Thursday, July 19, 2012

Animation Composer development

I am quite exited now, made a lot of progress in the past few weeks and seems that the skeleton of the framework is somehow working now, still many things to add but I can show small peek.

Somehow it is becoming easier and easier now to understand where is it going, at least I can do some minor facial animation now with complete control of the textures and deformations, still working in a better time line display since I couldn't find anything that could fit the editor. Will post a video later when I have a complete animation rigged and animated, still is quite difficult at this moment since the preview is not running in real time due to the WPF udates that makes it run slower than 60 FPS, but without it it runs smoothly.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Animation editor

I've been busy trying to improve the character's animations in Elem3ntz! game and became a not so easy task, maybe many of you have seen the UBI Art Framework in action with Rayman's Origins and UBI mentioned that will be open source, so far I waited around 2 years and still no news and no updates from their side, so I gave up waiting for them and I don't have the luxury of time to keep waiting forever, so I decided to make one myself.

So where am I am now? check this picture below

Still far from being a complete solution, and I couldn't see much in UBI framework video, so I make some assumptions and try to find the best way to do animations for games. So basically it will manage patches with UV texturing, probably same as UBI's, and bones. Something I haven't seen before is vertex animation so this framwork supports that, multiple textures per patch, and thinking to add soft body dynamic per vertex, this sounds strange since most of the softbody dynamic solutions do work on the whole solid, but again, this is mainly used to animate 2d patches to add small details, this is not a physics engine , but this can help animate deformations withouth actually having to move tons of bones or vertices to get the desired result, don't look yet at the section in soft body dynamics since is a WIP still.

Now thinking what is best to resolve a trival question, do a patch have bones or do the bones should have patches?,  this is a very hard question to answer by myself yet, 3d packages define meshes and you attach bones to those meshes, in 2d animation it makes sense to have those meshes defined as patches and attach bones to deform the patch, on the other side, you can also have a bone that can deform multiple patches since in 2d as you can imagine it is very likely to have multiple patches not just a single mesh, and get all of them deformed by just a single bone. So probably I will enable a bi-directional relationship between bones and patch's vertices so it can work both ways. Still need to test this solution, wondering how UBI solved this, or maybe I am over-complicating things :) , any way, things are moving slowly lately but making great progress. Elemen3ntz! game is almost completed but I want to deliver better animations for the final product, I don't want it to look like cheap flash animations.

I will post a video of the editor once I complete the bones part, which will take around 2 weeks.