S c e n e s

As we all learned in school, sometimes the best way to learn is to look at someone else's work.  With that in mind, here is a collection of scenes that show how various things can be done.  Load up a scene and study how it was put together... see how different people solved the same problem in different ways.  For example, in the Tutorial section you learned how to use the InheritEnd function to control a hand, but here you'll find a different scene that uses the CycleBranchMorphFrame function instead.  The differences between the two methods are interesting and are worth keeping in mind as you create your own scenes.

All scenes are in  (messiah_content\Scenes\Samples) unless otherwise noted.

messiah:animate & messiah:studio

Clownfish  This is a series of scenes featuring a little clown fish, not unlike in that movie.  I forget what the name of that movie was.  I think it was Jaws.  Click here for information about the scenes and how to use them.   Note:  These scenes uses the Fish_Dynamics.msa and Fish2_Motion.msa scripts (in modules\scripts), which if you are into scripting, you might want to check out.

Whale_rig.mpj  This is a great Blue Whale setup, which goes along with the Clownfish rigs (and from the same creators).  Very nice and easy to use!  Note:  This scene uses the Fish_Whale_Motion.msa script (in modules\scripts), which if you are into scripting, you might want to check out.

MetaEffector_Sample_01.fxs   This is a simple scene that shows the effect that the MetaEffector tool can have on Soft Body Dynamics.  Load the scene and press Play.  Then select the MetaEffector_Effector item in the Item List and go into Setup and change the Field of Influence type to something else.  When you go back to Animate you'll see how that new influence type works.  Note, however that if you choose All Connected the object will just fall away, because no points are holding it up.

  (messiah_content\Scenes\T_Rex\)  This is the animation created by animator Don Waller (Jurassic ParkDisney's Dinosaur, When Dinosaurs Roamed America, etc.). 

LightWave_Dons_Dino_01.lws  (messiah_content\Scenes\Third_Party_Samples\)  The same as above, but saved as an Embedded Scene for LightWave.  Load the scene into LightWave, then go into messiah to make adjustments to the animation.

Max_Dons_Dino_01.max  (messiah_content\Scenes\Third_Party_Samples\)  The same as above, but saved as an Embedded Scene for 3D Studio Max.  Load the scene into Max, then go into messiah to make adjustments to the animation.

T_Rex_LazyAnimator_01.fxs  (messiah_content\Scenes\T_Rex\)  This is an animation setup created by Frank Aalbers that shows how expressions can make animating easier and faster.  As this scene is right now, it has some limitations (for example, the position of the body isn't animatable) so it makes for an interesting project: improve it.

Bone Blender:
This scene shows how you can use bones in morph targets to modify their shape on the fly.  In the scene, Smiler's eyes are moved using morphs, but his mouth has bones.  When you load the scene, select the Morph_Slider and you'll see that two of the channels go to regular morph targets but the third one (Smiler_Base.lwo_1) goes to a duplicate head that has bones in it and animation on those bones.  You can morph to that bone setup by just moving that slider channel to 1.0.  When it is there, you can animate using the bones.  Using this method you could, for example, morph between two different wing flapping cycles of a bird, and because they're bones not morph targets, you can modify those cycles at any time.  Note: This is the world's worst bone setup-- the teeth get pulled badly-- but it's just here to show the concept.

A human muscle-man torso by Taron.  This is an example of expressions-controlled morphing.  There's a slider that has two visible channels, and these are user controlled morphs, but there are also two hidden channels that are controlled by expressions.  There are no muscle bones in this scene.  All of the muscle flexing is done with a morph controlled by the angle of the arms.

Changing Expressions Order:
Go to the Expressions List  (Command tab) while this scene is playing and watch what happens if you change the order that the expressions are calculated in by dragging and dropping them.  Ball 2 gets its position from Ball 1, and Ball 3 gets its position from Ball 2.  If you change the order of the expressions, Ball 3 looks at Ball 2's position before Ball 2 has Ball 1's information.  In that case, since Ball 2 has no animation of its own, that's what Ball 3 sees.

Character Groups: 
This simple scene illustrates how Character Groups works.  It has two groups, and "Auto Select" is enabled, so any time you choose one of the balls, the whole group gets selected.  The second group has some channels included too, so when you choose that group, all of the channels in it can be edited in the Motion Graph at the same time.

This is another full character setup by Carl Davis.  It uses a wide variety of techniques, including bones, IK, Spherize, expressions, and morphing.

A dog setup created by Taron.  It's a rather simple bone setup using only a handful of expressions (mostly to control the squash of the feet).  The legs are controlled by goals that are at the bottom of the Item List.  The rest of the bones (or most of them) can be animated with forward kinematics.

Dummy Character: 
A great character setup by Patrick Van Pelt.  Load it up and play around.

This setup by Carl Davis shows a good way of setting up an arm so it bends correctly.

Hand Pose Slider: 
Pat Van Pelt again.  This hand pose slider works differently than the one in the tutorials.  It uses CycleBranchMorphFrame instead of InheritEnd.  With this method, the hand is posed in negative frames (a fist at frame -2, pointing at frame -3, etc.).

Another Patrick Van Pelt setup.  This one shows two arms juggling two balls.  It uses bones, muscle bones, sliders, and dynamic parenting.

Leg Cycle: 
Another Patrick Van Pelt setup.  This is an example of setting a walk cycle to a null, so the walk is controlled by the position of the null.  Move the null forwards or backwards and watch the legs go.  Expressions, baby yeah!

MetaNurb Settings Using Sliders:
This illustrates how to use a slider to control whether MetaNurbs is on or off for an object, and lets you set the subdivision level.  This is great when you have many objects and they're buried in hierarchies;  you don't have to search for them to turn them on, you can tie them all to one slider and turn them on or off at once.  See Tips & Tricks in the Tutorial section for more info.

A full character setup.  This uses lots of techniques: Bones, FlexMotion, CycleBranch expressions, etc.  It was modeled by Thad Clevenger, textured by Richard "Dickie" Payne, and set up by Ron Griswold, our top Technical Director.  For information about how to use the setup, click hereNote:  There's also a Linked Scene with Metamation.

Morph Blender With Bones:
This scene is a simple example which shows that you can have a Morph Blender object (a head) that's moved with a bone.  See also the tutorial in the Video Tutorials section.

Morph Blender With Bones--Wormler:
Another example of using bones in a Morph Blender object.  This one has Wormler's mouth opening and closing using morphs, while his head is twisting around using bones.  Not a beautiful piece of animation, but it makes its point.  See also the tutorial in the Video Tutorials section.

Moving Pivot Point:
Play this scene and watch the pivot point move.  This illustrates messiah's animatable pivot points.  But then I'm sure you guessed that already.

Puppet Master With Morph Blender:
This scene shows a Puppet Master setup (ball Top, Middle, and Bottom) where the middle section also has Morph Blender applied.  Using this technique, you can do many wonderful things.  For example, you could have a Puppet Master character and use Morph Blender for the face.  Or, if you could morph to a bulging muscle when the character flexes its arm.

Softbody Collision:
Softbody Dynamics with Collision Detection is on display here.  There's also a slider that controls some of the Softbody properties.  It's fun to play around with.  Just hit the "back to start" button (|<<) to start over.

Softbody Collision #2:
Another Softbody Dynamics with Collision Detection scene.  This one shows a ball with a cloth falling onto it.  The cloth forms around the ball, then slides off.

Softbody Collision #3:
One more Softbody Dynamics with Collision Detection scene.  This one shows a rather fluffy and light pillow being dropped onto a ball.  Compare the Softbody settings of this scene to the previous one; that should distract you long enough for me to finish my evil plot to take over the world.

Spherize Muscles:
Another Patrick Van Pelt setup.  This scene shows how the Spherize effect can be used to create muscle bulges.  It's a bit complex though, because it's really just a test scene that Patrick used to learn about Spherize, but it's being included here because it's fascinating and educational.

Another Frank Aalbers setup.  This one is a spider with expressions controlling its legs.  Just move the spider around and the legs automatically move as they're supposed to.

Another Taron setup.  Tia is a head and neck of an anime-type girl.  The facial animation is done with bones and Muscle Bones, but they're assisted by expressions-controlled morphs.  What this does is allow the model to be altered in ways that would be difficult (or impossible) using morphs or bones alone.  The morphs help form the natural creases that appear on a face when certain muscles are pulled.  To look at the bone setup, hold down the Control key (CTRL) and left-click once on the N to the left of Skeleton:Bone_Deform.  Do the same thing but right-click to get it back to N to hide the bones.  Bones that shouldn't be animated are Hard-Locked (so you can turn on Hide) and have "NA" at the beginning of their name.  And yes, that's Softbody Dynamics on her hair.

  Wormler is a setup created by Ron Griswold to illustrate FlexMotion with the Squash & Stretch feature.

messiah:render  (for messiah:studio users only)

The following scenes show how you can play with the layering of materials.  They were created in response to a Tech Support question about how to blend multiple layers, and we thought they would be of general interest so they're included here.  These are just samples and are not necessarily the only way to do this.  These scenes are also in the messiah_content\Scenes\Samples folder.

RayDistance_Sample_SimpleFog.mpj  This shows how to use RayDistance to create a quick, easy to adjust fog.  The Depth output of RayDistance is applied to the Opacity of the Foreground surface.  As you can guess, what this does is make the foreground more or less opaque, depending on the distance (depth) from the camera.

RayDistance_Sample_CrazyFog.mpj  This is similar to the above, but it uses a Gradient to control the color and opacity of the fog.  (The Alpha channel of the Gradient markers controls the opacity.)  The Alpha channel on the last marker on the Gradient is set to 50% so you can see through the "fog" at its maximum depth.  The background color is bright red to make it more obvious what's going on with the Alpha setting of the fog.

RayDistance_Sample_UnderWater.mpj  Not only does visibility under water drop off quickly (in a short distance), but so does color.  This scene shows how to use RayDistance, a Gradient, and ColorCorrection to achieve this effect.  The Depth channel of RayDistance goes into the Gradient, which converts the data to a range that then goes into the Saturation input of the ColorCorrection node.  The Depth channel also goes directly into the Color, Contrast and Pinch inputs of ColorCorrection.  Those control the thickness of the fog (visibility).  Finally, the output of ColorCorrection goes into the Color input on the Foreground material.

ColorCorrection_Shader_Sample.mpj  In this scene, the ColorCorrection shader is applied to the Ball_1 material.  Try playing with some of the settings.  Just keep in mind that when Pinch is at 1.0 it will override any Hue and Saturation settings.

DollEyes_v1.2_demo_A.mpj - This shows a setup for eyes and the blood vessels.  By the way, DollEyes now supports Global Illumination.

DollEyes_Shader_Sample.fxs - This is just a basic eye setup.  You can render different frames to see what it looks like from different angles.  (The eyes are targeted to a null that is moving.)

DollEyes_Shader_Sample_Textured_A.fxs - This version uses a Gradient and Noisette to add some color to the iris.

DollEyes_Shader_Sample_Textured_B.fxs - This version adds on to version A by adding additional shader nodes, such as the BasicShader and another Gradient.

Burn_Material_01.fxs  This scene shows how Effectors can be used to "burn away" a surface.  It uses WeightSpot and Gradients.  There are, of course, other ways to achieve this effect.

WeightSpot_Rust.fxs  This sample scene, by Simeon Nasilowski, shows how the WeightSpot shader and Effectors can be used to control the appearance of rust on an object.

WeightSpot_Smoke.fxs  This sample scene, by Simeon Nasilowski, shows how the WeightSpot shader and animated Effectors can be used to simulate smoke on a plane.

LightSystem_Sample.mpj   This is a sample of using Materials with  lights, and using lights in Render Groups.

ImageFilter_Sample.mpj  This shows how the Image Filter material is set up.

TextureMap_CurveWeight_Sample.mpj  This shows how a Texture Map (image map) is set up using a weight tool as the mapping type (instead of  Planar, Cubic, etc.)

TextureOpacity_OpacityOnly.fxs  This sample shows how to use more than one layer of materials.  In this example, one layer shows through to the next by using the shader's Opacity setting.  In this case, I used Noise, so you can see through some parts, but not others.

TextureOpacity_OpacityTransparency_Noise.fxs  This one uses Transparency & Opacity.  I just used the output of the Noise shader to control the Opacity of the layer and the Transparency of it.  So what you get is that the transparent areas will show through to the next layer.

TextureOpacity_OpacityTransparency_Matte.fxs  This one is similar to the Noise one (above)  except that you control the Transparency and Opacity by adjusting the color of the Matte.  The lighter you make the Matte shader that's attached to Layer_1, the more it will use Layer_1 in the render.  The darker it is, the more it will use Layer_2.  Layer_1 also has transparency, so if you make the Matte shader white (so only Layer_1 renders), it will be transparent (but there is specularity, so you will see that).

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