Sep 22 2004, 07:46 AM
The good news: To solve a conflict I was having between my "squint" slider and my "blink" slider, I decided to try converting the "squint" pose to an animated distortion cage (a.k.a. deformation box), and it works! The eye can now go from wide open to squinting shut, and the blink slider does what it's supposed to every time, since the whole eyelid is within the distortion cage.
The bad news: It only works within the project file I created it in. If I open the model in a new project, the slider is still there, but the distortion cage I assigned to it is gone. The project workspace lists it as a separate object, which I guess is the reason, but I can't seem to figure out how to make it permanently part of the pose slider.
Has this sort of thing ever been attempted before? And if so, does anyone know how I can get this distortion box to behave the way I want it to?
Sep 22 2004, 06:51 PM
Hmm. Judging from this page ( http://www.hash.com/htmlHelp/v10.5/CustomHtml/Distortion.htm
), a Distort cage is considered its own model, so I guess there's no way to force it to live inside my .MDL file. Obviously, I could just transport both objects as a pair whenever I wanted to use this method, but since the effect in question is a minor eye twitch, it's just not worth the hassle.
Apparently you can use scaled bones to do similar things, but it's all a bit over my newbie head:http://www.hash.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8172
Back to the drawing board.
Sep 22 2004, 10:09 PM
To use a distortion cage on a model you can set up a percentage pose then goto muscle mode click on the distortion cage and distort as you position the slider
I did this stupid qt to test the idea
Sep 22 2004, 10:16 PM
Yes, that's exactly what I did, and it worked great. The problem was, the distortion cage wasn't "embedded" in the slider, so when I opened the .MDL file in a new project, the cage was gone. According to the HTML Help, Distort Objects are standalone models, so if you want to use them with a slider you have to keep importing the distort-cage model into each new project alongside the model that uses the slider.
I'd rather my model be self-contained, so I'm seeking on to alternative methods of distortion...
Sep 23 2004, 04:38 PM
hmm can you load the model then edit the original pose using the same method with a new distortion cage
sort of worked
tried a quick redo
Sep 23 2004, 05:29 PM
I just rough read the mail...so forgive me if I'm off base here-
YES. You CAN make a new pose and call it 'distort left' or 'distort-right' etc. Go into the pose and muscle mode, LOCK all the groups you do not want to be affected... while still in muscle mode enter 'distort' mode. WAIT. If your model is dense it will hesitate but eventually you WILL get a 'distotion-box' around the selected groups. Distort to your hearts content. The distortion-box is extremely user freindly and artists will understand it immediately.
Now test the pose by slideing the slider, works like a million dollars in congress!
This is POWERFULL.
Once everyone grasps the full potential of this A:M will become known as THE squash-and-stretch software of choice. It's FANTASTIC for extreme facial expressions. It takes 3D animation out of the linear, bone controlled, stiff and into the...the...well, the NEXT step.
I'm quite surprised Hash hasn't hyped this feature more than they have. As I mentioned it is POWERFULL and I will attest that it WORKS...expect no glitches or 'hidden ooopsies' like we find in many of the other new V11 features.
This ONE feature is WORTH the price of updating.
IMAGINE...if Victor Navone had had this while making 'Alien Song'...
MYSELF...am astounded that I can make SEVERAL poses with various distortions and use them simultaneously within a chor. and find that I am actually 'nesting' distortions WITHIN distortions within distortions... and they WORK!
One word: POWERFULL.
I hope to show an example tomorrow (Fri...knock on wood) of my CARTOONY MUSTANG with plenty of examples of EVERYTHING i say above.
Sep 23 2004, 05:44 PM
I've got to start writing more accurate topic headlines.
I agree that slider-based distortion boxes add a degree of control and smoothness unavailable by any other method. In my case, I was using one to generate a range of eye shapes--squint, wide-eyed, sad, etc.--while still allowing the blink slider to close properly regardless of the shape of the eye.
It worked extremely well, and I'd probably start using this method on the rest of my sliders if not for one thing: my original problem when I started this thread.
Distortion boxes don't save with the model! Every time you make one of these super-duper distort sliders, you can only use it within the original project. Either that, or A) keep importing the original distort object along with your model whenever you start a new project, or
as JohnL3D said, create a new one each time.
I'd like to see Mr. Bigboote's prediction come true, but I suspect that we'll need true embeddable distort objects in models before it can happen. Hey, let's bug Yves about it.
Sep 23 2004, 05:59 PM
OH- I've been working in the same project, it seems. IF Distortions DO NOT save with the model as a pose ( and I'll check this first thing tomorrow) THAN this is a 'bug' that would need to be addressed A.S.A.P. by Hash...Yves or ANYONE.
I'd check it right now but I'm away from my project...at home.
You WILL hear from me agian!
And I apologise for my OVERUSE of CAPITOL letters!
THIS is a great topic. Even IF I am guilty of not reading it all before I added to it...
Sep 24 2004, 07:17 AM
OK- morning came...I went to work...
I looked in to seeing if my model with distortions in poses would open in a fresh project and the poses would still work...it did. I hate to sound like Steve Sappington but "It worked for me!"
The distortion box simply changes the mesh, same as if you were in muscle-mode and selected all cp's and scaled them. Once you turn distortion mode off, the changes live as muscle mode variations and seem to save in the pose with the model just fine.
Sep 24 2004, 07:45 AM
Ahh, I get it. You used the Distort object to create changes to the CP skin, no different than if you'd moved all the points manually.
But that's a little different than what I was getting at. In my case, I actually put a Distort object into the actual pose itself.
See, look! Here I am in an action window, and the Distortion mesh is still there! This method allows me to stretch the heck out of the eye socket without interfering with the blink slider, since it operates within the "distortion field."
Unfortunately, as I've stated, this method requires a custom Distort object that is referenced by the pose slider, and Distort objects can't be embedded into your .MDL file.
Maybe in v12...
Sep 24 2004, 07:58 AM
I see what you were trying to do...yes, you'll have to talk to the programmers about that. Distortion mode, as far as I can tell, is a manipulator tool- very much like scale-mode. If you have your model in scale-mode, save,close, and reopen it the scale-mode would not still be active.
Using distortion mode in poses and actions is very cool, and your model looks great BTW!
Sep 24 2004, 09:35 AM
You correctly mention distortion mode for modeling, John. However, there is also a separate rigging tool called a distortion box. Its behavior is similar to the modeling tool, but because it's a rigging tool, its shape can be animated over time, either through straight muscle mode animation, or by driving muscle changes via a pose slider.
With that clarification out of the way, it's now time for me to openly and freely admit that I haven't messed with distortion boxes enough to fully grasp their operation, so I can't really answer your question, luckbat. Sorry...
Sep 24 2004, 10:12 AM
Thanks for the kinds words, John. I'll get around to posting a WIP thread once I start animating with it.
Justin, no need to apologize. I don't think a lot of people would see a reason to embed a distortion box into a pose slider, so this is pretty uncharted territory.
The bottom line is, though, that it does work, as long as you're willing to keep the distort box with the model whenever you use it. Despite its limited applications, it's a very powerful tool: a werewolf head that transformed using this distort-box pose slider method would still be able to use all other available sliders--blinks, phonemes, expressions--at any stage in the transformation, and they'd all still work properly.
As I said, I won't be pursuing this technique as it breaks my workflow, but it was fun to play with. If Hash decides to allow a distort box to be fully embedded into a slider in some future version, I'll probably start doing all my facial expressions this way, as it cuts the tweaking work way down. The "universal blink slider" alone would be worth it.
Sep 24 2004, 10:15 AM
I'd use an action for this. the action will hold references to the distort and so simply applying it to your character will apply the distort. then it's a matter of animating the Ease property of the action which then behaves much like a pose slider would. you can also add a pose slider to the distortion object itself which can be driven by other attributes in the distort object (bones for instance) which can be tied via constraints or expressions to attributes from the model (such as a pose slider) to drive the pose in the distort object dynamically.
Hope this makes some sense and is of help.
Sep 24 2004, 06:49 PM
David, that does make sense, and you're absolutely right.
In my view, though, maintaining my "squint/wide" slider as a specific action isn't much different from maintaining it as a specific distort object. Neither one allows my model to be self-contained.
At this point, I have to admit that the problem is more psychological than anything else. After all, animators generally make a generic "blink" action that they repeat in their choreography, so in the big picture sense, having "squint/wide" exist as an action really wouldn't be any different.
What can I say, I just like having all my facial expressions as pose sliders.
Everyone's being so helpful, and I feel like the guy who says, "Thanks, I know I can use a screwdriver, but I just prefer using my fingernail."
Feb 3 2005, 02:12 PM
|QUOTE (Obnomauk @ Sep 24 2004, 10:15 AM)|
| you can also add a pose slider to the distortion object itself which can be driven by other attributes in the distort object (bones for instance) which can be tied via constraints or expressions to attributes from the model (such as a pose slider) to drive the pose in the distort object dynamically. |
Hope this makes some sense and is of help.
Per this statement made back in September. Can anyone tell me how to add a bone and constraint to cp's of a distortion box? (in action or pose)
I'm using 11.1b and don't see how you can constrain a bone to a distortion box.
Feb 3 2005, 08:12 PM
|I agree that slider-based distortion boxes add a degree of control and smoothness unavailable by any other method. In my case, I was using one to generate a range of eye shapes--squint, wide-eyed, sad, etc.--while still allowing the blink slider to close properly regardless of the shape of the eye.|
The timing of this topic is amazing. Just today, for the first time, I did exactly what you are describing, got exactly the same results and was lamenting the fact that the distortion box couldn't be kept in place within the model.
The power of using distortion boxes to aid in making poses is incredible. I was dreading redoing several of my facial poses, then thought of trying distortion boxes. The results blew me away.
I'll be reading this topic with great interest and experimenting more tomorrow.
John Bigboote: Please post some examples of the pose variations and nested poses you talked about.
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