HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Character Animation


#1

Ok in order to clear the air, I have decided to post a series of threads
where ideas on how to improve Lightwave can be posted in an organized fashion.
The idea is to provide an one stop place where developers (from Newtek, or independent)can come in and get ideas.

This thread along with its sister threads:

HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Character Animation
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Dynamics
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Effects
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Layout
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Modeling
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Rendering
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: SDK and plug-in development
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Interoperability with other apps
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Workflow
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Expressions

…will be used to provide input on ho to move Lightwave back into the forefront of CG graphics.

But in order to keep things positive (glass half full), and make it something
worth while, there are some rules for this thread:

1) STAY ON TOPIC:
Please dont provide rants, just provide your ideas.
2) NO BASHING:
No bashing Lightwave or any other app. I mean it.
3) LINKS:
If new research is pointed out, please provide links to it.
4) PROVIDE EXAMPLES:
Show us real life examples on how your idea would help you.
5) WORKFLOW
Please along with your comment, provide suggestions of how to
implement the concept or idea on the workflow. Workflow is one of the
things that make Lightwave what it is.
6) KEEP IT POSITIVE
The can do attitude is what made this community once great, cynicism is
killing it. Someone once told me “Optimism is an act of defiance”.

Thanks,
-Roberto
PS Ill post the other threads later today.


#2

QuarternionBooster should be applied by default to bones.


#3

I haven’t updated to 8 as of yet. I’m using 7.5, haven’t been exposed to the Dope Sheet or anything like that yet so some of my suggestions may have been addressed.

Better tools in the graph editor for manipulating keys. More views in the viewports…i.e. Graph Editor, Attribute Editors, ect. Real-time playback.


#4

Excuse me, but that does Quaternion Booster do? I don’t get anything valuable out of the manual’s definition. What does it do valuable in practice?


#5

NLM (Non Linier Morph) like Pawel Olas did. :love:


#6

A specific Spine control system as XSI has

like this…

http://www.isner.com/isnerspine/spine_introduction.htm

Fully set up IK/FK blending and Dynamic Parenting

being able to rotate Objects around Objects, not only their own pivot


#7

Basically no gimbal locks :slight_smile:


#8

I saw this video about rigging in 3DSmax for things like Bouncing Breast Simulation and moving muscles, and I want thinking around have Bones with options, such as constraining the tips any way you want…

Such as if I want to have my character’s breasts bounce and shake like the real thing, let us have that…


#9

LW doesnt have bouncing breast button, but it has “Soft FX” ~> does a perfect job for this


#10

I forgot about that one…


#11

Faster calculations (IK, deformations, openGL, etc, etc…)


#12

I haven’t gotten too far into CA stuff yet but I (and this was the first thing to make me seriously think about a unified app) would love to have ALL of the functionality of modeling skelegons including being able to use (modeler style) shift-V and symmetry and mirror when drawing bones. 8 falls just a little short but was a jump in the right direction.


#13
  1. Hirachical layering of effects.
    All too often one deformer wont work with another, most ofter overwriting all deformers below it. Certain other programs (Messiah, XSI) handle this by having a stacking system for deformers so that the first is applied, the second reads the first and then applies it’s effect on top, and so on up the stack.

  2. Weighted/animateable constraints.
    Character goues to pick up a ball, at the momment of contact the ball is constrained to the hand. Animated weighting should help to make the transition more fluid.

  3. Playback speed.
    You still have to turn off the majority of your deforms to get decient playback in LW.

  4. Simplify the tools.
    Admitedly I haven’t done too much character animation in LW since version 8 was released, but I went from being Ok’ish in LW7.5, to being totally lost in LW8. There were bone tools here there and everywhere, all doing slightly different things, all the interphaces looking/working as though they come from completely different programs (probably due to their 3rd party origins).

  5. Seriously consider dramatically redesigning the Layout interface.
    I find it completely amazing that some people claim they don’t want an integrated LW because they don’t want a “cluttered” interface ? I now find the default Layout interface the most cluttered and confussing place I have ever worked. It now takes me ages to set up the interface to where I feal comfortable after each new upgrade.
    The current interface of buttons down the side and along the bottom with tabs along the top was fine in LW-5.0 because there weren’t (relatively) that many tools. And it’s still fine for LW-8 Modeler because each person can set it up for the limited number of tools they are likely to need. However I believe that Layout has totally outgrown this format and needs a dramatic overhaul.
    Start by integrating as many tools as possible as per suggestion #4, then consider specific layout designs for specific tasks, possibly each housed under the current tab system. Think of it, one layout for translating objects around a scene, a completely different and optimised layout for rigging, another layout designed specifically for rendering and render effects.
    Take a serious look at Motion Builder. A totally customisable interface, but with a default set of different layouts for different tasks.

  6. Predefined rigs with controllers and constraints.
    Sometimes if you just want a simple walk cycle of a character walking along in the distance you don’t want to spend half an hour or so building a rig, setting up controls and limits, you just want to drop the rig on the character, make a few quick adjustments for size/shape, animate and go. The new RIG file is somewhat in the right direction, but with just bone positions it is less than half way to being useful.

  7. Absolute lock for goals.
    Apply enough force on a rig (or very little, depending on how you have it set up), and it will pull away from it’s IK goals. Absolute lock would freeze the end bone to the exact distance from it’s goal that it was when IK was first enabled. Sure you can mess around with goal weights and rig styles, but a simple switch would be far simpler.

  8. Automatic collission detection for goals.
    No more zooming in on a foot to make sure it doesn’t penatrate the undulating terrain, just move the goal down as far as it will go, when it wont go any further you know it’s on the floor. Spiderman on all fours crawling over a obsticle strewn rooftop - a breeze.


#14

Another case for the unified App.

To get really accurate joint morphs usually entails bending the joint in Layout, saving out an endomorph, re-load the object in Modeler (so the new endomorph is seen), copy the new endomorph, sculpt one of the endomorphs to the shape you want, apply the copied version over the top at -100% to remove the joint bend, back into Layout and apply it with Joint Morph, remembering the rotation limits that the joint was at when you saved out the original endomorph.
How much easier would it be in a unified app where you could switch on Joint-Morph+, which automatically set the start angle, rotate the join to the max rotation, sculpt the joint with your standard modelling tools, switch off Joint-Morph+ and it’s all done.

The same could be said for weight painting, so much easier to correct the weights on an object as you are stepping through a sample animation.
Vertex paint is absolutly brilliant at what it does, but it’s not a patch on the simplicity of a unified app. Also like too many other things in LW, it looks and works like a completely different application.


#15

I mean like in Animation Master program.
You just pick on the goal and have the offset value too.
Where the forcing for this constraint is also animatable.
Of course i like minimal set of features to avoid mess.

Animation Master is also example of an integrated development enviroment.
To build smartskins on the fly. Adjust bones in default pose to see update of the posed
character immediatly. Of course there are improvements to be made there also.

For instance to access individual vertexes of Morph in graph editor.


#16

A better, more user friendly dopesheet and dopetrack. I would like to see the dopetrack look more like Keytrack,… possible even buy keytrack from Mark and improve it.

More flexible grouping and selecting options for character sets. Something like what comes with T4D’s tools and keytrak.

Pose saver controls like MotionBuilder would be nice,… allowing mirroring and offset placement according to a specified null or IK controller. This would also work well with an improved rig format,… one that offered fast auto setups or reusable rigs.

I know Peter Jespersen was working on some auto bone tools that looked nice,… very innovative stuff. I’d love to see that added.

I like the smartmorph tools as they will go a long way toward fixing deformation issues but a lw native fix would be better.


#17

A new bones system, with built-in handles. IKBoost is definitely a step in the right direction, but I think the whole implementation of bones in Layout could be updated to work faster with IK and be easier to move and pose.

Sometimes I look at LW animations and think that a lot of the subtle, secondary motion that is so easy to get in Maya is harder to achieve with LW.


#18

Easier setups and reusable rigs are more common and make the slow rigging (for me at least) and boring set up jobs not so boring. That is a good thing. So I am longing for the next step. Something for the really lazy ones. (Or maybe pressed in time, possibly). Parametric Movement Rigs, or Automators. Available in a window, easy to find the right one. Place it in the scene. Adjust them to the model. Hook it up/glue it to your model. Make the adjustments in movement speed etc. Preview and activate for keyframe creation. Easy as that. The Parametric Movement Rigs (just my name for it), could be Legs making a walk cycle. Adjusters could be speed and stride length. Arms could be seperate, but hooked on as well. All movements should be precalculated, and allow adjustments. Another one could be Vehicle, with adjusters for speed as well. Maybe floor contact detection. One could be 6 legger, etc. This would be something like Motion Capture, but broken down to pieces of body action/parts action. And with possibilities of adjustments and maybe blending in some easy way.

Maybe a rework of the posing system (keyframer) and MotionMixer in conjunction with the above could result in a even more user friendly playground.

I know I am dreaming a little here, but somebody could maybe find it somewhat inspiring.


#19
  • Integrated Keytrack (allowing manage endomorphs track and any other channels, no only Position, Rotation and Scale).

  • A working spline control.

  • Real setup mode like Character Studio or Messiah.

  • Quaternion bones control like Animation Master (not that ikbooster thing)

  • Easy constrain functions like Animation Master

  • And of course fully integrated tools I mean all works with all.

  • animateable rail extrusion and booleans.

  • onion skin like messiah


#20

Is an animatebale/enveloped rest position do-able, or needed?

Motion Mixer files couldn’t be used outside of MM, if I understand the app., which seems a shame.

I would make the app stereo 3D to kick a**. But I’m silly that way.

Block editing is handy when you need it, but I have yet to figure it out in LW; I’m guessing it’s not there.