After a long Messiah & Lightwave hiatus I’m looking at upgrading to the latest versions of both with an eye of Modeling/detailing in LW/Z-Brush, then animating in Messiah, then rendering from Lightwave.

Are there any issues with multiple displacement etc. rendering Messiah displaced and ZBrush displaced objects from Lightwave?

Any insight into any issues I might have would be greatly appreciated.



Everything works well for the Lightwave, ZBrush and Messiah pipeline.

If you plan on rendering in Lightwave, you can use displacement maps and .mdd files to help collide all work together for a LW render.

Check out this really quick render test I did…


Now I used the .mdd for the test animation done in Messiah and applied displacement maps through the node system in LW.

Now working with multi-displacement maps I have done in Messiah rather LW.

Check this test run clip…

[/u]I used two displacement maps on this sample clip and used a weightspot node as well as meta-effectors to make one displacment map transparent while the second displacement becomes visible. Using and animating the meta effectors can help blend and provide control between your multiple maps. Whether its with multi-displacement maps, multi-color maps or both, this process worked well in Messiah.

Few suggestions:

[li]Model needs to be all in quads to help ease this process and have non-visible seams of your UV’s[/li][li]I used AUV’s in ZBrush once my topology is fully in quads.[/li][li]you might need to down load a displacement plugin for LW to apply your displacement through that plugin and use the node system of displacement for the .mdd motion file.[/li][li]If you have trigons (tripolys), you might have to create your UV’s with the unwrapping traditional method. For game development this process is ideal. For movies, I just use AUV’s in ZB.[/li][li]If UVed traditionally with the unwrap method, be sure to have your UV’s on a 0:1 grid size, use buffer zones for multiple UV’s and create your seams in a non visible place.[/li][/ul]Thats all I can think of on top of my head. I am currently making a short and plan on making tutorials off the short using various applications. Only I have not had time due to major contract duties.

I love Messiah’s modular system and highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the shaders so you can accomplish so much with ease. I havent really messed with Lightwave’s shaders but if anything, I just render passes with alphas and use Fusion to composite my 3D characters on top of Vue Infinite scenes. Vue works with tripolys and just migrating your 3D quad based characters into Vue for renders will not work. To mimic the lighting arrangement in Vue, I create high dynamic range images, create a panoramic image of four composited static shots, create a lightprobe then apply the HDRI in Messiah or Lightwave to get the fill light onto your character that will match Vue’s light setup.

Sorry for babbling on other topics and approaches but I wanted you to get an idea of how other applications work together.

I had plenty of trial and error moments so feel free to ask questions to see if I came across the same situations you might stumble onto.



Thanks so much for your brilliant and comprehensive reply!(bloomin heck you made movies to illustrate your point!)

I’ll make sure I come back with any questions when I do my upgrades and begin work.

I look forward to seeing your short film.



Great! It always makes me feel good to help out others as others helped me.

I understand how frustrating this kind of production can be. I wished I had someone give me a quick run down on what to avoid when I started.

Just some more recommendations that really helped me see the bigger picture.

[li]Use JasonRyanAnimation.com techniques with flipbook for solving your animation. Then create an image sequence that will be migrated onto a 3D plane for rotoscoping purpose of your 3D rigs. This totally beats playing with a rig for hours just trying to get an idea of a desired animated solution to a character or to even obtain a simple pose in 3D. Basically you would want a blue print of your animation in 2D and finalize your animation in 3D. Doing a straight forward process of animating in 3D can get hectic and very time consuming. Animation process is so subjective so its important to know when to do straight ahead approaches and how to use pose to pose and the combination of the two.[/li][li]Bare in mind of your edge flow of your model. Joe Cosman tutorials are brilliant and the advanced tutorials he has available can further explain proper edge flows for facial animations that can lead to many ideas of how to apply similar techniques throughout the body.[/li][li]For eyes, ears and mouth, use edge loops. No holes in the geometry what so ever. This complicates algorithm calculations in ZBrush when subdividing and may conflict your maps when migrating work onto other 3D apps.[/li][li]Really concentrate on making prototype scenes and propriety tools when working. In this industry, investors favor fast and effecient results. To survive, you should have an archive of universal props that integrates well into other applications. You want to limit starting from scratch as much as possible. This will make your life easier and provide quick results when your director tests you. Have a complex rig in Messiah?–dissect it and create setup scripts for your self to apply portions of the rig thats IK/FK solved onto other models. Create a simple quad polyed universal man, woman and various quadruped characters that can easily be pipelined into ZBrush, Lightwave, Messiah and other apps. Doing so will save yourself an outstanding amount of time. In this career, time is everything so you must be resourceful as much as possible to be one of the prestigious specimens in the world of film and game development.[/li][/ul]Hope this helps for it surely helps me in all my career endeavors.

All the best,




On your reel, you had a character with a cape, what was your settings for the soft body dynamics?


Hey EvilGnome
I see you allready have your answers but I still wanted to share that for me the pipeline Zbrush - Messiah ( Pointoven export) - Lichtwave ( + Fprime ) works really well. It makes thing come to life in such a fast tempo … just fun stuff :slight_smile: :slight_smile: It’s quick and looks great.
Thats how I do PlanktonInvasion



Click on links.

[li]SoftBodyParameters[/li][li]SoftMapping[/li][li]Collsion[/li][li]Anubis_AVI sample[/li][/ol]SoftBody Paramters:

   Not much going on here, everything in picture is self explanatory.  No particular reasoning why I set these parameters. I spent time playing with the values until desired result. Gravity scale was set to 9.8 at first for a base foundation by applying a real world gravitational pull. Tweaked it up to 1.0 to get a heavier result for cape. Other parameters like fluid density and damping was just my play time with the settings with soft-body effect. 


    Showing that I added a metafector to help provide a collision asset.


   Just a picture of collision settings. My newer setup had it to where I added a 3D plane, applied the metaeffector onto plane, set collision setting onto plane or if not that--the metaeffector. This was an idea on having the cape collide with a ground. Also was going to do a test with animated procedurals with multiple alpha images to deform the plane and create a terrain. The altered terrain with animated procedurals would collide to cape. Later, animated waves of deformation onto terrain consists collision detection to both cape and character.  Unfortunately, I cant seem to find the current scene right off hand with all the saved versions I got going on with that project.  

I havent touched this project scene for a long time so I dont recall the methods and approaches off hand. The ideas are out there and the tests done with this contract was very very fun. Messiah is such a powerful tool.



Plankton Invasion is awesome. I saw the advertisement some time ago. Very funny cast of characters you got going on there. Love the blog.

How long did it take you guys to pull all that off?

What compositing programs did the team use?

What application was used for final 3D renders?

Do you guys have a stereoscopic/analglyph versions for 3D glasses of this invasion?

Great source of Messiah utilization towards movie.

I also use FPrime…its great and fast. Also love using HDR shop—its a great third party sub-app. to create HDR image assets.

Well…have to get back to work on both my short and this post production contract…Take it easy fellas.




Thanks so much for the imput guys.

Thur: Plankton Invasion is cool! A speedy production process is definitely what I’m after.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve fired up Messiah, my last Messiah project was a trailer for a religious musical which I finished some time ago.(try several years)

So I’ve been out of thr Messiah/LW world for a while. Attracted back by whispers of LW 9.5 having decent hair and fur, sphere lights and better CA.

I’m keen to get back into it and use some bones for facial animation, simple in Messiah, much more complex to achieve in Max for a luddite like me, and much nicer results from LW/Messiah.



Great that you like the planktonics
To answer those questions

How long did it take you guys to pull all that off?

The idea grew a year ago and have invested all my spare time in it since then :slight_smile:

Except for some voices and the website scripting, it has been a one-man-team behind the movies and concept. Most epsiodes are made in 1 month,

My partners at Tinkertree are working hard right now to change that. Hopefully building a team soon and allow me to catch a breath :slight_smile:
There is one person who is joining the Messiah animation/rigging department soon, helping a hand in his spare-spare-spare time. You all know him and he will reveal himself soon :slight_smile:

   What compositing programs did the team use? 

Digital Fusion but most is done within Lightwave ( DOF - Fog distance, ect )
What application was used for final 3D renders?
Lightwave & Fprime
Do you guys have a stereoscopic/analglyph versions for 3D glasses of this invasion?
That is something that we are thinking about but until this project is funded, there will be no time to look in to it. The movie: “Fly me to the moon” convinced me of the possibilities. Ben Stassen and his team did an amazing job on that
Great source of Messiah utilization towards movie.

I also use FPrime…its great and fast. Also love using HDR shop—its a great third party sub-app. to create HDR image assets. Interesting :slight_smile:


Hi guys. Does anyone know of any resources / tutorials on the web relating to the aforementioned pipeline: Zbrush > Messiah > Pointoven export process. Have not used pointoven and my pipeline is more like: Zbrush > Lightwave Scene > Messiah for CA back into Lightwave for scene rendering. Would lkike to know more.

Thur: Great work. Truly inspiring.


You may be able to garner a pearl or two from Tony’s Lord of Darkness tutorial. It’s a couple years old but I believe it’s still applicable.


Thanks chikega - that is great info.


Thanks for the reply Thur:beer:!

Thanks for sharing that link Chikega. I too had it saved for a rainy day. Tony Jung is awesome for sharing that chunk of knowledge.



So how vital is Point Oven in this process?

Is the Messiah-> LW link good enough or does it really require Point Oven to function in a sane way?




Messiah now comes with a built-in mdd reader and baker
Lw does have a good mdd reader but this one beats it


XSI has now point oven

But point oven is inexpensive good and constantly updated so still a good option getting
it to transfer stuff to Maya or Max…


You do not need PointOven but what PO will do for you is a one click process when you have multiple objects and .mdd files (especially if you going to do high detail characters in Zbrush - armored characters anyone!). All objects, lights, nulls, cameras are managed by the PO interface.

You also have access to Maya and Max via PO.


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