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LightWave Plugins and Applications by Colin Cohen (Windows)

FK Sliders
FPrime Saver
FPrime Viewer
Motion Map
Fast Cloth
Pose Controller
IK/FK Hybrid System (IK Key, FK Goals)
Ripple Edit
NLM (Non-Linear Morphing)
Random Surfacer
Vibrate
SymmRepair
Select Tools


FK Sliders v0.90
FK Sliders is a master plugin that allows you to quickly and easily manipulate FK rotations in multiple-character scenes. It has the following advantages over standard LW sliders:

1. You can arrange the sliders using a customized schematic;
2. The sliders are on their own non-modal panel;
3. You can manually keyframe your data;
4. One plugin instance operates over all your characters.

See the enclosed readme file for usage.

NOTE: A dual-monitor system is highly recommended for use with this plugin.


FPrime Saver v0.90
FPrime Saver is a simple displacement plugin whose sole purpose is to apply the FPrime displacement plugin in LW 8.2.

In LW 8.2, FPrime displacement plugins are no longer are saved with the scene file. This will be addressed in a future FPrime update, but until then you can apply this plugin to each object instead of applying the FPrime displacement plugin directly.

NOTE: This plugin is intended ONLY for use with LW 8.2 and FPrime 1.02. Please disgard it once a new version of FPrime is released.


FPrime Viewer v0.92
FPrime Viewer is a Windows application that allows you to view FPrime final renders, which can look quite different than FPrime preview renders. It has the following features:

1. Images are automatically and seemlessly updated as they are refined by FPrime;
2. You can scrub through your frames and even play animations;
3. You can view images remotely across a network.

Installation and usage instructions are included in the download.


Motion Map v0.9
Motion Map is a generic Layout plugin that maps the motion of the bones of one character to another character that has the same skeletal structure. Link creates a permanent link between the two characters through the use of motion modifiers. Unlink elminates this link. Copy copies all the keys from the source character to the target character.

NOTE: This plugin currently does not support IK, and will in fact either override or disable IK (depending on whether you select Link or Copy.)

NOTE: This plugin is fully functional only under LW 8.0 (or greater.)


Fast Cloth v0.92
Fast Cloth is an experimental plugin based on a concept posted by Samus on the NewTek forum. Please read the thread thoroughly before continuing. The basic idea is to create a cloth cage to decrease Cloth FX calculation time and to create stable clothing. It may also be of use in creating other types of cloth objects.

To use Fast Cloth, activate the Fast Cloth Create plugin in Modeler after you have selected the layer containing your cloth object. The plugin can automatically determine the constraint length (constraints are what stabilizes the cloth), but you can manually set it as well. Different size lengths may influence how the cloth deforms. In the next available layer, the plugin will create the cloth cage and will rename the layer to [cloth_layer].cage.

Next, start Layout, load the cage object you just created, run the Fast Cloth plugin, and select the cage object and its corresponding cloth object. This will perform a basic setup, but you still need to the select the bone object that will drive the cage (Bones -> Properties -> Use Bones From Object) and set the Cloth FX parameters of the cage. I've included in the .zip file cotton.txt, a set of Cloth FX parameters that I slightly modified from Samus' posting. The key element is the Fix parameter. You must set it to the fix pointset.

This plugin doesn't affect how Cloth FX performs collision detection, but because it is bone-driven, I have found that I haven't needed to apply FX Collision to my characters. Of course, you'll need to apply it to other objects that interact with the cloth.

Tips
Make sure you set the subdivision order of the cloth (not the cage) object to Last. FPrime won't like it, but it won't deform correctly without it.

If you use weight maps on your character, make sure they are applied as well on your cloth object.

Low-polygon cloth objects seem to work best.

To make a dress or a robe, you might want to remove the bottom fix points from the fix pointset. This will allow the bottom of the garment to move freely.

Experiment, experiment, experiment. If you come up with good ideas on how to improve this plugin, let me know and I'll try to incorporate them.

NOTE: This plugin requires LW 8.0 (or greater.)


Pose Controller v0.91
Pose Controller is a master plugin that allows you to create and use an object-independent pose library; meaning, you can apply the poses you create to any object with the same skeletal structure. To create a pose, keyframe and select the bones of the pose and click Save. To mirror a pose, select the pose and click Mirror. Enter the name of the new pose and both the lefthand-side and righthand-side prefixes. To load a pose, click Load. Select the object you want to apply the pose to and scrub the percent slider. The pose will form interactively. To keyframe the bones of the pose, click K.

The Load panels are non-modal and you can open as many as you like at the same time, which will allow you to create a custom pose mixer.

You can manually edit your poses files, which are simple text files stored in the format [pose].b.p and are located in your current working directory.


IK/FK Hybrid System
IK Key used in combination with FK Goals is the foundation of a hybrid IK/FK system that allows you to use IK and FK on the same set of bones on the same frame.

IK Key v0.93
IK Key, designed specifically for non-full-time IK usage, creates and deletes keys on IK goals and their corresponding IK chains, thus eliminating the need for full-time IK in many cases. To use, select the IK goal and activate the Create IK Key (or the Delete IK Key) generic. You can also use Select IK Chain to select an entire IK chain, which can be useful for editing keyframes in non-full-time IK mode.

FK Goals v0.92
FK Goals, designed specifically for non-full-time IK usage, keys an FK rotation and snaps all goals of the IK chain back into place so that you can continue to use IK on the chain. To use, select the bone you applied a rotation to and activate the FK Goals generic. To snap all the goals without creating an FK rotation key, turn off Key Current Object.

Here's an example on how to use this system: assuming your character is in a T-pose and fully-rigged (I personally use Christopher Lutz's excellent SimpleRigger), turn off full-time IK and make sure the rig still works. Next, select the IK hand control and move the hand along the character's side. Run IK Key on the hand control. Next, select the forearm bone and rotate the forearm so that the hand is at chest level. Run FK Goals on the forearm bone. All the goals should snap back into place and you can continue to use either FK or IK.


Ripple Edit v0.94
Ripple Edit is a set of plugins that allow you to move keyframes en masse. Ripple Insert will insert a user-specified number of keyframes at a user-specified insertion point, moving all keyframes on all channels (including morph channels) after the insertion point forward in time. Conversely, Ripple Delete will delete keyframes, moving all keyframes after the deletion point backward in time. To insert/delete frames of only the selected object, choose Selected Object.

This can be useful when you have to add or delete something in the middle of an animation. You may also find it useful for speeding up or slowing down particular movements.


NLM v0.93
NLM, which consists of a Layout deformation and a Modeler command, adds non-linear morphing to LightWave. To use it, just add endomorphs consisting of the in-betweens in the format NLM[endomorph].percent.

For example, let's say you have an Eyes.Left Closed morph. Add an NLMEyes.Left Closed.50 morph for the mid position. If you want more of a curved motion, add a few more morphs. You can add up to 99 in-between morphs. To check your morphs, use the NLM Viewer Modeler plugin. This will allow you to scrub through the non-linear morphs directly in Modeler so you can view the arcs. You can also use the viewer to scrub through normal morphs.

In Layout, just add the NLM deformation plugin after Morph Mixer and continue to use Morph Mixer as you normally do.

NOTE: The purpose of the plugin was to create non-linear morphs in relation to geometry. My definition of "non-linear" is that the morph doesn't move directly from the starting point to the ending point. Morphs will still move linearly between the in-between morphs, so it's up to you to create these morphs in a manner that creates the curve you want, with the help of the viewer.

Based on the requests of users, I have changed it to also create curve-shaped time interpolations by setting the tension on all the keys MorphMixer creates from 0 to 1. If for some reason you don't want tension on a particular curve, set the value to something low, like 0.01.

NOTE: The NLM Viewer temporarily changes the object while you scrub through the morphs. All changes, though, are undone when the plugin closes. Of course, Modeler will still indicate that the object has changed.


Random Surfacer v0.9
Random Surfacer is a Modeler plugin that allows you to surface your objects using a user-specified range of values. After selecting a base color, you can set the variance for the hue, saturation, and luminance; as well set the range for all other surface parameters such as luminosity, diffusion, transparency, and so forth. You can also set the base surface name, the number of unique surfaces that will be generated, and whether to surface connected polygons as one surface.

This is useful for surfacing Shave polygonal hair, but you may find many other uses as well.

NOTE: It may take a long time to surface a very large number of connected polygons. Please be patient.


Vibrate v0.93
Vibrate performs simple vibrations and contains two plugins. Vibrate Object, a motion modifier, vibrates an object, allowing you to specify the amount of the vibration as well as ease in and ease out frames. You can also bake the vibrations by turning on Bake Motion, making a preview, and then turning off the plugin. Vibrate Channel vibrates individual channels, including endomorphs and rgb values. Vibrate Object XYZ vibrates an object's position instead of its rotation.


SymmRepair v0.9
SymmRepair repairs object symmetry. To use it, first, explicitly select the points or polygons (on both sides of the X axis) that you want to symmetrize. After activating the plugin, specify the Preserved Axis (-X, +X), the amount of Tolerance used when searching for points, and whether or not to Fix Center Points. Be careful when specifying tolerance -- too high a number may cause points to be mismatched, and too low a number may prevent anything from happening.


Select Tools v0.91
Select Tools is a collection of individually-wrapped Modeler selection plugins. MirrorSelect mirrors the selection of points or polygons. WeightSelect lets you select weights maps (and SubPatch weights) based on a range of values. EndoSelect selects the points contained within an endomorph that differ from the base model. More plugins will be added to this collection as they're conceived.


The software is provided "as is," without any warrantees. Plugins have been tested on both 7.5 and 8.0, but please thoroughly test them in your own environment before using in production.

(C)opyright 2004-5 Colin Cohen