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Stoehr
11-03-2003, 07:05 AM
I just opened the Messiah Animate demo, and I'm wondering if there is a way to designate weight information (Vertex bone influence).

If I have already spent the time to weight map a character with bones in LW Modeler, can this object and it's weights be used in M: Animate?

Or, does M: Animate use weight maps?

Are vertex influences controlled by bone size only?

Thanks for your help and time.

lmilton
11-03-2003, 09:05 AM
Originally posted by Stoehr
I just opened the Messiah Animate demo, and I'm wondering if there is a way to designate weight information (Vertex bone influence).

If I have already spent the time to weight map a character with bones in LW Modeler, can this object and it's weights be used in M: Animate?

Or, does M: Animate use weight maps?

Are vertex influences controlled by bone size only?

Thanks for your help and time.

messiah doesn't currently load in LW weight maps. This is mainly because our BoneDeform system functions completely differently from LW and may not produce the expected results. We will be exploring this, though.

However, we do have our own weight system. I'm sure someone else will be able to walk you through the procedure (I'm a bit pressed for time), but you can use weight tools to define the field of your bones. Currently, MetaEffector and Curve are the supported weight class tools. The advantage of weight tools is that they are not tied to the geometry.

I should note, however, that you'll find yourself needing weights less with messiah. It takes a little getting used to, but as you become familiar with the system, you'll find yourself creating some very "tight" setups in less time. Yeah, sounds like some sort of sales pitch... but hey, it's the truth:D

-lyle

Julez4001
11-03-2003, 01:52 PM
Someone did create a plugin that transfer LW weightmaps to messiah but i believe it creates so may weight spheres that becomes a bother from a high count of weight effectors but if you are still interested in it do a search in the archive or at Flay.

Try rigging with just bones first.

But if you want to try out messiah weights


SETUP --> MetaEffectors --Add effector (sphere) and then place effector. There are panels for falloffs and such, that you canplay with. Parent effector to bone. Select bone and tell it use to the Metaffector.

Stoehr
11-03-2003, 09:27 PM
Thanks for the explanations Lyle and Julez.

You confirmed what I already suspected. However, I'm excited to work with deformations that are "weightless". The only downside is I've developed a methodology around the usage of weights (designating influence per point is very powerful).

Well, I'm certainly an advocate of cross-program weight support in Messiah. I would be nice to have the option. For small budgetless studios such as my own, it's helpful to get objects in and out of software.
I took advantage of the Motion Builder deal this past summer, and it has many useful tools, and the ability to swap models between programs while maintaining bone vertex influence is very handy. I'm testing my waters, and it seems Messiah is more of the "artist" tool I've been looking for. I'm 100% sure I'm buying Messiah: Animate (possibly the Studio), and now that I've had a chance to play with Animation softwares for a reasonable price, I'm making the decision of which one I will continue to upgrade inthe future. I'm 98% sure the one I'd continue to upgrade would be Messiah, IF I knew weight support will be in future versions. :)

I'll try out the weight converter plugin. I read in another thread here about the metaEffector hassle, but I'll give it a go.

Stoehr
11-03-2003, 09:38 PM
Since we're on the topic of weight and deformation -

EDIT: You can ignore this question, I just read the docs.
[[Since Messiah doesn't have the same weight system as LW, when I bring a character back into Lightwave for rendering and texturing, what maintains the deformations?
Do I bake the deformations to the mesh? Like the deformation baker plugin that can be purchased?
Can I animate and edit further in LW if I wanted to after importing back to Lightwave?]]

EDIT: But I'd still like this answered please:

Also, will M: Studio make up for this problem? With Studio, do I even need to bring my model back to LW or Maya or XSI or whatever initial modleing program I normally use? I know I would like to for certain features of my modeling program (currently I use LW for all modeling, texturing, and animation).

Sorry for all the inquiry, I always like to have as much info as possible before I commit a purchase.

Stoehr
11-04-2003, 03:55 AM
Well, I've read all the informaiton on effectors, and it looks to be a very flexible system. Too bad LW doesn't have Effectors (Well, it sort of does, with extra "holder" bones, but it not quite the same).

AND, I just bought M: Studio! A friend of mine, Trevor Smith, has been kind enough to sell me his license, and now I will can put it to use. Thanks Trevor!

I brought a character I recently finished modeling into M: Animate, and used the auto rig features. Damn, the Armatures are great, very flexible. I love it!

Sil3
11-04-2003, 06:29 AM
Welcome Stoehr:beer:

Gwot
11-05-2003, 11:54 PM
Hey what about for game engine export? I'd like to try doing a character test but with an export path that requires weight maps I'm wondering if it will even be possible.

fwtep
11-06-2003, 12:32 AM
Originally posted by Gwot
Hey what about for game engine export? I'd like to try doing a character test but with an export path that requires weight maps I'm wondering if it will even be possible. You can export messiah's bone weights if you want. Just select Bone Deform in the Item List and you'll see a button named "Save Bone Weight Data." That's there for games.

Fred

Gwot
11-06-2003, 01:47 AM
Ahhh sweet! Looks like I have a long night with the demo ahead of me. =]

Thanks for the tip fwtep.

gsuttor
11-06-2003, 01:35 PM
Gwot,

I'd really appreciate any info you find gettting messiah exported weights and bone data into a game engine (of any kind).

Currently all engines I know of require a vertex to bone weight map.

I'd love to see something that can bake messiah weight and bone info into a boned and weighted maya file. :-D

Better still, the messiah link to its host aps be extended to have the option of bones and weights linked as well (not with vertex displacment, just another option other than).

Im not after an animatable rig in maya, just bones and weight.
I dont think I can say it to many times. :)

Tell me it's not IMPOSSIBLE! pleeeeeeease . :D

Geoff.

Gwot
11-06-2003, 07:28 PM
Hey Geoff, looks like the bone weight export is just a text file, so it should be easy enough to get this info into maya - though a direct connection to the host is more desirable. I have another question though, regarding the vertex order in this exported weight info: Does Messiah reorder your verts from an lwo object when you load it into the program, or are they the same as the original lwo when you export the weight data? I'm guessing that if endomorphs are supported then nothing is changed... just making sure.

fwtep
11-06-2003, 07:29 PM
Originally posted by Gwot
Ahhh sweet! Looks like I have a long night with the demo ahead of me. =]

Thanks for the tip fwtep. Lyle (lmilton) can answer any questions you may have about exporting bone weights. Just post your questions here.

Fred

lmilton
11-06-2003, 08:08 PM
Originally posted by Gwot
Hey what about for game engine export? I'd like to try doing a character test but with an export path that requires weight maps I'm wondering if it will even be possible.

Right now, you can get BoneDeform weights out of messiah by saving a .mbw file. This is an export file that contains the point weights per bone. Here is a simple example of the output created using 3 bones on a box:

=========================================

MESSIAH_BONE_WEIGHT 1
TargetObject box
BoneName Skeleton_Bone_1
BoneParentName Skeleton
BoneRestLength 1.000000
BoneTransformation -0.507259 0.000000 -1.233671 0.815941 0.000000 0.000000 1.000000 1.000000 1.000000 0.000000 0.000000 0.000000
NumPoints 6
0 0.949026
1 0.467125
3 0.418920
4 0.949026
5 0.223209
7 0.314370
BoneName Skeleton_Bone_2
BoneParentName Skeleton_Bone_1
BoneRestLength 1.000000
BoneTransformation 0.000000 0.000000 1.000000 0.000000 -0.322886 0.000000 1.000000 1.000000 1.000000 0.000000 0.000000 0.000000
NumPoints 8
0 0.050974
1 0.467125
2 0.185483
3 0.418920
4 0.050974
5 0.480440
6 0.247251
7 0.381334
BoneName Skeleton_Bone_3
BoneParentName Skeleton_Bone_2
BoneRestLength 1.000000
BoneTransformation 0.000000 0.000000 1.000000 0.000000 0.488692 0.000000 1.000000 1.000000 1.000000 0.000000 0.000000 0.000000
NumPoints 6
1 0.065750
2 0.814517
3 0.162161
5 0.296351
6 0.752749
7 0.304295

=========================================

Most of this should be self-explanatory, and is very easy to parse. The important thing to note is that the "NumPoints" text block contains the point ID and the weight value for each point affected by a particular bone.

Also, we are in the process of writing a .x exporter. It should be available in the next couple of (free) maintenance patches.

Let me know if you'd like to make additions to the mbw format, or if you have a specific format that you'd like to see supported.

-lyle

Gwot
11-06-2003, 08:34 PM
How does the weighting get solved in the mbw file? Is it based only on the bone deform effect, or will it factor in other effects as well such as sphereize, etc. and just normalize everything?

lmilton
11-06-2003, 08:42 PM
Originally posted by Gwot
How does the weighting get solved in the mbw file? Is it based only on the bone deform effect, or will it factor in other effects as well such as sphereize, etc. and just normalize everything?

Keep in mind that effects like Spherize, Flex, Melt, etc. aren't a factor in BoneDeform. To the point, these additional effects have no affect on the final outcome of the weight values produced by BoneDeform. If they did, you'd not be pleased with the results. It's best to think of them as "secondary" effects (that's a simplification, but I hope it's clear).

So the BoneDeform's weights are directly calculated for the Skeleton "field". Note that weight tools (MetaEffector, Curve) *do* factor in the weight calculation, as well. And this is what you'd want.

Make sense?

-lyle

Gwot
11-06-2003, 08:58 PM
Yes! Thank you! =]

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