PDA

View Full Version : Recommended Revisions for IK Booster Documentation



Marvin Miller
07-21-2008, 10:50 AM
Many users have indicated that they wish to see more information and a change in approach in the IK Booster Documentation. We are launching this thread to get specific feedback on recommended changes in this area.

SP00
07-21-2008, 12:05 PM
I would like to see a very basic tutorial that shows off IKB the way Larry did it in his demo. Break it up into steps for one big complex animation project. So from rigging to animating with IKB :)

animotion
07-21-2008, 01:15 PM
Let us see a very practical/workable way of pinning that does not blow up on us if we make changes after the fact.

Example:

Pinning 101.
A,B,C.
OK, you don't Like your results.
Undoing and Re-pinning 101
A,B,C etc,

These are the type of things that are needed in your docs. If its too simplistic for some they can just move on, but the majority of people don't know your software well enough because the lack of micro tutorials. This is why people sucked up Protons tutes like rain in a desert.

Surrealist.
07-22-2008, 12:47 AM
This is the first para in the online manual.


Quote:
IK Booster is not a replacement for the original Inverse Kinematics system, but, as the name implies, is a tool to enhance the IK system. The IK Boost Tool is located in the Modify>Tools section and provides advanced controls for an IK/FK chain directly in the Layout window, freeing you from the need to open additional panels. The chain is usually a set of connected Bones, but can also be other Objects that are parented together. Benefits of IK Booster include a speed-up of the IK system, advanced menus for editing IK chains, and allowing the user to define portions of a given rig as IK-driven and others as FK-driven on the fly during the course of an animation.

Depending on your technical understanding of the term IK System, this could be interpreted 2 ways:

1) That the IK system means setting up goal objects, and IK in the Motions Options panel etc.

or it could mean...

2) There is an "IK system" that is at the core of LightWave that all these tools access. (As in example through the SDK or even the native LW tools) Something that we can't use until a tool access it. In which case you could mean that you either can use goal objects and so on or apply IKbooster.

A quote from Timothy Ablee's book on LW8 Character Animation:


Quote:
What is IK Booster? It is a whole lot of things all wrapped up in a neat little package - but with respect to character rigging, it's best to think of it as something that can be used to add even more ease, power, functionality and stability to the IK systems we've been talking about already.

Again the word system used. Since the book was only talking about the existing lightwave tools it is pretty clear to understand.

I think it would be wise however to steer away from any terms you do not define within the context. For instance, What is an "IK system"? That is a bad way to phrase it if the meaning can not be 100% clear. It would be better to use the word "Tool" or "Toll Set" or even "IK System of Tools". Or you could define what you mean by System in this sense.

Bottom line is we need to have the manual reflect current reality. The above quotes do not reflect the current use of IKB. It needs to be stated that it can be used alone. And this needs to be clear. It needs its own sentence or short paragraph that can also clarify the history of the tool. The reason you really have to do this is because of the name.

EXAMPLE:

"When IK Boost was first introduced it was thought of as only an enhancement to the current LightWave IK Sytem of tools. (Setting Goal objects and other Motion Modifier panel settings for IK etc.) hence the Boost in it's name.

However current use in the field has proven that the features built into this powerful tool can also be accessed by IK Boost alone with no use of standard rigging techniques that use LightWave's own native IK System of tools."

Then this I think should be followed by a full documentation of all of the features of the tool. And I think that it would be interspersed with practical uses, not just the bland descriptions given as they are now.

The best way to do this would be to access some of the materials that do exist such as Lary Shultz' video set available from curve and sprinkle some examples in where these features are outlined.

Gleaning a short tutorial on how to set up a simple rig from these resources would not be a bad idea either.

Surrealist.
07-22-2008, 12:50 AM
Let us see a very practical/workable way of pinning that does not blow up on us if we make changes after the fact.

Example:

Pinning 101.
A,B,C.
OK, you don't Like your results.
Undoing and Re-pinning 101
A,B,C etc,

These are the type of things that are needed in your docs. If its too simplistic for some they can just move on, but the majority of people don't know your software well enough because the lack of micro tutorials. This is why people sucked up Protons tutes like rain in a desert.

Here are some tips gleaned from one of the threads on IKB

These would be good to put in at the appropriate place in the manual.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
You can multi-select several bones in IKB by pressing ctrl and selecting them. That way it's possible to fix several IBK nodes at a time.

With several consecutive nodes fixed and selected, it's possible to bake those nodes and, for example, make sure that a foot stays firmly on the ground.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
With several nodes fixed and selected, You can bake as many feet or hands or whatever in place, just make sure to set IKstops at the shoulders or hips.

You can also bind one node, for example at the toes of one foot, and bake the other foot with several fixed and selected nodes.

The only thing that's not possible is to bind the motion of more than one limb, because bind will always create keyframes at the top of the hierarchy regardless of IKstops. So trying to bind two or more limbs would always overwrite one of the bind-motions.

Surrealist.
07-22-2008, 12:59 AM
Here is a great resource you owe yourself a visit to.

www.ikboost.com (http://www.ikboost.com)

This article (http://ikboost.com/develop/lw_ik-vs-ikb-a-comparitive-analysis/) in particular.

jin choung
07-22-2008, 02:06 AM
i think a step by step walkthrough of the workflow involved in keyframe animating a leisurely walk cycle (or a portion thereof) of a human biped with heel/toe/flat foot plants - with an appropriately clear model - i.e. no hiding.

and demonstrating all the features and cover most/all caveats during that walk demo.

many suspect that if there is no "planting" as in a slow walk, ikb can be useful. but demoing fish or squid does not give anyone a good indication of the limits and potential pitfalls.

don't demonstrate easy stuff. demonstrate hard stuff. feet plants. leisurely walk. no hiding. no dodging. no excuses. tackle all the issues that maybe present head on.

at some point in the documentation, someone should be able to "get it". and appropriate consultations should be made so that no parties will be able to "object" that the characterization is somehow unfair.

it should be DEFINITIVE.

jin

BeeVee
07-22-2008, 06:48 AM
www.lightwiki.com would be a good place to put a collaborative reference to IKBooster.

B

jasonwestmas
07-22-2008, 07:40 AM
How Lightwave IK and the new joints and Zbones works with IKB

animotion
07-22-2008, 09:25 AM
Explain with clear examples of similar terms such as bind and bake, what makes them different.

Also Why use fix instead of stop IK at the ball of the foot.

Demonstrate a method of getting keyboard shortcuts for IKB.

SP00
07-22-2008, 10:27 AM
use bullet points to give a cut and dry answer when appropriate. I don't like reading for pleasure :)

Chuck
07-22-2008, 11:13 AM
Marvin, the quote from Surrealist is in the HTML Help file:



Quote:
IK Booster is not a replacement for the original Inverse Kinematics system, but, as the name implies, is a tool to enhance the IK system. The IK Boost Tool is located in the Modify>Tools section and provides advanced controls for an IK/FK chain directly in the Layout window, freeing you from the need to open additional panels. The chain is usually a set of connected Bones, but can also be other Objects that are parented together. Benefits of IK Booster include a speed-up of the IK system, advanced menus for editing IK chains, and allowing the user to define portions of a given rig as IK-driven and others as FK-driven on the fly during the course of an animation.


I checked and in the same location in the PDF manual, even for v8.0, this is the text instead:



IKB Boost Tool
IK Booster (Modify>IK Boost Tool) is an animation system that can work independently from LightWave’s base Inverse Kinematics or it can be used along with LightWave’s base IK. With IK Booster applied to an object you can gain access to Bone Dynamics and IK Booster character tools.

So that para in the Web Help needs to be updated to match the print/pdf version; likely a good check throughout for matching is a good way to start the revision of the area. Actually, don't carry over the typo: the title line should just be IK Boost Tool, not IKB Boost Tool. I think I grabbed the text from the v8 manual, but check the v9 just in case the typo wasn't corrected there.

Chuck
07-22-2008, 11:17 AM
Folks, we have a pretty limited time here, so we're going to need not just requests, but solutions as well from any of you folks out there who have worked with IKB and are willing to share any knowledge you have gained with the community of users. If you are willing to let us integrate your hints, tips and tutorials, post the text here or post links to your site where the text-and-image tutorials and video tutorials are posted.

adamredwoods
07-22-2008, 11:34 AM
Don't know if this is in the docs yet:

After fixing a node, you are able to hold down CONTROL and drag to temporarily release and modify the fixed node.

Surrealist.
07-22-2008, 10:01 PM
I think information such as found in these questions and answers could be used to take parts of and paraphrase in the introduction to IKB and where appropriate as tips or sidebars to such tools as copying frames and poses.


1) When animating with IKB what is your workflow for creating secondary motion that would be for instance the flopping of ears or even lets say the opposite sway of the hips or even the bounce of an arm when the leg hits the ground after a jump. Things like that. Basically anything that requires a reaction from inertia and weight of the character.



Lets take the bouncing arm as an example - I would pose the character just in the moment he has first ground contact, with the arms in the air, and the second pose would be when his body has reached the lowest point above the ground, when inertia affects him the most. In the cleanup / shuffle phase, I would open the dope track, set IKB to child, select the shoulders and move the keyframes about 2 or 3 frames, so it looks as if inertia affects the arms a little bit later. I can go down the hierarchy and do that to the elbow, wrist, etc., if I like.

I would do the same with ears, etc. One could try to use the inbuild dynamics, but for me, I feel its faster to do that manually than to find the right settings for the bone dynamics - but that's just me.

1A) Then how is this different to animating with standard IK?


Forward kinematics, that's what IKB does between keyframes, mimics the movement of a character much better than inverse kinematics. There is no invisible goal object that moves my hand around in reality, it's the rotation of bones. To get the same results with IK, You have to create more keyframes for the goal objects, and fiddle with the graph editor. To me, IK was always sort of a less-than-ideal solution, needed because feet or hands sometimes have contact with the floor or any other static object.



2) What is your workflow with IKB for fluid motion, follow through, drag, and things such as that? Example would be if the hand is moved up the fingers would "drag" for a few frames and point down and then when the hand has reached the arc and begun to come down, the fingers a for frames later would then follow though and point up and then drag there for a few frames before coming down.


Same as above, I would say. The key is to set IKB to the appropriate mode (parent / child, etc.), open the dope track and shuffle keyframes around or delete unnecessary keyframes.



2)In general does IKB present any problems for this kind of technique as opposed to standard IK? And in general how do yo feel about the ability to get fluid motions from your characters using IKB as opposed to standard IK or is there any difference at all?


I dont think that IKB creates problems with creating fluid animation. Animating is a pretty complex task, and it has to be structured or it's likely that things get messed up. It seems as if IKB is made for the "Pose to pose" workflow. When using the pose-to-pose workflow, You have to shuffle keys around and delete keys to make your animation more fluid, and that's true whether You use IK or FK, or IK Booster. Probably the best description of the pose-to-pose workflow comes from Keith Lango:

http://www.keithlango.com/tutorials/...u/popThru.html

Colin did derive his workflow from this, as far as I know (and Colin found all that stuff, he's the one who deserves all the credit).



3) Does using IKB ever have you trying to overcome stiff motions? Or is that all just a matter of understanding the basics of animation just as it would be the case with standard IK or any other method for that matter?


I would say any method will create stiff motions at first, when working pose to pose. But IKB has all te tools on board to change that, imho.

Surrealist.
07-22-2008, 10:07 PM
IKB tips aned tricks thread. (http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?p=725940#post725940)

Thomas M.
07-28-2008, 06:09 AM
With 3D seeing is better than reading if it comes to understanding something. At least for the general idea. I need to see what can be done with IKB and how it would be done with regular animation. The big point is: What's the advantage, what's the drawback and what is the DIFFERENCE.

Cheers
Thomas

P.S.: Please include a documentation of the new bones too. What the difference of jointbones and regular? Plesae demonstrate it and don't just write about it.

kyuzo
08-12-2008, 03:53 AM
Hope these additions aren't too late...
A couple expand on features which I can find some information on in the manual, the third I can't find any documentation on at all, and only stumbled across it by sheer fluke...

Documented: Right click on a channel, and select set/unset limit.
Undocumented: The limit can then be INTERACTIVELY adjusted by holding down CTRL.

Documented: Right clicking on a controller, and selecting options: set ik target allows another object (the previously selected object) to be controlled by the controller.
Undocumented: Results seem to be erratic, UNLESS the previously selected controller has mode set to Quaternion - then it's a smooth as can be...

Undocumented: After right clicking on a controller and selecting 'fix', right-click on the controller again, and select 'options: set goal xxx'. The previously selected object can be selected as an ik goal. This can be used for securing a character's hand to a doorknob as he opens the door, etc..

:)

Derek

kyuzo
08-12-2008, 12:38 PM
Right, I think I've just discovered the 'missing link' in IK Booster documentation...
I was clearing out some old files on my PC and I came across a PDF of the LW 8.5 addendum, (though the bottom of the pages indicate it is for the 8.2.1 update).
In the PDF are 7 PAGES *of extra information about IKB tools and menus. It covers Bake spot menus, new functions on the Controller right-click menu, pose tools (including mirroring poses), Options, (including setting goals), and explanations of AutoApply, AutoBind,the ghosting options, and more.

NONE of this documentation has been repeated since. It isn't in the 9.x printed manuals, and it isn't in the 9.x web-help I downloaded today. If I was a new user who had only purchased LW9, I wouldn't have even stumbled across this PDF.

If there's anything extra that needs inserting into the IKB documentation, this stuff should be the first on the list, because then users might have a hope of figuring out how to use it...

:thumbsup:

Derek

* Sorry for the gratuitous use of bold and italics - I just thought it warranted it...

omeone
08-13-2008, 02:10 PM
Explain with clear examples of similar terms such as bind and bake, what makes them different.

Also Why use fix instead of stop IK at the ball of the foot.

Demonstrate a method of getting keyboard shortcuts for IKB.

My attempt at explaining Bind and Bake:
http://ikboost.com/learn/animation-workflow-for-lightwave-3d-using-ik-boost/

==========

Having invested a lot of thought on what would make up comprehensive documentation that explains IK Boost, I have come to a few conclusions:

As a system IKB's basic functions are very simplistic, and short of writing a whole book on it, the best that can be done is to explain each function in simple terms of operation - is as was done in the original documentation...

Mike Green produced a lot of working completely reworking this task over on www.lightwiki.com and that is currently the best documentation that has been produced, if I were to be tasked with updating the official Newtek docs... this is exactly where I would start.

How those different elements are woven together into a workflow is open to interpretation, and even those of us who have experience with IKB use it in some very different ways and some other similar ways, in other words - it's not something that would naturally fit into a software manual, it falls under 'technique'.

However, although there is no natural fit in 'standard' doc architecture, all the tips and tricks that can be gathered are really helpful when added as marginalised comments.

kyuzo
08-14-2008, 04:56 AM
I think you're right omeone...
I'd suggest that the docs should ideally include the technical description of what the functions are, plus a very simple example or two of that function in use in a practical situation, along with any tips on how to get the best out of it. Kinda combining docs, mini-tutorials, and tips all in one place.

The more I learn about IKBooster, with it's minimalist interface, and workflow that you have to understand before you can really get the best from it, the more I think it should have been called 'Zen IK' or something...

Dirk
08-21-2008, 03:55 PM
Just a thought - as Splinegod mentioned, IKB is very well suited for editing MoCap Data. I think this is a "selling point" for IKB and should be highlighted.