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#1 Noisycricket

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 06:11 PM

I'd love to help with animation and have a few questions. Im going through the Maya tutorials again, even the redundant ones to get a solid foundation to build on. Im using Maya 2009 Unlimited trial atm, but I have access to Maya (8 I think).

1. Are there any unusual limitations I should know about?

2. What do you need help with the most?

3. Is there a model i can start with to show you what i can do. I noticed the hands on the mouse glide over the ground and don't appear planted during the mouse's idle animation, I also think the hands of the mouse's wrists should bend downwards some when the mouse stands up, although i would double-check with some real life video first. I could start there if that works.

4. Is there anything i should know about unit setting in Maya or other compatibility stuff like that? How should i set the animation speed?

Things i was curious about(as usual, just thoughts, not requests):
Is there an easy way to make the arms of the guards that are holding hammers and weapons act with inertia using 3 exponential expressions for each axis within certain angle constraints to give the hammer a weighty feeling and not "snap to point" so quickly. Is there some existing data we could use from from the graphics engine to less expensively compute the contraint computations? If it didn't cost so much maybe the weapon arm could constantly be trailing behind its animation data except when swinging. Addressing the same mechanices (I think :laugh: ), I was thinking about doing a special animation, just for guards turning around and closing doors since they do it so often. I wondered about doing a sort of casual half-turn with arm reaching out to close the door, but the important question is will the arm of the guard model be able to dynamicaly keep his hand next to the door knob and can the code take control of parts of the model to make it look realistic. I guess the code would have to do IK to do that!? :laugh: If not, will the animation be able to be dynamically slowed so i could make an arm swing animation that would follow behind the trajectory of the door?

Just thinking out loud about an eventual turn-around movement. So many possibilities, so little time :wacko: Do you all have plans for a turning movement?

#2 Crispy

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 07:54 PM

Excellent. Glad to hear it. :)

Animation is not my area, so for your main questions I'm just going to point you at http://wiki.thedarkm...x.php/Animation in case you haven't seen it already. :)

I'm not sure about your weapon inertia question. If you're asking about modifying animations at runtime, this is not possible (or at least not feasible, given the spaghetti nature of D3's animation code) except for a few special cases. Making alternate versions of animations which are only used when certain weapons are being held is possible, so you could have a "walking with hammer" animation which differed from the normal walk animation, and use that to convey the weight of the hammer in the modified animation. However, this is a lot of work if you're suggesting doing this for every animation, and quite frankly we need serious help just to get a basic usable set of animations right now.

I can answer your door question though - we do have a generic "interact" animation which is used for door opening/closing right now (I think it's probably from post-Saint Lucia). However, the hand just sort of vaguely sticks out in the direction of the door; it doesn't take the location of the handle into account at all. There is arm IK code in the Doom 3 SDK, but it doesn't look like it was used in D3 at all and we don't know how to use it. It's been a minor programming ambition to have someone look at it one day, but it's a very low priority task, so nobody has yet.

Animations can be dynamically slowed down or sped up in the code (it would be a natural extension of this functionality), but I'd call this even lower priority than arm IK, personally. :)

Doom 3 does support turning animations. I think someone was looking into this recently but nothing's really been done yet.
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#3 Noisycricket

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 08:29 PM

Intresting info about the IK code, I wonder what that was to be for. Did i understand you right, the animation speed can be changed on the fly during the animation? Because we could keep track of the door handle's latteral position and speed and slow down the animation if so.

Just so you know, i'd like to create really high quality animations and i don't know how long that is going to take. I have a lot of free time to spend on it though, so thats good.

#4 Crispy

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 09:53 PM

Did i understand you right, the animation speed can be changed on the fly during the animation? Because we could keep track of the door handle's latteral position and speed and slow down the animation if so.

Yes, but it requires coder time to implement it, which always comes at a premium. It's hard to justify the time cost for what is essentially a minor cosmetic feature. Unless all our mostly-inactive coders (a list which includes me) suddenly find themselves with tons of spare time on their hands and nothing better to do with it, you're probably going to have a hard time convincing anyone else to spend time on it... :)

Just so you know, i'd like to create really high quality animations and i don't know how long that is going to take. I have a lot of free time to spend on it though, so thats good.

That is good. It's still a good idea to keep priorities in mind, though; considering the bigger picture, it might be better to have several "good" animations than one "perfect" animation.

As you may have gathered, we're all rather concerned about a lack of time to get everything that needs to be done, done. ^_^
My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.

#5 Noisycricket

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 02:02 AM

That is good. It's still a good idea to keep priorities in mind, though; considering the bigger picture, it might be better to have several "good" animations than one "perfect" animation.

As you may have gathered, we're all rather concerned about a lack of time to get everything that needs to be done, done. ^_^

Roger, that sounds fine, theres always 1.1 and so on. :) I'm almost through the tutorials.

#6 Domarius

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 10:46 PM

Yes the anims only have to be satisfactory.

To start with, just do whatever you feel most compelled with and then show us. I think there are some nuances to getting them all working with the game that aren't documented. You will probably have to ask a lot of questions.

The latest rig is in the model_src repository, under proguard_mb folder, and is called proguard_rev2.mb The progaurdmesh_export.mb is what the def file uses to export.

#7 Noisycricket

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 01:52 AM

Hmm, where is the model_src repository? In the St. Lucia demo?
Opps, nevermind, figured it out.

Already found my reference material, 1:50, just what im looking for:




No, seriously, i was checking out the Thief 3 guard walk and i think i love it. Its perhaps a tad more casual than I'd like, but casual would really fit in obviously. I was thinking a bit more focused, but just a bit. The running with swords animation I think is good too, gives the sword a weighted feeling look. Its only the first set of *good* cycles i've found to look at though. I think I'll just start with some standing_idle animations since you still need to review my work before "hiring" me.

Edited by Noisycricket, 06 April 2009 - 03:54 AM.


#8 Crispy

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 07:15 AM

Um... you wouldn't have access to Subversion (SVN), I shouldn't think? So I'm not sure which model_src you've found.

I guess Noisycricket needs to be set up as a contributor and given SVN access before he can start work, yes?
My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.

#9 Springheel

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 07:17 AM

No, seriously, i was checking out the Thief 3 guard walk and i think i love it


Seriously? The TDS animations are almost universally despised around here. The walk looks like the guards have broomsticks for spines.

I guess Noisycricket needs to be set up as a contributor and given SVN access before he can start work, yes?


We generally like to see some examples of previous work first.

#10 Noisycricket

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 03:29 PM

Seriously? The TDS animations are almost universally despised around here. The walk looks like the guards have broomsticks for spines.

We generally like to see some examples of previous work first.


I think a good 40% of the reason Im as so impressed with the T3 guard walk cycle was because I was starring at crappy tutorial animations in Maya for 5 days straight, 8 hours a day. Before i started working on something as important as the walk cycle, i'd like have it all planned out and have looked at at least 10 or so possibilites.

@Crispy: I sent off an email to Sparhawk last night about the password.

@whom concerned: So maybe I'll animate a good quality cat model from the net and do a stretching animation, a lick-paws and smell-the-air animation as well as a walk cycle, sit-down/stand-up transition animation. Would that be ideal to those in charge? I have no doubt about being able to do a walk cycle at higher than AAA game quality, but we might all be dead by before I get done...

#11 Noisycricket

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 03:33 PM

btw: heres the Thief 3 guard animation I was refering to just so theres no confusion. You might need to temporarily adjust your gamma and contrast settings to see it best. In particular, the animation @ 1:00 and 3:40?

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

One things for sure, the voices don't exactly match up with the athletic look of the guard IMO.

Edited by Noisycricket, 06 April 2009 - 03:39 PM.


#12 Springheel

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 04:02 PM

A human animation would give us a lot better sense of what you can do, an would be more useful as a learning experience than a cat. Am I correct that you have not actually done any animations before?

My suggestion would be to take one of our maya rigs and see what you can do with it. We don't need to see an actual in-game animation for contributor status.

#13 SneaksieDave

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 04:02 PM

On a side note, I'd forgotten how bad the jerky, lurching player movement was! :wacko:

#14 New Horizon

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 04:16 PM

If you haven't done any animations before, I am perplexed as to how you intend to animate faster and better than the animators we currently have working on the mod. Perhaps you're a quick study, but still...it takes a long time to learn how to animate realistic characters.

#15 Noisycricket

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 07:01 PM

A human animation would give us a lot better sense of what you can do, an would be more useful as a learning experience than a cat. Am I correct that you have not actually done any animations before?

My suggestion would be to take one of our maya rigs and see what you can do with it. We don't need to see an actual in-game animation for contributor status.


Right, aside from tutorials, very little experience. My excitement could be clouding my judgement :D I never originally thought to do work for 1.0, just contribute what i could in the time I could and offer them as addons. I've decided to do this for a living too and am likely going to sign up for a certification program at the University of Washington or an online program if that doesn't pan out. I think your suggestion of animating a current human model is a good one, but regardless, I simply need to do some animation to get a better idea about what i can contribute and more to the point, how soon... I'll need access, or perhaps someone can email the .mb file to: Tory40 at comcast net

#16 Noisycricket

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 07:14 PM

@ SneaksieDave, yeah, its a shame about the stuttering animation. How do you like that walk cycle?

@New Horizon, I think i need to stop, slow down and animate something first. I could very well be under-estimating the difficulty in this, i'll admit it. :D

#17 Noisycricket

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 07:18 PM

I created a little text file right in my quick-launch panel that i open whenever I think of something i'd like to add to the mod or an idea i'd like to explore. Heres what i have so far for guard idle animations. The (w) denotes an animation that can be done while walking.

GAURD IDLE/ ANIMATIONS:
-Yawning(w),
-stretching(w),
-talking to self angrily w/ lots of gesturing(w),
-sitting,
-tripping(w),
-playing with sword/dagger/magic item(w),
-checking time keeper device(w),
-funny very rare random practice side-kick with a super-fung-fu-high-pitch "WIYAAAAHHHH...!" (april fools prank ONLY!!)
-look left and right and/or up and/or down(w),
-lighting/smoking a pipe(w)
-swat fly(w)
-straighten a painting on a wall(w)
-move to a window and peer out at something specific(w)
-brush off lint from clothes(w)
-tie boots
-tuck in clothes(w)
-practice with weapon(w?)
-observe/play with/spin/flip/throw-up/accidently drop/ weapon
-guard falling asleep
-picking up a coin and putting it in his pocket(w)
-picking up a rock, examine, then toss and brush hands together to clean(clap sounds)(w)

Edited by Noisycricket, 06 April 2009 - 07:19 PM.


#18 Springheel

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 07:26 PM

I think i need to stop, slow down and animate something first. I could very well be under-estimating the difficulty in this, i'll admit it.


Enthusiasm is good, but I definitely think you should get your feet wet with some practice animations first. You don't even need to use our animation rig...Maya comes with a basic human rig for practicing, doesn't it? You could do a couple of those things from your list and see how it goes.

#19 Noisycricket

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 10:50 PM

Enthusiasm is good, but I definitely think you should get your feet wet with some practice animations first. You don't even need to use our animation rig...Maya comes with a basic human rig for practicing, doesn't it? You could do a couple of those things from your list and see how it goes.

Questions:
How many Joints/bones can TDM use?

I read that D3 uses only joints/bones for animation, does that mean weighting down skin vertices is unnecessary in Maya?

#20 Crispy

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:53 PM

We have a specific rig which all our animations use. (Well that's the theory, but in fact we have several... uh, long story, never mind. :P ) Don't worry about that yet though, just make something so we can see what you can do.

The process of weighting vertices (not "weighting down vertices"; you're not putting heavy objects onto them, you're assigning "weight" values to them :) ), also known as skinning, is an essential part of the process of using joint-based animation. That's what maps joint movements to vertex movements. So, um, no, it doesn't mean that. :)
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#21 Noisycricket

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 12:51 AM

The process of weighting vertices (not "weighting down vertices"; you're not putting heavy objects onto them, you're assigning "weight" values to them :) ), also known as skinning, is an essential part of the process of using joint-based animation. That's what maps joint movements to vertex movements. So, um, no, it doesn't mean that. :)


I see, so weight values for each vertex are carried over and used by the Doom 3 engine. But does skin deformation techniques such as "Influence objects" that create muscle flexing, breathing animations and eblew points, etc, carry over to TDM?

Edited by Noisycricket, 07 April 2009 - 01:28 AM.


#22 Springheel

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 10:25 AM

does skin deformation techniques such as "Influence objects" that create muscle flexing, breathing animations and eblew points, etc, carry over to TDM?


No, D3 allows animation by weightmap only.

#23 squill

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 03:57 PM

That's a big animation list you got there Noisycricket ;) but before diving into something complicated like that with little to no experience i would start with something smaller.

Start with something like a bouncing ball to get a feeling for the animation tools in maya. Then you could look and play around with some free animation rigs that are available on the net and see if you like it.

This is one that i used in the past that i very much liked and it's pretty user friendly:
http://www.highend3d...ion-3-4346.html

#24 Noisycricket

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 07:43 PM

Im happy to report that I've done a couple bouncing ball tut's already, with model deformation, also facial deformation and basic IK animation in a couple tutorials. I hooked up Maya's full-body-IK to a free model i downloaded last night (btw, is there some law that all sites offering free models must be plagued with advertizing, hidden and some with audio! :laugh: What a saga that was to find) Anyway, I'm now trying to figure out what tools and shortcuts in Maya i should be utilizing. Things like the Trax editor, that seems useful, but not sure about for character animation. Also, my model doesn't have the blue riggings all over it like I see in your tutorials, nor the bones sticking out of the legs. Speaking of joints btw, In your opinion, will TDM handle extra rib joints to simulate a breathing animation for the standing idle animation, or would it not be worth it in your opinion?

#25 Domarius

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 10:20 PM

I've just been simulating breathing by moving the torso and arms slightly. I think it's sufficient, but wether anyone agrees and if we need rib bones, is another story.

I think everyone wants you to use a pre built character, whatever you can find, that you can just animate with. The quality of animation, not the technical ability, seems to be the motivating factor in deciding to put someone on our team.




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