View Full Version : Maestro and LW9.6

01-13-2009, 10:21 AM
Hi people - is anyone out there using Maestro with 9.6 (rc11 on XP64)?

The last time I ever rigged anything it was back in LW5.5 and never had the need for it up til now. I've a client who *might* want a simple character animating and I figure Meastro looks like it might be the quickest and easiest way to jump into character animation, so I was wondering if anyone had any tips on using it, and if anyone has used it with 9.6?

Also, I may need to add other bits of rig to this character (like an extra arm or two) - is that possible to do with Maestro, or can I add bones to a character that is set up with Maestro and animate them outside of Maestro?

Thanks for any advice!

01-13-2009, 01:42 PM
I just used a scene where I set up everything for some time ago (lw 9 & 9.31). 9.6 opens it well and makes no probs. Will see if autorigging in a new scene will work as well.


01-13-2009, 03:56 PM
Thanks Mike - I'd be much appreciative to know how you get on with rigging - if it goes well I'll be buying a copy of Maestro, about time I taught myself the ancient art of character animation!

The Dommo
01-13-2009, 04:01 PM
Yes, get on with it boy. Otherwise send it to us ;)

01-13-2009, 04:04 PM
rofl - you know me, it may just come to that ;)

01-13-2009, 09:23 PM
So far Maestro's working just fine with 9.6.

Regarding your rigging question, you can add additional bones to the base skeleton for whatever you want. You just have to make sure they don't have the exact same name as any of the bones we provide. You can then add hotspots to control them, or do whatever you want rigging-wise.

Maestro really was designed to let you dig in and customize things. The rigs are built into text files that are (at least in my opinion) very simple and understandable, so you can take the rigs we provide and embellish them to your own personal way of doing things.


01-14-2009, 09:49 AM
Thanks Eric - I downloaded your demo last night and hopefully will install it tomorrow or early next week to have a play! Likelihood is I'll get it and use it to pose some stills, to get the hang of it :)


01-14-2009, 06:58 PM
Cool. Let me know if you have any questions.


01-15-2009, 05:28 AM
I bought it last year for a one-off job and it's an amazing plugin for the price. Considering that I've never managed to get a working rig in Lightwave and shudder at the thought of CA, I had a pretty decent animation done within two days....which included learning CA almost from scratch. I only needed a few seconds of animation but I couldn't have hired someone to rig and animate for the price of the plugin.

I just finished another job with it which was completely character based, something which I wouldn't have even attempted before buying maestro. It was still quite basic but it was more due to time, budget and my ability than anything with Maestro.

I can't recommend it highly enough. Great plugin, fantastic support from Eric and Brian, simple enough for a dummy like me but lots of power under the hood. I even bought it for someone else!

BTW, Eric, I've finally added a link to the Maestro page on my site, sorry it took so long and thanks for the great plugin.

I'm using 9.5 on XP64 BTW

01-15-2009, 08:50 AM
Hey, thanks for the props, Mr. Frog.

I know I could never go back to working without it. Even for jobs that have nothing to do with CA, being able to select and animate items with hotspots set up the way I want them is so much better than trying to select and manipulate items in the layout viewport.


01-15-2009, 10:50 AM
I've recently started to use Maestro (after buying it some time ago and having problems with it running in 64 bit mode in pre-9.5 versions)

Yesterday, I took one of my existing characters, adjusted the skelegons and then applied the full rig in layout and didn't have a single problem. (All this was done on the latest 9.6 build) The deformations were pretty good for a 1st time use of this(and I'll probably adjust my skelgons a bit better this week) It took about 30 minutes to get a fully rigged character that was completely poseable, with all the cool Maestro controls. (I really like the hip controls...probably influenced by the fact that I was working on a female character. ;) )

The only thing I'd like to see is the plug-in running a bit faster, but it is very usable and stable in 9.6. (I think performance improvements are things that Newtek needs to work on.)

01-15-2009, 06:24 PM
seems all the maestro fans are grouping up ;) Well bought it this morning, and rigged the little robot chaps and the animation is now rendering! I had a few issues with the plugin, probably down to me not knowing the interface - every now and again I'd find I'd accidentally added a key point somewhere and had to toggle through all the bones to find it. But it's fantatic - really! I'm not a rigger but I've managed to animate something!

One question, if I have a character walking and I want it to fall backwards on to its butt, how can I stop the character from wanting to stay upright? The feet seem to want to stay sticky to the ground. I tried rotating and moving various bones/objects but ended up screwing the geometry up. Not sure I've explained that well!

Thanks for all the advice!

01-16-2009, 03:41 AM
The feet are pointing towards some targets on the ground, red and green circles...move them and the feet move

When using the Maestro interface, you can use combinations of shift, alt and ctrl to change the controller between various move and rotate options eg. shift + lmb on the foot control becomes move in Y (I think), lmb on it's own is rotate.

01-16-2009, 09:34 AM
One of the key things to think about when using the rigs I've created for Maestro is you pretty much never touch the bones when animating. There are control nulls for driving every part of the rig, and that's what the hotspots are connected to.

It may seem daunting at first when you look at the number of hotspots there are for controlling the character, and even moreso when you consider that many of them are up to 4 layers deep, but there is a logic to it, and if you spend an hour or two methodically playing with each hotspot (trying out simply dragging, then Alt, Ctrl, and shift dragging), it will become much more intuitive.

Another big point I'd like to mention is that if for some reason you find my logic in laying out the hotspots not intuitive for you, it's very easy to modify the interface to your personal preference. You can move the hotspots around, add new ones, change the way the current ones work, etc. It's all extremely flexible. And if you make changes, and save your custom interface to the same name as the original, then every time you rig a character, your interface will come up at the end of rigging.


01-19-2009, 02:10 PM
Thanks guys - I've yet to play with moving the feet in any other plane other than the default horizontal plane, but after 4 hours I've a quick animation which I'm happy with - thanks!

Will show you once the little character's out in the ether - would like to show him now as I'm chuffed with it as it's my first character animation but it's NDA (the character, not the animated bit) :thumbsup:

05-14-2009, 07:34 AM
Maestro is a fantastic product, I'm just finishing up a job whereby the client originally wanted 4 characters interacting for approx 15mins of animation. This suddenly increased to 7, rigged in approx 5minutes leaving priority time for the character creation itself. if your interested it is live http://www.specsavers.co.uk/eyecare/eyecare-in-action/ overly compressed by their IT but what can we do eh..

Maestro is a life saver, and once you've put some practice in, it just seems ridiculous not to use it. There's even help to create walk-anims now!

Ok, having said that...Eric...hehehe..bug report here..I am using it with LW9.2 for this particular job and I've just noticed that it seems to be retaining expression librairies even after removing the relevant character & master plugin from the scene. It doesn't seem to be having a catastrophic effect to be fair and I'm using it with Screamernet + FPrime so it has had every opportunity, hehe. But I've just edited a scene with notepad, going through and removing all the useless ones, it literally halfed the filesize and re-opened perfectly.

One for the next release maybe?

anyway, better get on...great plugin!

05-14-2009, 09:00 AM
Hey, thanks. And I agree, I would be very depressed if I had to go back to doing things without it.

Regarding the expressions thing, that's not really a Maestro thing as it is a LW thing. And there's a tool in the graph editor that does exactly what you want. Just click on the Expressions tab a the bottom, and then in the Expressions pulldown, select Clear Unused. It will remove any expressions that aren't attached to something.


05-14-2009, 09:54 AM
Well, thats my only gripe dealt with Eric, thanks for that!