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Everything posted by DrPhibes

  1. I have played with this a bit, but I think I am missing something. I am getting a syntax error. Have you tried it?
  2. Hmm, I will need to research this more. This sounds promising. So then what you are saying is that on a x scale channel for example, an expression is linked to it to force the spline in the timeline to display the acceleration curve?
  3. Thank you for all your efforts Robert! To address your comment in the video about using the translate channel (or any other channel) as the source of our motion data in the conversion to the controller, this is exactly what I planned to do if there was not an easy automated way to get there with pose sliders. The 0 to 100 values, and the small size of an action file with the ability to parse out the channels from logically named pose sliders was nice. I can get to the 0 to 100 values in other ways with constraints, but when parsing the data it requires more effort due to the duplicate naming. Search a project file for "matchname =Z" and see how many hits you get I had played with some of the text editing solutions to transfer the channels as well. I think you have definitively shown that I need to stick with our first version of the tool that pulled from a position channel.
  4. It is a tool we wrote internally. It is a separate app that we wrote that is a basic converter to translate to the controller hardware we use, and we added some features to help with the real world issues of acceleration and deceleration limits of the actuators. I hope to at some point develop this stuff into an A:M plugin(s) that allows me to see in realtime on a timeline an overlay of an acceleration curve with the current position over time spline. This would allow me to animate to the limits preset into the plugin and make sure that nothing is moving in a way it can't in reality without having to save out and bring back in. When we did this during our first tests we just created an Excel project that did all of this conversion.
  5. Robert, This is getting so close to where I need to be. But yes, getting the pose sliders to record key frames would be ideal. I came across another issue I overlooked as I was working through this with you. In my other projects because of their simplicity, I can just use key framed pose sliders in an action, export that action, run it through the filtering software to refine any acceleration or deceleration issues, then import that edited action file back in to A:M, drop it on the model and watch the play back to visualize the changes. This ability goes away to some degree with the expressions. What I think I need to do is build an animation rig and a separate playback rig if I continue down this path.
  6. So to answer the first question, yes, expressions could probably be made to do what I want in this case. So the example you provided in the video was based on the "demo02" action I set up where I hand animated the actuator to match the gimbal motion. In this case if I hand animate the poses then I get what I need in the pose sliders and there is no need for a baking step. I placed this action in there to demonstrate the end result I was looking for. Look at the "demo01" action. You will see that the actuators are not moving. This is the where I would like to find a rig setup to automatically move the actuators to match the gimbal motion. Also, yes, it is true I can pull the translate value out of file and run that to the controller. It does create an extra step because I will need to process that separately from the other motions pulled from pose sliders. In fact our first version of the translation tool worked specifically on bone rotation values and not pose slider positions.
  7. I am going to go into more explanation here of my goal and issue so that it may help spark some ideas. Normally the animatronics we build have a single actuator tied to a single point of motion, usually a rotational axis, stacked on another point of motion. In an animation model and rig I build accurately to the real world items as possible. This usually results in a single bone that has a certain range of rotation applied through a a pose slider. Then in an action file I would animate to the prerecorded audio simply adjusting the pose sliders per axis of motion. This FK animation process work very well for the majority of the characters we have built. I would animate a neck rotation, then the head tilt for example, building each layer individually. All of these key framed pose sliders are exported in an action file to some custom software we created to run a filter through the channels to adjust the acceleration/deceleration profiles to match what the real world actuators can do based on load specs and so on. Then this is exported to the controller hardware. I can send this data both ways as well. Once the adjustments are made to the channels, I can bring it back into A:M to see how it may have changed and then adjust if necessary. One day i hope to just have this function in A:M as a plugin instead having to export and re import. So now this is where my current problem lies. We have a mechanical design that uses two actuators to control a gimbal. This means that there are some tricky rigs to emulate accurately. In most cases I would like to use a pose slider to control each actuator independently so I have recorded key frames on the pose channel. I can make this work now and is acceptable. However, this is a good case to look at using a more IK workflow where I am moving a single null and the pair of actuator follow and automatically record key frames to their respective channels. I don't spend quite enough time building complex rigs in A:M to instantly know the cleanest approach. I am attaching a stripped down model of what I am doing so you can look at it. This is to scale as well. There is a single null target that is essentially the nose of the character. This null is followed by a single bone using an aim at constraint. The base of this bone represents the gimbal. There is a triangular frame (the gimbal plate) that has two nulls used as targets to aim the actuators at. Each actuator has a pose slider that moves it 0 to 100% through its range of extension and retraction. In the Demo02 action I animated the head aim target, then by hand animated the pose sliders to line up with their respective targets on the gimbal plate. This gives me the ability to very simply perform the head, and then also generate the key framed poses specific to the actuators needed for export. So, this last step of hand positioning the pose sliders and generating those pose key frames is what I was hoping to find a way to automate. Am I dreaming? I have another element that would operate in a similar fashion, but has 4 actuators. A second pass by hand to set those key frames could be time consuming. Charles Gimbal Demo.prj
  8. Hello Robert, This works with translate, do you think it can be made to work with the longitude or latitude motion of a bone? Charles
  9. Robert, can't thank you enough for this. It may totally solve the problem. I imagine that I will need to bake the animation to get key frames recorded to the pose slider timeline. I wonder if there is an expression for that Expressions did not even occur to me. I use them all the time in after effects, never think about it in A:M
  10. OK, this is a long shot. Is there a way to automatically apply key frames to a percentage pose slider. For example; If I manually move a bone from point A to point B in an action, that animation would then automatically move a pose slider a certain percentage based on some predetermined association (x translate of bone1 from -5" to 10" moves the pose slider 0 to 100%) This may sound like a strange need, but I have been using A:M to program animatroncs with the majority of the control generated through key framed poses exported through an A:M action file. I am looking to combine the pose sliders with an IK rig, but I want that IK rig to drive the pose sliders in a couple cases. Charles
  11. So the rotoscope does not save for me the way you describe. Also, as I tried to use the technique described in Rodney's post about decaling the rotoscope onto a plane, I discovered that the software crashes when ever I try to decal an image sequence. Bummer.
  12. So in my further test, if the project is saved with the action window open, the rotoscope is saved. If the window gets closed, rotoscope goes away.
  13. OK, not sure what happened. This time when I reopened the file, the rotoscope was there! Weird.
  14. I had created an action and placed a rotoscope to use as some movement reference. Saved my project, and when I came back and opened it a day later I found that the Rotoscope was not retained in my action file. This meant that my scale and translate settings (that I had not written down) were gone. This may have always been the case since I can't remember ever opening a rotoscope in an action window, but I was hoping that someone knew if this is an error or just the way it is. I did find that I could use Rodney's suggestion here to solve the issue, but it seems like a silly thing to not be able to hold the rotoscope settings. Thanks,
  15. Glad this is not just me. I thought I was missing something.
  16. I had thought of this, but the trick is that I wanted the shapes in one model for a decal trick I was using. I can do what you propose, but it complicates the decal. Also, it is so much easier to animate the structure from the pose sliders. In the end my work-around does the job, but it would be nice to just share content from one slider channel to another. I may rebuild the thing to use actions later though.
  17. Hi all, I have looked through the forums for an answer to what I am missing here, but have not found an answer. I have a simple set up. 13 rings in a single model that expand and contract. Each ring has a separate percentage pose that provides that motion. In the Chor I am timing the expansion and contraction to a piece of video using the pose sliders. There are moments where I would like to set three or four key frames in the timeline for ring number one, then copy and paste those key frames into the pose for ring number two on. This way I am animating one ring and not manually setting key frames for the other twelve. Simply using "copy and paste" did not work. My quick work-around was to set a frame on all the rings and then open the project in notepad and next copy and paste from the pose of ring one to the poses of ring two onward. It work well to do that, but how do you do it in the app? Attached is a sample file similar to what I have built. I am sure someone will ask why I don't use bones and an action or something, but I have it setup this way for a very good reason. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks, CB Cube Pose Test.prj
  18. This of course isn't to say Disney uses A:M... they certainly don't in any official capacity... but rather that the software they do use has undeniably benefited through it. I can confirm that A:M has been used to design multiple pieces for the various theme park. CB
  19. Yes, that is what I am saying. Selecting a control point and then turning only rotates around the global axis of the model, not the local axis of the control point any more. I went back to version J and is works fine. Version K it does not.
  20. Am I the only one that lost the ability to rotate my view on the local axis of a control point while modeling? A:M will only rotate on the global axis of the model when I turn it. Is there a keyboard shortcut to turn that on or off, or is it broken?
  21. Thanks for the kind words. I try to use A:M when ever it makes sense in our workflow. This dragon started as a smooth, primitive foam scale model (looked like a white Brontosaurus) that was free of any surface detail. I laser scanned the model and then using the snap to surface feature of A:M I created my patch based model of the original foam real life model. This base model is then sent to my mechanical engineer as a solid model (generated using a workflow we have developed with a few other tools) who begins to design the frame and structure inside the dragon. Simultaneous to that I build all the detail into the model (every thorn and rivet) and most importantly rigged the model to run it through all it's motions to check for clearances and collisions of the body parts. When everything is ready, I export STLs and send to a get milled on a variety of large CNC machines including a really cool robot arm. Then most of the parts get laid up with fiberglass directly (to save molding costs) and then assembled and painted. Obviously there is a lot more to it, but that sums it up. Unfortunately with this particular project I cannot publicly share any of the process images or A:M renders. I like using A:M, and have been for more than 20 years now, but it's just one tool in my large toolbox. I don't think I would be able to use A:M as much as I do without the support of a few other tools. Right now about half of my projects run through A:M in some way. I am working on 2 large Disney attractions right now that don't open until 2016 and A:M has been an important part of the process. I also have a large sculpture for the Wynn casino being built in Cotai China that was originated in A:M. You can see more of what we do at www.michaelcurrydesign.com Thanks, Charles
  22. I can post a little more on the process I use soon. I have a project that I finished last month that might be a good teaching example on how to do this on the cheap. Charles
  23. Yes, that is a feature I wish I had 6 months ago when I was working on that project! I use that feature all the time on my current projects. A:M is now an even better tool for the process. Still wish it had millimeters as an option for the working units thought. Charles
  24. Yes, an STL is exactly what I exported as. The STL exporter works very well from A:M and I have had no trouble printing directly from them. The main issue is scaling. A:M does not allow you to set your working units to millimeters. As such, when I import the STL into anything else, the scaling is always off by a factor of 10. Not hard to work around, but it would be nice if A:M would just include MM as a units option. Charles
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