PDA

View Full Version : Is Messiah worth it?



hrgiger
10-10-2006, 12:09 PM
So, I think I've decided that I don't really want to wait around for another year or more for Newtek to make the much needed changes that it needs to make to the character animation system in Lightwave. I was kicking around the idea three or four months ago about purchasing the single license of Messiah:Studio ($299) but too many other things held priority over making any kind of decision but I'm back there now.
So anyone here using the latest version of Messiah:animate? Is it worth it? Are there some limitations I should be aware of? I'm downloading the demo but I want to hear from some people that are actually experienced with it.
Please, no replies stating how the character animation system in Lightwave is fully capable and there is no need for anything more. I'm not in the mood for the giggles today. I'm well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of CA in Lightwave. Thanks.

Stooch
10-10-2006, 12:28 PM
300 dollars is worth it. you dont really have much in the way of cloth or hair but the ca animation system is pretty **** slick. I use messiah for CA over maya, ist just insanely fast to rig and the armatures kick ***. play with the demo though, i personally like that program its just taking a long time to get to where i want it to be.

Titus
10-10-2006, 12:38 PM
Go for it.

Carm3D
10-10-2006, 07:11 PM
If it now supports Lightwave weight maps, it's a no-brainer. If not... Beware of Meta-Effectors! They still give me bad dreams.

James Edwards
10-10-2006, 07:13 PM
I'll be happy to sell you my copy of m:studio for $450 if you are still interested after playing with the demo. The original disk and cover are long since gone, as I bought them used from another user as well, but all you really need is the dongle and the installer plus upgrades, which I'll be happy to burn to a new cd. I'll also inlcude my joe cosman video tutorials as well. I haven't been able to really use it since I got it more than 2 years ago and most of my professional work is all done in XSI now anyway, so I doubt I'll even have time to get back into messiah again anytime soon.

Only reason I'm parting with it is because I don't feel it is well suited to games work, and I never really got the chance to use it for a short film project in the end. Most of my work is realtime/games.

Exception
10-10-2006, 08:42 PM
Is there a reason why i have never ever seen a messiah render in the wild?
That render engine promised to be really exciting, but i never heard anyone talk about it again...

hrgiger
10-10-2006, 08:56 PM
I'll be happy to sell you my copy of m:studio for $450 if you are still interested after playing with the demo.


But m:studio is only $299 retail?(unless your version is the $995 pro version) I really don't want to spend almost $500. If I did, I probably might be going with XSI but then again, as I mentioned in another thread, I really don't want to relearn an entire application (not just animation, but modeling, texturing, and rendering as well. At least by using Messiah, I don't have to relearn these and for the most part am happy with LW in these areas.)

Carm- Lightwave doesn't read the Meta-effectors correctly? I think I remember seeing in one of their tutorial videos that subdivision order has to be set to last, might that be it? I don't know, just curious. Anyone else have this issue or any others? These are the kinds of things that I really want to hear about. I don't want to take the plunge into Messiah only to find a can't use a certain feature that might be very useful for me. That's kind of the reason I'm tired of Lightwave's system (which to be honest, I'm most tired of the destructive setup nature of LW as well as poor interactive speed of Lightwaves bones).

Thanks for all the feedback past and future.

lsddigital
10-10-2006, 10:40 PM
I think Messiah is good enough, and easy. If you come from Lightwave you will love it. you can use it as a plugin too if you want to render in LW.
take a look into www.animessiah.com (http://www.animessiah.com)

Wickster
10-11-2006, 12:28 AM
I've been thinking about messiah for awhile now too and been kinda holding off to see how LW's new CA tools turn out. The only reason I've been holding is I'm more into modeling than anything with a few renders here and there. Plus on a student budget I can't really afford it right now.

But I'm really interested how this thread comes out, might force me to try it out, though I here there isn't much job openings for messiah TDs and animators here in cali.

Panikos
10-11-2006, 12:32 AM
As far as Character animation capabilities, Messiah gets 10 out of 10 and LW gets 2 out of 10. This is because of Messiah interactive speed and awesome expressions engine.

Just to answer the FAQ ahead of time, baking is your friend in case you have difficulties in sending data from an app to an app.

mav3rick
10-11-2006, 01:19 AM
hmmmmmmm.

James Edwards
10-11-2006, 07:24 AM
Yes it is the pro version, which is only half the price of what it sells for on the pmG site. Just offering in case you were interested. I only just decided I was going to sell it, and then I saw this thread so figured why not? 150 is only a little more than the 300 you'd pay for the workstation version. A good deal if you want the render nodes - if not, maybe someone else will. The Joe Cosman cds also add signifcant value to that sale, so it's a good deal no matter how you look at it.

Digital Hermit
10-11-2006, 07:37 AM
I am watching this post also... I want to hear what people have to say about the software (those who currently use it.. esp LW9 users.) All the pro and cons, etc.

I may look at it as an animation solution for LW.

Digital Hermit

animotion
10-11-2006, 08:27 AM
I've had messiah for years and the only bad thing to me is the perspective view, it makes me dizzy at times with that vertigo type feeling. Yuk! and the fact that its view controls are opposite of LW.
but other than that it is worth it.

Phil
10-11-2006, 10:33 AM
Depending on your level of urgency, and cashflow, it might be more sensible to drop the cash on XSI Foundation. It comes with PointOven built-in (so to speak) so that roundtripping work via .mdd files becomes relatively straightforward. You also then have the opportunity to grow into XSI, hedging your bets somewhat against whatever the future holds for LW.

From my point of view, XSI and LW are good complements to each other. For Mac folks, it's a much more irritating choice - at least until Softimage port the application to run on OSX (seems to be in their roadmap).

CMT
10-11-2006, 10:54 AM
I've been wanting to try Messiah for a while now. Not necessarily for animation, but if I have a character I want to rig for posing and facial expressions for illustration purposes. It may be still worth the money. Can't say that for sure though since I haven't even tried it yet.

hrgiger
10-11-2006, 12:19 PM
and the fact that its view controls are opposite of LW.
but other than that it is worth it.


I wrote PMG back a few months ago when I was thinking of buying it the first time concerning this because I didn't like that right off the bat after trying the demo. They told me that it was able to be changed to be like Lightwave. Can anyone else confirm this?

hrgiger
10-11-2006, 12:21 PM
Yes it is the pro version, which is only half the price of what it sells for on the pmG site. Just offering in case you were interested. I only just decided I was going to sell it, and then I saw this thread so figured why not? 150 is only a little more than the 300 you'd pay for the workstation version. A good deal if you want the render nodes - if not, maybe someone else will. The Joe Cosman cds also add signifcant value to that sale, so it's a good deal no matter how you look at it.

Thanks James but I'm on a budget or I would snag it off you. I'm a one man band and one render node is about all I can afford anyway, both in hardware and software. Good luck with the sale.

animotion
10-11-2006, 06:12 PM
I heard that before but never got an answer from PMG when I asked.
The perspective thing still makes me drunk when zooming out.

hrgiger
10-11-2006, 06:33 PM
I heard that before but never got an answer from PMG when I asked.
The perspective thing still makes me drunk when zooming out.

I sent them an email today asking about that and also about any known issues that they have documented concerning the effectiveness of meta effectors in Lightwave. I'll let you know if and when I hear back from them. I tried looking through the demo interface today and I didn't see how to change the viewport navigation, if there is such a way.

Digital Hermit
10-12-2006, 03:42 PM
Well, I downloaded the demo and the bone process, so far, has impressed me... :)

spec24
12-05-2006, 10:53 AM
HEY! hrgiger whatever happened?? Did you wind up purchasing. I'm curious too, had about enough head banging from LW.

Sarford
12-05-2006, 11:42 AM
hhmmmmpff, no such luck for mac users, the only other option we have is maya :grumpy:
I sure hope the new CA tools are gonna be good...

metahumanity
12-05-2006, 12:40 PM
I sure hope the new CA tools are gonna be good...

Any new news on that front?

cresshead
12-05-2006, 12:54 PM
you'll either have to wait for the next release or maybe the beta might have a few clues...of course nda on the beta...so just a 'guess' at what may in there...until then yup..messiah is an option and so is xsi....or even td4 rigger or the meastro rigger too...

Nicolas Jordan
12-05-2006, 12:54 PM
So, I think I've decided that I don't really want to wait around for another year or more for Newtek to make the much needed changes that it needs to make to the character animation system in Lightwave.

I purchased Messiah Studio(Workstation) because of the same reason earlier this year. Good experience so far except one negative thing I discovered is materials don't transfer over to Messiah and stay the same as Lightwave. If you use something you have already set up materials for in Lightwave you have to adjust them all in Messiah if you plan on rendering in Messiah. I would like to be able to load up a Lightwave scene and render it in Messiah using Messiahs GI without have to change any material settings. :( Of course this doesnt matter at all if you plan on rendering in Lightwave. :)

hrgiger
12-05-2006, 01:11 PM
HEY! hrgiger whatever happened?? Did you wind up purchasing. I'm curious too, had about enough head banging from LW.


No, my plans for character work are on hold right now, partly due to money and partly due to the fact that I'm so busy right now with work and school right now. I'm doing a lot of modeling right now (i.e. my city model in the WIP forum) so that's keeping me busy as well.

I may end up having a good idea on what Newtek is going to implement by the time I make a decision...

spec24
12-05-2006, 01:20 PM
No, my plans for character work are on hold right now, partly due to money and partly due to the fact that I'm so busy right now with work and school right now. I'm doing a lot of modeling right now (i.e. my city model in the WIP forum) so that's keeping me busy as well.

I may end up having a good idea on what Newtek is going to implement by the time I make a decision...
That's too bad. I find character work to be oh so fullfilling (when things work right). I would wait for LW character tools if I thought there was actually going to be some real development on that front but I have my doubts. I've been using it for some time doing CA but would love something a little more.... up to date :) I'l try the ol' demo. Thanks.

pooby
12-05-2006, 03:06 PM
Depending on your level of urgency, and cashflow, it might be more sensible to drop the cash on XSI Foundation. It comes with PointOven built-in (so to speak) so that roundtripping work via .mdd files becomes relatively straightforward. You also then have the opportunity to grow into XSI, hedging your bets somewhat against whatever the future holds for LW.

From my point of view, XSI and LW are good complements to each other

Totally agree. XSI is just exceptional.
Messiah is good too. I used it a while ago (in fact, some of my animation is on PMG's site in the gallery)
But, If I had to recommend one or the other it would be no contest.

Either are years ahead of LW in its current state and would be a joy to use if you are going through character animation frustrations.

Celshader
12-05-2006, 05:36 PM
So, I think I've decided that I don't really want to wait around for another year or more for Newtek to make the much needed changes that it needs to make to the character animation system in Lightwave. I was kicking around the idea three or four months ago about purchasing the single license of Messiah:Studio ($299) but too many other things held priority over making any kind of decision but I'm back there now.

I dropped $1000 on project:messiah and messiah:studio in 1999, but I still haven't learned it. No local studio I know uses it in their pipeline. Any time LightWave falls flat for character animation, folks around here reach for Maya.

That said, I hear that messiah is good, and $299 is an excellent price. I know one guy who's used both LightWave and Maya for character animation. He will use messiah for his next personal project. So, again -- I hear that it's good.

-+-

If you continue to be a one-man-band, doing animation purely for pleasure and/or for freelance, messiah or XSI can't be a bad choice. You might also consider Blender (http://www.blender.org), since I hear its character tools are good, too. It can export .mot files (http://www.blendernation.com/2006/03/26/blender-to-lightwave-motion-file-script-v10/) and .mdd files (http://www.blender3d.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10021&sid=8ce5870ec0076b2ada093a4601f3b236), so a LW<>Blender pipeline should be possible.

Bog
12-05-2006, 06:10 PM
I dropped $1000 on project:messiah and messiah:studio in 1999, but I still haven't learned it. No local studio I know uses it in their pipeline. Any time LightWave falls flat for character animation, folks around here reach for Maya.

That's the size of it for me. I've got my Messiah dongle on my dogtag chain to remind me that if I'm going to learn a complex character animation package, it's going to be something that'll earn me something that ain't just kudos.

It's one heck of a peice of software, no messing - but it's like having a thermic lance in your back room. It's uber-powerful, but for making it's money back? You've gotta have a reason for owning it.

jasonwestmas
12-05-2006, 07:24 PM
Heh, must be some underground shop in the hills that's still keeping pmG alive!

spec24
12-05-2006, 08:44 PM
$299 for an actual undo button is worth it to me! And look, it undoes everything! Hey Newtek, this one feature would revolutionize Lightwave, you might want to consider having it. :twak:

JVitale
12-05-2006, 11:56 PM
I've been playing with the demo myself and so far I like it...especially its documentation...so easy and concise. I'm seriously thinking of going the Messiah route after a friend of mine recommended that I play with the demo. We've reached our wits end with LW destructive, unintuitive set up and rigging system....

DaveW
12-06-2006, 01:00 AM
messiah is very powerful, very easy to learn, and very fast. One very annoying bug is inactive keyframes becoming active depending on your channel settings in the dopesheet, that is really the only bug that has ever bothered me and it must be a monster because PMG has been "looking into it" for a long time. I think native support for endomorphs is necessary, as well as support for ngons, edge weights, and weight maps.

It wasn't addressed before, so let me say that the problem with Meta Effectors has nothing to do with getting the animation back into messiah. Any animation you make in messiah is baked and exported to Lightwave flawlessly. The problem with Meta Effectors is they are messiah's answer to weight maps, and for some things they are great, but when you need very precise control they are a pain in the ***. Messiah needs to support LW/Modo weight maps already.

Despite those issues, PMG is pretty good about addressing user's concerns/requests (a little slowly sometimes) and I very much enjoy animating in messiah. I never enjoy rigging, but it's far less painful in messiah than in Lightwave or Maya, and the feedback is much faster too.

As for studios using messiah, hardly any. It's mostly freelancers or very small studios or hobbyists. If your goal is to get a job as a messiah pro, forget about it. If your goal is to be a TD, forget about it. If you want to be an animator it's one of the best choices. The rigging is easy enough that even people who hate rigging can make a decent rig and the animation is of course wonderful. Animation is probably the one skill in 3d that is the easiest to transfer between software. It took me 5 minutes to learn how to animate in messiah, 5 minutes to learn how to animate in Maya, 5 minutes to learn how to animate in XSI, 5 minutes to learn how to animate in 3ds MAX. If you're applying for a job and they use XXXX software, then download a demo, spend a day or two with it, and then you can honestly tell them that you're proficient in animating in XXXX software. Messiah will allow you to spend more time animating and less time struggling with software limitations or technical bull****.

lillmagnus
12-06-2006, 01:03 AM
I (and places I have worked at) have used messiah since it was just a plugin. I like messiah for rigging and animating, though the render part scares me and seems unfinished (unusable). I use pointoven and render everything I animate in LW.

For animating and rigging, I can't recommend messiah enough, but for the renderer it's not worth the time trying to learn until sometime in the future when they make it complete and finished.

spec24
12-06-2006, 06:15 AM
Totally agree. XSI is just exceptional.
Messiah is good too. I used it a while ago (in fact, some of my animation is on PMG's site in the gallery)
But, If I had to recommend one or the other it would be no contest.

Either are years ahead of LW in its current state and would be a joy to use if you are going through character animation frustrations.
Hey pooby, what does XSI have over on messiah? I'm seriously thinking about purchasing messiah but your statement makes me think XSI has much more to offer. Never used it, how does it play with LW?

Not much happening on messiah's forums, that's a little worrisome.

but CGTALK's messiah forum seems to be pretty busy.

spec24
12-06-2006, 06:50 AM
I take it back, cgtalk's messiah forum looks pretty dead too :(

cresshead
12-06-2006, 07:12 AM
if only messiah and lightwave 'grew together' both would profit from the merger of their best tools...

nemac4
12-06-2006, 07:22 AM
if only messiah and lightwave 'grew together' both would profit from the merger of their best tools...

I have hoped for this too. Even just offering it as a bundle would be a step in the right direction.

cresshead
12-06-2006, 07:24 AM
that would probably be the best bundle deal ever...would sorta make it a ''Lightwave 9 special edition'' much more so that the vue or fusion deal imho

Nicolas Jordan
12-06-2006, 07:51 AM
if only messiah and lightwave 'grew together' both would profit from the merger of their best tools...


Sorry to get off topic just for a minute. :devil: I always thought that merging the technologies of Messiah and Lightwave into one app would be great and God knows the discussions there have been about this on CG forums. If I remember correctly something similar happened when Wavefront and Alias came together to pool their technologies to create the app we now know as Maya. So based on history these kind of things do happen. Still though it doesnt look like PMG and Newtek will be merging their apps based on Newteks announcements that they will be redeveloping the character animation and rigging tools themselves by the sounds of it. Who knows maybe Newtek will totally surprise us with some great tools in this area on par or better than that of PMG Messiah! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.:)

spec24
12-06-2006, 08:19 AM
Still though it doesnt look like PMG and Newtek will be merging their apps based on Newteks announcements that they will be redeveloping the character animation and rigging tools themselves by the sounds of it. Who knows maybe Newtek will totally surprise us with some great tools in this area on par or better than that of PMG Messiah! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.:)

promises promises :) I keep waiting and waiting. At this point if I wait much longer I'll be dead before the things I've been waiting for show up :D Even when things I've waited for do show up it's generally poorly implemented. But yes, merging or bundling these two would be great! I just want to animate without feeling like I've just come out of a cage match.

jasonwestmas
12-06-2006, 10:30 AM
I'm keeping all ten of my fingers crossed for a couple of big improvements just like others are, and man does that hurt my hands!

he, he, cage match. . .:P

pooby
12-06-2006, 03:22 PM
Hey pooby, what does XSI have over on messiah? I'm seriously thinking about purchasing messiah but your statement makes me think XSI has much more to offer. Never used it, how does it play with LW?


XSI can import LW scenes and objects. Geometry animation can be exported from XSI as an MDD file, so that covers all you need, and if you have point oven, you can read open XSI scenes in LW.

Where XSI beats Messiah for me is

Firstly, if you want to make JOINTMORPHS, you can do them there and then.
You bend the leg or whatever - remodel the points till you're happy. Choose which bones rotation (or any parameter) is to drive the morph and 'save deform key'.. Thats it.. Messiah doesn't have modelling, so you will still have to go back and guess in LW.

Weighting bones to geometry.. I originally prefered LW and Messiahs method of not needing weights, but now I am used to XSI, i coudn't go back.. You can paint the deformation amount on in realtime and sculpt joint deformation to perfection.

You can use 'anything' as a bone.. This allows all sorts of deformations that are not possible otherwise. You can use Nulls as bones for example, and constrain them along CURVES
which can in turn, be deformed by anything else. Curves can also have morphs applied (having the modeller and being able to make morphs on the fly), which can be driven by any other item.

Lattices can be deformed by any item, and in turn, can deform any other item.

You can pile as many items driving other items and you cant break xsi.

There is a fully comprehensive set of constraints which can all be layered up and blended on and off. Dynamic parenting for example, is easy. The curve constraint is amazing. you can use curves like tendons and muscles all over your rig, and drive sliding 'skin'.

Linking a channel to another is simply a matter of dragging and dropping. XSI automatically writes Expressions when you do this, which you can then edit.
Because it does this for you, you very quickly discover how they work and start writing your own without even realising it. ( I was a klutz with expressions in LW and Messiah)

You can parent items to points (clusters) on the mesh..

You can animate and keyframe points (clusters) on the mesh

The IK is solid and works with all constraints and parameters without any worry of having to think about the order of solving or anything not working as expected.

The dynamics do not need 'calculating' they work on the fly, and even dynamically deformed items can be used to deform parts of the rig, such as flapping skin, or wobbly fat. ( you can cache them if it slows the rig down)

Making a visual panel (synoptic) to control your item is very easy indeed.

You can store poses or animation clips for any part of your rig with one click, and reapply that pose or animation at anytime with 2 clicks. and of course, you can mix, and re-edit and re-use animation easily.

You can animate on a simple rig, and set it to update on a complex one with all the bells and whistles. This is really easy to set up.
If the complex rig with a heavy mesh is too slow to play full speed, you can turn on an option that is like a 3D preview.. imagine LW's preview, but you can rotate and pan around the scene as it is playing at full speed, even if the scene is complex.

The tools for setting up what you want parameters you want Keyed on which frame are totally comprehensive and the graph editor is great.
Also you have a mini dopesheet on the timeline which can scale keys and move keys or blocks of keys with simple mouse clicks.

XSI's cloth is good and can be used for clothing.

I could go on and on..these are off the top of my head

I haven't used Messiah for a few years, and I'm sure it has some of these features - I'm certainly not poo-pooing it.
I just think, for what you get for your money, XSI offers far more.

cresshead
12-06-2006, 03:30 PM
would you say that xsi's major draws for a lightwave artist are that of rigging characters and animating them then bringing them back over to lightwave for lighting and rendering?

LW_Will
12-06-2006, 05:01 PM
I too have been looking at the Messiah Demo. I used Messiah way back, about version 1.2, I think. I did the animation for my ZDTV Cam FilmFest piece... but I digress...

Messiah was as cool as I remembered. My one question was, is there anyway to bring skelegons into messiah and have them convert into bones?

I'm strongly thinking that I might want to do this for my project. The one idea that my friend was saying about LW/p:m is that those skills are directly transferable to Maya, XSI or 3d Max, 'cus you can use messiah with those programs. I'm interested in that.

Celshader
12-06-2006, 05:50 PM
I haven't used Messiah for a few years, and I'm sure it has some of these features - I'm certainly not poo-pooing it.
I just think, for what you get for your money, XSI offers far more.

Thank you for posting a comparison of XSI and messiah.

Since hrgiger can't even afford messiah, though, he might be better off using Blender (http://blender.org) for his character animation. Because Blender is free, it offers the greatest value of the three apps.