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Animation quality degradation issue

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I started playing with making animations using new Bento bones lately and noticed a weird issue I haven't seen before. I've made an animation for a tail and uploaded it to SL but it somewhat degraded in quality. The first video is the animation as seen in Blender 2.78 and the second is inworld after export using Avastar 2RC9 .anim exporter option. I tried using BVH format but it completely scrambled up my animation to the point of not resembling the original one at all. The issue mostly appears in slower animations. I read somewhere that SL optimizes animations throwing out frames where there's only a small change from the last one, I tried changing fps of the animation, its length and speed but it didn't seem to change the resulting inworld animation.

The only improvement I noticed was when I used NLA Editor and duplicated the animation a couple of times and lined up one after another, extending its length this way. The result was considerably closer to the original animation but still not as fluid.

I'm curious to hear from other animators how to deal with this issue.

59494834e09e4_BlenderTail.gif.640ddf2d46b5f96a0df2aef8bfd97291.gif59494838da453_InworldTail.gif.588c331278b6754f9df3502b64222ea0.gif

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I would try Baking the animation in Blender before exporting it. Or Keyframing every bone you want in the animation, on every frame, and then see if your results are better.

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Technically, only bvh files get optimized thru the import window. That said, you will save a bunch of data if you optimize your animation yourself. I have a video on the topic.

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Thank you for the response.

I tried both manually keyframing every frame and baking the animation presented above but both methods give the same result as when exporting the animation without any baking. Unfortunately, the NLA trick still gives better results.

I also tried using BVH export with those tips out of curiosity and it resulted in improvement over previous BVH export but still gives worse results than any ANIM export.

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I have also had problems with this, it seems like once the animation is in Second Life, they degrade the curves quite a lot, especially around the upper torso and neck bones. I did notice that they increased the animation file size lately from 120,000 bytes to 250,000 bytes, so why is it they haven't updated the .anim format for better curves? It's not like we're downloading a 20MB anim file. And using BVH? forget about it; it's alot worser then .anim format. Sorry for the deep bump, but this problem needs resolved asap.

Kylie @ Silent Motion.

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8 minutes ago, Kylie Remsen said:

so why is it they haven't updated the .anim format for better curves?

The curve description of any transform in the .anim format is written frame by frame exactly like a bvh, but there's no uploader screw up in the middle. However, Avastar's anim exporter does some simplification (call it clean up) for you. The result of this simplification is a pretty linear transition from point to point. This was set in place on purpose at the beginning of Avastar development in order to also support high frame rates (more frames = more data = higher chance of hitting and surpassing the file size limits). However, you can set a marker in your action editor, naming it "fix" (with no quotes) in order to tell the scripts to NOT intervene on the marked frame. Which still keeps the clean up running for the remaining keyframes, just re-adapting it to not change the marked frames. You can add as many of those as you like, but it's not gonna solve the issue completely.

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9 minutes ago, OptimoMaximo said:

However, you can set a marker in your action editor, naming it "fix" (with no quotes) in order to tell the scripts to NOT intervene on the marked frame. Which still keeps the clean up running for the remaining keyframes, just re-adapting it to not change the marked frames. You can add as many of those as you like, but it's not gonna solve the issue completely.

If I set a marker at frame 1 with "fix" and another at the end of the time line, will it fix what's on the entire timeline between each one? 

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No Kylie, it "fixes" or blocks the marked frame only. The initial developer in the Avastar team, Magus Freston, told me that this was a counter measure for when the simplification intervenes deteriorating contact location's frames. This feature doesn't "fix" the animation, it's more like "lock down this frame and run the simplification in such a way that this frame is written to anim exactly with this value and exactly at this frame number" type of feature.

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1 hour ago, OptimoMaximo said:

No Kylie, it "fixes" or blocks the marked frame only. The initial developer in the Avastar team, Magus Freston, told me that this was a counter measure for when the simplification intervenes deteriorating contact location's frames. This feature doesn't "fix" the animation, it's more like "lock down this frame and run the simplification in such a way that this frame is written to anim exactly with this value and exactly at this frame number" type of feature.

Gotcha, so I would essentially have to mark each frame with fix, thankies.. I'll experiment with that.

Update: Thanks very much OptimoMaximo, this worked very nicely! Perfect for low keyframe anims, but does bump up the file size quite a lot.

Edited by Kylie Remsen
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I'm having this issue all the time,  the fix marker trick doesn't seem to work for me.  I only use .anim format because it helps with quality.  How do the people who upload MOCAP get around this issue?

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Posted (edited)
On 2/5/2019 at 2:43 AM, reguster said:

I'm having this issue all the time,  the fix marker trick doesn't seem to work for me.  I only use .anim format because it helps with quality.  How do the people who upload MOCAP get around this issue?

I think it just depends on how many FPS your animation is running at. The more fps, the better and more detailed the curves will be. For me, personally - I always use 30fps, and if you make one marker on frame 1 & renamed "fix" without quotes, and then copy and paste those fix markers to every single frame (even if that frame number doesn't include a keyframe), you should see a lot of improvement in that animation once in SL.

Edited by Kylie Remsen

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