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EggBot walking through Distortion Box


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Based on a suggestion by Rodney!

 

EggBot_Warp.mov

 

 

Basically...

 

-Create a new Action for your model

-in the Action create a new Distortion Box

-in the D Box's properties select a "target" bone that is parent to all your model's mesh

-edit the CPs of the D-Box to make the squshing you want

 

-drop the Action on your model (previously animated to move around in the chor)

-the D Box will normally move with the model, so it must be constrained to a Null in the chor to hold it in one place ( a place the model will pass thru)

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You are getting very good at this... and perfectly demonstrated. :)

I like how you've got the wireframe showing to demonstrate where the Distortion Cage is positioned.

 

When I was experimenting with Distortion Cages my immediate goal (before I got distracted by something else shinier) was to have a super car peel out from a dead stop and take off like a bat out of hell. I was looking for Tex Avery style squash and stretch but realized I'd have to rig the wheels separately with a different set of Distortion cages to gain the full effect (distorting the body and tires separately). At that point I just set the experimentation with distortion cages aside for sometime later when it was actually needed.

 

 

Added Off Topic: Something that I don't think we can do anymore in A:M but could before was to export sequential models (one for each frame) out of an Action. If you think about the results for a moment given Robert's current demo, this would create a distorted robot at it's current location for each frame in the action. I think we can still do this with .PLY format and perhaps a few others but not .MDL format. The beauty of having the .MDL format was that the rigs were still part of the exported/distorted/sequential models and could still be used with reusable actions.

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You can still export the chor as a model. Models have their bones. You do have to run it through a text editor to fix name paths for constraints.

 

However D boxes don't distort bones so bones may not be anywhere near where they need to be in the exported, distorted model.

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You can still export the chor as a model. Models have their bones. You do have to run it through a text editor to fix name paths for constraints.

 

One at a time though right? Not one exported model for each frame of animation automatically?

 

However D boxes don't distort bones so bones may not be anywhere near where they need to be in the exported, distorted model.

Here I was interested in only the final distorted mesh with the original bones.

Think of Bruce Banner morphing into the Hulk... with A:M spitting out a model for each frame in the transformation.

As the export was all or nothing, usually what I'd do is pick every sixth model created in the sequence and delete the rest.

My thought at the time was to use these key poses/models to move into and out of.

 

Sorry... we are straying off topic.

Back to Distortion Boxes.

 

There use to be an online tutorial for basic Distortion but it went away with the move to the new server. I think the content from that is distilled in Holme's tutorial on Animated Distortion Cages however. Page 209 of the Technical Reference has a short write up which hints at the power of Nested Distortion Cages:

techref_p209_AnimatedDistortion.jpg

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When I was experimenting with Distortion Cages my immediate goal (before I got distracted by something else shinier) was to have a super car peel out from a dead stop and take off like a bat out of hell. I was looking for Tex Avery style squash and stretch but realized I'd have to rig the wheels separately with a different set of Distortion cages to gain the full effect (distorting the body and tires separately). At that point I just set the experimentation with distortion cages aside for sometime later when it was actually needed.

 

 

Funny you should mention a cartoony car... I remember when I first saw the distortion box feature that is exactly what i did... make an exaggerated peel-out. Here is a movie i made back in (sounding like an old man now)... back in 2004!!! I don't believe I distorted it using this new method... I did it in a pose and had a slider for squash-stretch...

takeoff.mov

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Basically...

 

-Create a new Action for your model

-in the Action create a new Distortion Box

-in the D Box's properties select a "target" bone that is parent to all your model's mesh

-edit the CPs of the D-Box to make the squshing you want

 

-drop the Action on your model (previously animated to move around in the chor)

-the D Box will normally move with the model, so it must be constrained to a Null in the chor to hold it in one place ( a place the model will pass thru)

 

 

THANKS ROB! I would have never figured all that out.

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Hey, I remember that cartoon spin out.

What was the main character's name... Bombob? Now those were some fun characters!

 

In my wanderings I stumbled across this image where David Walker was experimenting with Distortion Boxes for use in "Tin Woodsman of Oz". I don't recall them being used in the final facial rigs but the tests sure produced some nice extremes:

 

post-60-1133113819.jpg

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Great tests! It is a very powerful feature.

 

In my wanderings I stumbled across this image where David Walker was experimenting with Distortion Boxes for use in "Tin Woodsman of Oz". I don't recall them being used in the final facial rigs but the tests sure produced some nice extremes:

 

None of the TinWoodsman of Oz faces used Distortion Boxes (they were either bone or muscle movement). They can be added to a character easy enough, but there was some aspect that made them difficult to standardize in an installable rig...if I'm remembering correctly. That may not have been the reason though...the rig design and installation process went very quickly.

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Yeah... it works rather well. This needs be explored further. Thanks for the instructions, Rob! The only hitch I encountered was when i made an action, I thought all I had to do was to go into distortion mode and I would see a 'select target' option in the properties... it took me a minute to try 'New/Distort'...

 

Here is my initial test on Marcos soccer ball...

SoccerBallDistorto.mov

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Here is my initial test on Marcos soccer ball...

 

A very cool and subtle effect.

I'm not sure if anyone looking at that without prior knowledge would have any idea that a distortion box was used to get that effect.

They'd be guessing how you did it.

 

IMO that generally is the absolute best kind of effect. :)

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I believe it is also possible to assign the CPs of D Boxes to bones so you don't have to animate them directly in muscle mode.

 

This looks to be more useful to animate, as well as makes it easier to reset the distortion. Probably only need to assign the "middle" cp's of the DB to bones (top, right, left, front, back, bottom)

 

EDIT: What I have also found is that one doesn't have to use the original action that was used to create the original DB action object. It appears once a DB has been created, one can drag the DB to any chor action and animate the DB bones.

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I thought of a subtle use for distortion boxes.

 

For a vehicle, use a distortion box to make the tires flatten slightly on the ground. If the distortion box stays still, the part of the wheel touching the ground is always distorted a bit. Variations can be done to simulate a tire that is slightly low on air.

 

Edit: I wikified some of the info above in an existing page.

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I thought of a subtle use for distortion boxes.

 

For a vehicle, use a distortion box to make the tires flatten slightly on the ground. If the distortion box stays still, the part of the wheel touching the ground is always distorted a bit. Variations can be done to simulate a tire that is slightly low on air.

 

Edit: I wikified some of the info above in an existing page.

 

Yessir, that is a great use, Chris. Thanks for adding that to the Wiki! I'm going to try to do that as well...I think we all should, it would greatly add to the online documentation.

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What software is preferred for the vid-tuts, again?

 

HOW can I get the action/new distort box to have more grid sections... I tried changing it in the Tools/Options/Modeling tab but it did not take... is it only the default distortion box (3rows X 3 rows) ?

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HOW can I get the action/new distort box to have more grid sections... I tried changing it in the Tools/Options/Modeling tab but it did not take... is it only the default distortion box (3rows X 3 rows) ?

 

In the original Distortion Box's properties (under Objects in the PWS) look for the Resolution setting.

You can then change the number of CPs in the box in the X, Y and Z settings.

DistortionBoxResolution.jpg

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This effect works better on rounded splines rather than peaked splines... (example of peaked text.) I guess this would be a case where more denser geometry would react better...

 

How about if you put that Text MDL out through a PLY export with maximum subdivision and reimported it to a new model?

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How about if you put that Text MDL out through a PLY export with maximum subdivision and reimported it to a new model?

 

Yow! Good idea! I'll give it a twirl after the holiday... HAPPY LABOR DAY, Americanos!

 

 

 

Rob's idea to put the A:M text into a polygonal exporter was a good one...

TextDistorto.mov

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How about if you put that Text MDL out through a PLY export with maximum subdivision and reimported it to a new model?

 

Yow! Good idea! I'll give it a twirl after the holiday... HAPPY LABOR DAY, Americanos!

 

 

 

Rob's idea to put the A:M text into a polygonal exporter was a good one...

 

it worked perfectly for that application.

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Rob's idea to put the A:M text into a polygonal exporter was a good one...

 

What exporter did you use? I tried PLY and i couldn't get the corners not get rounded when I brought it back in, no matter what setting I used for the "peak if greater than" angle.

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Your the best Rob!

 

After I asked you I felt a little bad for doing so. I thought I was being lazy. But now that I see how involved it is I feel you were the perfect man for the job. This is a much needed tutorial for a powerful yet lessor known feature of AM.

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