"Maestro for Lightwave is one of the most powerful tools for character animation I have seen in quite some time. It's obvious that character animators in production helped develop this tool. I've seen my share of "auto-riggers" but nothing gives you this kind of control once the rig has been created. Congrats on making such an amazing tool, and making it affordable for my students and small studios!"
-William "Proton" Vaughan
"Maestro balances powerful control of the character with an easy to use interface. It also has the best 'auto' default rig I've seen in Lightwave - Each body section and the control of it, has been well thought out with the animator in mind."
-Paul Smith (Pooby)
"The rigging parts of maestro are top notch, but rigging and character control is really a subset of what it does. The complete controller system within it is just amazing. Its more like having a new type of scene editor/controller that is cumstomizeable. Ive had to do some projects that required lots of channels and envelopes from different parts of lightwave to be orchestrated all at once. This includes endmorphs, color maps, bump maps, HV settings, particle birthrate envelopes and so forth all having to do different things at the same time. Maestro makes it a snap. The bottom line is that its way more flexible and powerful then anyone really knows yet."
-Larry "Splinegod" Shultz
|Maestro is an automation and animation control system for Lightwave. It was inspired by the need to automate the rigging process, as well as providing an easier way to access and animate our characters for a feature-length animated film we are currently producing. What developed out of the creation of these two tools is a centralized controller that allows you to access and manipulate many aspects of Lightwave, including animation of objects, characters, lights, cameras, etc., as well as speeding up workflow by centralizing tools that are normally scattered across many different windows or menus. Maestro also gives you the ability to create macros that will execute multiple commands with a single mouse click.
We've created comprehensive character rigs for both biped and quadruped, and have included modular components including wings and tails. An endomorph based facial rig is also included.
Multiple character rigs in a scene is automatically supported. The names of all control nulls and expressions include the name of the root character, so there is no interferance when additional characters are added. The controller also supports multiple characters by allowing you to stack several interfaces in the window. You can switch back and forth between these multiple panes with the click of a button.
These rigs, along with the controller, are a joy to animate with. The perfect balance of automation and precise control means you can create complex and realistic character motion by animating just a few nulls, without losing the ability to specifically pose each aspect of the character.
Entire poses can be saved and tied to hotspots for morph-mixer like control of any group of objects in Lightwave
In addition to the hotspot control system, Maestro includes a sophisticated keyframe editor. You can create multiple custom tracks, each track capable of showing the keyframes for an item or group of items. These tracks can even show channels not normally available, like light intensity, camera zoom, or endomorphs.
||Customizing the controller is quick and easy. You can create hotspots which can either be set to animate items and channels in Lightwave, or execute customizable commands. Animation hotspots can be set to move, rotate or scale anything in Lightwave that has an envelope, including meshes, bones, nulls, lights and cameras, this includes things like light intesity or color, camera zoom and endomorphs. Hotspots can be overlapped with other hotspots, enabling you to set up complex animations tied to a single mouse drag.
There are a host of editing tools to make manipulating every aspect of these keyframes quick and easy, including a move tool, scale tool, a magnet-style drag tool, TCB editing, and even translation of the position, rotation and scale values of selected keys. You can easily dupe keys, and create hold keys with a single click.
Veteran character animators and newcomers both find Maestro powerful and easy to use. We've had some well known, expert Lightwavers give it an enthusiastic thumbs up, including William "Proton" Vaghan, Larry Shultz, Rob Powers, and Leigh van der Byl. We've also put Maestro in the hands of self-proclaimed animation newbies, and they have created impressive animations right out of the gate. Maestro is comfortable to jump into if you have no experience with character rigging, but is powerful enough to allow experienced riggers to bend it to their own needs.
Posing with the Maestro Biped rig
Hip Centering and Hand Pinning
Animation Session - Walking
Animation Session - Flying spin kick
New rig enhancements for version 2.3
The Light and Camera Rig
Using the Walk Generator
Maestro 2 is available for PC, Mac OSX*, and Mac UB*,
Lightwave versions 7.5c - 10.0**
*Based on various reports from Mac users, it appears that the new Cocoa build of Lightwave has many issues with plugins not working properly (Apparently all of Worley's plugins are having similar issues). At this point, it appears as though Maestro does not work with Lightwave Cocoa.
**Note regarding LW 10.0: Although the problem listed below with 9.2-9.3 was fixed in 9.5, it was re-introduced in the release version of 10.0. We have communicated with Newtek about this, and they have told us that it will be addressed in the next point release, due to be released in the first quarter. As was the case previously, our recommendation is to animate in 9.0 or 9.6, and render in 10.0 if you wish to take advantage of version 10.0's new features.
Note regarding LW 9.2 - 9.3: While Maestro works with these versions, there is an issue in Layout that limits interactivity with the Maestro control panel. Basically, when dragging on a hotspot, you don't see your character move until the mouse motion stops (you don't have to release the mousebutton, just stop moving). This is an issue that Newtek is aware of, and has promised to fix. Currently animating in 9.2-9.3 is possible, but we reccommend animating in 9.0 and rendering in 9.2-9.3 if you wish to take advantage of the new render features in the latest release of Lightwave.
Update: With the release of 9.5, the interaction issue has been resolved.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
ORDER NOW THROUGH PAYPAL:
Maestro 2 upgrade from version 1 - $39.95
(Note: Your username and password must first be verified...)
Please note that Maestro2 is only available through electronic download. After purchasing, you will recieve an email with your unlock code and download instructions within 1 business day.
If you purchased Maestro version 1 after July 1, 2005, the upgrade to version 2.0 is free.
DEMO VERSION AVAILABLE!
To receive a 14-day trial version of Maestro, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.