LEGATO 2020


INTRODUCTION







Copyrights © 2005- by V.D. Mesman,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, EU. All rights reserved.

IMMERGE CHARACTERS WITH YOUR STORY

Story immersion is created by realistic character actions and unpredictable (teasingly deferred?) plot points, the right pacing, an interesting premise, intriguing characters and worlds, showing actions instead of telling, evokes emotions, involves multiple senses, pulls the viewer into the action, and makes the viewer curious about what happens next. Simple, isn't it? So plot structure, pacing and balance are very important characteristics that help to entertain your audience. But when you place your shots in sequence on your NLE timeline, sometimes it seems there is something wrong, as if there is no clear relation between your shots. We animators like to think that the audience can see through our exercises and value our skills. The truth is, sometimes even experienced directors can't value our precious demo reels because they tend to respond to the message of your piece. They're not really interested in the complexity of digital techniques behind your scene that made that scene possible at all.

WITH AN EFFECTIVE PRODUCTION FLOW

Especially when we're running a one-man business we need to streamline our digital workflow to focus on effective storytelling. Since the most important decisions are made in the edit room I've made my NLE the center of my animated story universe. For maximum production efficiency and minimum loss of animator hours, we must make the cutting- and stretching process on the timeline as painless as possible during the entire production, without discouraging experiments, ideally at these production stages: 3D scene setup, refining and lip-sync, rendering, and compositing. Why? Because every single animated frame costs money and time. It really hurts when you have to throw away fabulous shots or frames that fail to do their job: being functional.

BY USING SMART AUTOMATION

Thanks to my LW-link Vegas Pro script, a few mouseclicks make it possible to trigger automatic render activities to prepare your audio, images and video for your LWS scene, trigger its LWS scene file generator, or on-demand data link. This way the media events on my NLE timeline drive my initial, modification and rendering activities in Lightwave 3D without distracting procedures. Keeping focus helps to experiment and take drastic decisions at the earliest possible stage so that no manpower, time, or resources are wasted. My plugin Legato for LightWave3D is all about meta data, selection, manipulation, and reuse of character performances without ending up with a bunch of apparently unrelated keyframe clusters that are difficult to handle.

WHY LEGATO?

Legato brings structure to your LightWave 3D timeline in Layout and adds specific functions that utilize that structure.
Store poses and animations in a library and recycle them to other parts of your scene.
Keep track of pose types for easy identification and specific manipulations.
Add textual hints to random frames in one of seven available categories.

With Legato you can manipulate sets of keys on existing envelopes. This makes Legato transparent to use and safe to remove without hurting any item envelope.


WARNING

I'm still working on the existing and future Legato tool set to add the features that I personally still miss in LightWave 3D 2019. Most features are targeted at character animation. Some Legato functions are enhanced alternatives for internal Layout functions.

Legato is an ongoing project, some features are incomplete, may contain bugs, may behave inconsistent, or are still experimental, or shouldn't be used at all.

So save regularly. Restart Layout in case of weird behaviour.
If you want to, you can safely remove the plugin data from your LWS scene file with a text editor, but be aware that you will lose all Legato references to poses and animations in your scene. The good news is that you are able to create a data backup to an external text file .\Legato_PluginData\Backup.dat and restore it at a later time.

If that doesn't scare you, read on.


COSTS

This version of Legato is free for everyone. You are free to use Legato and associated plugins as is, both for personal and commercial use. In this case "free" also means there is no formal support.

That said, it doesn't mean I'm not listening. But it does mean that I make my own schedule and set my own priorities.

I would have preferred Legato to have been an internal extension of the Layout timeline. Just above the traditional Layout timeline, as the layout suggests, but without the annoying titlebar. Consider this LScript plugin as one large feature request for the upcoming Lightwave generations.


COMPATIBILITY

Legato is optimized for LightWave 2019. Earlier versions of LightWave may work too but you should be aware of version related problems.


IGNORE

The NLA tab, the OUT tab with the Files- and SN-mode, and the Retarget system. They have not received maintenance or improvements in a long time.
The remote control is new to Legato. Not all buttons are functional. It's a work-in-progress.
For some weird reason, sometimes you get an error message when switching library type. Don't freak out. Usually nothing explodes. It has my attention.
The F7 Config pages are gradually being transfered to Remote Control in future versions. Don't worry if the buttons didn't update correctly: press F7 twice to refresh.


SAFETY

Keep a safe copy of your LWS scene file, just in case you encountered a bug or unfinished feature.

Use the Save Scene Increment function at important moments.

This warning is unfortunately needed nowadays: As the author of this script, I accept no responsibility for any damage of any kind. Use Legato and its helper plugins at your own risk!
Or not at all.
MAIN FEATURES

MARKERS & REGIONS

Referencing is the basic concept of Legato.

Markers are frame references, and Regions are frame range references. They are tied to the top of an Hierarchy with 3D items, to reference an entire character: the Hierarchy Master, and can be quickly re-assigned to reference a sub-part of that character in that same frame range. For example, to isolate the movements of the legs for a walk cycle.

The combination of frame referencing and item referencing, and the ability to specify filters to limit processing to relevant items (rig controls) and tracks, is what makes Legato functions flexible and easy to use.

Marker and Regions in the upper area are story-related, and belong to the Director. Marker and Regions in the lower area are actor-related, and belong to the Animator.

Global Markers and Regions are not related to anything, and can be protected. NLE Markers and Regions are imported from the NLE software, and can only be changed by the NLE software.

Markers & Regions are used to expand the selected items according to the Operation Mode (Family, Hierarchy, Item, Group, etc), track filters, item filters, and genus filters, and process commands in order to:
  • manipulate keys, and/or other markerregions in the lower area, in viewport KEYS,
  • non-destructively manipulate poses and motions in viewport NLA,
  • or define Stills and Render Ranges in viewport OUT
The beginning of an experimental ScreamerNet controller is available in viewport OUT, with button Files and button SN turned on. However, I've also started with an experimental FARM controller in Legato Remote Control. This one accepts multiple render jobs, generated in the Limited Region tab inside Legato RC.


HIERARCHY MASTER

The Hierarchy Master is simply the name of the Item at the top of any item hierarchy. That name is saved together with the definition of Markers/Regions and can be changed at any time. This is a quick way to tell Legato you want to apply a Legato process to an entire character, only its left hand, or from/to multiple characters at once.


HIERARCHY FILTERS

The child items of the Hierarchy Master can be filtered by type (genus / master channels / morph channels / other channels), item status (active / visible / unlocked), and tool channel locks.

By limiting the number of source channels, filtering speeds-up the processing significantly.

Frame ranges can be filtered by pose type. For example, to delete all in-between poses.


STRUCTURE CHAOS

Did you ever attempt to change or reuse a piece of finished animation?
Made by another team member?
A few years ago?

Some structure could have helped.

MARKERS & REGIONS

Legato enables you to place markers and regions to reference important moments and item hierarchies in your scene, as storybeats/developments/poses/actions.

Use them in advance to plan your animation.
Use them during animation to shuffle your timing or store & retrieve important moments.
Use them afterwards to share your animation and explain its structure.

Place them anywhere in the timeline, or out of sight in the so called "library" by taking advantage of the (unused) negative frame range, use them as references to Move/Clone animation data to/from armatures or rigs, treat any LWS scene file as an external library for valuable animations and poses.

The Transfer function uses the current position, orientation, and scale as a starting point. The Copy/Paste and Clone functions create exact clones of poses and animations.

Change the source/target hierarchy anytime you like. This makes it easy to recycle poses and animations of sub-hierarchies. Think bodyparts, single character selection, or even multiple character processing.

BLOCKS

Blocks in the NLA viewport were implemented as an experimental feature, similar to Motion Mixer but based on markers and regions.

Development of this NLA feature set is currently on hold because the features in the KEY viewport are more useful to me right now.
Maybe later.

POSE TYPE TRACK

Another way to create structure is to identify pose types in the pose track.
Legato processes can be applied to specific poses.
These tracks are linked to a default Pose Character "character #1". You may assign the Pose Character to any 3D item in Layout. Create additional Pose Characters to distinguish pose types per character.

TEXT TRACKS

A third way to create structure is to add text strings per frame or text strings per frame range.

There are 7 tracks to choose from.
The tracks for emotional state and physical expression are presented when editing Objects (incl. Nulls) or Bones.
Tracks for mood and effects are visible when editing Lights.
When editing Cameras, the tracks for type-of-shot and point-of-view appear.
The speech track, in the middle of the graph area, is visible in all Edit Modes.

In contrast to the pose type track, text tracks are never grouped by character. They are global.

Also, Legato keeps text per frame on dedicated tracks with cues for emotional state, speech, physical expression, mood, effects, type-of-shot, and point-of-view. Optionally they can be moved (and even quantized) together with the frames and keys they belong to.


PROCESSING

Legato can be instructed to process keys, blocks, markers and regions, text tracks, and the pose track. One at a time, or all at once.

Since the Legato interface is too small to contain buttons to every available function, I've added a remote control. It opens a bi-directional data link with Legato and combines settings from the F7 Config pages with command buttons.

Some commands are available as a plugin to make them available from the Layout menu system and the Layout keyboard shortcut system.


NEW FEATURES

The general idea behind the latest new features is to create a full transcription of an audio track in a single 3D scene, then use parts of that LWS scene file as the foundation of new 3D scenes.

For example to extract necessary shots from the lyrics of a 3 minute song.

Maybe add some ideas in the non-Speech tracks, define the shots that need a new 3D scene by defining regions, then use parts of that LWS scene file as the foundation of new 3D scenes.

Use the EXT Transfer function to retrieve TextTrack data (or other tracks as well) of a specific section from the main transcription.


Export Text Tracks as X-SHEET

Export Text Tracks in X-Sheet format, to a printable file. Just in case you need to discuss them in detail, or quickly want to make notes.

Column width is optimized for each column individually, and limited by a minimum and a maximum value. Spanned text labels are repeated on each frame. The frame range of the exported data block is determined in order of priority, by:
  1. selected frame range
  2. render range
  3. preview range
Specify a Start Frame, and a Frame Step to calculate the frame number of each text label.

Import Text into Text Track

Import plain text into Text Tracks. Currently this feature has 4 options:
  1. Line
    Each line will be imported as a single text label, assigned to a single frame.
  2. Word
    Each word will be imported as a single text label, assigned to a single frame.
  3. Syllable (work-in-progress)
    Each syllable will be imported as a single text label, assigned to a single frame.
  4. Character
    Each character will be imported as a single text label, assigned to a single frame.

Export Text Tracks as CSV

Export Text Tracks as a CSV file, suitable for modifications in a spreadsheet program.

Import CSV into Text Tracks

Import CSV files into Text Tracks, to transfer your modified data back into Legato and present them in the Legato timeline as usual.

Text cells that are repeated for a number of frames are interpreted as a single text label that is spread over multiple frames.

Transfer Audio Track

This feature is currently limited to the transfer of external markers (poses) and regions (motions). You're supposed to use it only once in each 3D scene file, because LightWave 3D only has one audio track definition.

This feature copies the filename of the audio track in the source LWS scene file to your current 3D scene.
It also calculates an offset value to keep audio exactly in-sync with the original sound track. This value is repeatedly reported when you toggle the Audio track (in F7 Config or Legato Remote Control).

Because of LightWave limitations, this offset value needs to be set manually. In the future I might be able to split the wav file.

Previous/Next text label on Text Track

Press the '<' key to change the current time to the previous text label on any Text Track.
Press the '>' key to change the current time to the next text label on any Text Track.

Keys ',' and '.' were already assigned to previous/next pose item on Pose Track.
Keys 'arrow.up' and 'arrow.down' were already assigned to previous/next markerregions on markerregion Tracks.

F1 Help

F1 Help has been changed to start a batch file in the plugins directory that opens the Legato web-page at chapter Shortcuts.

For security reasons, Legato checks if the contents of this batch file is unaffected before it's executed.


DOWNLOADS

PLUGINS

Before you start the download and installation:


SAFETY

Keep a safe copy of your LWS scene file, just in case you encountered a bug or unfinished feature.

Use the Save Scene Increment function at important moments.

This warning is unfortunately needed nowadays: As the author of this script, I accept no responsibility for any damage of any kind. Use Legato and its helper plugins at your own risk!
Or not at all.


RETRIEVING THE PLUGINS

Download the ZIP file with Legato 2020 plugins here, then check your local file with your virus scanner.

Currently, I update these plug-ins regularly.


INSTALLATION

Unzip the ZIP file and copy the plugin directory on your C: drive to
 .\NewTek\LightWave_2019.1.4\support\plugins\myPlugins\Legato\
or equivalent, depending on your version and location of LightWave 3D.

[new] In build 8-MAR-2020 or later, F1 opens an on-line list with shortcuts.
For security reasons, verify that batch file OpenLegatoHelpPage.bat ONLY points to:
 "http://home.kpn.nl/vincentmesman/legato.html#shortcuts"

In case my web-site moved or ceased to exist, rename this batch file and the original Help dialog will be presented. You can't just redirect it to another web-site because its contents is checked before it will be launched.

In Layout, press Alt+F11 or open the Utilities menu tab, and click button Edit Plugins. Then click button Scan Directory to register all plugins in the Legato plugin directory.


LEGATO MENU

After installation of the Legato plugins, press Alt+F10 to open the menu system in Layout, and create a Legato menu. Then right-click that menu and select Import Branch, select the Menu_Legato2020.cfg file and press the Open button.


DEMO CONTENT

Download the ZIP file with two demo scenes here.


LEGATO PATH IN DEMO FILES

The .LWS demo files assume you install them on your C: drive in
 .\NEWTEK\LIGHTWAVE_2019.1.4\SUPPORT\PLUGINS\MYPLUGINS\LEGATO\

If you don't, but still want the demo files to be functional, locate the plugin during scene load, or modify the plugin path in the demo .LWS scene files with a texteditor.


MEDIA








REFERENCE

APPLYING & REMOVING LEGATO

Add or remove the plugin manually in the Master Plugins dialog. Press Ctrl+Q to open it from your keyboard.

Alternatively, you can quickly add Legato and/or Remote Control from the Legato menu tab.


WINDOW LAYOUT

After you've added he Legato plugin, initially Legato assumes a 1920x1080 px screen. To change settings of the Auto Layout function, select the Legato window and press the F7 key. Select a screen type from the pull-down selector, then click button Set Layout Now.

The Auto Layout feature locks the Legato dialog to the main window of Layout. The position of the frames should match.

To disable the Auto Layout feature, click button Auto Layout.

Save your LWS scene file to store these settings.

To change the occupied screenspace of Legato, click button Make Dialog Resizeable.

When not in F7 Config mode, restore layout by selecting Legato and press the '`' key on your keyboard. Legato Remote Control accepts this keyboard shortcut too. Click button Default Layout in the Legato menu tab to trigger this from the Layout window. You may want to assign a '`' keyboard shortcut.


RESERVED FRAME RANGES

The frames between 0 and 25 are reserved for a shot handle in front of your your animation.

The render range is defined for one of each four render profiles (NLA/OUT viewport).

The frames n+25, after the render range, are reserved for a shot handle at the end of your animation.

The library starts at frame -9. New library elements are added to the left. Animations start at the left side of a region and ends at the right side of a region. Library elements never overlap.

Frames -8 to -1 can be used to store rig backups, for instance a backup of a T-pose.


NAVIGATION

Use the Arrow Left/Right keys to change the current frame.

Use the Arrow Up/Down keys or the '<' and '>' keys to jump to the previous/next marker or region.

Use the ',' and '.' keys to jump to the previous/next pose type definition.

The Home/End keys brings your cursor to the first/last frame in the preview range.

To zoom by mouse, unselect any selected frame range first, drag the right mouse button, anywhere in the graph area, to the left (zoom out) or to the right (zoom in).
Alternatively you can zoom into a frame range selection by pressing the 'g' key or double clicking the right mouse button (with different results when you click inside or outside (left/right) of the selected frame range. Without any frame range selected Legato zooms to preview frame range, the render frame range (with or without 25 frames handles), the library in the negative frame range, depending its current preview range and the click position in the graph area.

To pan by mouse, unselect any selected frame range first, drag the middle mouse button, anywhere in the graph area, to the left/right.

To change the render range, switch to the NLA or OUT viewport. It has a render profile selector with 4 presets. Just below that selector there is a render Start Frame and a render End Frame field. Adjusting these fields will immediately change the Start Frame and End Frame on the Render Properties dialog in Layout as well. You may switch to Render Profile #2, #3, or #4 and set a different render range. The size of the Shot Handles is set to 25 frames by default. It can be adjusted in F7 Config. These handles are reserved frame ranges, for instance to continue movements, in case the Editor could use some flexibility on the NLE timeline. In the graph area, the Shot Handle on the left side is marked by a bright green vertical line, the Shot Handle on the right side is marked by a bright blue vertical line.
In the graph area, frame 0 is marked by a muted green vertical line, the last frame is marked by a muted blue vertical line.


SELECTION

To select a frame range, drag the left mouse button to the right to get a positive selection (blue), or drag the left mouse button to the left to get a negative selection (brown).
Some Legato functions are aware of the selection direction.
Note that two little yellow lines indicate zones in the selector bar. Use then to distinguish between move and stretch functions.

Double click with the left mouse button between markers/regions to select that frame range. When double clicking between markers/regions in the lower area, note that Legato can distinguish between top and bottom so you're also able to select the entire preview range.

In the lower area there is a difference between the top and the bottom of that lower area. Double click just below the graph area to toggle selection between render range including handles, and the render range excluding handles.
Double click between the markers/regions labels to select areas between markers/regions, just as you did in the upper area.

To invert a selected range, press the 'X' key.
Be careful with the 'x' key, in the selected frames it actually reverses the animation in time. Don't panic, just press 'x' again and everything should be as before.

Some Legato processes accept the frame or frame range of the selected markerregion, as if you've selected that frame or frame range.


COPY/PASTE KEYS BY KEYBOARD

Select a frame that contains the pose, or select a frame range that contains the animation. Then select a Hierarchy Master Item that references the top of a hierarchy. Then press 'C' to copy. This stores a definition of a temporary marker or region. More the time slider to a different (start) frame or drag to select a target frame range with a different duration. Then press 'V' to paste all keys that you've just "copied", to that (start) frame or target frame range.

The copy/paste system is aware of your genus filters, item status filters, and channel filters, in the F7 Config. If you want to copy/paste the markers/regions, text tracks and pose type track as well, make sure you've enabled these buttons (in F7 Config) too.

Note that squeezing keys in a different duration creates keys on non-integer frame numbers.

Also note that (for some reason) this function ignores the "Fix Boundaries" setting in F7 Config.


MOVING A FRAME RANGE SELECTION BY MOUSE

If you selected a frame range you can change the selection by dragging the middle part of the selection bar to the target frame(s), using the LEFT mouse button.


RESIZING A FRAME RANGE SELECTION BY MOUSE

If you selected a frame range you can change the selection by dragging the left or right part of the selection bar, using the LEFT mouse button.


MOVING DATA BY MOUSE

Verify you've selected the correct item as a temporary Hierarchy Master.
Verify you're using the correct Genus/Item/Channel/Edit filter settings in Legato or Legato Remote Control.
Select a frame range by dragging with your LEFT mouse button in the graph area.

Now drag the middle part of the selection bar to the target frame(s), using the RIGHT mouse button. This creates moves all keys without changing the timing.


RETIMING DATA BY MOUSE

Verify you've selected the correct item as a temporary Hierarchy Master.
Verify you're using the correct Genus/Item/Channel/Edit filter settings in Legato or Legato Remote Control.
Select a frame range by dragging with your LEFT mouse button in the graph area.

Now drag the left or right part of the selection bar, using the RIGHT mouse button. This moves the keys and changes the timing at the same time. The keys will be placed in the frame range that you automatically define, the moment you release the middle mouse button.


CLONING DATA BY MOUSE

Verify you've selected the correct item as a temporary Hierarchy Master.
Verify you're using the correct Genus/Item/Channel/Edit filter settings in Legato or Legato Remote Control.
Select a frame range by dragging with your LEFT mouse button in the graph area.

Now drag the middle part of the selection bar to the target frame(s), using the MIDDLE mouse button. This creates a clone without changing the timing.


RECLONING DATA BY MOUSE

Recloning? Yes, resizing and cloning at once.
Verify you've selected the correct item as a temporary Hierarchy Master.
Verify you're using the correct Genus/Item/Channel/Edit filter settings in Legato or Legato Remote Control.
Select a frame range by dragging with your LEFT mouse button in the graph area.

Now drag the left or right part of the selection bar, using the MIDDLE mouse button. This creates a clone and changes the timing at the same time. The clone will be placed in the frame range that you automatically define, the moment you release the middle mouse button.

You can drag past the static part of the region. This will automatically reverse the timing of those keys.
In that case, and before deselecting (the modified) frame range that is still selected, you might want to consider pressing the 'x' key on your keyboard, to reverse the timing of the keys again.

Warning: recloning to a target range that is almost equal to the source range is a quick way to mess up your animation.


PLAYBACK

To playback a frame range, with the Legato window selected, press the spacebar, or PageUp/PageDown keys.

Use the 'P' key multiple times to toggle between different playback options: Ping-Pong, Looped, One Shot + Rewind, One Shot + Pause.

Disable button Track Layout Time on the Remote Control to disable Legato updates during playback.


MARKERS & REGIONS

Important: to delete markers or regions, simply double click with the RIGHT mouse button on the markerregion flag. This is the only method.

Ok, now we're going to create some markers and regions:

Press key 'M' to set a STORYBEAT marker (orange) at the current frame in the upper (story-related) area, then press the Delete key to completely erase the initial label text, or press the Backspace key to erase one character at a time.

Press key 'm' to set a POSE marker (orange) at the current frame in the lower (actor-related) area, then continue editing its label.

Press key 'R' to set a DEVELOPMENT region (green) at the currently selected frame range in the upper (story-related) area, then continue editing its label.

Press key 'r' to set an ACTION region (green) at the currently selected frame range in the lower (actor-related) area, then continue editing its label.

Press key 'S' to set a STILL frame (orange) at the current frame when any frame range has been deselected.
Press key 'S' to set a RENDERRANGE region (green) at the currently selected frame range.

You may convert the status of a markerregion to global. Global markerregions have no relation with items in your scene. To toggle any markerregion between global and regular, select a markerregion and press the 'G' key.
Global markers are pink. Global regions are blue.

Imported NLE markerregions are grey. You can't create these markerregions from the Legato timeline.

Be careful with manually editing, removing and creating markerregions in the library section. You must adjust the Library Top-Of-Stack value in F7 Config to prevent overlapping markerregions when creating new library items with the 'L' key.

NOTE: Actual behaviour of global markerregions during processing should be re-evaluated. In the mean time, treat them as simple reminders.


(UN-)SELECTING MARKERREGIONS

Select a markerregion by clicking on a marker or region with the LEFT mouse button.

Unselect any markerregion by clicking anywhere on the background in the markerregion area with the LEFT mouse button.

NOTE: The visual selected markerregion flag does not always update well. You may want to unselect then reselect to verify you've selected the correct markerregion.


REPOSITIONING MARKERREGIONS

Drag any markerregion with your LEFT mouse button to a different frame.


RESET THE HIERARCHY MASTER OF A MARKERREGIONS

Select any markerregion just above/below the graph area.

Select any Object/Bone/Light/Camera in Layout.

The Rst button should now be active. Click it once.

NOTE: The Rst button does not become active if you've selected a markerregion from the listbox.


TIMEBENDING DATA BY DRAGGING MARKERREGIONS

TimeBending? Yes, rubber band style editing by dragging markerregions. The actor-related Animator markerregions just below the graph area can (optionally) follow the movements of the story-related Director markerregions just above the graph area.

Verify you're using the correct Genus/Item/Channel/Edit filter settings in Legato or Legato Remote Control.
Verify F7 Config button Follow Director has the correct setting.

Now start dragging the selected markerregion with your MIDDLE mouse button.
Data between the previous and dragging markerregions will retime contra to the data between the dragging and next markerregions. In a linear fashion.

If there is no previous or next markerregion, the start- and the end frame of the preview range is used.

NOTE: This function needs more testing and maintenance! Keep a safe copy of your scene.


MOVING DATA BY DRAGGING MARKERREGIONS

The actor-related Animator markerregions just below the graph area can (optionally) follow the movements of the story-related Director markerregions just above the graph area.

Verify you're using the correct Genus/Item/Channel/Edit filter settings in Legato or Legato Remote Control.
Verify F7 Config button Follow Director has the correct setting.

Now start dragging the selected markerregion with your RIGHT mouse button.
Data at a Marker or data between the Region flags will move in the direction you drag the mouse.

NOTE: This function needs more testing and maintenance! Keep a safe copy of your scene.


GROUPS

Click button "G" in the top left corner of the Legato interface.
In Layout, select one or more Objects/Bones/Lights/Cameras.

Click button "Create" to create a new Group.
You may add items with a different genus to that group.
You may want to rename the Group label.
Click button "G" in the top left corner of the Legato interface to return to the standard listbox.

Note that the Grp button (left of Rst) is active and enabled.
The field left of Grp does not show the Hierarchy Master but the name of the selected Group.

Assuming you also want to process data by Groups instead of a Hierarchy Master, the Operation Mode (below the Mute button) should indicate "Group Items".

Continue retiming, moving, cloning(, etc) your data for the selected items in the Group definition.


LIBRARY

Verify you're using the correct Genus/Item/Channel/Edit filter settings in Legato or Legato Remote Control.

Select any markerregion and press 'L' on your keyboard.

The selected markerregion will move to the Library section on the left side of frame -9.
Keys/Blocks/PoseTrack/TextTracks will be cloned.

You may want to delete some data elements from the original location to clean-up.
Or you may want to modify some data elements from the original location to prepare for another library item.


TEXT TRACKS

Text tracks are displayed at the top, the middle, and the bottom of the graph area.



To add text, double click on a specific frame at the top/middle/bottom of the graph area, then enter your text.

After you've entered the text, you have 2 options to finalize your text.

Option #1: press Enter key (or click on any other frame) to accept the new text. This text will be assigned to a single frame. Only when the current time exactly matches the start of this text label, the text label is highlighted.

Option #2: click and hold the left mouse button and drag the mouse from any start frame to any end frame. This text will be assigned to a frame range. When the current time is within the frame range of this text label, the text label is highlighted.


To edit text, double click (at the top/middle/bottom of the graph area) on the start frame of that text label, then add additional text,
or use the Delete key to delete the entire text label,
or use the Backspace key to delete the last character,
or click and hold the left mouse button and drag the mouse from any start frame to any end frame.

Or you may double click on the next frame to accept the new text and continue typing for the next text label.

Each text entry starts at the frame you just double clicked.
The length of the text label is independent of the zoom factor. For now it only depends on the amount of text or the duration of the text label.
In the current implementation, the text amount has the highest priority, unless the next text label overlaps.

There are 7 tracks to choose from.

The tracks for emotional state and physical expression are presented when editing Objects (incl. Nulls) or Bones.
Tracks for mood and effects are visible when editing Lights.
When editing Cameras, the tracks for type-of-shot and point-of-view appear.
The speech track, in the middle of the graph area, is visible in all Edit Modes.


POSE TRACK

The pose track is displayed on top of the graph area and holds pose type information per frame, either as a reference or as a filter.



Pose definitions are defined per character. This setting is internally set to "character #1" by default, and can (only) be modified with the Legato Remote Control plugin. You can assign the name of an Item but remember you need to switch it manually in Legato Remote Control. At this moment there is no option for auto switching between characters.

To define the pose type of a frame, press 'p' and the press 'k' for key frame, 'b' for breakdown, 'i' for in-between, 'e' for extreme, 's' for straight ahead, 'h' for hold.

Or press 'p' -> 'd' to set the frame as undefined (a second time to remove that definition too).


CONFIG

Toggle between the F7 Config page and the regular KEY viewport by pressing the F7 key.
At the Config page, use PageDown/PageUp, Home and End key to browse to page 2 (Shot Notes) and 3 (Production Log).

NOTE: In next versions, the Config pages will gradually be moved to Legato Remote Control.


REMOTE CONTROLLER

The buttons on the Legato Remote Control gives a fairly complete overview of available Legato commands, and it has a additional features.

Its interface has no relation to the timeline and therefore it can be placed anywhere on one of your screens, and it can be resized. Use the '`' key to restore the default size.

The interface does not understand different User Interface resolutions per screen. After moving the interface to a high dpi screen, you may want to adjust the size of this dialog.

Remote Control should automatically synchronize with Legato. Verify this when changing the current frame cursor and by selecting a frame range.
If something is blocking the synchronization mechanism, save your scene and reload it. I use the Shift+Ctrl+r keyboard shortcut for this.

NOTE: Legato Remote Control is still a work-in-progress.


LEGATO COMMANDS

Press the F1 key on your keyboard to show an overview of keyboard shortcuts.
Be warned. It's too much to memorize. That's why I got the idea of a Remote Control plugin:
extending the interface without cluttering the Legato interface even more.


'F1' key: Help dialog
An (incomplete) overview of available keyboard shortcuts.


'F2' key: Rename MarkerRegion
Select a Marker or a Region, then press F2.
Press the Delete key to delete the entire text label. Press the Backspace key to delete the last character.


'F3' key: File statistics
Scans the render output directory structure and checks availability and valid filesize of each buffer per frame.
The colorful result is shown in the graph area.

NOTE: this is an earlier feature. Compatibility with LightWave 2019 has not been verified yet.


'F4' key: Farm Controller
An unfinished feature of Legato.
In Legato Remote Control I've implemented a more flexible solution (FARM-tab).
It worked for local rendering but the implementation of flexible assignment to available screamers has not even started.
The idea is to store performance data per screamer node and use that during dispatching.

Another interesting idea has been implemented: Segment rendering.
See also LIMITED REGION tab.
Choose "No Borders", "Segment", then click "Init Segmentation". Adjust the number of horizontal/vertical segments, then choose between "F9 Render All Segments" and "Farm All Segments". When segment rendering has finished (and their files exist) click button "Build Fusion 9 Comp" to generate a Fusion 9 .comp file in order to stitch them together into a single image.


'F5' key: Retarget dialog
Retarget definitions are needed in case the source hierarchy is not quite compatible (anymore) with the target hierarchy.

NOTE: This function has not been tested with LightWave 2019. there is a good chance that this function requires maintenance.


'F6' key: DataDump to .\Legato_DataDump\F6.txt
This feature is only available in combination with some license keys.
For debug purposes.


'F7' key: Config dialog
To be depricated.


'F8' key: Synchronize with Legato Remote Control
A manual option.
For debug purposes.


'F12' key: Open the first available Morph Mixer in the hierarchy
NOTE: This function has not been tested with LightWave 2019.


'v' key: Prune Flat Envelopes
Detects and resolves envelopes that are 100% filled with multiple keys that have identical values.

This function is able to handle selected frame ranges.
Without frame range selection, it scans the entire envelope.


'u' key: Prune Partly Flat Envelopes
Detects and resolves envelopes that have segments with multiple keys that have identical values.
Each segment with an identical key value is stripped from the envelope, except its borders. Two keys remain at the start, and two keys remain at the end of the segment. This approach should keep the envelope shape intact.
Unique key values are untouched anyway.

This is an extended version of the Prune Flat Envelopes function to ensure that all final envelopes end up with a minimal number of keys.

This function is able to handle selected frame ranges.
Without frame range selection, it scans the entire envelope.


'a'/'A' key: All frames
Legato zooms preview range from frame 0 to render end frame.
If you selected a frame range in advance, the selection is extended to the new frame range.


'b' key: NLA: Add Relative Block or Toggle Relative/Absolute.
NOTE: This function has not been tested with LightWave 2019.


'B' key: NLA: Add Absolute Block or Toggle Relative/Absolute.
NOTE: This function has not been tested with LightWave 2019.


'B' key: KEY: Bake
All (filtered) items and channels in the hierarchy (according to the Operation Mode settings) will be baked.


'c' key: NLA: Cut Block at current frame
NOTE: This function has not been tested with LightWave 2019.


'C' key: KEY: Copy keys in selected frame range
Emulates the Copy/Paste process without creating Markers or Regions.

This is only a registration step. Source keys are not really buffered.
It means you can't Delete them in the meantime and Paste them later.
The keys you want to paste need to exist somewhere in the envelopes.


'V' key: KEY: Paste keys from the 'Copied' frame range to the currently selected frame range
Emulates the Copy/Paste process without creating Markers or Regions.

The keys you want to paste need to exist somewhere in the envelopes.


'W' key: PasteBake keys
I really have no idea why I invented this function!


'D/d' key: Draw MasterChannel / Morph Channel envelopes
In case you don't want to see Position/Rotation/Scale envelopes in the graph area.


'G' key: Toggle MarkerRegion as Global
Global markerregions do not utilize a reference to a HierarchyMaster or Group.
I'm not sure how consistent I've been with this -> need to check this.


'g' key: Goto
No selected frame range: center current frame n, zoom preview range to n-25 until n+25.
Selected frame range: set preview range to selected frame range.


'j/J' key: Toggle selected/all markerregions to upper/lower region
In case you've changed your mind about the owner of a Marker or a Region: the Director or the Animator.
Or expressed slightly different: story-related (the dominant upper area) or actor-related (the dependent lower area).


'O' key: Organize Schematic viewport
Attempts to organize the blocks in the Schematic viewport.

Organize will position the selected item just below its parent, then it orders all child items with a predictable iterative method.

This function has some limitations but in general these limitations can be resolved manually quite easily.
For example, you might want to move the parent items, that belong to limbs, in a manual fashion. In order to resolve overlapping blocks.

You may also re-organize sub-hierarchies by selecting their top-of-hierarchy item.


'Q' key: Quantize keys
All (filtered) items and channels in the hierarchy (according to the Operation Mode settings) will be quantized, or rounded to an integer frame number.

Use it for example after a retime function.


'S' key: Add render range
You can define a render range (or a still) but it needs more attention to make it actually useful.
For now, the Render Presets (1/2/3/4) are dominant.


'T' key: Transfer keys
The transfer function is capable of transfering data from an internal markerregion to a target frame range and it is capable of transfering data from a markerregion defined in an external LWS file.

It keeps the Hierarchy Master item (the top item of the hierarchy) in its current position/rotation.
The Copy/Paste, Clone, ReClone, and ReTime functions don't do that. They can only apply keys in an absolute way, never relative.


'x' key: Reverse keys in the selected frame range
This is something that Layout is unable to do at all: Reverse your animation.

Make sure you verify the filter settings in F7 Config.
To undo, press 'x' again, then correct your filter settings.


'X' key: Reverse frame range selection
Some functions utilize reversed frame range selections (brown selection bar).

The Hld button for example. Select left -> right will search the first previous key. But selecting right -> left will search the first next key. The Hold function then applies keys at the border of the selected frame range so your entire character (or hierarchy) holds still during that time. It also applies the Curve settings (Type/T/C/B) to both keys. T = 1 is the default value, to prevent overshoot.






SHORTCUTS

LMB drag
MMB drag
RMB drag

LMB 1x
MMB 1x
RMB 1x

LMB 2x

RMB 2x
Select frame range. Reposition markerregion.
Pan timeline. TimeBend selected markerregion.
Zoom timeline. ReTime markerregion.

Change current frame + deselect.
Change current frame + deselect.
Change current frame + deselect.

(Accept current text label and) add text label on double clicked Text Track. Select frames between markerregions.
Delete markerregion.
`
,
.
<
>
up
down
left
right
Backspace

Insert
Delete

-
+
Home
End
ESC
F1
F2
F3
F4
F5
F6
F7
F8
F12
Auto Layout, according to layout settings in F7 Config.
Previous Pose on the Pose Track.
Next Pose on the Pose Track.
Previous Text label on the Text Tracks.
Next Text label on the Text Tracks.
Previous markerregion on the markerregion Tracks.
Next markerregion on the markerregion Tracks.
Previous frame.
Next frame.
Delete current frame or selected frame range. [FILTERED]
Delete previous character of text- or markerregion label, while editing.
Insert 1 frame or selected frame range. [FILTERED]
Delete data on current frame or selected frame range. [FILTERED]
Delete entire text- or markerregion label while editing.
Zoom out, being aware of selected frame range.
Zoom in, being aware of selected frame range.
Goto Preview Start or start of selected frame range.
Goto Preview End or end of selected frame range.
Exit Dialog or Stop Playback.
Open the SHORTCUTS section on the Legato website.
Rename markerregion.
File Statistics.
Farm Controller.
Retarget Dialog.
Data Dump to .\Legato_DataDump\F6.txt in your Content directory.
Config Dialog.
Sync Legato Remote Control.
Open First Available MorphMixer in the hierarchy.
a
A
b
B

c
c
C
d
D
D
f

F
g

G
j
J
l
L

m
M
N
p

P

r
R
s
S
S
O
Q
T

u

U
v
V
w
W
x
X
z
Z

Zoom All.
Auto Layout, according to layout settings in F7 Config.
NLA: Add a Relative Block, or toggle between Relative/Absolute.
KEY: Bake keys.
NLA: Add an Absolute Block, or toggle between Relative/Absolute.
KEY: Select all Genoma controllers to the tip.
NLA: Cut Block at current time.
KEY: Copy Keys (set reference at current frame / frame range).
KEY: Morph channels.
KEY: Master channels (in Sliders).
NLA: Destructive Bounce of selected Block or all Blocks.
Flip selected items between Left_* and Right_* item names, as defined in F7 Config.
Flip pose in current frame, or animation in selected frame range.
Goto current frame +/- 1s, selected frame range, or selected region range.
Toggle markerregion to/from pink global, or unrelated to any hierarchy.
Toggle selected markerregion between lower and upper.
Toggle all markerregions between lower and upper.
Set key Limited Region on current frame or entire selected frame range.
Add the selected markerregion to the internal Library in the negative frame range.
KEY/NLA: Add a marker in the lower (animator) area + rename its label.
KEY/NLA: Add a Marker in the upper (director) area + rename its label.
NLA: Remix Now!
Define pose type: k=key, b=breakdown, i=in-between, e=extreme, s=straight-ahead, h=hold, d/Del=delete, c/p=cancel.
Cycle Playback modes: Ping-Pong -> Looped -> One Shot + Rewind -> One Shot + Pause
KEY/NLA: Add a region in the lower (animator) area + rename its label.
KEY/NLA: Add a Region in the upper (director) area + rename its label.
KEY: Symmetry Pose/Animation LEFT --> RIGHT.
KEY: Symmetry Pose/Animation RIGHT --> LEFT.
OUT: Add a Still or Render Range.
Organize hierarchy items in the Schematic viewport.
KEY: Quantize keys. [FILTERED]
KEY: Transfer INT or EXT markerregion data to the current frame or selected frame range. [FILTERED]
KEY: Prune Flat Envelope Parts, removes multiple series of repeated cloned keys and keeps 2 keys per side to keep the envelope intact.
KEY: Prune Flat Envelopes, removes series of repeated cloned keys.
NLA: Destructive Unbounce of selected Block or all Blocks.
KEY: Paste Keys (from referenced frame / frames). [FILTERED]
KEY: Thinning of keys by 50%
KEY: PasteBake Keys
Reverse track data. [FILTERED]
Toggle between forward and reverse selection.
Tool Zero.
All Channels Zero.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Copyright © 2005- by V.D. Mesman, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, EU. All rights reserved.