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Thread: Animating characters - which method?

  1. #1

    Animating characters - which method?

    Hi all
    I´m a bit confused. I want to start animating characters in Lightwave. Cartoon style.
    It seems like there is a lot of different ways and tools you can use to do this. Biped, Rigging, Genoma and so on.
    I want to do it fast, but at the same time being able to do it in a professional way, maybe cooperate with other animators.

    How is the best way to approach this+
    Any suggestions will be highly appreciated.

    Regards
    Alan

  2. #2
    Goes bump in the night RebelHill's Avatar
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    Well... as the ol saying goes, you can have it fast, or you can have it good... Good character animation takes time (and skill) to produce.

    As for the different "ways" of doing it, there arent really any, you get a character model, you pose it, you pose it again, and again, and there you go. To this end, what it really comes down to is how you go about the posing... the "interface" for the character, which is basically the rig. As such, one of the biggest factors in making the process easier or harder (or faster/slower) is the rig itself. A well designed rig is tailored to the kind of character and/or motion that you're trying to produce and aids and assists you in achieving good posing and (perhaps more importantly) transitions between poses as you work on the timing and spacing of your animation.

    As for the "kinds" of rigs themselves... just look around, lookup rigging reels on youtube, look at the rigs used by places like animation mentor, or those put up on the likes of animationrigs.com, you see pretty much the same broad design and layout of things, and largely the same process for actually handling and animating them over and over, as these styles of setup are the most efficient and ultimately useful for doing quality work. Obviously, you can get more basic, or complex such rigs, and generally the number of controls available, and the way that the controls interact with one another will have an effect on what can or cant be achieved with a given setup.

    Its plenty to explore, but it is all fairly straightforward once you get used to things. At the end of the day, nothing will really do much for you other than getting stuck in and giving it a try. It'll take a while (this goes back to the skill comment before which takes time to acquire), but with practice its all perfectly achievable and approachable.
    LSR Surface and Rendering Tuts.
    RHiggit Rigging and Animation Tools
    RHA Animation Tutorials
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  3. #3
    Registered User jhinrichs's Avatar
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    To append to Rebel Hill's comment, I tell project managers the project can be 1.) good, 2.) fast, 3.) cheap but you can only pick two...

    ...so if you want it good and fast, but have money to burn, you might look into the Mixamo website....you can upload characters and have them autorigged and then apply motion captures on the site. Definitely not cheap though.

    Before you spend any money though you might want to sign up and try the free animations and characters, make sure you understand the Mixamo to Lightwave workflow. I haven't mastered it yet, I usually seque through Modo to get the animations into Lightwave.

    P.S. if you are gung-ho on learning rigging and such you can't go wrong with Rebel's RHiggit.

  4. #4
    Goes bump in the night RebelHill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhinrichs View Post
    make sure you understand the Mixamo to Lightwave workflow. I haven't mastered it yet
    Thats an easy one as its just good ol fbx. Make sure you use the Tpose (or base bind pose if your upload wasnt in Tpose) option in mixamo so you get your bind pose on the first frame, open in LW, reparent the hip joint to you mehs if necessary, re-rest the bones... done.
    LSR Surface and Rendering Tuts.
    RHiggit Rigging and Animation Tools
    RHA Animation Tutorials
    RHR Rigging Tutorials
    RHN Nodal Tutorials
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  5. #5
    Thanks a lot.

    I´ve been a Lightwave owner for 10 years, without really getting in to animation/character animation.
    I think it´s time to do something now. I´ve been working as an illustrator for many years.

    Mixamo is way too mush for me.
    Animationmentor and animationrigs looks like they are based on Maya, which also is quite expensive.

    I´ve watched some of RebelHills tutorials and think they are very clear and informative.
    I ´ve also got some old DVDs from Desktop images and Lightwaves "Rigging Revealed" which I think is a little complex.

    Maybe the RHiggit Autorigger could be something to try out?
    I´m getting anxious to start keyframing a model :-)

    Alan
    Last edited by Alan Safewood; 04-14-2014 at 01:12 PM.

  6. #6
    Goes bump in the night RebelHill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Safewood View Post
    Animationmentor and animationrigs looks like they are based on Maya, which also is quite expensive.
    You're confusing the app with the approach... My point was that the "design" of character rigs (the character interface if you will) is broadly the same across the board, as such, its setups of this nature which give you the best approach, hence, its an LW version of such that you're wanting... which ofc is what RHiggit produces, though these are still all native LW rigs which you can build for your self (with obv, the knowhow to do so).
    Last edited by RebelHill; 04-14-2014 at 01:43 PM.
    LSR Surface and Rendering Tuts.
    RHiggit Rigging and Animation Tools
    RHA Animation Tutorials
    RHR Rigging Tutorials
    RHN Nodal Tutorials
    YT Vids Tuts for all

  7. #7
    OK

    Sorry for being a little slow on this - english is not my native language.
    But what you are saying is that RHiggit Autorigger is a short cut to start animating because you
    do not need to have all the knowledge and do the time consuming work to build your own complete proffesional rig in LW?

  8. #8
    Goes bump in the night RebelHill's Avatar
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    thats about it, yep.
    LSR Surface and Rendering Tuts.
    RHiggit Rigging and Animation Tools
    RHA Animation Tutorials
    RHR Rigging Tutorials
    RHN Nodal Tutorials
    YT Vids Tuts for all

  9. #9
    Do know that having a good rig won't make you a good animator. It will certainly help with the process but rigging is more of the technical side of things.
    My opinions and comments do not represent those of my employer.
    www.ernestpchan.com
    www.zazzle.com/gopuggo

  10. #10
    I can not find the RHiggit lite/demo version on your site. Is it still available?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ernpchan View Post
    Do know that having a good rig won't make you a good animator. It will certainly help with the process but rigging is more of the technical side of things.
    I know, that is exactly why I want a short way to start animating.
    I´ve spent to much time trying to figure out the technical stuff.
    Only time will tell if I can be a good animator :-)

    - - - Updated - - -

    And sorry about the spelling :-)

  12. #12
    Goes bump in the night RebelHill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ernpchan View Post
    Do know that having a good rig won't make you a good animator.
    Yes... very true, it cant do the work for you. A poorly designed rig, however, will make the job harder, potentially to the point where certain poses or motions are effectively unachievable.

    As for the lite/free/demo versions... atm, no, not available. Those were the V1x versions, which are discontinued now as V2 is on its way. It wont be long now, but in the meantime, you can grab some of the rigged characters from my shares page and have a play with those, as the setups are very similar in a number of ways. There's also a lil rex rig here you can have a go with.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    LSR Surface and Rendering Tuts.
    RHiggit Rigging and Animation Tools
    RHA Animation Tutorials
    RHR Rigging Tutorials
    RHN Nodal Tutorials
    YT Vids Tuts for all

  13. #13
    A poorly designed rig will make you wanna throw your monitor through the window.
    My opinions and comments do not represent those of my employer.
    www.ernestpchan.com
    www.zazzle.com/gopuggo

  14. #14
    Super Member geo_n's Avatar
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    I recommend this video.
    http://www.liberty3d.com/citizens/tom-roth/

    I am still watching it. The info you get will teach you important basics with the familiar lightwave interface, and quality of the video and sound is really good.
    There aren't many lightwave character animation tutorials around so this is a good buy and below 40usd for this much information is rare.

  15. #15
    Thanks for good - and kind answers.
    Much appreciated :-)

    Alan

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