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View Full Version : Are they worth it and which one: Messiah|AM|MB6


Kuroyume0161
05-05-2005, 03:05 AM
It has been some time since the opportunity was available to purchase new 'mega' software. I'm just researching at the moment, but want to ask what you think about these three (in comparison):

Messiah:Animate
Animation Master
MotionBuilder

BTW, what is the price tag on MB? I can't seem to find one - which usually means "way more than I can afford". ;)

I'm also considering the Dynamics module which would basically turn my bundle into Studio.

So many choices. My direction is character animation, so plugins, third-party software, software applications in this respect are what I'm looking for.

Thanks,

JIII
05-05-2005, 03:25 AM
I don't know that much about the other two but isn't animation master completely incompatible with C4D or other programs? adding it to your toolset might be a tad bit silly if you can't port between the two.

Kuroyume0161
05-05-2005, 03:46 AM
I don't know since not much is discussed at their website. But if it has no compatability with C4D, then it's out. ;)

My question is what these other applications bring to rigging and animation not available in C4D (with MOCCA2, for instance). How is the interface, workflow, compatability? What caveats are there?

I see that MB5 is about $695, but no pricing info on MB6 Std or Pro. Also, no info on their compatability with C4D (MB6, that is).

To be honest, I don't have time to demo these at this time as 99.99999% of my time is spent in plugin development. So, I'm looking for consensus, gems, anything in the meantime.

Thanks,

AdamT
05-05-2005, 05:31 AM
Yeah, AFAIK A:M is a great animation program that has little-to-no connectivity with anything else.

Messiah is a very cool program that's had connectivity problems with Cinema in the past. I have no idea where the connection polugin stands now, but I think I heard that you can transfer animation via Point Oven (PLA). Some of the advantages are realtime feedback, very easy skinning (no weighting required), deep rigging tools, powerful expression system, knowledgeable userbase, reasonable pricing.... I'm not familiar with the most recent version so I can't add much more. Just be *very* sure that there's a useable Cinema connection if you decide to go that way.

Motion Builder also has the advantage of realtime feedback. In addition it has an amazing autorigging feature for bipeds and quadrupeds; just insert the bones, name them correctly, weight the mesh, and export to MB. Characterize the mesh in one click and you have an instant rig with IK/FK blending, full-body IK, multiple pivots, foot/hand/finger collision with floors, etc. etc. Quite an awesome rig. The other big feature of MB is motion blending. It allows you to seamlessly blend motion clips from bvh and other mocap sources with your own handkeyed animation, or store your own motion clips and make a library for later use.

hth

pit
05-05-2005, 05:36 AM
What Adam said plus:

AM is crash prone

MB is 995 USD or 895 Euro and has good workflow with C4D through the fbx format. As for now youīll need the FBX converter (http://www.alias.com/eng/products-s.../download.shtml) as C4D doesnīt yet support the MB6 fbx format. MB is a GREAT addition to C4D as long as you want to animate standard bi- and quadriped characters. Everything beyond that tends to get complicated. There is a LOT good to be said about MB - check out the video tutorials at 3dbuzz.com and alias.com to get a glimpse of its power.

M:A or M:S W are dirt cheap and very powerful apps. Personally Iīd go for Messiah:Studio Workstation with Point oven Pro ( http://www.ef9.com/ef9/PO.htm ) and the free mdd reader plugin for Cinema to be found here http://www.zoogono.com/plugindetail.cfm?pid=34 . The bridge offered to C4D is unstable. Messiah is great if you want to set up rigs on your own - even the most complicated. (It does have a autorig function but that is currently broken.) The drawback with Messiah imo is the lack of documentation - not that there isnīt any, but itīs incomplete and not up to date. That has been holding me off of buying - I simply do not have the "trial and error time" required at this point to get up to speed with it. As soon as that is fixed Iīll be all over it. Been playing with the demo for a while and iīm very impressed. (Wish there was a demo for Studio though).

Kuroyume0161
05-05-2005, 07:22 AM
Wow, thanks guys! Good information and much to chew on. I will definitely look into the demos of MB and M:A and see which fits my workflow, needs, and has stability.

Actually, coincidentally, I just downloaded the FBX converter and SDK. I've been considering a way to support Daz|Studio imports into Cinema4D (interPoser plugin), but their only export option currently is OBJ/MTL. So, I thought about making an FBX exporter for D|S, which would be compliant with C4D. Thus, the interest. :)

pit, do you think it would be a good option to go for the MB5 sold at MAXON and then upgrade later?

Thanks much!

ETA: Forgot: Yes, I'm really only considering Bipedal and Quadrapedal rigs. I guess insects would be more work, but then their exoskeletal structure makes for easy rigging/weighting one supposes. :)

pit
05-05-2005, 07:49 AM
Hi Kuroyume0161,

I donīt know if the Maxon deal is still valid - afterall it was a Kaydara/Maxon thing. It might turn out difficult to obtain a valid serial number for it since Kaydara is gone. Donīt know how they (Maxon) handle it? You should clear that first. If it works out you can download the 5.5 update on Aliasī site.

Iīm still on 5.5 so I canīt really tell you in depth the advantages of 6.0 - AdamT and Olli are the guys in the know on that.

Cheers

tjnyc
05-05-2005, 02:00 PM
AM is alot more stable now than in previous version, but like many have stated it is incompatible with C4D as well as many other software.

Can't say much about MB, haven't used it since version 4.

The C4D connection isn't instable, it is just broken, but I have posted a workaround for the problem. However, the connection doesn't come with messiah:Studio WK if you are leaning towards that, but is in Animate. Either way I would go with the PointOven Pro plugin, you can use it to work with other apps like Maya, Max, LW and soon XSI. C4D works by way of a free mdd reader plugin for C4D. messiah docs need an update which is being worked on, and if you need to learn how to rig and animate in messiah, Joe Cosman has great CD training at very affordable prices http://www.cafepress.com/messiahtuts/533502 Also, messiah is easy to learn, it really isn't a complex program, yet it is a powerful one.


Cheers,

pit
05-05-2005, 03:30 PM
Tjnyc - the Cosman cdīs are for version 3.3/4.0 of Animate and I gather that some things have changed since then?!. (Please correct me if Iīm wrong). Besides it would add another 100$ to the bill.(Itīs not much I know but I try to make a point here:)) Money you wouldnīt have to spend if PMG got their act together and produced complete and up to date documentation. You know as well as I that it has been stated for a loooong time (years?) that they work on the docs - and nothing happens. A heap of new features that are not covered plus changes that make the current docs incorrect just adds to the frustation. Enough threads in the messiah forum prove that itīs one of the bigger concerns with Messiah - be it Animate or Studio. The program might not be complex, but it is incomplete without the docs - itīs like having a chisel but no hammer.
Cheers

AdamT
05-05-2005, 03:41 PM
I agree, and it's compounded by the fact that you can't even print out the stupid html "manual".

Thalaxis
05-05-2005, 04:21 PM
Oh, it's definitely complex... just the shader system alone would generate entire books for software with
a larger documentation team. :)

Unfortunately, their documentation guy can't seem to keep up with the developers. It's probably related to
the fact that a large part of the documentation is videos, which means that even if they re-formatted the
whole thing to be print-friendly, you'd still lose a lot in the transition from computer to paper.

What docs they have are well-written, but the app's evolved so much that they're no longer entirely
accurate, and when you're trying to use a new feature, it feels like they're full of holes. Partly, that's
because they ARE, though.

dfaris
05-05-2005, 04:30 PM
Tjnyc - the Cosman cdīs are for version 3.3/4.0 of Animate and I gather that some things have changed since then?!. (Please correct me if Iīm wrong). Besides it would add another 100$ to the bill.(Itīs not much I know but I try to make a point here:)) Money you wouldnīt have to spend if PMG got their act together and produced complete and up to date documentation. You know as well as I that it has been stated for a loooong time (years?) that they work on the docs - and nothing happens. A heap of new features that are not covered plus changes that make the current docs incorrect just adds to the frustation. Enough threads in the messiah forum prove that itīs one of the bigger concerns with Messiah - be it Animate or Studio. The program might not be complex, but it is incomplete without the docs - itīs like having a chisel but no hammer.
Cheers

Joes CD's still work fine with the latest version of messiah. He is doing another set of mini tuts now with the new features of messiah in it. I dont think the html manual is that bad for messiah and the help you get on the messiah yahoo list will mor then answer any other questions you have. Messiah is the best stand alone animation app out there if you want to be able to make your own rigs pierod. MB is great if you want to start animating using a pre made rig.

You can also look at Dan's IK Tools it is pretty good and you can get use to setting up and animating your models right in C4D not as powerfull as messiah or MB but a damn good plugin.

anobrin
05-05-2005, 04:49 PM
Forget AM.!!!
it uses a proprietary Spline "patch" modeling system
that is only really usable in AM :banghead:

I bought it once and gave it an honest try
and quickly sold my copy on ebay.

its user base was the most wretched hive of fanatical
software evangelicals on the planet.
your use of Poser will make you a Parriah in that myopic Cabal.

possibly subjecting you to hate e-mail like i received when
I made the horrible mishap of admitting my bryce usage
in the hallowed halls of the official "hash" user list :rolleyes:

tjnyc
05-05-2005, 05:33 PM
Not that much have changed that makes Joe's training any else relevant for current versions, I know because I used it with the current version.

Of course pmG should do a better job with their docs, but it is far from being unusable. However, regardless if the documentation is complete or not, it is for reference and not for training as are most documentation. Almost all documentation aren't the most ideal method for learning, look at how many 3rd party Books and Video are out there for all the other apps. If any of those documentation was so great to learn from, why would people be buying 3rd party materials? Houdini probably has the most through documentation out of any software, but it is poorly suited to learn from.

What most have been complaining is about the fact that they can't grasp or learn the messiah due to incomplete documentation, but that is not the problem, it is a lack of included training material. However, there are excellent training material, like Joe's.
Joe's CDs are great to learn messiah CA with, and honestly, you only need 2 of those CDs which totals $50. I know there will be people complaining about paying more, but come on is $50 or $100 that much more, I mean you can afford a computer good enough to run 3D apps as well as software, but $50 is too much to spend. That makes as much sense as people who buy SUVs and complain about the price of gas.

Another thing I would like to point out is that the documentation does provide enough information on the rendering aspect. There is no step by step, but if someone just bothered to experiment and refer to the docs, they will pick it up, I for one had very little problem learning how to use the shaderflow and the renderer and I find messiah's shaderflow much easier and faster to work with than XSI rendertree and C4D material system.



Cheers,

AdamT
05-05-2005, 05:56 PM
Tony,
How do you find the speed/quality of the Messiah renderer compared to others (Cinema, MR, M~R)?

dfaris
05-05-2005, 06:12 PM
Forget AM.!!!
it uses a proprietary Spline "patch" modeling system
that is only really usable in AM :banghead:

I bought it once and gave it an honest try
and quickly sold my copy on ebay.

its user base was the most wretched hive of fanatical
software evangelicals on the planet.
your use of Poser will make you a Parriah in that myopic Cabal.

possibly subjecting you to hate e-mail like i received when
I made the horrible mishap of admitting my bryce usage
in the hallowed halls of the official "hash" user list :rolleyes:


LMAO. This is so true. I use to use AM back in the version 8 days then I switched to C4D because AM is the worst and playing with other software and Martin refuses to come up with any kind of work around for its users. The animation tools in AM are really good and easy to work with but that is not enough to make me use it with all the other problems.

I do wish Maxon would take AM's animation tools as a hint and put them into C4D.

Oh look its my 1000 post. Damn time flies.

tjnyc
05-05-2005, 06:31 PM
Adam,

Interesting question. I love C4D's S&T, raytracing and hi-resolution capability. I had to finish a job recently, I had a really short time to deliver and at 12000x9000, I tried VRay and MRay, but neither one worked as well as C4D when it came to memory usage, speed and of course hi print resolution. However, I am not a fan of C4D's GI engine, I'm not a expert on it, I just can't get it to work for me, there is always some amount of artifacts or lighting that doesn't work. I contibute that to my lack of experience with C4D's GI engine. SSS doesn't work with GI or HDRI and is very slow in C4D, sub-poly displacement uses too much memory and time to get proper displacement detail, this is in regard to ZBrush displacement. I find messiah's GI much easier to work with, you can compare its' Monte Carlo with C4D's stochastic GI mode, but faster, not a whole lot faster, but definitely faster. SSS works great in messiah, very fast and produces exactly what I want, but it doesn't support true translucency. Displacement is very fast, and is very accurate, sometimes too accurate, but it can be a memory hog. Shadow maps aren't cacheable, but produces better looking results than C4D, but requires more memory consumption. messiah's area shadows/raytrace shadows are also much faster than C4D's. messiah's Light render quality on materials are very similiar to Brazil on materials like metal. So it is very easier to get good metal material from messiah, like silver, chrome, gold and so on, I find it harder to get the same metal quality in C4D, not sure why? No multipass in messiah, but you can rig your shaders for different passes, but then again C4D has very few rivals in this area. messiah also has a builtin tone-mapping. DOF is easy to setup in messiah, but takes as long to render as C4D. Motion blur isn't all that great in messiah than it is in C4D.

Ultimately, C4D is a far better general renderer, messiah shines in alot of spots, especially geared towards character realization like Taron penned, than for products or architecture, but you can render such scene with it, I have done enough test with it to know that, it is just not really mature for it to be truly suitable for such jobs.

I haven't used Maxwell long enough to compare, it is definitely not a replacement for C4D or messiah, it gives me flexibility to simulate lighting, either to use in a separate illumination and reflection pass or to help me visualize what my lighting should be and in the rare situation were I need realistic GI, Caustis, GI motion blur and true DOF, but how many times does that happen? http://www.cgtalk.com/images/icons/icon12.gif


Cheers,

duderender
05-05-2005, 07:02 PM
The other strong plus with messiah is the nodal based approach to materials. Much like Mental Ray and while it takes a short time to learn the power you unlock is unbelievable.

AdamT
05-05-2005, 07:48 PM
Thanks Tony, that's very interesting. I'm not sure why your Cinema metals aren't turning out so great. I'm sure you know all this, but just in case, here are some things to consider:

* use metal (or no) specular;
* use specular color close to metal color if you use specs;
* fresnel in reflection;
* color value and reflection % should equal 100--maybe somewhat less but no more;
* use reflection color close to metal color;
* good environment to reflect or enviro channel (duh);
* subtle noise or combination of noises in bump;
* ....

Well, like I said you already know all that, but maybe it'll help someone else. :)

tjnyc
05-05-2005, 08:05 PM
Yes, you are right about your suggestions Adam, I just didn't explain the issue correctly. Metal in C4D comes out very CGI looking, and it requires a bit of work to get it looking more real-world quality. I think this has to do with the nature of most renderers not just C4D. With messiah as well as Brazil metal materials renders out more real-world less CGI-like quality without much work needed in setting up of the material.


Cheers,

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