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Morbius
05-20-2007, 03:02 PM
I'm an old time LW user, but I haven't updated since 6.0.

A couple months ago I picked up a Mac Pro and I've started to get back into my 3D hobby. So I'm looking for a decent well rounded 3D application, but I have some high requirements. I want an application that can handle layers of dynamics and character animation.

I know LW can do these things in general, but...

For example. I want to be able to have a character or several in a scene with layers of dynamic clothes, necklaces, modeled hair and facial animation. The works.

To give a hint of what I dream of is something in the order of Final Fantasy Cinimatics (the games not the movie).

I have faith in LW's rendering and modeling abilities, but I'm uncertain in the realm of character animation and dynamics. Especially when you get into layers of dynamic effects and collisions.

I hear that things like ClothFX have some problems with being jiggy. Is it so bad that even Maya's Softbodies would be better then LW's ClothFX? I can't even recall seeing any character work recently of that caliber in LW.

Problem is I'm not rich. This is just one man's little dream hobby. I even looked at Blender. I have a strange feeling, though, that Maya is the answer to my questions, but the $6K Unlimited is out of the question and Maya Complete only has the basic dynamics.

SO... Is it best to upgrade my LW and stick with it or is it time to jump ship and start saving my pennies for the big-ol Maya? Being on a Mac my choices are limited and I really don't care to Dual-Boot either.

I'd love to see some examples of LW character work + dynamics.

Dodgy
05-20-2007, 05:15 PM
For the price, either LW or XSI essentials. XSI has a rep for having the best character animation tools in the biz, so while I can get done what i want done in LW, you might want to look into this. No hard body dynamics in essentials, while LW has it, but out of the field those two are your best choices I think for all round packages.

Dodgy
05-20-2007, 05:18 PM
Sorry, I thought essentials was the $500 version of XSI... Have they stopped doing that? I thought that version would be right up your alley, but now it seems you can only get the $1995 version which does have Hard body dynamics. Looks like LW is the only contender for sub $500.

Dodgy
05-20-2007, 05:25 PM
Doh, missed the link for Foundation at the bottom of the www.softimage.com page
That's the package i was on about.

Extent
05-20-2007, 05:33 PM
Lightwave is a tool, and it is what you make of it.

FF cinematics don't come out of a tool, they come from a team of talented artists. People have been turning out excelent work from blender for years and years, and I've seen more than my share of absolutely terrible demo reels done in maya. If you're looking for an app that has a row of easy buttons for cloth/hair/dynamics and everything else I'm afraid you won't find it.

You can do cloth in LW just fine, and the same with character work, how much effort are you willing to put into it? You may find that another package that has a better implementation, but it is sure to be lacking in some other area. If there was a perfect package somewhere why do we see so much crap animation done with every major package on the market?

You seem to have some talent as an illustrator, what would you say if you only had photoshop to do your work in, or OC or MangaStudio? What if you had to use Paint, or even work traditionally on paper and ink, would you still be able to draw up comics that look good? Is it your paint program that makes your comics look good?

All of the major 3d apps on the market (and even some of the not so major ones) are extremely powerful and capable in the hands of a clever artist.

I fear this thread is destined to end in a flamewar.

Morbius
05-20-2007, 06:22 PM
Lightwave is a tool, and it is what you make of it.

FF cinematics don't come out of a tool, they come from a team of talented artists. People have been turning out excelent work from blender for years and years, and I've seen more than my share of absolutely terrible demo reels done in maya. If you're looking for an app that has a row of easy buttons for cloth/hair/dynamics and everything else I'm afraid you won't find it.

You can do cloth in LW just fine, and the same with character work, how much effort are you willing to put into it? You may find that another package that has a better implementation, but it is sure to be lacking in some other area. If there was a perfect package somewhere why do we see so much crap animation done with every major package on the market?

You seem to have some talent as an illustrator, what would you say if you only had photoshop to do your work in, or OC or MangaStudio? What if you had to use Paint, or even work traditionally on paper and ink, would you still be able to draw up comics that look good? Is it your paint program that makes your comics look good?

All of the major 3d apps on the market (and even some of the not so major ones) are extremely powerful and capable in the hands of a clever artist.

I fear this thread is destined to end in a flamewar.

I'm not trying to start any kind of flamewar. I can't help if anyone gets offended, but that's not my intention. And, sure, LW may have all the proper tools, but the argument that it's all about talent is a half-truth if you ask me. Talent can only take you so far if the tools have limitations.

Doing a quick search on these forms about ClothFX alone seems to turn up a lot of people claiming how it has problems being "jiggy". What amount of talent can fix that?

In reference to my illustrations, I use Photoshop. I don't use Gimp because it lacks some key tools that I use in Photoshop. That's not to say I couldn't get a "similar" result if I work hard at it in Gimp, but why should I struggle against a tool when another one has exactly what I need to get the same job done more efficiently?

But in that case we are talking about a free application to a $600 application.

It does seem a true case of you get what you pay for. Yes, talent is very important and no amount of tools can make you talented, but at the same time tools that just don't work well can't be fixed just by talent.

Just my opinion.

RedBull
05-20-2007, 06:45 PM
I think you answered your own question....
Maya is great, especially for FX.. however only unlimited offers the features you need...

XSI is also good however you will need Essentials or Advanced to make the most of it...

For example ClothFX and Motion Designer2 may not be the best, but they are workable. You won't get Cloth in Maya or XSI without very advanced pricing. :)

XSI Advanced uses built in Syflex cloth, (also available for Maya and LW)
So if you want advanced cloth you buy Syflex for LW or Maya or the new Ncloth for Maya.

LW is dated in some areas, but for a one man team there are few other all round tools to offer the functionality for similar price.

For the price it would cost to upgrade LW6 to 9.2, you would get a pretty decent upgrade. NT have always been good with upgrading from previous versions, unlike Autodesk and the like.

Upgrade to LW9.x and maybe buy Messiah or XSI Foundation for Character Animation. (However as you don't want to dual-boot, it would really depend on what your goals and aims are with the tools you would be choosing as to what would be better for your work.)

Morbius
05-20-2007, 07:03 PM
Thanks for all the feedback. I guess I was kinda hoping for someone to say that the dynamics and character animation in LW is actually not as bad as people seem to say it is and maybe even show some real world examples.

I was doing research and when I was reading about the problems with ClothFX it kinda killed my excitement to upgrade as dynamics are pretty important to me.

Being on a Mac also doesn't help. My choices are really LW, Maya, Cinima 4d and Blender I think.

Don't get me wrong, I want nothing more then to stick with LW. I've been using the LW Modeler since 1994. I know it well. My knowledge in Layout is semi-limited though when it comes to Character and Dynamic work.

I'm sort of waiting for the UB Demo to come around so I can maybe do some tests.

Extent
05-20-2007, 08:04 PM
I'm not trying to start any kind of flamewar.

I should be clear, I don't think you'll start a flamewar, there just always seems to be a small group of people who love to troll threads like these.

As an example to the "talent" vs. tools I spent a lot of time working to get ClothFX (then motionDesigner) to simulate the 2pt poly chains of a sas wig, it was a bit slow and sometimes tricky to setup, but I managed to get something that I was happy enough with because I'd played with it so long. I sat down and tried to do the same thing with Syflex a while after it came out, arguably a superior cloth sim and certainly much much more expensive. I couldn't get anything close to what I wanted. Perfect example of talent (or lack of it in this case) trumping the tool, even presented with a better plug in I couldn't turn out better work.

I don't think any of these packages could be considered "tools that don't work" and maybe that was my point. LW cloth is not so broken to be unuseable, and it's not the best solution out there. Early filmmakers worked with tools that would be "broken" by todays standards, without color or even sync sound, but they were able to overcome those limitations. Even modern animation still has that sometimes, for instance, Monster House was done without any cloth simulations on the characters cloths at all. You'ld think that a big studio would be able to plop down and just do it, but for whatever reason they didn't.

Ehh I'm just ranting now, so I'll spare you the rest ;) Grab the PLEs and see if you like them, XSI has a bunch of neat stuff and I'm sure they have a demo as well. And good luck with your search.

SplineGod
05-20-2007, 09:00 PM
I think LW is up for what you want to do. I see a lot of people complain about various things but then you have to ask yourself is it limitations in the software or is does it have a lot to do with how well they know it?
LW is perfectly capable of allowing you to do great character animation. The tools are there. Dynamics the same way. There are ways to use them to be able to get around some of the limitations when using geometry heavy characters and cloth. Much of it is simply coming up with a workflow that maximizes LWs strengths and minimizes its weaknesses. I constantly see people saying LW cant do certain things when I know it can and in many cases quite easily. Many people seem to take a linear approach to using the software. For example some will say to use HVs, particles or dynamics to solve problems that can more easily be solved using other methods or techniques.
I tend to look at what needs to be done and figure out the quickest/easiest way to do it. Ive used LW to do production work since before it was called LW and Ive yet to be forced to use something else instead.

HanJobSoSlow
05-20-2007, 09:04 PM
character animation is a joke - yes you can animate with it - but I can also run a marathon carrying a fat lady.

SplineGod
05-20-2007, 11:31 PM
Morbius,
Many people have and are successfully doing character work with LW and its not that much of a pain IMO. You already have LW and it doesnt hurt to spend the time to come up to speed on that part.
My experience has been that people tend to have difficulty just with character animating in general. LWs toolset as they stand are quite useful and probably more powerful then most know what to do with them. :)

Castius
05-21-2007, 12:13 AM
I'd also say that LW is very capable of doing character animation. Just like EVERY software you need to learn what not to do. There is plenty that can be improved. But if price is a factor LW is very well off.

Cloth sim in LW is also pretty good. It's weakest aspect is collision with mesh. This can be complimented with collision primitives is complex or sharp areas. And on top of all that LW has one of the best post dynamics editing systems called "edit FX". And if you ask anyone that get paid to do 3d, they will tell you no sim will be perfect. So you will need to edit them after they have been computed.

So I'd say download the demos make a simple test for each app to accomplish. When you are done testing them ask the community to evaluate your examples and ask if you approached them in a manner that best suited for the software's design.

If you don't have the money or time for the more expensive apps. Then don't waist your time and just go to work with what you can get.

Dodgy
05-21-2007, 03:48 AM
Let me clear, I have done cloth dynamics stuff in Lightwave, and got reasonable results, and I do lots of character animating, entirely in Lightwave. If you're looking for a character animation package with everything at the top of it's field, LW isn't quite there yet. XSI has a very good rep, so for the same price as an upgrade to LW, Foundation could be the way to go. Download a trial of both and see which you prefer. I'm saying this as a dyed in the wool LW'er who has to defend LW to my Maya using collegues :P

StereoMike
05-21-2007, 04:08 AM
The few times I had to dive into character animation were a pita.
Allthough Maestro was a great help in my latest project (the beta walkcycle generator saved me one or two weeks stupid trial and error), LW's sluggish OpenGL really ruined the joy.
I had only one character and the feedback was really bad. That was one of the open betas (deformation problem I guess) and I hope they got it sorted out (never tried again since then).

mike

dmack
05-21-2007, 04:25 AM
Lightwave and Messiah are a great combination. Messiah handles LW's biggest weakness, CA, with style!

0scrooge0
05-21-2007, 04:44 AM
I'm not trying to start any kind of flamewar. I can't help if anyone gets offended, but that's not my intention. And, sure, LW may have all the proper tools, but the argument that it's all about talent is a half-truth if you ask me. Talent can only take you so far if the tools have limitations.

Doing a quick search on these forms about ClothFX alone seems to turn up a lot of people claiming how it has problems being "jiggy". What amount of talent can fix that?

In reference to my illustrations, I use Photoshop. I don't use Gimp because it lacks some key tools that I use in Photoshop. That's not to say I couldn't get a "similar" result if I work hard at it in Gimp, but why should I struggle against a tool when another one has exactly what I need to get the same job done more efficiently?

But in that case we are talking about a free application to a $600 application.

It does seem a true case of you get what you pay for. Yes, talent is very important and no amount of tools can make you talented, but at the same time tools that just don't work well can't be fixed just by talent.

Just my opinion.


Morbius, talent is when u put your "Thinking Cap" ON.
There are NO 3d software that lets u do the things u ask right out-of-the-box!

But, it seems "thinking caps" are rare items these days!

Ztreem
05-21-2007, 08:51 AM
For those that say that it's impossible to do animations with LightWave maybe want to check this reel out at spinquad it's all done in LightWave.
http://www.spinquad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17876&highlight=animation+reel

StereoMike
05-21-2007, 01:01 PM
From the animator of that reel:

I also gotta add that these clips in this reel represent the first anims i did using the plgIK, and it really is trés fántastique, and my character work improved immediately upon using them. I had of course always known, as im sure many of u do, that the quality of a rig can dramatically effect the quality of animation produced with it, but switching from LWIK to plgIK was a really noticable jump to this end.

You can surely animate characters in LW. But you can also plough a field with a spoon. Both will be a PITA. But you _can_ do that.
Sooner or later everyone uses 3rd party plugs to compensate LW's weak spot. Some use plg, others Messiah, XSI, Maestro or t4d...
But fortunately NT already stated, that they will update LW's CA toolset, so in the near future this text (and many others) will be obsolete (hopefully).

mike

Morbius
05-21-2007, 01:42 PM
Let me clear, I have done cloth dynamics stuff in Lightwave, and got reasonable results, and I do lots of character animating, entirely in Lightwave. If you're looking for a character animation package with everything at the top of it's field, LW isn't quite there yet. XSI has a very good rep, so for the same price as an upgrade to LW, Foundation could be the way to go. Download a trial of both and see which you prefer. I'm saying this as a dyed in the wool LW'er who has to defend LW to my Maya using collegues :P

I actually already own XSI Foundation (5.0). My PC is a bit dated though. Foundation also doesn't come with Character Sets or Rigid Bodies. Though a great package for the price.



You can surely animate characters in LW. But you can also plough a field with a spoon. Both will be a PITA. But you _can_ do that.
Sooner or later everyone uses 3rd party plugs to compensate LW's weak spot. Some use plg, others Messiah, XSI, Maestro or t4d...
But fortunately NT already stated, that they will update LW's CA toolset, so in the near future this text (and many others) will be obsolete (hopefully).


This is sort of what I'm looking at too. The future that may fix a lot of these issues and maybe even the dynamics.

I have no problem using a plug-in as long as it's not more then LW. :P Only bad thing is once LW goes UB I don't think a lot of plug-ins will work until they also are UB.

Cageman
05-21-2007, 01:44 PM
You can surely animate characters in LW. But you can also plough a field with a spoon. Both will be a PITA. But you _can_ do that.
Sooner or later everyone uses 3rd party plugs to compensate LW's weak spot. Some use plg, others Messiah, XSI, Maestro or t4d...
mike

I don't know if the animator of those pieces thought it was a PITA.... did he state that? I don't know, but what I do know is that he thought it was easy and fast to animate once the rig was setup in the correct way.

Indeed he used plgIK to make life easier, but I would NEVER, EVER compare a "simple" plugin with an app like Messiah or XSI... plgIK is a FREE plugin, and if it makes life so much easier, more power to the one who rigged and animated those characters.

jeremyhughes77
05-21-2007, 02:44 PM
Why I chose Lightwave a little over a month ago.

My main training is in Maya and I love it. I used LW way back when and enjoyed it. Coming back to it from Maya, I was really able to pick it up quickly and I think look at it much more intuitively.

I ended up coming back to it bc the 9.x workflow looks great. I'm really happy with where its headed. I'm working on a short film over the next however many months that has 3 CG character mixed with live action. I dont have the budget for full blown Maya and LW so far is working out great. I now but less than Maya's $2k version have LW, Silo, ZBrush and soon Maestro. It works for what I need. 300 and some of the other work out there by the FX houses helped to sell me as well.

I'm pleased with my move. I'll have to try to get a WIP thread going soon on the characters. My icon is a WIP of one of them... hope that helps :)

Ztreem
05-21-2007, 03:05 PM
From the animator of that reel:


You can surely animate characters in LW. But you can also plough a field with a spoon. Both will be a PITA. But you _can_ do that.
Sooner or later everyone uses 3rd party plugs to compensate LW's weak spot. Some use plg, others Messiah, XSI, Maestro or t4d...
But fortunately NT already stated, that they will update LW's CA toolset, so in the near future this text (and many others) will be obsolete (hopefully).

mike

That's your opinion. I could say the same about modeling, modeling a car with SDS in LW is workable but a PITA compared to NURBS in Studiotools, but it doesn't make LightWave any less powerful. Lewis is a perfect example of that it's possible to make nice car models in LW even if it's much easier to model them in a NURBS package.

I just wanted to show that some people is capable of doing some really nice animation out of LW with a little help of the FREE PLG plugins, but name one person in the LW community that doesn't use any plugins.

I wonder, do you think that all Maya and XSI users don't use plugins? why is it that bad to use plugins? especially as PLG is free?

Dodgy
05-21-2007, 03:39 PM
I agree, plugins and definitely not a dirty word around me... Especially since I wrote a few :)

Morbius
05-21-2007, 04:33 PM
Lightwave and Messiah are a great combination. Messiah handles LW's biggest weakness, CA, with style!

Too bad they never made Messiah for the Mac. :thumbsdow

Anunnaki
05-21-2007, 04:46 PM
I love to watch the extras on DVDs to see how the FX was done. One common thread for each film is they always mention using off the shelf 3D software but usually end up programming something to allow them to acheive an effect the software can't do. So, I think talent will always make up for any software limitations. Lightwave has many strengths and many weaknesses. Figure them out. Make something around the strengths and cheat like hell so the weaknesses aren't noticed (but really, 3D is one big cheat anyways!).

Vincent D. Brumback

hrgiger
05-21-2007, 05:53 PM
The other thing that you really have to ask yourself is, is it the software that is limiting me, or my own ambitions? A lot of people ask for software to be able to handle certain things but often then find that they are not capable of doing such work and sometimes the software is blamed. Do I think Lightwave could do what you want it to do? Absolutely. Is the workflow in Lightwave going to make more sense then the workflow in XSI or Maya? Only you can answer that.
By the way, I'm not saying your ambitions are too high or that your skill level is too low, I wouldn't know. I'm just saying, I see that a lot. I know I'm guilty of it.
Now, for the parts you actually might want to hear.
Lightwave Dynamics. They work. But that's probably the best thing I can say about them. In my experience, if you want Lightwave dynamics to do capes, or curtains, or flags, Lightwave is great. However, it won't do great clothing where there are a lot of collisions to consider and the collisions you do have will often result in twitchy artifiacts. This was a huge stumbling block for me but fortunately I found my solution in Syflex for Lightwave. Not for everyone, but I took advantage of the fact that I was a student, and $220 later I had Syflex.
Lightwave for character animation. It's very capable but there are a lot of hang ups that for the time being you have to accept. Deformations are slow in Layout and there is no direct control of vertices in Lightwave (yet). However, I think you'll find that both of these are going to change in the near future. In the meantime, take a look at PLG_IK. It's pretty nice, I've been playing with it more lately and have found animating much more fun in Lightwave.
If you need more sophistication, there's always Messiah. Of course, I also know people who use both Lightwave and XSI foundation (for animating) and are quite satisfied.
I hate to talk about things that haven't happened yet, but 9.2 is the first update we've had in the 9.x cycle and it was a good one. I think that you'll be seeing a lot of new powerful things during this cycle and even if you choose to use other software, Lightwave just might be worth keeping an eye on.

StereoMike
05-22-2007, 01:06 PM
I just wanted to show that some people is capable of doing some really nice animation out of LW with a little help of the FREE PLG plugins, but name one person in the LW community that doesn't use any plugins.
I wonder, do you think that all Maya and XSI users don't use plugins? why is it that bad to use plugins? especially as PLG is free?

Huh? Usually I get called fanboy for defending LW...
But I thought it was common knowledge that CA is LW's weak spot. So what's the point in defending a position that is already given up by the developer? NT makes no secret out of it. If they think the CA toolkit is great and outperforms all other apps, why bother?
For me it's not the workflow that annoys me so much, it's the bugs that prevent you from getting used to that awkward workflow.
I never said anything against plugins. Where have you read that? Much work depends on them, and they and the community are the fuel of the whole light"wave". I use alot of 'em (also some by Dodgy ;) ).


I don't know if the animator of those pieces thought it was a PITA.... did he state that? I don't know, but what I do know is that he thought it was easy and fast to animate once the rig was setup in the correct way.
read his quote again.
With a good rig, you can animate in every app. The problem is how to get that rig. Am I the only one who thinks in an "animation" package should be enough tools to get a nice rig without hassle (and an urgent need for 3rd party plugins)?

mike

SplineGod
05-22-2007, 01:39 PM
One thing Id point out is that "weakest point" doesnt equate to useless. :)

Ztreem
05-22-2007, 01:57 PM
One thing Id point out is that "weakest point" doesnt equate to useless. :)

Exactly my point.

dmack
05-22-2007, 02:42 PM
Too bad they never made Messiah for the Mac. :thumbsdow

Yes, it really is. I'm not a Mac uswer but it definitely limits their market.

My previous comment was not a knock at LW, rather praise for messiah - man that sounds too religious now! They really are a great team!

hrgiger
05-22-2007, 02:47 PM
Yes, it really is. I'm not a Mac uswer but it definitely limits their market.



You mean like 3D Max? I think they're doing ok with Mac.

jasonwestmas
05-22-2007, 04:28 PM
You mean like 3D Max? I think they're doing ok with Mac.

you mean intel mac with windows?

Danic101
05-22-2007, 05:50 PM
I would get the upgrade, 9.2 rocks. I am sure they have awesome things planned. Can't wait for siggraph.

They have a good deal with the training bundle promo

djlithium
05-22-2007, 06:03 PM
character animation is a joke - yes you can animate with it - but I can also run a marathon carrying a fat lady.
I don't know man... i have seen some pretty kick *** work done in front of me in LW doing character animation without any external tools and with very little stress. I am almost tempted to dive into it and I suck at character animation. but here's the point, get some help. I suggest you pick up Timothy Albee's Character animation videos from Kurv Studios. Go here for links. www.ta-animation.com

Having seen him work up close on a schedule that not only sucked, but made things near impossible for almost a year, I can tell you he knows his stuff.

Wickster
05-22-2007, 06:19 PM
What's your timeframe of completion? Are you talking about the FF Cinematics or game engine graphics? It's really hard to decide right now since LW9 is undergoing a rewrite of pretty much all the users have been asking for. Character Animation tools are already on the table for a re-write on the upcoming 9.X release, Dynamics, I'm pretty hopeful it will be here also on a 9.X release, a more consolidated and powerful modeler might be there also and it's all coming in for free for 9.0 owners. And then ofcourse the UB version.

If your timeframe is within this year then, XSI foundation would probably be your answer...I'm not sure cause I haven't used it. With your budget set $500 at this time, we (I at least) won't hold you back if you go to another app. But consider LW in the future as well, specially after all this 9.X construction that most of us here are participating. We will welcome you back if you do decide to comeback later. :)

I do have another side to my reasoning though. Switching app isn't exactly as easy as one would think. I have been hearing that out of the top 4 3D Animation (my top 4 OK) apps, XSI has the steepest learning curve. Again, I don't know cause I've never used it.

You should choose wisely, research, read reviews, read tutorials, and continue what you've been doing here...ask. Study the softwares that are in your mind and download the trials, LW 9.2 has a trial right now too. By the time it takes you to finally decide though, LW9.5 with CA tools have probably been released. :D

No debates and persuations though, look beyond your current project in mind and see if the app you've decided will serve you after your current project also...or will you be back here asking the same question for a different requirements.

Or wait til SIGGRAPH and hope someone will do a special sale. :D

Just a thought.

Cageman
05-22-2007, 11:01 PM
read his quote again.
With a good rig, you can animate in every app. The problem is how to get that rig. Am I the only one who thinks in an "animation" package should be enough tools to get a nice rig without hassle (and an urgent need for 3rd party plugins)?

mike

Oh yeah! I agree with you about that! And probably all LW users agree to the fact that LW needs some serious upgrading in the CA-department. But I do applaud everyone who can take the current tools and make something good out of it with the help of free third party tools. Also, I don't know if the guy had an unpleasant time rigging his characters. If it turns out that he had alot of fun rigging in LW, does that mean he is wrong?

Carm3D
05-23-2007, 06:14 PM
There's not much to add that hasn't been already said. Except for this:

If you want to use a facial rig that uses muscle bones and a non-linear animation system so you can animate these bones to form phonems, etc.. Well, look elsewhere. For just about everything else, LW can handle it. Even if some parts are more of a PITA than other platforms (namely dynamics).

SplineGod
05-23-2007, 10:25 PM
I think LW is quite capable of handling facial rigs that use bones. Its pretty easy to use IKBoost and muscle bones. Motion mixer can be used to store poses and a slider panel/joystick control can be setup to mix the poses. Maestro would be especially good for this.
Heres an example of a facial rig using bones I did awhile ago as a test. This took maybe 15 minutes to setup. This method combined with corrective
endomorphs could work very nicely. :)
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/examples/face_rig.mov

Carm3D
05-23-2007, 10:35 PM
Yes I've done this before. But if he's gotta do alot of talking, you're not gonna enjoy animating those phonems over and over again. A non-linear animation system would help here. I mean one that musclebones can see.

SplineGod
05-23-2007, 10:55 PM
You can always drop the phonemes into a timeline and treat them like poses.
This could be done in motion mixer. DStorm also have a couple of plugins to extract, save and reuse poses in hmot format (motion mixer) without having to use motion mixer. IKBoost can also save and reload poses and motions.
Plus animating faces is tedious regardless of the method :)

Carm3D
05-23-2007, 11:03 PM
Well I still stand by my earlier statement. Look elsewhere. It should be far better to animate such a contraption with something that was made to do this kind of thing from the ground-up.

I've animated faces that wasn't so painful... Using Joytrol (which doesn't work in 9.2, unfortunately). But it's all morphs. I do yearn to animate faces with muscle bones.. Like they do in da movies.

LW has made great strides, but to answer his question.. It's not there yet for character animation.. Not for the high end stuff.

SplineGod
05-23-2007, 11:27 PM
Well the funny thing about the so called high end stuff is that sometimes a single character in a movie can take millions of dollars to create and a large team of people. Ive never seen anyone pull off Gollum in Maya or anything by themselves. Thats why studios employ large teams of programmers or buy expensive add ones to do muscle systems.

Lets say LW tomorrow had that kind of depth. You wont see anyone pulling off anything that complex nor will you see studios flocking to pick it up. You have people in those studios who have a great deal of time invested in constructing a pipeline. They also have no reason to drop software they already know for something else. Theres a lot to be said for job security. :)

That said, LW can definately stand some improvements and weve been promised that its happening. In the meantime theres still quite a bit of room in LW to squeeze a lot out of it. And for me 'high end' changes daily sometimes. Most of the character work out there isnt anywhere near the level of what you see in spiderman or other movies.

Cageman
05-23-2007, 11:48 PM
LW has made great strides, but to answer his question.. It's not there yet for character animation.. Not for the high end stuff.

I have to agree... that is one of the things that holds me back. If there were a morphmixer-interface but for item/bone/whatever positions/rotations we would be soo much further ahead in this area. Look in Motionbuilder to see how easy it is to set up things like that.

Most "highend" suff is a mixture between morphs and joints, and LW has one of the best implementations when it comes to animating Morphs in Layout... let us just hope that NT will take that idea and implement it for object positions.

Actually, I started a thread in Feature Request forum about this:
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61857&highlight=morph

Carm3D
05-24-2007, 01:21 AM
Lets say LW tomorrow had that kind of depth. You wont see anyone pulling off anything that complex nor will you see studios flocking to pick it up.

I would!! :) I love making crazy rigs!

Ztreem
05-24-2007, 02:24 AM
If there were a morphmixer-interface but for item/bone/whatever positions/rotations we would be soo much further ahead in this area. Look in Motionbuilder to see how easy it is to set up things like that.


I'm not sure I understand exacltly what you mean, but isn't it what sliders do?:stumped:

Cageman
05-24-2007, 01:57 PM
I'm not sure I understand exacltly what you mean, but isn't it what sliders do?:stumped:

Well, sliders can do it, but it would take days to set something up in a proper way and you would have to dive into alot of expressions, driven keys etc, etc. Esp for the level of control that I want. Motionbulder, imho, has one of the best "out of the box" implementations of such functionality.

EDIT: When I get some spare time I'll record a video showing it in action just to give you an idea of what I want... :)

Carm3D
05-24-2007, 02:03 PM
Motionbulder, imho, has one of the best "out of the box" implementations of such functionality.

Moreso than XSI? I looked a bunch of MotionBuilder demo movies and none of them covered anything with facial animation.

Ztreem
05-24-2007, 02:04 PM
EDIT: When I get some spare time I'll record a video showing it in action just to give you an idea of what I want... :)

Cool, would be nice to see, I never used motion builder so... I do not know what I'm missing. :D

jasonwestmas
05-24-2007, 03:36 PM
In my experience XSI is less buggy than mobu when doing mocap.

Cageman
05-24-2007, 11:03 PM
Moreso than XSI? I looked a bunch of MotionBuilder demo movies and none of them covered anything with facial animation.

Well, I said one of the best, not the best. :) We use LW, Maya and Motionbuilder, and among those three apps, Motionbuilder wins (talking about out of the box stuff now). I have not tried XSI and it may be better, I don't know, but I do know that LW doesn't do this easy. :)

Cageman
05-24-2007, 11:06 PM
In my experience XSI is less buggy than mobu when doing mocap.

That may be true. The new versions of Motionbuilder are alot slower; probably Autodesk bloat.. ;) Since XSI got animation layers with version 6 it should be easy enough to animate ontop of MoCap. But you really need animation layers if you want to be able to do some inuitive things when it comes to tweak MoCap.

jasonwestmas
05-25-2007, 10:02 AM
I wouldn't animate with mocap without layers! It's the best thing since the invention of the fork. Bloating yes, I like smaller companies of course, it's easier to get free/cheap help ;)

jasonwestmas
05-25-2007, 10:04 AM
Well, I said one of the best, not the best. :) We use LW, Maya and Motionbuilder, and among those three apps, Motionbuilder wins (talking about out of the box stuff now). I have not tried XSI and it may be better, I don't know, but I do know that LW doesn't do this easy. :)

You can do facial animation in Mobu, you can import all your shapes from maya and mix them.

Intuition
05-25-2007, 10:47 AM
Upgrade to LW9.x and maybe buy Messiah or XSI Foundation for Character Animation. (However as you don't want to dual-boot, it would really depend on what your goals and aims are with the tools you would be choosing as to what would be better for your work.)

:agree: ...expanding

I can animate characters in Lightwave rather well but with XSI or Messiah it makes a lot of things easier and more stable and I think they really get a 3d animator following the proper procedures for professional animation setup.

I think that with Lightwave getting the overhaul it has been getting that we will see a much more robust CA in later 9.x cycles but for now XSI foundation or Messiah animate will get you there completely.

What you should note though is that XSI cloth is only in the advanced version which is expensive and may make getting syflex for Lightwave a good idea.

Only thing is that I personally haven't tested syflex for Lightwave so I can't tell you how robust or stable it is. Perhaps those that have can expand upon it in this thread.

Cageman
05-25-2007, 03:12 PM
You can do facial animation in Mobu, you can import all your shapes from maya and mix them.

Well, I didn't really ask for advice here... just talking about the limitations/slow workflow LW has when it comes to bonedriven facial animation. :) We already have a much more advanced facial rig in Maya, but due to the limitations of our current work, we had to make a simplified version. MBuilder was suited perfectly for this; a weighted face can be setup and ready for animation in less than an hour.

toonafish
05-25-2007, 04:46 PM
:
What you should note though is that XSI cloth is only in the advanced version which is expensive and may make getting syflex for Lightwave a good idea.



you get XSI cloth with Essentials, and Syflex with Advanced.

sudac20
05-25-2007, 07:58 PM
get XSI, LW is a good app. but it has fallen behind thepack in recent years.

Intuition
05-25-2007, 09:19 PM
you get XSI cloth with Essentials, and Syflex with Advanced.

Yah, what Toonafish said. :agree: I meant syflex in advance not just general cloth.

t4d
05-25-2007, 09:54 PM
same old same old...

read the whole thing ..why ?????

agree with alot But have to add to the
" I think LW is quite capable of handling blah blah blah "

yeah But you really need to see how it's done else where ?

this workflow idea is not what most need to do in there everyday 3D work True.

BUT if you need to do it ?..
other 3D animation systems are just light years ahead

it's like saying to a mate who just got a new car
" well yeah I still have my push bike I'll get to work just like you do..... "

you will,. but the trip will not be as enjoyable and you may not want to do it everyday for the next few months..years ....

Oh - and you get cloth in XSI fnd i think ?? but it's just Avid cloth not Syflex I have used LW's cloth and Avid cloth in XSI Ess,
and XSI Ess cloth is better then LW cloth system alittle faster more correct but there is a reason to get Syflex it's is the BEST and XSI standard cloth is not that Good,.. XSi standard cloth is maybe only better due to the frame work around it. you can work in and around it more then LW's system.

anyway to reply to the First post

if you have money buy messiah ( I think it would be cheaper then the LW 9 update ?? ) honestly only get the LW 9 update if your focused on render output and hardcore rendering fancy stuff . LW 8 added some to CA, but you would get alot more value in messiah for CA with LW 6.5 ( and you get another render in Messiah )

messiah would still connect to Lw 6 and would be cool if this is just a weekend bit of fun. it would solve all of the LW character animation issues and keep you in a program you know at model and render time.

But if you want to go hard and see how much fun you can have and want to maybe take it seriously for future options.. XSI fnd is cheap , maybe Maya PLE ( I've seen afew have gotten real Game jobs from Maya PLE reels )

Maya Complete and to a lesser level XSI Ess, if your really looking for future work options and have afew dollars to spend.

my 2 cents and I don't do refunds !! :D

StereoMike
05-26-2007, 12:19 AM
I have a question regarding the workflow with external apps:
Say I have a driver of a vehicle and he will get out of it during the animation.
How would I handle this with Messiah or XSI? Would I export the driver and the vehicle and rig both there (wheels, steering etc)? Or rig the vehicle in LW and the guy in the external app? Or only export the guy? But how would I get his hands on the wheel?

Thanks in advance,
mike

jasonwestmas
05-26-2007, 12:42 AM
With XSI you could export/import one mdd file for every object in your scene that is animated after your animation in XSI is completed.

Cageman
05-26-2007, 12:53 AM
I have a question regarding the workflow with external apps:
Say I have a driver of a vehicle and he will get out of it during the animation.
How would I handle this with Messiah or XSI? Would I export the driver and the vehicle and rig both there (wheels, steering etc)? Or rig the vehicle in LW and the guy in the external app? Or only export the guy? But how would I get his hands on the wheel?

Thanks in advance,
mike

Rig & animate in XSI or Messiah, export using PointOven... if you really need bones in LW (I assume you want to render in LW), you should rig everything in LW and then export an FBX that you bring into the animation package. I've never used XSI or Messiah so I can't speak about those, but I would be strange if XSI doesn't have an FBX exporter/importer. Everything your character have to interact with should be present in your animation app.

t4d
05-26-2007, 02:11 AM
Nulls, Nulls and more Nulls

You can animate anything in LW or XSI if you want LW info in XSI you export

as long as you keep your null motions upto date in each package it's all pretty smooth and easy workflow, you can add nulls that read expession and values in any package, Eg- animated surface setting in XSI can be transfered to LW with a null

also XSI can reference external files and that info does not get added to the scene file so updates are easy.

just like LW has " 2 Rooms " so to speak, when you add another tool you are just adding another room to your workflow and options.

Tho for me if i was to doing car and character thing, i would do them all in the same package to keep things simple

Plus animating a Car ( just like Characters ) is better in XSI
so LW would just be your Main render.

t4d
05-26-2007, 02:22 AM
but I would be strange if XSI doesn't have an FBX exporter/importer. Everything your character have to interact with should be present in your animation app.

FBX is dieing pretty quick since Autodesk purchased it
I even have heard Max and Maya users hitting issues with it laterly
as well as C4D, LW and XSI users.

XSI does use FBX.. I think,it's in teh file export option LOL =) I only used mdd . =)

for Version 6 Avid build they own Crosswalk Plugins For Max and Maya due to FBX not being flexiable enough to transfer all the data from XSI.

you can now model in Max or whatever, rig, UV and Animate in XSI then export the whole thing to Maya or Max and have another person tidy up the animation in May using the XSI RIG !! ( tho there must be limits somewhere ? ) and you can switch apps for any stage of the production using these plugins from avid i hear

Morbius
06-07-2007, 09:23 PM
Not that anyone cares what I do, but I thought I'd give a reply to what I decided.

I setup a dual-boot on my Mac and installed XSI Foundation. Been playing with it for a while now and feels pretty comfortable. Though, I'll still need to use LW for modeling until I get used to XSI.

For the money you can't beat XSI Foundation. Probably the only thing it doesn't have that I wish it did was Rigid Bodies.

Thanks for all the input guys. :)

Pixelthekid
06-10-2007, 01:41 AM
My opinion is get both if you can. Honestly, a renderfarm with XSI or maya is a huge expense (trust me). Having 999 render nodes with LW is an insane perk. XSI/Maya, point oven and LW makes for some serious capabilities. Learning both applications at once might be a tad frustrating though.

Cageman
06-10-2007, 01:51 AM
My opinion is get both if you can. Honestly, a renderfarm with XSI or maya is a huge expense (trust me). Having 999 render nodes with LW is an insane perk. XSI/Maya, point oven and LW makes for some serious capabilities. Learning both applications at once might be a tad frustrating though.

What he said!

For now, concentrate on XSI, but I must say that with the current developement on the LW-renderer, it certanly is a must have in the rendering arsenal.

adamredwoods
06-10-2007, 05:17 PM
Intersting thread. An ex-LWer asks about Character animation and cloth dynamics on a LW messageboard and was pushed to XSI.


Honestly, for those that are looking for the BEST, you will be chasing apps until the end of time. There's no point. When I was hiring for a 3D studio, I saw so much crap done in every 3D app, I just started looking for those who did good art. It's the end product, not how you get there. If you argue, then you enjoy playing with technology, and not creating art.

If one truly believes in creating art over technology, you choose one and discipline yourself to use it and get everything out of it. Your art should not be dependent upon the software.



You could make a Final Fantasy movie in Poser.

//Adam

t4d
06-10-2007, 05:26 PM
You could make a Final Fantasy movie in Poser.

//Adam


I put my hand up here as one that would like to see that :)

I spent 12 months in poser when i first start in 3D and well I disagree strongly with that statement.

I also have spent nearly 6 years using LW and well . use XSI for the same reason I don't uses Poser.

alifx
06-10-2007, 06:19 PM
blah blah blah

blaaaaah blaaaah boollhhaaaaaa

adamredwoods
06-10-2007, 06:22 PM
A short made with Poser:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2319854259305341280

The article is here:
http://www.e-frontier.com/article/articleview/1499/1/388/

Sure, it's not FFAdvent Children, but...?



//Adam

t4d
06-10-2007, 06:31 PM
do you really think that's final fantasy level ?
have you watch any of them ? FF movies even the FF video games ??

if you have,? I best leave this thread because you have different eyes then i do..

adamredwoods
06-10-2007, 07:05 PM
T4D:
*Youch!* Now you're being mean and nasty, and you did not understand my point. Sorry I didn't have a "FF made in Poser" example ready. Final Fantasy:Advent Children was made in Maya. Could you do the same with XSI? With your reasoning, if it hasn't been done, then I guess it cannot be done.

But since you are reminding me of my grandmother, I will not reply any further to this thread.


For the rest:
My point is never to limit yourselves to the specifics of software. It is forever changing. Adapt, be resourceful, drink, and be merry.

t4d
06-10-2007, 08:05 PM
T4D:
*Youch!* Now you're being mean and nasty, and you did not understand my point. Sorry I didn't have a "FF made in Poser" example ready. Final Fantasy:Advent Children was made in Maya. Could you do the same with XSI? With your reasoning, if it hasn't been done, then I guess it cannot be done. .


sorry didn't mean to offence But I didn't see your point
But I did like you " who's hand was that " Film nice :thumbsup: ,,
but you can't say that was ILM or Weta can you ?

as for XSI exsamples,. there are ALOT !!!! and Sqaure uses XSI as one of they tools for the Game video's

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF24qbmSi-U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KegRZqb1-2U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlxtl6NulFc


and that was just a youtube search "XSI showreel"
I know there are high rez versions on the Main site ;)

sorry but you did ask.

mattclary
06-11-2007, 11:57 AM
T4D:
*Youch!* Now you're being mean and nasty, and you did not understand my point. Sorry I didn't have a "FF made in Poser" example ready. Final Fantasy:Advent Children was made in Maya. Could you do the same with XSI? With your reasoning, if it hasn't been done, then I guess it cannot be done.

But since you are reminding me of my grandmother, I will not reply any further to this thread.


For the rest:
My point is never to limit yourselves to the specifics of software. It is forever changing. Adapt, be resourceful, drink, and be merry.

He didn't say anything mean at all. You made a statement regarding doing FF level stuff in Poser, then your example failed to come close. I agree with him, bad example. I'm not being mean here, simply stating a fact. I hold no ill will towards you. As much as I disagree with doing FF stuff in poser, you could probably find something CLOSER to FF level than this clip without breaking a sweat. ;)