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11-02-2006, 09:35 PM   #1
skywola
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Animation Via MEL - What do you think?
I have created a MEL program that automatically animates both biped and quadraped characters, without using IK or any of that other crap that takes forever to set up . . . In this case, all you do is click a button on the shelf, choosing a biped or quadraped, and it creates the skeleton for the character AND when you press the play button the character walks or runs. The quadraped also hops or gallops. It is all done via MEL, so it does not require and fooling with IK, and it has "stabilization" which minimizes having to paint skin weights.
When created, the bones are in the pose position, and you then attach the character to it, hit play, and the character walks or runs away. Just like that . . . . if you hit rewind, you can re-pose the character. You can make the character walk or run in any direction, or create a crowd of characters, all walking or running in different directions.

It has a toggling control that allows you to manipulate all the fingers of each hand at once, to open or close the hand or you can toggle it to control the fingers individually.

I have heard people say that using the computer to calculate the motion for a character is a bad idea, that it takes a lot of processing power and render time . . . . I don't see any difference myself, quite frankly. So I am wondering what other people might think about this . . . . if this code was done as a plug-in it would be very fast . . . . So I wonder what other people on this forum might think of this . . . could it be commercially viable as a plug-in?
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11-02-2006, 09:45 PM   #2
MattTheMan
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WOW! Can you please post it up? I really want to try it out!

cya later,
Matt
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11-02-2006, 10:28 PM   #3
skywola
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What I would like to do is find someone who writes plug-ins who might be interested in coding it as a plug-in, and maybe make some $$ on it. I have spent about two and a half years of testing, code-writing, and re-writing this project in MEL. I copyrighted it, and I guess I am just to LAZY to re-learn C and then learn how to write plug-ins in Maya . . . I have already looked at some of the material on writing plug-ins in maya, and it don't look easy by any stretch of the imagination. I don't have Visual Studio.net either, so that kind of limits my ability to write Maya 6.0 or greater plug-ins. If only thay had a compiler for maya that creates a binary from MEL code . . . . I guess I am really dreaming now . . . .
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11-02-2006, 10:30 PM   #4
MattTheMan
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I can compile c++ code to .mll maya plugins. But I don't think I really have the skill to do all of the tying into and stuff (in c++). Can you atleast post up pics and/or vids of what your prog does?
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11-02-2006, 10:47 PM   #5
skywola
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I have a demo that I have created, but the MPG file is to big, so I am attempting to compress it using RADGAMETOOLS into a playable EXE file. Or maybe I can getr my video editor to do that.
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12-02-2006, 01:32 AM   #6
skywola
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Upload on this site is not working now. . .. I guess I will have to try at about 4:00 AM or something. I you have ICQ I could send you the file that way, ICQ does not limit file size. I have a T1 connection. Zipped it is about 123 MB.
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12-02-2006, 03:34 PM   #7
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i dun have ICQ, but maybe you could just make a playblast of it and upload the playblast here of what your thing does.

Just upload the playblast as a zipped .AVI vid


Oh, and BTW, about the commercially viable thing, I kinda doubt it. It could much ease the animator's job, but it really can't substitute you doing everything by hand.

Like the ENDORPHIN program, but you still have to set taht up in terms of skelleton, IK setup, and really, not many pleople use it (that I know of) apart from the demo version.

And also, I have a question:

Can this thing work on any model, or do you have a single model that it runs on?

Do you have to specify, like, what faces are the knees, and which ones are the elbows, neck, etc?

That would turn out to be more bothersome to do then joint setup and IK! Atleast for me.

So anyway... I am still waiting for you to upload a vid of what that thing can do.

cYa LaTeR,
MaTt
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Last edited by MattTheMan; 12-02-2006 at 03:56 PM.
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12-02-2006, 08:27 PM   #8
skywola
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How it works . .
I compressed the video into a windows media file and chopped it down a lot, It is extremely short now, but you can see some of the interface and results. I will try uploading it with this message.
Attached Files
File Type: zip fast animation.zip (181.3 KB, 42 views)
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12-02-2006, 08:44 PM   #9
skywola
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You asked:

Can this thing work on any model, or do you have a single model that it runs on?

Any model, however It is possible that the character mesh may need to be somewhat similar to the characters I use, I have used about 3 different characters on the biped model so far with no major problems. I am aware of a issue that can occur on the shoulder if the mesh is not done correctly, but it is not a difficult issue to solve, it mostly occurs whoen you try to use a very high count polygon mesh, and most people are unlikely to do that.

Do you have to specify, like, what faces are the knees, and which ones are the elbows, neck, etc?

No . . . . esentially, I put the character in the scene, facing the plus Z direction, hit a button and the skeleton comes into the scene. Then I adjust the skeleton to fit the character, (head, hands, fingers, feet, ect . . . the skeleton is scaleable, you can scale the arms, legs or whole body by pressing buttons) Then I hit a button that adds "stabilization" . . . it basically just eliminates a lot of skin weights painting. After that I skin the character to the bones, and the character can walk at that point by hitting the play button. I have one other step that I do before being fully ready, and that is setting up the eyes so they work with sliders that are contained in the controls of the program.
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12-02-2006, 08:51 PM   #10
gster123
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sounds great!! You could make some cash off this, you might need to do a few field trials with companys etc, signing non disclosure agrements etc before hand
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13-02-2006, 12:31 AM   #11
pixelsoul
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Sorry can't help you out much as i know little about C# or C++ but Visual Studio.Net is free for a year

http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/

No doubt to penetrate the market and overprice it later (windows :angery: )

Quote:
Originally posted by skywola
What I would like to do is find someone who writes plug-ins who might be interested in coding it as a plug-in, and maybe make some $$ on it. I have spent about two and a half years of testing, code-writing, and re-writing this project in MEL. I copyrighted it, and I guess I am just to LAZY to re-learn C and then learn how to write plug-ins in Maya . . . I have already looked at some of the material on writing plug-ins in maya, and it don't look easy by any stretch of the imagination. I don't have Visual Studio.net either, so that kind of limits my ability to write Maya 6.0 or greater plug-ins. If only thay had a compiler for maya that creates a binary from MEL code . . . . I guess I am really dreaming now . . . .
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13-02-2006, 03:19 AM   #12
vladimirjp
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theres already a free mel script that just this. use a slider to control all sorts of walking/running motion, man, horse other quadruped etc...
bummer
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14-02-2006, 02:34 AM   #13
skywola
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Do you have the link to it? I'd like to compare it.
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02-03-2006, 06:53 AM   #14
skywola
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This code is now posted in the MEL programming section if you are interested in trying it out.
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02-03-2006, 04:20 PM   #15
skywola
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The WalkerMan code
Read the install file!

You have to copy the MEL files into your Maya scripts folder and rather than bother sourcing them, the easier way would be do it before you start Maya or shut Maya down and re-start it so it will load all the scripts. Then you can just type "go" in the command line and a window will come up that will allow you to drag-drop the icons to your shelf. After that you can press an icon, a window will come up with a bunch of controls . . when you press the play button, you will see the biped walk, all you have to do is put on the character mesh. The quadraped is set up so it does not move horizontally, until you set the speed, so it is easy to see the four gates that you can put the quadraped in, then when you want to actually animate, all you have to do is play with the speed control to get it to go.

When you set it up with the character, there is a "Stabilize" button that you need to hit just before you skin the character. This reduces the amount of painting skin weights you need to do. . . . There is a stabilize button for the biped and for the quadraped.


Also . . I have it set up so that you can attach the eyes to the joints that are located where the eyes should be . . . . The way to set them up is:

After you have skinned the character, select the character, then select one of the "eye joints" (you have to do it in this specific order) then go to Skin>Edit Smooth Skin>Remove Influence. Do that for the left and right eye. The parent the actual eyes that you have to these joints, and you will now be able to control them by the window sliders.
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File Type: zip walkerman.zip (160.1 KB, 31 views)
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