03-08-2010 11:27 AM
When I first did a search with Google for tutorials on doing SL animations and free software, the first few that popped up were tutorials for Daz Studio 3D. I found Daz difficult to use for SL animations and I especially found the tutorials to be miserable. For example, in both tutorials that I used they would say “save the animation” and fail to mention that this large dialog pops up with a bunch of options in it. One tutorial was a video so I could vaguely see that they just pressed the OK or the accept button on that dialog. But neither mentioned that the first time you use this dialog you had better click on the “SL compatibility” option! Failure to do so makes animation files that fail to load in SL. Once you click that button it remembers, so the guy who make the video tutorial forgot about it.
I started keeping a list of all the things that the tutorials failed to mention and that caused me a lot of wasted time and effort. I wrote this list in the form of a tutorial by someone who doesn't know what he is doing for other people who don't know what they are doing. I thought it might be helpful for the next guy.
But then someone on this forum suggested I use Avimator (Qavimator doesn't work well on my Mac). I'm much happier with Avimator over Daz because Avimator only does one thing and that is the thing I need! Daz does a bunch of other stuff I don't need and you are constantly working around them.
However, I have this 90% finished tutorial document on how to use Daz for dummies (by a dummy). Since I would personally NOT recommend Daz for SL animations, I'm wondering if this tutorial is worth posting someplace. Perhaps here?
03-08-2010 01:19 PM
Please do post it. I rarely use Dazstudio, but i can, and it does have some awesome features. Plus, I kinda think that daz will be the transitional software for the next gen VWs. They allow for collada formatting and you can basically take any bvh file and set the correct joints to use in a collada. I also read that they are working on this feature more and soon any animator will be able to use the same animation in every VW, using 1 single program.
03-08-2010 01:40 PM
03-15-2010 09:55 PM
Medhue, it would make sense for LL to support collada, do you have some indications that they will move their animation design to a closer match with Daz?
03-18-2010 01:46 PM
I used Qvaimator for animations but it keeps locking up. And while posing it suddenly starts to flake out the body goes all over.
I have been using Daz studio so I was used to it. There was a short video on animation for SL using daz that was all I needed.
It works great and is more stable and easer to use than Qvaimator.
The paid programs like Poser are out of my budget.
03-19-2010 01:59 PM
OK, here are the notes I took when trying to use the tutorials for Daz the first time. A tutorial by someone who doesn't know what he is doing yet, for people who also don't know what they are doing yet! This would have saved me a lot of time, perhaps it will help others...
Getting Daz for Free:
DazStudio3D has a free version, or let's you download the regular version, I could not tell the difference. I started with the link http://www.daz3d.com/i/3d_art_resource/free_softwa
Dowloading the SL Avatar Mesh:
Daz comes with a free model to pose, DON'T USE IT! Daz has a daly freebie that lets you download some of their 3D models for free. DON'T DOWNLOAD THOSE! They are all probably great for some of the other uses for Daz, but you cannot upload anything you do with them to Second Life. So play with them in your copious spare time, but if your goal is to create animations for SL then it is best to ignore all the content at Daz for now.
The SL Avatar Mesh can be found at http://secondlife.com/community/avatar.php. While you are there, you can download the Avatar Animations as well. Daz can import these and you can play them, take them apart, learn from them and modify them for your own uses. Both of these downloads are ZIP files, that must be unpacked somehow. I did all this on a Mac, so Stuffit unpacked them for me into my Downloads folder, then I dragged them into a folder where I keep all my SL stuf.
Loading the SL Avatar Mesh:
Daz has its own file formats, so you have to go to the menu and use the File/Import command to load the SL Avatar Mesh. Remember where you unpacked the ZIP files and navigate there in the import file dialog. Keep looking until you find the SL_Female.cr2 or SL_Male.cr2 file. When you open the file, Daz will complain that “the Poser content directories are not set up correctly” and cannot find a needed file. But if you click on the “Locate” button you will see that it has already found the missing file! Just press “Open”.
If you accidentally load an .obj file instead of one of the .cr2 files, the avatar mesh will appear but none of the animation tools will work! You can tell if you have done this by looking at the avatar mesh: If it is all white, you have loaded the wrong file. If it has transparent colored “pants” and “shirt” then you probably have the right file. To remove a mesh you don't want, click on the Scene tab, right click on items and select remove. Don't remove the camera.
Play with the camera controls on the main perspective view window (rotate, pan, zoom, etc). They are pretty intuitive and if you hold the cursor over them a little content sensitive help appears above in the main toolbar. You will need to use these later to view the avatar from different angles and distances.
Loading Existing Animations:
I wish I had done this first instead of randomly poking at the joints. Daz can import the standard .bvh files that you downloaded while getting the avatar mesh. Pick one of these, like
avatar_sit_generic.bvh and check it out. Again, Daz has its own file format for animations so you must use the same File/Import command menu to load .bvh files. An annoying dialog pops up every time asking you if it is OK to adjust the scene, just hit Accept.
If you just loaded the generic sit .bvh file, why isn't the avatar sitting? This was an eye-opener for me. The sit animation assumes that the avatar is starting from a standing position, and only ends up sitting! You need to find the Timeline dialog in Daz to play the animation. I had a lot of trouble finding , docking and loosing dialogs like this. Dialogs keep disappearing and you need to know where to find them again! In the menu, View/Tabs will show you a list of all the dialogs with checkmarks next to the active ones. If Timeline is not checked, clicking on it will bring it up. You can dock it on the window or drag it out to float on your screen somewhere.
Play with the buttons in the Timeline dialog. Dragging the triangle on the timeline will move the animation forward or backward. Below that are standard play, loopback, single-step, fast-forward and several other buttons.
Setting the Timeline:
By default, you will see the simple Timeline dialog. If you want to change the frames per second or the number of frames, you need to change to the advanced Timeline dialog. To get this you click the little right-arrow-triangle in the upper right corner of the timeline dialog. This will bring up a little drop-down menu that lets you ask for the advanced version.
Cutting and Pasting Pose Frames:
It is useful to be able to cut and paste single pose frames out of an animation. For example, you might need just the last frame from the avatar_sit_generic.bvh file. You want to copy that last frame into frame 2 and then delete all the rest. Cut and paste are hidden away in the Parameters dialog. This dialog has a little triangle in the upper right corner. It looks like a “close or minimise this dialog” arrow button but it is not. Clicking on this arrow drops down a menu with options to memorize or restore. Those in turn have sub-menus with options to memorize or restore the current figure pose.
You can just click on a body part to select it for editing. It will change color and the “gizmo” will appear at the joint. This gizmo looks like the rotate rings from the SL build tools. Daz also has a PowerPose dialog (bring it up from the menu with View/Tabs). This dialog has a diagram of the avatar and lets you select joints by clicking on dots in the diagram. Sort of like the ivory statue in a Chinese Apothecary.
Editing Animation Frames:
There are supposed to be 4 ways to adjust a joint: pulling on the gizmo rings, pulling sliders in the Parameters dialog, entering angle numbers in the Parameters dialog, or sliding the mouse in the PowerPose dialog. The PowerPose dialog has little diagrams telling you which buttons work to turn which axes. This never worked for me, I ended up mostly using the Parameters sliders or entering angles. I thought I would prefer using the gizmo but found I preferred using the gizmo just as a visual reference to remind me which slider to pull.
Since Daz has its own file format, you must save your animation with the File/Export command in the menu. Every time you do this a large dialog box “BVH Exporter Options” appears . The first time you use this command YOU MUST CLICK ON THE “Second Life Compatibilty” button in this dialog! Failure to do so will produce animations that cannot be loaded. (They start to load, but then quietly fail without charging you L$10). From now on, the “SL compatibility” button will remember that you set this and you don't have to ask for it every time. You can just press Accept.
03-20-2010 05:37 PM
Thank you for posting these Kayaker. Although I use Qavimator (I also have a mac but I use bootcamp to run Qavimator in XP), in some ways Qavimator is very limited - no foot anchoring function, no multi-frame copy and paste, etc. Has anyone tried combining these tools, such as creating some basic parts in Daz with the SL mesh, then exporting the bvh to Qavimator for adjustments?
04-09-2010 11:42 AM
I was going between the two but as I said Qavimator kept locking up so I do not even try it anymore.
I would swear that when I bring an animation in from one to the other there are extra frames usually at the end and or beginning. But Daz is easer to animate. Qavimator is simple so is there is less to remember, ie Daz import, export.
Daz Studio tip:
Create a scene. Put a floor in it, a dark color like green, not too dark. Use a floor texture if you like, lawn, tile wood floor etc. Leave the model in default position, Set lights to help see dark areas especially at the floor, if it is a problem.
Open “Time Line” ,“Parameters” and “Scene” close everything else. You can have “Power pose” open, if you are good at it because it has more “power”. (But I could not control very well took too much time, so I do not use it, I use parameters to animate. ) You can create your own menu bar to minimize the icons. Animation only requires the minimum. Also you can make it a full screen by eliminating the unnecessary menu bars. Put the time line parameters where you want it. I like parameters on the left and time line on the top.
Then save scene as "Default SL scene animation".
Now you can always start a new animation by just opening the scene.
When you start an animation open the scene then change the name so you do not accidently overwrite the default SL scene. (Or write protect it in windows, if Daz allows a write protected file opened.)
If you save the animation as you go (export), change the name like sit1.bvh then sit2.bvh etc. That way if it gets messed up you have it up the point of it getting messed up, so you do not have to start all over!
I see no need to save the scene, it is the animation you need.
More Daz Studio Tips:
When you create a Daz animation it shows the default pose they label “0”. So for example you will have 0 to 10 frames, total 11.
When exporting an animation from Daz it seems to include the default frame in Daz the "0" frame. You can select to show 1 to 11, but I have not tried to save it this way, it may eliminate the default frame when you upload it into SL.
Most of my animations were on the ground, so looping made it stand up at the end of the loop. When uploading in SL, I had to figure out exactly what percentage the first frame Daz "0", was when importing it and start from there. As I said saving it with show frame 1-11 might eliminate this but I have not tried it.
The other puzzle is I have uploaded ainmations that I put on the model ground but in SL it just stayed standing up doing the animations. So importing the "0" frame might be necessary but loop 1 to the end.
I still have problem with loops jerking at the end. Even thought I make sure the end is a copy of the beginning and the second to last frame smoothly went into the end it still jerks at the end or beginning of the loop not sure which. Maybe with practice I will figure it out.
If you do poses you need one frame, Daz does not count the zero frame as a frame in the animation, so when you upload it load 50% to 100% to eliminate the default pose for your loop.
Very important tip:
Daz studio is very CP, memory and graphics card intensive. Do not have any other windows open when running Daz least of all SL. SL is a CPU, memory and graphics card hog to put it mildly. If you have 4 GB Ram a dual core or better CPU you might be able to get away with it. Deactivate your virus, adware programs it will free up CPU time and memory. But remember to turn it on again if you surf the web or get email.
Look up on the web, what windows services you can shut down permanently. Windows has lots of services that are not necessary in all circumstances. But be careful.
Yes, I am using Daz a lot. I am illustrating a couple of children’s books in Daz studio. I am not an expert but am picking up a lot of tricks.
Message was edited by: Casandra Kumsung