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fae_alba

First Pass at a cargo truck

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The other night my youngest announced that she had a great idea for a Christmas short. She told the story of a Christmas tree that really wanted to go home to spend the holiday with a family of it's own, but was ultimately left in the tree lot all by itself. I liked the story, we chatted, and came up with a quick outline. I tasked Nicole to compose the soundtrack and I would start work on the models. We might not make it by the holidays, since the story has grown to include a lot of elements, one of which is the delivery truck below. Hopefully in a day or so I can put an animatic together to post up here. We could use some help if anybody wants to lend a hand in the story telling. If I/we can get this done, I intend on letting it lose on the internet via my blog site and youtube, so credits given where due!

 

Here's Papa Bear's Christmas Tree Delivery truck.

 

truck_testrender0.png

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I thought I'd throw a quick test clip of this short, just to get a bit of feedback. Timing seems to be a weakness for me, so rip me a new one in the spirit of making it better!

 

The story goes like this: The Christmas tree season is just beginning, and the local tree lot just got it's delivery of trees. Amongst all the perfectly shaped pine trees is one lost little one. The little tree has great hopes for being picked to go home with someone for Christmas, but as each family comes, another bigger tree is picked, until finally, on Christmas Eve, the little one is left alone in the now closed tree lot. The little tree gives up, truly sad that it will be spending Christmas alone in the snow. When all is lost, sleigh bells can be heard in the distance, then the crunch of snow as Santa's sleigh lands and Santa gets out to pick up the little tree to take back to his workshop for the elves to decorate and celebrate their own Christmas.

 

This clip is just after the little tree is placed in the lot between two bigger trees. The little tree shrinks down self-consciously, sees the "Trees for sale" sign, then looks at his two perfect neighbors. The two trees look at the little one, then immediately dismisses it.

 

seq0000.mp4

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Good looking toon render! Good truck too.

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Good looking toon render! Good truck too.

 

Thanks Robert! Just realized that I need to do a little bit more work on the truck. Simple things like running boards and closing off the front wheel well. I also need to rig it, since the opening scene will be a close up of the truck rolling into frame, stopping, then the driver's side door opening with a (Christmas tree) farmer stepping out of the truck..so I need the door rigged, the wheels rigged to turn, but that's it. Seems like a lot for all of maybe 5 seconds of animation but, I challenged myself to modeling a good truck, so I did :)

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I like! I especially like how the trees are depicted, animated

 

And that's the real challenge. Depicting emotions ranging from happy to sad with a ton of anticipation in an object with no recognizable facial features. A lot is going to rely on the music soundtrack which my 18 yr old daughter has been tasked with doing. In light of the short development time frame, I am trying to keep the "acting" elements as easy as possible. For that reason, what human actors there are, will be shot from ground level, showing only the lower extremities, or disembodied voices. Of course that means walk cycles need to be spot on, but hopefully I'm up for the task.

 

I've got the added challenge that I have just accepted a new job with a NYC software company starting in to weeks. That transition coupled with requisite travel will pose additional challenges. I'm hell bent on getting this short done, let's see if the fates are on my side!

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ok, so I've been trying to rig up the tires so that I could, easily, rotate all four tires all together. My thought was a bone for each tire, then all constrained to a fifth bone with a roll like constraint. seems it's not so easy as that since when I rotate the fifth bone each tire rotates in opposite directions. Anybody have a wild thought on a better approach to rigging this up?

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ok, so I've been trying to rig up the tires so that I could, easily, rotate all four tires all together. My thought was a bone for each tire, then all constrained to a fifth bone with a roll like constraint. seems it's not so easy as that since when I rotate the fifth bone each tire rotates in opposite directions. Anybody have a wild thought on a better approach to rigging this up?

 

You could try Mark Skodacek's car suspension rig...here.

 

Hope that helps.

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I did this VERY simple setup for a car awhile back.

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ok, so I've been trying to rig up the tires so that I could, easily, rotate all four tires all together. My thought was a bone for each tire, then all constrained to a fifth bone with a roll like constraint. seems it's not so easy as that since when I rotate the fifth bone each tire rotates in opposite directions. Anybody have a wild thought on a better approach to rigging this up?

 

 

If all bones are pointing the same way (for example, all to the right) then they will rotate the same way.

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Thanks folks! I think Robert is on the right track, when I added the bones for the wheels I have each one pointing out, which means that each side, based on Roberts observation would necessarily spin opposite of each other. First thing this eve I will try and flip one side and give them a "spin".

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For the tires that are rotating the wrong direction, set the roll scale to -100 in the constraints. You could also use expressions on the bones instead of constraints, you would need to multiple the expression by -1 for the tires that rotate the wrong way.

 

Or do what Robert suggested and point all the bones in the same direction. :)

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For the tires that are rotating the wrong direction, set the roll scale to -100 in the constraints. You could also use expressions on the bones instead of constraints, you would need to multiple the expression by -1 for the tires that rotate the wrong way.

 

Or do what Robert suggested and point all the bones in the same direction. :)

 

Robert was spot on, flipping the tire bones on one side of the truck to match the other worked like a charm. Fast simple, sweet as butter, just the way I like it! Tonight I animate the opening scene where the truck will be used (all of at most a couple of minutes). One weakness in my skill set is having an innate sense of timing. While I always have the best intentions of doing things "right" and working from first a script, then a storyboard, then an animatic, I seem to always jump straight to the animation step. I pay the price in redoing things over and over and over. The final step of animation should be, in my mind, nothing more then fleshing out the animatic, but I'm way to impatient, and always back myself up into impossible deadlines...

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Is there an better way than through a repeating action to spin the wheels in a chor so that the wheels turn consistantly over a distance? I created an action to rotate the tires over 20 frames, but for some reason the action, once applied to the truck in the chor, doesn't seem to work.

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I think you need to look up adding a stride length to the action. Once the rotation has stride length you can lay down a path spline in the chor, attach the truck to the path and as the truck moves along the path, the wheels rotate as though they are touching the ground.

 

For wheel rotational actions; the stride length is half the circumference of the wheel IN CENTIMETERS ONLY and the stride range is half the length of the action IN FRAMES ONLY

e.g. if you have a 72 in. diam. wheel rotating 360 deg. in a 360 frame action, the stride length is 72 x 2.54 x PI / 2 = 287.27 and the stride range = 180

if the action is only 90 frames then the stride length still = 287.27 but the stride range = 45

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I think you need to look up adding a stride length to the action. Once the rotation has stride length you can lay down a path spline in the chor, attach the truck to the path and as the truck moves along the path, the wheels rotate as though they are touching the ground.

 

For wheel rotational actions; the stride length is half the circumference of the wheel IN CENTIMETERS ONLY and the stride range is half the length of the action IN FRAMES ONLY

e.g. if you have a 72 in. diam. wheel rotating 360 deg. in a 360 frame action, the stride length is 72 x 2.54 x PI / 2 = 287.27 and the stride range = 180

if the action is only 90 frames then the stride length still = 287.27 but the stride range = 45

 

roger, thanks for the tip. I had given a passing thought at trying to calculate the stride and placing the truck on a path, but honestly it made my brain hurt! So I opted for expressions. Once again this forum came through and I found some great tuts on this nifty feature of A:M (thanks!).

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Ok,

 

so I'm rapidly discovering the advantage of a solid skill set in rigging characters, of which I don't posses. I thought that if my human actors were really seen in closed ups, like feet only, back only, I could get away from spending the time on rigging (of which this project is seriously short on). Sadly I am wrong. This little clip was meant to be a final cut on the opening scene, but in watching it after rendering, I find myself disappointed.

 

opening.mp4

 

Any thoughts, share them please. I'm about a nats whisker away from asking for help 'cause I really want this short done, dammit! No more half finished A:M projects.

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I guess I would recommend giving the Setup Machine2 a whirl... take a look at the characters in my 'rear window' project, open them up in a new project and turn ON the main constraint pose (I may call it ANIMATE ON) and try moving them about to see how TSM feels.

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A bit off topic:

 

and turn ON the main constraint pose

 

I have always wondered why that constraint/pose wasn't set to On by default.

I asked that in public once and the response was that I was an alien from another planet.

I suppose there are many times when you would not want to animate but I don't need more excuses for that...

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I have always wondered why that constraint/pose wasn't set to On by default.

I asked that in public once and the response was that I was an alien from another planet.

 

If you are referring to TSM2, the Turn Constraints is not automatically set to ON after running the rigger (jes' cause that's how the TSM people did it on their planet).

 

But the user can set it to ON (after the rigger runs) and then save the model. However, that only works on this planet.

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I have always wondered why that constraint/pose wasn't set to On by default.

I asked that in public once and the response was that I was an alien from another planet.

 

If you are referring to TSM2, the Turn Constraints is not automatically set to ON after running the rigger (jes' cause that's how the TSM people did it on their planet).

 

But the user can set it to ON (after the rigger runs) and then save the model. However, that only works on this planet.

 

As I told a buddy of mine, I'm from Pluto, but they told me it's not a planet anymore, soooo....

 

I'm trying to come up with a different way to frame the shots where those pesky humans are needed to keep the acting to a minimum. I'm feeling the pressure of time so I can't use any of it to re-rig my models. Hopefully the end result will live up to my self-imposed standards.

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If you are referring to TSM2, the Turn Constraints is not automatically set to ON after running the rigger (jes' cause that's how the TSM people did it on their planet).

 

But the user can set it to ON (after the rigger runs) and then save the model. However, that only works on this planet.

 

Not sure about any Turn Constraints...

(Perhaps you mean Turn On All the Constraints because that's exactly what it does)

 

After experiencing the issue myself I empathized with the numerous people who queried about why they couldn't animate a TSM rigged character... i.e. after downloading a character rigged with TSM the bones didn't appear to be connected to the character. Generally this was a short lived problem because after being told most users never had the problem again. Or at least when the did they remembered they needed to activate the rig.

Now granted, this was mostly experienced by folks that did not use TSM themselves. They likely would have known what was going on if they had.

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