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With the recent talk of Copy/Pasting poses I thought I'd revisit Dopesheets...

 

For years I've wanted to put together a tutorial on the extended use of A:M's Dopesheet and have consistently failed to do it.

The attached isn't much improved from that but rather than throw it away it might be of use to someone.

 

Key points/takeaways:

- Dopesheets are a powerful tool

- Dopesheets are useful for more than just lipsync/phonemes

- There are lots of things we don't know about A:M (lots of features we don't effectively utilize too)

- It's vitally important to use numbers instead of letters when accessing some aspects of the Dopesheet workflow

 

 

Standard disclaimers apply: Poor video quality, no audio, etc. etc. etc.

Note that in current releases of A:M dopesheets cannot be saved separately. They must therefore be saved/embedded in an Action, Chor or Project.

As Dopesheets are one of the fringe features not generally used by folks beyond the core lipsync/phoneme usage as outlined in TaoA:M tutorial some glitches and gotchas can be expected when exploring more deeply... so when in doubt... save often.

DopesheetsBasic.mp4

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Here's another short video that demonstrates the means of adding words to our dopesheet phrases without having A:M invoke the phoneme/lipsync dictionary.

 

Key point:

Outline your 'sentences' first with numbers and then go back and rename them.

 

 

Future Topics(?): A look at outlining and automating A:M storytelling/animation via externally created Dopesheets. This allows us to bypass the renaming stage.

DopesheetsBasic_Naming_Phrases.mp4

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Here's where things get really interesting...

 

Note that A:M's dopesheet is a text driven workflow.

This allows us to create dopesheets that outline and even automate our animation before we even open A:M.

 

The key is to understand how this information is stored:

 

<ACTIONDOPESHEET>
Name=My Great Adventure
<TEXT>
Name=1 The Beginning
StartFrame=0
EndFrame=18
HasTranslated=FALSE
ChorFrames=18
Length=18
<PHONEME>
Name=Enter the Hero
DisplayName=Enter the Hero
StartFrame=0
EndFrame=18
ChorFrames=18
Length=18
</PHONEME>
</TEXT>
<TEXT>
Name=2 Deep Trouble
StartFrame=18
EndFrame=1:12
HasTranslated=TRUE
ChorStartFrame=18
ChorFrames=1:12
Length=24
<PHONEME>
Name=Exhausted
DisplayName=Exhausted
StartFrame=18
EndFrame=1:12
ChorStartFrame=18
ChorFrames=1:12
Length=24
</PHONEME>
</TEXT>
<TEXT>
Name=3 The End
StartFrame=1:12
EndFrame=2:2
HasTranslated=TRUE
ChorStartFrame=1:12
ChorFrames=2:2
Length=20
<PHONEME>
Name=Hero Pose
DisplayName=Hero Pose
StartFrame=1:12
EndFrame=2:2
ChorStartFrame=1:12
ChorFrames=2:2
Length=20
</PHONEME>
</TEXT>
</ACTIONDOPESHEET>

 

The following screenshot displays what the above text creates inside A:M:

Note1: A:M will display various colors for missing Poses or other elements. This let's us know we still need to create that Pose or correct a particular error.

Note2: Unless very familiar with how timecode works it is generally better to set timeframes inside A:M. Let A:M do the math for you!

TextDriven.jpg

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Thanks, Rodney! Didn't even know that A:M had this functionality!

 

Thanks Tore!

I'll guess that few people do.

Due to low usage and interest in dopesheets over the years I've lived in fear that some functionality might disappear for general lack of maintenance (and in some ways it has).

It's that old principle of 'Use it or lose it.'

 

It might be nice to use A:M's Dopesheet to assist with our modern day storytelling in similar fashion to the classic dopesheets/exposure sheets of old.

As we are in the modern age of computers we might even extend those classic xsheets to take out unnecessary middlemen and directly drive the storytelling.

Folks, that (automation and computation) is what computers were created for in the first place.

But computers can only do what they are pro-gramm-ed to do. And for that we need to input instruction... words... sentences... phrases that expose the computer to our thoughts in a way they can be understood.

A dopesheet is one or several ways to get that done while keeping the artist/writer/creator in control.

 

I am not a fan of automating everything. What's the fun in that?

But levering what we have available to us... now that is something else.

Often a simple sketch, outline or plan to follow will be enough.

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