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ToreB

Wish Lists for A:M

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Couldn't find any thread on this subject (?), so I'll start one here:

 

1) Ability to auto unwrap and save real UV-maps, including ability to mark seams. (Would save so much time and work)

 

2) Option in preferences to select default spline interpolation in action/choreography (Indispensable!!)

 

3) Option to select the visual representation of bones. Especially to stick-look. (Less cluttering when animating)

 

4) Ability to utilise multicore processors inside A:M. (Greater speed all around)

 

5) Ability to do graphics processor/GPU rendering. (Much greater render speed in some instances)

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I can shed some light on a few of these...

 

1) Ability to auto unwrap and save real UV-maps, including ability to mark seams. (Would save so much time and work)

 

Although not the same, I find it convenient to do a cylinder or sphere wrap on a mesh, fine tune that in the UV editor and then take that to a paint program.

 

2) Option in preferences to select default spline interpolation in action/choreography (Indispensable!!)

 

After you have made at least one key, select any or all curves in the PWS timeline pane, then RMB>Curves>InterpolationMethod>choose type

 

This will make the current and all future keys default to your preferred interpolation method. You can give different curves different defaults with this method if you wish.

 

You can still choose any individual key later and change its interpolation with RMB>InterpolationMethod

 

3) Option to select the visual representation of bones. Especially to stick-look. (Less cluttering when animating)
Interesting. You coudl make a feature request at hash.com/reports. I'll note that it is possible to make poses for models that hide/unhide any set of bones. You can manage clutter easily that way.

 

4) Ability to utilise multicore processors inside A:M. (Greater speed all around)

 

Check "Enable OpenMP" in Options>Global. This helps speed up a few things in A:M like particle simulation and mangement of large numbers of Patches. However, not much of A:M lends itself to parallel processing. Martin's team gave it a serious try in the past and Steffen has been looking at it seriously in the present but, so far, it has not gotten great gains.

 

5) Ability to do graphics processor/GPU rendering. (Much greater render speed in some instances)

 

Much like multi-core, this has been seriously looked at but no reliable results yet.

 

There are people who have used A:M's MDD export feature to go to other GPU renderers but there are substantial limitations to that. For example other renderers don't understand A:M hair or materials.

 

Steffen is looking into adding some fast OpenGL effects like Screenspace AO in v18.

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Could you elaborate on this texturing method Robert? How exactly does this work and what exactly are you using to map before heading to the paint program?

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Could you elaborate on this texturing method Robert?

 

I give some details in this thread

 

http://www.hash.com/forums/index.php?showt...48&hl=punch

 

 

 

How exactly does this work and what exactly are you using to map before heading to the paint program?

 

In a paint program I make a blank bitmap with some pattern to identify the edges. I wrap that on the mesh and I can see from the partttern where the edges landed (usually the back).

 

I make the bitmap to be approximately the proportions of what i imagine the unwrapped mesh would fit in.

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Couldn't find any thread on this subject (?), so I'll start one here:

 

Tore,

It's great to see you here again. :)

 

I expect you want to talk about the items on your list (and that is a good idea because some things might already exist or have effective work arounds/approaches already but ultimately keep in mind that in order to make any wish list a reality you'll want to add those line items into A:M Reports as feature requests. You never know when one of your requests may sync perfectly with something Steffen already has planned to bring to reality.

 

Keep in mind that when posting 'wish lists' to the forum you are not requesting new features so much as saying, " I really want to talk about/explore my thoughts on this". The reason there are not 'wish list' topics is that wish lists are to be filed in A:M Reports so that they can be better understood, considered and prioritized. Those reports help define the future of A:M.

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1) Ability to auto unwrap and save real UV-maps, including ability to mark seams. (Would save so much time and work)

 

Keep in mind that the current trend is to move away from UV mapping entirely (at least in the standard sense of that term).

It is interesting to note that while the world in general is moving away from classic UV mapping, some A:M Users are trying to move toward them.

It's a fairly awkward situation and my gut feel is that a more perfect solution/workflow should be explored that is more spline/patch-centric.

 

For where Disney/Pixar is trying to push the industry reference: http://ptex.us/overview.html

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The uv mapping you wanted is something I requested way way back called LSCM (least squared conformal mapping). It might be a little tough for putting it into AM and might not be worth the effort since there are so many programs on the market already.

 

The bake tool will automatically create uv's without overlaps that can be brought into Painter 3d or 3d Coat.

For programs like 3d Coat you need to export a reference object as an obj. You don't need a high tesselation since it is just a proxy to paint on.

Painter 3d reads in AM's models directly and is about 1/3 the price.

 

Most that require critical unwrapping will create an action and flatten out the faces, stamp them and so on. This actually has benefits since you can key frame them for further editing if needed.

 

GPU rendering has big limitations since not everyone has a video card that can handle it. Beauty of AM is it runs well even on mediocre laptops.

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The uv mapping you wanted is something I requested way way back called LSCM (least squared conformal mapping). It might be a little tough for putting it into AM and might not be worth the effort since there are so many programs on the market already.

 

Is there an open source version of this algorithm out there? One that doesn't require A:M to become open source itself, preferably.

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I had posted the source code a while back, not sure what is needed/missing. Probably best developed as a 3rd party plug in.

There is info in the header on who wrote it originally.

LSCM.txt

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Hmmm...what I read from that text:

 

* Note that the GNU General Public License does not permit incorporating

* the Software into proprietary programs.

 

A:M (or plugin) would have to become open source?

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Here's the way I see it... I can already map and texture any A:M shape I want.

 

Or at least i thought i could. What does this unwrap program do that i can't get done now with A:M?

 

Post me an example of something that won't work in A:M.

 

I'm not being sarcastic or dismissive, I want to see what it is that I'm not seeing.

 

I had posted the source code a while back, not sure what is needed/missing. Probably best developed as a 3rd party plug in.

There is info in the header on who wrote it originally.

 

Now, looking at this with serious intent... what would it cost to entice a programmer who is either familiar with that code and would do the work to familiarize himself with coding for A:M... OR... is familiar with coding for A:M and is willing to do the work to familiarize himself with that unwrap code? What would it cost to hire someone who could get this task done?

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Here's the way I see it... I can already map and texture any A:M shape I want.

 

Or at least i thought i could. What does this unwrap program do that i can't get done now with A:M?

 

Post me an example of something that won't work in A:M.

 

I'm not being sarcastic or dismissive, I want to see what it is that I'm not seeing.

 

I had posted the source code a while back, not sure what is needed/missing. Probably best developed as a 3rd party plug in.

There is info in the header on who wrote it originally.

 

Now, looking at this with serious intent... what would it cost to entice a programmer who is either familiar with that code and would do the work to familiarize himself with coding for A:M... OR... is familiar with coding for A:M and is willing to do the work to familiarize himself with that unwrap code? What would it cost to hire someone who could get this task done?

 

I don't think there is anything that A:M can not decal... It just may be easier to do it without stretching and maybe faster with an Auto-Unwrapper.

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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Thanks for all the comments on this - I had almost forgotten the A:M Reports procedure for feature requests - I will post there.

And, Rodney: good to be back again :-)

 

A comment on the default spline interpolation "issue". Rob, I'm well aware how to set keyframe interpolation on individual (or multiselected) as you describe. But that is on keyframes that's allready there. I really miss the ability to set the standard interpolation right from the outset BEFORE any keyframes are produced. This could be done in the preferences.

 

Why? Well, I animate EVERYTHING in holds (even camera and lights etc), just as one would do in an analog stop motion film. I typically animate in two's, sometimes in three's, so it is very anoying when the software starts interpolating, and a very tedious job to pick every single bone, of every character and every light, set a keyframe for that bone, and then right mouse click to designate the correct interpolation.

 

Well, I'm aware that my animation method propably is pretty rare, but other animators might have the need to animate with straight interpolation, for instance, without to have to change individual curves either. So a preferences option to choose which interpolation method to use in general, would be VERY welcome. I really can't see what harm it would do to leave this rather important choice completely to the user of the software...

 

Regarding UVs - I have experimented a lot with different setups: sculpting, painting and UVmapping in ZBrush and then importing into A:M (as the heads in the attached picture)...sculpting in A:M, export to Blender, unwrap and paint in Blender, then import back to A:M, or model in A:M, unwrap in ZBrush, then paint in 3DPainter (as the bodies of the characters in the picture).

Wouldn't it be sweet though, just to have two easy buttons inside A:M: "Mark seam" and "UV unwrap mesh". Then load into 3DPainter and paint. :-)

 

 

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LSCM isn't necessarily easier than what can be done in AM since you need to figure out where your pins (locked uv points that everthing is oriented from) and the creation of the seam (like a zipper to unrwap the model). It would be far faster than squishing and squashing patches in an action to decal them. It is a big time saver since distortion of the texture is minimal.

 

The Baking feature in AM seems much much better than in the past and for the most part I think it covers the majority of texture needs. It appears to export nicely for painting in outside apps ie: Photoshop, 3d Coat etc. as long as it is used in conjunction with a reference obj model for direct painting.

 

Downside for Baked surfaces is the uv area isn't in the power of 2 (256x256, 1024x1024...) which is a draw back for those using the models for game creation in particular.

 

Ideally having LSCM in Painter 3d would be the best approach. Is there any more development with Painter 3d? I really liked that program, worked so well with AM.

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Tore, watch this. This is easy to set up. i can't imagine that it is really a deal-breaker to set the interpolation default like this when you begin animating...

 

SettingDefaultInterp.mov

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Downside for Baked surfaces is the uv area isn't in the power of 2 (256x256, 1024x1024...) which is a draw back for those using the models for game creation in particular.

 

I've only used baked surface to export models to p3d which also requires square bitmaps. I found scaling the map in Photoshop to square worked fine.

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I really liked that program, worked so well with AM.

 

I'll also note that 3Dpaint still works great with A:M. It can load and paint on any saved model, you don't have to use the plugin to switch directly from A:M to 3DPaint.

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I'm pasting this again for emphasis...

After you have made at least one key, select any or all curves in the PWS timeline pane, then RMB>Curves>InterpolationMethod>choose type

 

This will make the current and all future keys default to your preferred interpolation method.

 

After you have done that one thing, it's automatic.

 

You don't need to keep selecting keys and changing their interpolation. All the new keys you make will get the new interpolation automatically.

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RE: Robert's post on setting the default interpolation of the Timeline

 

This is one of the reasons that discussions like this need to be had.

Quite often a feature exists but how to access the feature is not well enough known.

When questions are asked and answered, wishes can come true *poof!* just like that.

 

A:M has so many features that it is easy to lose track of them.

As such, I had forgotten where to make that default interpolation adjustment myself.

And like Tore preferring to have keys automatically set to Hold... I also prefer that. :)

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Wow!! A video tut all for me, personally!! That's something - thanks for taking the time. Rob! :-) Very clear instructions. And I agree that it is a nice workaround. But...it IS still a workaround, and multiplied over several characters with a lot more bones each, than in your 3-bone-example, it becomes somewhat cumbersome. Personally I would so much prefer to set this once and for all in the options menu. In the action tab one allready can set the interpolation to be either Euler, Vector or Quaternion, so why not have the added versatility to be able to set the keyframe interpolation?

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Wow!! A video tut all for me, personally!! That's something - thanks for taking the time. Rob! :-) Very clear instructions. And I agree that it is a nice workaround. But...it IS still a workaround, and multiplied over several characters with a lot more bones each, than in your 3-bone-example, it becomes somewhat cumbersome. Personally I would so much prefer to set this once and for all in the options menu. In the action tab one allready can set the interpolation to be either Euler, Vector or Quaternion, so why not have the added versatility to be able to set the keyframe interpolation?

 

It's not more cumbersome with more bones because you're going to make a first keyframe anyway on what ever number of bones you have ... whether you can set a default before hand or not. It's something you are going to do anyway so it's not extra work that is created by this workflow for setting the default interpolation.

 

You have to touch each of those bones eventually or you couldn't animate them. This workflow isn't forcing you to work with any bone that you wren't going to work with anyway.

 

CTRL-select the bones at the start,

Force keyframe,

set the Interpolation.

It's done.

 

Even if I could set the default beforehand, I'm still going to do those first two steps...

 

CTRL-select the bones at the start,

Force keyframe,

 

...because I need to establish the channels for those bones so the Force Keyframe button will be able to work on them later. The normal operation of the Force Keyframe button is to only create keyframes in channels that already exist.

 

The difference is only whether we set the interpolation before we make the first keyframe or after.

 

It's true you need to do this procedure for every chor you start but it only takes a minute to do and we don't start new chors ever minute.

 

With this system you are not required to have the default the same across the whole scene. i can make my character default to "Hold" but a spinning top in the scene can default to "spline" if that is the best way for me to do my scene.

 

This system also lets me have different defaults working in different chors and they won't be overridden by a global setting I might change tomorrow or that someone I send a chor to might have set differently.

 

Also, i can progressively change the default on specific curves as I refine the animation. I don't have to change the whole character from Hold to Spline all together.

 

This A:M system is a powerful implementation that lets you have any defaults you want across any scope of the scene, even different defaults for different bones within the same scene.

 

It IS more involved than a single global setting, but just slightly more involved at the start and has the potential to save work time later.

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Something tells me we are misunderstanding each other.

 

I do NOT propose a general overriding setting for the keyframe interpolation.

 

I'm wishing for a setting that tells A:M which interpolation it should WRITE INTO any keyframe it sets.

 

Once a keyframe is set, changing the default value wouldn't change it - only keyframes set henceforth (unless the given channel was set to a locked interpolation)

 

The keyframes thus set, off course should be changable to any of the other interpolation methods at any time (just as it is now). The instruction to change interpolation should still have the option to be set for all consecutive keyframes if so wished.

 

In fact the only difference would be, that as it is now A:M ALLWAYS writes "spline" into any keyframe set - unless the user does something to change this on the objects intended for animation. I propose that this default value, when setting keyframes, could be chosen by the user.

 

And off course it would be much easier to just set once and for all the preferred interpolation, and then later make possible adjustments.

 

Some of the things you write, eg:

 

"...don't have to change the whole character from Hold to Spline all together."

"...and they won't be overridden by a global setting I might change tomorrow or that someone I send a chor to might have set differently."

 

tells me that you must have got what I am talking about wrong.

 

None of this would off course be the case, nor would it make A:M's animation system any less powerfull, as it wouldn't change anything (except of course the users ability to freely choose the prefered interpolation method, instead of having to change A:M's pre-destined choice)

 

Furthermore it wouldn't slow down the animation either, as only the bones, objects, whatever that gets animated would need channels.

 

If I'm still not able to make my point clear, then I propose to take a look at Blender which has such a system implemented that works just fine and straight forward. :-)

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I'll also note that if it is tedious to CTRL-select all the relevant bones in a character at the start of every animation, you can make a draggable pose for that character that forces those keyframes. Do that once and drag it onto the character every time you start a new animation.

 

http://www.hash.com/forums/index.php?showt...mp;hl=draggable

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I must assume there is some reason that the default interpolation cannot currently be set.

I'm not sure why that would be but one might be that folks might leave the interpolation set to something other than spline and then think A:M was broke or something. Another might be that spline interpolation is considered more prevalent? Superior?

Yes, I'm guessing.

 

I believe the feature request might be best written as making the interpolation method 'sticky'.

In other words, what ever the interpolation was set at would remain until specifically set to something else.

In this way when you close down A:M it would store the current interpolation as the default interpolation.

This of course would have the same chance of confusing those of us that would surely forget what interpolation we had set.

In either case the fault (or credit) would be entirely ours because we'd be the ones that set it.

 

If made sticky then it would logically follow that wherever that sticky setting was stored it could be altered/set as a global variable.

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In fact the only difference would be, that as it is now A:M ALLWAYS writes "spline" into any keyframe set - unless the user does something to change this on the objects intended for animation. I propose that this default value, when setting keyframes, could be chosen by the user.

 

A:M doesn't write "spline" into each new keyframe, it writes "default" and the default for "default" is "spline".

 

When you do the workflow I described above you're telling A:M to interpret that "default" as your preferred interpolation, in your case "hold". This is different than hard-coding a specific interpolation into each new keyframe by default and it gives the animator more power for working with the animation down the line.

 

You still have the option of hard coding any keyframes you want by selecting them and setting them. (this is how you were setting keyframe interpolation before). These keyframres will not be changed by any future change to the curve's default.

 

 

 

 

Some of the things you write, eg:

 

"...don't have to change the whole character from Hold to Spline all together."

"...and they won't be overridden by a global setting I might change tomorrow or that someone I send a chor to might have set differently."

 

these are not addressing your needs, these are addressing the needs of other animators who want to work in a different fashion than you or will work in different fashions for different projects or will need to trade projects with other animators who work in different fashions.

 

 

Here's what I'd say ,Tore... you've been doing animation with A:M and getting it done by setting each keyframe "hold" interpolation manually, right?

 

Now, I've shown you how to do it so all the keyframes you make will be "hold", even the ones you haven't made yet, and you don't have to set them each manually. You wanted new keyframes to be "hold" without having to select them later and set them manually. Now you can do that.

 

It's just one thing you do at the start of your scene. I can't see this is a burden when it is reasonably quick to do and doesn't need to be done very often. It is NOT as fast as something you set once globally but it is still quick and it is also less limiting for everyone who works differently. A global default is not useful for everyone, particularly people who want different defaults for different bones.

 

 

 

I must assume there is some reason that the default interpolation cannot currently be set.

 

It is not impossible to make that work, but...

 

Right now "spline" is the default default and that is true for every A:M that anyone has installed. That helps to make animation we trade with other users behave the same for all of them. If someone wants a different default in their work, they can set it as I have shown and that choice will be explicitly saved with their work and work in exactly the same manner on someone else's computer when they load that animation file.

 

If your default default was "hold" and set at the global level and mine is "spline" set at the global level and neither choice is saved as part of the animation, what happens when we trade animation files that have "default" noted at each keyframe?

 

In the current system A:M knows the default default is "spline" unless the animator has explicitly changed it in the animation file.

 

In the current system i can set different defaults for different curves if I want and that would be preserved correctly if I traded files with someone.

 

Yes, it is a choice you need to make at the start of each animation, but that is a small step that preserves flexibility for everyone.

 

 

It is a middle ground that is a way to reasonably accommodate all the different ways that animators like to work and not make any way extraordinarily awkward either.

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A last explanatory on this - then I'll shut up :-)

 

The default interpolation selection feature, if implemented, would appear in the Options menu in the action tab, and it could look something like this:

 

 

 

Procedure would be like this:

 

Open A:M, select Tools->Options then select Action Tab. You then get the above choices. Make the appropriate selection - in my case I would tick "Hold".

 

Go back, and make a Chor, import a rigged object and begin animating. Every keyframe set, will now have "Hold" as interpolation. Regardless what you animate. Every time you set a keyframe, it "looks" at what is ticked in the options panel and inherits this setting.

 

If you go back to the options menu and check say "Curve", all the keyframes that we set in the chor just before, will still be "Hold", but any NEW keyframe we set will now be "Curve".

 

We still have the choice to right click on any keyframe or group of keyframes we have set and choose another interpolation method for THEM. But if we do individual changes this way, and thereafter set new keyframes they'll still look at the current setting in the options menu and inherit the setting herein.

 

 

Currently A:M works exactly like this, except that there is only one setting in the options panel, namely "Curve". One setting that can't be changed.

 

 

Of course the standard setting when you install A:M should still be "curve" just as the rotation starts out set to "Quaternion". If someone is new to A:M, they would propably never see this panel anyhow, let alone change any settings. So the risk if people "breaking" the software would be absolutely minimal.

 

All in all A:M would look and function exactly as it allways have done, with that tiny difference that crazy people like me could choose to animate the way that fitted their style best.

 

And NOW I'll shut up!

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And NOW I'll shut up!

 

Don't shut up until after you've added your report to A:M Reports!

That would defeat the whole point of your request.

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