Character Animators, What would you do to Improve/Fix Lightwave?


#1

I have posted this thread after reading all the complaints from
a lot of Character animators in this list.
Their complaints are very valid and I feel that they should
consider this thread as your way to make their voices heard.

I made a preliminary list, If I missed anything please feel free to point it out.


*Real-Time Feedback
*More Intuitive Rig Interface
*Better Keying controls
*Non Liner Editing capabilities
*Easier Rig creation
*Rig Reusability
*More intuitive Expressions
*More intuitive Softbody Dynamics
*Other areas (please feel free to comment below)

-Roberto


#2

I think limiting to CA is not only the point.
I would like to be able to :

-Generate geometry while animating (ie. generated extrude, generated particles objects)
-Real deformers as Lattices & curves
-Bezier type motion path
-Velocity curves (graph editor)
-Complete Spreadsheet & dopesheet
-Fully animatable texture (including gradients/Procedural/UV)
-Point level deformation (à la Modeler)


#3

I would look at Motion Builder and Maya and try best to intergrate what they do well into Lightwave. It’s always nice to stay in the same package, and is what most would prefer. But if Motion Builder is only $200…

Can’t disagree with Facial Deluxe.


#4

Alot of LW’s poor animation environment is due to Layout’s poor workflow issues (tons of panels to click through, everything is a damn plugin, nothing can easily be connected, etc.). The other problems are the performance issues and lack of a decent toolset.

The day Modeler and Layout get integrated is the day we can all stop dreaming of a good animation environment. Until then, the best we can hope for is a Project:Messiah like workflow (which has it’s shortcomings, but not nearly as bad as LW).

Too many improvements to list. LW just needs to become more like Maya, XSI, etc. (workflow wise).


#5

Well, I am not such a big fan of integration as Cim is and I am definitely not a fan of copying MAYAs workflow.
What I would love to see is a sort of a setup- mode in Layout, that works like that:
You should be able define one of Layouts viewports to be a Setup- viewport (could be an option like the x- ray- option).
What that means is that it will show the selected character in a Modeler- like object- space- view (only this single object and oriented the way it would be in Modeler). I would suggest to set layout to display multiple- viewports (i.e one camer and one perspective- view). Now you can move the timeslider to whatever position you want (i.e. you are having problems with the rigg at frame 200) and the Setup- viewport will still show your object in its object- space- position.
Now, when you change something about the rigg, you can watch the rigg update in the other viewports at that frame that is making problems. Of course one would do the entire rigging in that viewport too.
I think that this would make those skelegons obsolete in the end.
Hope I was able to explain what I mean.
Another thing I would love to have in Layout is a procedural- object class. So 3rd- parties (and Newtek themselves) can make plugins that allow for object- creation and manipulation (add, subdivide, remove, cut… polygons). Would enable people to do a lot of cool stuff.
Other than that I am pretty happy with LWs animation- capabilities.
CU
Elmar


#6

Messiah shortcoming (a) is that its not integrated in LW which is sad because they have to come up with alternatives to endomorphs and weighting which creates a small newbie barrier.
(b)SBD is not collision but its realtime an very controlable, complete 180 from MD which is collision and NOT realtime, and CPU expensive © its not complete (as is messiah could have been king but I guess poor develpment funding and industry connections and big goals “multiple app integration” really ruin their trackrecord.


#7

Well, I am not such a big fan of integration

Yeah, lets wait until Newtek develops more half-baked 'gons.


#8

Before we go into an integration war…
Lets get back in target for the thread.

I have seen a lot of comments of the need
for real-time animation tools.

Could somebody elaborate?

-Roberto


#9

Facial hit the nail right on the head with his last request. Point level deformation. We should be able to natively animate points in Layout, it seems pretty basic to be able to so.

 There's nothing wrong with Lightwave's workflow (I mean, sure it could be improved but what couldn't?).  Just because it's different then Mayas or any other package doesn't mean it's broken.  I think the few workflow issues that could use improvement should center around rigging taking place all in Layout, thus making joint deformations more intuitive  and better integration of the core of the program.  Things like Motion Designer should be able to read weight maps, stuff like that.  The bone orthopedics plug in is a step in the right direction however, I think that rigging solutions also have theie place within Lightwave.

#10

I would agree that New Tek needs to take a look at programs like Maya, Animation Master and Messiah and incorporate these program’s character animation workflows and capabilities. If they did this, nothing could stop LW. Things I would add?

. DOPE SHEET!!!

. Point Level Deformation (yep I want this too)

. Real-Time Feedback

. Some sort of “Set-Up” mode

. Much better tools for setting up rigs. Maybe even an automatic one (like Motion Builder).

. IK speed increase

. Poses (can be saved with the object file like Animation Master)

. All the other things RobertoOrtiz listed.

There ya go.

-Brian


#11

Better integration with sound. Timeline scrubbing with an audio track is not very responsive. Makes lip synching a real chore.


#12

Basically, I like Elmar’s idea a lot…having a setup mode viewable in a viewport at all times, regardless of what frame you’re on. Something like Orthopedics should be available natively, and of course…MORE SPEED! On my machine, anything with more than 4 or 5 IK chains becomes so slow that it’s pretty much unusable.

I’d also like to see the ability to animate in layers, a la Motionbuilder.

Also, I agree with Shade. Audio needs better integration. You really need some way to see the waveform other than the crappy little thing that shows in the timeline…being able to see the waveform in the graph editor would be sweet! And how about letting us input the audio start time in frames rather than seconds? If I need to offset the audio by 187 frames, I don’t want to have to figure out that that’s 6.2333 seconds (at 30fps) and then enter that!


#13

Ok so What can Lightwave learn from software like
“Motion Builder”?

So far I heard

*Layered motion
*Quick Playback

What else can be added?

-R


#14

Originally posted by RobertoOrtiz
[B]Ok so What can Lightwave learn from software like
“Motion Builder”?

So far I heard

*Layered motion
*Quick Playback

What else can be added?

-R [/B]

Timewarp curves on anything (not just Motion Mixer clips), and while we’re on the subject of Motion Mixer…the ability to define poses (1 frame, as opposed to the 5-frame minimum that a clip must currently contain). Blending modes between clips (whether we want the new clip to be additive or to replace the other motion, etc.), the ability to “pin” motion clips to certain body parts…by which I mean that if you have two clips and say the left foot is in different positions in each, you can tell the new clip to line up the feet and adjust the rest of the motion to fit.


#15

I think E_Moelzer’s idea of a Setup view is a very good idea.

Speed, speed, speed, speed speed! Lightwave is painfully slow when you start using more than 4 or 5 IK chains and expressions. The graph editor, although it has improved dramatically since 6.x, is still too slow. There should be no slowdowns when working with hundreds of channels, or when tracking layout time and/or item selections.

A dopesheet of course. Improved audio scrubbing; I’d love to see a tool similar to Magpie or Lipservice built in. BTW Triple G, the graph editor can load wav files and display the waveform, but I think it should be in a seperate area, not the main graph view. The dopesheet should have an area to display a waveform as well.


#16

I’d like to see a merging of the timeline and graph editor available all the time at the bottom of the screen, like messiah has. Calling up a new window that will likely overlay the work you need to see is a pain.

I’d also like to see a way to rename items by filtering for strings…

If everything is:

Boy_R_Shin
Boy_R_Knee
Boy_R_Foot

It should be easy to rename the “Boy_R_” to “Boy_L_” without hitting Rename for each individual item.

Have I missed this feature somewhere? With all the other workflow improvements, it seems intuitive that a string editor should be available.


#17

Originally posted by webfox
[B]I’d also like to see a way to rename items by filtering for strings…

If everything is:

Boy_R_Shin
Boy_R_Knee
Boy_R_Foot

It should be easy to rename the “Boy_R_” to “Boy_L_” without hitting Rename for each individual item.

Have I missed this feature somewhere? With all the other workflow improvements, it seems intuitive that a string editor should be available. [/B]

I once created an LScript that does that but I never released it since I thought one existed.
You should search for it at Flay.com, if you can’t find anything of the sort, I’ll release it.


#18

Originally posted by DaveW
BTW Triple G, the graph editor can load wav files and display the waveform

I coulda sworn you can’t, and I’ve searched for the last 10 minutes to find a way to do this…care to explain how? :surprised


#19

Originally posted by dragonfollower
[B]I would agree that New Tek needs to take a look at programs like Maya, Animation Master and Messiah and incorporate these program’s character animation workflows and capabilities. If they did this, nothing could stop LW. Things I would add?

. DOPE SHEET!!!

. Point Level Deformation (yep I want this too)

. Real-Time Feedback

. Some sort of “Set-Up” mode

. Much better tools for setting up rigs. Maybe even an automatic one (like Motion Builder).

. IK speed increase

. Poses (can be saved with the object file like Animation Master)

. All the other things RobertoOrtiz listed.

There ya go.

-Brian [/B]

I totally agree with you.


#20

There’s nothing wrong with Lightwave’s workflow (I mean, sure it could be improved but what couldn’t?). Just because it’s different then Mayas or any other package doesn’t mean it’s broken.

It’s easy to see that LW’s workflow is wrong by looking at all the half-assed workarounds. Why walk backwards around the world when you just walk a few feet to get to the other side of the street?

Like I said, the workflow of LW needs to be improved. No matter how many tools you dump into LW, it’ll still have the same underlying issues.

Poses (can be saved with the object file like Animation Master)

I made a script like that (never finished it, though).