Some Thoughts On Animation


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Post Some Thoughts On Animation

#1  kageryu 23 Jun 2011 03:37

It seems there are a lot of people who use Poser, and want to dable in animation, but there is a sharp learning curve - and often times users learn only after many time consuming complications or mistakes.  I am not so good at writing tutorials, but I thought I might try to share a few ideas briefly that are, in my opinion, essential to achieving success in animating with Poser (or many other programs for that matter).

Content! Content! Content! - always build up a good content library.  Lay your hands on anything you can - even if you do not see an imediate use for it.  You never know when that odd bauble or strange hairdo you passed up will become essential to and idea - and you do not want to waste time looking for it.
Library Management - I have not liked any of the different Poser versions library interfaces - and I can not stand the interface to Poser 8/Pro 2010 at all.  I'll admit that at first the interface to Poser 4 library didn't seem all that bad - then I surpased the 255 item per folder limit and started having troubles.  There is a free tool out there I find absolutely essential, and I suggest for anyone running either a huge runtime or multiple runtimes, called Advanced Library Manager.Advance Library Manager - I recommend getting the latest beta for compatibility with Poser 7+
Save Often! As all versions of Poser like to crash without warning.  This is especially true when working with large scenes or complex files.
Purge Memory between Projects -  To help maintain a more stable environment in Poser (any version) I recomend purging all Poser files from memory when starting work on a new scene.  This can be a pain as Poser does not have any buttons or menu commands to do so - which means closing out Poser, and re-opening it.  This will help keep Poser running smoothly for longer periods on complex scenes, and when working with certain older content will prevent improper textures showing up on a figure or object (some old content has textures of identical names which may cause problems).
ANIMATION TRICKS & TECHNIQUES
Poses as Keyframes! If you have a large collection of poses, you may find you can construct complex movement sequences in a snap by using pre-existing poses from your library as "keyframes" within your timeline.  Simply load a suitable pose, advance to a frame where you want the next part of movement to be and load the next pose, repeat as needed.  You can also work this in reverse, by setting up an animation or pose and saving it into your library as a static posed to be used as a keyframe later.  You can then go back into the timeline and adjust subtle movements or body parts as needed.
Partial Poses are you Friends! In Poser it is possible to save static or animated poses for specific body parts of a figure only.  I find this invaluable for when you want to save parts of a pose for later use.  I often break down complex sequences into sets of partial body animated poses for use as needed later - such as when you need a walk sequence with the figure carrying something.  While Poser 7 and newer strongly suggest the Layers tool for this - I have found it less reliable and refined.
Build Up Your Own Stock Poses - Initially you may find yourself needing to create a lot of custom poses, movements, and sequences for your clips.  I strongly recomend taking every oportunity to save these poses, animated poses, and partial poses to your library as your own stock poses for future uses.  Think of it as storing a choreographed sequence.  If you spend hours anjimating a complex swordfight with numerous distinctive moves - it is a great idea to save out each set of moves as it's own qnimated pose sequence and set of partial poses, then later you can recombine these in different patterns for a whole new swordfight.  This is one of the potentially more powerful features of Poser - and has been present almost all along (sure Daz has those aniblocks - but it's really no different than animated pose sets).
Learn The Animation Pallette - It can become your best friend.  You will quickly leanr that things in Poser do not always move the way you want them too.  This is because of the way Poser handles Splines in calculating movement.  In the animation palette you can alter the way these splines are calculated and applied.  You can break a chain of movement so the next pose will not distort earlier movement, you can set parts to remain constant so there is no pre-movement after a long pause (useful for mechanicals), you can set the motion type to linear so there is no apparent speed up or slow down (also useful for mechanical movements).  You will find in time that getting lifelike movement will require intermixing these modes.  Other useful features in the animation palette is the ability to select groups of frames and body parts or figures and move the frames, copy frames, paste frames, and delete frames.  This allows for some very direct, hand on editing and fine tuning of your animation.
Render Scenes out to Uncompressed Frames - this should be a standard practice, but many people do not yet do this.  It is a good idea to save your animations out as images for a large number of reasons - most importantly - if Poser crashes while rendering you will not lose the whole animation, only from the frame it crashed at onwards.  his will save vast amounts of render time later.  Also by rendering animations out as frames you can run them through effects processors, or create layers and masks for later compositing into more complex scenes.  You can perform image sweetening and effects work on the frame sequences much easier as well.  I suggest using an uncompressed PSD or TGA format until you have finished all editing and compositing.  Even if you do not have a high end image compositor such as After Effects, there are lots of free programs that can compile a set of sequential images, such as VirtuaDub.
Use Queue Manager to Batch Render! - If you have Poser 7 Pro or Poser Pro 2010 then you have the Queue Manager that came with it - this is a useful tool, even for those not lucky enough to have a network of computers.  I strongly urge you to install it and run it - as you can use it even on one machine as a background batch render tool for still images or animated sequences.  Just make sure when it is running that the option to Process Jobs Locally is selected.  To take advantage of it, in Poser from the render menu or the make movie/animation menu select the "Send To Queue" option.  If you are concerned about it slowing down your computer's responsiveness and have some degree of skill in using task manager - open up the Task Manager and set the Process Priority of FFRender to "Below Normal" and your machine will give your other tasks priority (I do this all the time with no ill effects).

There's a lot more I could say about animating and techniques - but I will leave this as is for now.  If anyone has specific questions about any of the above, or wants me to go into more detail on any of this, feel free to speak up and I will try - just keep in mind I am not the greatest teacher - i just kinda do things instinctively myself half the time.
 




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Post Re: Some Thoughts On Animation

#2  tda42 23 Jun 2011 14:53

You might want to break it down into pictures as well. People tend to see and understand in visual than to read. Welcome to PF.  
 




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Post Re: Some Thoughts On Animation

#3  kageryu 23 Jun 2011 16:42

tda42 wrote: [View Post]
You might want to break it down into pictures as well. People tend to see and understand in visual than to read. Welcome to PF.  

That's one of the things I meant by not being good at tutorials. I am trying to collect many of my thoughts, organize them, and add a few screen-caps - but I am also working on so many other personal projects I don't know when it will  be ready (need to run it through a good spell checker too - my spelling is horrible).
 




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Post Re: Some Thoughts On Animation

#4  tda42 23 Jun 2011 19:11

I understand. Feel free to sit back and enjoy the site. I is a very friendly place with a lot of past to offer. We joke and exchange information to get better at things. But the friendship is the most reward. I hope this finds you well and doing ok.   
 




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Post Re: Some Thoughts On Animation

#5  Chromium 23 Jun 2011 19:34

A really big thank you for the tips.

I am impressed I understood more than I thought I would (I must be learning).
 



 
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Post Re: Some Thoughts On Animation

#6  Tormie 23 Jun 2011 19:53

Thank you for the tips kageryu  

I moved the topic in the right forum and sticked it
 




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