Looking for a specialized animation solution


Hi, I’m looking for an animation solution under $1000 that will allow me to easily handle overlapping geometry (Cloth and Flexible equipment for characters) that bends and deforms. I want to do this without getting Clipping and geometry passing through other geometry. I use Lightwave primarily for rendering and would like a better weighting system that is easy to control, is messiah known for this kind of thing?


While there are ways to do convincing clothing in messiah I’d suggest that no, its not what you’re looking for. I say this on the assumption (from your text) that you’re looking for a true cloth simulationsystem that is easy to set up and manage.

messiah works more on clever design and stylized dynamics, wherein you weight areas and apply dynamics. There is a powerful softbody dynamics engine, but no true cloth simulation - sic. its not optimized for that specific solution.



Yes, thanks, I deeply appreciate the help. I’ll elaborate: I’m working with warrior SciFi characters that battle through the elements and have tight fitting cloth (Think Leather or Neoprene) that is thick and doesn’t wrinkle much. So really I won’t need dynamics other than some kind of “Force” that keeps this thick clothing from Passing through another surface when limbs and spine bend about. There won’t be any sliding or waving of fabric going on. In lightwave I often have the issue of the weight mapping not providing enough control to keep one surface of geometry from slipping into another surface.

I was hoping to do all of this without having to resort to dynamic collision detection. So I guess I was hoping for something like softimage where I can control the deformations with morphs that are driven by bones or the like. Only I don’t really want to have to buy such an expensive program since I only need this one ability :slight_smile:

I know that Messiah provides field wieghting similar to lightwave but how far does that level of contol go?


Well, that all sounds very doable… rigged clothing / attire constraints with 2nd level dynamics applied after this base effect. How are your rigging skills?

messiah’s weighting solutions are very powerful… but you’ll have to get used to the way they are implemented. There is a weight map plugin and a very powerful effector system, so if you are masochistic and like the weight-painting solution you can import that from LW. The metaeffectors have the advantage of being mesh independent, so you can adapt and change your mesh with little or no effort in adjusting weights. This can be very helpful when individualizing a group of soldiers or such…


Aha, when you said “independent” “rigged clothing” and “Attire constraints”, I think that is what I’m after. Though it might be benificial to use LW’s weight maps I think meta-effectors might be more beneficial, I’m tired of not being able to add weights to my meshes within my animation environment. So you think meta effectors will provide rigged clothing and attire contraints? That’s all I really need I think.

My rigging skills are good but not expert level. I rigged a character like this in lightwave using reverse heels, joints and a spline IK plugin for the tail I’m still looking for a better way to rig necks and spines though:


A lot of overlapping geometry in this one because it was easier to model that way and I wanted some parts of the cloth to be translucent. It was tough painting in translucency, that didn’t work too well so a system where I could overlap translucent materials might work better if I had some way to rig certain sections of the cloth when the character moves. The weighting worked ok for this type character that has “Form Fitting” gear and other stuff in LW but man that was a pain.


I think what your after is smart skin. Thats not something messiah has at the moment. But in terms of control, I’d put messiah way above lightwave. There are all SORTS of crazy things you can do to get joints to bend exactly the way you want them too and work with soft/hard objects within the geometry.


Ah, you mean use animated controller objects for weighting?


Well yea messiah excels at that. Smart skin is something different though. ITs when you can go in and manipulate points on the model and bind that morph to a position of the bone.


Well yea messiah excels at that. Smart skin is something different though. ITs when you can go in and manipulate points on the model and bind that morph to a position of the bone.

What about Messiah’s point animation tool?


Ever find that useful?


Yes actually I have used it in a couple projects so far to solve this very problem. Some clothing was penetrating an arm on my character at a certain frame and I just went in and very quickly had it solved with point animation.

If it was more set driven. . . or you could very easily create clusters (morph targets) from point animation I think it could do exactly what your looking for. Maybe peksi has something in the works. You can ask him if you’d like. Just go to setuptab dot com and click on the chat tab on the top. He is usually in there chatting with us.


Wow thanks, things that I’m not awarz. Sounds like I found a winner, I give the demo a go.


regarding cloth, all the programs, ncloth, syflex etc… have + and -.
is more the settings and experience that you will be needing to tweek to desire solution.


this is a very nice way of starting.


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