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CGmascot
01-29-2007, 07:53 PM
Hi folks!

GOAL
Is to find an animation software with good and easy to use cloth/softbody capabilities, relatively efficient and easy way to do muscle+tendon movement. I value the ease and speed of use over others, so for example functional basic muscles win over more robust but troubled solutions. Modo is the modeling & texturing-tool. Rendering will take place in either the anim soft or some other, for instance Lightwave. So will need renderer/export capabilities.

IDEAS
Modo + Cinema 4D R10 + Mocca 3 module
Would get good anim tools, muscle-tools too and great and easy cloth but a lacking renderer. Last bit could be fixed with Vray plugin once it's done but that's in unknown future. Other downside is total price. Effects would have to be done in other software also.

Modo + Softimage XSI foundation
I hear great animation tools, mental ray, some type of cloth, particles, fluid.. but muscles? And is the cloth comparable to Cinema's? Syflex-cloth would definitely rock but is expensive/only in XSI Advanced.

More ideas, comments? Motionbuilder for instance: great but way too expensive. Poweranimator?

And why not Lightwave? I have Maestro for Lightwave but would need additional cloth-system and muscle-system to make character animations(the level I go for) in Lightwave feasible for me. I had bad experiences using cloth+character back in LW8.

INFO
Modeler/animator mostly when doing 3D. Background with 3DS Max and Lightwave, studied some XSI 4 years ago. Back then rigging characters in XSI was difficult enough(for me) to be scary. Currently using Lightwave 9.0 and Gmax. I'm no tech-wiz, certainly not the type to write my own scripts nor happy to do complex setup-combo just to get some tiny thing working. So ease of use is important.

Currently playing with demo of Cinema 4D R10 and Modo 202. Got Silo also to look into.

I went through some threads in time order and with search. Sorry if I still manage to bring up something recently discussed. And sorry if this should go into some other discussion area. Good thing for this here is that Modo users usually know tons about other software too.

Thanks in advance for any pointers and opinions!

- Sleepy

khurrum_j
01-29-2007, 10:14 PM
Hey Sleepyghost.

Have you looked at Messiah:Studio? Can handle just about everything you are looking
for.

Here are a few links to get you motivated:
http://www.zoogono.com/tutorialdetail.cfm?tid=31

And a sample from that movie:
http://www.eggprops.com/%7Eeggington/Messiah/DressB.mp4

One of many free rigs available:
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=434638

And dont forget these:
http://www.cafepress.com/messiahtuts/533502

Also, you can hang around in the CGTalk forums dedicated to Messiah as well! :twisted:


Your other options are far too expensive, but then, I wouldnt know what expensive IS for you. Sure they are all good at what they do. Also, your results with a software equally depends on how much time you are willing to give.

Totally agree with you on Motionbuilder being way out of reach. That leaves only a few (well, for me, only one) option left. And that's Messiah. It really is that powerful. But not complicated. Of course when you're ready, Messiah can handle complicated stuff just as easily.

Hope I've helped a bit, and that you find the right solution.

KHURRUM

CGmascot
01-29-2007, 11:11 PM
Hope I've helped a bit, and that you find the right solution.


Yes, you did help :)
At first I overlooked Messiah as too technical for my sorry little head, but the more I read and watch videos the better it looks. And, you are right, it is a great deal cheaper option too. That Cinema+Mocca3+Vray-combo especially, even with 'competetive sidegrade', would cost closer to 2000 euros. Then again I was, am, prepared to go that high - would rather not to, though. I would be a poor man then, again.

Just downloaded Messiah:Studio demo. Will get to know it. If it suits me I can retain Lightwave as my effects & render-tool. Would be a happy union. LW 9.2 update should bring more joy to rendering too.

Thanks Khurrum!

khurrum_j
01-30-2007, 06:23 AM
Sleepyghost,

You're very welcome.

Its a known issue with software companies. Those other companies are spending crap-loads of money on advertizing (which is a good thing), thereby getting the larger share of consumer interest. However, consumers are extremely cost- / feature-conscious now as compared to 10 years ago. So, we ARE at the stage of small, focused companies garnering interest in their software/code.

With that trend, its become much easier to choose your desired platform. If you hop on over to the Messiah forum, you'll notice a lot of them are coming from a focused software background. They might use Modo/Silo/ZBrush (Particularly good with Messiah)/Mudbox for their modeling/scultping. And get their setup/animation & even rendering done inside Messiah. Right tools for the right job.

One thing of particular importance:

If you really want to get to grips with Messiah fast, then I'd strongly suggest completing ALL of the tutorials that comes with it. It might take you some time, but not very long. But thats what I've personally noticed. The tutorials are an amazing place to really whet your appetite for the software, and you'll be up and running in no time. A lot of people dont like to read the manual. But for me, Messiah docs are not only focused, they are short, very interesting and very funny! You'll know what I'm talking about when you've gone through them.

All the best.

Sorry for the long post ! :)

Best,

KHURRUM

CGmascot
01-30-2007, 11:26 AM
Thanks again, Khurrum.
I agree with what you said.. that is my understanding(though less educated than yours) about the field as well. And indeed, "Right tools for the right job".

I am still a bit divided though - the main thing being cloth. And for me, well, I would hate not being able to dress my characters. I read several threads last night on creating cloth with Messiah. And it seems like a very big issue still. Clothilde in Cinema's Mocca-module on the other hand gets high praises in reviews. Note I wrote "reviews", haven't combed the forums for user opinions on that yet. May be that there is no such thing is a good & easy to use cloth engine in existence. But I won't know it's usefulness and true capabilities until I test them myself, I suppose. Need to dress a character, animate it and see what happens. Same thing with Messiah, I need to test it quite a bit before moving forward.

From financial and workflow-point of view I would really want Messiah to be "the" animation tool for me, to cover all areas of animation. Rendering is just a plus.

Thanks for the long post, I don't mind :) I better get into studying and testing. Too bad responsibilities like work interfere ;)

- Sleepy

HarverdGrad
01-30-2007, 01:31 PM
From a price standpoint, I would also suggest either Messiah, or XSI Foundation. I own both. Personally, I like software that navigates & mouse clicks similarly to the Operating System you are using. Messiah just had too wacky an interface (in my opinion), which was the killer for me.

XSI Foundation is fantastic, and the cloth it comes with is better than Lightwaves (only thing I can compare to). The Renderer is REALLY good (though complicated), and the animation capabilities are deep. Be prepared to study though. There are so many ways to do things using this software, I get confused sometimes on the best approach. I upgraded from 4.0 to 5.0, but I'm holding off on version 6-- 5.0 does everything I need it to do.

brenly
01-31-2007, 10:48 PM
just wondering if there was any news on Modos animation ...

CGmascot
02-01-2007, 10:38 AM
Hey HarverdGrad, thanks for the suggestion and info.
I am still considering XSI also. The technical aspects of it scared me 4-5 years ago, but it may be easier now. And for sure it has better cloth than Lightwave - most animation software do, probably ;) Anyway I will know where to go after running through the demos for some time.

Brenly, as far as I know animation is still a long way in coming to Modo. News, peeks into new stuff and such on Luxology forums mostly advertise the coming sculpting tools. I guess they will make Modo first the "all it can be" software in modeling&sculpting&texturing&rendering and then, maybe, go for animation. But that is just my take.

brenly
02-02-2007, 03:18 AM
that sounds good .. Id like to see Modo become the absolute no1 modeller first before taking on the animation giants ...

xfon5168
02-06-2007, 01:14 AM
Hi folks!

IDEAS
Modo + Cinema 4D R10 + Mocca 3 module
Would get good anim tools, muscle-tools too and great and easy cloth but a lacking renderer. Last bit could be fixed with Vray plugin once it's done but that's in unknown future. Other downside is total price. Effects would have to be done in other software also.

- Sleepy

I would disagree. 1. The Renderer is fine, it's just a little slow on GI stuff, but it's still a good renderer. VRay isn't all THAT great so don't bank on it. But I suppose it depends on what you do.

The Muscles in the Mocca Module are not that great. Theyre still kinda primitive at that point. Nothing like a Maya system. But overall it's not that expensive. It'd be like 1000 Euros for Cinema + Mocca 3. If you didn't need Cloth, you could get by with Just the Core Package which is like 684 Euros I think.

Just thought I'd point these things out. Good Luck in your search.

CGmascot
02-06-2007, 12:14 PM
Xfon,

Thank you for the info and pointers. Yes, I know the prices and most discounts I can get.

Regarding the muscle-system.. could well be that I'm just a victim of good marketing from Maxon ;) Good to know they are not that special - also a little bit sad. I can't compare to Maya, got no experience there and really I'm still only begun testing Cinema. I've done muscles only in Max(with CS) some years ago and some tests in Lightwave. Messiah:Studio seems to have solid ways to muscles.

Whatever I go for I would need cloth or a very good work-around.

Anyway this is a long process.. searching and experimenting with demos.

-Sleepy

selfmadepixels
02-14-2007, 01:21 AM
Well i would suggest the first pipeline, ie Modo + C4D.....but at this time, have u tried the C4D modeler set ? no one can imagine what it has become by time, fast and accurate...give it a REAL try...
...for the muscle system it's at its beginning and can't be simply compared to Maya or whatever more affirmed...but works good, easy to set up and the Mocca 3 set responds better....
...for the renderer it definitely needs a revision, just for the GI (which is anyway good) while on the other aspects it has a wonderful balance between time and appearance....
Bye bye

CGmascot
02-14-2007, 09:41 PM
Well i would suggest the first pipeline, ie Modo + C4D

Cheers OneDeadPixel. No, I haven't truly tried C4D modeler set yet, just played around. Will do more later, probably. But as I found Modo's approach very appealing and also rest of it to my liking and easy to get into, and as I ordered it a few weeks ago, I reckon Modo will fill modeling&texturing part of the pipeline for me.

Thank you for all the info on C4D, good to know. I am still considering C4D for animation. The decision making process will take some time, I'm sure.

edcorusa
02-15-2007, 12:22 PM
Have you looked into Carrara 5 Pro? I know it is from DAZ, but it is a great program and has a number of features. It has a limited modeling, but with Modo it would work great.

selfmadepixels
02-15-2007, 02:56 PM
But as I found Modo's approach very appealing and also rest of it to my liking and easy to get into, and as I ordered it a few weeks ago, I reckon Modo will fill modeling&texturing part of the pipeline for me.

Well this was a suggestion mostly based on my usual workflow and so i told you...i was a LW user for some years, and only from version 8 i re-discovered C4D...so, now i'm usual to its feeling and even i've deeply tried Modo i can't leave C4D again...but for the animation side i can suggest it without doubt, esepcially now at version 10 which has gained some real benefits..
One thing that i can add is that you have to look further every software's capabilities...try to find something that can exchange datas with other software for almost every aspect in a comfortable way...so is animation and compositing which are crucials...a software with an astonishing animation set has also to give you possibilities to export animation tracks and sequences that can be used in compositing softwares without banging your head.
Bye

madgodz
02-20-2007, 02:19 AM
btw, if you are on a budget, you can use either blender or milkshape to animate. both are free and support importing .fbx files.

milkshape:
http://chumbalum.swissquake.ch/ms3d/index.html

blender:
http://www.blender.org/

CGmascot
02-20-2007, 11:21 PM
OneDeadPixel
Thanks again. I agree with your thougts on what's important when picking the software. Yes, I intend to test quite a bit before buying. Will take some time.

Madgodz
Cheers, I do appriciate.

I'll look into Blender. Milkshape's interface gave me the shivers, and I only used it as a go-between getting some models from SiegeMax(Gmax) to Modo. Well, maybe shouldn't say much before futher testing. I do plan to invest some funds to the animation tool, it has to be good, so the budget is not sooo much an issue.

LetterRip
02-24-2007, 08:58 AM
Blender doesn't support FBX. Milkshape may have FBX support it isn't really suitable as an animation tool. You can use Blender for serious animation work and it is being used in a feature animation as the only tool used for animating, modeling, rendering, etc.

People need to read the requirements - requires cloth and muscle animation. Blender has cloth. For the muscle - none of the muscle solutions for any of the software given sounds like what he wants. XSI, Cinema 4D, Blender or Messiah can fake muscle 'okay' but I don't think any of the four will do things like skin sliding and automated volume preserving muscle contraction.

LetterRip

Apollux
02-24-2007, 11:24 AM
and automated volume preserving muscle contraction.LetterRip
Blender bones actually can do that, itīs turned off by default (LR, you should know better :) )

jacobo3d
03-23-2007, 09:51 AM
Just a suggestion I was thinking about, talking about including modo into a work pipeline...

I guess implementing animation into modo is a hard work to do, and maybe we're not goint to get that soon, so I think it would be a great feature for modo (in the meantime full animation is not added in modo) the ability to read MDD and/or Point Cache files, the option to import camera animation from any other software, and maybe (the previous two features would be more than enough for me) a basic timeline to add/remove keys (to animate cameras and lights)
So, modo (modelling, UV, texturing, etc...) + Any other soft (animation) + modo again (lighting and rendering).
Of course effects like particles, etc.. should be done in another package, but, wouln't be great to at least render animation in modo? (and with no need to learn rigging and animating in it).
I'm not an modo owner, just checked the demo (and I've worked in a place where they used it), and I think it's an amazing piece of software. It's just the fact it doesn't have animation capabilities what makes me wait to buy it.

anyway.. just think it's a good idea... :)

CGmascot
03-30-2007, 09:49 AM
Jacobo3d
Interesting idea and good, I agree. I too would enjoy lighting and rendering an animation made somewhere else in Modo. The idea has been presented before at Luxology forums, I think. Perhaps you should add your support for it there.

LetterRip & Apollux
Thank you for the detailed info. Sorry for the very late reply.

Yes, my requirements are varied. I'm not looking for all bels and whistles though. Skin sliding and such would be nice, but what I really want is a comfortable to use, stable and fast enough animation software - including cloth and muscle. And if things like cloth have to be done with tricks, I prefer the tricks to be easy and functional.

Maybe Blender then. Still haven't looked into it but will in coming months.

jacobo3d
03-30-2007, 11:49 AM
Sleepyghost

I've suggested that idea to Luxology, and it seems like there are good news about it for the next modo version (and even more :)).
For now, there's a plugin called Frame Runner that reads MDD files into modo (somebody just told me that when I've suggested the MDD thing in the Luxology forum... I didn't know it :))

CGmascot
04-03-2007, 09:10 PM
Thanks Jacobo3d. Sounds interesting and, well, very good. I didn't know about the Frame Runner, either. Sweet :)

mdee
04-05-2007, 04:50 PM
I am afraid that there is no easy, fast and comfortable to use cloth (not to mention muscle system) software avaliable in off-the shelf aplications, especially cheap ones - except if all you need to make are waving flags and bicep demos, then anything will do. The best thing which you can buy is syflex (which is pretty close to what you described as fast and comfortable) and lately maya ncloth. As for muscle, Michael Comet cmuscle has good opinion and I've heard good things about Max's CAT plugin, but never tested it myself.

If you just want to rig and animate your model, XSI Foundation will give you best bang for the buck, but rigging in XSI didn't change much since version 4.0 (which is good thing). Anyway if technical aspects of rigging scared you before, technical aspects of muscle and cloth simualtions/rigging will be a nightamre for you.. on top of rigging.

I think what you need is some sort of Max's biped or equivalent plugin.

Shonner
04-07-2007, 07:30 AM
Have you looked into Carrara 5 Pro? I know it is from DAZ, but it is a great program and has a number of features. It has a limited modeling, but with Modo it would work great.

Rendering in Carrara is very slow. Sort of defeats the purpose of using modo.

CGmascot
04-10-2007, 10:26 PM
I am afraid that there is no easy, fast and comfortable to use cloth (not to mention muscle system) software avaliable in off-the shelf aplications...

Thanks Mdee. That was one of the most to-the-point answers around. Yes, do I need a bit more than muscle demos and waving flags, but at the moment it looks most likely that I will dress the characters to suit the tools I have - in effect do what I can with simulation, loose what clothes I can, and maybe do some with bones. For the muscles I don't need anything overly fancy, just decent.

It was not the rigging that scared me as such, it was more the my feel of Softimage XSI back then. Somehow my memory is in style of: "set dependency here, in this submenu do this and, please remember, here also.. oh and don't forget this and this". Maybe it was the teaching, maybe it was me jumping into this school in the middle of the term.. Anyway should give it a try again.

Max's Bibed does help a ton indeed, but also I had none of the trouble to adding my own wings&hands-rig with slider-controls and whatnot to it. Yet I don't own Max now and don't plan on purchasing just for the biped.

I'm tickled by Messiah now. Don't know if I'll end up with that in the end, though.

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