wire params and morphs in max

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  02 February 2005
wire params and morphs in max

I was wondering if anybody could help me with this little problem I've got: I want to wire a facial morph target to the translation of a secondary object (spline-smiley face).
-how do I have to write the expression in the wire parameter dialog so that the translation can be relative to the spline's position (because otherwise I have to keep my "smiley" around the 0,0,0 coordinates...)
-how do I wire the positive translation of the smiley to one morph target and the negative to another?

I hope anybody can help....thanks
foane
 
  02 February 2005
Ok, so you want to control the morph with a shape. Ok so create the smile shape (ill presume you want to control the Z axis-up), place it where you want then align it to world(its pivot), then freeze its transforms.

Then you could wire the morph target to the Z axis of the shape, with a simple : Z/10 something like that.

Or you could write and expression. First you would have to make the morph target in the manager bezier, so it could be handled. The you could write a simple scalar expression on that target:

scalar A = $line01(smile) frozen position transform Z

then the expression would be

A/10 (10 is a random number you dividing it by, to get the write results. You could even to powers to eg. a/10^a*2-a. but thats more complex stuff.)

Now because the shape is frozen, you can write even more complex expressions e.g.

If you had 2 shapes eg. open, closes and you had a gui like jasons.

You could drive the close morph, to the Z of the shape eg:

a = shape Z axis

but also drive it in a way for it only to work above 0, then you could drive the open morph to the -z of shape and also only past 0 eg.

if (a<0,0,a/10) - mouth closed

if (a>0,0,a/5) - mouth open

eek
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  02 February 2005
I think part of his problem was that he didn't know how to freeze transformations. unlike in Maya there is no build in way to do it. transformations are calculated in parent space, so the translation value of the controller can be zeroed out by linking it to an aligned helper.

another way is to layer transformations. in the motion panel change your position controller to "position list". now you can add another "position XYZ" in the available slot. the first XYZ holds your offset to the center of the world, and you can wire your morph to the second.

eek handled everything else
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  02 February 2005
Yep thats a nice way to go with it to, they only prob i have with that is that your working from an offset position i.e away from world 0, so you have to work out the offset position in the expression.

Btw to freeze transform: select the object ALT+RIGHT-CLICK then goto freeze transforms.

eek
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  02 February 2005
jeez, thanks for all the help eek and clalan...

I have to say that sometimes I don't quite 'get' the things you guys explained (because I'm not a character rigger, just an animator/concept artist). I'm not at home right now but Ill certainly check some of your pointers out. thanks!
so what I understand out of all this is that there's probably no easy way to fix my little problem (i.e. fix this, constrain that...).
I'll have a look at that motion panel
maybe somebody has a tutorial or something that I can follow...?

don't get me wrong, I'm not scared of a little brain action on rigging but I'm just saying I don't have the background knowledge (yet).
Anyway, I really appreciate the help you guys gave me!

greets, foane
 
  02 February 2005
quick little questions:

what is a manager bezier? and how do you make morph targets in it? (sorry eek, never did something like that before so I could use some clarification).
how can I simply set the Z+ translation of the spline to control morph target A and Z- to control morph target B? (in the wire parameters dialog).

hope you guys can help me just a bit more with this
cheers, Foane
 
  02 February 2005
OK, manager bezier

basically your allowing a morph target to be controlled by something else. By having a bezier controller in its stack. But i havent used morphs in a while so you many not have to do this.

Quote: how can I simply set the Z+ translation of the spline to control morph target A and Z- to control morph target B? (in the wire parameters dialog).


you cant do this with wire params i dont think. Only with an expression, or a script. And by freezing its intial offset.

The expression would be something like.

if(a>0,a,0) and the other if(a<0,a,0) ">" mean greater than, and "<" means less than.

Expression are bit complex, how much rigging have you done?

eek

p.s if i have time today. I'll make a scene for you.
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  02 February 2005
wow thanks! they kept that freeze transform button really well hidden, I have been looking for it for quite some time! when I searched the reference I never bothered to check the animation quad topic.

but I don't quite understand your remark:

Originally Posted by eek: they only prob i have with that is that your working from an offset position i.e away from world 0, so you have to work out the offset position in the expression.


I never used expressions much, but both methods work fine without haveing to calculate the offset in the expression. layering your controllers is actually the same thing as freezing transformations through the quad menu. the easy thing about parenting is that you can place your controllers somewhere else in the scene (while it remains 0) without haveing to activate a frozen controller on the motion panel. of course you do have more objects in your scene.

thanks for showing me the quad menu trick.. that'll save me a lot of time
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  02 February 2005
thats ok.


OHHHHHHHHHH!! parenting. Sorry. Yes your right. Sorry i was on a different plane of thinking..

eek
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  02 February 2005
You seem to be doing that most of the time
 
  02 February 2005
my rigging experience is pretty much basic, I never wrote expressions and such before so it's a bit hard to grasp. I know what all the symbols mean (i.e. > or *...) but I can't put them in a logical order yet
I have to admit that rigging isn't the thing where my ambitions lie but anything I can learn, is helpful so thank you very much for all your constructive help...
As for the rig, I'm using CAT right now...so I don't have troubles with that.
yesterday I fixed the facial "smiley" rig (as Jason's but without all the bones) on the info I got from you guys, bits and pieces.
it looks like the 'freeze transforms' function was the key!
-first I made a control spline (rectangle)
-then I parented that to the headbone (don't know why I need to parent it right away but that's the onely way it works)
-thirdly: freeze transforms
-last: wire the X_position*10 to one morph and the -X_position*10 to another

so now my 'smiley' face is moving with the headbone (I could have parented it to the lipsync cam I also parented to the head but I guess it's the same), and I can control the morphs with the spline controls (aka 'smiley')

is there a reason for not doing it this way? if there is, please let me know cause I'm kinda in the middle of a little project...

any help would very kind, thanks
foane
 
  02 February 2006
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