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Ian Ross has just released a book on Anim8or. It's perect for a beginner and a good reference for experienced users. It contains detailed chapters on every aspect, with many examples. Get your own copy here: "Anim8or Tutorial Book"

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Messages - ENSONIQ5

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General Anim8or Forum / Re: Youtube channels
« on: August 18, 2021, 03:58:39 am »
Yep:  Some more recent ones were rendered in Carrara but all were at least modelled in Anim8or.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Yet Another "Possibly" Stupid Question
« on: August 13, 2021, 02:54:52 am »
Regarding UV mappers I use LithUnwrap which has a free downloadable version, but there are others.  Google is your friend in that respect.  Having said that, Anim8or's built-in UV control tool is actually really useful, for example the glowing panels and switches on the console in the second image above were all added to the object and aligned with it before the object was exported for rendering (mainly for consistency I render most things outside Anim8or which is a shame really, since Anim8or renders always seem to look richer somehow).

Re your comment "Since we cannot actually reflect the background, how does specifying a texture in the "Env. Map" help me?", I should point out that ART materials are absolutely capable of reflecting the background using the ART renderer.  ART materials are complex but seriously powerful, the manual is very detailed on these and is definitely compulsory reading before tackling them!

Regarding what happens when placing different textures in different channels, I would recommend creating a single scene with a single object and light source and experiment away, rendering the same scene with materials in each channel and swapping them about for each render.  It really is the best way to get to grips with how the different material channels work.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Yet Another "Possibly" Stupid Question
« on: August 13, 2021, 02:39:58 am »
The "Emissive" channel is often called "Glow" in other systems.  In basic terms, this channel controls the illumination of an object independently of any light sources in the scene, so it can be used to make something appear to glow.  On the attached image 'IceTruckA038', examples of objects with emissive qualities can be seen such as the yellow route markers and the green lights on their bases, as well as the glowing lights on the vehicle (not the light cones from the headlights).

Textures loaded to this channel can be used to create glowing areas, such as the control panel buttons and screens on the attached image 'SednaGuardhouseScreens1'.

EDIT: Note that emissive objects and textures don't actually cast illumination on other things, they just appear to glow.  Pairing an emissive object with an actual light source gives the appearance that the glowing object is casting light on things.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Mannikin Build
« on: July 17, 2021, 10:53:51 pm »
If your maquette (I think that is the word) is essentially made out of a collection of parts, like a wooden figure with moveable joints or a toy robot, you can skip the skinning stage.  Skinning is useful for objects that are bendy, like a maquette made from plasticine or something similar.

To create a non-skinned, jointed figure I would generally have each body part in a separate object, and another object that contains the full assembled figure.  The skeleton can be constructed using the full figure as a guide which is then removed, and each body part is then added to its corresponding bone.  It's important to have the orientation and centre point of each object correct in object mode or the objects may not align with their bone as expected, but this can be corrected in object mode easily enough if required.

Once the object is posed in Sequence or Scene mode, it can be exported as a posed mesh using Sequence > Export... and choosing the 3DS option (the Anim8or option exports the sequence as a complete Anim8or file rather than a posed mesh).  I should point out that the 3DS export function may have problems exporting subdivision objects, though this might be something that has been resolved in later updates (I'm using V1.0).  If this is the case it may be necessary to convert any subdivision objects to meshes first.

I'm not sure if there is any way to directly export a posable figure from Anim8or, this isn't something I have had need to do but others may be able to assist.  I assume you would need to know the format your buddy requires (ie. the software he is using) at the very least.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: NOOOO
« on: July 10, 2021, 02:45:16 am »
I don't have a solution to recovering your video, but there is a way to prevent it happening again.  Rather than rendering direct to AVI for 'finished' renders (it's ok for quick tests and previews), render individual frames into a folder instead.  That way, if your machine restarts or your power drops out or whatever, you only lose the frame being rendered at the time and you can pick up from the last rendered frame.  Then use something like VirtualDub (free) to join your frames together and render to whatever video format/compression you like.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: What the...?
« on: June 30, 2021, 04:30:27 am »
Sure you didn't move anything or re-name any folders?  Anim8or files store texture locations as absolute paths, if you rename or move the folder they are stored in it will throw this error.  You can open the file and fix any materials with missing textures.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: How would YOU do it ???
« on: June 10, 2021, 06:05:10 am »
Nice methodology and I agree it subdivides much better than using the bevel tool directly on the cube's edges.  It's also possible to achieve step 9 a different way, selecting opposing faces and extruding slightly with the 'Extrude Faces Connected' tool.  Once the first opposing pair have been extruded use 'Drag select' to select the next pair so the new narrow faces are also selected.  The resulting topology is the same as step 9 but with fewer steps, a downside being that extrusion changes the overall size of the cube where your method does not.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: How Handy is anim8or
« on: June 05, 2021, 04:47:16 am »
Brilliant!  If a picture tells a thousand words a 3D picture tells 10,000.  With not much more than a cursory glance it's clear how your batteries are set up, would have been quite wordy and easy to misinterpret to cover this with text alone.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: My own walk cycle
« on: June 04, 2021, 07:52:14 am »
Definitely the best use of the ground grid I've EVER seen!  Genuine laugh-out-loud moment :D

General Anim8or Forum / Re: UV Mapping, Lithunwrap and Blender
« on: May 03, 2021, 03:50:16 am »
From a basic concepts point of view, the workflow in Lithunwrap (V1.3) is as follows:

1) Load a 3D model (File > Model > Open)
2) Choose an UV mapping method that best suits the model (some experimentation required here, I most commonly choose Box but it depends on the model and what it will be used for)
3) If appropriate for the chosen method, tweak the spacing and positioning of the UV map
4) Export the UV map (File > UV map > Save)
5) Export the mapped object (File > Model > Save)

There are a bunch of available settings relating to the size, colours and other parameters of the exported UV map, the size will again be driven by what the model will be used for.  At this point, open the exported UV map in your 2D editor of choice and use it to construct your object's texture.  How you do this will depend on the 2D editor you're using and the complexity of the final texture.

In Anim8or (or any 3D editor):

1) Create a material with the finished UV map in the Ambient and Diffuse channels
2) Import the 3D model you exported from Lithunwrap
3) Apply the material to the imported model created by Lithunwrap.  The original model you imported into Lithunwrap will not have updated UV coordinates so the UV map won't match up.

I hope this helps!

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Re: A few questions
« on: February 16, 2021, 12:47:32 am »
I agree with Steve, there's no 'ideal' episode length.  It should be driven by the story, like chapters in a book.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Decal questiion
« on: January 14, 2021, 08:02:17 pm »
Double-click the object with UV tool activated to access the Texture Coordinate Parameters dialog box which includes a 'Reset to default' option.

I'm not entirely sure what your ultimate goal is so I may be off the mark, in which case I apologise in advance.  Rather than rotating the figure to obtain your eight cardinal-point views it might be easier to 'orbit' the camera around a static figure.  In Scene mode this could be done by placing a target helper object at the rotational centre of the figure and making it the parent of the camera.  With the camera set at an appropriate distance from the figure, rotating the target helper object in 45-degree steps in an 8-frame animation would sweep the camera around the object through each of the cardinal points.  Render to a set of still images and you have your set of 8 images for the figure.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: 2 Possibly Dumb Questions
« on: December 11, 2020, 10:12:56 pm »
Achieving 'realism' in a CGI image is not easy, but it all boils down to attention to detail.  We all have pretty good built-in bulls&%t detectors and can tell when something doesn't look quite right, but in some cases it can be difficult to know exactly why.  There are a bunch of elements that all need to be considered when attempting to create a realistic-looking render:

1) The model: Using Rudy's excellent examples above, the 'Knobs' image in particular, notice the tiny gap between the knobs and the font panel, the rounding of the edges of the front panel as they meet the case, the gap in the case suggesting it's made of two halves.  In the MorseKey image, notice how the shiny metal armature is a bit convex on top, just as would happen when polishing a piece of metal like that.  Notice how its edges are not perfectly sharp, which is easy to achieve in the digital world but much harder (and more dangerous!) in reality.  This sort of attention to the reality of engineering is important and when it is overlooked the image can look too 'perfect', a sure sign that it's not real.

2) Materials: While Anim8or's materials are relatively simple compared to other 3D packages they are still complex with a massive range of possibilities.  Getting to grips with the ART parameters is critical, it has its own set of instructions and permits things like complex reflections, glossy surfaces, dielectrics, refractions etc.  What makes glass look like glass, considering it's effectively transparent?  Again, using Rudy's Vase6 render above, it's the complex interplay between transparency, dielectics, refraction and reflection that makes it look so real.  The best advice I can give is to learn what the material settings do, reconstruct the samples in the literature, and do a bunch of test renders to see what's going on.  There's really no trick to this, it just takes time.

3) Lighting: As has been said before, lighting is one of the most critical things to get right.  For example, consider a render of a comms satellite in Earth orbit.  Technically there will only be a single light source (the Sun) but it will also be illuminating the Earth below, which will be acting as a second, diffuse, bluish light source from 'below'. Parts of the satellite hidden from both the Sun and Earth will be totally black with nothing to illuminate them (other than starlight I guess).  However, a scene in a room lit by sunlight streaming through an open window will be very different, as the sunlight will be bouncing around the room banishing most shadows and casting different shades of light on the objects.  This 'secondary' illumination can be simulated in a rudimentary way with the ambient light setting and some more complex systems can simulate secondary (tertiary etc.) lighting, but well-considered positioning of fill lights in an Anim8or scene can go a long way towards improving the realism of a scene.  Having an understanding of how light behaves in different situations is critical in the accurate positioning of these fill lights.

4) Filth: As I said above, perfection is a sure sign that something's off.  Looking at Rudy's MorseKey image, imagine if there were fingerprints on the shiny metal part and the Bakelite knob or a bit of rust pitting; if this was the case I'm not sure I would have recognised it as anything other than a photograph of a real object.  Imperfection is everywhere, from the rough and damaged edges of a desktop to rain spots on a window pane or machining marks on a polished metal surface.  Simulating imperfection can go a long way towards achieving realism, mostly it will be done in the materials but thinking about it at the modelling stage is also worthwhile.

There are other things that can destroy the perception of reality, such as movement in an animation that doesn't respect physics, but I would say these are the main ones.  I don't believe there are 'tricks' to achieving realism, every realistic CGI image I have ever seen (here or elsewhere) has been created by someone with lots of experience and folders full of earlier renders, many of which they would be embarrassed to share now.  It's a learning curve, every render you do will be better than the one before it.  The best advice I can give is build, render, post in forums like this one and take on board what others say.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Textures & Materials: Make Or Break Question
« on: November 25, 2020, 12:47:10 am »
In the Edit mode toolbox, just above the Shapes section is the UV function.  Select your object, select UV, and use the different mouse buttons to scale, rotate & move the UV coords.  A yellow grid reticule overlay shows what's going on.  Double click to open a dialog to change the mapping geometry or reset the UV coords to the default.  The process is identical for individual selected faces via the UV tool in the Point edit toolbox.

For more complex UV mapping there are a bunch of external UV mappers capable of 'flattening' complex meshes to create UV maps, I personally use Lithunwrap.

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