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oDDity

Model and rig revision

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Although most animations work that don't necessarily mean they look good after transfer. I've aplied some animations in Motionbuilder with "File -> Load character animation" and most of those need tweaking.

 

I'm still looking at the process of transferring animations from one rig to another and it's true we have more animations in Maya then MB... (not counting fbx -> maya)

 

I've said before i'm not a big fan of the rig setups in MB and i try to do as much work in Maya to keep exporting and making adjustments easy and fast.

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ok.. i've been able to transfer animations made with the Maya rig (with character set) to oDDity's new rig. I'm seeing some changes in feet positions and the hands are twisted. But i can leave the hands out when i'm transferring the anims over.

 

Main things with fbx is making adjustments on the body parts. Because the keyframes are baked onto the skeleton. To be able to easily adjust body parts i'll have to create a rig in maya with the same character set. If this time the builder guard has the exact same joint setup i'll probably only have to create one animation rig.

 

I'm not sure about those skins and mesh modifications, sounds like a lot of work to adjust them all to fit, but i'm not sure we all agree on what to do?

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My new rig? I haven't uploaded it yet. The new one is quite a bit different to the old one, but the bone positions are pretty much identical.

It's not a lot of work to tweak the proportions of a model and skin it to a rig, and that's all that's needed to be done to fit the citywatch variations to the the new setup.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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My new rig? I haven't uploaded it yet. The new one is quite a bit different to the old one, but the bone positions are pretty much identical.

It's not a lot of work to tweak the proportions of a model and skin it to a rig, and that's all that's needed to be done to fit the citywatch variations to the the new setup.

 

based on the file you linked earlier. I've just been testing to see what results your modifications would bring in terms of animation.

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Also, what about the shadow mesh, does that have to be weighted to the skeleton and exported along with the regular md5mesh?

 

Yes.

If you're going to be modifying the shadowmeshes, you can remove the head part. I'm adding shadowmeshes to the heads themselves, so the body shadowmesh just needs to go to the neck (and be closed off there).

 

However, for any actual model alterations SH has made away from the default citywatch model, he will have to take his models, adjust the proportions using this new model as a template and then weight it to the new skeleton and export the md5mesh.

 

Basically all the existing AI models will need to have that done, won't they? They'll all need to have the proportions adjusted, be reweighted, and re-exported? Are you planning on doing all those yourself? We have at least a dozen human AI working (not to mention the ones that aren't rigged at all yet).

 

I've said before i'm not a big fan of the rig setups in MB and i try to do as much work in Maya to keep exporting and making adjustments easy and fast....sounds like a lot of work to adjust them all to fit, but i'm not sure we all agree on what to do?

 

Frankly, these changes are going to create a lot of tedious work for someone (weighting verts isn't fun and I doubt readjusting animations is either). So it kind of comes down to who is willing to do that work.

 

Asking Squill to readjust all the animations (we have about 30-40 animations total!)--and then forcing him to make new ones using software he doesn't like--doesn't make a lot of sense to me, even if it does make things easier for theoretical animators we may discover in the future.

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Is there some sort of extra skin material on the city watch guard in the game, because he's showing up black for me and his hands are displaying shadows ever though the shader in the md5mesh I exported is pointing to hands which have shadows turned off.

IT works ok when I do a testmodel in-game and looks ok in the editor, but the actual model in-game is black.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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That's strange. If the texture shows in the editor I don't know what it shouldn't be fine in-game as well.

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It seems to me that the actual in-game model is not using the shaders that are specified in the md5mesh. When I do a testmodel command in the game it works fine.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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The default citywatch does use a skin--it's listed in the def file; something like 'characters/citywatch_default'. If you've changed the mesh then the shaders probably won't match up, but if that were the case then it shouldn't render in the editor either.

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Yeah, that's it. If I comment out the skin line it works.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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I haven't changed the Uv mapping on the citywatch model at all, so I'm sure the different skins will still work.

 

Just for the sake of clarity, the skins I made for the citywatch won't work properly on the revised version. I made a few changes to the uvmap and, more importantly, split some areas of the mesh up into different surfaces (not to mention adding the shoulder-belt accessory--invisible in the default version but useful in other skins). The changes were all transparent to the default appearance, but were not insignificant.

 

If we're bent on replacing the mesh then that's fine, but be aware those skins will be unusable.

 

(Regardless of whether we replace the current mesh, I do support replacing the hands...the mitten hands never really looked satisfactory)

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You'll just need to take this new mesh when it's done and split it up the way you had it before so it will still work with the skins.

Which way the mesh is split up is irrelevant to me, so you can change it to whatever you want, it won't affect the rig or animations.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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yes that's what i pointed out in the previous pic. I think the current 3 finger(joints) are good enough to do most animations. A full hand just creates more animation work.

 

why don't you animate in body part mode? Then you don't have key's on all parts and it's easier to manage your keyframes.

I used to animate in body part mode, but then one of the rig revisions changed the way IK worked. Previously, if I moved say, the upper back joint, the arms and head would follow exactly, being children. But with the latest rig (not oDDity's, the one we are still using), the arms and head get "left behind" instead, (and he does this african-american lady "cobra" thing "mmmhmm?") which makes it impossible to do realistic movement. So instead I switch to Full Body mode, to get the same effect.

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Since it's probably too late for the city watch guard, there being too many variations what with SH and all the animations, I'm doing the builder guard for now, and since that's being used for the release it makes sense.

I reproportioned the model, built a whole new skeleton from scratch, built a new ik animation rig from scratch and animated a patrol walk.

Motionbuidler should be cut out of the pipeline. It's unnecessary, but when I started this pipeline a few years ago I didn't know enough about maya.

Now that I do, it can be used for the whole pipeline. The trax editor can be used for swapping different animation between characters, and I've already built a rig that better for keyframe animation than the one in motionbuilder, which is only set up for adjusting motion capture.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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You probably know about these already, but there were a few recorded issues with the builder guard that needed to be fixed:

 

The recently exported version with the new rig is too tall--his original height was about 95% his current one (just a touch shorter than the citywatch).

 

Older observations:

 

1. -- wrist has rigging issues--bends at strange angles.

2. -- shadowmesh of head is distorted. The entire head part can be removed from the shadowmesh now, since they will be added to the head entities directly (the neck needs to be closed so there is no gap).

 

3. -- head seems to move around strangely during certain animations, including attack animations--probably a joint issue that will be fixed by your new rig.

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I reproportioned the model, built a whole new skeleton from scratch, built a new ik animation rig from scratch and animated a patrol walk.

what do you mean with "new ik animation rig"? Like FBIK or just IK for feet and hands?

 

The trax editor can be used for swapping different animation between characters.

 

Did you use character sets?

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Yes, character sets are perfect for this. I just hadn't looked into trax/character sets in maya before.

Here's the mb with the new rig. I'm going to reskin the mesh though. There are two slightly different versions of the file, one with IK arm setup and one with fk arms, because I don't know how to set up ik/fk switching on the arms. I find pure fk arms are great for walk cycle type anims, but ik arms can be useful for things like sword anims where the character is interacting with props.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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How long will it take to adjust the animations to this new rig? Is it something that can be done before the release? It would certainly be nice to have the builder guard moving properly, but if it's going to take a month or two to do we'd have to decide how much of a priority it is.

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This model hasn't got many animations, and I think those were imported from the citywatch.

What animations will be needed for the builder guard for the release map?

I've got more work on the the next few weeks, so I won't be able to do much.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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The model didn't have many animations because Squill was only partially done exporting them, I think. Ultimately it will have just as many animations as the citywatch.

 

As for how many are actually needed for the map, I don't know exactly. I guess it would need all the standard movement, combat, and searching animations, as well as some of the idles, and the 'reach out' animation for doors. It probably wouldn't need any sitting or torch-carrying animations.

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How long will it take to adjust the animations to this new rig? Is it something that can be done before the release? It would certainly be nice to have the builder guard moving properly, but if it's going to take a month or two to do we'd have to decide how much of a priority it is.

 

I can't say for certain because i first have to build the same controls/character set for this rig to be able to exchange most of the animations. Anims from MB can't be simply imported because the joint setup/names are slightly different.

 

I first want to test another setup with the current rig. I believe the main issue now is the scaling. If this works the exchanging of animations could be finished. When is the next release planned.. beginning of june?

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We're looking at the end of June right now, but we'd like to get everything but bugfixing done a few weeks ahead of that date.

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There's no point me doing any new animations till you guys sort this out.

 

And before we "cut motion builder out of the pipeline", I'd like to see anyone try to do something with as many layers of movement as the warm hands anim and get something looking just as natural.

 

Complicated organic motions are just easier with layered movement, without it some things are practically impossible. I won't animate in Maya if I can't layer the movement keyframes.

 

Consider the angry shaking fist example - the fist shakes violently back and forth on all axiis, using several keyframes to go back and forth.

 

Now you want the fist to slowly move up or side to side over time, because nothing stays perfectly the same over time.

 

Do you go and slightly adjust every single "shake fist" keyframe till it moves slowly in one direction? No fucking way - that's going back to the days of stop motion animation, will take just as long to do, and you'll never get a smooth organic result.

 

Instead, make a new layer with a few side to side keyframes, that gently sway the whole fist (shaking and all) smoothly side to side over time. Done.

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Believe me, the vast, vast majority of professional animators do not use motionbuilder, they use maya or some othwer 3d app. In fact, virtually no one uses motionbuilder for keyframe animation. It's purpose is correcting motion capture.

They find no problem doing feature animations exponentially more complicated and subtle than a warm hands loop without motionbuilser layers.

Those layers really just make you lazy and give you a bad habit of keying the crap out of eveything.

 

In maya you keep it clean and only key the specific channel you need, so the y rotation of the upper arm for example, and you keep a nice clean curve for that in the graph editor and and do any amount of subtle work with it there. You set only the few keys you need on the specific channels you need and it makes editing easy.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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Can anyone of you recommend a good tutorial of how to animate in Maya? I'm aware that I can use google and find probably a million tutorials, but maybe you know of a particularly useful one?

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