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View Full Version : How good do Lightwave and Messiah work together?



Dirk
02-24-2007, 10:07 AM
I've watched the messiah tut videos, downloaded the demo version, and worked through some of the tutorials, however, there is still a lot that I do not know, so hopefully my questions aren't too silly. Maybe somebody who uses Messiah on a regular basis can give me some advice.

What I'm considering is using Messiah as a plugin for LW. The idea is to have a much better OpenGL-performance, more options to animate, and an easy way to have an uncluttered scene, where only the characters and needed objects (like the floor, walls, stairs, crates, etc.) are visible, maybe even only as proxy objects.


- can Messiah use weightmaps created in LW, like in Layout (weights as addition and weights only)? The Butch - tutorial was nice, but the deformations didn't look really good.

- how fast is the OpenGL performance? Is it possible to animate several complex, human-like characters with subdivs on?

- is it possible to use polygonal proxies in Messiah, and have the subdivided characters in Layout? If not, would it be easy to replace them in Layout?

- is there a way to bake Messiah bones, so I can animate with Messiah for realtime applications like game engines?

- I didn't see anything comparable to constrains in Messiah, except the option to give the the IK chain a "+" or "-" direction. Is there anything like constrains?

- can I use LW riggs or do I have to create new riggs?

- can Messiah work like IKB, with part time IK + FK and the ability to fix / bake IK goals?

- Do I need the "big" Messiah license to render Messiah-animated objects in a LW-Network?

Wonderpup
02-24-2007, 11:56 AM
I've looked at Messiah too, but only played with the demo. The way it works is to create all the deformations in messiah, using it's own rigging ect- the end result is then exported out as vertex only deformation- so no rig import/export and no weight maps. It does have fk/ik blending I believe.

pooby
02-24-2007, 12:49 PM
It's exactly the same if you use XSI, which I would recommend over Messiah as it has a wider and more comprehensive range of tools. Some say its harder to learn - I didn't think so.

Dirk
02-24-2007, 12:50 PM
Hm. Weight maps seems to be number one on the wish list, as far as I can tell from looking into CGTalk and animessiah.

TylerZambori
02-24-2007, 03:18 PM
It's exactly the same if you use XSI, which I would recommend over Messiah as it has a wider and more comprehensive range of tools. Some say its harder to learn - I didn't think so.

T4D once said that messiah can do 90% of what xsi can (not including modeling of course), without getting all 3D geeky all the time either. Is it true?

tonybliss
02-24-2007, 03:51 PM
so far for me ... yes ... I started using xsi:foundation demo and messiah which I am also getting into is almost just as powerful but very fun to use, its an artisty rigging program :)
My only little issue which I am yet to try is working between messiah and Syflex Cloth LW - which can work but not a very fluid work flow . I would get xsi:essentials to have it all in one program(use my syflex lic with xsi), but I will wait the wait and see what LW has to offer in CA, I can settle with the workflow for now.

2BitSculptor
02-24-2007, 04:03 PM
Didn't Messiah START out as a plug-in?... I'm sure I bought the first incarnation way back with LW 5-something... before they developed their independent platform and render engine.

Chuck

pooby
02-24-2007, 04:22 PM
T4D once said that messiah can do 90% of what xsi can (not including modeling of course), without getting all 3D geeky all the time either. Is it true?

Well, for me I think being able to model corrective joint morphs and animate them during the character animation process is vital but it might not be for some.
Also being able to paint weight-mapping live for bones is something you wont want to do without once you've tried it.
Plus with XSI you can use deform tools like 'smooth' or 'relax' in the stack whilst animating, so it will smooth out any rough geometry area whilst it animates.
Basicly in XSI you have absolute control over the shape of the mesh at every frame because modelling tools can be animated and used to help out. Messiah is more like a Very good animation program its just not as deep or comprehensive. I used to use it (some of my animation work is in their gallery)
Depends on what you want from it.. Personally, I'd always go for the most power possible for the price. I think XSI is that.

TylerZambori
02-24-2007, 08:24 PM
Well, for me I think being able to model corrective joint morphs and animate them during the character animation process is vital but it might not be for some.
Also being able to paint weight-mapping live for bones is something you wont want to do without once you've tried it.
Plus with XSI you can use deform tools like 'smooth' or 'relax' in the stack whilst animating, so it will smooth out any rough geometry area whilst it animates.
Basicly in XSI you have absolute control over the shape of the mesh at every frame because modelling tools can be animated and used to help out. Messiah is more like a Very good animation program its just not as deep or comprehensive. I used to use it (some of my animation work is in their gallery)
Depends on what you want from it.. Personally, I'd always go for the most power possible for the price. I think XSI is that.


Hm....Fun or Control. I dunno....seeing as how I'm not a pro yet, I think
I'll take...Fun.

It's nice to know that about xsi though.

pooby
02-25-2007, 06:21 AM
Control IS fun, for me at least.

cresshead
02-25-2007, 07:27 AM
Busty Kelp?

pooby
02-25-2007, 07:59 AM
It's the name of my studio..It's like regular kelp, except its busty.

find it here

http://www.aardman.com/directors.asp

cresshead
02-25-2007, 08:13 AM
sorry about the off topic but simply LOVE that jaws clip pooby!

TylerZambori
02-25-2007, 09:23 AM
What about using messiah and xsi together? Would that just be too impractical?

tonybliss
02-25-2007, 09:43 AM
I would think so ....
I do agree that xsi is more powerful especially in the fact that it is complete with deformers and modeling tools for adjusting vertices, etc
Messiah just allows you to animate you characters ... but a birdie on another forum was hinting that there are a lot of godies to be experienced in upcoming versions of messiah. I just like using Messiah and LW it almost works for me.

LW is promisingstate of the art CA system check this post quoted from Chuck on Spinquad

: -
[Quote=Chuck]
I guess it's very easy to forget announcements and information we've posted - they are drops in a torrent of information and they recede pretty quickly under the onslaught of text and images raging past on the net on a daily basis.

We said what we expected to accomplish in v9.2 and we've done just that, plus a little more since we were able to get to radiosity in a much bigger way than we expected. We've also mentioned in a number of communications that within the v9.x cycle we would replace our CA capabilities with a new and state of the art implementation. Please rest assured we don't have to be convinced and cajoled to do this - we're in perfect agreement that it needs to be done, it is in the plan and we spoke to that quite some time ago. We've also discussed a number of times in formal communications and uncounted times in list and forum posts that we are progressing throughout the application for a complete revision to state of the art code and state of the art tools, much of which will be completed in the v9.x cycles.

The shape of our concentrations in v9.2 was determined by the need to fix the Object ID system in isolation from other changes in Layout and with extensive time after the change for testing and tuning and resolving issues. We've mentioned this in several of our communications on v9.2. This one issue manifested in so many different ways that resolving it fixes literally dozens of different bugs encountered by users in one fell swoop, and fixing it was required to set the stage for virtually everything else we need to accomplish in the overhaul of the animation system and improvement of our integration capabilities. Again, we have mentioned the need to accomplish the Object ID change in isolation from other changes in our formal communications and in mailing list and forum discussions.

At any rate, we hope you'll find the reminder reassuring, and we'll do our best to bring you all these changes as rapidly as they can be properly accomplished. "Brick by Brick," as a wise man here once said...
__________________
Chuck Baker
3D Group -- NewTek, Inc.
[\Quote]

So I guess we can hope to hold our breaths :D Messiah will do for me for now (XSI is my outside woman as needed :tongue:)

tonybliss
02-25-2007, 09:45 AM
I would think so ....
I do agree that xsi is more powerful especially in the fact that it is complete with deformers and modeling tools for adjusting vertices, etc
Messiah just allows you to animate you characters ... but a birdie on another forum was hinting that there are a lot of godies to be experienced in upcoming versions of messiah. I just like using Messiah and LW it almost works for me.

LW is promisingstate of the art CA system check this post quoted from Chuck on Spinquad

: -


@ 01-31-2007, 10:42 PM
I guess it's very easy to forget announcements and information we've posted - they are drops in a torrent of information and they recede pretty quickly under the onslaught of text and images raging past on the net on a daily basis.

We said what we expected to accomplish in v9.2 and we've done just that, plus a little more since we were able to get to radiosity in a much bigger way than we expected. We've also mentioned in a number of communications that within the v9.x cycle we would replace our CA capabilities with a new and state of the art implementation. Please rest assured we don't have to be convinced and cajoled to do this - we're in perfect agreement that it needs to be done, it is in the plan and we spoke to that quite some time ago. We've also discussed a number of times in formal communications and uncounted times in list and forum posts that we are progressing throughout the application for a complete revision to state of the art code and state of the art tools, much of which will be completed in the v9.x cycles.

The shape of our concentrations in v9.2 was determined by the need to fix the Object ID system in isolation from other changes in Layout and with extensive time after the change for testing and tuning and resolving issues. We've mentioned this in several of our communications on v9.2. This one issue manifested in so many different ways that resolving it fixes literally dozens of different bugs encountered by users in one fell swoop, and fixing it was required to set the stage for virtually everything else we need to accomplish in the overhaul of the animation system and improvement of our integration capabilities. Again, we have mentioned the need to accomplish the Object ID change in isolation from other changes in our formal communications and in mailing list and forum discussions.

At any rate, we hope you'll find the reminder reassuring, and we'll do our best to bring you all these changes as rapidly as they can be properly accomplished. "Brick by Brick," as a wise man here once said...
__________________
Chuck Baker
3D Group -- NewTek, Inc.



So I guess we can hope to hold our breaths :D Messiah will do for me for now (XSI is my outside woman as needed :tongue:)

tonybliss
02-25-2007, 09:56 AM
Quick correction to what I said - "Messiah just allows you to animate you characters" --- add to that "and any items in your scene; it also has a very intuitive and straight foward soft body dynamic system"

pooby
02-25-2007, 10:28 AM
You can't go wrong whether you choose Messiah OR XSI, it's all down to personal preference and what you want from it - Both are vastly better than LW's current state.
And I stress current, because I have faith that big changes for the better will come in LW.
If the Newtek team show the same proficiency in Animation improvements that they have done in rendering recently then exciting times are ahead. It's a LOT of work to do though so I wouldn't sit twiddling your thumbs in the meantime.


sorry about the off topic but simply LOVE that jaws clip pooby!
thanks..

Carm3D
02-26-2007, 07:07 AM
If Messiah supports LW weightmaps now, it would be a good choice.. If not.. I'd steer clear.. I used to have it but got rid of it because Meta-Effectors gave me nightmares.

wp_capozzi
02-26-2007, 08:19 AM
What is the workflow of either XSI or Messiah to Lightwave? Is it basically transfering only baked point info to Lightwave of the animation done in the other packages, or are either of them sharing deeper things like bone rigs, weightmaps, etc.? How well do the animations work once back in Lightwave? Are there problems that pop up like lost data, scale issues, or anything that would make it more work that setting up a character right in Lightwave?
I'm tossing around the thought of external CA software for a current project. Like most things, speed and timeliness are tied to every aspect of getting things done. Any pointers to examples would be great.

Thanks,
Bill C.

pooby
02-26-2007, 09:01 AM
with LW-XSI, firstly get -point oven- which is about 50.

You set up your scene in LW, then with PointOven, export anything relevant to the animation (props, characters, groundplane and camera for example).
Then In XSI. import all this.. it will match up with the LW scene exactly.

Rig and animate characters to the XSI version of the scene.

Bake out the characters (and props if appropriate) mdd file in XSI

In Lw, load the mdd file to the appropriate object.
The mdd version can be low poly (before subpatching) so file sizes can be small.

Thats it.

If you want to change the animation, just change it in XSI, then bake again. It will overwrite the old mdd, so it automatically updates in LW.

Theres no need for rig exchange between the two. The only exception is if you want the rig to drive something like textures or displacement in LW, in which case you save the keyframe info to a nulls' position info in XSI then hook it back up in LW.

Once you've used this process, you don't really see LW and XSI as two separate entities anymore than Layout is from Modeller. its very easy and works without a hitch.

Carm3D
02-26-2007, 09:03 AM
with LW-XSI, firstly get -point oven- which is about 50.



Does XSI use Weightmaps?

bobakabob
02-26-2007, 09:15 AM
Does XSI use Weightmaps?

Yep :)

tonybliss
02-26-2007, 09:21 AM
wow pooby, that really sounds neat ... esp with the fact that xsi can use Syflex ... mmm $495 / $1100

Mrjack
02-26-2007, 09:25 AM
Why not use PLGik its simple free and powerful ...
i tried messiah for some productions i dont love it too he cant use lightwave weightmaps morphmaps and bones... here ik spline is ugly you must have series of scripts to macke it work wel
im an animator i use lightwave with plg its great ..there is nothing you can do in another software that lightwave can't do it
lightwave have a powerful tool for animation

pooby
02-26-2007, 11:57 AM
Why not use PLGik its simple free and powerful ...
i tried messiah for some productions i dont love it too he cant use lightwave weightmaps morphmaps and bones... here ik spline is ugly you must have series of scripts to macke it work wel
im an animator i use lightwave with plg its great ..there is nothing you can do in another software that lightwave can't do it
lightwave have a powerful tool for animation

Well, you'd better tell Newtek that. They, along with most other users seem to think it's in need of a lot of work.

pooby
02-26-2007, 11:59 AM
By the way, point oven will transfer all morphs made in LW to XSI too..
But, if you want to make jointmorphs its much much easier to do it in XSI..so easy, you'll laugh out loud when you do it the first time.

pooby
02-26-2007, 12:09 PM
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61458&highlight=animation+xsi

This thread highlights some cool stuff in xsi (videos) with the hope some of these will make it into LW sometime soon.

Mrjack
02-27-2007, 11:21 AM
Man im one of the XSI lovers and im not tried to do a comparison between Lw and XSI of cors XSI is the highend of animation tools
but why loosing time to learning software like messiah....than lw can do the same result with lil plugs
but for newtek devloper there is lot of work to do if they cant buy the plugs and implemant them
and by the way no need point oven the newest version of XSI can import and export al the scenes and object from any software

Mrjack
02-27-2007, 11:23 AM
Why not use Xsi

Wonderpup
02-27-2007, 12:52 PM
I very nearly bought XSI recently, but decided to wait a bit until they put out an update to 6. Having said that if NT can come up with a system that allows CA to be done quickly and predictably, I'd happily use it- even if it lacked some of the bells and whistles offered by XSI.

dmack
02-27-2007, 01:04 PM
Messiah, apart from one or two minor niggles is an excellent application. It has very strong, easy to use rigging tools, a brilliant 'set-up' mode, expressions that are massively intuative and encourage experimentation, customizable armatures and deformation speed that is unreal. I think the key to getting it to 'work with Lightwave' is to use them as separate apps, linked via mdd files. Connecting the two apps via the plugin adds additional overhead to your scene that is unhelpful when trying to create a fluid environment in which to create good CA. When you've designed a good production pipeline, they work very very well together. Lastly, and importantly, it's fun!

Hey, that was my first post after looking on from the sidelines for about two years!!!

StereoMike
02-27-2007, 01:40 PM
Welcome dmack! We caught one of the lurkers!
Hope to read more from you!

mike

tonybliss
02-27-2007, 03:30 PM
hey dmack welcome to the forums, and thanks for you input and insight
... after two years :devil: :D

Dirk
02-27-2007, 04:34 PM
Thank you all for the insight.

So, can Messiah be used to render in a Lightwave Network? Or only with baked points?

pooby
02-28-2007, 03:24 AM
Any Animation program that is external to LW will use baked point information to get the animation back into LW.. (apart from motion capture rigs which will be linked up to bones)

There is no difference using Messiah to using Maya or XSI with LW.. all use baked points.

dmack
02-28-2007, 03:37 AM
Thanks for the welcome guys!

'Linking' scenes via baked files has some real advantages. I use low-poly substitues for environmental objects (talbes/chairs, paths etc), load them into messiah (it loads basic lightwave scenes) and then do my character animation there. The low poly objects are simply to make sure my character(s) are interacting with the environment correctly. So, pretty much all of my processing power/ogl power goes into making the CA fluid. Messiah has incredibly fast deformation and expression calculations. I've got a character with over 200 expressions of varying complexity, multiple morph targets being driven by them, bone deformations, dynamics and it all works in real time! At the end of the session, I bake the MDD files and the LW scene that references them updates automatically. Great stuff! I think they have a demo on their site if you want to check it out. The only thing I'd mention is that it's a pretty niche type application, so if this is to put on your CV, it may not help as much as say XSI.

StereoMike
02-28-2007, 06:51 AM
I'm impressed by the walk-generator for Maestro. Is there anything similar in Messiah?
I have to buy a CA tool soon, only for animating the guy who walks after a hand pallet truck and a walk generator would save me a hundred years (I had done this once in lw and it was a PITA for me cause I suck at CA).
mike

dmack
02-28-2007, 12:25 PM
No walk generator. You might be surprised though how much you enjoy the CA in messiah! You may even get to the point where you don't 'suck at it'

:thumbsup:

Nope, I don't work for them!

Dirk
02-28-2007, 12:44 PM
I'm busy playing with the demo version. Biggest problem so far is to get deformations right on the shoulders and hips / legs. When a character is modeled in the the T-pose, one leg deforms the other. Is there another way to fix this besides metaeffectors?

one more question: does Superblender work now correctly?

dmack
02-28-2007, 01:23 PM
I wouldn't use a fully stretched out T pose. The arms should be down in a natural pose with some space to the main torso, legs only slightly apart with some angle to the backs of the knees and elbows - to help the IK know which way to bend. The problem with the T pose is that you are starting your character in a heavily posed form and so when they are standing natually you are already having to deform them significantly.

You'll probably need to have some stabalizing bones. I'm pretty sure that messiah uses a very clever bone deformation system that doesn't just calculate vertex distance as the crow flies but traces it back along the mesh's surface and works out the deformation based on that. Whilst there is no support for weightmaps in messiah, I have generally found that they are not needed, the bones work pretty well, "out of the box". Just add a few stabalizing bones and make sure your main limbs are deformed by several smaller bones (thigh, 2 or 3, shin 2 or 3, forearm same.....) rather than one mega bone that is likely to give more cross talk.

Superblender - I'm biased. Some say that it works well. I've been burnt with it once and won't use it again. It's legacy stuff that isn't supported so I'd avoid it personally. You can use, I think it's called DMorph, to the same effect. Only downside is it works on separate morph targets rather than embedded endomorphs.

Hope that helps. The Messiah community on CGTalk is VERY friendly and helpful - jump in and see!

tonybliss
02-28-2007, 03:31 PM
dmack, thanks for the advice and candor :)
welcome again .. and you lurked for two years .. you selfish bastard :D

dmack
03-01-2007, 05:10 AM
The most eloquent reply I can think of is......

:neener:

t4d
03-01-2007, 05:55 AM
T4D once said that messiah can do 90% of what xsi can (not including modeling of course), without getting all 3D geeky all the time either. Is it true?

WOW I'm being qouted I better replied LOL =)

I agree with most of what pooby said ( Not 100% tho ;)

I'll just add MDD export from messiah and XSI works really well No real issues I've really found ( but due to weight maps,. XSI is easier to export from then Messiah )

- XSI Vs Messiah -

Messiah does not used weight maps and has no joint morphs system is a Big negative,

XSi has a much more productive system in relation to referencing of ALL Types of data and is ALOT more open in it'
s 3D animation system.


But I do feel most would pick up Messiah alittle quicker then XSI
messiah has a Lw 5.6 feel to alot of it's workflow

Where XSI has ALOT more of options
for exsample to sim muscles you have like 5 or 6 different options in XSI and if you go hard you could find maybe 10 or 15 more different options on top of that.

where Messiah has 2 or 3 different ways to Fake muscle sim
( still not as good as XSI But still good enough to do most jobs )
so when you do your R&D it's quicker to go over the options and get moving in Messiah,..
But if you want total control and end less options XSI is still a better option.

Messiah is a GREAT addition to those wanting Good character animation Tools to add to LW (You need them if LW is your main 3D tool and you want to do CA )

AND XSI is the be all, end all of 3D animation solution but it cost more and take alittle more time to learn only due to you have to check all options it has.

StereoMike
03-01-2007, 07:03 AM
btw, is it mandatory to bake all surfaces to UVmaps? I can think of a lot of useful dirty-up scenarios for procedural textures, would I have to bake them to have them deform according to the object? In native lw I don't need a UV for a quick dirtmap and it will deform correctly with the object (inside layout).

mike

pooby
03-01-2007, 07:19 AM
It won't work any differently than if you were using LWs own bones.
Mdd files just move the points around in pretty much the same way that bones just move points around.
No need to worry about the surfaces, procedurals without UV's will work fine.
and again, it makes no difference where that baked animation has come from, be it Messiah, XSI, Maya etc.

TylerZambori
03-01-2007, 11:37 AM
Yikes, I guess I just have to learn them both and see how it goes with each.
I already tried to start with xsi, but I' m a beginner and all I had was a book,
which was not at all a good one for a beginner. So it was back to Dan Ablan and LW.

I took a short look at messiah's manual, and I really like the animations embedded in the text. That was pretty cool.

I'm just barley starting to get any opinion about LW. so far I'd say this graph editor thing is the most unintuitive thing I ever saw, for visual type people.
And selecting objects - why do I have to turn off all tools then switch to polygon mode before I can select? wow. Oh well, I'm still learning the 3D way.

petebeat
03-02-2007, 06:49 PM
Just want to get a little note up for those that really want bones back in lw, after doing CA work in Messiah or XSI, it is possible in both cases. Messiah has a no nonsense BVH export option. And a cool (altough little complex) skeleton rig that can prove it straight away. Maybe you have to download the rig separately from pmg's site or something, dont remember exactly. But you loose the effect transformations and such cool things from messiah with bvh. Just want to say that bones are possible. (and not only when working with mocap)

petebeat
03-02-2007, 08:42 PM
Oops, not only the bvh rig, but also the bvh exporter itself are an external effort (by Marek Scheider and Jean-Baptiste Belioz) so it is not included with messiah. (But they are free). And I was maybe a little cocky to say that anything concerning bvh is no nonsense. Problems can arise anywhere I guess.

zebrafish
03-10-2007, 06:47 AM
WOW I'm being qouted I better replied LOL =)

I agree with most of what pooby said ( Not 100% tho ;)

I'll just add MDD export from messiah and XSI works really well No real issues I've really found ( but due to weight maps,. XSI is easier to export from then Messiah )

- XSI Vs Messiah -

Messiah does not used weight maps and has no joint morphs system is a Big negative,

XSi has a much more productive system in relation to referencing of ALL Types of data and is ALOT more open in it'
s 3D animation system.


But I do feel most would pick up Messiah alittle quicker then XSI
messiah has a Lw 5.6 feel to alot of it's workflow

Could you please clarify? This kind of doesn't make sense to me,
because messiah is known to be much better for CA than LW, even
at version 9. So how could it still be in the dark ages of LW 5.6?

t4d
03-11-2007, 05:00 PM
Could you please clarify? This kind of doesn't make sense to me,
because messiah is known to be much better for CA than LW, even
at version 9. So how could it still be in the dark ages of LW 5.6?

messiah currently does not have weight maps SO first you uses a bone weight system alot like LW's before version 6 ( V6 is when weight maps were added ) OR as LW has it now if you Don't uses wieght maps and just use bone weight.

But messiah does have a metaweight feature which are null that adds weight and you add and move these nulls around to create a weighted area's in the mesh,. That added to the Setup room does make the system very good.
But not as good as the Full weight map system LW and XSI etc have.

Weight maps are important in rigging but compared to the IK and rigging in LW,... Messiah still is a much better, faster and easier system to do Character animation in,. it's really only a negative when you compaire to the likes of XSI.