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Messages - ENSONIQ5

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Finished Works and Works in Progress / Playing with IK
« on: September 24, 2016, 12:49:34 am »
Not sure if this is the best location for this but I didn't want to hijack other threads.  With the development of IK in release 1247-1250 I couldn't resist giving it a go, since it's something I've been hankering for since 2007 or thereabouts!  I've used the T-Rex model I built for the skertches a while back since it was already boned and already had most rotation limits applied.

There are 22 separate IK chains in this beast:

  • Legs X 2
  • Toes X 6
  • Arms X 2
  • Fingers X 4
  • Neck
  • Spine from shoulders to pelvis
  • Tail X 6 (includes one from pelvis to halfway along the tail to overcome the max number of bones in a chain issue)

There's a bunch of faults in the motion and I have no idea how a T-Rex actually moved (does anybody?) but that's not what this was about; it was all about playing with the IK system.  The process of defining the chains, setting keys, tweaking positions etc. was absolutely seamless and from a workflow perspective it's hard to find anything to criticise.  I had so much fun with this and it's testament to the process that the walk cycle sequence (repeated twice in this video) was completed from start to finish in 3-4 hours.  There was no back-tracking, no unexpected functionality, no frustration... it all just worked!

The only thing I would like to see (and it may already be there, I could easily have missed it since I've been away from Anim8or for a while) would be the ability to lock the motion of an IK chain with elements rigged to rotate in multiple directions (eg. a spine) to a certain plane.  So, if I'm working in Front view, it would be handy to be able to move the effector knowing that the chained bones will only move in the X-Y direction and not in Z.  This would allow more precise positioning but should definitely be switchable somehow, as full motion in all 3 dimensions would also be required in many cases (in other words, 'IK chain locked to view plane' ON/OFF).

I haven't had so much fun on a project in ages as I did with this over the last couple of days.  Whenever I'm working with Anim8or I always have a big smile on my face, which somehow sums up Anim8or to me.

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: IK tool
« on: September 22, 2016, 12:57:54 pm »
Could be intentional but I'll mention this anyway, if IK is selected in Scene mode the IK widgets associated with a figure element actually render as solid cubes (build 1250).  Deselecting IK stops them being rendered so all good but I would assume they should be a non-rendering item.

Ongoing Anim8or Development / Re: IK tool
« on: September 21, 2016, 01:03:10 pm »
I loaded 1247 this evening and have had a play with IK, so far everything is working as it should (though I haven't tested everything yet).  I have some chains of 12+ bones, no problem, but I did have a crash when I attempted to chain 20+ bones (I will attempt to recreate the fault).  The only other thing I've found, and I'm not sure it's a bug (could be my local settings) but when 'playing' a sequence to check motion it isn't possible to stop the playback after about 20 or 30 frames.  Attempting to stop it results in the circling cursor and the window 'whiting out', and nothing can be clicked.  The playback continues to the end, once it completes everything comes good.

I have some experience with Carrara's IK setup so I thought it might be beneficial to provide a comparison.  Anim8or's IK is at least as powerful and simple to use as Carrara's, which is a pretty amazing achievement Steve since that package has had $$$ worth of development.  The only advantage with Carrara's system over Anim8or's that I can detect is that IK can be applied to a boneless object hierarchy, ie. bones are not required.  The equivalent would be the ability to set the joint type when setting an object element as the child of another object element in Scene mode, with no Figure required, and the setting of IK chains across these elements.  This allows for some more complex joints, such as sliders (like hydraulic rams).  Truthfully, it's a minor advantage that would seem (from my awestruck perspective) to require an awful lot of work that I don't think would be worth it to be honest.  There's other ways to achieve the same effect with the existing setup.

One big advantage with Anim8or's system is the ability to lock effectors in Scene mode.  I haven't played with this (yet) but certainly plan to, its positive impact on the ability to create realistic walking action cannot be overstated!

I'm adding IK to an existing project (T-Rex skeleton) and hope to have something to show for it soon, and I'll let you know if I find anything that doesn't work as expected.  This is seriously the coolest thing to happen to Anim8or in ages, can't thank you enough Steve!

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Re: Diversions
« on: September 20, 2016, 12:21:18 pm »
I haven't worked with Anim8or's IK (yet!) but I have worked with it in Carrara many times.  I think your method is spot on johnar, effectively setting the wrist joint as the IK terminator.  Anything you need full control over, such as hand position and finger joint angles, should be left FK.  It might help to think of it like the way you think of using your hand to, say, grab a glass of water.  You think about moving your hand to the right location and angle to grasp the glass, you don't think about angling your shoulder and elbow to position the hand correctly (that would be FK).  Conversely, you don't think about moving your fingertips to the correct location, they are only moved once the hand is in place.  Therefore the hand (or more precisely the wrist joint) would be the ideal IK terminator.

Nice work on IK'ing Froyd, johnar!  I'm looking forward to having a play with Anim8or's IK, it's one of the things that's been on my 'wish list' for as long as I've been working with Anim8or :)

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Layers?
« on: September 13, 2016, 01:06:29 pm »
So you can name the layers? Or is that an association you've set up for yourself, where each layer, 0 through 7, is for each of those things?  I've not seen any option to name layers while looking through the interface/menus.

Sorry, I wasn't very clear.  Rather than using layers, I just use multiple Objects.  An Object can contain any number of wireframes (meshes) and you can have any number of Objects within a project.  Objects can be named as required so could be a solution to your need of a 'backup' repository of your meshes.  I haven't used layers in Anim8or but from what I can gather their power is in their ability to be hidden, so background meshes can be hidden for improved clarity while working on foreground meshes.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« on: September 13, 2016, 12:58:04 pm »
Cheers daniel99.  There's a lot to not like about Carrara, there are some things that are just plain weird, but I guess I'm familiar with it by now so it no longer bothers me too much.  When I do a project purely in Anim8or I am always impressed by the excellent workflow; the ability to create multiple Objects, Figures and Scenes within a single project is just excellent and I really miss this in other packages.  If the render speed of ART could be improved (most of my renders need reflections and other tricky stuff so Scanline is not really an option) I would love to work entirely within Anim8or.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Layers?
« on: September 13, 2016, 08:38:28 am »
You can create as many Objects as you need, and copy/paste wireframes from one to another.  Objects can be used however you want, I often set up one called 'Workbench' where lathing, extruding and point-editing takes place, 'Holding' as a temporary dump for objects being worked on, 'Construction' where various objects are put together, 'Backup' where wireframes are kept where I'm worried about messing them up, etc.  These can be permanent Objects for animating in Figure or Scene modes or temporary, for deletion once the project moves to the next stage.  Does that help?

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« on: September 13, 2016, 08:18:55 am »
Is an animation anywhere to be seen, yet?

Also, what external app do you use for rendering, if you don't mind me asking?


Cheers wolfsong73 and daniel99.  This is from the webseries Mission Backup Earth ( which is a zero-budget production based mainly in Berlin but involving 3D artists from all around the world (I'm Australian).  The image is a frame from an animation, though I don't recall which episode it appears in!  One of the earlier ones I think. (EDIT: It starts at 4:53 in episode 1 of the prequels here:

The render was done with Carrara which is similar to Anim8or in that it is a comprehensive modelling/animation/rendering package, however it's not free or open source.  Its modeller is kinda terrible to be honest, which is why I still prefer to build in Anim8or, however it has an excellent renderer that is able to make use of multi-threading and network-rendering.  If I engage both my i7 machines that's 16 threads of rendering power, which equals speed.  Since I'm mainly rendering HD1080 at 24 fps, speed is essential to maintain workflow.  While the sample image above could absolutely have been rendered with Anim8or (in fact, ART renders look nicer than Carrara's in my opinion) it would have taken many times longer to render (2-3 minutes per frame in Carrara, possibly 20-30 minutes or more in Anim8or depending on settings).

Carrara's renderer also has a few cool things like light cones, lens flares, secondary illumination etc. which could all be done in post but it's cool to have them there.  There's a few other things Carrara can do that are yet to be added to Anim8or (eg. physics) but since Steve has been releasing updates the gap has reduced considerably (eg. inverse kinematics - something that has been on my Anim8or wishlist for years :). I haven't had a chance to play with it yet but plan to asap).

While loath to invoke the name of Blender as I have no interest in starting another Anim8or vs. Blender thread, it does have a pretty awesome renderer and is, I believe, approaching the power of Maya, 3DS Max etc.  However, it's interface is almost the antithesis of Anim8or's, being one of the nastiest GUIs I've ever had the displeasure to work with.  There are also a few stand-alone renderers out there such as Kerkythea, some with steeper learning curves than others.

I will continue to work with Anim8or as long as I am able and will continue to sing its virtues whenever I get the chance.  As an introduction to 3D animating it's hard to beat, and as a basic modelling toolbox I'm yet to find its peer.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Hello! New user with a 'hello' and a question!
« on: September 12, 2016, 01:12:16 pm »
Looks like a nice, clean model :).  While I spend most of my time with other animation packages (chiefly for render speed) I still always start with Animator.  The interface is clean and uncluttered, utterly free of malarky and I still think it's the best modeller around.  This is a shot from a web series I'm working on, while it was rendered elsewhere all the modelling was done in Anim8or using the same set of tools you used to build your house (took a little longer than an hour though!).  Good luck with your Anim8ing and welcome to the forums.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: render resolution question
« on: July 30, 2016, 02:12:44 am »
To my way of thinking (with minimal print experience) there's two ways to define the resolution of an image:

1) Specifying the size of the image (in mm or inches) and specifying a DPI resolution; or
2) Specifying the number of pixels in the X and Y dimensions.

The DPI figure is of no value if referring to the image by it's X/Y pixels, it will be determined by the printed/displayed size of the image (ie. DPI = X/W where X is the width of the image in pixels and W is the width in inches).  Conversely, a printer requesting a certain DPI makes sense only if the printed size of the image is known, so if you need a 5 X 8 printed image and the printer needs 300DPI you'd need to render an image 1500 x 2400px.  Or am I missing something?

General Anim8or Forum / Re: render resolution question
« on: July 29, 2016, 09:49:51 am »
254 on BMPs is probably derived from the number of 10ths of a millimetre in an inch (25.4mm).  ie. 254dpi = 10dpmm.

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Re: Galacticats!
« on: May 26, 2016, 01:48:17 pm »
Love your work, Cori.  Excellent concept and quality-wise it looks TV-ready to me!  I'm more of a lurker than an active member these days, projects keeping me busy, but always great to see what folks are up to.  Good luck with Galacticats :)

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Closing Splines
« on: April 29, 2016, 08:05:00 am »
Reckon that's more a Gemini capsule there, Cap ;)  Aabh, you'll need to post some screenshots, I'm not entirely sure what you're attempting to do.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: This Should Be Easy?
« on: March 28, 2016, 09:35:21 am »
Like all things, Anim8or is easier when you know how.  There's a wealth of information online and this forum is a great place to ask for help, but I would recommend giving the manual a once-over and have it handy as a reference (manual available here:  It's short, to the point, and covers all the basics.  This particular function is explained in section 4 - Object Editor Point Editor: "Applying Multiple Materials" (

General Anim8or Forum / Re: A Problem with Flipping Normals
« on: February 06, 2016, 09:50:11 am »
If you can post a shaded wireframe rather than a render (ie. screenshot from object mode) it would be easier to diagnose.  Best guess is malformed mesh but need to see the model.

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