Animation advice Wanted

  • So I just bought some new scene sets and one of the things I want to do is camera tracking, and I know about parenting a camera to a figure, but what if there is no figure to parent it to? or what if you want to pull back and follow a character coming towards you like on a long hallway or corridor. Anyone have a suggestion for the best way to accomplish this?

  • Hmm... the basic problem is that a camera tracking a toon in movement does not have linear (or spline) rotations; it will have to follow complicated curves, meaning that if you key the first and last frames with the camera positions the toon will seem to wander off center from the camera point of view.

    Other systems have a "Constraint Point At" to keep a camera pointing to a certain object as it moves, but afaik Poser doesn't have that.

    Therefore, what I would do for a panning movement like that is to use Point At in the camera and target the object it's tracking, and do that every few frames while the camera is tracking it. It won't remove the wobbling completely, but should make it smaller.

  • Well, I just tried to animate the camera by moving it from one point to another, then keyframing it. But when i tried to play it back the camera didn't move at all. I screwed up somewhere. I know it recorded because i opened some doors at the same time, and that works. Unless... Poser can only record one element at a time?

  • Poser Ambassadors

    Make sure the camera's properties tab has the animating box ticked.
    0_1508463472062_camera properties - animating.PNG

    That done, you should be able to keyframe the camera itself, without it being parented to any doll or prop.

    Remember that you can select the type of between-key interpolation, so it can be splined, or it can be linear. You can have it splined amongst these five keys, then have it linear for the next three keys, then splined again, et cetera.

  • @eclark1849 other caveats, apart from @seachnasaigh 's mention of the animating setting, is to confirm the status of the Orbit Selected Mode is what you want, and what type of camera (Poser or Dolly) you plan to use to do the tracking.

    If you were to plan out, movie style, a character walking from one room of a house, down a hallway, and into another room, you also need to decide whether the camera can move through walls, or follow the path a human holding a camera would have to move. Either way, using an orbiting camera can be easier if, like the Face or Posing cameras they automatically parent to the currently selected figure, but they don't work if there's no figure selected. The Dolly cameras are a better fit for real-world type camera shots, but they're harder to animate when you want to subsequently orbit a walking figure after it stops. You can use the Point At attribute of the camera, and animate that, but as with IK animation, Poser doesn't expose the resultant rotations of the camera resulting from the Point At operations, so you have to manually keyframe the rotations to match what Point At has done when you transition out of Point At mode.

    @erogenesis mentioned he had some scripts done to deal with IK transitions in animation, they may be applicable to animated Point At, as well. Hopefully he'll release them some time after Project E hits the shelves.

  • I've gotten good results with the Posing camera, and varied results with the dolly cam. But it takes a lot of work and a lot of key framing.

  • @anomalaus said in Animation advice Wanted:

    If you were to plan out, movie style, a character walking from one room of a house, down a hallway, and into another room, you also need to decide whether the camera can move through walls, or follow the path a human holding a camera would have to move.

    When I first got SketchUp I got excited with the idea of building a whole building out of it, so I built a big old-style school in SketchUp - clock tower and all. It had something like 8 rooms in it, plus some 30 student desks and an assorted set of tables, chairs, blackboards and lockers. All of them dimensioned with reasonably realistic proportions and dimensions.

    Coming from a background of hand-drawing, where a close environment is no big problem, I thought it would be a pea soup. So I tried to make some silly movie with it. What an exercise in frustration!! Walls always getting in the way, internal shots getting stuffed clipped all over the place, I couldn't select anything because the stupid building kept getting selected instead of my toons.

    In the end I had to pretty much split all front and left side walls into separate objects for individual hiding, keep the back and right side walls as backdrops, and restrict myself to some specific camera directions. Yet I spent a lot of time hiding and unhiding walls and repositioning the camera, and replanning takes because the angles I originally thought wouldn't work.

    For some reason Poser's optics are really really bad with close environments. Maybe it's my choice of focal length - I don't like the distortion of the default 38mm focal length, so I almost always use 100mm, which makes the camera to be really way back, and that causes a lot of trouble with closed environments.

    After that I learned my lesson - now any enclosed space that I try (and I seldomly try, I usually use open spaces) only has 2 walls, and I restrict camera camera angles to 2 directions too. So my dream of building realistic, complete buildings in SketchUp and then populate them in Poser has all but vanished - I now build only an exterior for exterior shots, and half of the interior for interior shots.

  • Okay, let's try something else. As some of you may know, who check out my vendor directory, I recently added a section specifically for animation. Since then, I've downloaded a few bvh animations, and here's one of the main reasons why i gave up on Poser animations. Yes, Poser will allow you to use bvh, and mocap files, but when they're not for the figure you're using at that time, they usually become all contorted, and ... well just a complete mess. Is there a script anywhere that will adapt a bvh file to the figure you're using? And if not, is there a way to do it manually?

  • Poser Ambassadors

    @fbs7 - if you try taking photographs indoors with a 100mm lens (on a 35mm camera or equivalent) you'll struggle without a decent amount of space too (Poser isn't directly equivalent to 35mm format but I think it's close-ish).

    Maybe look into how sets are built for TV & film work - wider doors etc ...

  • Okay, one of the problems I'm having and have always had with BVH animation files is that they don't always work on the figure I'm using, since most of the time, that's not the figure the file was made for.

    Still, I found this tutorial from Smith Micro online and thought I'd share it here.

    Poser Knowledge Base
    Using BVH files in Poser

    Using BVH files in Poser

    When importing a BVH, it's important to make sure the file and the Poser figure to which it applies are set up the same...The main reason that BVH files (whether created using mocap or exported from inside Poser) might not work properly with certain figures is that BVH files have a listing of body parts and joints in a particular order; the Poser BVH import routine reads the BVH file and looks for similar body part names in similar order in the Poser figure in the scene, but if the joint setup for the figure is different from that in the BVH file- whether the difference is in the names of the body parts or in their organization- then the import may fail.

    BVH files are human-readable up to a point- they're text-based- so you may need to do the following, to ensure that your BVH will work properly with your Poser figure.
    1.Using the figure to which you wish to apply the BVH, generate some animation keyframes. You can use the Walk Designer as a quick way to do this, or you can simply set some poses on the timeline and let Poser create tween frames.
    2.Export the animation as a BVH file from within Poser.
    3.Open this BVH up in a text editor and check out the joint names and joint order. Open the BVH you wish to import and compare the two.?
    4.If the joint names, joint orders, etc. match up, you should be able to import the BVH properly. If they don't you may need to edit the BVH file (always work on a copy, never the original!) carefully, to rename or rearrange things. As an alternative, you could try using a different figure whose rig better matches up with that of the BVH file.
    5.Once the BVH has been applied to the figure and the figure's movements have been checked and cleaned up (you'll want to go through the scene and edit the figure's movements to get rid of unwanted twitches, bends, etc. as necessary) you can then save the pose into Poser's library as a PZ2 for later use.

  • @eclark1849

    Try this. Works for me.

  • @parkdalegardener Thanks, I'll definitely check it out.

  • @parkdalegardener said in Animation advice Wanted:


    Try this. Works for me.


    I used that tool long ago, but then that computer died and I forgot what the heck the name of the tool was. :)

    I also used a different tool in my workflow, too, when I messing with bvh files. I'll have to check, though, because I may have just gone over completely to bvhacker.

    The key, of course, is renaming rigging references. But, IIRC, either bvhacker or the other tool I used would help smooth out animation sequences after they were corrected for new rigging. (There's also a script that will do that available, IIRC, over at Occam's Bungalo or wherever it went to. )

    Anyway, thanks for the ref! REALLY! Trying to tell people what tool to use while not remember the darn name has been frustrating!

  • No problem.
    Use the 1.9 beta on Win 10 if you get library outdated issues using 1.8

  • BVH Helper script by PhilC was for Poser 6 & 7. I have not tried it on P11, but it was a great tool for fixing all sorts of BVH problems in Poser. I am thinking about installing P6 again just to play around with that Weird Juice Metaball plug in which was so much fun. Thanks for the link to BVH Hacker though, I've never heard of it, and will definitely have to give it a try.

  • Okay, new question. I've finally figured out what the graph was for and how to work it. However, I'm working on a 120 frame animation at the moment, and i have to go frame by frame correcting a joint on the figure. Is there anyway to speed this up with the graph and how? I'd like to grab the graph line for that joint and straighten it out from frame 1 to frame 120. Is that possible?

  • on the graph hi-light the frames and press the - minus key. All deleted.

  • @eclark1849 you can drag-select or shift click select a range of frames in the graph and then drag that section up and down, which will add or subtract the same constant value to all frames in the selected range for that parameter. It would be great if you could type in a specific number you want to offset the values by or a new value to assign to them all, but it doesn't work that way. You have to pick one of the frames in the range and manually adjust the graph until that one looks correct, then hope that that adjustment is appropriate for all of the other frames in the range.

  • @anomalaus I'm probably doing something wrong then. I can drag select or click and select a range of frames, but if I try to move them, only one will move at a time.

  • @eclark1849 sorry, I forgot to mention the key modifier to adjust a selection.

    0_1509450804732_Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.52.00 pm.png

    My screen capture doesn't get the cursor, unfortunately. When I put the cursor over the selected area, the cursor shows as two horizontal, double-headed-arrows (like <=>, sort of) which will let me drag the keyframes left and right. If I hold down the command key (sorry, again, I forget the windows equivalent), the cursor changes to two vertical, double headed-arrows, and dragging up and down changes the value of the selected keyframes, as shown above.