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View Full Version : Any decent free/cheap rigging programs out there?


DrakeX
02-18-2006, 10:38 PM
The modeler I use (Wings) has a plugin in development for rigging, but it's moving along so slowly that I wonder if it'll ever be done.

What I'm looking for is just a small program that's not too expensive ($40 or $50 at the most, $60 only if it's really worth it) that allows you to load a model, create bones, assign vertices with weighting, and animate it, preferably with IK support. Most of the rigging programs I've seen are just plugins for large, expensive modeling packages which I can't afford.

I'm not looking for anything incredibly complex - I don't need muscle/tendon simulation, I don't need rendering capabilities - I'm just looking for a program to animate.

I've looked at CharacterFX (www.insanesoftware.de), but after trying to use it for a while, I can't really get past the terrible camera control, and its method of assigning vertices to bones is worthlessly difficult for any models more than 1000 polys, and its difficulty is only compounded by the horrible camera. It also hasn't been updated in ages and I wonder if the programmer even cares about it any more. Still, the IK is decent and it exports X, which is a big plus.

Sil3
02-19-2006, 12:57 AM
I doubt u will find anything for those prices...with that budget u either use versions of software like :

XSI Mod tool (Free)

http://www.softimage.com/products/mod/v42/downloads/default.asp

or

Maya PLE (Free)

http://www.alias.com/glb/eng/products-services/product_details.jsp?productId=1900003

They have everything u need o make amazing rigs and character animation, only problem is that they have a special file format that wont let you export to anywhere unless some game engines like Unreal or HL2.

Both of this are highend tools special versions meant for learning.


Alternatives are to gather up a bit more money and buy Messiah Workstation version:

www.projectmessiah.com

Messiah works great and its a lot simpler to use than XSI or Maya, specially if u are a beginner.

DrakeX
02-19-2006, 01:17 AM
I'll try out the demo of messiah, although the format import/export list seems pretty paltry (3DS, OBJ, and DXF don't even support animation; and I don't know about LWO).

I'm still open to more suggestions :)

eek
02-19-2006, 01:24 AM
ummm houdini appentice???

and math.

eek

DrakeX
02-19-2006, 02:10 AM
Well, I'm trying messiah right now, and I'm getting very mad at it. Let's say that Lightwave's interface is terrible, and messiah's using the same interface does not make me happy. Tab panels of tab panels of small, textual buttons does not scream "user friendly."

Beyond that, the view control is terrible. What do you mean, I can only rotate the view on its local axes? It makes rotating around a model a difficult chore.

Secondly, how do you create bones? Well, isn't it obvious? You go to the setup tab, choose "bone deform" from a drop-down box that doesn't look like a drop-down box, and add it to your model. You then go to some other tab and create your bones. It auto-assigns weights for you; well that's great, but where do I change weights? It's probably buried in five layers of tabs somewhere, on a secret panel activated by a checkbox that has no name or tooltip. I guess I have to find a tutorial for everything, then.

I haven't seen a UI this bad since blender. And that's saying something.

I'm sure it does a lot of stuff, and I'm sure some people can use this.. abomination of a UI, but I don't have the time or the patience to wrestle with all these damn tabs and nonstandard widgets and terrible camera.

eek - that only saves files in its own proprietary format. I'm looking for something I can actually use, you see ;)

eek
02-19-2006, 02:38 AM
umm nothing below 1oo bucks bud.

eek

DrakeX
02-19-2006, 02:56 AM
Well, it looks like I've discovered yet another hole in the 3D content program market. Or rather, a niche yet to be filled.

I keep finding this, over and over - there's little homebrew tools that are free or sell for $20, $30, some of which are good (Wings) and some of which are just barely functional, and then the next level up is unbelievably expensive programs which only the employees of a large company could ever hope to own. Silo is about the only modeler that I know of that's anywhere near being cheap, yet functional. Wings is an incredible program no matter how you look at it. And that's about it.

Someone needs to fill this market. Maybe.. if I've got the time.. ;)

ares623
02-19-2006, 04:55 AM
how about blender? blender3d.org

EDIT: should've read before posting.. hehe. :D ignore me..

DrakeX
02-19-2006, 06:13 AM
Haha :)

Yeah, I tried blender once. What a mess of nonsensical hotkeys!

Sil3
02-19-2006, 02:07 PM
Well, I'm trying messiah right now, and I'm getting very mad at it. Let's say that Lightwave's interface is terrible, and messiah's using the same interface does not make me happy. Tab panels of tab panels of small, textual buttons does not scream "user friendly."


Well i prefer text buttons than icon ones where most of the times i cant decipher what the icon means...


Beyond that, the view control is terrible. What do you mean, I can only rotate the view on its local axes? It makes rotating around a model a difficult chore.


NO u CAN rotate around the object too...theres an ICON up there that when pressed u rotate around the Model (TOP RIGHT OF THE SCREEN)


Secondly, how do you create bones? Well, isn't it obvious? You go to the setup tab, choose "bone deform" from a drop-down box that doesn't look like a drop-down box, and add it to your model. You then go to some other tab and create your bones. It auto-assigns weights for you; well that's great, but where do I change weights? It's probably buried in five layers of tabs somewhere, on a secret panel activated by a checkbox that has no name or tooltip. I guess I have to find a tutorial for everything, then.


LOL m8..DID u even BOTHERED opening the manual? Everything u ask is in there and its not only in TEXT...it has PRETTY pictures too, animated gifs and all...besides in the same site u downloaded Messiah there are like 10 avis showing a lot of stuff...check them out before making statements like u have...



I haven't seen a UI this bad since blender. And that's saying something.



It is? U must be an expert then and ill take your word :)



I'm sure it does a lot of stuff, and I'm sure some people can use this.. abomination of a UI, but I don't have the time or the patience to wrestle with all these damn tabs and nonstandard widgets and terrible camera.


eek - that only saves files in its own proprietary format. I'm looking for something I can actually use, you see ;)

Well...with assumptions like that im even questoning myself why the hell im even answering this... i think u are not loking for an animation tool, u are looking for a DO IT FOR ME please tool...dont exist yet :(


Just a couple of links showing how people can work and make AMAZING stuff with an horrible UI and text buttons that mean nothing:

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=284907 (this is a thread about a RIGGING Demo Reel by the way)


http://www.taron.de/


http://www.eggington.net/


Good luck with your searh for the "perfect like i want" rigging software... :rolleyes:

AlexK
02-19-2006, 02:30 PM
Hey DrakeX, sounds like you really are on the search for the famous "make movie"-button. :twisted:
I guess the closest thing that comes to mind is 3DSmax with it's Character Studio. Then of course that is not rigging, that is moving a pre-defined character around placing footsteps on the floor the character walks along. Not much of a real solution if you want to animate. :deal:

Just my two cent.

DrakeX
02-19-2006, 03:37 PM
Ho boy. Here we go again.

I'm not a noob, and I know what it takes to animate a model. No, I don't want everything done for me. You read what I want in my first post; something with just the bare, basic abilities to rig and animate models. I'm just looking for a little program, not a cure-all. If anything, I'm looking for a tool that does very little for me. I don't need mocap, muscle simulation, predefined animations, bipeds, springs, physics, or most of the stuff that the professional packages offer. Just: bones, assigning vertices with weights to them, and moving them around. Why drive a ferrari down the block when a bicycle does just fine?

If you want an example of something that's close to what I want, try the demo of CharacterFX. I like the program except for a few flaws, but since it doesn't seem to be being worked on anymore, I'm just wondering if any alternatives have sprung up in its place.

Sil3 - I'm sorry I don't like the program you suggested; don't take it personally.

AlexK
02-19-2006, 04:26 PM
Ho boy. Here we go again.

I'm not a noob, and I know what it takes to animate a model. No, I don't want everything done for me. You read what I want in my first post; something with just the bare, basic abilities to rig and animate models. I'm just looking for a little program, not a cure-all. If anything, I'm looking for a tool that does very little for me. I don't need mocap, muscle simulation, predefined animations, bipeds, springs, physics, or most of the stuff that the professional packages offer. Just: bones, assigning vertices with weights to them, and moving them around.
Well, I read your posts and obviously you didn't read the manual of Messiah at all.

You rant on about it not working how YOU expect it. To me it sounds, like you didn't even care to look up your ways of navigation. Guess what, you even can configure it to your likings. What a great idea (similar to a feature other applications like to call "configure navigation")!!!

Oh and I could set up a fully rigged biped character with Messiah in no time. Like you requested: Just add bones (try out the plus button on your numeric pad). You don't even need to assign weights, because Messiahs bones kick ass and assign their weight almost perfect from the start. ;)

DrakeX
02-19-2006, 05:44 PM
Alright, alright, I give. I'll try to figure out this damn program.

AlexK
02-19-2006, 07:29 PM
Sorry, if I came of a bit rude, but I can't stand people that rant over something and haven't even looked inthe manual first.

If you need help pop in the Messiah IRC channel on Freenode, there are a lot of nice helpful people in there.

Server: irc.freenode.net
Channel: #messiah

dunkelzahn
02-20-2006, 08:09 AM
What I'm looking for is just a small program that's not too expensive ($40 or $50 at the most, $60 only if it's really worth it) that allows you to load a model, create bones, assign vertices with weighting, and animate it, preferably with IK support. Most of the rigging programs I've seen are just plugins for large, expensive modeling packages which I can't afford.

You gets what you pays for! However, you being a student, Id check out special student discount prices of the big packages!

DrakeX
02-20-2006, 07:06 PM
And I want to pay a small amount of money to get a small amount of functionality ;) I can get much-reduced prices on all the big name 3D programs, but they're still in the $400-$500 range (waaaaay out of my budget), and they still do way more than I'll ever, ever need.

Messiah is starting to make more sense, but it still seems kind of roundabout how you set up the weights and such. I think it's because you can do so much with it, that the way you have to do everything kind of has to plug together and all be scriptable and such, and the regular boned animation is no exception.

I think if I did get good with it, I'd consider buying it, but still, I'd be paying for all kinds of features which I'd never use - namely, pretty much anything other than simple bones, weights, and the IK (and the IK in messiah does seem to kick ass). I did find out that it has the ability to export to X, which is a big plus.

I wish they would offer an even more stripped-down version than messiah:animate, one without all the things like soft body and the variety of other effects which can't really be exported to a game engine (like bulge, dmorph, etc.). Caligari did it with gameSpace and discreet did it with gmax (in an albeit more restricted way); I think a low-end version of messiah would be very happily accepted by the indie dev community.

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