Messages in this topic - RSS

Home ? Feedback ? Facial animation

pages: 1 2 | the topic is closed
15/06/2011 15:19:36

mos6507
mos6507
Posts: 34
The technology driving all this is rapidly changing, so rapidly in fact that it's hard to keep up with it.
The Kinect motion capture stuff is very promising and I expect this will be a standard way to input animation into machinima. I don't know how long that will take, but it will happen. It's inevitable.

There are some big milestones that I'm really waiting on for Muvizu. I'd like Muvizu to be an extensible animation engine rather than one that is hardwired to making Veggietales squash-and-stretch style animations. So that means not just custom objects, but custom characters, custom animations, expressions, and idle behaviors that help define the style, performance, or theme. What if I don't want them to heave so much when they breathe? What if I don't want them to shimmy their hips so severely on their idles? What if I don't want them to gesticulate ala the Penguins of Madagascar? Maybe a little more subtlety and grace?

Gaining more control shouldn't mean going to iClone and keyframing every joint.
I really like the promise of Muvizu, but it's in a creative straight-jacket where using their system means wholly embracing its cartoony, humorous aesthetic. That really precludes it from being used for a lot of stories where the technology is otherwise capable of doing it.
permalink
15/06/2011 15:39:12

freakmoomin
freakmoomin
Posts: 272
all good points mos6507, but we are really between a rock and a hard place with a lot of this. We set out to make animation accessible and really easy for all age groups and nothing has really changed there. We still want to keep things as simple as possible but at the same time hopefully being able to give users some degree of control at least.

Giving people fine control of every aspect really wasnt what we set out to do, for people who want this type of control i would strongly suggest looking into pro animation solutions (maya, max, bla bla bla). To truly have full creative control the only way is to do everything from scratch yourself in my opinion.

But to lighten the mood a little, we are currently looking to develop a completly new style of character with all new animations etc.....cant give away too much at this point but hopefully this will give people a new viewpoint on muvizu and show a bit of a different side.....
permalink
15/06/2011 15:57:54

DreekoMuvizu mogulExperimental user
Dreeko
Posts: 1258
freakmoomin wrote:
But to lighten the mood a little, we are currently looking to develop a completly new style of character with all new animations etc.....cant give away too much at this point but hopefully this will give people a new viewpoint on muvizu and show a bit of a different side.....


Oh you e done it now! Expect an unrelenting barrage of posts asking you to explain all!

I'll kick off..EXPLAIN ALL!!!
permalink
15/06/2011 16:07:36

freakmoomin
freakmoomin
Posts: 272
haha

just looking into it at the moment, but fingers crossed as we want to do different styles and stuff as much as people seem to want them
permalink
15/06/2011 16:24:30

mos6507
mos6507
Posts: 34
My opinion is that there should be an open API/SDX for the more ambitious and technical people to do what Muvizu currently does internally. There's a HUGE gap between working with something like Muvizu and something like Maya, not the least of which is price. A small team like Muvizu could benefit in having motivated 3rd parties extend the system.
permalink
15/06/2011 20:24:46

ziggy72Muvizu mogulExperimental user
ziggy72
Posts: 1988
mos6507 wrote:
My opinion is that there should be an open API/SDX for the more ambitious and technical people to do what Muvizu currently does internally. There's a HUGE gap between working with something like Muvizu and something like Maya, not the least of which is price. A small team like Muvizu could benefit in having motivated 3rd parties extend the system.


A very good point, but...consider this - how many 3d packages dont have a manual? How many have courses which, realistically, you have to go on to learn them? How many dont mention vertices, polygons or UV maps? If you really want all that (and the control that it will give you) then Muvizu isn't the place to look for it.

For me, everything I've done up till now has been an effort to reduce the cartoony element to make something more realistic, and all I really want from the package right now (apart from guns, obviously) is the ability to turn off it's features, not create new ones from scratch. A neutral expression is much more useful to me than the ability to postion individual fingers, or make them do somersaults, or whatever. Have you ever tried to get an kinematic figure to do what you want by moving it's joints around? It's bloody hard, time consuming, and never really looks good enough - the Muvizu people, on the other hand, are pretty good at this kind of stuff.

Outsider plugins would be welcome for sure, but I get the feeling that the number of bug reports/issues would balloon out of proportion to their usefulness. And how could you guarantee that everyone stays within the remit of an easy-to-use program, rather than yet another overly fiddly movie making tool? Tricky. Still, early days
permalink
15/06/2011 20:48:05

mos6507
mos6507
Posts: 34
ziggy72 wrote:
, but...consider this - how many 3d packages dont have a manual? How many have courses which, realistically, you have to go on to learn them? How many dont mention vertices, polygons or UV maps? If you really want all that (and the control that it will give you) then Muvizu isn't the place to look for it.



Where in my post did I say I wanted that?
What I would like to do, for starters, is be able to bring the Xtranormal characters into Muvizu and have them act the way they do in State. Just continue where I left off. I bought them, and State is soon to be abandonware. If I have to port the gestures over bit by bit, I will. Once the data is in Muvizu, THEN I can use all that simplicity. (I have no desire to keyframe every knuckle.) But I will have the style of characters and animation to which I've become accustomed. Enabling this doesn't mean turning Muvizu into Maya. All it means is exposing and documenting the architecture. To date, Muvizu does not sell assets the way XN does, whereas XN wraps their assets in a very thin layer of DRM and obfuscation. So the money angle really isn't there. (I don't know how Muvizu intends to monetize its IP, BTW)
Anyone who cares to know what I intend to do can just look at http://www.youtube.com/user/XtranormalStatePlus?feature=mhee. Nothing that I've done so far turns State into Maya. It's merely opening the system up so that you can make it more flexible. If you don't want that flexibility, don't use it. But at least it's there.
What I don't like is that animation systems are too tightly woven with the assets that the creators ship with them. So Muvizu can not be evaluated as a general purpose animation system, even though it is one. It has to be evaluated as an animation system that has a limited number of assets of a particular style which behaves in only one way. Once the system is more open, then some (albeit a select few) people will go in there and expand the assets out.
Isn't this what people were talking about earlier in this thread? It's not like I'm asking for anything that different.
We already know that they are working on character imports, which I intend to utilize. But what I don't want to have happen is get the characters ported over and suddenly they start angling their hips and swinging their arms around like the Veggie-tales guys. It will be like they are being possessed by some crazy spirit. I need to be able to port over the entire personality, if you will, or do my best to simulate it.
Muvizu shouldn't just be hardcoded to utilize one set of animations, one set of expressions, one set of idles. It should be either bound at the character or theme level.
This is a very niche segment right now and there aren't a lot of options available. I've put all this effort into State because there aren't any greener pastures that I can see. You can name-drop all you want about Moviestorm, iClone, or Daz3D. I've checked them all out. I know what they do well and what their downsides are. I'm just saying that I fail to see the downside in accommodating my request.
I think some people are interpreting this as a malicious attack against the company and I wish people would just listen to the content of my argument before blindly defending the status quo.
permalink
15/06/2011 20:48:25

inlimbo
inlimbo
Posts: 70
Yes for sure ... neutral states and basic/neutral motions are very welcome! If Muvizu had an index of basic moves (generic jump, crawl, kneel, lean on table, turn and look left, pick up object from table, etc.) that would cover most bases, that would be great. Even having basic facial emotions would be good. So an annoyed look to be held on the timeline for 3 seconds before transitioning into a neutral expression to be held for 10 seconds. That would do wonders.

Now have I mentioned anything about the need for being able to handle props????
permalink
15/06/2011 21:23:47

DreekoMuvizu mogulExperimental user
Dreeko
Posts: 1258
The main difference with Muvizu and the other animation companies out there from my experience is that the developers of Muvizu actually listen to their users and the requests that are put to them. Not only that. They act upon them!
They really seem hell bent on giving us what we want feature wise. When i first came across muvizu and started using it last august i (like many) had a couple of feature suggestions which i posted on the forum. I expected the usual " thanks for your interest but unfortunatly blah blah" answer. But no! Instead I got a "thats a good idea, we'll see if we can squeeze that feature into our next update!" answer. Mow maybe I just seem to request things that are always on the cards for Muvizu. But this has happened on a number of occasions.
Basically what I'm saying is that the developement of Muvizu ( at the moment! ) seems guided by us, the users and not bank notes. At some point this focus will probably have to change when the well runs dry. But for now what I say is have faith in the devs and the course that they have for Muvizu feature wise.










Just don't ask for a dragon!
permalink
15/06/2011 22:13:54

DanimalMuvizu mogulExperimental user
Danimal
Posts: 477
Dreeko wrote:
Instead I got a "thats a good idea, we'll see if we can squeeze that feature into our next update!" answer. Mow maybe I just seem to request things that are always on the cards for Muvizu. But this has happened on a number of occasions.


Same here. I think my third post or so was already asking for some new feature and I was pleasantly greeted with "Shut up, Newbie." No, no, they said it was a good idea and would try to implement it. And hence the 64 bit version and anti-aliased rendering were born.

No, I'm kidding again, but they did accept the suggestion openly and I've been hooked ever since.
permalink
16/06/2011 00:33:09

ziggy72Muvizu mogulExperimental user
ziggy72
Posts: 1988
mos6507 wrote:
ziggy72 wrote:
, but...consider this - how many 3d packages dont have a manual? How many have courses which, realistically, you have to go on to learn them? How many dont mention vertices, polygons or UV maps? If you really want all that (and the control that it will give you) then Muvizu isn't the place to look for it.



Where in my post did I say I wanted that?


You didn't - I was merely framing my point about what Muvizu is, rather than what you want it to be. And, if I understand this correctly, you want it to be capable of being an Xtranormal emulator kinda thing. Good luck with requesting that one!

Also, you say that "Muvizu can not be evaluated as a general purpose animation system, even though it is one" - uh, I don't think Unreal Tournament is a general purpose animation system. I think it's a system to allow you to shoot people in the face. The fact that we can animate anything with it is quite impressive, I always thought. And I hate Status Quo. Sorry, I mean, I don't support the status quo and I don't think anyone else does either. We all want to see Muvizu become a general purpose animation system, but it's early days, like I said.

(Actually, 'Caroline' was okay)
permalink
16/06/2011 02:37:35

dwino
dwino
Posts: 56
This is an intense debate. Darth Lightsabers
permalink
16/06/2011 12:46:36

DanimalMuvizu mogulExperimental user
Danimal
Posts: 477
dwino wrote:
This is an intense debate. Darth Lightsabers


And you know what they say about debating on the internet... Goofus
permalink
13/07/2011 18:17:28

DanimalMuvizu mogulExperimental user
Danimal
Posts: 477
mysto wrote:
Since more control over facial animation seems to be a ways off maybe if we had a few more different moods to choose from? Disgusted, shy, surprised, shocked, coy, bewildered, etc.

I've been thinking about this and I would be overjoyed with the expressions without full on "moods." Like permutations of the happy mood, but using the number key, we can give different facial expressions like sick, sarcastic, sleepy, whatever. No need to make full on actions for looks that generally only last a second or so anyway. Even different versions of the smile (open mouth, closed mouth, etc...) would be excellent.

I would immensely prefer this over facial animation. In fact, nothing could excite me less as a potential feature. The last thing in the world I want to do is have 8,000 tweakable things. I may as well break out Carrara and try to animate using that. I love Muvizu's push-button simplicity. Why not use that model to give a wider range of expressions?

Just a thought that occurred to me while I probably ought to be working.
permalink
13/07/2011 18:21:33

DanimalMuvizu mogulExperimental user
Danimal
Posts: 477
As an afterthought, even the ability to add existing expressions to the happy mood would be nice. I love the sad and angry faces, but am not so fond of the poses the strike.

Come to think of it, I know a "nuetral mood" was discussed. Why not use that as the template? Neutral mood with an array of expressions to number key in while directing? Seems like it would really increase the ability to make convincing animations yet keep the super simple interface which keeps creativity focused on good material rather than if the left eyebrow should be up 1/2" or if the nostril should be 3% more flared. Direct, don't animate, yes?
permalink
13/07/2011 20:24:11

DreekoMuvizu mogulExperimental user
Dreeko
Posts: 1258
Hi Danimal

These pics show that you can create any expression from six primary expressions



Now if we could have a feature which allows us to select two of these expressions and morph between them using a slider which would give us a third expression,

which in turn could be placed in one of the 9 numberpad locations for a "direct expressions" mode

then in the way that you describe we could merrily click between expressions ( primary, secondary and tertiary ) as we so desired.

But...

The expressions would still be rapidly "switching" as the timeline progresses and not morphing or "sliding"

So...

If we could change the "switching" to "sliding" between two expressions on the timeline we could have gradual smiles, frowns, anger etc. appearing on characters faces over time.

Or would it simply be better to use the "ball in a circle" control that directs the head position around to move the mouth shape from happy to sad (and the variants between) and have a similar separate control for eyebrows left and right with a tick box for movement in unison?


There are many ways in which facial animation could be implemented within Muvizu and the best one (in my opinion) will be the one which maintains the simplicity and expressiveness of the digital puppetry approach that Muvizu has achieved so well, without making the process a chore.

Cheers

D
permalink
13/07/2011 21:36:05

DanimalMuvizu mogulExperimental user
Danimal
Posts: 477
Well howdy Dreeko!
Dreeko wrote:
Or would it simply be better to use the "ball in a circle" control that directs the head position around to move the mouth shape from happy to sad (and the variants between) and have a similar separate control for eyebrows left and right with a tick box for movement in unison?

I have had nothing but poor results or 20 takes using the "ball in a circle" as it's in there currently and almost without exception use the number keys to move the character's head. I've often wished for a key control to gradually move, but almost never use the mouse as the result is not what I want 99% of the time.

I hate using the mouse. If I could never have to touch the mouse I'd be in heaven. Anything using the numberpad is an improvement in my book, that's one of the reasons I enjoy this software as much as I do. Not much of what I ever do happens "over time" anyway, I'm more of an "instant emotional change" kind of guy.

I do realize everything I'm saying is because it's what I want versus what might actually be the best approach, it was just a thought I had to implement facial expressions while taking away the tedium and manual process of actually animating them.
edited by Danimal on 13/07/2011
permalink
pages: 1 2 | the topic is closed

Home ? Feedback ? Facial animation