PDA

View Full Version : I just got back from SIGGRAPH and here's the 411!



Truecoz
08-02-2003, 02:32 AM
Hi all LW users!

Well the exhibition part of SIGGRAPH was noticeably smaller than before - rumors that studios are waiting until next year in LA, or that it's a reflection of where the industry is right now. I don't now why it was smaller but it was. Some FX and software houses didn't bother to show up, this was disappointing. There was a notable rise in schools present that train or teach 3-D animation and visual FX.

Lightwave 8 is great! Animators with some imagination should be inspired by what NewTek has done, others will have to wait until they see what the imaginative animators do with it.

Some of the things that I witnessed while Proton and Deuce demo'd LW8 at SIGGRAPH:

Interface - no more dealing with a lot of panels or windows, things can be manipulated straight in the layout window.

Bone Dynamics - awesome can't even imagine all the useful applications this will have.

Softbody Dynamics - really well integrated, very cool, seemingly fast computing times.

Rigidbody Dynamics - as cool as softbody dynamics.

Vertices Manipulation - Animate and adjust vertices in Layout, this feature also has a sphere of influence option so you can do vertices manipulation like the magnet tool in modeler, FREAKIN' SWEET! Unwanted particles in a particle simulation can be animated and even deleted.

I was really hoping to see something on the deformation of the shoulder and armpit area, this area is very difficult to get to look right when you rotate the upper arm into any of the positions it's capable of moving to. I spoke to Deuce momentarily and mentioned what my solution in Maya was for the shoulder and armpit area, he assured me that it was coming and hopefully in LW8. I repeat "HOPEFULLY". I even spoke with the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Donetta Colboch, and told her my dilemma and why I was using Maya, she said and I quote "Don't worry, we'll get you back on Lightwave!" So we'll see, I've really been trying to push this point.

3D Software is coming to a head!

Saw the demo of MODO by Luxology and I was impressed. It switches to what ever interface you like to working in, so if you like working in Lightwave at a click of a button, boom you're in Modeler, or 3DSMax, boom you're in 3DSMax. The mouse buttons and hotkeys all change accordingly. It seams it can handle animating sub-Ds very quickly a efficiently. For studios trying to compete with the speed of modeling in LW this will absolutely help to do that. Imagine owning your own FX studio and you're looking to hire modelers, if you put Modo in the pipeline then you can hire modelers with a background in any package. Of course to the individual LW user it may not seem like that big of a deal, but to a Maya modeler working on a gig with a tight schedule, Modo might just come to the rescue.

Saw the Demo of Maya 5. It's got a new Vector render for cartoon style animation for web or other mediums. It also has a hardware render - but this is not really a big deal, it's for speeding up renders on simple geometry objects such a logos and particles, it uses the graphics card to do the rendering. The cool thing about Maya 5 was their new water simulation. You can quickly simulate water with all kinds of cool attributes like when white wash should form at the peak of a wake. It also has a wakes generator, in their demonstration they use a paddle object that actually deforms the surface of the water and generates the necessary particles that splash down and generates more wakes. I have to admit the simplicity to create these type of water FX was very cool.

Saw part of the demo for SoftImage/XSI 3.5. They've added behavioral tools for crowd simulations, I've seen better crowd simulators considers the person demonstrating a simulation could not get it to work, but I guess it's a start. I was not too impressed with it. I wish I could have gotten to their both sooner because I think I must of missed some stuff.

It's seems to me the 3D software market is getting fierce. Believe me LW has these other packages worried. Why? In 3D animation world, the end justifies the means. If you can do Gollum (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers) in LW, could you imagine the savings in cost. Maya artist usually make more money then LW artist, a Lightwave artist is usually capable of handling many different positions in a production, and the difference in the cost of the software is still enormous. If you do film work in Maya your going to need the unlimited edition and then there is Lightwave that is far less as expensive. If one of the big film studios, finds out they can get FX done cheaper with the same quality, there going to go with the cheaper solution, even if it's just because they can throw more effects into a film. I know that there are small FX houses waiting to be able to do stuff in LW that big FX houses do in Maya, I can see that some of the bigger FX houses are not going to able to compete with the smaller FX houses, especially if the FX house is not supported by owning it's own content - ala ILM, PIXAR, DISNEY, and others.

My own person gratitude towards NewTek stems from the very ability to get involved in the 3D world at all. When I started in 3D there was no way I could have afforded to buy Alias/Wavefront but there was Lightwave. NewTek cared enough about me to price LW so I could afford it and has always been supportive and helpful and friendly, even though I'm not some giant FX studio. I started out using my dad's Amiga 4000 with a Video Toaster and doing simple character animations using basic shapes in Lightwave. Doing compositing for cartoons at Creative Capers Entertainment, I would use a copy of Lightwave there in my spare time. Eventually I was able to get my own computer and my very own copy of Lightwave. Even at that point I could not have afforded Maya. Then I started landing gigs doing 3D stuff like Dan Dare at Foundation Imaging and lots of other projects like some of the stuff posted on my website. Finally I got an opportunity to barrow a friends license of Maya 4, even though I missed a lot of the simplicity involved with working in Lightwave, I worked through it. The main thing to me was to get a good shoulder and armpit deformation. I was able to accomplish this in Maya using vertices on a low res mesh, the vertices on a lattice, set-driven key, and the component editor. The process is laborious but the result is fabulous. The whole time though I'm missing an easy way to set these shoulder deformations up, a "NewTekian" approach to solve this problem if you will. I would like to see Lightwave win in the battle of the packages and I have a strong belief that it can do so, but please hurry-up NewTek and get the deformation thing for the shoulder area happening, I'm waiting. Until then I am willing to learn and work in any 3D package that I can get the desired look that I'm going for on a highly detailed realistic looking character.

Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Chris Manabe
www.chrismanabe.com
3D-Animator/FX-Artist
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

A Mejias
08-02-2003, 06:04 AM
Hey Chris,

Thanks for the roundup! Do you have a tutorial on that Maya armpit deformation? A good friend is having the same problem and his solution sounds way too compacted.

Thanks.

sailor
08-02-2003, 06:23 AM
Truecoz


just one thing i have used both LW and Maya in a production and not everybody had a copy of UNlimited...modelers were all using a "Complete" version...not to mention the evntual commercial deals that the studio could have with Alias...(i'm not aware of that)

all in all only animators had the Unlimited version of Maya...even the tarcking guys were working with Complete...

You also forgot to mention one important thing in Maya 5 the toatal integration of Mental ray and their shading system (in 4.5 it wasnt totally integrated)

but of course MR is a little "detail" ....:D

hell is in the details....

Original1
08-02-2003, 10:32 AM
Originally posted by Truecoz
Hi all LW users! The whole time though I'm missing an easy way to set these shoulder deformations up, a "NewTekian" approach to solve this problem if you will. I would like to see Lightwave win in the battle of the packages and I have a strong belief that it can do so, but please hurry-up NewTek and get the deformation thing for the shoulder area happening, I'm waiting. Until then I am willing to learn and work in any 3D package that I can get the desired look that I'm going for on a highly detailed realistic looking character.

Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Chris Manabe
www.chrismanabe.com
3D-Animator/FX-Artist
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

There have always been ways of tweaking it, Spline God showed one old way of doing it which was to use a "holding bone" localised to that part of the mesh it ain't pretty but its one way.

But I argee wholeheartedly with your comments about affordable 3D the first studio I worked at Maya and an SGI Octane to run it on was going to cost us £30,000 (thats $50,000 in todays money)

CB_3D
08-02-2003, 11:00 AM
The holder bone approach works suprisingly well. But it“s far from what you could call exact control.

Hopefully we“ll be able to automate the pointdeformations in Layout, and hopefully they“ll occur after bonedeformation. That would be the solution we have all been waiting for for years.

As to the new IK system, is there an easy way to set up a footroll now? Right now i animate this by hand on a variation of the classic Foot-IK rig (similar to the Todd Grimes foot).

I also wonder what will happen to our old animation techniques. Match Goal Orientation is obsolete , i suppose?

I am not really familiar with this type of animating, but from what i understand this type of IK gives you the possibility to "pin" and "unpin" items at their current world coordinates on a frame by frame basis, right?

So, if this has been worked into Lightwave, and is not a motionplugin, i suppose we“ll have dynamic parenting, too. That“s what logic implies, at least.


B2LW

Truecoz
08-03-2003, 05:00 PM
Howdy all!

First I let me apologize for making some type errors on the last post. The major one being about Luxology's Modo modeler, I accidentally wrote," It seams it can handle animating sub-Ds very quickly a efficiently." and of course what I really meant was," It seams it can handle manipulating sub-Ds very quickly and efficiently.", sorry about that.

> Ultimately its not about winning or having everybody use LW, its about joining
> in and the right tool for the job, sometimes its Maya other times is LW or Max ...

This is really a matter of perspective. I was really trying talk about the perspective of THE MARKET for Lightwave being in more of a closer competition with the other 3D packages by adding better character tools to there package, and not the perspective of the FX studios who will use whatever 3D package that does the job. To me it always boils down to the big picture - eventually. When smaller FX studios start pulling off FX that are equally as good as those of the large FX studios, and the mid sized productions start to close that envelope to the big sized productions. The big FX studios are going to have to be able to produce better and trickier FX, but then again, I see that envelope closing slowly but closing, and 3D packages like Lightwave are catching up in the 3D side only, I don't want to start talking about practical FX. I would like to see Lightwave in the big FX studios in place of where Maya, or SoftImage XSI would be in the character FX area only, and I think it can because it will have a broader user base, be cheaper to purchase and the artist using it will cost less, meaning an even larger production can be perused with more animators more modelers etc.,etc.

Why do I want it to be Lightwave? Well because NewTek cared enough about me to price there more complete package (I couldn't afford 3DSMax with CharacterStudio) down to something that I can afford, and also gave me great support, and were always accessible. Avid, Discreet, and even Alias can support there 3D packages be other means, what I'm trying to say is they have other great products for other things than 3D animation and 3D FX, like compositing and editing for FILM LEVEL MATERIAL and whatever else. Well in that world Lightwave is the only product NewTek has ready to take on some of the film FX market, well maybe a little Aura (not sure). I like the "idea'ism" that's behind NewTek and is upheld through Lightwave and the Toaster, and in a way, I guess maybe in my own mind, I'm rooting on the underdog, the "Seabicuit" of 3D animation, you know," My horse is to small and my jockey's to big." or however it went. Go Lightwave! GO!

Chris Manabe
http://chrismanabe.com
3D-Animator/FX-Artist

Truecoz
08-03-2003, 05:09 PM
> Do you have a tutorial on that Maya armpit deformation?

I'm working on getting a tutorials page up on my website but it'll probably be a little while, but worth the wait.

Chris Manabe
http://chrismanabe.com
3D Animator/FX Artist

Nemoid
08-04-2003, 12:54 PM
I agree, Chris. Lw is the best and best priced app fo 3D solo artists and small companies.

I think this is fantastic!! :D

the only other app I'd study is Maya, for its power and job opportunities it offers in very big companies

dunno about lux product. for now all is a mistery so I'll have to wait to know more about them. :)