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Integrating Poser Figures Into LightWave

For use with Poser Pro Pack

This tutorial can be used as the basis for creating animated storyboards, animatics or for final rendered scenes in your own comicbook or action movies using Poser 4/Artist and ProPack.Poser Pro Pack's PzrForLW plugin allows you to host animated Poser scenes within NewTek's LightWave 6.5b application. This tutorial covers the following topics:

*Hosting a Poser scene created with the Pro Pack in LightWave 6.5b

*Creating props using the LightWave import/export functionality

*Using props in an animated scene

*Setting up a walk path

*Aligning the Poser figure to a path in LightWave

*Using bvh motion in Poser

*Re-keying a Poser animation in LightWave

You can use this tutorial as the basis for creating animated storyboards, animatics or for final rendered scenes in your own comicbook or action movies. LightWave 6.5b features extensive UV mapping tools, a generalized vertex map system, and a native polygonal and subdivision surface modeler, making it easier to host Poser figures within layout. For this tutorial, I'll create a basic action scene.

Create your stage in LightWave

Create a model to stage your action scene in LightWave. I used the .lwo models supplied in the Objects folder. For my scene, I used the StreetSection.lwo and StreetLight.lwo located in Objects>Landscape>City and the RC Helicopter located in the Objects>Avaition folder. The screenshot of this scene appears below. Once your scene is created, save your scene as set.lws into a folder called PzrForLWTutorial.

Create your animated figure in Poser

Open Poser 4 with the Pro Pack installed to begin setting up the first Poser scene.

Replace the default figure in the scene with any of the P4 figures. I used Gabrielle to create my action figure.

Hide the Hip, Abdomen, Chest, Collar, Shoulder, Forearm, Thigh and Shin body parts.

From the Clothing>Female libraries, add the Catsuit and conform it to the figure.

Be sure to set up all of the props and conformed figures that you will use in your animation before hosting your Poser scene in LightWave. Poser files hosted within LightWave retain all of the Poser data including the figure and prop geometries, materials, and keyframe data. LightWave treats hosted Poser figures/props as LightWave object primitives. Because LightWave actually hosts the scene, the geometry has to match; otherwise, you cannot reload the hosted scene's animation frames without saving the changes and re-loading the Poser scene with the new geometry. Here is a screenshot of the Poser figure:

Create props using Pro Pack's LightWave import/export functions

To create a prop (such as a utility belt, weapon or headset), export the Poser scene to LightWave and use the Poser figure as a template in Modeler. (Pro Pack allows you to import and export Poser files in LWO format, which allows you to access the Poser geometry within the LightWave modeler)

To export Poser figures and props, select File>Export> Lightwave and name the file prop.lwo.

Open LightWave Modeler and load prop.lwo. In the following screen shot, I placed the figure in the background layer and created a weapon in the figure's right hand.

Delete the figure on the background layer and export the weapon. Be sure to export the prop as a Version 5.6 LWO file by selecting File>Export>Export Lightwave5… The 5.6 LWO format differs from the 6.5 LWO format; Pro Pack imports the 5.6 format.

Return to Pro Pack and import the prop.lwo file into Poser by selecting File>Import>LightWave.

Scale and parent the prop to the figure's right hand.

Create a Walk In Place Cycle

To create action, I have the figure running in place. Create a walk cycle for the figure.

Select Figure 1.

Open the Walk Designer by pressing [SHIFT][CTRL]+[S] and apply a 60-frame Walk In Place cycle of the figure running.

Pro Pack allows you to save compressed files. Select the compressed file option by selecting Edit> General Preferences>Save Compressed Files.

Save the Poser scene as actioncene.pzz.

Host the Poser scene in LightWave

Load the Poser scene into Lightwave 6.5b. If you haven't done so yet, install and add the PzrForLW plugin as described in your Pro Pack User Guide.

Re-launch LightWave 6.5b and load the Poser scene by selecting File>Load Scene>All files/All documents>actionscene.pzz. The plugin will now generate an .LWO folder containing the figures and an .LWS file. LightWave will host the Poser Scene (a null object representing the Poser universe), Figure1 (female figure), and Figure2 (catsuit).

Exit and reopen LightWave, and load the set.lws scene located in the PzrForLWTutorial folder.

Reload the fightscene.lws file by selecting File>Load Items From Scene…; this will allow you to host the Poser scene into the set with the walk cycle intact.

Open the Scene Editor. Notice that the Poser Scene and hosted figures are listed. The figure, however, is too small and needs to be rescaled.

Select Figure 1 and press [P]. Alternatively, you can double-click the Poser displacement plugin under the Deformations tab. The Scene File information displays the path and total number of props and figures for the Poser Scene object. Reload File loads your Poser animation frames.

Click the Scene Options tab and change the Scene Scaling to 200%.

Save the scene as actionscene.lws.

Align the hosted Poser figure to a Walk Path created in LightWave

We want the figure to walk towards the camera using a curved path for dramatic effect. LightWave uses a left-handed coordinate system. To align the figure a walk path correctly, follow these steps:

Open the animatics.lws scene in LightWave.

Turn off the Auto Key feature.

Open the Scene Editor and multi-select the Poser Scene, Figure 1 and Figure 2 by holding the [SHIFT] key as you make your selection.

Delete the last keyframe (at Frame 59).

At Frame 0, select the Poser Scene null, rotate its Heading to 180 degrees, and press [ENTER] to key the frame frame

Select Figure 1, rotate the heading to -180 degrees, and press [ENTER] to key frame.

Select Figure 2, rotate the heading to -180 degrees, and press [ENTER] to key frame.

Select the Poser Scene null and press [M] (Motion Options). Select the Controllers and Limits tab.

Set the Heading and Pitch controllers to Align to Path.

With the Poser Scene null object still selected, move and keyframe the null at Frame 0 to create the path's start point.

Set the animation frame range to 255. At frame 255, move and keyframe the Poser Scene null object to create the end point of the path.

Add key frames in between Frames 0 and 255 to reshape the walk path. For example you could add a keyframe at Frame 120 to curve the path.

The Poser figure will properly align to the LightWave path, however the walk cycle will end after 60 frames. Cycle the Poser animation by selecting Figure 1 and pressing [P]. Double-click the Poser displacement plugin under the Deformations tab, select the Scene Options tab, and click the Loop button. Preview the scene.

Save the scene as actionscene.lws.

Reloading Poser animations in LightWave

You can use the actiongirl.pzz file to create a second animation scene by using the Reload Frames feature within the Poser Displacement plugin. For the second animation, I use an imported BVH motion to choreograph the scene.

Return to the Pro Pack and delete the walk animation. Do this by entering 1 as the last frame. When prompted, delete the existing frames.

Use the .BVH motions found on the Curious Labs Poser4 content CD, such as the House of Moves SUPCMBH2.bvh file.

In Poser, select Figure 1, import the BVH (align along the Z axis), and save the scene.

Open LightWave and open the actionscene.lws file.

Delete the existing keyframes at frame 120 and 255 for the Poser scene, Figure1, and Figure2. Make sure the frame range matches the Poser animation, which is 255 frames.

Open the Scene Editor, select Figure 1, and press [P]. You can use the Poser displacement plugin under the Deformations tab to reload the BVH animation. Selecting Reload File reloads your Poser animation frames.

Click the Scene Options tab and enter the following values: Poser Source Frames: Start Frame 0, Number of Frames 255. This will allow the entire .BVH animation to load into LightWave.

Render and save the animation as bvhmotion.avi.or .mov. Make sure the frame range matches the Poser animation (255 frames)

Now that you know some fundamentals about how the PzrForLW plugin works, you can combine Poser's speed and ease of use with LightWave's powerful modeling, rendering and animation tools to create animatics and fully rendered animations. LightWave information is available from www.newtek.com.

Six tips to help you with Poser Scenes hosted in LightWave

While the ProPack SR2 updater a solves a few issues, here is a list of tips that I've compiled that will help you with texturing Poser Scenes.

1. Mac Users: Allocate more memory to LW Layout. (Select the LightWave icon, press Command I > Memory> Preferred Size.

Especially with the Michael and Vicky figures, more memory is required for their high-res textures. I would suggest that you up the allocation memory (280,000) and then launch LW and try to load the Poser Scene.

2. When you load in Poser Scenes (File>Load>Load Scenes> All Documents) select Convert to triangular mesh. This will tessellate the geometry and correct raytraced shadows.

3. Poser by default Multiplies textures. When the Poser scene is loaded into LW, change the Surface texture blending to Additive. This will make the sure appear less washed out.

4. If the textures aren't showing up, most likely the LW I/O plugins need to be installed.

Launch LW 6.5 Layout

Plugins>Add Plugins

Plugins folder> Input-Output folder

Add the necessary file formats. i.e. TIFF.p, TGA.p, PICT.p etc

5. When you load Michael into LW6.5, you'll notice that the Pubic Hair region appears 100% black (kind of looks like a black patch of hair) to correct this go to the Surface Editor, select Pubic Hair and increase the transparency to 100%.

Eyeball, eyelashes, brows and hair need the transparency brought up to 100%.

Control F3 brings up the Surface Editor

6. Transparency maps need to be inverted. Control F4 brings up the Image Editor. Click on the Editing tab and check the Invert box.