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Author Topic: Paddle/pedal question  (Read 2234 times)

jwalt

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Paddle/pedal question
« on: June 09, 2014, 07:06:33 pm »

So,



Got me wondering about the best way to handle things like the paddle, which is being operated by two hands, but can only attach to one bone (as far as I know). Something similar would apply to things like bicycle pedals. Any insights?
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Raxx

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Re: Paddle/pedal question
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 09:13:31 am »

Moving to the General Anim8or Board.

Object interaction's a tricky one. Anim8or doesn't have any really good solutions like animated parenting and such. You can't parent a separate object to a bone in the Scene Editor or access bone locations/orientations via ASL.

One method is to use a chain of bones kind of like a long arm, looped in a circle starting and ending at the hand, allowing you to animate the paddle out of the hands if need be. This method's a pain, in my opinion :P

Another method, which I would use, is to just animate the paddle as a separate object in the Scene Editor without attaching it to bones or anything. Also painful, but at least you have full control.

I like that a Paddling Cow gets eaten by a Whale ;) Keep up the good work
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johnar

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Re: Paddle/pedal question
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 09:28:34 am »

Hello jwalt 



 Always a tricky one, and sorry, no simple answers from me. I haven't come up with a magic rig myself, and would be interested in seeing 1 that works......if its possible.
 
 I've done a couple of pedalling things,
 Hav had to animate legs seperately to the pedals, for one 360 degree turn. (sequence mode) You do the best you can, then go through that sequence, frame by frame, and tweak it where-ever necessary, till you've got it as close as you can get it.
 I've found that arms are actually harder to do than pedalling with legs, as when you've matched up the arms to the thing he might be holding, (oar), then you cant move his body again or the whole top half gets out out sync with the object again.
 I would probly try attaching the oar to one hand, then most of the fine-tweaking, after your first couple of run-throughs,  would be keeping the 'free' hand 'apparently' attached to the oar.
 
One possible way around it would be to have him paddling with one oar. Then you could have a left sequence and a right sequence, and mix them, as you please, in the scene. One oar can be added as an extension to a hand, by  adding 1 or 2 bones  and adding the oar to it. It will still take some fiddling to get it right, but thats the cool thing about having a sequence editor. You only need to make 1 complete cycle, or sequence, and then it can be copied.
  One other thing i've learnt is that, sometimes a character needs more than 1 rig to complete a story.......

« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 03:24:35 am by johnar »
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davdud101

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Re: Paddle/pedal question
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2014, 07:46:29 pm »

It might even be best to just manually do it- e.g., animate the full sequence of rotation for one arm attached to the paddle, then do the other arm, and lastly the paddle based on where the two hands are. I guess you might even do the free arm first.

Honestly though, I haven't been using Anim8or so much lately, so maybe things have changed a bit.
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ENSONIQ5

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Re: Paddle/pedal question
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2014, 05:44:48 am »

First of all, great animation!  The whale surfacing and swallowing the cow gave me a good laugh, it's always good to see Anim8or used for actual animation and you've obviously good a good eye for comedic timing.  Unfortunately I have to agree with previous responders, ain't no easy way to do this in Anim8or.  My personal preference is to keep the figure and paddle separate, as davdud101 suggests, however I would animate the paddle first, then animate the figure to suit.

Animating the paddle on it's own in Scene mode is relatively easy, you can get a pretty good paddle action happening with relatively few keyframes.  Animating your figure's arms is obviously much more difficult as it involves at least three joints per arm (shoulder, elbow and wrist), two of which are 3-axis joints, giving 14 separate parameters that need to be animated.  With the paddle already animated this job becomes a bit easier, as the paddle provides a positioning reference for the hands (this would be a LOT easier with inverse kinematics... hopefully this will be completed and enabled in future versions).  Keeping the paddle as a separate Scene element also allows you to treat it separately from the figure, for example if you want your figure to let go of an object.

The test animation below was done this way, however I added one extra step that made things much easier.  After animating the paddle and matching the figure's hands to it every 12 frames or thereabouts, I removed all the paddle's keyframes and re-animated it to suit the hands, with keyframes in every 6th frame.  As mentioned, it was obviously much easier to animate the paddle in so many keyframes than all 14 figure parameters, and it allowed a close(ish) match between paddle and hands.  So in effect, the paddle coarsely defined the motion of the arms & hands, and the arms & hands then closely defined the motion of the paddle.

To ensure all the figure's bones are available to animate in Scene mode, I added a single-frame T-pose sequence in the first frame (I left it in but this would normally be edited out).  A second single-frame sequence with relaxed arms was added towards the end, after the paddle is dropped.  All animation in between is done in Scene mode rather than sequences, this is very tedious but it does give precise control.  It's worth spending the time, though you'll want to plan your animation well because once you have a lot of keyframes it's not so easy to move things about.



NOTE:  This animation is far from perfect but hopefully it demonstrates what I'm talking about.  The figure ("Eraser Man") is from a previous animation I did some years ago, it's about time he got off his backside and actually did something, the lazy little blighter...!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 09:25:13 am by ENSONIQ5 »
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johnar

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Re: Paddle/pedal question
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2014, 09:32:42 am »

Just to be a little argumentive, there's defineately always more than one way to skin a cat. I respect the idea of keeping the oar seperate. But in saying that, i've done a quick sequence with oar in hand, and would just like to point out some advantages in having the oar attached. The example below is just a quicky, and took about half an hour to get the sequence this far. (the sequence is played twice in scene mode) It could be improved plenty with a bit more time.
  Now that the sequence is made it can be added as many times as you like, and it can be saved for possible future use. Animations in scene mode are not so easily saved. It only took half an hour to make the sequence. He could paddle for 20 strokes in scene mode by simply adding the sequence 20 times. The oar will always stay in hand.Having the oar attached also allows the upper body movement, which i think could be quite tricky if the oar was a seperate object.
 There are tricks to having him put the oar down, usually involving a sneaky figure change.
 Part of the beauty of anim8or is the workarounds that we find. At the end of the day, its whatever works best for you.  :)

EDIT> Changed video for gif image
 
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 02:11:10 pm by johnar »
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ENSONIQ5

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Re: Paddle/pedal question
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2014, 10:04:04 am »

Totally agree Johnar, there certainly are many ways to achieve the end result in Anim8or.  You're spot on about using sequences and including the paddle in the figure, it does indeed allow quicker and more accurate control over the motion and in most cases is probably the best way to tackle this sort of thing.  My method, which is admittedly far more tedious, was intended to allow the paddle to be treated as a separate element in Scene mode, but I do like your idea of sneaky figure swapping to achieve this.  The other thing I was going for was the idea of animating the paddle on it's own, concentrating on getting its motion nice and fluid without being too concerned with the dynamics of the figure, but your animation definitely shows it can be done.

As you say, it's probably one of those things that every animator does a bit differently according to their preference.  I admit that I don't use Anim8or much for animating these days (sadly, I love the Object - Figure - Sequence - Scene structure) and have got into the habit of doing everything in a single Scene.
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johnar

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Re: Paddle/pedal question
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2014, 12:43:28 pm »

Cheers ENSONIQ5. I know we've spoken about this type of thing before, and that you are also a fan of the Object - Figure - Sequence - Scene structure in Anim8or..
  In regards to 'sneaky figure swap', i think in the case of a paddle, as in jwalts case, i would finish the scene as far as possible while holding the oar, then just delete it, (the oar),  from figure mode and replace with a seperate oar object in scene mode. (place oar in scene b4 deleting from fig mode, so the new oar can be positioned in exactly the same place as the original oar). Then the oar becomes a seperate object and can be animated as such
 I know you are aware of what i'm saying here, ENSONIQ5, so this is mostly for jwalt and anyone else that might be interested.
 In regards to 'figure swaps',  i will often export the figure with the prop for future use.  EG: If you remember the stick figure juggling on the uni cycle. He spends some time pedaling around on his cycle before he jumps off. Thats 2 rigs/figures. "stickman.an8' and 'stickman on uni.an8'. Proper positioning at swap time and no-one sees the change.
 The one thing i do after exporting a 'proped' figure is to rename everything in the newly created an8 file. Rename all the objects and the figure. Even renaming materials doesn't hurt.  This way i never have any problems with importing a 'proped figure' into a file containing the same figure without the prop(s).
  Good luck jwalt.  Looking good.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 02:15:31 pm by johnar »
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jwalt

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Re: Paddle/pedal question
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2014, 02:42:29 pm »

Lot of helpful, interesting comments there, thanks! I did this one, below, using a bone off of the paddler's right hand. It seemed to make animating the free hand merely a matter of moving the shoulder, but that might just have been dumb luck in this case. And the paddle is simpler.



I guess I need to look at my weight painting, since I am flattening out the paddler's left shoulder, badly.

Got a request for flowers in the scene, so I made one. Not happly with the lilly pads; they look more like green oil slicks, but it's a start.



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johnar

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Re: Paddle/pedal question
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2014, 07:34:03 am »

Quote
they look more like green oil slicks, but it's a start.
Lol.
 Maybe using a leaf texture will help make a difference? they do look a bit unfinished, but don't really look that bad. (imho)
 Re cow paddling. Just a couple of things. Hope i'm not just being picky.
 Perhaps rotating his head to keep him looking straight while he paddles. It would be fine to give him a moment to look around as he's paddling, but looking straight ahead, for the most of it, would give him the appearance of having a place to go. (the other side of the river).
 Something else, that you may decide not to bother with, but am sure will be picked up by some people. is the fact that he's only paddling on one side of the canoe. Sorry to bring it up, but you know that in reality 'paddling' like that would send them around in circles. It might be more work than you want to put in to this 'short?' river crossing, which is you're choice of course, and not a huge problem really.
 But I do think that some 'head control' would make a noticeable difference.
 Lookn good jwalt.
 
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