Friday, June 6, 2008

bouncing ball

There are a number of ways to get your props to move (animate) in a scene.
One way is to 'direct' the prop to a given point in the room and another is to have the prop follow a path which you have created on the floor.
This article goes through some other approaches.

Using a "freecamera" and "attach" combo, it's possible to not only keyframe the move but also you get the advantage of a curve editor as well.
Experiment with attaching a prop to a freecamera. Now open a new viewport for that camera, and use this to control the freecamera, BUT use your master camera view to see what you are doing. If you do this whilst in the direct mode you can keyframe the freecamera. Once you have the move worked out, select the element on the timeline and choose "edit curve". Note, the first and last keyframes can't be adjusted so be careful with where you start and end you camera move. For those not familiar with a curve editor, it shows you the values for the x,y & z position of the camera over time.
You can adjust the curves to achieve different values for the camera position and the way the camera moves from position to position.


In this example I create a camera move to mimmick a bouncing ball.

If you pan the freecamera you will also get control over the rotation of the prop.

An extension of this method is to tell the freecamera to target another element in the scene, in this way you can achieve some dynamic properties. For example, aligning a prop to a specifc angle regardless of position. You can try doing this whilst the camera is on a path also. This is how I got the soccer ball to spin in the Skull Shot clip. (attach the prop to the freecamera, tell the freecamera to follow a path, get the camera to target some things during the travel).

It's my hope that these animation functions become possible in the next release, until then...

Have fun.



Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rigging a Skeleton Character

To create your very own Skeleton Character you will need, 1 pair of sharp scissors (get your mum to help) 1 sheet of white paper and 1 pencil.....
oops sorry wrong blog....
To make a skeleton character for ANTICS 3D you only need Antics and Sketchup.
Start by finding a skeleton that you like the look of. Pick one which is standing upright and in a T-Pose or close to the rest pose of an Antics character.
Once you've got the skeleton in sketchup open up Antics and bring in a character. (I used the robot).
What where going to do is to move between the two apps for every limb and bone set.

1) The first thing to do is select the desired bone in sketchup then follow these steps, "ctrl c" to copy, "ctrl a" to select all then hit "delete" to clear the page, now choose edit "Paste in Place". This will give you just the bone. Now save as .skp and name it something usefull. (like Lfoot.skp) ok now "ctrl z" to bring back the full skeleton ready for the next piece.

2) in Antics, import the Lfoot.skp and do not move it. (you may want to apply a scale as you import if the object is too small, do the skull as this will help set the scale value) Now notice that in the props list you have a Lfoot file.

3) go back to step 1) and repeat many times....until you have the whole skeleton in.

Now still without moving anything in Antics, Select each prop and right click "edit pivot". You'll want to set the pivot to be where the joint is. (eg a forearm bone pivots at the elbow)

Congrats you have a rigged skeleton!! Now to get the Antics Character to drive it.
The concept here is to closey align your skeleton to the underlying skeleton of an existing Antics Character (AC). The closer your wrist is to the AC's wrist the better
the animation. You can select all the props that make up your sekeleton and scale, move and rotate the whole set into a position 'within' the AC. Ok. Now I used a command to get each bone attached the the AC joint. If you haven't checked out the command console, do yourself a favour. It's in View/Command Console.... once open type (tip... once you start to type you'll see a list of valid syntax, just select the word you want and then press space bar, now you can start on the next entry)
it should read

attach Lfoot Robot_01 Bip01 L Foot

This command will attach your skeleton's leftfoot to the AC's Lfoot. (I chose a robot as my Antics Character)

Do this for all your bones and you are done. Now hide the AC. Select the AC in the character list and direct it to walk somewhere, or do something and you'll have your new character.

If you want another skeleton character, select the AC in the Set/Character list, CTRL D and then Ctrl V.

This procedure of mapping rigid bodies to AC skeletons/joints can also be applied to ANTICS Animated props.

view example

Monday, June 2, 2008


A good supply of free motion capture (.bvh) is mocapdata.
Also if you are in need of a no-nonsense audio editor try Audacity

I for one like the term ANYMATION which Overman has forwarded to the Antics Forum. original article I had heard the term used in dscussion here and there and I think it is closer to describing Antics clips than the Machinima label. I don't think it's the best name, I'm just not offended by it.

On another note, I had a little fun with my newly built skeleton dudes, now that's using your head!
(btw, I did the sound also)