PDA

View Full Version : HD Instance in movies



Mr Rid
07-16-2008, 02:11 PM
http://www.pixelmagicfx.com/Gallery.htm

Click on the demo reel to see some shots using HD Instance- army advancing in Battle of Red Cliff (beginning), soldiers in 300, corpses for Exorcist: Beginning, penguins for Good Luck Chuck.

I worked on the Red Cliff and Exorcist instancing shots (and LXG and the spears for Red Cliff). There were other shots not seen here where I used HDI for a few thousand cavalry running over a hill in Battle of Red Cliff that were a particular challenge to integrate with live action plates.

GregMalick
07-16-2008, 02:37 PM
Really great stuff. :thumbsup:
Thanks for sharing.

I especially like the scenes from 300.
Some small hints about putting it together.
Is that going to be part of "extras" on the 300 DVD?

Mr Rid
07-16-2008, 04:55 PM
Really great stuff. :thumbsup:
Thanks for sharing.

I especially like the scenes from 300.
Some small hints about putting it together.
Is that going to be part of "extras" on the 300 DVD?

Those 'progression' examples are just part of Pixel Magic's demo.

About schedule. Seven of these infantry/cavalry shots were done in 5 weeks, four shots integrated with plates and the other three were all CG. I completed five shots on my own of cavalry and some of the infantry, but also developed the HDI setup for all shots using meshes animated with morphs, bones and displacement. Clay Dale did all the sprite dust. Phil Ghiles and Keven Kipper did a lot of the infantry. I also lit, textured, tracked a shot in Boujou, animated the flags with ClothFX, animated fidgeting and matchmove run cycles for soldiers and horses. But it wouldnt have been possible to do such involved shots on a short schedule at all without HDI.

The one big obstacle that kept staring at me was lack of basic crowd simulation. If only some savvy programmer would figure out even some basic avoidance and flocking, or take thatto old Bugz thing to a practical conclusion. That individual would stand ot cash in with any alternative to the prohibitively expensive Massive that is overkill for simpler scenes like these (I dont need soldiers breaking into fights and BBQ sing-alongs). But the setups became rather complicated trying to get soldiers and horses running at varied speeds and directions without sliding or passing thru each other (they do, but it is not noticeable).

And its one thing to have them all running across flat ground as in the shots seen in the demo (the client wanted more uneven ground but wasnt time), but it was another challenge altogether to get them running over hills and valleys in a plate. Thats an involved tutorial.

Netvudu
07-17-2008, 09:11 AM
Thatīs some great job. How has been your experience so far with HD Instance version 2? Are the offsetting animations working well, or are there any cave ats to be aware of?

Cageman
07-17-2008, 10:08 AM
I have to say I really like all the work, but the penguins are standing out imho. Were they animated in LW as well?

Mr Rid
07-17-2008, 02:02 PM
Thatīs some great job. How has been your experience so far with HD Instance version 2? Are the offsetting animations working well, or are there any cave ats to be aware of?

There was a problem with offset animations that prevented us from using it much. It requires you to bake the motion using it's own file format. Unlike with MDDs, you cant move, rotate, scale, or parent the motion after. This was part of a surprisingly complicated problem in trying to get a flag to move with the hand of a running soldier with offset animations. Basically there was no way for this to work with offset animations. What is needed is a way to have separate options and offsets for a child item. Getting flags in the scene turned out to be the most difficult challenge.

But the bigger problem is when the scene is pulling the HDM motion file over a network and applied to an object with a high poly count (13,000 was too much). I dont know why, but the scene seems to access that file for every instance and calculation times were completely impractical. An F9 with even a handful of instances and no tracing would take several minutes to think about it. But if you move the HDM to a local drive, there was suddenly almost no slowdown at all. I didnt understand why that made such an enormous difference or how it worked exactly. But obviously that wont work for network renders. The only item we could use offset animation on were stationary flags since they had much lower polys. Moving flags required other workarounds.

Mr Rid
07-17-2008, 02:11 PM
I have to say I really like all the work, but the penguins are standing out imho. Were they animated in LW as well?

I believe the only thing on Pixel's demo that wasnt created in LW were the ghostly sheets in Elektra, that were probably Syflex but still rendered in LW.

We are currently doing more LW penguins for another project. Again, I dont know why Newtek never promotes these particular points of interest.

I am sensing an unsaid moral issue with the content of movies like Sin City and Good Luck Chuck that may explain NT's oddly conservative marketing approach.

JeffrySG
07-17-2008, 03:11 PM
Kick-A** work and demo reel!!

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

Cageman
07-17-2008, 05:25 PM
Well,

You guys deservers some proper treatment and spotlight... Most of the shots in the reel (those that were done as Visual Effects) were not obvious CG-shots. Your work with the weapons penetrating people looks very real (and gory). :) Good looking animations as well.

Ohh.. and by the way... there is a thread over at Gallery Finished that Jakkar started, about his involvement in several movies. Others have posted similar things in that thread; I suggest you add a link to this thread in that thread.

Ohh... and I wonder if you ever got to use the technique I figured out concerning merging different objects and animations into a single object with a single mdd?

Matt
07-17-2008, 07:04 PM
Simply stunning work that _needs_ a profile page right slap bang on the front of the LightWave page!

Would help quell the naysayers of LightWave's abilities (in the hands of talented artists obviously!) ;)

Mr Rid
07-17-2008, 10:08 PM
...

Ohh... and I wonder if you ever got to use the technique I figured out concerning merging different objects and animations into a single object with a single mdd?

I tried variations of your interesting suggestion that worked with simple objects, but I never got it to work with more complex geom for some reason.

Mr Rid
07-18-2008, 04:36 PM
Simply stunning work that _needs_ a profile page right slap bang on the front of the LightWave page!

Am wondering, where else LW was ever used for creature animation in a studio feature, close up and photoreal... anyone? Bueller?

Cageman
07-19-2008, 12:00 AM
Hmm...

Didn't Rainmaker do alot of headreplacement shots for both Dr Doolittle as well as the Garfield movies? Using LightWave and Sasquatch... Some of those are quite stunning, imho.

Also, Eden did that lizard-thingy completely in LW (as far as Intuition said) for the show called Surface. I have just seen glimpses of it, but as far as I remember, it looked way above the norm for TV-series effects in terms of photorealism, integration and animation. Unfortunately, they don't have it in their reel anymore.. :/

I don't think a "profile" would do Pixel Magic justice... I want to see a case study... right here! (http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/case_studies/)

Cageman
07-19-2008, 12:02 AM
btw...

Mr Rid, check your PM... got something for ya. ;)

Mr Rid
08-17-2008, 03:16 AM
Kevin Kipper on Red Cliff and HD Instance
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87550

Cageman
08-17-2008, 03:23 AM
Thanks for the headsup! I'll have a look right away!

...and once again, I end up wondering if NT will ever link to this QT from their LW-page....

Lewis
08-17-2008, 06:39 AM
Excellent stuff there at Pixel Magic, really top notch stuff. We need that kind of things up on front page of Newtek and Lightwave for promotion. That Kevin Kipper demonstration was excellent - that's how they (NT) should promote LW in future :).

cheers

erikals
08-19-2008, 05:17 AM
Mr.Rid, did you try using dynamics for crowd simulation? For example using spheres with a null inside to avoid pass-throughs.

I didn't get what pitfalls you refered to reguarding bugz, (though of course it has several)
micro tutorial btw (http://www.spinquad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12071)

aurora over at sq looked into making bugz for lightwave, but it might have ended up being to much to code.

I used an online program to translate the bugz sourcecode doc from german to english if some are interested in giving it a go.
http://erikalstad.com/cgtemp/DBACK.htm
http://erikalstad.com/cgtemp/DBACK-eng.html

erikals
08-19-2008, 05:57 AM
Another link on flocking etc, from a guy that worked at ILM
http://www.red3d.com/cwr/

I should post this at feature requests I guess..

Mr Rid
08-20-2008, 12:20 AM
Mr.Rid, did you try using dynamics for crowd simulation? For example using spheres with a null inside to avoid pass-throughs....[/url]

I tried one test pushing self-colliding particles over a sticky landscape which didnt allow for nearly enough control. Particles' speed would vary greatly, or go in odd directions, or slow too much or stop altogether against a little rise in the ground.

But more importantly there was no way to have the speed of an instanced animation of say a galloping horse running in place, to vary appropriately along with the velocity of a given particle so the horses would not appear to slide over the ground. There was no advantage in using unwieldy PFX to drive instances instead of using displacement and bones to more precisely deform and animate a mesh.

I think the hard part is getting say a walk cycle to not appear to slide over the ground as the particle moves, or to have it transition to a run cycle or come to a stop as the particle velocity changes- like how vidgame characters have been doing for years... then drive thousands of them with particles that avoid and flock with each other and objects. More elaborate behaviors are not usually needed.

Mr Rid
08-20-2008, 12:35 AM
[QUOTE=erikals;737375]...
I didn't get what pitfalls you refered to reguarding bugz, (though of course it has several)
micro tutorial btw (http://www.spinquad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12071)

The first thing that made it impractical was the inability to import objects into Bugz or otherwise have the particles interact with anything useful.

calilifestyle
08-20-2008, 01:06 AM
wow that HD instance is really sweet. i have to say its on my list of things i need to buy now

erikals
08-20-2008, 05:18 PM
...I think the hard part is getting say a walk cycle to not appear to slide over the ground as the particle moves, or to have it transition to a run cycle or come to a stop as the particle velocity changes- like how vidgame characters have been doing for years... then drive thousands of them with particles that avoid and flock with each other and objects. More elaborate behaviors are not usually needed.

I was actually thinking about this the other day,...

I saw Dpont had made a .mdd node plugin and wonder if it could blend two animated sequenzes.
Or even better, blend more than two.
The correct sequence (still, walk, run, etc) would then be automatically applied.
How? I'm no nodes guy, but if a certain .mdd could be triggered by a certain shade of gray one could be closer to an answer.

More about the node here,
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54741&page=3

Could I be onto something?

.

erikals
08-20-2008, 05:38 PM
it is pretty much like an "if" statement,

if rgb=001,001,001 then use "standstill.mdd"
if rgb=133,133,133 then use "walktheline.mdd"
if rgb=255,255,255 then use "runforest.mdd"

if there is a node that can do that somehow...

erikals
08-20-2008, 05:53 PM
hm, ok, I sokk at nodes,
but I do see an "E" in this picture,
http://www.newtek.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=35194&d=1154291195

so, could be that blending several .mdd could work,
if so, maybe the .mdd files could be triggered by placing a cycler modifier (linear)
the cycler modifier would be triggered by a greyscale, or elevation (or other).

must try this some day.

GregMalick
08-20-2008, 07:56 PM
it is pretty much like an "if" statement,

if rgb=001,001,001 then use "standstill.mdd"
if rgb=133,133,133 then use "walktheline.mdd"
if rgb=255,255,255 then use "runforest.mdd"

if there is a node that can do that somehow...

First off, an individual particles velocity & direction would be needed.
dpont has a node that gives that BUT
what Mr. Rid is talking about is varying the cycle-time for a walk cycle inversely by the velocity. i.e. a higher velocity gives a shorter walk Cycle time. I don't think there is anything in LW that can do that.

Secondly, I don't think that blending walk/run/stand MDDs will produce anything useful. The human body does very different things when walking as apposed to running. Even if the cycle could somehow synchronize the different body parts, it would never look natural.

But I doubt the transition from walk to run is the real issue here. As said elsewhere, you don't need these tiny figures breaking out into song or suddenly loading cannons. You just have different groups running or walking or loading cannons (or singing songs). The basic issue is that walk cycle duration can't be varied by particle velocity.

erikals
08-20-2008, 08:14 PM
Well, can't it?
I'm not so sure, one "only" needs to find a trick around it.
I was thinking about simulating 1 scene using a set tempo, render in top view,
then simulate the actual simulation, where differences in tempo would occur.
Then import both animated renderes onto a subd plane, attach the animated textures, and use a blend mode of some sort, this would create greyscales that could be used to automatically choose the correct .mdd file. (e.g. by using a displacement and cycler as explained above, or if there is a node somehow).

That is just an idea though, haven't tested it, I'm sure there must be a way..

Yep, I'm awere of the problem of synchronizing the .mdd files, haven't figured that out.
If it were to work somehow though, as far as natural, it would look more natural than only using 1 movement sliding over the ground. (like now). (I think.. maybe... : ))

erikals
08-20-2008, 08:22 PM
ugh, dang 5 min edit.

regarding synchronization,

...might be able to fix it by using simple math somehow, forcing to make the next .mdd starting at the last frame of the first .mdd, like e.g. walkcycle 50fps+50fps+50fps+50fps, then start runcycle 25fps+25fps+25fps and so on) (instead of 50fps+50fps+50fps+38fps, then 25fps+25fps+25fps)

erikals
08-20-2008, 08:33 PM
if an in-between .mdd could be added it would make the transition better.
um,... how would one go about that... it would have to be forced to only play once somehow...

Cageman
08-20-2008, 10:06 PM
One of the technical guys in our team built/created a crowdsystem in Maya. We created a library of different cycles and ALSO transitions between each cycle, i.e run->walk and walk->run and so on. All animations are stored as trax-cycles (trax being the same thing as LWs MotionMixer).

My suggestion to anyone who would like to tacle a crowdsim for LW should start with hmot files (easy to maintain and they are ascii).

erikals
08-21-2008, 02:42 AM
sounds advanced, (but maybe not that advanced for a programmer?)

I'm very curious how you got the in-between transitions like i.e. walk-run to work.
do you know if you used the method I mentioned, forcing the transitions to start at the end of the previous walkcycle
(and not in the midle of it)?
this is currently the only method I can think of that fixes the foot-cycle problem, forcing the foot to always move forward,
instead of occasional reverse.

Cageman
08-21-2008, 02:59 AM
Yeah... basicly, walk->run transition started with the same keypose as the last keypose in walk, and ended with the first keypose in run and so on. So, each transition never happened in the middle of a cycle, ALWAYS before and after, so it was important to have as short cycles as possible so a transition could happen quick enough.

erikals
08-21-2008, 03:07 AM
Cool : ) yes, was thinking about that...

I guess it require some testing to get the misc. libraries of cycles and transitions just right.

Ey,... you have an example render somewhere on the simulation, like a trailer or something :)

Cageman
08-21-2008, 04:28 AM
Well, the crowdsim was used for very distant characters in our latest cinematic (Wic Soviet Assault). Go to http://www.worldinconflict.com/uk/ and click on Watch The New Trailer (stupid I can't link directly to the video). :)

The shot that starts approx at 0:42 and ends at 0:47 has the crowdsim. But you reall need to have a highres version of the video to see them. :)

erikals
08-21-2008, 10:14 AM
hehe, those soldiers look like the an Amiga animation, quite pixelated :)
so it's a new trailer,.. guess it will be posted here in HD resolution shortly,..
http://www.gametrailers.com/game/2529.html

thanks, look forward to see how it works :)

LightFreeze
08-22-2008, 12:38 AM
I am pretty sure you can vary an mdd with relation to a particles velocity however what I cant figure is how to get clone(10) to use particle(10)`s velocity. In the tests I`ve done the clones all use the first particles information, any ideas how to specify a specific particle to get info from?

erikals
08-22-2008, 03:06 AM
Man, this was well hidden,..
try this one from Proton,
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29982

erikals
08-22-2008, 03:36 AM
btw, as Cageman mentiones earlier in this thread, using .hmot files might be an idea cause it uses LW-bones
(unless I'm wrong here) and therefor is more advanced than .mdd files.
using .hmot with bones would mean that one could make fighters make advanced interactions,
such as fights using swords etc.

this is simillar to what Massive does.

crowds using .mdd however can be made without programing skills.

erikals
08-22-2008, 03:54 AM
think that is what pooby was talking about,
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41550&highlight=hmot

LightFreeze
08-22-2008, 10:27 AM
unfortunately your links don`t help with the specific issue, I think what we would need would be an `id` input into the particle info node, so that you can get attributes from a specific particle and also a clone output node on Dpont`s item properties node(because it has a self option which is handy for cloning)which would output for example 10 if the object name had a (10) appended to it.

Poobys suggestion sounds a bit like pulling a specific frame or range from a BVH file dynamically which might be doable by scripting but for crowd sims it would mean every clone having a full rig which would hammer resources quite quickly I would think.

Going the mdd route might work with the additional nodes mentioned above but the control needed to avoid slipping probably isn`t there so it would only work if viewed from a distance

erikals
08-22-2008, 11:00 AM
think I misunderstood about what you asked for, but yes/no,.. the link I provided was just a way of doing it the simple way. For 'id's you'd have to do something smart.
the method I was thinking of was different, simply just cloning characters with their setup. never did that, so not sure if it could work. (if all the settings would be saved)

myeah :/ I think pooby's feature request was somewhat different/ would work for what I had in mind.
(not sure if it would be to heavy to load though, after all Maya+Massive can handle it from what I understand)

about the sliping part, um... I know Dponts .mdd node can adjust the speed of the specific .mdd, so slipping could be avoided, though it would be a matter of setting it up. I'm pretty sure it should work, again, for exmple by using cycler.

LightFreeze
08-22-2008, 11:32 AM
well this is what I`m getting (http://www.vuescripts.com/clips/Bounce.mov) at the moment on a single particle and varying the mdd playback with the particles velocity, its a bit choppy as the velocity changes the playback speed and jumps into different frames on the mdd.

Not sure how to smooth that out without some dedicated math

erikals
08-23-2008, 12:01 PM
um, not sure I got/ understood that, could you share the file?

LightFreeze
08-23-2008, 05:03 PM
here ya go,
the object has a 64 frame "bounce in place" cycle.

it follows the particles path and uses the particles velocity to determine which of the 64 frames to play.

The problem is if you clone the object then the clones each reference the same particle to get velocity

erikals
08-25-2008, 03:37 AM
um, it needed lw95, so installed that one,
it looks to need timenode by trueart, so installed this one too,
http://www.trueart.pl/?URIType=Directory&URI=Products/Plug-Ins/TrueArt%20Node%20Library

but it still asks me to install the plugin,..
any ideas?

3DGFXStudios
08-25-2008, 06:36 AM
I want a demo reel like that. Very impressive!!

LightFreeze
08-25-2008, 10:57 AM
um, it needed lw95, so installed that one,
it looks to need timenode by trueart, so installed this one too,
http://www.trueart.pl/?URIType=Directory&URI=Products/Plug-Ins/TrueArt%20Node%20Library

but it still asks me to install the plugin,..
any ideas?

I used JamesWillmott`s (http://www.newtek.com/forums/showpost.php?p=739580&postcount=9) time node but I would imagine TrueArts would work the same

erikals
08-25-2008, 06:23 PM
ouch, too heavy for my part :)

I see now what you were testing, my approach was different, more like Cageman's example.
However if the example you posted could have worked it can work in conduction.

Not sure at all what it could be that causes the jumps, could be,..
-gradient cannot be used due to limited amount of colors
-node bug
-mdd bug (not likely)
-I noticed it played much better at 15fpd, no idea why,..

bit heavy for my part, will test some more though,...

jeremyhardin
08-26-2008, 06:32 AM
Interesting thread. I was experimenting with crowd sims hacking in LW about a year ago. My solution was to use nodal deformations and DPont's MDD nodes. So I could have multiple MDDs loaded onto an object and switch/fade between them as desired. Then I FX-linker duplicated the objects onto particles. The particles moved across the ground and their parameters caused the playblack of different MDD files. Here were my simple examples.

http://jezza.lwidof.net/cgtalk/persp_avoid_web.mov
http://jezza.lwidof.net/cgtalk/top_avoid_web.mov
http://jezza.lwidof.net/cgtalk/top_avoid_web.png

You can see speed adjustments, overlapping clips, and collision avoidance of obstacles and each other. There is a bounce in place clip, a turn left clip, and a turn right clip. All mixing and matching as the translation comes from the particles. The avoidance of each other is happening on the particle level. The obstacle avoidance is happening by detecting position (compared to the obstacle) and mixing in the turn left/right clips as needed.

And this was a flawed system since the node tree wasn't aware of each individual particle's position. Or what MDD clip had played or was playing. Now with nodal item motion, I think it could be done even more efficiently.

erikals
08-26-2008, 07:31 AM
there are tons of options, there is just so many methods.

what you posted above was quite close to the solution i was aming at.

looks like only gravity is used in this example?
i've come to that i want to test the 'newer' animation path for wind (http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/tutorials/videos/index.php) introduced in lw9.

using this, or even several of these wind effectors, it will more easily make the characters go in the decided direction. also don't forget weight can be applied to the characters/spheres to 'manually' adjust their speed.
(btw, isn't there a node that can adjust the weightmap intensity, making it possible to make the spheres walk slower/faster, i think there is) (dynamic groups mode could also be used)

for making several characters use the precalculated dynamic animation (points), there should be a way to do this, maybe just by simply editing the scene in a text editor and copy the first prepared sphere-setting to the other following spheres?

erikals
08-26-2008, 07:38 AM
an interesting though i had was if the animated .mdd files could have misc weights or morphs that could work as an addon, making it possible to make small character movement adjustments of misc sorts (fightmoves, walkmove distorion to make things less static etc)

jeremyhardin
08-26-2008, 07:55 AM
no gravity in my example. the particles are just moving parallel to the ground. the apparent gravity is from the bounce in place MDD, which thanks to DPont's MDD nodee, can be mixed in with a translate left/translate right MDD as well as being moved by the FX linker motions coming from the particles.

As far as wind, that could work.

Though if one were to be able to detect the current clone's exact position and direciton as well as what MDDs were being used at the time, one could have decisions made based on their POV and eliminate particles altogether. Or maybe just have particles for initial random placement.

Character walks forward until character sees obstacle ahead. (1 MDD). Character slows down as they approach obstacle ( cut into another MDD, slower walking). Character decides to turn right while walking forward to avoid obstacle. (walk MDD + turn right MDD). Character has another character walk suddenly in front of them. They stop and jump, startled (cut to sudden stop MDD, then play startled MDD).

With some nice MDDs and a nodal motion tree where each character is aware of their post-MDD-ed position, a really nice crowd setup is possible. I just can't think of any way to hack DPont's or Trueart's nodes into a state to play multiple MDDs additively like that AND report back the new position/rotation of the MDDed character.

erikals
08-26-2008, 08:34 AM
yes, didn't include/concider having turns on the characters.
still,... hehe, i think it could work.

it would again be caused/solved by using dynamics,
using dynamics on dynamics, iow, the spheres would have a dynamic element attached that recoded the rotations etc, (actually, I'm not even sure if that is needed) for then to use an envelope with cycler on the individual spheres to automatically play the required .mdd

much like I refered to here,
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showpost.php?p=738158&postcount=25

the cycler option would work pretty much like an "if" statement.

my biggest obstacle is testing that this really works, using cycler to "turn on and off" misc .mdd files.

The method LightFreeze uses would be a bonus gradually adjusting speed. I'm puzzled why it doesn't work,
though, no node-man :)

erikals
08-26-2008, 10:12 AM
an interesting though i had was if the animated .mdd files could have misc weights or morphs that could work as an addon, making it possible to make small character movement adjustments of misc sorts (fightmoves, walkmove distorion to make things less static etc)

possible answer,
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65470&highlight=mix+morphs+mdd
http://www.spinquad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23296

jeremyhardin
08-26-2008, 10:50 AM
Yes, that's something I was planning on using in my setup as well (partial MDD files on parts of objects). I opted against it only because the MDDs can be additively mixed. In my example, the particles are driving the balls forward and the bounce-in-place MDD is mixed with the move-right MDD. The result is that the ball bounces to the right.

So you could have variational MDDs that get mixed into the main walk MDDs to break up the cycles even more.

(Or you could use the point offset thing. It looks really useful.)

LightFreeze
08-26-2008, 11:34 AM
with regards to alignment you can get the vector the particle is heading along by comparing its current position to where it was 2 or 3 frames back, the bit I`m struggling with is converting this vector into the correct rotation.

If you can get the correct rotation out you wouldn`t need to have move left/right mdd`s, everything could be straight ahead on a local axis

LightFreeze
08-26-2008, 12:37 PM
Denis strikes again (http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?p=740616#post740616), this could make things a lot easier too

erikals
08-26-2008, 05:14 PM
with regards to alignment you can get the vector the particle is heading along by comparing its current position to where it was 2 or 3 frames back, the bit I`m struggling with is converting this vector into the correct rotation.

If you can get the correct rotation out you wouldn`t need to have move left/right mdd`s, everything could be straight ahead on a local axis

yep, but instead of spheres one can make sailboats and use the "animation path for wind" effector.
:)... then you shouldn't need any calculation..

erikals
08-26-2008, 05:18 PM
Denis strikes again (http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?p=740616#post740616), this could make things a lot easier too

We might very well need all the help from him we can get :)
Looks usefull for sure :)

LightFreeze
08-27-2008, 12:27 AM
not following why you think animation path will help

HowardM
08-27-2008, 04:51 AM
nice to see some cool stuff done with LW, really good reel!
showed that red cliff stuff to my coworkers who did Kingdom of Heaven, Narnia 2, and a ton of other crowd FX, and some of that is up to par with our in house software ALICE which is actually better than Massive.

shame LW still cant be scripted like Maya... otherwise you all wouldn't be having this discussion.

really guys, alot of you whiz kids should just try Maya, you would be so much more happy when it comes to scripting this stuff... then bake it out and render in LW :D

Maya is pretty cheap these days... and no real reason a medium sized studio cant afford it....

anyway, you know Ill always have a place in my heart for Lightwave, miss it actually! :)

mav3rick
08-27-2008, 06:39 AM
HM u re just CG whore... and you know it....

Mr Rid
08-28-2008, 01:56 PM
...

shame LW still cant be scripted like Maya... otherwise you all wouldn't be having this discussion.

really guys, alot of you whiz kids should just try Maya, you would be so much more happy when it comes to scripting this stuff...

*tire squeal* you just said a dirty word, "scripting." :eek: My staunch right-brain will have no part of it. I took Introduction to Algebra over and over, all four years of high school... and still failed it my senior year. I know several crack animators whose eyes glaze over at the first mention of expressions, scripts, syntax. I would start using ICE before Mel. Most expressions are just follower... this value(s) follows or drives that value(s), so there is no reason to not have an artist friendly drag-n-drop interface for the control.

CoryC
08-28-2008, 02:38 PM
I would start using ICE before Mel.

That is funny because as soon as I saw Howard's post I was going to tell him to go watch the ICE method to this.

erikals
08-28-2008, 04:13 PM
Tested some Maya, not all that bad...
We'll see,...
no community like the Lightwave community though... :)

Cageman
08-29-2008, 12:29 AM
*tire squeal* you just said a dirty word, "scripting." :eek: My staunch right-brain will have no part of it. I took Introduction to Algebra over and over, all four years of high school... and still failed it my senior year. I know several crack animators whose eyes glaze over at the first mention of expressions, scripts, syntax. I would start using ICE before Mel. Most expressions are just follower... this value(s) follows or drives that value(s), so there is no reason to not have an artist friendly drag-n-drop interface for the control.

Well said!

HowardM
08-29-2008, 03:28 AM
haha true true, I hate scripting as much as the next guy, but if youre going to start talking ICE, then may as well take the plunge and go Houdini!

anyway, what I meant really, is that LW is just too damn closed in regards to being able to script or tweak. the fact that you cant get to any of the PFX data or HV data without writing a plugin is just plain stupid, and for that matter if you wrote a plugin would it even access ALL the data like you can in Maya? And Im sorry but most exp/scripts are not just follower.... you can basically do ANYTHING!

yes, yes, lw community is the greatest, etc, etc, etc... lol really guys, you need to step out of your world and realize there is a much bigger world out there. dont be afraid of it, embrace it... all these other tools, methods, etc are just another paintbrush for you to make cool stuff.

anyway, not trying to start a 'why lw sucks thread', as weve discussed it 1000x before, we all know it has strengths, but instead of beating your head against its weaknesses, just expand your mind (and toolset) a little and you will be so much happier! :)

i sure wish i hadn't waited 15 years to step outside the LW box, there is soooo much more to use and create with!

Red_Oddity
08-29-2008, 04:10 AM
Scripting can be very usefull for a lot of automization, we use it on a daily basis with MEL, and it can shave a lot of time off very repetitive or otherwise impossible jobs (deadlines and all).

Don't write something off unless you've used it more than once.

Cageman
08-29-2008, 06:50 AM
I want to work as an artist. ICE allows for an artist-friendly approach with really neat ways of saving/sharing compounds!

I'm not writing off scripting, but safe to say is that I'm too untechy to write any type of code myself. Therefore, if there is a tool that can do what I need without resorting to scripting (goes for both LW and Maya and probably any 3D-app I haven't used yet), I'll use those tools instead. Granted, if I need to do something that will require scripting, I have a couple of guys I can ask (LW) and here at work we have a couple of guys that knows MEL inside/out.

Cageman
08-29-2008, 07:00 AM
yes, yes, lw community is the greatest, etc, etc, etc... lol really guys, you need to step out of your world and realize there is a much bigger world out there. dont be afraid of it, embrace it... all these other tools, methods, etc are just another paintbrush for you to make cool stuff.

WTF?

The community has nothing to do with the capability of LW as a software. The PEOPLE here are mostly nice people with experiences beyond LW, just like me and you. THAT is what I value with the LW-community...

...and the sheer will of helping out and sharing knowledge, BEYOND the scope of LW.

CoryC
08-29-2008, 07:24 AM
but if youre going to start talking ICE, then may as well take the plunge and go Houdini!

Now why would I go spend a big pile of money on Houdini is I already have XSI? It's pretty clear where they are heading.



yes, yes, lw community is the greatest, etc, etc, etc

Yea, there are lots of good communities out there for other packages every bit as good as the LW ones. That myth isn't going to die anytime soon though.


i sure wish i hadn't waited 15 years to step outside the LW box, there is soooo much more to use and create with!

I wish you would have too, so you wouldn't have spent so much time whining on IRC :D

Mr Rid
08-29-2008, 06:41 PM
Scripting can be very usefull for a lot of automization, we use it on a daily basis with MEL, and it can shave a lot of time off very repetitive or otherwise impossible jobs (deadlines and all).

Don't write something off unless you've used it more than once.

I dont think anyone is writing it off. I see customizing/generating your own tools as essential... for someone else to do (I dont have much patience for modeling either). I just didnt get into this to type, read & solve equations. Making things happy zoom and explode in 3D is Rube Goldberg enough as it is. I like driving the cars fast and hopefully winning races but I have no interest or aptitude for tinkering under the hood. Thats what the mechanic is for. I might get into building my own engine when I can do it with a mouse. My jury is still out on node interfaces in 3D (I still avoid node surfacing). I love it in Fusion where it works a little differently, but it gets convoluted real quick in LW, or Ice that Ive seen.

prometheus
08-29-2008, 10:22 PM
My jury is still out on node interfaces in 3D (I still avoid node surfacing)

Makes me wonder why you avoid node surfacing? is it because of its complexity,or the extra time to set it up or is it simply because you havenīt had a need for it in your projects?

Personally for me...yeah it takes a little time to get aquainted with but thats easy to overcome,the only thing that perhaps is a little annoying is the update speed when applying textures in nodes, especially when using displacements.

Michael

Mr Rid
08-30-2008, 12:35 AM
Makes me wonder why you avoid node surfacing? is it because of its complexity,or the extra time to set it up or is it simply because you havenīt had a need for it in your projects?...

All of the above.

Bu then I also avoid plugins and things like layered objects or subdivided meshes. They usually cause unwanted surprises. In production, Ive just learned an important lesson to keep things as straightforward as possible. I once supervised a heavy project when LW 7 had just come out but I had everyone use v5.6 because we knew all knew it inside and out and that it was reliable.

Cageman
08-30-2008, 03:24 AM
Aye...

Some people over here wants to jump into Maya 2009 as soon as it is released, despite the fact that we probably will be in the middle of production. That is the single, most stupid thing one can do in a production, imho. We will, probably, move on to Maya 2009 after our current project. Usually we will have some R&D time that can be spent on evaluating it.

On the other hand, I strongly suggest everyone to invest time in R&D to evaluate new tools. If all productions were to be produced "safe", we would all use LW5 or Maya 3 still...

I do agree with you on some of your points, but I have to say that SubD is way smoother to work with regarding rigging/skinning combined with displacements for details. And they render beautifully. I don't really know what you are refering to when stating such thing about SubDs? Apart from some MDD-trickery that one might want to use, they perform very, very well. A worst case scenario involving SubDs would be to bake an objectsequence based on the display subpatch level and then convert it to a vertex cache. It was actually the only way I could transfer an object with displacements from LW to Maya, because MR and displacements were causing too much trouble. If we would render in LW, I wouldn't have to do it... I could just render with displacements and adjust the Render SubPatch Level to increase or decrease the level of detail. That is NOT possible with freezed meshes.

prometheus
08-30-2008, 08:40 AM
he..I bet you wouldnīt avoid a new hypervoxel 4.0 with distance to particle parameters and metaball blending for volume and sprites, or a proper working dynamite..but hey thats it, so many things donīt work as they should perhaps..

Hd instance seems to be working thou:)
I would love to see a feature that could do morph varitations on to those instances.

Michael

Stooch
08-30-2008, 01:36 PM
i think that the best way to approach this MDD syncing up of footsteps is to treat the actual MDD as the driver for speed. ie. if i know my walk cycle takes a 1 unit step each time, I know the distance covered by this particular walk cycle. so instead of trying to match up the speed to a walk cycle, you simply control the speed BY choosing the walk cycle. also since you know how much distance is covered by a single step, applying a multiplier to the mdd play speed would theoretically apply a similar multiplier to its translation speed in world space. so in the end the speed of your particles is always locked into your MDDs x playbackSpeed.

another solution is to actually track the translation of the feet when they are in the translateY == 0 state.

meaning, if your foot is translating in space when its at ground level, we can assume that the foot is propelling the character. so it would be a matter of selecting the ground level vertices on a left and right feet in your MDD sequence and defining them as a "groundContactL" or "groundContactR" respectively and then analyze the translation of these points to derive the walking or running speed of your character.

Stooch
08-30-2008, 02:20 PM
workflow for this could look like something like this:

import mdd sequence of a guy walking.

run "walker" or something aptly named as a motion modifier.

as soon as you do that, a little rectangle appears under your MDD. its automatically placed at the lowest vertices in your MDD sequence in the local mdd centroid Y coordinate. this is the ground plane. the user can adjust it.

any vertices in the mdd sequence that are at or below this ground plane are now "ground contacts".

if you now sample the translation of points that are at or under the Y coordinate of the floor plane you are effectively seeing the vector and magnitude of your MDD sequence translation. all contributing vertex vectors can be averaged viea mean or median or etc methods of interpolation to determine a constant top speed your character must be traveling in order for these points to be stationary at any given time.

so your MDD will move precisely along while keeping the ground contacts cemented. if you vary the playback speed of MDD this will have no effect since it will work itself out. and the overall motion of the MDD could also be much different than just walking perfectly ahead. even if they suddenly jump sideways, the local vectors of the feet will be able to tell the direction and speed in world space.

one caveat is that you can only determine the position of the character while the feet are planted on this virtual floor. of course some simple newtonian physics might account for the positions of the MDD centroid if the character was to leap through the air, resulting in no contact points during air time.

Stooch
08-30-2008, 02:29 PM
in order to animate the direction of this character as he is taking steps the user would then override the rotational offset of the character along say the Y axis.

because the translation of the character will now the controlled by the "walker" modifier if you were to override the rotation of an object driven by this, you would be effectively adding a rotational matrix transformation of a step vector. so you could animate your charaters walking around and direct them around each other without the need for complex behavioral programming.

if you copy the rotational animation paths between instances and then offsetting the entire group in world space you could just make a bunch of offset copies and fill an environment quickly. maybe even add simple terrain snapping on the Y translation of the group so that your character always snaps to the ground plane, no need to waste time on physics calculations.

Stooch
08-30-2008, 02:31 PM
btw im totally envisioning this in mel script in my head lol. maya rocks!

walfridson
08-31-2008, 01:12 AM
How about making a new importer for bugz which links everything to .mdd (or hmot?) files

LightFreeze
08-31-2008, 03:39 AM
new test, all Nodal, didn`t spend any time on getting an accurate mdd playback, was concentrating on aligning to the motion but I did notice that reverse foot slippage is harder to spot than forward foot slippage which might come in handy if you aim to set the playback slower than accurate. Don`t know why one of them is skating

My thoughts on this were you would generate a particle sim and the particle motion drives all playback and orientation of the crowd.

I`m not really following Stooch using the mdd to change the motion of the particles. Would this not mean you would have to work on each person in the crowd choosing what frame he changes speed etc. what would be the point of the particles?

Any links for bugz?

HowardM
08-31-2008, 03:42 AM
btw im totally envisioning this in mel script in my head lol. maya rocks!

ha ha ;)

Stooch
08-31-2008, 11:47 AM
the point is not to use particles as its not the best way to do this imo. as far as altering speed, speed = mdd sequence X multiplier. so to change speed you change multiplier. im a bit busy right now with scripting explosions in maya so i have no desire to touch 3d software at home but maybe in the future ill look into this in my spare time. who knows maybe a plugin might come out of this. maybe even for LW lol.



I`m not really following Stooch using the mdd to change the motion of the particles. Would this not mean you would have to work on each person in the crowd choosing what frame he changes speed etc. what would be the point of the particles?

Any links for bugz?

LightFreeze
08-31-2008, 04:46 PM
while I agree a programmed crowd controller would be a lot more powerful it would also be a lot more work, hope you get some spare time to give it a bash :thumbsup:

Meanwhile for us (lazy) particle fans, Denis has updated the DPKit particle info node, it now accepts an index input which is remarkably handy for getting rotations out (among other things).

Latest test using the new node, divX required

HowardM
08-31-2008, 05:09 PM
while I agree a programmed crowd controller would be a lot more powerful it would also be a lot more work, hope you get some spare time to give it a bash :thumbsup:

Meanwhile for us (lazy) particle fans, Denis has updated the DPKit particle info node, it now accepts an index input which is remarkably handy for getting rotations out (among other things).

Latest test using the new node, divX required

Thats cool Lightfreeze! :)

LightFreeze
09-01-2008, 11:34 AM
Thanks Howard, all the hard work was done by Denis though, so a big thanks to him for making this a lot easier

LightFreeze
09-02-2008, 04:09 PM
new test, autoblending walk/run depending on particle speed

erikals
09-02-2008, 04:18 PM
Now we're talking :)

Is it all nodes?
a small "pop" when the character walks, but looks like that is just the animation for the walkloop itself.

Very cool.

Cageman
09-02-2008, 04:20 PM
Good efforts here, LightFreeze!

As erikals said, there seems to be some popping going on with the walkcycle. Apart from alot of sliding, the transition from walking to running looks quite nice.

Keep posting your discoveries!

:thumbsup:

Cageman
09-02-2008, 04:23 PM
who knows maybe a plugin might come out of this. maybe even for LW lol.

...or simply something that allows this to be scripted just like in Maya... ;)

...but that doesn't help me though. I know nada scripting... :stop:

erikals
09-02-2008, 04:30 PM
yep, there is sliding, but that's where the method might be mixed Stooch's technique to fix it.

LightFreeze
09-02-2008, 04:32 PM
all nodes, I think the popping is the first and last frame in the mdd`s being the same, should have shortened them by one frame.

Wasn`t trying to avoid slipping in this one just checking if the blend would work OK and it works better than I expected, theres no playback speed variation, its just a blend from a 30 frame walk to a 30 frame run depending on the particles speed

erikals
09-02-2008, 04:46 PM
do you think you could post a scenefile for this, or maybe a printscreen of the nodesetup?

...would love to play with this. :)

erikals
09-02-2008, 05:00 PM
(edit, sorry post #92, remembered wrong, wasn't Stooch's, meant the scene you posted earlier)

LightFreeze
09-02-2008, 05:36 PM
no problem, have fun

erikals
09-02-2008, 05:43 PM
Cool :) Thanks Mister :)

wp_capozzi
09-29-2008, 01:43 PM
no problem, have fun

Very interesting, thanks for this scene file!
Where do I find the ItemMotionHandler nodeitemMotion plugin?

Thanks,
Bill C.

erikals
09-29-2008, 02:13 PM
Yep, rait here,
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?p=740134&highlight=plugin#post740134

wp_capozzi
09-29-2008, 04:56 PM
Hmm, installed timenode and the other plugins I found in that thread, but I still get the requestor asking for nodeitemMotion. Are there any other possible plugins to make it work?

Thanks,
Bill C.

jasonwestmas
09-29-2008, 05:28 PM
No need to avoid nodal Mr. Rid you can just plug in those nice Material Nodes most of the time;)

Anyway thanks for showing us LW in action!

erikals
12-31-2008, 04:19 AM
also intersting,
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88118

Abigor
01-27-2009, 12:56 PM
just found this thread randomly. i used HD instance for all the crowds in the movie August Rush. if you have a chance to watch it, check out the parts where the kid is conducting the orchestra. not sure where in the movie this is... id guess the end, but iv honestly never seen the movie. anyway ya, all LW and hd instance :)

erikals
01-27-2009, 08:28 PM
heh,... you've gotta see your own work man,.. hehe :)

Abigor
01-28-2009, 07:38 AM
blah... the movie looked boring, lol. iv actauly only watched maybe a handful of movies iv ever done. couple of the resident evils, greatest game ever played, silent hill, ummm... and this new indie film called the burrowers. nothin else realy caught my fancy.

for those interested in LW creatures in movies, go see if you can find the burrowers. it just came our at TIF, and im not sure if it was ever destined for theaters. i found a trailer on youtube. realy dark for some reason. theres a few shots of the cg creatures right at the end, from what i could tell... it was to dark to tell, haha... LINK (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf6pUhB7e1o)

erikals
01-28-2009, 02:03 PM
nice : ) wish they had making of Burrowers in LW too, that'd be uber cool :)

Mr Rid
01-30-2009, 01:59 PM
...

for those interested in LW creatures in movies, go see if you can find the burrowers. LINK (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf6pUhB7e1o)

Is rare to see LW used for anything significant in a big studio movie, let alone for creatures. We did some nice looking LW squirrels for A Thousand Words, and a bunch penguins for Old Dogs, but will not be allowed to post examples until November.

May check out some of the HD Instance shots of Red Cliff, click on 'view in HD.'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udMHB-BbwB4

Mr Rid
01-30-2009, 02:01 PM
deleted (double post)

jasonwestmas
01-30-2009, 04:59 PM
Thanks again for LW examples Mr. Rid. :)

stevecullum
01-30-2009, 05:12 PM
May check out some of the HD Instance shots of Red Cliff, click on 'view in HD.'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udMHB-BbwB4

Nice samples! - Did you use a particle system to drive the animated characters (presumably MDD's) and if so, how did you maintain a good foot contact with the ground plane?

Mr Rid
01-30-2009, 10:55 PM
Nice samples! - Did you use a particle system to drive the animated characters (presumably MDD's) and if so, how did you maintain a good foot contact with the ground plane?

Particles were much too difficult to control and with no way to associate an animation to the velocity of a given particle. But I used grid meshes with instancing applied that were moved over the landscape by a morph.

The soldier running was a matchmove of someone videotaped running in the parking lot, and baked as an MDD running in place. I then matchmoved a vertice in the ground grid to stay with one foot as it moved while running in place, then made the motion end behavior linear on the grid, then save transform on the 'begin' (frame 0) and 'end' (last frame of shot) positions of the grid. Make the 'begin' grid morph into the 'end' grid over the length of the shot and the instanced soldiers (running in place) will then move at the right speed over the landscape.

The last shot of the horses coming over the hill was a particular challenge to first come up with a mesh that conformed to the shape of the hills, then to get the horses to stick to that ground. It would be much easier if there were a way to have a camera in Modeler. I came up with a weird process I could try to explain if someone really wants to know, but then the movement relies on dragging the grid thru a world coord displacement map applied on the Y.

Realistically, the groups of running soldiers and horses needed to have slightly varied velocities. But this is a real mess that HDI just isnt geared for. I had to randomly select polys on the grid and break them up into 4 separate groups of polys. And matchmove each one to an MDD animation running at 4 varied speeds, to make 4 different sets of instanced soldiers running. 4 variations was just enough. The only problem is that the figures will inevitably start to pass thru each other as the shot goes on. You cant quite make out the problem with the closely grouped soldiers but I could not get away with it with the horses. You can see the lines of horses are instead all moving at the exact same speed like cars in a train but there was no other solution. But the shots are brief enough and obscured by dust.

I had to further break up the grids to contain slightly different soldiers, some carrying flags, shields or spears. This all became an ENORMOUS mess to keep track of, with many instanced grids and many instances of instancing on each grid. There were constant little problems every time I looked up where some of the figures would switch places, or were floating, or be facing the wrong direction, or MDD loops were popping. ... then the client would want to change the speeds and move everything around. :eek::cursin::bangwall::cry:

With the triangle pattern of horses in the 3rd shot, I used a stationary grid, and let the MDD animations run across the ground on their own (not running in place). Again, these start to pass thru each other.

stevecullum
01-31-2009, 03:58 AM
Thanks for your detailed explanation. I've run into this ground contact issue with crowd scenes too. I was giving some though to how one might over come the whole varied speed and keep MDD in sync and remembered an old plugin called pulltyoy, which would speed up and slow down an mdd cycle based on distance a null covered. If there was a way to recreate this with nodes and dponts mdd plugin, it may be possible to attach some nulls to a particle system and have them drive the mdd.

Mr Rid
01-31-2009, 11:56 PM
Also, I forgot there is a little info about some of the Red Cliff shots on Happy Digital
http://www.happy-digital.com/instance_interviews.php?videoClips=2
In the beginning, the wide army shots started out simpler with no horses running. But we were asked to quickly come up with something to add more movement. I made the mistake of doing a test of the lines of horses running, so then the client wanted that. I usually know better than to volunteer more work on the same schedule! But HDI helped to make it all work out ok.


Thanks for your detailed explanation. I've run into this ground contact issue with crowd scenes too. I was giving some though to how one might over come the whole varied speed and keep MDD in sync and remembered an old plugin called pulltyoy, which would speed up and slow down an mdd cycle based on distance a null covered. If there was a way to recreate this with nodes and dponts mdd plugin, it may be possible to attach some nulls to a particle system and have them drive the mdd.

Be my guest. Some others were trying similar McGuyvering. I just know how such complicated workarounds are rarely practical. I just wish one of these plugin wizards like Graham (HDI) would make a simple crowd sim thing. I know its too much to wish for from NT. Someone could clean up on a cheap alternative to Massive.

Cageman
02-01-2009, 03:37 AM
I know its too much to wish for from NT. Someone could clean up on a cheap alternative to Massive.

Hmm...

You can get really far in Maya because of MEL. If LightWave Core is going to be something similar (that is, everything will be scriptable) it should be possible to build your own system based on particles and Motion Mixer (we used particles and Trax Editor in Maya for our crowd system). If NewTek provides us with a foundation that allows for this, we shouldn't blame NT for not giving us easy solutions, since their focus is on making the architecture to allow for endless possibilities by studios and end users. This would also open up ALOT of oppertunities for programmers and scripters to make some serious production tools and sell them.

With that said, I personaly don't know anything about scripting or programming, so I would probably never be able to build a system like that myself. But we want to have open doors in LightWave Core...

:)

Dirk
02-01-2009, 06:12 AM
If NewTek provides us with a foundation that allows for this, we shouldn't blame NT for not giving us easy solutions, since their focus is on making the architecture to allow for endless possibilities by studios and end users.

Right. However, I whish LW10 will have a "sweet spot" or two when it comes to animation / dynamics. Crowd simulation would be cool.

erikals
02-01-2009, 12:44 PM
well, to me it looks like using the earlier posted techniques can very well work.
however a need for lots of animated characters is needed, which takes tons of time.

there is this new program though that can be very helpful if it is as good as it looks like,..
www.shoot3d.biz

(release date not known)

LightFreeze
02-01-2009, 03:59 PM
a core ingredient for crowds sims would have to be instancing, who knows when we will see that :thumbsup:

jasonwestmas
02-01-2009, 04:06 PM
a core ingredient for crowds sims would have to be instancing, who knows when we will see that :thumbsup:

If we see it soon it will be first known to us this month I bet. :)

erikals
04-14-2009, 07:15 PM
ok, cheap video motion capture tool released, should be good for adding motion to certain crowd scenes,
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97686

mav3rick
09-19-2009, 12:23 PM
new test, autoblending walk/run depending on particle speed

some serious braining is happening in this thread ! great guys

erikals
05-20-2010, 12:28 PM
feel a bit bad bumping this,
but does anyone know what ObjectID node that was used here?

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showpost.php?p=744014&postcount=96

erikals
05-20-2010, 06:13 PM
never mind :]

ObjectID
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50272&page=2

and James Willmott's
TimeNode (http://www.newtek.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=62183&d=1219531386) freeware (http://www.newtek.com/forums/showpost.php?p=431492&postcount=46)

BIG thanks to all involved! http://erikalstad.com/backup/anims.php_files/smile.gif

erikals
05-20-2010, 06:39 PM
just fixed the directory in the walk-run .lws file Lightfreeze made...

thanks again Lightfreeze http://erikalstad.com/backup/anims.php_files/king.gif

Mr Rid
03-29-2012, 12:11 AM
We'll see if this makes any sense :) Would be a lot easier if there was a camera view in Modeler.

This example was originally done in v9.3 to have a ground to receive shadows. http://www.box.com/shared/static/ngyvfqsm5r.mov
http://www.box.com/shared/static/5d17a53f3086dc9bc30a.jpg

In Layout, to approximate the Z depth for my landscape mesh, I placed a horse model in the foreground to match the scale of the FG horses in the plate. I then positioned another horse model way out on the Z, until it appeared perched on the top of the hill, and seemed about the right scale compared to the terrain. Save Xfrm, and I had a distance ref for Modeler.

Load the ref plate into Modeler backdrop.

Use Pen tool to trace the horizon outline.
http://www.box.com/shared/static/a218c3d9f846c88467aa.jpg

Extrude to fit the Z depth of your ref object (the save-Xfrmed horses in my case).
http://www.box.com/shared/static/18b69d841274cfb33749.jpg

In Modeler, I created a new endomorph and applied a linear taper to squeeze the close end of the mesh to a point.
http://www.box.com/shared/static/226831269a612ef5af43.jpg

While looking thru camera in Layout, apply Morph Mixer and drag value slider until the sides of your mesh line up with the edges of frame. May want to further tweak with bones, or clothFX edit (apply one frame of ClothFX, then use Cloth Edit Tools do deform mesh), and save Xfrm again. Then in Modeler may drag or magnet points vertically to appear to line up with the terrain at the appropriate distance (I focused on three depths). Use the Hub to see adjustments update in Layout. May subdivide or use knife to strategically add more slices to further adjust dips.
http://www.box.com/shared/static/1f8d7eca6a44783f0f36.jpg

And thats it basically. The next part is about using HD Instance.


================================================== ==============


Getting instanced riders to follow the terrain was another chore, that hopefully is no longer needed with v11 instance and crowd. But here's the explanation, since it may give ideas.

I needed a mesh with instanced horses and soldiers applied that could slide over the surface of the hills to sim running.
http://www.box.com/shared/static/cc5d9244abcf555ae105.jpg

Long ago I learned it was preferable to make landscapes using world displacement when possible, because you can easily copy/paste the displacement to other objects and motions (textured channel motion modifier- ex: used to make landing gear follow terrain- http://www.box.com/shared/static/pu1phipxid.mov ), and may also slide meshes on the X and Z for various FX (tracks, shockwave, or lava- http://www.box.com/shared/static/ce563952b78a9628c218.mov ), while having it all line up vertically and hug the ground mesh. U can also save Xfrm at any point to further modify. But this gave me a way to have instanced figures running over uneven ground.

So I needed to convert my landscape height into a displacement map that could apply to an instancing mesh that would move on the Z and slide along the contours of the landscape, and the instanced riders would appear to by running over it. I used a Y color grad, rendered from overhead.

In Layout, on the landscape mesh, apply a vertical color gradient (smoothing - linear), based on Y Distance to pivot. To get the height values, position a null to align with the highest point of the landscape mesh. Align the null exactly by zooming all the way into Layout side view. Transfer Y position value to the color gradient (in my case it was 34.4933m).
http://www.box.com/shared/static/108a2a37854a9b6cdaa6.jpg

Position a vertical orthographic camera with the land mesh in frame, render out an uncompressed format (TGA_24). Crop in PShop and zoom in closely to be precise about exact edge of pixels.

Model flat, highly subdivided mesh (to apply displacement) with same X & Z dimensions of original transformed object. In Layout, apply the rendered gradient image on Y color channel to check alignment in GL, turn off mipmap and pixel blend. If it looks aligned, copy and paste to textured displacement Y channel. The texture amplitude should be the same value as the high Y value in your vertical gradient, in my case, 34.4933m. Save xfrm to freeze landscape. In Modeler, trim away excess polys.
http://www.box.com/shared/static/00c2a249a0e90d651c36.jpgFig_08

http://www.box.com/shared/static/0b4a7c9c6b6317805dee.jpg

I had a horse animated galloping in place, to use for the instances. In order to figure out the Z speed to move the instanced mesh so that the galloping horses did not appear to slide over the ground, I lined up a small card/poly with the hoof of the horse on the frame it first planted on the ground and make keyframe. Then go to the frame just before the same hoof lifted off the ground, slide the card to line up with the hoof position again and make keyframe (in Graph Editor, may set Z motion Pre and Post Behavior to 'linear). Now I have a speed reference. I also save Xfrm on the two card positions so can be used in modeler as ref to make a morph-along-bone-chain http://forums.newtek.com/showpost.php?p=844966&postcount=13 that moves the same speed, which was needed for moving instances in the more complicated shots. http://www.box.com/shared/static/4b70d015df53524b148c.jpg


The resulting setup was used for two other distant angles.
http://www.box.com/shared/static/57aa79934885f06fd67a.jpg
http://www.box.com/shared/static/3996b53c12df043d34ad.jpg

Netvudu
03-29-2012, 04:48 AM
Wow. Gret setup.
As you mentioned, now with node control over instances it is possible not to use the displacement map trick for terrain deformation and still have them work with the terrain, but the initial part on creating the terrain is great!
Thanks for these tips

adk
03-29-2012, 05:30 PM
Always love seeing your approach to these problems & their solutions Mr Rid :thumbsup: Thanks for sharing & the explanations.

speismonqui
03-29-2012, 05:40 PM
We'll see if this makes any sense :) Would be a lot easier if there was a camera view in Modeler.



excellent aproach Mr Rid, loved it!
about that camera view in modeler... does anyone know if this is a possible feature request? has it been asked in the past? I suppose so, I just wanted to know if someone has more info than me.

again, tnx Mr Rid for the tips.

adk
03-29-2012, 05:53 PM
excellent aproach Mr Rid, loved it!
about that camera view in modeler... does anyone know if this is a possible feature request? has it been asked in the past? I suppose so, I just wanted to know if someone has more info than me.

again, tnx Mr Rid for the tips.

I'd hazard a guess that it's probably one of the most requested features :D and most likely is/should be pretty high up on the NT priority list as it makes LW so painful to use in these situations.

Mr Rid
03-29-2012, 06:39 PM
Wire demo- 103046

Am used to the separate Modeler for most things, but modeling to a plate is the biggest problem with it.

Eagle66
03-30-2012, 03:15 AM
Okay, great, thanks! Sounds complicated, but will try it this way....

The Horses on the mountain are all CG or only the far distance? Masked out with the foreground Footage Elements in Comp?

Mr Rid
03-30-2012, 11:31 PM
...only the far distance? Masked out with the foreground Footage Elements in Comp?

Yes. Each situation requires a different approach. I posted this after a discussion about how to model to match an image without a camera view- http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?t=126948&highlight=organic

The instance mesh also has some X displacement so the riders 'wind' down the hill.