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Good rigging and animation software?


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#1 Gilded

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 07:19 PM

I've been looking around for a while now for rigging and animation alternatives and was wondering if anyone had suggestions. I'm nearing the end of my maya student license and I'm not sure I'll be going back anytime soon. I've learnt the program pretty thoroughly and many of the methods seem archaic (I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about the clunky weight painting and the week I wasted on a maya muscle rig).

Honestly I do all of my modeling and tuxturing (and everything in-between) in 3dcoat now, so all I'm looking for is an alternative program to set scenes up in, rig, and animate.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :D

(I hear XSI is pretty good for animation, any thoughts?)

#2 Psmith

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 09:52 PM

Well, there are so many apps and so many opinions floating around amongst users of these apps - a person can take a real beating and risks starting app wars, just by stating their preference . . .

But, I think, for the money, Blender 2.5 is coming right along as a viable alternative to the "Big 5" apps, for the purposes you mentioned.

You can construct simple character rigs very quickly, and complex ones, (rivaling Maya), not so quickly. Animation is becoming simpler and more intuitive, and, I hear, that Blender's non-linear animation methods are really becoming quick and powerful.

And, just to underline the point - it's cheap!


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#3 Gilded

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 10:02 PM

haha very cheap :D
I used Blender last when it was in the 2.4x stage so a lot has changed. I've been following their updates and it's very impressive. When I was using Blender I actually liked it more than Maya, but Maya is an industry standard so I spent more time with it.

I was wondering if there was a better workflow out there in any of the applications. I find weight painting and such as it is to be very frustrating to set up a good rig (especially if the mesh is fairly high resolution). I was curious if there were something that did the same type of revamping of the workflow for rigging and animation that is comparable to what 3dc is doing for modeling.

(I mentioned XSI because I heard something about "ice" or something like that which was "node based" rigging)

#4 RichL

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 10:06 PM

One to consider, Messiah, the basic version offers a good deal of punch for the dollars, it is not free, but it is not as expensive as many of the players in the market. Plus there is a cool connection plugin from 3DCoat to Messiah that is pretty handy.

If money is an object, Blender as has been mentioned, and the Mod version of XSI is a cool application, not all of the bells and whistles of the commercial version, but I used to play around in it a lot.

Messiah http://www.projectme...om/x6/shop.html
You may qualify for the Autodesk discount :) give the demo a try, check out the VTMS and also give a look at setup tab (an independent forum for Messiah users) http://www.setuptab.com/

HTH

Good luck with your search

Rich

#5 Psmith

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 11:20 PM

Well, regarding "intuitive" methods of working, (rigging in particular), the pickings are slim, indeed.

And, I heard you mention "industry standard" - Oh boy, right there you rule out the "intuitive" aspect, entirely.

But, if you care not what industry says or does - I could recommend Poser rigging and animation - for personal animation projects.

Few people know or understand that Poser rigging supports ANY mesh, any shape - and it is quite fast to set up - not only so, but the deformations it produces are really quite good. And don't forget morphing - Poser is good at morphing - and the "Walk Designer" - can't recommend that one highly enough, (bipeds, only).

If you can navigate away from the approval of the snobs, (professionals), without suffering an incapacitating blow to your ego - Poser rigging is actually a "friendly, intuitive" choice, by today's standards.

Now, if we turn the dial on the "Wayback" machine to some time ago - Animanium dared to introduce truly intuitive character rigging and animation tools - but "The Professionals" with a capital "P", shot it down, and Sega got spooked and cancelled the project. Too bad, too bad.


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#6 AbnRanger

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 01:14 AM

I've been looking around for a while now for rigging and animation alternatives and was wondering if anyone had suggestions. I'm nearing the end of my maya student license and I'm not sure I'll be going back anytime soon. I've learnt the program pretty thoroughly and many of the methods seem archaic (I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about the clunky weight painting and the week I wasted on a maya muscle rig).

Honestly I do all of my modeling and tuxturing (and everything in-between) in 3dcoat now, so all I'm looking for is an alternative program to set scenes up in, rig, and animate.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :D

(I hear XSI is pretty good for animation, any thoughts?)

Autodesk recently expanded the student license from 1yr to 3yrs. If you are still a student, you can go to students.autodesk.com and register. That is if you haven't already done so.

Personally, Maya is highly regarded and the most widely used for Character Animation. Although there are other good options out there, if you have already gotten acquainted with the CA tools in Maya, I'd say stick with it. There are inexpensive plugins for Maya that help accelerate the rigging process...such as Face Machine and the Setup Machine:
http://www.anzovin.com/products.html

I'm a Max user, so I'm not a Maya fanboy. It's just a matter of you already being familiar with one of the top CA toolsets...might as well build on what you already know. Rigging has never been all that easy. CAT and Biped in Max is about as close as you can get to it being easy, but they have their own issues.

#7 Gilded

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:49 PM

Thanks for the responses!

I'm looking into expanding my student license right now (thanks for that, perfect timing).

It seems I'll look into the different plugins for Maya since that might be the least expensive option for me (and sticking with Maya is probably more beneficial for getting a job). I've heard that Maya is considered the standard software for animation several times before, and as far as the animation itself goes, it isn't too bad (there aren't many "intelligent" features, but if the rig is good the animation is pretty straight-forward with lots of curve and time control). I've never been a fan of the disjointed processes in Maya for rigging, setting up controls, painting weights and other information, and the lack of real-time, smooth feedback. For a piece of software with so many iterations it doesn't feel very advanced (or refined).

Messiah seemed promising with it's fast rigging and intelligent weighting, but plugins may be the realistic answer to streamlining the rigging and animation process for me as of now.

Thanks :good:

#8 AbnRanger

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 09:52 AM

Thanks for the responses!

I'm looking into expanding my student license right now (thanks for that, perfect timing).

It seems I'll look into the different plugins for Maya since that might be the least expensive option for me (and sticking with Maya is probably more beneficial for getting a job). I've heard that Maya is considered the standard software for animation several times before, and as far as the animation itself goes, it isn't too bad (there aren't many "intelligent" features, but if the rig is good the animation is pretty straight-forward with lots of curve and time control). I've never been a fan of the disjointed processes in Maya for rigging, setting up controls, painting weights and other information, and the lack of real-time, smooth feedback. For a piece of software with so many iterations it doesn't feel very advanced (or refined).

Messiah seemed promising with it's fast rigging and intelligent weighting, but plugins may be the realistic answer to streamlining the rigging and animation process for me as of now.

Thanks :good:

Maya 2011 added some new skinning tools (largely adopted from Max, I think), which are envelopes, instead of just weights. But don't let the Messiah videos make you think it's . You still need to paint or adjust vertex weighting by hand, to some degree or another. It's just one of those processes that requires custom work/weighting. You have to go in and handle trouble spots like armpits, shoulders, elbows, knees, etc...with care.

Maya 2011 supposedly has enhanced viewport performance, so playback should be improved. I remember taking a Character Animation class using Maya, and it was fairly good. I still prefer CAT in 3ds MAx because it is really fast and easy to set up, as well as having some great animation tools (CAT Motion to name one)...but it currently has some critical bugs that Autdesk has yet to fix. I'm hoping that will get done when 2012 gets released in a few months.

Still, Maya would be good to stick with if you plan to seek employment in that area.

#9 philnolan3d

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:28 PM

if you're looking for rigging and animation software don't miss out of the amaziong Messiah deal.
http://www.3d-coat.c...topic=7611&st=0
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#10 Gilded

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 06:39 PM

if you're looking for rigging and animation software don't miss out of the amaziong Messiah deal.
http://www.3d-coat.c...topic=7611&st=0


Awesome!

#11 Gilded

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 06:39 PM

if you're looking for rigging and animation software don't miss out of the amaziong Messiah deal.
http://www.3d-coat.c...topic=7611&st=0


Awesome!

#12 Javis

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 08:02 PM

if you're looking for rigging and animation software don't miss out of the amaziong Messiah deal.
http://www.3d-coat.c...topic=7611&st=0





I was just going to point this out. It's a freaking steal at this price! I just picked up two more seats - Another Win and one Linux... :)



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#13 Javis

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 08:02 PM

if you're looking for rigging and animation software don't miss out of the amaziong Messiah deal.
http://www.3d-coat.c...topic=7611&st=0


Vimeo|3DC Training Videos|Portfolio

 

Report any bugs & post feature requests on the 3DC Mantis page: http://3d-coat.com/mantis/





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