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Hash, Inc. - Animation:Master

Instant Meshes WIP


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I did some more work with Instant Meshes program. It appears the -align to boundaries- button helps to get the output quads where you want them. This is especially helpful when you want to -copy/flip/attach- later in A:M. Attached are two pictures and a short .MOV that I made with an imported .OBJ of a spaceman.  I can see that the models are not pretty, but because they are small and smooth, you can get useful results.

The whole process of importing an .OBJ into Instant Meshes, outputting the reconfigured .OBJ  and importing it into A:M only takes a minute or two.

The pictures show the original .OBJ on the left and the Instant Meshes version on the right.



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One of the issues in using Instant Meshes is trying to control the overall orientation of the splines. We would like to have a horizontal / vertical orientation wherever possible to make it easier to set up bones and constraints in A:M.  I am sometimes able to get this orientation, but I do it by pushing the buttons and etc. (without knowing how) until I get to the final result.  The examples  below show the original .OBJ imported to A:M, the default by running Instant Meshes without any modifications and the better final result after fiddling with it. The -steep creases- button seems to help in some cases and the -align to boundary- button seems to help in other cases.




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  • 3 weeks later...

I decided to try something really ambitious to see if the Instant Meshes program could handle it.  I found the complete OBJ model for the Cafe LeBlanc model from the Persona 5 video game from Sega.  The model was broken up into parts, with the main modules being 4 meg and 8 meg. I loaded the 4 meg one 'as is' into the Instant Mesh program and set the count to 8.57 which I thought was enough to capture most of the detail.  It turned out that most of the model segments were in some form of a grid, so it did a pretty complete job of building quads, but with a lot of the model segments being overly detailed. I only used the 'align' button to set it up.

I then imported the rebuilt OBJ into A:M and spent about an hour mostly getting rid of excess detail in the imported model pieces.  Then I did the same for the 8 meg file.  It turned out that the 4 meg file was mostly the structure of the buildings and the 8 meg model was the props, and outside structures, etc.

The decals were also included in the download so I applied a few just to see if it was going to be easy.

Overall, I spent about 2 hours on the project to get it to the present state.

Attached are 3 pictures and a short demo video.  The first picture shows the original OBJ, the second was the OBJ generated from Instant Meshes and the third one is the Hash model after I cleaned up the Instant Mesh version and added props from the 8 meg file.  The video is a walk thru inside the model so I could see where to continue to refine it.






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One thing I've found (as on the above Space Man's legs) is that the "Spiraling" of the spline down the legs for instance is not Ideal. It doesn't have an end. Just keeps going all the way down.....round and round. :)   I prefer to have individual spline rings. So retopo work(as grueling as it is) has a better result(AT least for me). But I'm sure this does benefit people who need something fast. So I'm certainly not trying to bashing it. Just my preference.

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The Instant Meshes program is used only for converting as many polygon triangles to quads as possible. If you want to configure it to perform in a certain way you have to use the tools (undocumented as they may be) that it has.  When I posted the spaceman model, I did not know much about the program, so the model is what you get without doing anything.  Since that post, I have picked up a few tricks that seem to solve some of the issues such as you pointed out in your post (Spiraling splines).

There are two ways I have found that can be used to help orient the spline flow. One, just use half of the model and push the -align to boundaries- button along with some tweaking of the orientation button.  You can then copy flip and attach the two halves. The second method is to delete a vertical spline in the back (or front) of the model to leave an opening.  When running Instant Meshes, it will terminate the conversion process at these openings and you will probably end up with vertical/horizontal splines.

I have attached a couple of images that hopefully clarify this. 1) shows the OBJ model going to Instant Meshes and the 2) shows the OBJ model coming from Instant Meshes.

Hash model exported to Instant Meshes.png

OBJ from im with deleted back spline.png

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I converted another OBJ model with Instant Meshes to try to establish a work flow and I was especially interested in how to handle clothing items like the jacket in the model.  The model is Bonnie from the game Walking Dead.  Looking at the decals that came in the download, Bonnie comes to a very bad end but I used the decals from when she was in better shape.

The lessons I learned (so far) were:

1) Import the OBJ into A:M first and separate the model into pieces according to how detailed you want and then export them as OBJ to Instant Meshes.  If the model is too big to import into A:M,  then use Instant Meshes to produce a a less dense model so you can see how the model is organized. For symmetric models such as humans, animals, etc., you only need on leg, one arm half a torso, half a head to work on.

2) Use the tools in Instant Meshes to get the spline flow you are going to want for animation purposes.  There are a couple helpful videos on YouTube  that shows what can be done with the program. The program is very fast, it takes only a few seconds to review the model after you make each adjustment.

3) I seems to be better to use more quads than you will eventually need, so you need some time to edit the models that come from Instant Meshes. It is relatively easy to do because the models typically have a logical spline layout that makes it easy to use -select spline/delete spline- actions in A:M.  I did all the steps in 1) - 3) in about 30 minutes for the Bonnie model.  If you are picky it can take longer.

4) Re-combining the pieces is done by -copy/flip/attach- in A:M.  Re-proportioning the pieces can take some time, especially if you intend to use decals that came with the OBJ model.

The hardest part is not activity related to the Instant Meshes program.  It is in trying to decal the model.  The Instant Meshes part of the activity can be done in less than one hour no matter how complex the original OBJ is.  Decaling can take a long time because the decals were made to work in a different development environment than A:M. I spent about an hour in this test.

Attached are a couple of pictures showing the original model and the Hash version.  I knew a girl named Bonnie that was tall and slim, so I re-proportioned her. Nothing is good unless you can animate it, so I included a very brief video of Bonnie walking.  I also included the PRJ for anyone to work on improvements (there are many that can be made).

Bonnie from Walking Dead.png

Bonnie from Hash.png

Finished for Hash.zip

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One of the issues with Instant Meshes is that you have to specify the density of the mesh for the whole model to processed.  This can be a problem for things like heads and the face area, 


where you would want more detail around the eyes, mouth, ears, etc.  I worked out a process that seems to help.  I deleted the eye sockets and mouth and saved those parts from the original OBJ model.  I then run Instant Meshes for half the head and plug the eyes and mouth on the re-worked model. 

The attached images and video shows the process for the Regent model from the game Dishonored.  The top middle image shows the original OBJ head and the bottom middle shows the modified OBJ that was sent to Instant Meshes.  The image on the right is the model from Instant Meshes imported and edited in A:M




Regent for Hash.jpg

Regent for hash.zip

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I processed another model with Instant Meshes.  It is the Violet character who is the daughter of the Incredibles family.  The original model was 6.5 meg and I got it down to 1.6 meg.  The attached image shows the original depiction of the model, the downloaded OBJ and the final A:M model. Also a small video.

It is about 80-90% done, but it is good enough for my purposes.



Vilet fro Hash.jpg

220328Violet for Hash.7z

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Anyone is free to make any improvements you think are appropriate to any of the models I post here.  I would love to see some better versions.  I am only interested in getting to a process where I can crank out 3-4 of the these types (OBJ) of models in an afternoon.  I am not trying to produce the best models, just the fastest conversions for my purposes.

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I converted another model using Instant Meshes,  It is the Town Crier from the game Doctor Who.  I paid special attention to the decals that came with the model because decaling the converted model seems to be the the biggest time requirement.  In this case it meant having the model be a little denser than normal, but it made the finished project easier.  I am moving the model to my Cartoon March thread.  He seems to animate pretty well despite all the clothes layers. I think I will make him the grand marshal.

Attached images show the original OBJ, the A:M converted model splines and the finished rendered model. Also added a short video.

Hash TC.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

I did another experiment on a high density .OBJ model.  It is Cute Anime Mage, which has a lot of fancy clothes and came in at 18 meg.  Through Instant Meshes I got it down to 1.9 meg.  There is still some room for further processing, but I am done with it for now. 

One thing I have learned is that it is better to select the beginning Hash model that you imported as an .OBJ and select the whole model or model parts and peak them using the peak tool before exporting to Instant Meshes.  This seems to make it easier for the program to produce cleaner quads in the output .OBJ

Attached are 3 images: 1) initial Hash model 2) converted Hash model and 3) rendered model. I also included a short video.





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I am concentrating on a work flow for clothes models.  I timed the process for getting from original OBJ to A:M model for a hooded sweatshirt.

step 1 Import original OBJ into Instant Meshes, select a quad density sufficient for the part of the model you want and export a quad OBJ. (2 minutes -see first image below)

step 2 Import the quad OBJ from Instant Meshes into A:M and edit / split the model for missing patches, discontinued splines, etc. (30 minutes -see top of second image below)

step 3 Copy/Flip/Attach the pieces and clean up model to reduce unnecessary splines, etc. (5-10 minutes -bottom of second image below)



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  • 1 month later...

I converted a bar/cafe structure to use as a rest stop for my Cartoon March project.  The Instant Meshes program did not help for this type of model as it normally does.  Most of the structure is simple geometric shapes that are easy to duplicate with Hash primitives.  As is usually the case, the decals (many, many) are the main problem with this type of model.  Attached are views of the exterior and interior of the building and a walk through video.

rest stop exterior.png

rest stop interior.png

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