View Full Version : Animation and midi

10 October 2006, 07:34 PM
I've looking at the options for controlling animation with a midi device and was wondering if there was a way to send midi signals out. What I want to do is have an action within XSI replay a note on my midi device.

The thing that got me interested is watching the clips and saw what appears to be dynamic simulations triggering notes when a collision occurs.

Does anyone know how this is done?

10 October 2006, 01:09 AM
I've looking at the options for controlling animation with a midi device and was wondering if there was a way to send midi signals out. What I want to do is have an action within XSI replay a note on my midi device.

The thing that got me interested is watching the clips and saw what appears to be dynamic simulations triggering notes when a collision occurs.

Does anyone know how this is done?

On the animusic stuff, the music is controlling the animation, not the other way around. They use custom software to help time the animation to the music. I'm pretty sure everything is path animation/keyframes, because getting dynamics to match up perfectly every time would be pretty difficult and for what they are doing would probably be overkill. If you watch the pipe dream movie everything that is shot out of the tubes travels the exact same path every time, so the only thing they have to change is how fast the timing between shots is.

10 October 2006, 03:02 AM
Know you've got me thinking. If the timing between played notes and midi triggered animation is a constant, then you could slip the audio track by the required number of frames in an editor and match them up. Or perhaps use the animation mixer to time the shots out to the music.

I'll have to watch them again and see if thats whats going on.


10 October 2006, 01:49 AM

Just saw this thread. MIDI out of XSI would be an extremely great thing for me personally, and would open up a lot of possibilities to control soft synth parameters in my music sequencer giving me a very visual and flexible way to control MIDI automation. (animation mixer, expressions, constraints,etc.). I could sync up the playback of XSI and cubase very easily and have MIDI streaming from XSI.
check out this plug in for Maya.

I also own a peavey PC 1600 and have tried unsuccessfully to get MIDI in to XSI, though I have succeeded with 3-D MAX. Its very cool to be able to control your characters in real time with MIDI sliders, and it basically allows you to control up to 16 parameters at once, allowing you to get to that perfect pose very quickly, or of course you could capture the movement in real time.

I can't wait to get this working when I get XSI 5 and I hope MIDI out might be available in the future. Hopefully there are more people like me who use music and animation software and want to link them up with MIDI.

10 October 2006, 03:33 AM
It just so happens i've been working on and off on a midi plugin for xsi for the past few months.i wanted to see the sliders on my bfc2000 wizz about ;)

controlling facial anim is the primary goal of the plug but, as the values are normalised before they are passed to xsi there really isn't any limitation as to what you could control.

btw, facial anim with real twisty knobs and slidy sliders is just as satisfying as filter mangling in Reaktor :)

It's seriously buggy at the moment but, if the need is there i can definately devote some propper time to get it up and running.

10 October 2006, 05:54 AM
is there any reason why your not utilizing the device drivers (PC 1600, or MIDI keyboard) that ship with XSI? I couldn't get them to work but I think it was a problem with my MIDI port.

Either way I think an improved MIDI into XSI interface where you can change controller numbers,etc.(like in 3D max) would be a very welcome addition. I found an good example of
Lipsync 2.0 being able to utilize MIDI for automated lipsync. This shows that MIDI could be a good way to transfer motion to different softwares in real time(if there was a MIDI out.)

, but with the current implementation this might be hard to set up in XSI.

10 October 2006, 06:59 AM
The main reasons for not using the included driver :
it's clunky and awkward to set up.
It's a nightmare to actually get working without decent docs/examples.
no midi out - but then again, niether has my plugin yet ;)
no feedback for rotaries/sliders.
no filtering midi messages.

the list could go on but it's starting to sound like a dig (and it's most definately not).
midi and other external control devices in xsi are such a cool idea but i'm guessing the actual need for support on them is minimal at best.

i think a rewire kind of connection just isn't going to happen between xsi (as it stands now) and any other time dependant process.. try running a simple sequence in cubase and tabbing over to a looped anim in xsi. even with proccessor affinity set so they are independant (i use sonar6/logic 5.5), if they dont' crash then they stutter along like aged wino's :)

of course, midi through lan, running on seperate machines would sort out most of that shennanigans for sure but you are still left with the simple problem that xsi isn't designed to be a realtime playback app and it's difficult enough to get a decent frame rate on a full scene as it is.

as for automated lipsync, it's definately do-able. just not by me. anything with the words 'fourier transform' make my toes curl and *cry like a little girl ;)

besides, once you get into the swing of throwing around your facial ticks with real sliders (as i presume you have, others probably not) i suspect the cleanup time for an automated system would outway the actual time spent slidering (new word, it's daybreak and i haven't slept yet) around. As your typical 'thinks he's an animator but has been buggering around on the technical side too long' i know which i'd prefer.


* me, not my toes.

10 October 2006, 07:29 AM
interesting to hear your thoughts on syncing a DAW and XSI(or any animation package that has MIDI out). I was definitely thinking that XSI and cubase would be on seperate machines and I would program the same button to trigger play in cubase and XSI(with the help of Bomes MIDI translator).

I was hoping XSI would be realtime enough(with only 16 nulls moving in the scene) to be in sync with cubase.

All pipedreams anyway. (but not with Maya and see n sound)

I hope you continue your work on an improved MIDI plug in.

I'll probably test an automation system sometime on very stylized characters(for episodic stuff), but your right real time control with MIDI sliders is great.
good luck

10 October 2006, 01:33 PM
I've been trying unsucessfully to get the midi keyboard device working. I set up my midi controller and got no response at all - proly because I didn't understand the docs. :shrug:

What I would like is a plugin that can accept .midi files that could be setup to drive different channels, each using a pick function. Not sure if thats possible, but it would be good to get some better documentation and some tutorials for the existing plugins.

10 October 2006, 01:43 PM
Looks like its back to Lightwave if I need the control I'm looking for...

11 November 2006, 02:37 AM
Great thread! I bought a Peavey controller but haven't tried to wire it up yet at home. We got it working at work when Softimage came to demo XSI for us, but it took some effort. And all we did was control the radius of a sphere, but it still was very cool.. THe potential...

But I've been busy learning XSI and never decided to wire it up yet.. Still getting around to character stuff...

But I have wondered if I could load in a midi file and play my 3d piano.. Guess not (yet) from this thread... Or has someone? Has anyone been able to control 88 xsi sliders via midi from an external sequencer/keyboard?

Or maybe there could be a convertor for a midi event list, like reading note on/offs.

11 November 2006, 03:09 AM
Have you all seen this page?

11 November 2006, 04:50 AM
that was pretty much my guide when I tried to get it to work with my PC 1600. But I still could not get it to work. I had trouble getting XSI to recgonize any MIDI signal. How does the driver know which MIDI port it is coming through? maybe the window MIDI playback port?

I haven't tried it with my M-box 2 MIDI port which works with 3-D max, so maybe it will work when I try it again. Its cool in max but ohh , I can imagine what I could do with that in XSI 5 with linking parameters and such.

11 November 2006, 12:23 PM
Yeah I looked at that too, but no joy.

But here is a way using that LW channel plugin to get useable data into XSI, if you need too.

1. In Lightwave, add the plugin I posted to a channel of your object in the graph editor.
2. Bake the motion to MDD
3. Import to XSI
4. Create a cluster from the object
5. Contrain Null or whatever to cluster
6. Plot transforms

Now you have the same midi motion on you XSI object that was on the LW one, so you could then set up the parameter linker to effect other objects.

I'm still a beginner with XSI, so all this might be elementary to you guys, but thought I would share my workaround anyway... :)

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