Version changes during production?


#1

Emphasize getting rid of v9.x. I can’t believe you’ve made it this far with that version.

Either go back to 8.5p or go ahead with 10.5 or so. V9 killed (well, brutally maimed) a lot of the positive spirit in the AM community for a time. Looks like it’s now a moment remembered as “the happening,” and not mentioned much.


#2

I would send the cho and offending model to hash support so they can see what is going on and fix it.


#3

A few months ago a company called softmachine over in Germany needed an animation done for their crazy new 360 degree theater system. So they started working on a fun little “fish” story in 3DSMax. They fell behind production so brought in some outside help. That outside help knew that they would need a team of animators working on this to hit the deadline and that the built in tools in Max weren’t up to snuff. So they established a new pipeline that let them keep the work they had done but still allow for higher quality animation. Project Messiah fit into that need very well so they went with that. A colaborative team from all over the globe was being created and we were a part of it. I don’t even own a copy of Max but my studio was able to complete 8 minutes of animation for the project. Keeping abrest of so called “standards” allows my company to be flexable and accept more jobs. I have another contract requiring that I texture 10 characters in Lightwave. I can accept that job now as well due to my experience there. I ALSO GOT AN ANIMATION MASTER JOB FOR A MODEL TO BE BUILT, TEXTURED AND RIGGED! So my background in A:M has helped me there as well. I do this for a living so. . . the more jobs I am capable of accepting. . . the more work I get. It would be nice if everyone just used one app. . . but I highly doubt that will be the case any time soon.


#4

Wegg’s whole attitude that you need to upgrade has me irritated. That is just a BS idea, IMNSHO. One year for the upgrade cycle is NOT enough time to actually get into a REAL project with AM AND report bugs AND integrate the latest patches AND continue reporting new bugs, etc…

Sure, if you’re like so many people in here who tinker and toy with AM working on walk cycles endlessly for a year, or focusing on just rigging a few models (or even joints) for a year, or tinker with a few types of constraints over a year, yeah, you may be OK with this idea, but I’m not.

I’m a little sick of the whole adopted attitude that leads in this “upgrade or shut up” attitude, since I don’t match the typical AM user profile of a person who really does just use the app as a toy to mess around with various features and see “what will this do if I…?”

Wegg, you may use AM occasionally as a “professional,” but your use of it, really, amounts to playing around with it and using it as a highly special little tool in your box. That is NOT the reality for a lot of us who don’t have access to other big tools and guns. The “Features” implemented need to WORK with at least some consistency; there’s no excuse. It’s sold as do all-app (and many touted it as such in a thread that apperently got deleted), so it should work as such. And recommending an upgrade mid-project seems a little atypical for the “professional” world.

The fact is when you get involved in a long term commitment to working on a solo film that will take more than a year, support of last year’s or even earlier versions becomes something you’d like to see. And depending on the LATEST version to be non-buggy isn’t ever a good bet. All versions have bugs, and we (the users) need time to figure out what they are and how to work around them in order to produce something real (or at least to the best of our abilities). Hell, even how the renderer changes from year to year has profound effects on the look of a film if you’ve spent considerable time developing your look and need consistency across shots.

Right now AM is walking (so far somewhat successfully) a VERY thin line between constant new versions and a program stable enough to actually work in a long term project.

And to put my money where my mouth is, I would rather pay $50 or so a year for complete technical support with the version of AM I’m using right now (not meaning expecting patches, but at least thorough understandings of workarounds and dead-drop cliffs) than upgrade and get a new version. A new version would be useless to me where I’m at- or, quite worse, potentially disastrous to my project. I don’t want to spend months tooling up my current assets from one version to the “latest” every year only to discover entire scenes are screwed up and won’t render out now.


#5

In the past few years I have probably spent well over $15,000 on software and upgrades to that software. I pay this money because if I didn’t. . . these companies wouldn’t be around any more and I’d be forced to pay programmers ten times that amount. The yearly subscription model is being adopted by almost every software company in the industry. Max is already up to 7. Maya 6, Messiah Animate 4 etc. All of them charge FAR FAR more for their updates than Animation Master. Hash Inc. were ahead of their time in switching to a subscription model and I believe it is a very resonable pricing structure. It keeps Hash Inc.'s employees paid and lets users know how that every year it will be the same making planing for the “longer” projects easier.

I don’t use any one program for the exact reasons you mention. Some can do things better than others. A:M is what it is. They make no claims that it is the only program you will ever need for every project you will ever have to deal with. That would just be stupid of them.

Jeff Lee used Animation Master version 7 for Killer Bean LONG after 8.0, 8.5 and even 9 were available. I can’t honestly fathom why. . . but he did. <shrug>.


#6

Wegg, that surprises me you can’t figure out why.

Maybe for the exact reasons I mentioned? It isn’t about money. It’s about the tool and how you want to complete your project without an upgrade midstride that kills everything you’ve worked on. It’s about wasting your time when you have a dream you want to fulfill.

And that model of yearly upgrade with the “big” ticket apps you mentioned sort of puts out of reach using the current version to create personal projects. Don’t you see that?

The only reason AM can even come close to saying “keep current all of you,” is the $99 price tag. But there are other more important issues to this than $$- if the integrated renderer changes, if the way constraints work changes, if the way a material works changes, etc…

And I’d have just loved to see Lee use v9 for killer bean. Yeah right. v8.5 maybe, but what technical differences were there between the two v.'s that may have tripped up his stride. He was one man on a mission to complete his rather large project, and he succeeded- you crit that? :banghead:

Oh nevermind. I explained it once and it appears you put little thought into understanding it.


#7

I think you need to really re-think the way you work if this is an issue for you.

Cut your project up into shots. Work untill you have finished that shot, render it and move on. Why do you need to re-render your entire movie in the new version? If it takes you more than a year to complete a single shot. . . then you are doing something MAJORLY wrong. When a new version of AM comes out. . . transition over to it when you have finished the shot you are working on. A few days fixing “glitches” in your rigs is well worth the addition of any new features that release gives you. I highly doubt the renderer will change THAT much between V11 and 11.5, 12 etc.


#8

Dearmad, you appear to be the one who is not listening when I say that dance and aerobics are the answer to your problems. If Wegg is not understanding your words maybe it is because your key sentences are impossible to understand.

This is really an interesting thread…


#9

Zero, don’t start flamebaiting. Spend some time reading the material- I have spent a considerable amount of time looking over this thread and others where “upgrade” is the answer. This isn’t an off-the-cuff response.

Wegg,

I don’t do a final render until all the scenes are animated. I keep them as chors. I have about 30+ minutes of scenes to get through. I’m not doing a final render until I’ve looked over the timings and such with all the pre renders. I render out as quick shaded; I do visualization checks with final renders of some key frames.

It takes me about three days to light a scene if the lights are static. It takes me about two weeks or so to animate a complex scene (40 seconds, 3 characters) to be about 90% complete- meaning I know there will other tweaks needed.

And yeah, it’s taken me years to write the script, get through my storyboarding, model 200+ models, texture them, rig the ones that move, record the dialogue, the music, edit trakcs, record folly effects, etc… That you see a project as limited to just the animation portion is a prt of the difficulty here. A truly personal project takes a lot more than animating.

No one I know works by rendering out finals when they finish one scene of hundreds and then moves on to animate the next- that sounds insane. I have three coputers, one of which can be 100% rendering, but the mistakes in animation, timing, etc, once synched with sound are not things I want to discover only after weeks of rendering.

One would need to rerender in a new version because one can ONLY use the current version to render out shots- AM is bundled that way. You don’t export a v11 chor to be rendered in v8.5. One might need to adjust a LOT of things to get the look one has decided one wants and spent a long time perfecting in the current renderer. Anyway, the renderer issue was a SMALL issue compared to how models/actions, materials, etc. get changed from version to version. You guys worry about importing one model- I’m worried about hundreds.

You say “transition over to it with the next shot?” Say what? That shot involves a few hundred objects, a fully textured city block, and all my rigged characters? And many shots already done that involved some complex interaction of actions/chor animations and poses which nearly everytime involve special workarounds because of the current bugs in the software…

And zero says I’m not listening? :applause:


#10

Gotta agree with Wegg here. The upgrades enhance the material you are working on. Anyone working in v9 should take the steps to get the latest software. It will make your production flow more smoothly if you have the version that has addressed previous bugs and the version that tech support can best support you.
Anyone working in v10.5 should at least get the last v10.5 release, as it is the most stable.
But you are missing some great additions if you are not going to v11. And on a personal note… v11 on xp is as solid as any version I have ever used and just as stable as any app I use.

Mike Fitz
www.3dartz.com


#11

I think you will find that rendering out a scene as it is finished is the way it is done. How else could you deliver large volumes of animation on a tight deadline if you haven’t started rendering within the first week? If you have half an hour of rendering to do. . . then you had better get started now because that is ALWAYS the most difficult step. Leaving that till the end is just asking for trouble. I don’t think I have ever gotten a render right the first pass. Things always fly through other objects or start flickering or wigging out. Thats just the nature of 3D.

And. . . why are your scenes so easy to break? Why do you have HUNDREDS of models in your scene at all times? Don’t you save out projects on a scene by scene basis and then trim out what you don’t need for that scene? You can even go a step further and render out a background “plate” and then just ditch everything in your shot but the moving elements. Composit it all back when your done. AM has some really slick 3D compositing tools. . .

How much production experience do you have Dearmad? Because. . . your kind of exposing some real big flaws in your current pipeline. Blaming AM is a bit silly.


#12

3dartz,

Beyond constrain setups and rigs and tests… what actual piece of film work are you putting together? Or maybe even a shot longer than 30 seconds involving >1 character and >1 prop? And >10 actions? with, say a walk cycle on both ends of one character’s animation in a chor- so there’s a choreography action in between them? And he interacts with the environment?

I’m trying to illustrate that these two worlds are not as compatible when AM advertises as the one-person can do it sort of app and the upgrade/support cycle (not by Hash so much by the users) is: “upgrade or shut up.”

To be explicit: The folks at Hash HAVE been helpful of late with a few things- but a lot of the problems I’ve discovered in AM have come about ONLY through my use of it in a way that truly involved trying to put together a film. And years of experience with AM and this particular version.

All the bugs aside, the only really problematic bug I’ve encountered is one involving action interaction that kills stride/looping actions for some peculiar reasons. No need to get into it, as this is something the folks at Hash are actually looking into a little bit for me.

But 3dartz is absolutely RIGHT about one thing: There’s NO WAY on god’s green earth that I’d have stuck with v9 if THAT was the version I was using.


#13

Wegg,

Why do you not understand… a half hour of rendering would get me about 20 frames in a scene that’s 500 frames long. I DO render out the animation, in AM’s polygon mode.

Delivering animation is different from delivering a final product. Right now I’m in the phase of delivering animation. How the characters move, their actions, timings, etc… NOT the final image.

Wegg, a scene has hundreds of models, because there is a city block people walk through. I’ve never had a problem placing hundreds of props around a chor and trhen importing it as the “lot” for the characters… In fact AM doesn’t even stutter at this- but if it’s a problem you need to solve in your animations, then go for it.

The film itself has hundreds of models because it is 12 sections long across three times and many places with hundreds of shots.

And I do not blame AM at all- in fact it’s made the pipeline possible. Animate out things, save them as chors… look them over, time them with other scenes, render out quick renders (NOT final renders) place them together in Premiere as an animatic… loop in sounds/music/dialogue… check it out- make quick animation adjustments… etc… Yeah sure does sound like I’ve no idea what the hell I’m doing…

Thanks for the compositing ideas- I certainly never would have thought of that after years of work. I better make use of that when I can. Gosh, I never did think of this. Too bad some scenes make it impossible because of the way they are filmed… I better just cut those scenes, because Wegg is such a pro and having a camera move through a 3d scene is just stupid- no one does that in a real film!

Okay, sarcasm off. Topic over. It’s clear you want to address only the points where you can make a quick riposte. I’m not interested in your sardonic wit and criticism.


#14

Hey Wegg are there any websites or books that teach you or at least explain production workflows? Like tricks and cheats and maybe some hints? I want to try to do a short film but have no idea what is the best way to tackle it. Like you said to render out a scene when your done. Great tip but Id like to know more stuff like that.


#15

Paw Island had multiple characters all floating around on baloons and grabbing onto swinging ropes n crap.

Moonmen had HUNDREDS of robots walking around all doing their own thing. Babies flying around in hats. . . Mice jumping up and around a freaky phonograph thinger.

Rampage Through Time had a gabillion little buildings and vehicles all animated.

TONS of internal “tests”.

All with older versions of AM with LESS features YEARS ago on crappy old Celeron 450s.

Then in other apps we did 2.5 hours of character animation for X-Power.
Lots of television comercials etc.

Your “fighting” with the best animation tool on the planet. Take a deep breath. . . upgrade. . . and move on. :slight_smile:


#16

Why is that a great tip? Suppose after rendering it out over a few days you discover that that scene works better if you time a piece of dialogue 2 seconds after it’s delivery in that scene… you want to figure out how to fix that? Well over a few hundred scenes (or even ten) you’ll waste a lot of time rendering out final passes… have fun with that.

Try the quickshaded mode first.


#17

Why do you not understand… a half hour of rendering would get me about 20 frames in a scene that’s 500 frames long. I DO render out the animation, in AM’s polygon mode.

Huh? How is that going to tell you how the scene will look? You won’t know if there is a big ole shadow in the wrong place or a nasty glitch in your textures if you only use polygon mode. Polygon mode should be all rendered out in your “animatic”. If your still trying to get the timing of your shots and camera angles down with “final” animation then . . . you are wasting a lot of time.

Delivering animation is different from delivering a final product. Right now I’m in the phase of delivering animation. How the characters move, they’re actions are times, etc… NOT the final image.

Is your job for a client? Are they rendering the project? I don’t get it. How can your work not be about the final image. It is ALWAYS about the final image… . .

Wegg, a scene has hundreds of models, because there is a city block people walk through. I’ve never had a problem placing hundreds of props around a chor and trhen importing it as the “lot” for the characters… In fact AM doesn’t even stutter at this- but if it’s a problem you need to solve in your animations, then go for it.

If your background is done. Render it. That way when your ready to render your foreground, you won’t have to re-render the background WITH your foreground when you need to make an adjustment. It is just logical. . .

The film itself has hundreds of models because it is 12 sections long across three times and many places with hundreds of shots.

And you see all that. . . all the time?

And I do not blame AM at all- in fact it’s made the pipeline possible. Animate out things, save them as chors… look them over, time them with other scenes, render out quick renders (NOT final renders) place them together in Premiere as an animatic… loop in sounds/music/dialogue… check it out- make quick animation adjustments… etc… Yeah sure does sound like I’ve no idea what the hell I’m doing…

It sounds like your in a world of hurt if you don’t start getting smarter about how you do it.

Thanks for the compositing ideas- I certainly never would have thought of that after years of work. I better make use of that when I can. Gosh, I never did think of this. Too bad some scenes make it impossible because of the way they are filmed… I better just cut those scenes, because Wegg is such a pro and having a camera move through a 3d scene is just stupid- no one does that in a real film!

Geez dude. You like to get worked up real quick don’t you. I have never had a scene that I couldn’t render in multiple layers. Flying Cameras just require you to render your backgrounds in ranges instead of still frames. If you have an airplane flying around your city. . . and you find a fault in the Airplane’s animation. . . you would have to re-render EVERYTHING again if you hadn’t done them in layers. Common sense dude. Your smart assed sarcastic responses just further expose your experience level. Please take my comments as helpful advice. Not attacks on you.

Okay, sarcasm off. Topic over. It’s clear you want to address only the points where you can make a quick riposte. I’m not interested in your sardonic wit and criticism.

Uhh. . . Ok.


#18

If you are making adjustments to the timing of the audio track. . . then what you are working on is an animatic. Is that what you are working on?


#19

Wegg,

You gave up using AM for this sort of stuff, remember? Why?

And in response to how a quickrender doesn’t describe shadows- if you’d read what I wrote earlier more closely you’d see I mention rendering out final passes to critical moments. I know exactly where the shadows fall, how they fall, and exactly how my textures are working (or not).

The insult is that you do not (apperently) read what I am writing without there being an eye to tearing apart what I am saying. You miss critical points that speak to your critique before you’ve even made the crit. The above being a case in point.


#20

His post (in another thread) indicates that an animatic isn’t yet a step he would contemplate. Otherwise, I’d hope to god people can come up with the: “When you’re done, render out the scene,” step all by themselves… LOL.

Wegg, pull it down a bit and talk to the individual novice users who aren’t all fluffy professional like you. Not all of us can spend $15,000 a year on stuff to keep companies in business.
:argh: