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WIP: Thus Endeth the Lesson


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#1 mouseman

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 08:00 AM

I had some time, so I decided to at least start. Hopefully I will be able to finish! My storyline will pay homage to the prologue of "Infinity Hold" by Barry Longyear. So far I'm using the Lucien and Boris models from the Extras DVD; there will be a third character. I've also created a local copy of the Resolute Walk, which I will need to tweak a little for these models. I'm attaching my first render test with rough (blocking, mostly with holds on keyframes) animation. It is only about 1/3 done. I'm liking the initial timing, but I'll need to improve the timing just after the contact between these two characters. I'm having problems with the transition between the animation in a choreography action to the walk cycle that immediately follows. My model's bones have migrated away from his main model bone, and I can't figure out a way of transitioning to the walk cycle without having him mysteriously move around on the scene during the transition! Is there a tutorial somewhere? (Once I have the initial blocking done, I'll ask for critiques.)

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#2 TheSpleen

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 08:07 AM

Boris needs to double up from the blow.
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And in turn others as well will laugh too."

#3 robcat2075

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 09:23 AM

You can completely, totally, absolutely, positively save yourself time and trouble by animating your walks directly just like any other character motion. Neither of those characters has many steps to take anyway.

Have you watched the vid in my signature on blocking out walks? Watch that.

Richard Williams goes thru it all in his book too....

Key frame the heel contact poses first ... then keyframe the passing poses between those...then keyframe the breakdowns between those... once you understand the motion of two steps it's easy to make all the other steps.

And if you don't understand the motion of two steps what are the chances your walkcycle is going to be worth repeating anyway?

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#4 mouseman

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 10:00 AM

You can completely, totally, absolutely, positively save yourself time and trouble by animating your walks directly just like any other character motion. Neither of those characters has many steps to take anyway.


I've mostly animated walks directly in chor actions. It always seems like it's more work than dragging a walk action and setting a few parameters. Then every couple of years (or versions) I'll think "I must have been doing something wrong before" and then try walk cycle actions and eventually give up on them and just go back to doing everything in Chor actions.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Have you watched the vid in my signature on blocking out walks? Watch that.

Richard Williams goes thru it all in his book too....

Yes and yes (although it's been a little while for both). Your video and its analysis of the walk cycle is very well done. Too bad the old 2000 rigs don't have the pull up feature on the heel.

- Chris
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#5 mouseman

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 10:08 AM

Boris needs to double up from the blow.

Yep, that's coming. (And then more after that.) It looks like I will need to redo Lucien walking away first.

- Chris
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#6 robcat2075

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 11:49 AM

Too bad the old 2000 rigs don't have the pull up feature on the heel.


Remember you can key any bone anywhere it needs to be at any time. Just because a rig doesn't have a heel lifter, you can still pose the character so the heel looks lifted.

But if I were going to do much animation with a character I'd re rig it with a more capable rig like TSM2.

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#7 mouseman

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 08:33 PM

To start over or not. I guess I'll stick with the original model for this project. Maybe I'll re-rig the 3rd character. Here's a new render test (smaller size) with a little more animation. It's a little more than 1/3 of the action. I started out blocking the animation, which was going okay, with the intent of blocking out the entire animation. Sadly, I'm reverting to straight ahead animating. I'm kind of disappointed that I'm doing that. Maybe it was because of the Great Walk Cycle Fiasco of 2010. Is anyone else going to create a WIP thread?

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- Chris
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My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#8 TheSpleen

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 08:41 PM

That looked pretty good!
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And in turn others as well will laugh too."

#9 robcat2075

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 10:30 PM

For some reason that looks like Bill Clinton and Bob Dole to me. :o Why is so much of the set black?

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#10 kwhitaker

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 03:34 PM

Hey mouseman, that's a mean punch :D looking real good
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#11 mouseman

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 04:30 PM

Why is so much of the set black?


I didn't want to wait 20 minutes per frame, so I rendered with quality set to "Shaded". Here's a "Final" mode render, still with the smaller size but with AO and reflections and multi-pass turned off. Did I mention my laptop is 4 years old? :)

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- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#12 robcat2075

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 04:35 PM

Ok, i understand. Before you do a final render, find out what is making them appear so bright. i don't think they are supposed to look that way. They my have an ambiance setting on by mistake.

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#13 mtpeak2

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 05:12 PM

They do have ambiance set on them, but most of what you are seeing is the global ambiance setting that is still active in the chor. With AO OFF in the render options, you will get results like this. They should render fine with AO turned back ON.
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#14 Gerry

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 05:31 AM

They do have ambiance set on them, but most of what you are seeing is the global ambiance setting that is still active in the chor. With AO OFF in the render options, you will get results like this. They should render fine with AO turned back ON.

Good to know because mine seems overly bright too.

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#15 mouseman

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 05:15 AM

I had an hour or so on Thursday to do a little more blocking. Here's an update. 1.859KB

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- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#16 TheSpleen

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 07:23 AM

looks great! My question is why did he hit him?
"To be honest....I animate and design to make myself laugh. And if I accomplish that then I have succeeded!
And in turn others as well will laugh too."

#17 mouseman

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 08:49 AM

looks great!
My question is why did he hit him?

Thanks!
That is exactly the question I had hoped people would be asking at this point! I have a bit more animation to create before you find out, but hopefully it will be obvious!

- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#18 mouseman

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 09:59 AM

Here's a little request for knowledge/help. I thought that instead of doing the heavy lifting of making my characters breathe, I'd make an action that would be for breathing, where only his back, back2, and head bones move. Then in the Chor, I add that action, and have the ease (or blend?) go from 0 to 40 to 0 to 30 to 0, etc., to get the various amounts of breathing on each breath. When I link the action to the character in Choreography half way through the animation where I want him to start breathing, it appears that a number of his other bones go back to "factory defaults". Namely, this arms are sticking straight out (apparently because Choreography Action 2 forgets that IK Hands is turned on) and the rest of his movement goes far afield of where I had originally animated it. I think the main problem remaining is the second, where the Boris character now moves well behind the bench. For the Shortcut to this "Breathe" action, I have tried different combinations of Blend Method = Add/Blend and Ease and Add/Blend Ratio. All to no avail. I can think of 3 things that might be going wrong: 1. It's not supposed to work like I'm thinking it is. 2. I'm close but missing some setting somewhere. 3. There is one or more problems with the software. Any recommendations would be appreciated. I've attached a screen shot (which was before I figured out that Choreography Action2 was forgetting about the IK Hands from the Resolute Walk shortcut) to show where I've added the action. I've also appended a ZIP file with both before and after the Breathe action additions (one appended with -Breathe) - you'll have to supply your own Extras DVD and project folders (camera_roto and Decals). Thanks in advance!

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- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#19 HomeSlice

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 12:49 PM

Try setting the Breath action blend mode to "Add" and delete the blend percentage channel. Also try dragging Choreography Action 1 under the Breath action. Whichever action is on the bottom of the stack get precedence. This can cause some unexpected results if there are keys on the same bone in both actions, but with the blend mode on the bottom action set to Add, it works OK many times. However, be aware that with Blend set to Add, any bone with keys in both actions gets the keys added together, so there may be times when you need to tone down the movement in one of the actions.

#20 mouseman

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 06:52 PM

Hi, Holmes, I tried your suggestions out. I wasn't able to get it to work that way. With the Breathe action above, the Choreography Action2's bones overrode the Breathe action. The other variants had similar problems. But working through that gave me ideas for another approach. After a while, I tried a more brute force method: 1. Moved the model's hip bone everywhere it was exaggerated from the wrong position. Using the channels view helped immensely; I was able to scale the extent of the motion in the X and Z axes to get the location corrected relatively quickly. 2. For breathing, I saved the model as a local model, and then created a pose. I guess that's what I was really doing, but I was hoping to avoid making another copy of the model. So I'm back to making my normal slow progress! Thanks for getting me nudged! Since I worked on Labor Day (<joke>which they misspell as "Labour" here</joke>), I might take a day later in the week and devote the whole day to the Bus Stop!

- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#21 Paul Forwood

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 11:23 PM

the Choreography Action2's bones overrode the Breathe action.

When reordering items in the hierarchy things do not always update immediately. You may need to hit the spacebar a couple of times before you see the changes take place. Sometimes even the spacebar refuses to refresh the screen so, if it looks like your changes did not take, make sure that you save your project and then immediately load it again. Your changes should now be visible.
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#22 mouseman

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 06:46 PM

Paul,

Thanks for the suggestions. I had already gone and brute forced it, so I won't be using it for this animation. I would like to come back to this and try those things out in more detail and variation when I've submitted this version. I was getting to the point where I was spinning my wheels, so I had to move on, but I'd much rather know what is going on in such situations!

I had my delayed Labor Day today, and got in about 6 hours of animating (at my slow pace!), minus some work emails. Here is a new version with the blocking almost-but-not-quite done. There are a few more seconds left to animate, but I think TheSpleen's question of why the first guy punched the second is now answered! (If it's not, that would be important for me to know!)

Although it's not quite the full action, I think it's far enough for critiques and suggestions. If anyone has suggestions on timing or spacing or placement or even plot, feel free to give them now. I have a few self-critiques of my own, but I'll wait to see what others have to suggest.

What I have not touched yet:
  • face and eye expressions
  • hands are relatively static
  • any fine animation; it's intended to be rough so it's relatively easy to change
  • walking animation except for planning out foot-falls. (i.e. don't worry about feet floating/sliding on the ground right now)
  • sound; I want to have voices for each of the three characters to give their emotions
Also note this is a low resolution render with lots of render options turned off so it would render relatively quickly (it took 1hr:21min:39sec under 15.0j+).

Attached Files


- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#23 thekamps

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 03:37 AM

The blocking looks good. I would work on the timing. It seems very slow, especially for such cartoony characters. Just playing with the slider in quicktime shows a lot. To sell the story or connection I might start the first guy waving his fist off stage left before he sees the oncoming man and then go into his look down, ponder, look up, decide, punch...Also, you have all those things in the first character but then not in the second when it is his turn. He just punches. I'd like to see the second guy go through that same thought process and complete the "cycle".

#24 mouseman

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 04:44 AM

Great feedback and great ideas, thekamps! Thanks! After watching this one, I was worried about the timing (too slow) and length (too long), as well. I'll wait for any other feedback before saying what I was thinking I might be able to do about it. I was thinking that some voices would make the first guy sound more angry, but you're right ... having some actual behavior showing he's angry would be a much stronger performance.

- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#25 mouseman

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 08:43 PM

It's been a little while, and the deadline is getting closer! At least I have Thanksgiving on Monday (Canada) which will give me an extra day. I tightened up a lot of things, which took almost 10 seconds out of the length. Then I added a little more action (2nd guy walking out). For blocking, I really only need to add in the last character's reaction to finish up the blocking action. I still think the middle character spends too much time getting to and being on the bench. What do you guys think?

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- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#26 TheSpleen

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 09:28 PM

Oh the humanity! LOL
"To be honest....I animate and design to make myself laugh. And if I accomplish that then I have succeeded!
And in turn others as well will laugh too."

#27 mouseman

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 08:37 PM

Still running behind. I haven't had a lot of time due to various things, including being in a club (speech) contest and winning it and then going to the area contest and winning that, both of which were unexpected and together have taken more time than I would have liked. Regardless, here's the latest. I tightened things by by taking out another 5-10 seconds. I started on a very small amount of clean-up animation, but it's hardly noticeable yet. There is still a long way to go. Hopefully I will bomb the contest this Saturday so I will have time to finish the bus stop!

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- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#28 mouseman

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 07:42 PM

I started rendering the final version. v15 took about 4:02 (minutes:seconds) for the first frame, v16 is running around 3:25 per frame. It was saying about 53 hours remaining. I tried to get RenderServer running, and eventually succeeded. It is currently estimating 30:23:15. Now up to 32:29:26. Each frame is now taking between 4:05 and 4:34, but presumably it is half the time because there are 2 processes. I ran into a few problems getting RenderServer running, but I posted those on the v16.0 Beta thread.

- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#29 mouseman

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 05:05 PM

My poor little laptop is rendering furiously. Current stats: Elapsed: 21:26:13 Est: 20:37:30 47% 442/937 frames File size: 58K (one example: 59,423 bytes; others are close to that) Average Frame Render Time: 0:05:01 # cores: 2 # of render clients: 2 CPU: AMD Turion 64 x2 Mobile TL-50 - 1.6 GHz. Laptop. Purchased in October 2006. I rendered overnight, then took the laptop into work and was rendering today in the background while I was working (writing software) on the same computer. I had to restart the render server when I went into work and then came home, because my DHCP IP address changed. I am guessing that my rendering will finish up about this time tomorrow!

- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#30 Rodney

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 05:09 PM

Way to project-test out the v16 Netrender in a real world production environment! Go Mouseman! :)
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#31 mouseman

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 07:19 PM

Summary: COMPLETED!

I got it all rendered. There are a couple of snafus (see attached test video), but I ended up fixing them.

I don't know whether they are my fault or not. They might correspond to places where I stopped rendering to relocate my laptop.

For the first problem occurring around 29:15 and 29:16 (frames 711 and 712), I re-rendered them and I think that worked well. I don't know if this was the right way, but I did it by changing the name of the file number part to 0711 and then telling it to render begin and end with those two times. Could I have changed the times only, with it magically coming up with the right frame numbers?

For the two other frames near the end, I just copied the frames before and after it to those frames, since it's basically still around that time anyways.

The corrected files (all 56MB of them) are here:
http://home.intranet...ileyBusStop.zip

Let me know when you have them, and I'll delete them off of the server.

If I get really ambitious, I'll try to make a sound track and a director's commentary.

Attached Files


- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#32 mouseman

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 06:51 PM

Don't know where else to say this ... I had to replace my old laptop, which would give "Disk error" on bootup for the first 3 minutes or so after turning it on, and then work fine until it hibernated or was shut off. Since it is my main work computer, I decided it was too dicey. So I bought a new laptop. I've always bought trailing edge technology, trying to get the most bang per buck. Things like A:M ran, but I could never do big things (such as TWO or SO scenes). It had a shared RAM video card, and I bought it 4 years ago. I had to take action, and I decided to splurge. I got the best that I could get. ASUS G73JW-A1 Win7HP-64 Intel i7-740QM processor (quad core, with hyperthreading shows up as 8 CPUs) Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M; 1.5GB VRAM 17.3" Full HD (1920x1080) screen 8GB RAM 2x500GB HD Blue-Ray (read-only) and DVD R/W I just now got A:M running (THANKS HASH SUPPORT!). I cannot believe the difference. I opened up scenes from TWO and SO that I had opened before on the old laptop. The old laptop would get seconds per frame with everything in wireframe and all detail turned off, many things in either block mode or just don't render mode. With the new machine I can do an actual playback in the chor window with shaded mode. And I can easily get 8 frames per second on the more complicated scenes! (Ok, I admit I was getting 3 FPS on the throne room until I changed the background to display as vector instead of curved, then it was 8-9 FPS.) For my Bus Stop scene, frames that were taking on average 5 minutes on the old laptop are now taking one minute. Wow. This changes everything!

- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#33 robcat2075

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 06:59 PM

Wow. This changes everything!



That's wonderful. I'm glad you didn't give up.

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#34 mouseman

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 09:47 PM

I got some of the sound added. I'm mixing it within A:M in the project I used to assemble the JPG files into a test animation. Question ... I have 3 or 4 "footstep" sounds that I'd like to use and alternate between. Do I have to drag them down multiple times to the chor and place them, one for each footstep? Or is there a better way of repeating the sound in specific spots?

- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#35 robcat2075

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 10:21 PM

Do I have to drag them down multiple times to the chor and place them, one for each footstep?


Yes. Only way I know of.

Robert Holmén
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Got an A:M question? Come to Live Answer Time.   Saturdays, Noon CDT (1700 GMT)

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87,848 pushed!: the #1 heavy push on Youtube

Big thanks to... Roger (again!), Shelton (it's huge!), NancyGormezano, Roger, cribbidaj, thefreshestever, Tom, Dalemation, Simon Edmondson, thejobe, Rob_T (2 more x), agep (again!), itsjustme, jason1025(+1), dblhelix (+1),markw, Roger (3x!), mouseman (x 2!), Xtaz, agep, Gerry, thefreshestever, dblhelix (twice!), jason1025, Luuk Steitner, PDM, Rob_T and Dhar!


#36 mouseman

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 04:09 PM

Finally done. Sorry for the wait.

I ended up doing a single foley-style track for each character's footsteps.

Anyways, the sound is attached to an otherwise blank video. I also created a WAV file with a commentary audio track. Let me know if these work for you.

Here is the URL:
http://home.intranet...ive/3d/busstop/

- Chris
Only obsessed people ever accomplish anything. - M. Ashton
My friends dream of retiring to play WoW full time. I dream of retiring to animate with A:M full time.
Design Dynamics and Hit and Run and Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon

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#37 robcat2075

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 05:41 PM

Finally done. Sorry for the wait.

I ended up doing a single foley-style track for each character's footsteps.

Anyways, the sound is attached to an otherwise blank video. I also created a WAV file with a commentary audio track. Let me know if these work for you.

Here is the URL:
http://home.intranet...ive/3d/busstop/



thanks! got it!

Robert Holmén
------

Got an A:M question? Come to Live Answer Time.   Saturdays, Noon CDT (1700 GMT)

Watch the 2017 "Summer Memories" Image Contest Awards

 

My tutorials All my most beloved tutorials in one convenient location. Except for the ones I've forgotten about.
 
this is only a ... my gallery of A:M tests

87,848 pushed!: the #1 heavy push on Youtube

Big thanks to... Roger (again!), Shelton (it's huge!), NancyGormezano, Roger, cribbidaj, thefreshestever, Tom, Dalemation, Simon Edmondson, thejobe, Rob_T (2 more x), agep (again!), itsjustme, jason1025(+1), dblhelix (+1),markw, Roger (3x!), mouseman (x 2!), Xtaz, agep, Gerry, thefreshestever, dblhelix (twice!), jason1025, Luuk Steitner, PDM, Rob_T and Dhar!