Comprehensive Character Animation Proposal

Animation tools, character animation, non linear animation

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Post by ton »

Hey Anubis,

I am not sure what you mean with "I disagree with the full code rewriting ideas around this"... I've checked your pdf, and what I see is;

- external controls for armature IK (already there since beginning)
- support for joint DOF constraints (almost done)
- curved bones (almost done)

The screenshots and text about DOF joints is useful though, thanks!

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Post by fearandloathing »

ton wrote: - curved bones (almost done)
Even though B-Bones are really cool, Spline IK is entirely different.
For an idea how Spline IK works, create a curve with 4 hooks, create a cylinder 4 segments high (each segment in height with each hook), use Curve Deform on the cylinder, move the empties and pretend that each segment of the tube is a bone.
The result is similar to Spline IK.
The bones travel [along] the spline as a path aswell in a Spline IK chain, something wich cannot be simulated using B-Bones.

B-Bones are really useful though, it's common for Maya riggers to make a high-res bone chain with Spline IK for the spine, and parent the control objects/hooks to a low-res bone chain wich is then animated using FK.
All this just to get better deformation while limiting it to a few control bones.

Blender's B-Bones eliminates alot of steps in that process, it's a really nice addition.
Although you have potentially more control over the former technique.

Blender could still use a real Spline IK solver in addition to B-Bones in the future.

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Post by Pablosbrain »

I would love to have the rag doll physics. he mentions. It could easily be applied to hair, simple clothes, tails, ropes, strings where the first bone is connected to the character and the rest of the chain is affected by simulation parameters and deflectors and the like. It would be a huge help for some of the things I'm trying to do! Huge!!! Would Love it! It would be very similar to Lightwaves Bone Dynamics.

The spline IK would also be a great tool for some of those similar items, rope, string, tails, hair.... :)

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Post by kakapo »

yes, full body IK would be nice. maybe bullet physics could be used for that once it's more mature.

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Post by etienneL »

Hello everybody,
What do you think about the bones rotation limits (Degree of Freedom = DOF)
we all desire in this built ? (widows & Mac) (Liux)

Christmas in Agust ? :D :D :D

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Post by tommy »


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Post by harkyman »

It is with great happiness that I can say that a great many of the things I was looking for in my proposal are now a part of Blender. There is still some work to be done, but that whole section of the code is now more accessible to other developers, and we can expect further improvements as time goes on.

Things that I am working on right now include Action Baking (already in current cvs, to a certain degree), MatchBone (done as a patch and awaiting review), and tightly-integrated procedural walking, which is still at the conceptual stage.

A lot has been accomplished in the last year, and I'm glad to have been able to have contributed an ity-bitty bit.

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Post by tommy »

Hey harkyman, do you know what the status of animation paths is? I heard somewhere that they were implemented in one of the latest commits but weren't editable in the 3D view yet. I'm really keen on that feature, it's what I've been hoping for since I first saw Project Messiah.

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Post by LetterRip »


I devised a theoretical method for it, but it hasn't been implemented. We have ghosts and paths, but the editing part is non trivial.


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Post by hermallorn »

It would be great to have a release of Blender, let say 2.43 :), special character animation. I am thinking of a special release because it would emphasize the amazing possibilities of blender in this particular field. Furthermore the makehuman team will soon deliver a new version of their software. They have taken some distance from blender because of the change in character animation method and it would be great to see these two projects converge again.

Things to do in my opinion:
- improved shape key so that the mesh can be more easily handled in deformed state, scaled etc... , based on vertex group and not the whole mesh because now the size of a mesh grow very large when you hah shape keys.
- standardized human skeleton
- skin shader with SSS
- hair system is great right now, but could be improved. the possibilty to join curve guids would be nice (1 sigle curve object rather than hundreds of curves)
- flesh physics (you know for breast, fat...)
- vertex to surface attachment for clothing to go with softbody because collision is to much power consuming with human mesh

With that and the things done by the MH team (parametric body, muscles system...)

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Post by kattkieru »

hermallorn wrote:- improved shape key so that the mesh can be more easily handled in deformed state, scaled etc... , based on vertex group and not the whole mesh because now the size of a mesh grow very large when you hah shape keys.
At some point in the future it would be really nice to have a feature similar to what Animation Master calls "Smart Skin," where the editing of driven shapes can be done once a character is already posed. That way you can, for example, bend the arm of a character to the limit of its rotation, move points for proper skin deformation, and then have the software automatically set up a shape key and a driver *only* for the moved points and the rotation. A:M is buggy as hell and slow as molasses on my Mac, but you can't say that the makers don't have some outright *genious* ideas.
hermallorn wrote:- standardized human skeleton
The problem with that is that what's considered "standardized" varies from animator to animator, and from character to character. For example, I'm taking a break right now from rigging a character with three toes on each foot and three fingers and a thumb on each hand. It's also a female character, so I'm adding bones with Stretch To constraints to the breasts to simulate their movement. I would say that those are non-standard choices.

However, a python script that's smart enough to generate a skeleton based on user input using a handful of variables would be nice. I'm actually working on one now because the series of shorts that is my next personal project is going to require a *lot* of character rigging, and even with cutting and pasting I don't relish the idea of doing it all by hand. But until someone steps up and releases it I don't see this making it into a BF release.
hermallorn wrote:- skin shader with SSS
"Skin shaders" are nothing more than properly painted texture maps. Usable SSS can be done with the MHSSS script from the MakeHuman project. It's not perfect, but it's pretty damned good. I'm even using it for snow.
hermallorn wrote:- hair system is great right now, but could be improved. the possibilty to join curve guids would be nice (1 sigle curve object rather than hundreds of curves)
Object groups are, I believe, in CVS, so that's covered. In 2.41 though you can just parent all the curves to an empty.
hermallorn wrote:- flesh physics (you know for breast, fat...)
Now this is a topic I'd like to really hear from the developers on, actually. The one constraint that Blender lacks which would be really useful is the Dynamic Constraint. (At least, that's what it's called in A:M; I don't know the Maya, etc., term for it.) Essentially it's a delayed IK chain, where instead of moving it yourself it gets referred movement from its parents. Using your breast example, if a character with large breasts jumps and each breast has the dynamic constraint set on it, the breasts will bounce based on some sort of preset rigidity in accordance with the motion of the chest. Depending on how you set it up, you could combine a Dynamic Constraint with a Stretch To constraint to get realistic flattening of breasts when a character lies down, or the "drooping" effect when a character bends forward. It's also useful for aerials, elf ear tips, hair braids, rope, chain, lots of things.

Currently the Curve guides for hair have a very similar bounce to what I'm talking about if you get the settings right.

Of course, collision detection becomes an issue. There would need to be some way to keep dynamic constraints from colliding with each other and with object geometry. Maya, I believe, solves this by allowing the user to create simple collision geometry (a flat plane, for example), which can then be hidden at render time. The result is what looks to be decent collisions, but what is actually a lot of cheating. Works great, IMO, when it's used well.

Anyway, that's my two cents. I hope that Dynamic Constraints make it into some future version.

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