View Full Version : working with bvh mo-cap files in lw...

08-02-2003, 01:23 PM
is there any tutorials or methods of working with mo cap files in lightwave?

ideally i'd like to get the data thinned and be able to use motion mixer as well.

I'm use to character studio in max so would like to have a good workflo in lightwave also...

i know that there was heavy use of mo cap in stashiptroopers roughneck cronicles made by foundation and others in lightwave 5.6 so i'd think there must be a good workflow somewhere..!

cheers in advance

steve g

[email protected]

08-04-2003, 02:54 AM
There's a tutorial for using BVH files in LightWave in Dan Ablan's Inside LightWave 7 book...


10-24-2004, 09:44 PM
well just read the inside lw book on this subject...jezz what a load of work that is!

i'm thinking that either this is waaaaaaay wrong or studio's that made dan dare, roughnecks and max steel with lightwave must have been using motion builder not lightwave for loading the motion capture files.

this method take an afternoon just to get "one" mo cap file to work...stupid!

in contrast in 3ds max and character studio you'd go "load mo cap" onto the biped and that'd be that....1 min max!

is there anyone out there who actually know how this works in a real production or shall i just go and use 3ds max for character animation and leave lightwave for modeling the characters?


steve g

10-25-2004, 04:52 AM
Motionbuilder wasn't available at the time of Dan Dare, etc. and things were a lot harder in LightWave at the time - no skelegons, etc. If you have a look in your online help (do a search for mocap) at the Mocap Skelegons setup, there's a tutorial that's a bit simpler than Dan Ablan's one in Inside LightWave 7...


10-25-2004, 09:59 AM

Follow this tut, we used it here, and it worked great.

10-26-2004, 01:55 AM
I posted this also in the spinquad forum but figure it may be helpful here too.
I worked heavily on both Max Steel and Dan Dare. I did a lot of character modeling as well as the vast majority of the rigging. I worked very closely with the mocap team at Foundation Imaging and was responsible for getting the first LW6 rig thru the mocap process. We started to use LW6 on the tail end of Max Steel and almost didnt use it on Dan Dare because of all the new features. In the end we did go with LW6 on it and only had about 3 weeks to make the switch and gear up. Try having to do that with little to no docs.. :)

Netter and Foundation both had dedicated mocap teams. Netter used some mocap software that left much to be desired. Foundation used Kaydaras filmbox to apply the mocap data to rigs built in LW. Once the data was applied and properly scaled in filmbox and LW scene file was exported..

We also had a specific type of rig that was designed to allow the animators to easily work with and tweak the mocap. I cover the rig in my character rigging CD.

Typically the bvh files you import arent the best type of rig to use. You have to decide which bones get the mocap data since you typically have a lot less capture points on the mocap actor then you have bones in a character.

You also need a quick way to retarget the motion off the mocap rig created when you import the bvh file to your actual rig.

Another problem is that you need to be able to easily scale the data for a character that may not have the same proportions as your mocap actor.

Right now Lightwave is not setup to easily deal with mocap data. This is why most people typically use motion builder to deal with mocap data. Even the new bone tools will only help so much. The reason is that the bone tools arent setup yet to rework bones that have motions applied to them. The keyframes arent updated when you manipulate the bones into new positions. Theres also no easy way to retarget the motions from one rig to another (for example the mocap rig the working rig).

Colin Cohen has a plugin called Motion Mapper that looks to be useful for copying motions from one rig to another.

Another thing would be to setup a rig that has follower, expressions, etc applied to the proper bones in such a way to follow the rotations on the mocap rig. Once thats done the motions could be baked and the motion modifier, expressions removed.