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Old 12-10-2002, 05:39 PM   #1
Nem
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Smile Trax question

im using the trax editor and it seems to be very good, why do a lot of people keep saying its a load of bollox?

anyway, question
when u insert a clip, u can right click on it and it has an option to activate keys
what does that do? is it helpful?

and say, i have a clip of my character running across the screen (right to left), then i want him to turn around and run across the screen the other way (left to right) can i use the same track? cos all the translate keys wud be different wouldnt they? :S im confuzzled
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Last edited by Nem : 13-10-2002 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 13-10-2002, 12:53 PM   #2
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Default re Trax question......

Hi Nem,

I used trax quite extensivley last year for uni stuff. Trax can be a useful tool, but non linear its not. What I mean by that is:

Once you go down the trax path (clips and poses) its very hard to control your f curves with any degree of sensibility this is because;

say for instance you create a clip that uses keys on a character between 0 and 100. You create clip then move, scale, cycle, cut and chop, blend your clips together to create some cool animation.
If you (right click) on a clip and activate the keys you will find that the keys are (in the timeline wise) where they were created NOT where they are in relation to the clip. This becomes frustrating when dealing with f curves and trying to see the corresponding curve data in relation to the actual objects animation.


Maybe someone could surprise me and correct me if this isn't so (hope so).

I also got popping in animation (between clips that were layered .eg. facial animation stuff).

Also you can only convert to keys one clip at a time.
Major problem if you have 50 thousand clips layered on top of each other........
Softimage's XSI has non linear animation also, but the difference (that Iv'e seen) between the two is that XSI was conceived from the ground up as a non linear animation system/package where as Maya's seems to be bolted on as an extra.

As to reversing your clip. I think the option for 'timewarp' in the clip options can help with the reversing of clips. I'm not sure on this though so you should check in the manual.

After saying all this, I (at the moment) use character and sub character nodes (to layer animation) without the use of the trax editor. I find the restrictions that the trax editor places on me more hassle than any advantages that may arise from using clips and poses. Keys, keys, keys my friend!!!!!!


re Jim
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Old 13-10-2002, 01:12 PM   #3
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thx for that jim
keys are annoying when ur doing a walk/run cycle and it takes up most the animation, ud have to spend ages gettin it just right, thats why im using trax for it

once you've created a clip, why would you need to go back and edit the curves?

you said that trax is a useful tool, but NL it isnt, what do you mean by that?
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Old 15-10-2002, 12:42 AM   #4
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Default re trax/keys etc, NLA........

Hi Nem,

first off,

a quote from a 'professional animator', "Make every key yours, do not let the computer dictate anything", or something like that anyway. What this guy means is that to get 'character' into your character make every keyframe count (don't rely on the interperlation of the software).

So, for me (who animates in layers, ie. broad poses to final subtle secondary motions) this means if I want to go back and 'tweek' a bunch of keys I want to be able to find them and have immediate feedback when I make changes.

The animators who worked on 'Stuart Little 2' said that to animate a shot, ie. 1 character doing some gestures and talking could take up to a week to animate. I guess animation can be time consuming is what I mean, (especially tweeking the movements, etc..)

Second, the reference to NL it isn't will become apparent for you at some point, primarily because of what I stated above.

I truly hope that AW fixes the bugs/problems with Trax because it can make some things simpler and faster.

Anyway, I hope this waffle of mine helps or illuminates things somewhat for you Nem.

re Jim
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Old 15-10-2002, 12:50 AM   #5
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so it wouldnt be possible to put together a load of clips in trax, activate all the keys and then do some tweaking that way? cant i do that?
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Old 15-10-2002, 01:30 AM   #6
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Default re trax, ......

Hi Nem,

This is one of the problems with Trax, i.e. you can only convert one clip to keys at a time, and you cannot convert any clips to keys if you already have keys in the timeline (in case you want to convert one clip at a time to a whole bunch of clips).

I could well be wrong on this, or there may be a work around for this problem that I'm not aware of.

Also if you merge clips together you get extra keys added to your f curves that can make it difficult to adjust and fine tune.

Maybe you could do a search on the web for intermediate/advanced tuts on trax (more than whats covered in the manuals) and pass the info on as I sure as hell would like more info on trax too.

re Jim
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Old 15-10-2002, 06:28 PM   #7
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yeah ill search for some tuts, but i stopped using tuts a long time ago cos most arent even complete!
without trax, is there any other way to cycle a walk/run?
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Old 16-10-2002, 03:10 AM   #8
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Default re trax question

Hi Nem,

Yeh good tuts are hard to find. I basically taught myself Maya through trial and error (by myself).

As for cycling a walk or run. You could try:

Saving scene when happy with your movement, and then saving the scene under a different name so as to keep your original scene untouched. From there you could try copying and pasting your Keys in timeline/graph editor and adjusting the offset along the forward axis (the way it is walking)

Use trax, happily knowing that your animation keys are backed up in another scene file.

There could also be some helpful Mel scripts at Highend 3d that make this stuff easier.

re Jim
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Old 16-10-2002, 09:21 AM   #9
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Well Jim & Nem

I say the Trax thingy being demoed at the DAW and it looked pretty good to me but this thing about modifying the keys once it's create seems a bit of a pain.

I am used the Animation Master and have been dabbling with Maya on and off since April. AM has actions and choreography actions. What you do is create say a walk action and drop it onto your character in a choreography - he starts walking. Now you can get this action to cycle, creates a robotic walk. The magic is that you can overlay this action at various parts with extra keys. Say you click on a hand, you can then drag it up and make it wave while keeping the walk cycle. Alternatively you can crate another action with the had waving and add it on top of that and even blend the two together to make the hand reach up and wave and then return to the starting position.

From my studies I have been told that this is Non-Linear and the tutorial said at the time that the only other program that did this was SoftImage.

Now what I am asking is you cannot do what I just described in Maya? If this doesn't make sense then I'll create some actions and post them up to show what I mean.
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Old 16-10-2002, 03:09 PM   #10
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well, all my keys and actions are perfect, i dont really want to modify them, so i can use trax and just layer up my actions with no problem
the main problem im having now, is, well, ive layered up loads of run clips, so hes running on the spot, but i nd him to walk in the Z direction, but his legs have alrady been keyed in the Z direction when he runs forward on the spot, if i key him running across the screen in Z, then his foots translate Z would have been overridden wouldnt they?
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Old 17-10-2002, 12:23 AM   #11
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Nem: Been a long time since I've used trax but I'm pretty sure grouping your object to itself and then keying this new group's translate Z should do the job.
The main problem i found with trax is sometimes mixing keyed animation with clips could lead to popping/judders... also blending between two clips often gave very unpredictable results (though that was probably lack of expericence on my part)
I did my final uni project using trax also (teaching myself as i went along like Jim [whom i sympathise with totally!]) and whilst the final result was pretty ok, I'm going to redo it all but using keyframes - using trax (for me at least) seemed to mean sacrificing alot of control.
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Old 17-10-2002, 12:51 AM   #12
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but im sure it saves time kinda :S
i have another question, i jim briefly talked about it earlier, but it doesnt seem to be the answer, not from what ive read anyway

currently, my characters feet are set to run in the positive Z direction, across the screen and off, fair enough, but then i want him to run BACK across in the negative Z, how would i do this? cos all his feet and that are telling him to run one way (cos of the Z coodinates he's been given) if he runs in the negative Z, itll b like hes running backwards?
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Old 17-10-2002, 03:12 AM   #13
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Default re Trax question......

Hi all,

re gazzamatazz (I think thats how you spell it),

In Maya you have what called a character node, ie. keyable set of attributes that are keyed together when that character node is selected.

You also have what is called Sub character nodes which allow you to key your 'Main' character and your subcharacter nodes receive keys also, but you can, say after 'blocking' out your animation with the 'Main character node' then set keys on just your 'Sub' character nodes and vise a versa. This means that you can layer animation and also add keys to subcharacter nodes without adding keys to your main character node.

An eg:

You key your character (consisting of torso, pelvis........)

then you key your sub character node for say, head
and another sub character node for say feet, arms, hands etc....

The beauty of this approach is that you don't have extra keys messing up your f curves where you don't want them, but you get the functionality and workflow of the Mayan character nodes.

re Jim
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