I mentioned a couple of blogs ago that we would be watching a live streaming webcast from Lightwave that we could compare and contrast to our own large webcasting effort from before. We were expecting a shining example of webcasting excellence, but it wasn’t quite excellent. The first thing I was met with was again the pop-up error from Flash that I was hoping might be gone once the webcast was actually active.
After trying to dismiss the error and opening up various others browsers, I just conceded to the fact that it wasn’t going to work for me. Now I know how some of our viewers felt. I would classify it as a helpless feeling. Nobody’s perfect. The Lightwave chat also appeared to have problems for everyone. It was either disabled while we watched or just broken. So still wanting to view the 3D modeling and animation tools and techniques they were going to talk about, I went and watched the presentation on Rob’s computer, which was running the webcast just fine.
The presentation itself had some really interesting demos. Of course they made everything look easy and quick with pre-made models and animations to use and a super-fast computer running all the renders. The coolest thing to me was watching the Lightwave hair tools. It was pretty intuitive and way easier than I would have expected. Styling hair was strangely similar to real life, maybe easier. You could basically just brush the hair like you would in the morning. Haircuts were just a matter of pointing and clicking on the spot you want shorter with the appropriate tool. Also pretty interesting was some texturing effects they were demoing. They could meld two textures into each other gradually and also sync the changes to the animation.
Something I was completely unfamiliar with was the use of nodes in modeling/texturing. I wasn’t sure what was going on for the most part, but it looked both complex and simple at the same time. There were complex actions and changes occurring, but they seemingly only required simple drag and drop options to enact. I learned 3D with just a basic class in college using Maya. Maya had something called nurbs, which I think may be similar to nodes. Unfortunately we never actually used nurbs either since we only had time to do one project.
All these features show that the tools we work with keep getting more and more smart and sophisticated. With these advances it should be easier and easier over time for individuals and companies alike to churn out more and more super high-quality 3D animations in a much shorter amount of time. It still won’t be easy, but it will be easier.