7 simple tips for messiahStudio
Whether you’re getting to know this versatile animation tool or have been using it for years these power-user tips can help you work smarter and faster
Although it’s been around for over a decade, messiahStudio has rarely enjoyed as much attention as it did this February.
Developer pmG launched a special offer for its animation and rendering package, making the $499 standard edition available for just $10 and the $1,195 pro edition available for $40.
The catch? The prices applied only if enough people ordered it in time.
The result was a flurry of online community activity as excited buyers spread the word. The goal was reached, and the messiahStudio community welcomed many newcomers.
The tips chosen for this focus on messiahStudio are designed to help both
these new users and old hands get a better grasp of some of this program’s
All the tips relate directly to character animation, rigging and rendering work, which is the primary focus of messiahStudio.
Each tip, though practical in use, is primarily designed to help you find a starting point for your own ideas, not to be a blueprint of what you must do.
01 Set messiah up to work how you want
There are a lot of settings in messiah to enable it to work the way you want. Most of the pro users customise it to full effect.
In the Edit tab, for example, click the top pull-down menu and select Key/Frame Editing: here you can choose options like having separate manipulators instead of the default combined one.
Under Customize tab > KeyCommand Manager, you can tie various functions to whatever key you might want. You can also add new commands, for instance ones that call scripts, and tie those to a key.
You can also access a lot of functions by right clicking each of the top tabs.
02 Clicking right
There are a lot of interface components in messiahStudio that change their behaviour according to the mouse button you use.
When you’re exploring, try right- and middle-clicking elements in the interface: they often have additional options from when you make a simple left-click.
03 Any field will do
Any input field in messiah can compute an expression or maths function. When you press [Enter], it will compute and place the new value in the input field.
04 The importance of a lightweight rig
However much people might cry about wanting extra functions in a rig, it’s easy for it to suffer from feature creep.
Keeping out elements that will only get used once or twice over the course of a whole production makes sense: when they all add up, they can certainly reduce the frame rate.
The most important thing is to keep the vertex count low. There’s no
problem using a lot of bones – they’ll compute fast, and messiah is
designed to deal with them.
Always consider what can be done to keep the frame rate high: it will matter a lot more for the outcome that the animator can see what they’re doing well than that the rig is overly fancy.
05 Getting more out of DollEyes
messiahStudio comes with a useful shader called DollEyes. To set it up, go to Render tab > Materials tab and choose a material, then right-click in the node view and click New Shader > DollEyes.
Drag the Radiance output from DollEyes to your material’s Radiance input.
The DollEyes shader uses a target to identify where it’s looking. If you enable Target Dial, scaling that target item will cause the pupil to increase
and decrease in size within the iris.
If you wish to texture the iris itself, right-click in the node view and pick your shader from the New Shader menu, then drag the Color output from that shader to the Color input of the DollEyes shader.
In the DollEyes shader, reduce the relevant A (for Alpha) channel to increase the amount of colour information the shader picks up from the input.
06 Effects can be used in conjunction
Bone_Deform is just the start of your rig: there are a lot of different effects that enable you to get more complex reactions in your mesh.
Play with them all, and get a feel for what they can do.
07 Like a setting? Save it!
You can set up your own material library to load from the [F5] menu by right-clicking the material in Render tab > Materials tab and placing it in the right folder.
If you right-click Render tab > Settings tab, you can also save all your render settings, such as GI.
These tips first appeared in 3D World magazine issue 142 as part of a larger article. To read the rest of the article, which includes in depth tips and guides for animating eyes, limiting motion, skin shaders and facial movements, including scene files and tutorial videos, buy the issue in either print, or digital.
on Monday, June 20th, 2011 at 8:30 am under Technique, Tutorials.
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Tags: messiahStudio, tips, Training, tutorial