching the video waiting to see you do something with the hips (thinking that might fix that pinching too). That's why I asked. Anyway observation is always the best.

I think that animators need badges like the "PRESS" wear so we can study women with impunity. :D



impunity: exemption or freedom from punishment, harm, or loss

tonybliss
06-06-2006, 02:49 PM
I am just happy to be a maestro user

Flawless for what i am doing now !!!

Thanks again!!

ericsmith
06-06-2006, 03:10 PM
Greg,

It's actually an issue that I continue to persue. The interesting thing I find is that I think much of the "female" hip swaying is caused by fat and muscle tissue deformation, not pelvis rotation. It's more noticeable on women, because men carry the butt muscle higher and it's kind of more "square" At any rate, I'm thinking about creating another overlaying rig specifically to add muscle control on top of the bone control It could be interesting (although complicated).

By the way, that pinching is really exaggerated because I have the mesh at display subdivision 0, along with a morph that kind of smooths it out (but also messes a bit with the polyflow and deformation). It looks a lot more natural when you set the subdivision back up to 3. Also, there's hold bones in the pelvis region to help maintain the volume of that region. They could be turned off or modified to soften the transition.

Eric

GregMalick
06-06-2006, 04:01 PM
The ways Richard Williams describes it - women walk more as if they were on a tightrope: the feet placed closer to a line in the center. That can only be done if the hips are swung forward. So I don't think it's a fatty tissue issue. (heh heh - that rhymes). It's a fun book - all cartoons but all driven by observation.

but who am i to tell a maestro? It's disrespecful.
;)

omeone
06-06-2006, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the offer, omeone. I'm doing some experiments with xvid, which are showing promise. From what I can see, you're using sorenson, which is what I did for my walk cycle demo.

I'm also considering scaling them down like you did. It seems readable enough at 70%. I just want to make sure nothing gets too small to see.

I guess I'm just a bit surprised that better compression quality/file size isn't easier, considering how much of the screen doensn't change at all for most of the video. Still, 50 megs is only around 5% of the original 900 megs, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

Eric

yep, sorenson3 for me. I can't neither download your videos nor would be able to watch them in Xvid :( (strict I.T. policies at work and slow connection at home) so cant comment properly on what might be causing the sizes.

Some tips Ive learned anyway...
I have found with S3, if you record at the standard presets of say 800x600 resizing to other presets like 640x480: -it maintains better quality.
Resoultion is the biggest culprit for filesize, and its horrible trying to demo in 1/6th your normal sized window.
Other things are framerate, 10fps seems OK; bitrate is tough though.

Do you have QuickTime Pro? If so, try starting with these settings and adjusting the bitrate to find the optimum for your setup.

Another option might be just uploading them to Google Video.. that'll convert them to Flash files and Sorenson, since it is streaming size isnt as big an issue and wont cost any bandwidth either... have no experience of it myself though.

SplineGod
06-06-2006, 04:52 PM
Ive tried uploading my videos to google and they came out horrible. :)

t4d
06-06-2006, 08:42 PM
Great Stuff Maestro looks really cool and really does add to LW CA tools in a big way

and those video make IKB look like it needs a bullet

Newtek should buy Maestro and delete IKB from there system..

tyrot
06-06-2006, 08:55 PM
dear thomas...

i cant believe you still want to kill something. Kill that thing in you mate. Play some fast anthrax or even nuclear assault, it is gonna pass.. Kill that killing, destroying instict inside of you. IF IKB gets update i ll be happy, if Eric gets more support from community and give his time on Maestro i ll be happy too. I ll be really fully happy to see more options.

There were italian LCS plugin do you want to kill them too? or Because of LWCAD do you wanna Kill all other plugins including Pictrix too.If LWCAD has snapped move tool should we kill Pictrix plugins? or even may be you wanna kill and delete your own plugin too...Man.. YOu are on a killing spree.!!

I have never ever read such a brutal and meaningless request in my entire life...

BEST SUGGESTION EVER (!?). PLEASE THOMAS DONT START ANOTHER IKB STUFF HERE. NOT FOR ME BUT YOU ARE DIVERTING WELL-DESERVED ATTENTION TO ERIC'S HARD WORK AND HIS OWN MAESTRO THREAD WITH THAT POST. IT IS UNFAIR !

Auger
06-06-2006, 10:52 PM
I asked because just yesterday I started reading Richard William's Animators Survival kit. I was watching the video waiting to see you do something with the hips (thinking that might fix that pinching too). That's why I asked. Anyway observation is always the best.

I think that animators need badges like the "PRESS" wear so we can study women with impunity. :D



impunity: exemption or freedom from punishment, harm, or loss

Greg,

You might find this link interesting: http://www.biomotionlab.ca/Demos/BMLwalker.html

SplineGod
06-06-2006, 11:53 PM
Eric, thanks for posting these. Ive had some people ask me if you were going to post some demos. Ill let them know.

Tyrot,
Thanks! :)
Wheres that LCS plugin site?

t4d
06-07-2006, 12:00 AM
tyrot ? where did that come from ??
you and larry got something going ??? seem so,.. Larry thanked you for it ??

I didn't even uses the word Kill in my post ??

I have never said a bad word about ANY third party plugin in my LIFE !!!
I think LCS is going to be great and I have said it Many MANY TIMES !!!
all layout auto rigger is a top idea !!! I hope the LCS guys get it out there soon.

that fact I'm posting positive comments in a Maestro demo thread
make what you say seem pretty silly ??

LwCAD ?? what has that got to do with anything I have ever said ??
I have Lw CAD do you ?? and it does a top job for that type of thing.

You never post tips you have only 40 post here and everytime i see you post it's attacking me ??

it's all pretty sad really =(

badllarma
06-07-2006, 12:26 AM
Back to the subject :)

Maestro rocks one of the most useful plugins I own Eric and the team have done a great job with it and hope it get's better with every release. :thumbsup:

I wonder if it would be possible to allow it in a future release to have a setup to load in FBX format (and/or MOCAP) files directly in using a custom rig that would directly relate to the imported animation data? That would be a really cool addition to what is a very good plugin.

DiedonD
06-07-2006, 01:34 AM
In response to another thread (in the LW9 features about character animation) I have created a demonstration video of creating a walk using Maestro. You can find it here:

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/Maestrodemos/MaestroWalk.mov

My goal is to make a series of these, but I've got to get myself educated better on how to capture and encode them. This one is 17 minutes long, and is 50 megs with fairly low quality. There's also no sound.

Hopefully, future videos will get smaller and better looking as I investigate different compression codecs, etc.

Additionally, I've uploaded a few simple animations that I created with Maestro, just kind of playing around. My primary goal was to practice bringing a character to life quickly (the last three were animated within one hour each). I wouldn't say these are demo reel quality necessarily, but I think they're pretty fun.

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/Maestrodemos/karate.mov

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/Maestrodemos/heavyball.mov

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/Maestrodemos/doorslam.mov

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/Maestrodemos/suicide.mov

Eric

I cant download it Eric, could you please make it possible somehow. I need to get into animating now and maestro seems like the way. Please see if you could do something about this. It says downloading from site, and afterwards says Done. While nothing is done actually.

My e-mail is [email protected]

Regards
Diedon

tyrot
06-07-2006, 01:43 AM
dear thomas

ok it was late (6.30 am) i thought you were diverting. Sending a bomb from brisbane:)..Sorry mate i just do not want people lost his focus on Maestro. Even you are telling something good for maestro eventually you are bashing IKB again.

Because i am gonna purchase Maestro, other threads helped me alot for expanding my horizon and convinced me i CAN be the problem for not getting CA job in LW not LW CA tools, i am reading everything differently. So That s why i just didnt want to Larry answer that delete part. Because that would be total lost.

Wish i could have more tips than anyone here to share. I would share really. But i am learning here. What i learned today Maestro should be purchased ASAP. And start from there. As well as IKB.

I have no intention to attack you particularly. But i invested a big percentage of my business to LW. I have business plan (small but expanding) So plugins are extremely (such as maestro, lwcad, pictrix, even not released revolutionary PIM or innet IKB) important for my goals. SO when i feel someone is suggesting deleting a system yet undiscovered i am freaking out. (old law school habits:) probably i am seeing you as a prosecutor)

BEST (sorry again )

t4d
06-07-2006, 02:12 AM
no I'm not the only one to Say the IKB word in this thread
and BY all account if you look at what is going on all the threads at the moment the IKB guys are the ones Covering all the threads with IKB comments.

and in what world do you think we are in ??
If Newtek DID delete IKB due to Little old me ??
more chance of LW buying Maya off autodesk and LW 10 really being Maya..


wake up to yourself

If your are just now getting into character animation ??
what prospective have you got that what i say is Wrong about IKB ?
did you even understand any of the points many others people posted Against IKB ?

all i can say good luck learning CA with IKB you need it ...

If you get Maestro and just used that. you would learn alot more and faster.

GregMalick
06-07-2006, 03:14 AM
Greg,

You might find this link interesting: http://www.biomotionlab.ca/Demos/BMLwalker.html

Hey - that is very cool. :thumbsup:

thanks.

ericsmith
06-07-2006, 10:07 AM
Badllarma,

Techincally, Maestro has the capability to do something like this to a certain extent. There's two bigger issues though.

1. There's not one consistant mocap skeletal structure. So if I made a rig that worked with the skeletal structure I had, it wouldn't work if you had mocap data with a different skeleton.

2. The real important thing about working with mocap is dealing with body proportion. Retargeting mocap data to a character with a different body shape/size is very complex. It's why the industry uses dedicated software packages like filmbox so often. I've heard that Max offers some good features in this area as well, but honestly, doing it right is probably beyond the scope of what we're capable of at the moment.

Tyrot and T4d,

While I think it's inevitable that IKB is going to come up in any CA thread right now, considering it's such a heated topic, hopefully we can all call a truce for the moment and keep this thread on the positive side.

Eric

badllarma
06-07-2006, 11:36 AM
Thanks for the info Eric,

I was more thinking of aiming it just at Human animation as bascially that is what I would use mocap for if you have an giant, ogre etc.. (something off the scales to speak) then the animator is on there own after all is it a sick, young, old giant :)

I was more thinking this use the following
"A rig" for x data input. E.G FBX
"B rig" for y data input

Just based around a couple of formats mainly to do a quick and dirty animation input for back ground "Human" characters.
ALWAYS I would handle the animation of the hero characters by an animator.

BusyWolf
06-08-2006, 01:42 AM
Females are a different story. I find, however, that it's harder to study women walking without it being taken the wrong way. Especially when focusing on the hips...
You can be clever and set up your camcoder and some girls may even show off for the camera. If slick enough they won't notice when you focuse on the hips! LOL!
:devil:

Nemoid
06-08-2006, 09:17 AM
hey erich your video's great . i'm wondering how maestro deals exactly with autorigging : do it has a prebuilt skeleton to manage for autorigging purposes or what?

ericsmith
06-08-2006, 09:42 AM
Rigging is very straightforward. There's skelegon structures for each of the different rigs (ie. biped, quadruped, wings and tails). You just place the skelegons into your character, adjust to fit, load the character in Layout, launch Maestro, and then hit the appropriate rig button.

While there's a bit to understand about how to position the skelegons, overall it's pretty intuitive. You just have to keep a few control bones oriented properly, and that's covered in the user guide.

The interesting thing that I'd like to point out is that the rigs are simple text files, so with a little understanding of the commands, you can modify the rigs or create your own from scratch.

Eric

coremi
06-08-2006, 11:20 AM
any new version on the works ?

ericsmith
06-08-2006, 11:30 AM
It's not like we've got a major point upgrade going on right now, simply because we don't have any big new ideas. Version 2 was really pretty much everything we envisioned for this tool. We're toying around with a few concepts, but honestly, while they're cool ideas, they're not as practical for real world animating as I thought they would be when first developing them.

We're constantly refining little things, though. And my next horizon is to develop the rigs further. I found out a while ago that since 8.5, expressions have been able to see bone rotation after IK. I'm very curious to explore what I can do with that.

Eric

UnCommonGrafx
06-08-2006, 12:52 PM
The only thing I'd like to see would be Relativity used in the rig.
Beyond that, layers ala keytrak, but I know you are working on that. (I hope!)

Nemoid
06-08-2006, 02:00 PM
Rigging is very straightforward. There's skelegon structures for each of the different rigs (ie. biped, quadruped, wings and tails). You just place the skelegons into your character, adjust to fit, load the character in Layout, launch Maestro, and then hit the appropriate rig button.

While there's a bit to understand about how to position the skelegons, overall it's pretty intuitive. You just have to keep a few control bones oriented properly, and that's covered in the user guide.

The interesting thing that I'd like to point out is that the rigs are simple text files, so with a little understanding of the commands, you can modify the rigs or create your own from scratch.

Eric


this is way cool. and lets say if i wanna run a customized rig how the workflow would be? is it complex? also i saw you have facial rig is that in Maestro as a preset too?

p.s. i think that if you could, u shoud work on something for great cloth animation

ericsmith
06-08-2006, 03:24 PM
UnCommonGrafx,
Integrating relativity into the autorigger may not be possible, as Relativity is a plugin, and Lightwave doesn't give plugins any way of talking to each other. That doesn't mean they couldn't be used on a rig, however. I'm kind of hoping that Relativity has it's own way of saving and importing libraries, which would make it easy to apply a complex library onto any character. That would pretty much take care of the issue.

Layers is a big issue. I really would like to see Newtek implement a nodal approach to displacement and animation, and I would like to see envelopes be a part of this. That would open up all kinds of opportunities, including layers, FK and IK working together, and much more.

Nemoid,
The buttons you see in the interface are simply hotspots (called "command" hotspots) that can be linked to any .lsm text file. You could create any number of rigs, and completely build your own interface if you wanted. It's so flexible, that at one point we actually created an interactive demo that loaded complete configs, scenes, etc.

The facial rig is another rig that you can add to your character. There's also a complete rig that integrates it in to the default biped, so you don't have to rig twice. In order to use the facial rig, you have to create some specific endomorphs on your character. They're simple, ie. open mouth, pushing the eyebrows up and down, etc. So you don't have to create complete expressions. Combined with pose hotspots, it's really nice, especially for lipsync.

Eric

Wonderpup
06-08-2006, 03:40 PM
It's strange that layers don't seem to get talked about much- It's the one thing I really miss from character studio. The ability to just tweak a posture and have that ripple through an animation is really nice.

Phil
06-09-2006, 12:11 PM
Hmmm. Maestro 2.05? Is there an update on the way? I see only 2.01 on the download page ;)

Phil
06-09-2006, 12:14 PM
UnCommonGrafx,
Integrating relativity into the autorigger may not be possible, as Relativity is a plugin, and Lightwave doesn't give plugins any way of talking to each other. That doesn't mean they couldn't be used on a rig, however. I'm kind of hoping that Relativity has it's own way of saving and importing libraries, which would make it easy to apply a complex library onto any character. That would pretty much take care of the issue.
Eric

You can use ProfessorScript to do this. It's been a feature of Relativity 2.0 for some time and was designed to allow expression setups to be applied to specific objects and the like. You still need to bring the plugin up to apply it, though.

A dirty way would be to directly manipulate the scene file with regular expressions to build a Relativity chunk against the object. That might be too dirty, though :). With Prem still M.I.A., I'm not sure what else to suggest.

badllarma
06-09-2006, 12:32 PM
Hmmm. Maestro 2.05? Is there an update on the way? I see only 2.01 on the download page ;)

Was thinking the same thing Phil :)

ericsmith
06-09-2006, 12:35 PM
Yeah, 2.05 is about ready to release. It's just a few bug fixes and improvements to the rigs. I've just got to get everything organized and then package it up for release.

If relativity has it's own way of easily applying a library, I'm not sure how important it is to integrate it into the autorigging process. As long as I provide the components, it would be just one more step in the rigging process.

Eric

NanoGator
06-09-2006, 01:24 PM
Anybody know if Relativity was tied to LScript at all?

Phil
06-10-2006, 03:37 AM
It's never had LScript hooks in it. I think that may largely be down to the SDK. Relativity 2.0 has been in development for, um, years, although, to be fair to the cycle, it seems to have stopped altogether sometime in March 2005; there has been no sign of Prem since the last posting on the relativitylist Yahoo group.

I cannot get any answers to questions from him for that reason. You might have better luck - check www.premdesign.com for contact details.

Phil
06-10-2006, 04:04 AM
Yeah, 2.05 is about ready to release. It's just a few bug fixes and improvements to the rigs. I've just got to get everything organized and then package it up for release.
Eric

Does 2.05 manage to suppress all the 'load from scene' confirmation dialogs?

It would actually be a really neat thing if Maestro could migrate changes in the bone setup in Layout into Skelegon changes for Modeler. LW still fails to provide a way to do this, meaning a great deal of round-tripping to Modeler. If it's possible, it would be a nice addition.

It's a bit cheeky, I guess, but with the rigs in 2.01 I have some very awkward hip distortion on many things I am trying to rig. The leg-hip area deforms fine(ish), but the centre of the hip region ends up looking a complete mess.

I'm not sure how to fix this. Can you help? I've tried almost everything I can think of without success.

On a separate note, the shoulder rig seemed to be busted on some of the examples, e.g. femalerev.lwo has a major shoulder collapse problem when you descend the wrist.

Attachments should show both of these questions/issues. :)

ericsmith
06-10-2006, 08:48 AM
Does 2.05 manage to suppress all the 'load from scene' confirmation dialogs?

Unfortunately, no. There's an Lscript command called "Autoconfirm" that the new 'load from scene' feature doesn't support. We've reported it to Newtek, and they've confirmed it, but I'm not sure if they can fix it before the 9.0 release.

We are looking into an alternative Item shape method that will circumvent the problem altogether, and actually speed up the rigging process significantly. I'm not positive if a custom solution will be as good, though, so we'll have to see.


It would actually be a really neat thing if Maestro could migrate changes in the bone setup in Layout into Skelegon changes for Modeler. LW still fails to provide a way to do this, meaning a great deal of round-tripping to Modeler. If it's possible, it would be a nice addition.

There's a free plugin out there that does just that. I thought it was called "reskelegonize", but I've done a search at flay and didn't find anything. Maybe someone else remembers this one better.


It's a bit cheeky, I guess, but with the rigs in 2.01 I have some very awkward hip distortion on many things I am trying to rig. The leg-hip area deforms fine(ish), but the centre of the hip region ends up looking a complete mess.

That middle pic looks really strange. I've never seen that happen, and can't imagine what could. Do me a favor and send that scene file and the character (just in case something got weirded out in the mesh somehow) to support (at) stillwaterpictures.com. I'd like to look at it first hand.

The shoulder issue is a bit simpler. The clavicle is part of the IK chain of the arm. So if you pull the hand goal too far down (or away), the shoulder will do that. As long as you animate the hand goal within the normal range that it should be within, the shoulder is fine. I could put a rotational limit in to keep the problem from happening, but I've tried to avoid limits as much as possible. I'll take another look at that idea, though.

Eric

MikeD3D
06-10-2006, 08:48 AM
I love Maestro and recommend it to anyone who doesn't enjoy rigging (like me).:D

For a moving reference of unclothed models, I found http://www.finley-holiday.com/detail/intcd/cd18b.html to be useful. :thumbsup:

ericsmith
06-10-2006, 09:04 AM
Just a followup on that shoulder issue. I just tried putting a rotational limit on the clavicle, and it works nicely. I'll integrate that into the rig with the new update.

Eric

Phil
06-10-2006, 10:42 AM
Mail sent. :)

Phil
06-10-2006, 11:07 AM
After a fair bit of poking around, MGUpdateBone might do the roundtripping of bones to/from Modeler/Layout. Have to give it a try :)

ericsmith
06-10-2006, 02:00 PM
Hey Phil, nothing's come through. Could you double check the address and try again?

Eric

ericsmith
06-10-2006, 02:35 PM
Grr. I just did some checking, and my email seems to be not working. This may have to wait until monday.

Eric

Greenlaw
06-10-2006, 03:41 PM
Hi Eric and Brian,

Glad to hear you guys are still tweaking Maestro. Version 2.01 has worked out great for a personal project I've been working on. Hope to have something to show off soon.

BTW, is the Stillwater Pictures website down at the moment? I can't seem to download your new demo movies or link to any Maestro pages.

Keep up the great work!

DRG

Phil
06-10-2006, 04:24 PM
Grr. I just did some checking, and my email seems to be not working. This may have to wait until monday.

Eric

Check your PM inbox. URL to download object+scene should be in there for you :)

nemac4
06-10-2006, 06:40 PM
Hey Eric, I've been wondering if there is a way to tie into item sets for bones and objects so I could key them both at the same time by clicking a button in Maestro2. It might make a nice feature addition.:thumbsup:

Great Videos. I can't wait to see what you can do with LW9's SDK.

ericsmith
06-10-2006, 09:19 PM
Phil,

I took a look at your female character. It's a very high mesh character. I'm guessing that you got it from Poser, or some kind of library? The thing is, with a mesh that dense, deformation can get tricky. Even though you've converted it to a subpatch object, that's not going to override the basic problem with trying to animate a polygonal character.

The ideal scenario would be either to do a lot of bandgluing, and get the mesh to a more reasonable resolution, or spend some time with weight maps, really fine tuning them to match the primary bones that are doing the deformation. It looks like you may have tried to do the auto approach with vertex paint, but that's not a very viable solution. One thing that will help is to download FI's Weightmap blur (look on Flay.com). That will help you smooth the transitions between weightmaps pretty well.

Nemac4,

This may not be the most direct answer to your question, but bear with me, as this is a little difficult to explain.

Hotspots can be set to see anything: meshes, bones, cameras, lights, even channels such as endomorphs or camera zoom or light intensity. We have selection hotspots that you can assign any combination of different items to. Then, you can create a track that looks at that selection hotspot. When you create a key on that track, it will key anything the track sees, so it could key nulls, bones, cameras, channels, etc.

There's actually even more posibilities to it than that, but hopefully this answers your question.

Eric

Phil
06-11-2006, 02:47 AM
It started life as a Poser export because I'm not a hugely confident modeller. I know the principles, but at some point it always goes...errr...wrong :D Until I get my modelling skills up, this seemed a good option so that I can at least get the animations roughed out.

I had increased the poly count due to an assumption that higher poly count would mean better deformation, simply because there are more points to evaluate. Usually more is better ;) I'll get stuck in to dial that resolution back down again.

The weightmaps are hangovers from an early version of T4DRigger when they seemed to be mandatory. I did them crudely by hand :D

Oh well, you live and learn :)

NanoGator
06-11-2006, 05:29 PM
Hi Eric and Brian,

Glad to hear you guys are still tweaking Maestro. Version 2.01 has worked out great for a personal project I've been working on. Hope to have something to show off soon.

BTW, is the Stillwater Pictures website down at the moment? I can't seem to download your new demo movies or link to any Maestro pages.

Keep up the great work!

DRG

Hey Dennis,

Sorry I didn't mention it before, but it was nice meeting you. :)

Brian

p.s. Sorry, don't know what happened to the SW site... hehe.

jimiclaybrooks
06-16-2006, 09:06 AM
Hey Eric,
Thanks for telling me about your videos. I'll get back to you on the hips thing as soon as possible. I got all of my computer problems fixed now, so I'll be back to work next week, unless I go on vacation. AAAAAAAAAHHHHH, haven't had one in YEARS!!
As for those hips thing. I take issue with both sides. I've also studied people's gaits, and women are subject to several variables. I've seen very lean and agile women walking with pronounced hip and back movements, and other women just as lean and thin, who walked with a very stiff motion. Conversely, some women that are very heavy, muscle and fat wise, do the same amount of "jiggling", naturally you'd expect that. Frankly, I feel that some of it is tied to the personality of the person.
EDIT: Oh yeah, I also studied that William's book, and I think your male walk would be even more interesting if he had more bounce. Men tend to do more bouncing on average. Women bounce alot when they're in a hurry, like runway models and stuff. Just $.02 more
That dictates the most subtle of issues in any person's gait, male or female. MY $.02:)

ericsmith
06-16-2006, 10:51 AM
Yeah, walk cycles can be either fairly simple or extremely complex, depending on just how much realism you're striving for. Hopefully, the new hip controls I've been working on will give a bit more flexibility in this area.

Eric

goodrichm
06-21-2006, 08:09 AM
Eric/Brian,

Does Maestro 2.01 work in LW9 or are you working on a patch for it?

Thanks, Mark

ericsmith
06-21-2006, 10:17 AM
So far there's two issues that are both Lightwave bugs that we're trying to work around.

1. The way Lightwave deals with locked items has changed. It used to be that a locked item could still be selected in scene editor or by a script. Now it can't be selected by any means. This presented a small problem with the rigs, as I would in some circumstances create a control null, lock it, and then try to select it. It wouldn't select, and the rigging process would get bungled. I simply removed the item locking from the rigs, as it wasn't really necessary, so it's not really an issue anymore.

(note: if you're trying to rig in LW9 right now, simply open the rigging file(s) in notepad, and do a find and replace: change "ItemLock" to "//ItemLock" and they should rig without problems)

2. the new "Load from scene" function doesn't properly deal with an lscript function called "Autoconfirm" the way it did in 8.x. What this means is that whenever the rig does a "load from scene", which happens several times, Lightwave stops and waits for a user to hit "okay" (or the enter key). The rigging still works, but it's obviously a hassle. We not sure if this issue will be fixed by Newtek by release, but it should be dealt with soon after. I'm not sure what exactly we're going to do about this, but we're looking into another item shape solution that would not require a "load from scene" at all, and would therefore circumvent the problem altogether.

Eric

evenflcw
06-21-2006, 02:07 PM
Eric, that item lock issue sounds bad (and unnecessary as I imagine item locking is for preventing accidental selection mainly in the viewports)... It will infact completely kill my workflow (I like to jump up and down the hierarchy via hotkeys to access locked items) and I'm sure other peoples aswell. It seems I will no longer have any benefit from locking as I probably wont be using it anymore :(

In script can you check if an item is locked without selecting it first?

I'm not on the beta, has anyone voiced their opinions about this "bugfix" in the beta forums?

ericsmith
06-21-2006, 03:05 PM
I'm not sure what I can or can't say from a beta point of view, but from a more solution based point of view, there are other ways of preventing an item from being accidentally selected, ie. hiding it, or scaling it to 0 (if that doesn't affect other things, like if it has children). Many of the controls in the Maestro rig are treated this way, so locking was kind of a redundant issue. That's why removing the locking from items in the rig was no big deal.

Eric

ericsmith
06-21-2006, 03:07 PM
By the way, I've consolidated all the demo videos to one place:

http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/Maestrodemos

So if you try to download from the link at the top of this thread, it won't work anymore. right now this new link just takes you to a list of all the videos, but I plan to build a web page at this new location to make everything all neat and organized.

Eric

evenflcw
06-21-2006, 04:06 PM
Hiding does indeed enable a simular workflow and I think that'll work ok for me when the day comes. So thanks for the tip! Although, it does make jumping around the hierarchies sligthly less predictable, as what is visually the next bone in the hierarhcy might not be (there could be a hidden bone in there somewhere). But you are right. Hiding works ok as a substitute for old-style-locking. Also as substituting one for the other worked there was obviously some overlap in functionalty. And because the new style locking works different it also brings something new to the table. Which is always positive. Power to the user!