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OptimoMaximo

Blender Animations

18 posts in this topic

Hi there all!

I've just created a working IK rig for a SL skeleton that works correctly in Blender 2.6. I will release this file shortly for everyone's benefit BUT i won't support it (it's free^^). The package will also include modified exporter scripts that (finally!!) work with any kind of BVH files, including SL compatible ones.

Also, in the next future i will publish an inworld manual to explain extensively how character animation works within Blender, but in the meantime you can always follow my classes at Builders Brewery, which are based on Blender 2.49 BVHexporter by Jacek Antonelli. A manual on animation is available for sale for that version, with extensive explanations on how to properly build an animation in Blender. 

 

An introduction video can be found here https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0BzZTVbsQ7mtTYzc4YzE1NjctYmZhYy00OTI1LWIwOTYtYTJkNjdjNDQ2NjE5&hl=it

This version shown in the video is NOT free ;)

 

I hope this would be of help to Blender Animation Artists :)

 

Cheers

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As promised, here is a link where you can download the necessary material to get you started. Feel free to share this link with anyone

 

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0BzZTVbsQ7mtTMjY3YjY5MjItZGYwOC00NWI2LWE4MzEtNzc3OWU5ZWM1Nzkz&hl=en_US

Should you have any problem, do not contact me since i don't support this product. It's free and aimed to help the community members who like animating, but i assume that the end user knows how to animate with Blender with a professional IK setup.

 

Cheers

 

 

ETA: this is the link you can find also below, directing to the version 2_0_1. Previous versions were taken down.

ETA: This set up is an object-based work around to avoid SL skeleton breakage during export, since the exporter was designed to include all bones, causing it to output an error. The next release though will have a full skeleton-based rig, coming along with a manual. This won't take a short time unfortunately, because Blender 2.6 animation features are much richer than the previous versions (2.49)

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Nice work Optimo.  This is the only Blender ready made rig that I have been able to find that works with 2.61.  I can get a bvh file that I actually can upload to SL without any problems.

 

Any chance of making a female avatar version?  ;-))))

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Hi Monica!

I'm actually developing a new file at the moment, which includes both male and female avatars. The rig will be totally different in its constraints concepts, allowing more flexibility of animation. But this one won't be free, since it will come along with a manual. No worries, the price will be fair ;) Anyway, i will also update the current free version to better align SL coordinates. Stay tuned ;)

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I just saw your teaser video.  I'm excited.  I'm just learining Blender and animating with it.  The blend file you just posted produces a bvh I can actually upload to SL from Blender 2.61.  I have yet to find any otther product that can do that.  I'm eager to see your finished product.  Can I bug you about a time line for release?

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Hi Monica :)

I'm glad that you find this useful for you. Unfortunately i can't give out any timeline for the final release, because the package has to include a manual. The previous published book was 103 pages, and there's so much more that needs an explanation that i don't feel to be comfortable with timelines. Roughly it will take me the next two months, but here i say it and deny at once^^.

By the way, once released you'll get a working exporter with animation manual, so please be patient :) My rig is designed to work professionally and with particular settings on the skeleton that, besides the workflow explained in the manual, will get you to have an optimized animation for SL upload with the least effort. 

I'll plan an early access program for those who want to start poking it without instructions

 

Stay tuned :)

 

Cheers

 

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I' eagerly looking forward to it.  And I'm game to try it without the manual.  BTW, IDK what you mean by "with particular settings on the skeleton".  I hope that means I will be able to import my avatar's exported "new archetype.xml" file ... hint hint.

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Hi again!

So, i thought to an early access program. Here is another video which explains it

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BzZTVbsQ7mtTMTVlY2I5YmUtYTQyMy00NDYyLWI1NTctZWEwNGMwZjQ1YTU1

To answer your question, my work on this file was aimed exclusively on animation production, this means that my knowledge went only towards skeletal structure set up to make working for an SL animation much easier and complete, with the least amount of animation data being dropped during upload, due to the "clean ups" that the uploader does. The avatars, both male and female, are not weighted to avoid influences on playback performance, as for the total materials and UV's lack. If you get the import files for archetype xml files you will be able to import it. The rig has been designed to line up perfectly with SL grid, all the test animations i tried kept the avatar's feet exactly leaning on the ground and never ever feet sink in the ground, not even a tiny part. Motion accuracy guaranteed at 97% for each animation you do following the building and optimization system described in the book (the process is the same of my previous publication). There are so many animatable settings now that this will need explanations or you won't even see them. Also, with 2.5x Blender serie there has been the introduction of character motion curves modifiers. If you're confident with your selflearning skills go ahead and click the link above. :)

 

Cheers

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It looks like Blender users are going to be spoiled for choice when it comes to animating for SL :)

For support of the archetype.xml file, there's only one choice as far as I know - Avastar does that and a whole lot more, including support for SL's native animation format for 100% accuracy..

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Yep, it looks like that Domino. In fact, the official release of my BVHExporter 2_1 is ready, complete of its manual which i'm now going to assemble inworld. 

I strongly doubt, though, that .anim format would be lossless during upload. Even if using a patched viewer that allows that, i don't believe that it will skip the processing step to drop keyframes not matching the minimum delta rotation, what i call "the uploader clean up", leaving a considerable amount of keyframes that usually would be dropped. Not considering the rig arrangement that i saw, which is the usual type applied on characters used normally for movie making, not for online, realtime game engines animation production. All the animation features described there are fully available via the standard operations that an animator does (without scripts). Curve Editor's features also. IK and FK behavior is switchable as well, plus the presence of non-inherited bones to help quicker posing. But i supply a manual to learn HOW to use these features and what's the animation workflow a professional animator uses for handcrafted animations (it's my job in RL for advertisements in local TVs). All the other features i've read of, give creators much more playground in other fields; as stated in a previous post, my work was only towards animation production.

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What you call "the uploader clean up" is part of the conversion from .bvh to .anim that the viewer does before upload. By using the .anim format and 3rd viewer bulk uploads, you skip that step completely.

There's no doubt that Avastar is a complex product designed around all avatar editing, not just animation. Some features are exposed for machinima tricks rather than just SL animations as well. It'll also take us some time to document how to use it all. So there's plenty of room in the market for 3rd party training if you fancy doing an Avastar version of your instruction manual ;)

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Are you sure that animations can be bulk uploaded? what about loop and ease in/out values then? Assuming that the animation gets eported in .anim format, so it would include hand and face blend shapes (or shapekeys in Blender), so that step is naturally skipped, the other fields in the exporter are the actual way to interpolate non-linear animations. So if bulk uploading is possible, skipping the entire process of upload settings, the animator wouldn't be able to make a set of animations, each of them having different uses and need of different values. If instead it is not possible to bulk upload, then there must be an upload window which let you insert those values. So, as far as i'm concerned, the animation in this case would be passing through an uploader, which i definitely doubt that the developers fixed the loop bug and the too high delta rotation limit for data to be dropped. Not mentioning that if the uploader is patched, it might be capable of priority 5 animations uploads, thing which should be concerning you, given the large amount of people who uses your products. Just my opinion.

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It's a minor change to the viewer code to add support for the .anim files which Avastar can produce. The .anim files are effectively at step 4 of the overview of the internal animation format used by Second Life.

Things such as hand poses, emotes and loop points are all stored in the header of the .anim files, and these can be set in Avastar. So you have as much control there as you do in uploading bvh files. As far as priorities are concerned, you actually have more control here as Avastar allows per bone priorities to be set (the joint priority mentioned in the format reference).

The .anim files actually support up to priority 6. Because we support other worlds besides SL, and people may wish to replace the default higher priority animations for those worlds, we allow these to be set in Avastar. We don't recommend the use of these for normal animations though.

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Hello, the tutorial videos have been removed and can't be accessed. Can you please put them on youtube or some site so that we may learn how to use it properly? 

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I'm having an issue with importing this animation into SL. The preview and upload do not replicate the animation I created in Blender. Is there a specific way you have to upload these animations to keep all of the animation data?

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I am just getting started creating animations with Blender/Avastar and I have run into a few "gotchas". This is a little involved so bear with me.

Previously, I have been able to export BVH files from SL to my hard drive, play with them in BVHacker, then upload them again to SL. Now that I have Blender/Avastar, I have been exporting them from Blender in the anim file format and uploading them to SL. The problem I am running into is that something is either added to or taken out of anim format animation when they are uploaded to SL and when I try to export them again as a BVH file, my viewer crashes, every time.  That is my first question, how to get around this problem.

The other question I have right now is probably a little easier. Is there any reliable way to import anim format files into Blender? I saw a few mentions of anim file format in this thread but no definitive solution for my dilemma.

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