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Wickster
12-28-2006, 03:32 AM
I revisited the very hard to understand but very cool looking Japanese Plugin called AutomatoTools, that was once metioned here. I guess the process was pretty hard to understand since everything was in Japanese. But there are now flash tutorials so it gives 'some' light as to how to use this plugin.

I'd have to say I still didn't get it, specially the part where the plugin creator demo'ed it with a very complicated rig. There was a few other plugins showed off which seems useful, ATItemPickerPro is one example I like.

Anyway I'll let you all judge for yourselves. If you do manage to figure things out this time around, please share. :D

http://members2.jcom.home.ne.jp/noboyama/plugin/index.html

Wickster
12-28-2006, 03:39 AM
Oh and here is the about page (Japanese) for the plugin. You can have it translated with online translation sites like babelfish or google.

http://www.yk.rim.or.jp/%7Enoboyama/lightwave_plugin/automaton/doc/index.html

Phil
12-29-2006, 10:55 AM
No plans by the author to migrate this to OSX, sadly. Anyone able to help him out?

FONGOOL
12-29-2006, 12:28 PM
I'm sort of baffled at the seeming lack of interest in these tools! I mean, there have been efforts made to translate the docs for Ogo Taiki and Unreal Xtreme but I've barely seen a mention of Automation Tools anywhere other than the occasional "ooh, I found this cool site!" thread that immediately goes dead. I keep waiting for some tutes or an attempt to translate the docs but so far nothing.

With all the complaining about char anim ability in LW I'd think people would be all over this! Or am I just too easily impressed? Is this guy working dark majiks, or is he just slightly simplifying tasks that can more or less easily be done in native LW?

I'm just curious because I don't have the Japanese skills or animation/rigging background to determine how excited I should be about these tools. The samples look like things I'd love to achieve...

Is anybody using these tools?

pooby
12-29-2006, 12:46 PM
With all the complaining about char anim ability in LW I'd think people would be all over this! Or am I just too easily impressed? Is this guy working dark majiks, or is he just slightly simplifying tasks that can more or less easily be done in native LW?


LWs animation will never be much improved by anything added to it.

The problems in LW are very deep and are more to do with handling of motions, channels, the integration of IK and the fact that there is no constraint system.
Plus, the motion modifiers don't share output info that can be used by other items.
LW also needs animatable Curves and lattices in layout and needs a wider variety of usable rig deformers than bones alone.

Plugins like this will never make up for the shortcomings, as anything it does that LW can't already do will use motion modifiers, and the whole motion modifier system is fundimentally flawed.
So, whilst it might work in its own context and whilst it might add extra functionality, it's not going to get riggers that excited.

What will get riggers excited is when the effort that we saw go into the nodal shading gets directed toward the animation core.

gjjackson
12-29-2006, 01:06 PM
This is the translation I generally use. As many pages as there are to this it Is a pain but can be done, if patient.

http://www.google.com/language_tools

FONGOOL
12-29-2006, 01:06 PM
That all makes sense, thanks Pooby. :) I really hope NT is picking your brain (and others) on this stuff.

But I guess what I'm really asking here is, in lieu of LW 10 with rewritten animation core, is Automation Tools doing something amazing that LW itself can't do, can't do as well, or do as easily?

In terms of struggling along with the current LW tools, is Automation a major enhancement? Like I say, I just don't have the background to look at the flash animations on his site and say "Ooh! I know how I could do that!". :)

FONGOOL
12-29-2006, 01:07 PM
Thanks Gjjackson, I'll try that. I've been using Babelfish, which at best generates some interesting hakius to interpret. ;))

SplineGod
12-29-2006, 10:43 PM
While LW does have it shortcomings its far from useless. The author of the tools can obviously create some decent animation with them. Those automaton tools do add a lot of functionality that are worth looking at plus they dont cost anything. :)
On another note it sure would be nice for a change for people to offer actual solutions as opposed to dropping by to always piss on someones parade. The same old mantra gets pretty old after awhile.

Castius
12-29-2006, 10:52 PM
Maybe in 2007 Larry? Anything is possible.

SplineGod
12-29-2006, 10:56 PM
Time will tell... :)

pooby
12-30-2006, 06:18 AM
On another note it sure would be nice for a change for people to offer actual solutions as opposed to dropping by to always piss on someones parade.

What, Like these?

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29664

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28521

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28601

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38977

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38977

Just because an answer to a question isn't 'YEAH THIS ROCKS' it doesn't mean it's pissing on someone's parade.
I'm quite happy to help people out when they ask questions about rigging to me which they often do.

Fongool was asking how excited he should be about these tools. I gave my opinion, which, exactly like yours, was that they added extra functionality to LW. I also explained how they can't have the ability to 'fix' LW.

The fact I explain why LW has weaknesses in C/A rather than just go around saying that it's just [email protected] surely has some merit?

SplineGod
12-30-2006, 06:55 AM
Its gotten old already. Youve made it clear about what you think are weaknesses with LWs character tools. Whats the point anymore?
Have you ever checked out these tools? If you havent then whats the point of commenting. If you have then by all means say so.
As I said, despite LWs shortcomings in the CA area the tools are far from useless. Just because you feel they are doesnt mean they are. Until
Newtek does come up with improvements then why continue to beat a dead horse? Your bashing to helpful hint ratio leaves much to be desired.

pooby
12-30-2006, 07:37 AM
I didn't say anything about useless did I?
Look, I've been using Lightwave for about 7 years - animating Characters in it on commercials for Passion pictures and Aardman animations.
I could hardly say its useless. It's just that over the 7 years it's dropped behind the pack.
I think it's better to say why than just leave LW and not share my knowledge or experience. Even if much of it isn't just praise of LW.

Just because you think my comments are of no value, it doesn't necessarily follow that no-one does. I have added my comments to Newtek on many occasions directly with ideas and requests, and my motive is to help, so labelling me as a 'basher' I find rather simplistic.

Your opinion seems to be too 'black or white' for me to argue with you.

cresshead
12-30-2006, 07:51 AM
i'd love to see a lw'er who can speak/read japanese and english translate the text over properly to english so i culd try this out with not being blind to 'how to'!

re 'capabilities' maybe pooby and td4 would like to see new capabilities for lightwave for a 'core development' point of view rather than a 'intergrate a plugin'...currently many lightwavers can be seen also running xsi to supplement lightwave in regards to hi end character animation, though they still use lightwave for many other tasks such as modeling and rendering back in lightwave as xsi's mental ray addon renderer doesnt ship with 999 render nodes for serious heavy render work.

yup, lightwave character animation can do stuff, but we all hope it can 'do more' in the near future.

evenflcw
12-30-2006, 10:20 AM
I for one agree with Poobys opinions on why LWs rigging and animation isn't that great aswell as his suggested solutions (with slight modification). Personally I'm grateful Pooby is still around "beating this dead horse". Imho, he isn't bashing, he is informing and educating the community that a new tool or a new plugin won't be able to make LW that much more powerful in rigging and animation. To few users seem to realize just how poor and inefficient the architecture behind it all actually is and that it would be much much much better to fix the behind the scenes stuff before getting into anything else. The more people that understand this, the better. Then they will feature requests things that will actually open thing up rather than constrain (=single big plugin that tries to do it all and doesn't communicate with what was already there) and make a big difference today aswell as in the long run.

SplineGod
12-30-2006, 11:29 AM
I guess we will have to disagree about what is educating and what is bashing. Theres quite a few people who would like to know how to use LWs tools as they are to rig and animate while Newtek figures out what to implement in LW in terms of improvements. Simply pointing out weaknesses isnt a fair or balanced way to present the current situation with the tools because all of them arent bad and even have some advantages over other apps. Paul didnt indicate that he was familiar with The automaton tools so how would he or anyone who hasnt used them be able to accurately comment on whether they improve rigging or animation in LW? THAT IMO isnt doing anyone any favors or educating.

Maybe the current tools arent as useful for Paul but they certainly are for myself and others. Many times its a matter of degree. Not every rigging or animation situation is the same.

Maybe its just me but Ive never been in a situation where i could allow myself the luxury of doing nothing while
I would say that the current rigging tools are beyond what most users can do with them anyways since most people arent that familar with rigging or character animation in general. Id say that same principle goes for most apps cable of rigging or animation.
The principles and tools are more similar then they are different between applications. Someone who learns to rig and animate in LW will certainly be able to figure things out in other apps.

We all know LW has its shortcomings. Most users either know this or are nowhere to the point to understand it. Anyone can take ANY part of LW and find weaknesses with it. Do we just give up and stop using it? I hope not. You learn to use the strengths of the software and work around its weaknesses (like all apps).

FONGOOL
12-30-2006, 12:18 PM
Personally, I thought Pooby's reply was very enlightening and didn't think it was bashing at all (I've seen enough of those threads). And it actually makes me feel better knowing people like Pooby are out there making these sort of well thought statements so that NT can see them and benefit from them.

I do see where Larry's coming from too though, I've seen enough simple "how to" questions get hijacked into "use a different package" rants to understand his frustration. But I don't think that's what happened here. :)

Anyway, there's GOT to be someone out there who speaks english that has used these tools! :)

SplineGod
12-30-2006, 12:35 PM
Theres actually quite a bit of tools in that package. The picker, a dynamic parenter, muscle bones, rigger and more. Im trying to go thru them myself :)

cresshead
12-30-2006, 01:10 PM
yeah other apps have weaknesses..even xsi...as an example,no realworld units other than xsi units which equate to decimeters per unit [quite an odd choice!]
of course you could work around that short coming or take a pot shot at softimage being so stubbon about not implementing realworld unit like what 3dsmax and lightwave have or you could go off and start to use lightwave which has km,meters, cm, mm, inches feet etc...

of course this is only to illustrate that xsi, maya cinema4d, modo are not totally without their own set of faults/shortcomings/poor implementation of features.

no app is 'the solution'...:thumbsup:

now then...how do i learn japanese?:D

Castius
12-30-2006, 01:25 PM
His post by itself in not bashing. But when you see a name of a person on this forum and you come to expect the same informative but negative posts. It can get a bit frustrating to the people that contribute this the forums that are fighting to keep things positive. There are just times when you should only make a post if your going to contribute to the topic of the thread instead of beating a dead horse.

On that note. I've been wondering how useful those tools are. So I'm looking forward to the results of anyone investigating these plugins.

Wickster
12-30-2006, 03:54 PM
Theres actually quite a bit of tools in that package. The picker, a dynamic parenter, muscle bones, rigger and more. Im trying to go thru them myself :)
Hi Splinegod, could you post some of the interesting findings that you discover. Thanks. I'm tryting it out myself.

SplineGod
12-30-2006, 08:11 PM
Wickster,
Definately will do. :)

rwhunt99
12-31-2006, 10:45 AM
Don't know if I'm hijacking this thread or not but My big question is ..

I've noticed there are many great plugins done by Japanese LW artists, The fact that they are offered free to us is great but; Don't any of them speak english ?? I would think it would be very nice if they could make it understandable so we could make better use of them. :)

UnCommonGrafx
12-31-2006, 10:55 AM
I think that's the same they are saying about us, "Why can't they learn Japanese?"

I think it's nice enough that they offer them for free AND the plugins are in English, not a Japanese interface.

So, what do you do in Osceola and where? Down here in Indy and just curious.

SplineGod
12-31-2006, 10:56 AM
Its their way of sticking it to the man :)

rwhunt99
01-01-2007, 12:09 PM
Hi, UncommonG,
I'm just a hobbyist learning 3D, my day job is working @ AM General; we make the Humvees, you might have heard about them :santa:
I live in the shadow of the Golden Dome (ND)

UnCommonGrafx
01-01-2007, 12:44 PM
Coolness.

Must be awful on saturdays. Or, maybe worse come Sunday morn hangover. ;) Depends on how you view the ND games.

t4d
01-01-2007, 04:51 PM
Sorry this link pops up every few months and newbies Jump around thinking it the next big thing, sort of like IKboost hype ( I think the link is at least 2 years old )

Most know i agree with Pooby's opinion. and LW flag waving is not going to help anyone

If you want to do Serious Character animation LW is NOT the place to be.

If you want to learn Character animation LW is NOT the place to be.

But if your doing spaceship flying or still images or running a render farm LW is still very useful :thumbsup:

Now Newtek have not developed Lightwave's CA tools for 5 or 6 YEARS !!!!
YET all the other 3D apps have been editing, adding and building better workflow and tools with every update in that time ( the LW 8 Dopesheet and timeline are very minor in the BIG CA picture )

these are Facts ! and YES you can do Character animation in LW I also done is for many years and when as far as i could with it. to the point of HAVING to change !

at this point why would you keep doing CA in lw or learn CA in lw when you have Messiah and XSI FND so Cheap ??
and render back in LW if you need to ?

and both have Pages and pages of reason to uses them many are very deep and hard to explain to a LW users, but afew mins of using them will melt a LW'ers brain !!.

all apps have negatives true, but you should NOT be able to write a book on them as you can in LW.


cresshead XSI unit make alot of scent If your doing a scene in LW you can't really go from Kilometers to Micrometers due to the grid, camera and other issues LW has got without afew "workarounds",. and XSI unit ARE Metric units they just call XSI unit due to it's virtual Space. XSI units have patent relationships and neutral poses..think about it :hey:

XSI are open about the issues that ALL 3D APPS HAVE TO DEAL WITH .
so they call they unit system " XSI units" and you can get around going from Kilometers to Micrometer's much easier in XSI then in LW buy planning out you scene, AND knowing the Metric system's logic,
( do you really need the Km, m, cm, mm after the units to know where your at ?? ). it is different but like all things in XSI they well worth the time to learn. :thumbsup:

and unlike Lightwave if you spend the day learning a new area you don't end up No where due to Bugs or Bad workflow at the end of the day.
you end up learning something useful :thumbsup:

UnCommonGrafx
01-01-2007, 04:56 PM
{Edited}


plop! Another nugget from Thomas.

cresshead
01-01-2007, 04:56 PM
td4, how are you getting with xsi's shaders and mental ray rendering?...do you still bring your animatred characters back into lightwave or have you moved wholesale over to xsi now?

t4d
01-01-2007, 05:07 PM
td4, how are you getting with xsi's shaders and mental ray rendering?...do you still bring your animatred characters back into lightwave or have you moved wholesale over to xsi now?

it all depends on the project. ..

XSI 6 added some extremely cool workflow when texturing and rendering and IFW textures coming to XSI make me more focused on XSI everyday.

BUT my LW render farm is Much cheaper to run and i get a higher output from it due to it having more working nodes :lwicon:

SplineGod
01-01-2007, 05:45 PM
{Edited}


plop! Another nugget from Thomas.

'Nugget" is one way of putting it :)

t4d
01-01-2007, 06:02 PM
'Nugget" is one way of putting it :)

splinegod this plugin has been out for years why havn't you got more then just words to say about it when this thing comes up...AGAIN !! ?

surely you have downloaded and used the plugin since it was released ??

where are your demo's and working exsamples of how this thing works ?

note it is at version 2.251 ....

t4d
01-01-2007, 06:06 PM
edit

SplineGod
01-01-2007, 06:12 PM
Peter youre as predictable as ever.:rolleyes:

t4d
01-01-2007, 06:18 PM
Peter youre as predictable as ever.:rolleyes:

so are you Larry:santa:

FONGOOL
01-01-2007, 06:32 PM
Dude, I don't care about XSI, right now I want to hear about Automaton. Thus, the thread about Automaton. (okay, I didn't start the thread, but I'm defending it;)

LOL remember back a page or two when I said "I've seen enough simple "how to" questions get hijacked into "use a different package" rants"?

I was hoping saying that might pre-empt it actually happening, but I guess it didn't work.

Getting any kind of useful info is going to be REALLY difficult if people start a pissing match and get the thread closed or so far off topic it never comes back.

t4d
01-01-2007, 06:44 PM
but that is my point.

yeah this plugin is out there but you have more people talking about how LW is this or that OR doesn't need this or that
But yet NO ONE has downloaded and shown us what this thing does

I DID download this thing years ago when I first saw it and was complete lost.:bangwall: installing it and getting it working took along time...
getting the exsample scenes working took along time ...
then trying to attach these ideas to my own rig,.. well I gave up.:cry:

I'm sure some have it working, the programer has shown it working
But why wave the flag when you havn't even used it ??

User A - " yeah LW is great look at this great plugin "
User B - " Yeah cool tell me how to uses it "
User A - " well i havn't done anything with it yet, But the website looks great, just like feature X in package Y "
User B - " so is it worth spending time to work it out ? "
User A " YEAH LW ROCKS and so does that plugin ! "

what a waste of time :thumbsdow

Stooch
01-01-2007, 07:08 PM
While LW does have it shortcomings its far from useless. The author of the tools can obviously create some decent animation with them. Those automaton tools do add a lot of functionality that are worth looking at plus they dont cost anything. :)
On another note it sure would be nice for a change for people to offer actual solutions as opposed to dropping by to always piss on someones parade. The same old mantra gets pretty old after awhile.

I dont see any solutions in this post. But I do see alot of piss.

UnCommonGrafx
01-01-2007, 10:17 PM
Solution minded:
I'm going to ask a friend if she can assist a bit with the translation. They used to have translated pages on the site.

I went looking around tonight and noticed that they are doing a bit to get us occidentals up to speed. For example, on this page, http://members2.jcom.home.ne.jp/noboyama/plugin/index.html, they have all kinds of flash pieces to get up to speed with what they are doing to achieve their magic. If you dig through their site you WILL find info to assist.

I am ecstatic to hear that Pooby is being talked to about rigging as regards LW. Outside of Larry, I can't say that many have shown as deep an understanding of what it is that the dev team could do to make things better. Besides just saying, "It sucks!", Pooby has shared his perspective as to the underlying problems that LW suffers from; from my perspective that's been much more enlightening than much of the dead horse kicking that's gone on. Heck, he's STILL assisting people in rigging issues even with his desire for betterment rather than trying to sell someone with a rigging question another app. It's obviously clear that he has access to other tools. He has my respect for the sharing of his knowledge.


I missed my chance to talk to the dev team earlier this month in SA; they were even having a meeting but I respected their space. If I had known about this guys page at that time (http://www.characteranimator.com/temp/index.html), I would have readily shared it with them. I share this to say: we are not blind to what else is available and I want some of this functionality in LW. "Wow!" is all I can say to some of what this guy is doing. As you said elsewhere Pooby, "Lw needs lattices." And other things, too.

colkai
01-02-2007, 03:33 AM
Same old same ole I'm afraid.


Thread title " Lightwave Rig Automaton (Automation Tools)"

There's a clue in there, just a little one, that's what we want to hear about
It's great that XSI is all things to all people, but I am another who would actually like to heart about the use of a LW plugin and LW tools in a LW forum.

NOT to have XSI evangelists telling me how great the other packages are, yes, super fine, go out and buy XSI, learn it, use it, then spend your tiime ripping LW and Newtek a "new one" under the guise of wanting to be helpful.

Wanna have your daily "LW is so archaic" rant, do it on the XSI forums, right here, I want to know about the plugin at hand for LIGHTWAVE.
I'm not interested in the old, "yeah but LW is no good", I want to know how to use what is available for the level of toolset I have within the resources currently available to me.

Odd isn't it, that should someone go to the XSI forum and bring LW up, folks are keen to point out it's an XSI forum and LW shouldn't be discussed.

Can ya say double standards?

t4d
01-02-2007, 03:41 AM
colkai you used the work Xsi word more time then i did LOL :)
and i also used the messiah word too

I only started to use the XSI word, when misinformation was posted about Xsi unit system. anyway the thread was about the plugin you are right there :thumbsup:

moc
01-02-2007, 04:03 AM
mmmmmm..
There are many good rigging tools.......face to LW....
[BUT] LW's native workflows support at CA were toooooooo weak and awfull.......exspecially ......combination of the weight map and bones......
Hard to say,V9 still nothing different with V6/V5.6 age....at the CA range...
Weakness still weakness........NO plans/NO stuff to improve.....

riging tools can't help much........
When we still need to use vertex paint(no ik,no deform support)...to test weight map....or use the oldie bone system......

I love LW same as yours...and I used LW since 7~8 years ago...
Every time I rigging at LW still make me angry.........

colkai
01-02-2007, 05:00 AM
colkai you used the work Xsi word more time then i did LOL :)
and i also used the messiah word too

He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. :)

Seriously though, does anyone out there possess the ability to 'A' keep this thread on track and 'B' decipher the text for this plugin as the online translation tools are at best, cryptic in their explanations.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I am very grateful that there are so many cool Japanese plugin writers out there, it's just frustrating that sometimes, the attempts to figure out what they do and how they work prevent one from really appreciating them to their full potential.

Especially, may I add, for those of us on a very tight / non-existent budget. I am eternally grateful to the likes of Pictrix et al. :D :thumbsup: :santa:

cresshead
01-02-2007, 05:03 AM
time to get a japanese friend i think....i'll check ebay!

http://www.appliedlanguage.com/languages/japanese_translation.shtml

they charge around 223 for 2000 words from japanes to english

colkai
01-02-2007, 05:37 AM
A bargain is that Steve! ;)

cresshead
01-02-2007, 06:01 AM
yeah we need a chobits persicom...

hrgiger
01-02-2007, 07:43 AM
I would like to hear someone defending Lightwave and its animation tools that does not have an ulterior motive (i.e.selling training videos on how to use Lightwaves current rigging and animation tools). Because I am one of the people who have just about given up on CA in Lightwave as it now stands. It's not that I think it's impossible for me to do, I just find that the output is not worth the time I put into it right now. I'm not focused on CA at the moment but when I do, I have considered either going for XSI or messiah to fill my animation requirements until I see some improvement from Newtek. I gave up on the poor cloth dynamics, the destructive rig setup, the slow bone and deformation speed, the somewhat unpredictable IK and the fact that about nothing short of Reletivity can read it's channels, the cumbersome workflow between Layout and Modeler, no communication between motion modifiers and some other animation channels, and of course no form of directly controlling deformations (i.e. smartskin, lattices, etc..). This is not pissing and moaning as Larry would call it, it is areas that I would really like to see Newtek improve on.

Sure you can do animation in Lightwave and sure you can get some very nice results. But it's clumsy and it's awkward. To suggest otherwise is like saying "Hey Newtek, thanks for the Sundae, all we need now is a nice cherry on top". When really what we need is a whole differnt flavor of ice cream for the base.

cresshead
01-02-2007, 08:54 AM
i'm not defending or attacking lightwave but just taking alook around at what's available in other apps ...this is what i'd like to see in a future version of lightwave...

1.click and drag rigs for lightwave all set-up ready to go...[not just skelegons in modeler but FULL rigs with ik you ckick-drag in layout.
for example...

2.transferable animations from one character to another with animation or clip lib that is dependable and solid.

3.pose lib

4.walk designer either via a path/footstep/procedual system or via pose clips as seen in the walkatron designer for automatron

puppetshop for max
http://www.lumonix.net/
http://www.lumonix.net/sample_puppetshop01_large.jpg

automatron for max
http://www.lotsofrobots.com/automatron/Support/Support_01.htm

also c.a.t.
http://www.catoolkit.com/home.asp

and biped for max
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?siteID=123112&id=5903856

of course i'm seeing this from my point of view as a lightwave and 3dsmax user, personally i just have the vannilla 3dsmax and use biped for any rigging and animations i need as they are ususally bipeds and not 4 legged creatures.

it's always good to be aware of what other apps are doing to then look at lightwave and see where it should be heading in the future for character animation.

cresshead
01-02-2007, 09:20 AM
also the ability to use 'anything' as a bone this would facilitate gemometry bones whereby you could animate just the bones and hide the mesh...the bones could be a lo rez cut up version of the mesh...not parented to the bones but they actually ARE the bones...you get a 3d represenation of your character's volume in the viewport to work with...this wouold speedup the viewports and your interaction with multiple characters too.

cresshead
01-03-2007, 07:12 PM
re http://www.yk.rim.or.jp/%7Enoboyama/lightwave_plugin/automaton/doc/index.html

i'm sure there must be someone who know 'someone' who can read that text and make a version in english!...and not a dumb translator app!

ericsmith
01-03-2007, 08:35 PM
I would like to hear someone defending Lightwave and its animation tools that does not have an ulterior motive (i.e.selling training videos on how to use Lightwaves current rigging and animation tools). Because I am one of the people who have just about given up on CA in Lightwave as it now stands. It's not that I think it's impossible for me to do, I just find that the output is not worth the time I put into it right now.

Well, you might consider me to have ulterior motives, but I'll be clear that I'm just communicating how I feel about this issue, and not trying to sell another copy of Maestro here.

First, I think it's important to compartmentalize the various components that make up "character animation". There may be various ways of looking at this, but what comes to my mind is:

1. rigging (excluding fine tuning deformation) - This is just about creating a skeletal structure, and creating controls to make it easier to interface with that structure - ie IK, expressions to drive multiple bones with one control, contstraints, etc

In spite of what many think, it is possible (and even fairly easy) to create a stable, useable rig in lightwave. As long as you know the caveats, IK is perfectly stable and functional, and constraints and expressions work as they should in straightforward scenarios. It's true that you can get into trouble if you try to cross connect too many things, but I personally approach rigging with the end goal in mind, and don't worry too much about creating a rig that might break down in a situation I will never throw at it. So far, I haven't gotten into trouble with this point of view.

2. animating - The process of moving the various controls over time, and thus creating the illusion that the character has "life"

When you really get down to it, pretty much all 3d apps work the same way in this regard. You move nulls, set keyframes, and edit curves. And in my opinion, no 3d app out there makes this process as easy or fluid as it should be.* Animation Master may be the one that comes close, but overall, there's a lot of extra mouse clicking that happens that gets in the way. But aside from that, what really matters in this arena is the mental skill of knowing how to pose and time (as well as other non-software issues, like establishing weight, balance, emotion, etc.)

3. deformation - This is the fine tuning part, that goes beyond basic weight mapping and bone influence, ie. joint morphs, deformation lattices, etc.

This is the part where Lightwave doesn't shine as well as the competition. This is primarily because of the separation of modeling and animation, in my opinion. Jointmorphing, lattices, and other things like this all make a lot more sense in an environment where modeling and animation both co-exist.

We can only hope that Newtek really will get modeling tools integrated into Layout, and do it in such a way that deformation of animated characters will be as easy as modeling currently is in Modeler.

But in conclusion, I think that Lightwave is quite capable in the arena of character animation as long as your project parameters aren't too high end. I would be nervous about trying to do a film res digital double for The Matrix. But I would have no problem tackling the animation for the Geiko Insurance commercials, for example.

*Okay, so here's where the bias comes in. The fact is, we created our own software to make the connection between animator and rig much better. The fact is, what we created has opened up tons of possibilities that Lightwave alone couldn't give us. Maybe this is why I'm more positive about Lightwave in production than others.

Eric

t4d
01-03-2007, 08:58 PM
But in conclusion, I think that Lightwave is quite capable in the arena of character animation as long as your project parameters aren't too high end. I would be nervous about trying to do a film res digital double for The Matrix. But I would have no problem tackling the animation for the Geiko Insurance commercials, for example.

Eric


where is the line between a Digital Double and a Cartoon Geiko ?
where is they line when you look at the characters in Happy feet, Flushed away, Cars, Robots ?

UnCommonGrafx
01-03-2007, 09:14 PM
{Move on Thomas; your point has been made, ad nauseum. Come with a solution as that's where we'd like to keep the discussion.}
The fine people that make the software recently sent me my registration code for the software. As I had a query in for an English translation his response for me was to use translation software as he doesn't speak English. He also offered sites for such; one was google, which is a crappy translation. The other, I've never seen and it's actually clear. (Off to tinyurl it....)
- http://tinyurl.com/yxtces
- http://tinyurl.com/y4smdg

This ought to help, eh?

ericsmith
01-03-2007, 10:38 PM
where is the line between a Digital Double and a Cartoon Geiko ?
where is they line when you look at the characters in Happy feet, Flushed away, Cars, Robots ?

Primarily, it's about deformation, which I mentioned was Lightwave's weakest point.

The Geiko character wouldn't require a highly detailed mesh, or a sophisticated muscle system to get realistic deformation.

Happy feet - I've only seen the preview, and that one is a bit hard to comment on based soley on previews of lots of tapdancing penguins. However, from what I've seen, in spite of the blobbiness of the characters, it looks like there's some pretty sophisticated muscle deformation happening under the surface. It's a hard one to call.

Flushed away - I wouldn't be afraid to tackle animating characters like that in Lightwave

Cars - Again, extensive control of deformation was the key to making the animation work in Cars. It's worth noting that Pixar puts an extreme level of priority on character articulation. In The Incredibles, the rigging process was so extensive that they could only afford to create one background character, and then morph it into all the background characters in the movie.

Robots - It's been a long time since I saw that one, and I was so underwhelmed by the movie as a whole that I don't remember much about the animation.

In the bigger picture one other issue that I didn't consider in my original post is that of sheer magnitude of a scene. As we all know, Lightwave doesn't do so well with a lot of rigged characters in a scene, so in order to pull off something along the lines of happy feet, you'd have to break each scene up into a lot of little parts. It's not great, but my point wasn't that Pixar should be using Lightwave. Rather that for a lot of mainstream commercial stuff, Lightwave can be up to the task.

Eric

P.S. I think a lot of this issue may be about perspective. If someone started with Lightwave, and then migrated to Maya, they might think that Lightwave's rigging is pretty limited by comparison. But I stepped up to Lightwave from Strata StudioPro version 3. That's my benchmark for a 3d app that shouldn't be considered capable for character animation. The bottom line is, Lightwave IS being used for character animation professionally (ie. money is changing hands). So it doesn't make much sense to make the blanket statement that Lightwave is incapable in this area.

hrgiger
01-03-2007, 11:14 PM
I hear what you're saying Eric and as I said, Lightwave is capable of producing quality animation because yes you are correct, every 3D program is pretty much doing the same thing and Lightwave has all the necessary components to rig a character and pose it.
My point was that rigging and animating in Lightwave is unnecessarily cumbersome. As I said, cloth dynamics are weak, bones and deformations are slow, and the rigging process is destructive, and as you echoed, the control you have over deformations while animating is laughable at best(dont' get me started on workflow and interface).
Are gecko animations sufficient for us? I'm no professional and I might be at the gecko level of animating, but I don't want to accept that the tools I use are only capable of such work. I've always thought that Lightwave was a very capable application, but it's time it started putting the accelerator on it's character animation toolset.

t4d
01-04-2007, 12:02 AM
a good character animation tool set is NOT just for character animation
it's for anything you have to animate in 3D, at any level.

be it a worm digging in dirt, or hundreds of letters joining together to make a logo, or leafs waving in the wind, to a conyeror belt working with other deformers eg- softbody, hard body etc

Or just setting up good solid workflow, that's easy to edit
even just for a simple weather type broadcast scene, or having one animation rig reference many different models or many different models referencing the one animation rig..or storing and transfering motion from one rig to another.

the term " Character animation tools " goes much deeper then most think,
I personally have not touched a " Character " in more then 2 months
But I'm doing alot of Animating using ,..,.... you know ;) but rendering some of it in LW .

YES this thread is about that plugin But that plugin is working on top of LW animation system so naturial the bigger picture comes up.
no matter what you add, it's the base that is the Issues in LW.

but if your doing still images, all that doesn't matter and LW is just fine.

ericsmith
01-04-2007, 01:03 AM
I won't disagree with the points either of you make about weaknesses in Lightwave. And I won't fall back on the claim "it's not the software, it's the artist". While that can be true sometimes, I firmly believe that better tools are always a good thing.

I guess the only reason that I struggle with some of these types of threads is that while I can see and acknowlege these weaknesses, I still enjoy the process of animating characters in Lightwave. Maybe it's because I had the luxury of designing my own custom animation interface tool (thanks to Brian for making that dream a reality), so I get to work in a way that would not be possible with any other animation package. Ironically, Maya doesn't give us the access to do what Maestro does, in spite of the fact that it's biggest selling point is its extensability. I'm not certain about XSI, but as far as we know, we don't have the access there either.

Anyways, I'm getting off track. But to sum up...

1. There are several issues that need attention

2. With proper setup, and a few custom tools, animating characters in Lightwave can be effective and enjoyable.

Eric

t4d
01-04-2007, 01:29 AM
[QUOTE=ericsmith

Anyways, I'm getting off track. But to sum up...

1. There are several issues that need attention

2. With proper setup, and a few custom tools, animating characters in Lightwave can be effective and enjoyable.

Eric[/QUOTE]

agree, :thumbsup:

you do have a fine plugin Eric, and if you like character animation you can do it in LW........ but the Robots movie was one of the reasons i decide to focus on other tools, due to LW would have had Major issues just rigging those characters let alone animating them, ( yes the movie was below par, But i was just watching the rigs and fell in love !! :D )

But they are better ways, workflows, features & options out there. and they are Extremely cheap if you spending days doing CA.

I'm sure all of us know, the most costly thing in Animation is the labour, not the tools. so if your tools make the work easier,.. ?

cresshead
01-04-2007, 02:57 AM
quote:I'm sure all of us know, the most costly thing in Animation is the labour, not the tools.end quote:

very truetd4, we now see alot of animation moving to india for outsourcing such as the french production of skyland which was first based in france but now the animation [keyframe and mocap clean up] is handled in hydrobade in india...they have several large universities cranking out newly trained animators with maya everyday...

Speedmonk42
01-04-2007, 03:22 AM
Well I for one find these threads fascinating in a way, and I always learn something from them.

While I am not in the Open Beta, 9.2 seems to be a potential turning point for a lot of people in the direction they may take in the future. At least that is the feeling I get.

So much of selling this stuff is about what people 'could' do, not necessarily what they will do.

pooby
01-04-2007, 03:29 AM
2. With proper setup, and a few custom tools, animating characters in Lightwave can be effective and enjoyable.


This can be true. However, as with most things, all of this is relative.
With software, It's relative to the user's demands.

----------------------

I found LW highly enjoyable to animate in when I started using it, however, I don't find it at all enjoyable now. Lightwave hasn't changed but my demands have.
Knowing that another package can easily meet those demands, tends to make you want to inform everyone who's using the one that can't.
To be honest, before looking outside Lightwave, I wasn't really sure how 'other' packages could be that better.
But when you discover something exciting that changes the way you work, it's human instinct to want to share the news.

I use XSI for animation, but I'm still really interested if I hear of any tools that Maya or Max might have that I don't have access to in XSI. Because the XSI community can put in requests to have those features too.

It's easy to forget that some are relatively content with what they have and don't want to hear (what can be interpreted as) provocative 'mine's better than yours' remarks.

I have never understood the negative reaction to people sharing facts and opinion about other software. Any supply of information is good in my book. Personally, I'd like to know as much as I can about the current state of CG animation tehnology, not just about the software I'm currently using.

------------------------------------
I'll be interested to see if anyone can figure out these Automation tools though.. I tried a year or so ago, but got nowhere.

colkai
01-04-2007, 04:19 AM
With Motionbuilder leaning more and more to Maya/Max with each incarnation, I still think we (LW) need MB like abilities, speed and tools which will not only boost LW's C.A. abilities a huge amount, but fill a gap left in the market by autodesks quest to deny any but those with the most money access to their toolsets.

(Bitter much? Moi? ;) - suffice to day, come back Kaydara :p)

Seriously though, MB is so easy and flexible, something of that nature would really boost LW's animation appeal. That said, there are things in LW which, when it comes to animating, are a heck of a lot easier to set up if you are NOT doing character work in MB, combine the functionality of two and IMO, you have a serious toolkit.

UnCommonGrafx
01-04-2007, 09:00 AM
I use MB when it's something over the top. Even with such leanings, Colkai, the software I have in MB is powerful enough to keep me around. ;)

I see your point, pooby, but the thought is, "If someone is using a piece of software, and wants answers to how to get it going for where they'd like, the answer to "buy more software" is unhelpful, regardless of the glee felt by the person singing the praise of the other software.

I think MB was/is a breath of fresh air, sliced bread and other cliches but I'm not inclined to offer it as an answer to the question, "How do you do xyz in LW." It's just ... gaudy.

prospector
01-04-2007, 09:35 AM
"buy more software" is unhelpful, regardless of the glee felt by the person singing the praise of the other software.
:i_agree:

SplineGod
01-04-2007, 09:37 AM
I see your point, pooby, but the thought is, "If someone is using a piece of software, and wants answers to how to get it going for where they'd like, the answer to "buy more software" is unhelpful, regardless of the glee felt by the person singing the praise of the other software.


Not to mention that constantly pointing out the SAME deficiency over and over becomes pointless and annoying. How many times does it need to be repeated? Its also a big assumption that others dont use other apps simply because they are 'content' and dont want to hear about anything else ridiculous. Theres a great many valid reasons why people stick with what they have. I think that most people who buy LW want to learn it. Apparently LWs Character tools are good enough to allow someone to transfer what theyve learned to other apps.

I think its great that some people can enjoy LW even though it may not totally fulfill their current needs now. It would simply be great if others could be afforded the same right. Maybe someone could start a sticky thread titled "Whats wrong with LWs character tools" so if anyone wants to know that they can go there and leave the rest of the threads open to learn what can be done with LWs character tools.

pooby
01-04-2007, 09:48 AM
That's a good idea Larry, It would keep things organised


Has anyone had any luck with Automaton yet? I'm genuinely intrigued to see how it works

FONGOOL
01-04-2007, 10:39 AM
Cresshead posted links to english translations of the Automaton docs: http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=445499

bobakabob
01-04-2007, 01:39 PM
I think its great that some people can enjoy LW even though it may not totally fulfill their current needs now. It would simply be great if others could be afforded the same right. Maybe someone could start a sticky thread titled "Whats wrong with LWs character tools" so if anyone wants to know that they can go there and leave the rest of the threads open to learn what can be done with LWs character tools.


Or something more positive, like "How can Lightwave's character tools be improved?" It's crucial Newtek get this right and everyone will benefit from the input of specialist animators like Pooby.

SALA
01-07-2007, 04:54 PM
Did you see the demonstration Movie that Mr.Fj is new?
I understood from this.

http://members2.jcom.home.ne.jp/noboyama/plugin/bone_setup.htm

http://members2.jcom.home.ne.jp/noboyama/plugin/demo_walk.html

http://members2.jcom.home.ne.jp/noboyama/plugin/lockitem_ATmultiConst.htm

http://members2.jcom.home.ne.jp/noboyama/plugin/lockitem2.htm

The image applied the animated cartoon to the character that I made with
AutomatonTools.

http://www25.big.or.jp/~rakugaki/rakugaki/rakugakicg/raku000944.gifhttp://www25.big.or.jp/~rakugaki/rakugaki/rakugakicg/raku000947.gifhttp://www25.big.or.jp/~rakugaki/rakugaki/rakugakicg/raku000948.gif

I will do by beginning to use AutomatonTools in only three days.
This video became big help.
It is good when useful also for you.

SALA
01-08-2007, 12:26 AM
http://www25.big.or.jp/~rakugaki/rakugaki/rakugakicg/raku000946.gif

It is possible to adjust also to the character with a different body.

Automatic operation IK can be united to the tail by the rule of the name
putting.