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Vizfizz
09-05-2007, 12:50 AM
Hello Everyone....

Today Brad asked the advisory board for requests and ideas for planning out v8. Here is my first round of requests.

Version 8 - CA Tool Enhancements

Hello Brad,

Character Tools should be augmented in the following areas.

1. Vertex Level geometry manipulation and vertex caching.
- Vertex selection (push & pull points in construction windows).
- Clusters. (The grouping of vertex points or spline CVs into a cluster group which can be animated)
- Vertex caching to hard drive & exchange vertex data between applications.
- Falloff regions for deformations. (To ease the deformation region off into the geometry)
- Paint regions for deformations. (Used like weight mapping..where deformation maps are applied to geometry and only areas defined by the deformation map are affected)
- Vertex Snapshots rather than imported models for integration into an enhanced morph target editor. (Whenever a user modifies the vertex positions of a model, a vertex snapshot would record the positions of those vertices and routes that information into the improved morph editor. Here user defined slider controls can blend between vertex snapshots and shape blending can occur. The goal is to remove the need for importing multiple models to achieve the same effect in previous versions of EIAS).
- A complete modeler within Animator is NOT required if the ability to reshape existing imported geometry on the vertex level is provided.
- Wire deformers

Sales Advantage: Vertex level manipulation is the greatest challenge EITG must overcome in order to transform EIAS into a CA tool. The biggest advantage of these technologies will be the exchange of vertex data between EIAS users and other applications without the need for a sophisticated IK rig/skeleton or FBX joint export in addition to more realistic
deformations of geometry needed for detailed character work.

2. Simplified Channel Routing
- Rerouting of animation channel data without the need for expressions or Xpressionist. Think of an old style telephone switchboard routing data by just plugging in a new patch cord. We shouldn't need to write an expression to route the rotation of one object into the rotation of another. There should be something in place to do it easier for us.

Sales Advantage: Simplified data routing is crucial for rerouting animation data between objects, nulls, objects, lights, and joints or any other object without the need to write an expression in XP. Although its a simple one to one relationship (ie route the rotation of one object on X to the rotation of another object on Y) this channel bridging saves time and comes in handy when setting up multiple patches on a series of joints.

3. Custom Controls.
- Set Driven Key.
- User Definable animation channels for custom controls.
- Non Renderable spline controllers for custom character setups.

Sales Advantage: Set Driven key is a fairly simple technology that can result in tremendous advantages for the character animator. These driver/driven relationships can create sophisticated conditions that can result in time saving animated actions like opening and closing a hand by driving specific joints in the hand. Typically, set driven keys are tied into customizable user channel attributes with boolean, float or integer properties that can define a range of values. (ie. The default value of a controller could be a floating value of 0 with a range of 10. At a value of 10 the hand is fully open, while a value of 0 the hand is fully closed. Users should be permitted to establish and setup any additional attribute they want, whether its on an object, a null or a user defined custom controller. Custom control objects are somewhat like more sophisticated nulls and are used to control joint rotation, IK handle positions, cluster positions, and so forth.)

4. Rigging assistants, bone placement tools and auto-weighting tools.
- http://www.funnylittlemen.co.uk/Quicktimes/Riggit_01.swf
- Bone Mirroring.
- Bone Insert.
- Bone Alignment tools.
- Joint Orientation tools.
- OpenGL Image planes for bone placement.

Sales Advantage: One of the most time consuming things about character animation is the technical setup and relationships established with bones and their joint orientations. Bone placement tools and auto rigging devices designed to assist the artist in the placement of joints will be welcomed with great enthusiasm in the EI community. Joint orientation tools are necessary to ensure joint rotations are predictable and will transfer animation properly to other applications. Proper joint orientation on their local axis also ensures that joints rotate as they should in relation to their real world counter parts.

5. Enhanced IK support.
- Improved solvers.
- Spline IK.
- Quanternion rotation support.

Sales Advantage: Spline IK is mandatory for Spines, tails, an other consecutive joint relationships that define fluid movement. (Like a railroad train car) Spline IK's are typically animated by moving control CVs and clusters along the length of the spline. Spline IK also supports twist controls and sliding along the length of the spline. Quanternion rotations is a more advanced method of calculating rotations to help prevent gimble lock.

6. Enhanced user placement tools
- Local/World translation and rotation support.
- In window snapping tools to objects, points, joints, nulls, etc....,
- Link window update to support pivot data input via world coordinates.
- Reduce the dependency on Nulls in Animator.
- Rapid Copy paste functions to transfer coordinates from object to object or pivot to pivot.

Sales Advantage: Currently Animator is dependent on using multiple nulls to orient already rotated objects in world space. EIAS also lacks local translation modes. A greater spectrum of in window snapping tools other than the grid are necessary to accurately place IK handles, constraint systems, joints, nulls and other custom controllers in the scene in relationship to other objects. Snapping should support grid, point and along a curve. The linking editor is also out of date. World coordinates for accurate pivot placement should available for entry in the link editor, and users should be able to move the pivot center of an object within the construction windows and snap to the pivot center of another object. The link editor does not allow for more than one visible object at a time and its counter intuitive to go to another window to perform this basic function. Animator is known to slow down when lots of nulls and groups are being processed. This could help this situation.

7. FBX Export.

Sales Advantage: Exporting joint, camera, object positional data and light positions via FBX into other programs allows EIAS to better communicate scene and skeleton setups into applications like Autodesk Motion Builder.

8. Spline generation and EPS import support.
- Ties into Spline IK, custom controls, wire deformers & 3rd party plugins.

Sales Advantage: We need spline drawing support to create custom animation paths, spline controllers, deformable animation paths, better adobe Illustrator eps import support and all of these splines should be capable of being converted to polylines for integration with existing animation and modeling plugins. The current list of plugins that implement or support wire or polyline entities include: Trestle, Scrim, Swage, Revolver, Contortionist, Pathfinder, Flexpath, CableCraft, Mrs Bebel, Pathplotter, Dante, PPPro, and more. If internal spline and polyline drawing tools existed within EIAS, these plugins suddenly become exponentially more powerful, especially if they can be manipulated on the CV or vertex level with clusters, deformers, and so forth.

9. Enhanced constraint engine.
- Parent Constraints
- Fix AutoLook constraint with objects.

Sales Advantage: The current constraint engine possesses some bugs with the AutoLook function, plus EI constraints seem to produce inconsistent results. Various fields produce little to no effect. Autolook works great for cameras, but doesn't properly work with objects. The banking of objects are off by 90 degrees. Parent constraints also allow for the functionality of parenting without the need to alter the hierarchy as with real parenting.

10. Weight mapping enhancements.

Sales Advantage: Complaints exist about FBX weight mapping on import. Plus there should be more weight mapping painting options like mirroring, flooding, and so forth that can help the painting process. These painting tools could also be utilized by other sub systems like painting reactive shader areas, painting deformation regions, Mr. Nitro destruction zones, and so forth. It could also be used to in conjunction with Image2Mesh to generate terrains for landscaping.

11. Non-Linear animation support.

Sales Advantage: EIAS is still an old school linear event animation package. Entire tool sets are needed to free EIAS from the timeline and allow users to create clips of keyframes and reorder animation events with ease.

12. Graph Editor update.

Sales Advantage: The current graph editor should support weighted tangents and possess tools like snapshot buffers to examine curves for before and after modifications. The graph editor can be excessively fickle to work with and methods to bake out animation of objects being driven by Rodeo, Xpressionist or other simulators is necessary. Baking animation can reduce overhead and decrease render time.

13. Sub-D surface generation.

Sales Advantage: Animating low resolution poly cages with the option to uprez the geometry with Sub-D surface generation will provide character animators the ability to work quickly in low rez and then uprez to more geometry with ease. Even though Animator can handle millions of polys, its not fun to animate characters as such. LowRez proxies are necessary.

14. Referencing capabilities.

Sales Advantage: Referencing master scenes or models into Animator allows the animator to swap out and replace objects with identical hierarchies with ease. This also allows the user the ability to work with lower rez and simplified setups before swapping out to their higher rez versions. This would help out with previsualization and large scenes. A reference manager could track and replace items at will depending on various settings defined by the user at render time.

15. Plugin API enhancements.

Sales Advantage: Best defined by Blair and the Igors, but this could be extensive changes to better support simulation plugins, better interfaces, overlay buffers and so forth.

Vizfizz
09-05-2007, 01:17 AM
Remember...these are requests and ideas, not announced features. :) Don't want to over excite folks. lol

FelixCat
09-05-2007, 02:46 AM
Hi, Blair
Your first round of requests makes me very happy. I think this implementation with some advertising (some great animations done in this V8 and posted in lots of forums for instance) could be a big sales pitch! hope it will come to reality.
Thanks again

FelixCat

Vizfizz
09-05-2007, 06:07 AM
Well I wish it was Blair making these suggestions....lol. But hopefully he'll agree. This is a huge list and if EITG decides to hop on the CA bandwagon, I can only assume that only a portion of this list would be achieved. However, any steps towards CA (I believe) will be beneficial for the application.

plsyvjeucxfw
09-05-2007, 03:53 PM
Just ordered my upgrade to 6.6 from Phil this morning, and voiced some of my thoughts to him. We need Character Animation, Texturing, and Modeling tools. He said he would pass it along to Brad. So I'm hopeful about upcoming features.

In addition to what Brian has requested, we could use enhancements to texture our characters. That means leveraging any vertex moving tools to become U.V. Mapping tools.

If EI's weight map painting toolset were enhanced we could paint rough templates over our U.V. sets and export to a paint package for further texturing.

Camera could be adapted to allow texture baking, so that procedurals and even lighting could be rendered out to the 2D U.V. Map set.

Some enhanced Deformations like Lattice and Shrink Wrap would also be nice.

To EITG - even achieving a portion of these requests would be a step in the right direction. Also, reworking the underlying code base to allow for future expansion towards these goals would be Terrific!

Vizfizz
09-05-2007, 04:10 PM
In addition to what Brian has requested, we could use enhancements to texture our characters. That means leveraging any vertex moving tools to become U.V. Mapping tools.

If EI's weight map painting toolset were enhanced we could paint rough templates over our U.V. sets and export to a paint package for further texturing.



The first step is to definitely support vertex manipulation and tracking. Once some sort of method for that exists, UV creation and editing with Animator is the next potential stage. The entire reason why Animator doesn't have strong internal UV editing support is because of the lack of an internal modeler. (IMO). However for those of you wishing for full fledged modeling support in Animator....well I'm afraid the likelihood of that happening is extremely low. Whatever EITG's plans for a modeler are, they're not fully known to anyone but Brad. So on that subject we continue to wait.

manuel
09-05-2007, 10:19 PM
Well, all I can say is that CA is a bit like running a marathon. The smallest stone in your shoe becomes a massive pain.

EIAS has a few of these "little stones" that magnify very quickly as you get down and dirty with the tools. I wrote a post (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showpost.php?p=3829317&postcount=35) about it.

cjberg
09-06-2007, 04:30 AM
Ok, Im game...
1. Vertex Level geometry manipulation and vertex caching. - a must
2. Simplified Channel Routing - EIAS is already one of the most simple... not needed, imho
3. Custom Controls. - "neat" and all... but such a low level need (XP can handle this better)
4. Rigging assistants, bone placement tools and auto-weighting tools. - bone mirroring is a must, auto weightmapping would speed things, I like saving time
5. Enhanced IK support. - a must is enhancing CA tools (more accurate, spline IK, etc)
6. Enhanced user placement tools - local/global rotation would be nice, but lower priority
7. FBX Export. - I think this important...but 3rd party solution would be fine also
8. Spline generation and EPS import support. - no clue?
9. Enhanced constraint engine. - low low priority for me... unless you can fix it so that plugs can access constraint data
10. Weight mapping enhancements. - a must to be considered for CA.. wmps kinda suck now
11. Non-Linear animation support. - I have wanted this for a long time... even if it were coupled with the vertex caching...
12. Graph Editor update. - sure sure, low priority
13. Sub-D surface generation. - kinda should be there already kind of thing
14. Referencing capabilities. - would be nice... but other CA tools are more important to me
15. Plugin API enhancements.- low priority, if everything else is done

Vizfizz
09-06-2007, 05:58 AM
CJ

#2: Channel Routing. I don't know if we're thinking of the same thing...maybe we are. Right now the only method that I'm aware of to route the data from a specific animation channel into another object's animation channel is through XP and an expression. XP is good, really good, but it still requires the steps of writing an expression and the re-routing is executed through the Plugin API. The idea that I'm thinking of would allow you to bring up a patch pannel, so to speak, and allow you to graphically connect one channel into another channel and so forth. Simple drag and drop. Alot of the tools I'm thinking of could be done in XP, but the average user just isn't proficient enough with that plugin to do it. Other than XP right now.. is there any other way? Am I forgetting something?

#3. Custom Controls: XP? Ummm....possibly, but not really. There is no easy set driven key functionality within XP and there is no simplified way for users to add additional custom animation channels to nulls, controllers or other objects. Right now, animation channels in Animator are fixed unless initially generated by a plugins. Plugins can write new data channels to a generated entity if desired (Paralumino's plugins can do this) but if I wanted to add or modify an additional channel to an existing object...say a cube and then assign a floating value range to that channel and then tie that attribute into a set driven key..that is driving multiple driven objects.... you can't do it in XP without huge amounts of skill and time. Nothing exists to automate this process and in character animation setting up custom channels and set driven keys are extremely important. Finally I listed non-renderable spline objects so users can draw custom icons within the interface and they can be used to act like custom nulls. Typically these are used by CA artists to define custom actions and currently people are drawing "wires" in modeller and importing them into Animator to act as a controller. Controllers help move IK handles and so forth. XP can't do anything like that either.

6. Placement tools. Critical in my opinion. EIAS' user interface is pretty limiting if you really think about it. EIAS animators are so dependent on huge number of nulls to do everything they want. People will turn to a null before repositioning the pivot of an object. Ultimately when setting up character skeletons or placing objects in the scene there's no effective way to snap objects, joints, or pivots into place. Pivot point placement is clumsy and the link editor can't snap. There not even a way to numerically reposition a pivot point in direct world coordinates. You have to eyeball it. Instead, people basically parent an object to a null and move the null into position within the construction window. Well fine.. but when you start accumulating tons of extra nulls, animator starts to choke.

7. FBX export: Well, if you work with Motion Builder, its always best to generate the original skeleton in the host package based of MB's hierarchy and naming convention. Then you can FBX export that skeleton into MB, auto characterize, animate, and export back into EIAS and there is no fuss....not to mention it would be nice to get EIAS data out to other packages effectively. There can never be enough bridges.

8. Spline Generation and EPS support: Oh boy.. this is a biggie in my opinion. As we all know there are no modeling or spline generating tools within Animator. Its really unlikely we'll ever get a full fledged internal modeler into Animator either. So, what do we have? We have a lots of good plugins that can take advantage of various polylines and wires in order to generate geometry...not to mention use wires/polylines to drive animation. Trestle made big strides in this area, but its not spline based and you're not constructing 2D entities in the primary construction windows. Instead you're stuck drawing in 2D space. 2D drawing tools in animator would free people from having to rely on so many outside steps. I've discovered alot of this by using Trestle and Path2Line. Plugins become so much more capable and when combined with deformations on these 2D entities you can accomplish great things. Also, imagine bringing in illustrator spline entities and being able to extrude them with swage, loft them with scrim, revolve them with revolver, bevel them with Mrs. Bebel...the list is huge. Finally, if we want to have custom wire controllers for our character setups, we need a method to draw these entities within Animator without importing models to do that job.

9. Constraints: Constraints, I believe, are under utilized in EIAS. Parent constraints are really handy. Gives you all the benefits of real parenting, without changing the hierarchy. Extremely necessary if you're using a referencing system.

12. Graph Editor: I really want weighted tangents to better shape animation curves.

14. Referencing: I suppose it could wait.. but referencing is a huge thing when working in a large scale environment and multiple artists. The swapping out of master scenes or characters without needing to copy over animation data is such a blessing.

cjberg
09-06-2007, 02:29 PM
Quick response... I liken XP to Directors Lingo, or Maya's Mel...
There are things you can do in the interface, but I find it easier to write a script... it is more flexible and faster. An interface for things is neat and all, but very limiting.

(custom channels) all you need to do with XP is create a null, and you have a whole set of channels... I use this for arrays of data to... allowing custom channels is neat, but the nulls as containers works very well...

Cj

arketype
09-06-2007, 03:18 PM
Brian,
I cannot agree more with your list!
These enhancements will benefit more than just CA folks. Vertex manipulation, and all of the snapping functions you mentioned should prove a huge help to the architects and designers out there too. I am dealing with the shortcomings of the pivot point/ link editor at this very moment in a mechanical animation. It's very clumsy. Snaps would make life easy.

How about some REAL rulers while we're at it? The current implementation is completely useless. I've never seen a screen ruler that changed it's numbers to 3.4, 11.2, 13.6 etc.
Arbitrary measuring tools would be nice too (standard dimensioning tools). This would obviously be based on the snapping and vertex manipulation abilities.


CJ,
It would be great if you could share some of your scripting techniques with us (tutorials)!

gdogfunk
09-06-2007, 03:37 PM
I like this thread! I haven't used Set Driven keys, so I'm not familiar with full usage of them...but after doing some lipsync animations in Maya, I can say I vote for something not on your list yet:

Audio Scrubbing

Animation is SO much easier (especially lipsync) when you can drag through the animation and HEAR the audio track. Yes, you can view the waveform right now, but I'm trying to do the same kind of lipsyncs in EI and it's WAY harder to deal with...render out a preview, then tweak, render out a preview, then tweak some more. If I could scrub the audio while I'm animating I can sound out vowel and consonant sounds much more easily than just reading a waveform or doing a ton of preview renders. (by the way, when you do a preview to QT, you cannot leave the application and check email, there will be a hiccup when you play the preview back and you need to redo the entire preview. So you have to sit there and wait. This is not the case with a Maya playblast, etc...)

I really, really, really think this NEEDS to be implemented - Audio Scrubbing. I would place it near the top of the list with the other feature suggestions.

I don't know how feasible it is, but I agree with Manuel that the rotation icon is a bit tough to grab at times...and even holding down the axis key to constrain rotation doesn't always work either...starts to rotate on all axes at once. I recently saw C4Ds rotation widget and that works pretty cool with the overlay for the axis as you mouse over it.

Manuel: I read your post about the cluttered paths in your scene....I'm sure you know, but you can turn off the viewing of the path for the view windows. Also, if you convert those paths to EXPLICIT instead of IMPLICIT, you will have greater control of the curves in the f-curve editor and it will reduce clutter in the viewing panes.

F-Curve Editor: I really like the current implementation. You can zoom in all directions to really hone in on all the curves you need...not so in other apps I've played with.

Cj: Can you explain your Null-Array usage? What might be an example of needing to use a null like that? I think I heard something like that once on the platter, but I've forgotten.

Thanks!
Ryan

DickM
09-06-2007, 03:38 PM
Yes it would, Cj's awesome with XP! He's helped me out more than once :bowdown:

CJ,
It would be great if you could share some of your scripting techniques with us (tutorials)!

FelixCat
09-06-2007, 04:07 PM
In the lipsync part, EiAS is very hard, solutions like TAFA (that will never be in MAC, conffesed by itīs developer, who tryed unsucsessfully, and, finally give up) and SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT are amazing in therms of eficiency and productivity. You can do 20x animation in TAFA versus EiAS morph targets. I pushed all than i can Mac Reiter to port TAFA to MAC and find a way to communicate it with EiAS. But was too much for him. BTW, TAFA is a just one man app and is really powerfull.
Hope all of your efford can have success, Brian.

FelixCat

Vizfizz
09-06-2007, 04:21 PM
Quick response... I liken XP to Directors Lingo, or Maya's Mel...
There are things you can do in the interface, but I find it easier to write a script... it is more flexible and faster. An interface for things is neat and all, but very limiting.
Cj

Scripting in XP, as always, is a more flexible approach...but for the "lay" person, I liken it to creating/programming Toy Story with punchcards. Most people are intimidated by it. Scripting is the right choice for character animators, but we're trying to draw a new type of artist to EIAS. The sophisticated CA artists and TDs aren't gonna budge from Maya or XSI because those applications for CA are light years ahead of EIAS. So...in my estimation, we need tools in the interface that are robust but are easy enough to use by the less "script" oriented users. Hopefully, as the new tools are being used, new examples of CA will emerge in the EITG gallery and a representative work of CA animations will fuel more interest in that kind technology and EIAS in general. Just so anyone asks or wants to know, I am not anti XP.

I really want the CA effort in EIAS to become a fairly quick and painless process. I'd like to see sophisticated rigs generated within 30 minutes, all with interface tools.

Vizfizz
09-06-2007, 04:30 PM
Some enhanced Deformations like Lattice and Shrink Wrap would also be nice.

To EITG - even achieving a portion of these requests would be a step in the right direction. Also, reworking the underlying code base to allow for future expansion towards these goals would be Terrific!


OOOhhhh yes...lattice deformers. Completely forgot about that one. Definitely needs to be in there.

DickM
09-06-2007, 04:59 PM
I second audio scrubbing. :applause: It's an absolute necessity in CA. Lip Sync in EI is beyond tedious!!:banghead:

plsyvjeucxfw
09-06-2007, 05:18 PM
I'd like to suggest that the folks from EITG search this forumn for "Wishlist". I needed a refresher and quickly looked up the threads from the last time we mulled over this topic.

All suggestions from back then are still valid.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=186&t=314580&highlight=wishlist

Also I'd like to point out that many of the most requested features from back then including Multi-pass render output, true HDRI, and Dynamics will be coming in version 7. This is amazing and worth commenting on.

At the time the list seemed daunting, (with Blair and several others giving a collective gasp at what we users actually wanted) but now they've arrived.

Here's my CA wishlist from that 2006 thread:

I know very little of character animation. In the process of learning, my reference is the DVD "Learning 3D Character Animation with Jeff Lew".

http://www.jefflew.com/

This disk is great basic training, and an outstanding guide for anybody who wants to know what tools EIAS could offer. Note: I'm on version 5.0, so if any of these are available in the current version, please sing out.

1) Shuttle Controls. Something that's always on top, and allows you to enter a frame number and go there instantly. It should also provide for frame advance - next frame, previous frame, next keyframe, previous keyframe, and by user set amount, to allow keying on 4's or whatever. Should also allow for playing back, looping, fast forward, rewind, all the standard stuff. This same panel could also include keyframe controls, as in choose a selection set (via a drop down) and key all - or key selected item, or key selected item plus all children in a hierarchy. Just a small panel that would always stay on top; similar to the current Tools panel.

2) When creating bones; the bones are visible. Currently in EIAS bones appear with each click. On the Jeff Lew DVD the bones exist and follow the cursor, and are set when clicked. The difference in user placement is subtle, but worth changing.

3) Rotate (orbit) out of orthagonal views. This is a biggie, as you can quickly go to your various views (left, right, rear, etc.), pose your character, then check it from a little to the side, top, whatever. We need a non-camera perspective view.

4) A slider object - from the object menu - add Slider. Which can then be configured to work with bones, groups, attributes.

5) Contextual menus for keyframes in the graph editor. An easy way to lock your character's feet to the floor is to marque select them, right click, and select 'Zero Slope' as the interpolation method. Zero slope does what it says, the curve flattens to zero going into and out of the key frame. Doing the same thing in EIAS currently requires bringing up each key, and setting the in and out vector seperately (or pulling on the handles, I know).

6) Playback while adjusting f-curves. I was amazed to watch Jeff Lew adjusting his curves while the animation looped, in real time, with video capture engaged. Playback should also be locked to the project frame rate. It's difficult to get a sense of timing when playback occurs at some odd, frame rate increased speed.

7) Copy and Paste Flipped - for key frames. Set your Character with his right foot forward, advance to the next key and paste flipped - now the left foot is forward. Makes walk cycles easier.

AVTPro
09-09-2007, 10:49 AM
Your requests under vertex animation is spot on. It's definitely a suite of tools that is needed. I hope the development team looks at it in terms of production processes and not disjointed tricks.


tagging vertice or cluster of verts with SDK.
*Morph Sculpting* or snapshots ( awesome but delusional :) needed for any kind of cloth, vertice sim or collision editing.
Multi morph Targets (just being to exchange facial animation)

I'd Like:
-Wrap Deformer_ Low poly cage as deformer for a high.
Influence Objects. (skin volume)
*Baking* (so skeletons can be eliminated)
Interoperability: Exchanging baked data.

------------ Excellent breakdown of animation assistant suite of tools. Brian----
2. Simplified Channel Routing
Again Workflow. Tried and true industry stuff. e.i. Connection Editor. But again the "CA" industry is far ahead of EI so...it's not like they are going to look at EI if they have to script every little thing as opposed to two clicks and they are done in their current app.

3. Custom Controls.SDK. User-defined channels in the Info Box. Being able to add and delete channels like "Scale" or Positon. Deactivating and hiding channels. Floats for the User Define Channel box as a controller while animatiing with fast easy to create
switchers, variables (min/max) as standard interface inputs then quickly routed to other channels. Expression can be written on top of standard input switchers. Without this, I have already expressed rigging FK/IK is..."blank"

SDK has to tie into Channel Routing set to Custom Controls. (develop workflow)
SDK should feed into the FCE for editing. The idea of setting full animation behavior to one control via one controller or editing mulitple keyframes to one controller (bones or verts).

XP is great, but even with my modest scripting needs naming discrepancies and redraw were two issues that immediatly popped up with simple rerouting of channels. (David fix it for me. it was an X.P. 6.5 bug but not in 7. I think Steph or Nige discovered it first.)

In my rig DVD, I use UberShaper for custom splines, also I have a standard set of controllers but it's more work than drawing a simple spline in the interface.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USbbIlPaq1M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXoG8itAgho
Fact of the matter is these tools work in conjuntion to solve character animation and rigging requirements no work arounds in EI currently supports.

-----Rigging...I can't go there now but I agree with Brian's list. LRA. SpIK and the like.


4. Although riggin is my one of my speciality studies, I agree. EI should hae a scaleable auto-rig. Else the indepth technical aspects could be too much of an investment for those who want to "just" animate or don't need custom control.

9. I also discuss using constraints instead of parenting. (#9 second post by Brian.)

14. I could really use referencing now. I have a 750mb model and a 550mb than needs to render in the same scene. Moreso, I would settle for speed improvements when something is made "Invisible". If I make 300mb of data invisible it should so some improvement in the interface redraw speeds.

David, I go over Granger units in my DVD.


Any I think all the list of features are great, but there are some real small fixes that EI would greatly benefit from...like Batch Import. That would fall under geometry import right?

----Full Zbrush Renders Support.

So anyway, ...this not my list of feature requests. I'm just agreeing with Brian's list. Mines would be almost identical but less hopeful :(

AVTPro
09-09-2007, 01:36 PM
Have to mention this, since I'm about to start demonstrating Weight Map Painting for the Rig tutorial DVD.

Weights Map in EI should be more like the Wmp system that supports with FBX.

Request:

Whenever a skeleton is skinned to a geometry, Wmps should automatically be generated, named and color-coded like an FBX import.

AVTPro
09-09-2007, 01:46 PM
Originally Posted by plsyvjeucxfw
Some enhanced Deformations like Lattice and Shrink Wrap would also be nice.


By Shrink Wrap do you mean Wrap Deformer (Geometry Deformer) or xyShrinkWrap.mel?

I would forego all my requests for a year for quality Zbrush support and better Wmp support.


The rest I can live with.

AVTPro
09-16-2007, 02:32 AM
FBX needs automatic texture placement. The large files from other apps can be directly imported into EI with redo all the elements.

plsyvjeucxfw
09-16-2007, 03:13 AM
Hey Alonzo,


I'm not familiar with xyShrinkwrap, I was thinking more of a way to make a geometry group hug another geometry group. As when you need to have a tear or water flow down your character's face. Or when someone throws a tomatoe that splats.

Or the Gooey stuff that crawled up Peter Parker.

I'm sure it has other uses as well, like molten lava creeping across a landscape.

3DArtZ
09-16-2007, 01:51 PM
Not trying to be a wise-guy here but...
the guys from EI should just pick up a copy of Hash's Animation:Master.
If A:M was a poly based application, it would probably take over the world....
just my suggestion:)

Mike Fitz
www.3dartz.com (http://www.3dartz.com)

plsyvjeucxfw
09-16-2007, 07:42 PM
EI should just pick up a copy of Hash's Animation:Master

LOL. I've had that day dream myself Mike. Only the way I see it, EITG gains market share, then buys out Hash to acquire their CA toolset and Patch Modeling stuff.

Talk about a serious pipe dream!

manuel
09-16-2007, 08:51 PM
Naah, EITG should should aim to buy Autodesk.

DickM
09-17-2007, 06:00 PM
Not trying to be a wise-guy here but...
the guys from EI should just pick up a copy of Hash's Animation:Master.
If A:M was a poly based application, it would probably take over the world....
just my suggestion:)

Mike Fitz
www.3dartz.com (http://www.3dartz.com)

HAHAHA. I agree Mike! That's what was keeping me away from making A:M my primary package. It's not poly :(

I'm still using EI for paying jobs as well as a few other apps. A:M has now taken over as my primary character app for personal projects. It has every tool I need!!! Although I wish they'd make A:M paint for mac!

EI needs serious wmp work Alonzo. It would be nice as you suggest to have some auto wmp painting from binding the skin. Nice suggestion. Exportable wmps would be nice too for apps like motion builder.

richardjoly
12-05-2007, 03:12 PM
Not strictly a CA thing, but being able to change the name of a group directly without having to make the trip back and forth from top to bottom would greatly enhance my experience... I'm new to CA. I tried Frederic Merlos tutorials, it is very good for a jump start. Now i begin to understand the limitations and the frustration... However, seeing your character "alive" is priceless.
http://www.rdn.qc.ca/EIAS/CA.jpg (http://www.rdn.qc.ca/EIAS/IK-5-Skinned-anim.mov)
http://www.rdn.qc.ca/eias/CA.jpg (http://www.rdn.qc.ca/eias/IK-5-Skinned-anim.mov)

plsyvjeucxfw
12-05-2007, 03:26 PM
Nice one Richard, looks like a friendly chap.

cjberg
12-05-2007, 04:59 PM
lattice deforms are an absolute must... or I could just finish my plug...

OOOhhhh yes...lattice deformers. Completely forgot about that one. Definitely needs to be in there.

arketype
12-05-2007, 05:19 PM
lattice deforms are an absolute must... or I could just finish my plug...

You are working on a deformation plug?
Any more info on that? ;)

Dave

cjberg
12-05-2007, 05:45 PM
I have a prototype plug-in which I wrote in the summer of 2006. I took a job and have been swamped ever since. I am hopeful, I can finish up the tools I have started beginning in the new year, but I have had good intentions to do so for over a year now :)

On that note, EI's internal deformers and much stronger than a plug-in and I would much rather see the feature as integrated into the EI deformers than a separate plug.

Cj

You are working on a deformation plug?
Any more info on that? ;)

Dave

AVTPro
12-05-2007, 07:58 PM
Not strictly a CA thing, but being able to change the name of a group directly without having to make the trip back and forth from top to bottom would greatly enhance my experience... I'm new to CA. I tried Frederic Merlos tutorials, it is very good for a jump start. Now i begin to understand the limitations and the frustration... However, seeing your character "alive" is priceless.
http://www.rdn.qc.ca/EIAS/CA.jpg (http://www.rdn.qc.ca/EIAS/IK-5-Skinned-anim.mov)
http://www.rdn.qc.ca/eias/CA.jpg (http://www.rdn.qc.ca/eias/IK-5-Skinned-anim.mov)

Cool. Did you get that DVD? forgot. Looks like a deformer rig character. nice

Yes, being able to change the names of object in list instead of one slot at the top of the window. ..going back and forth.

Point is, half the CA feature EITG should add, aren't CA features. They are mainly interface finessing. But, mirroring joint would be good.

richardjoly
12-05-2007, 08:25 PM
Thanks Alonzo. "Deformer rig"? I used the rig from Frederic Merlos Tutorial. Is that a deformer rig? Anyway, I was looking at buying your "Rig DVD" but I always want to try things first so I can partly understand what I am doing. I learned a lot with this setup but it is far from perfect. I will probably buy your DVD during Holydays when I will have a little more time to be a student again...

AVTPro
12-05-2007, 09:41 PM
Nice to have a new EI CA Trooper, DVD or not. :)

Tartiflette
12-05-2007, 11:07 PM
Hey Alonzo, just watched the free video you've put in your signature and i must say i'm really impressed ! :thumbsup:

I like the tone you use and the informations you give are very interesting.
If i ever jump in the EIAS v7 wagon, which i think i'll do, you're up for shipping one of your ReadyRigs DVD here in France. :)

While i evaluate the product (v6.6 for now...), i have set up quickly a scene i had done in another 3D soft and did a -small- render.

Here it is :
http://www.the3dcie.com/eias/calimeros.jpg

Sorry of the OT, back on track... :blush:


Cheers,
Laurent aka Tartiflette :)

FelixCat
12-06-2007, 12:15 AM
Keeping the OT
Very nice render, Laurent. Nice models too, are youplaning to animate those chiken?

FelixCat

AVTPro
12-06-2007, 03:34 AM
Hey Alonzo, just watched the free video you've put in your signature and i must say i'm really impressed ! :thumbsup:

I like the tone you use and the informations you give are very interesting.
If i ever jump in the EIAS v7 wagon, which i think i'll do, you're up for shipping one of your ReadyRigs DVD here in France. :)

While i evaluate the product (v6.6 for now...), i have set up quickly a scene i had done in another 3D soft and did a -small- render.

Here it is :
http://www.the3dcie.com/eias/calimeros.jpg

Sorry of the OT, back on track... :blush:


Cheers,
Laurent aka Tartiflette :)



Nice stuff. They look like they are animated already. Very Alive.

Yes, I send the DVD's all over the world. It's no problem. It's just $85 and I pay shipping.
:)

Thanks so much for the kudos on the Free ReadyRig Tutorial in my signature. I watched it today too. Still draws me in. I thought. Hey....that's good.

So people as how can you match geometry with mocap. This is a way to do it. You can deform geometry in EI. Also, I somestimes deform geometry just to rig it or UV map it.

Tartiflette
12-06-2007, 10:04 AM
Thanks guys. :)

They look animated but they have been modeled like that because it was only for a still image and the soft it has been rendered on at first doesn't have any rigging possibility.

Anyway, i think it would be more than feasable to animate them in EIAS v7 or even better v8 ! :bounce:

But, to stay on-topic regarding the title of the thread, does EIAS have any kind of blendshape (Maya style) or Endomorphs (LW style) integrated ?
If not, how do you cope with facial expressions ?
That kind of possibility is essential in a CA workflow, IMHO.


Cheers,
Laurent aka Tartiflette :)

AVTPro
12-07-2007, 02:02 PM
Yes of course. Morph Target window.

Tartiflette
12-07-2007, 03:16 PM
Thanks Alonzo. :)

I have opened another thread relating the problem i'm facing right now with the Morph Editor because i don't want to pollute this one with questions Off Topic.


Cheers,
Laurent aka Tartiflette :)

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