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A:M Answers (Random Explorations)


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#1 Rodney

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 08:38 PM

Thought I might share this with everyone even though I really don't know what it means or how to take full advantage of it.

 

Background

A:M Answers stores text in a local file named AMAIndex.txt which is in your Hash Inc installation folder.

This file can be edited from within A:M by opening any Property and editing the Properties Documentation panel.

 

For the most part we are limited to those Properties that are hard coded into A:M.

But can we write custom properties?

Yes.

 

In a Model we can create Named Groups on any geometry and within those named Groups we can create Properties.

 

There are three kinds of properties we can create (Folders, Percentages and On/Off).

We can not only edit the A:M Answers Property Description for these properties but we can also edit the title by changing the name of the Folder, Percentage or On/Off Title.

 

Now here's where it gets weird...

Let's say you have two Models that are exactly the same (except small trivial differences that won't interfere with what I'm about to describe).

If you open either and go to the A:MA documented property you will see the original documentation.

If you edit one you can update the other by refreshing it via a Right Click and selecting 'Display Help for Current Property'.

As this is an undocumented feature there is no guarantee that it will be there in the future. However, there are some interesting things going on here.

I've described the lead up to it and if interested you can now dive into it.

 

What does it all mean.

Primarily, it gives us a way to document our Model's Properties (or more accurately our Named Group properties within the Model).

But note that this type of documentation does not stay with the model. It has a record saved in the A:MA index and to the best of my knowledge these documentations don't disappear automatically.

 

For instance, in the case of the two identical Models above, if I were to edit a Named Group property and change it's title name then open it in the other model and change it again I would create a new A:MA entry for that same named property. The assumption here is that A:M will retain all but only show the most recently updated property. If this is true we may be seeing a form of a journal in the making or means to share information with others simultaneously. All it would take is knowing the right property title and updating our view of the A:MA property.

 

Big Brother? No, I could only wish we had that level of technology.

But this is at least one way we can currently add customized A:MA property documentation.

And if we share our AMAIndex.txt and appropriate Model/Project we'll have also shared that documentation.

 

Disclaimer: Using undocumented features, or even unofficially undocumented features, can lead to frustration when that feature is updated, removed or altered. As always, use undocumented features cautiously.


"Animation is 90 percent hard work.  The other half is entirely mental!"
See my effort to think about the art of animation at: My Blog
Want to learn A:M? Start TaoA:M

#2 Rodney

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 04:58 AM

Project Management tools are very useful but in order to be really useful they would need to be integrated with A:M.
How many Project Management Tools do this?

This is an introductory to A:M's new and powerful Production Management Tool (A:MP).
Not only can it integrate with your projects it can track them too.

Example:
While viewing a test rendering you note the window of a car does not have proper reflectivity and you think that may require an environment map and increased reflectivity. Because you aren't entirely sure of the approach you decide to document that area for as a task for the future. If you get into a crunch you may be able to live without that reflection.

In the Chor window you move to either Model or Animation Mode (Animation Mode preferrable as you may want to scrub through the animation while you are entering notes into the A:MA (undocked) window. You then use the Patch Selection tool to select all or part of the window (all would be better in this case because later you are going to want to apply the effect to all of that Named Group (reflectivity and a material to the Model and adjust lighting in the Chor).

In selecting the window you see your new Named Group appear in the Project Workspace (PWS) and you rename it "This Window needs more reflectivity" and give it both a On Off and a Percentage Property (Later you'll move it into a Folder marked "Tasks to Do" and when finished you'll move it to "Completed"). The On/Off Percentage property you name "Car window reflectivity GO/NOGO" and the Percentage you name "Car Window Reflectivity Status". You set the GO/NOGO to "OFF" and set the Status to 5%, because in your estimation this shot still has at least 95% to go.

As you scrub through again you note that there is a hint of nice reflectivity at frame 53 so you enter that information into the A:MA Properties and, remembering a very cool example on the internet you'd like to reproduce you add an external link to that image for reference.

You save everything and launch your scheduled daily renders in Netrender knowing that when you awaken in the morning you can pick up where you left off again after reviewing your A:MP notes.

Your last thought as you go to sleep is that you should hire someone to automate some of this notetaking so that when a task is completed it manipulates other notes... since that capability is already there in A:M... maybe you could hire an assistant... or open a studio... or... maybe you can do all of that tomorrow... Zzzzzz....

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"Animation is 90 percent hard work.  The other half is entirely mental!"
See my effort to think about the art of animation at: My Blog
Want to learn A:M? Start TaoA:M




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