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Support for unlicensed users => Post here if you can't find your License Key => Topic started by: blendman on February 05, 2012, 06:27:57 am

Title: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 05, 2012, 06:27:57 am
Hi All,

Now I have to say I only just installed the new Advanced Animation Plug-in, so still need to explore this more before I have despair!   :D 

Question:  Any tutorials on how to make the most of this feature??  What happened to START BUTTON and FINISH BUTTON.  ???

Your help much appreciated.

Regards,

blendman
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 05, 2012, 09:34:27 am

hi blendman ,
 i dont think the new Advanced Animation Plug-in , has be conceptualized just yet,
 but i have a feeling that it will provide , everything needed for quality animation scenes.


(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2493/4117899301_34fac68c38.jpg)



Thanks Dazomatic,

If you purchase a plug-in does this entitle you to updates???  and will there be updates to the Advanced Animation PIN????

regards,

blendman
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: Aliki_N on February 05, 2012, 10:25:41 am
What are you guys talking about? Isn't the advanced animation plugin, the new animation plugin  that now consists of animation keys and path??? I mean the plugin that moon walks the characters?? I also havent got the hang of this, I need a tutorial too, things just loop & slide themselves at the moment. I have got a submission to make in two weeks time, that involve crowd control and I am worried that I havent figured out how to stop characters from moon walking and looping. I sent a post 3weeks ago, I haven't received any feed back on this one.
I would really appreciate if anyone could give us a tutorial on this one. I do recall there is a demonstration on animating a ship through a path by lumion team, but even that, seems to slide facing one direction without smoothly following the path direction.
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 06, 2012, 07:38:12 am
Hey Alickn, 

You just confirmed within me that the Advanced Animation Plugin really does need Lumion staff assistance with regards to tutorial.  e.g. alone - I tried to import a FBX animation file - no animation!  So what am I doing wrong....

No manual - no tutorials - starting to feel frustrated too!    ???

Regards,

blendman
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: peterm on February 06, 2012, 08:38:56 am
Edit here:
Just remembered that you use Blender, but the transform animation via FBX is only for export from Max, so are you using Max to do the export?
-------------

As in other reply in Sky Drop, depends on what you are trying and expecting to do with your import FBX.  You do need to be more specific or supply test file.

Animation import only supports transform animations (move/scale/rotate).

You don't need to import animation in order to use the Advanced Animation video effect tool(s), and vicecersa.

The Advanced Animation would appear to be a first cut at things.  See my comments in Bugs and Wishes on AA, it might be useful (or fog things, depends) as it can give you some idea of things that might not work as should and need some form of change (perhaps).  There's a number of issues which I'm sure the dev team are aware of and hopefully flat tack fixing/improving/enhanceing as we speak  :-D

Looping should not be a default of an animation but is currently, it has its uses but needs to be under control of user.

I would like to have time to do some tutorials but not plausible at moment, sorry.  

I can maybe point to the following that might help:
1. combine your knowledge and skills of using Lumion in terms of:
   1a. making keyframes:  from video clip editor, whenver you change an effect setting a keyframe is recorded and displayed in the main scrubbar,
   1b. Basic Animation:  any change in position/rotation/scale as you move or rotate etc the transform of an object will ne part of the animation,
   1c. recording animation changes: as in video edit and Basic Animation effect: any change in position/rotation/scale as you change is reflected as a new keyframe and the keyframe visual will appear on scrubbar,
   1d. video clip editor or video snapshot.clip editor: scrubbar to either play or scroll/scrub back and forth over the clip and thus the animation plays,
   2a. whats different from Basic A is you are given a visual (line) of the animation path, as in other software,  each keyframe is a specific transform change and everything in between is calculated,
   2b. you can go from keyframe to keyframe by clicking on the little circle with line beneath it, and your object will move to the recorded trasnform, if you want to change ie edit that, then whilst on that keyframe, just move/rotate/scale and the keyframe will update, (see feedback re clicking on keyframes accurately), it's not 'hard' though to select a keyframe

In most cases you are best to set the length of time showing for an animation to the current max of 30 seconds (left hand side, up/down arrows to set length), then start recording your keyframes.

I did that Xmas scene with Santa fly-in as a test of the AA, and it does take a little while and corrections for things but once oyu get the hang (and know the current limitations, and maybe find some news ones  :'(  ) it's basic to operate and achieve of course more than using the Basic Anim effect.

Leave it there for the moment.

Best of luck, quiet perseverence (and a little patience  :) ) will pay off.
 
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: kais Jacob on February 06, 2012, 08:42:57 am
Bonjour Blendman
I think the law in Lumion is Make yourself yor tutorials  ;) :D :-D >:( :( :o
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: peterm on February 06, 2012, 08:46:25 am
Just one other thing; your post is headed where to start;

After reading the feedback on the new AAnim, I would suggest, (unless you have specific work need to import animations, which do work fine, others have done so), that you start with:

1. use the Basic Anim and do a simple motion from A to B
2. then do the same simple sort of simple motion from A to B in AAnim
3. progress to adding in more keyframes so another simple motion frm A to B to C without using rotate or scale, just position changes
4. follow that by working with the AAnim editing window to change a keyframe etc
5. build on form there only when things are going smoothly.

Do the Max transform animation by export/import as a separate task not in anyway associated with the AAnim efffect tool.

Cheers.
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 06, 2012, 08:57:11 am
Wow Peter,  this is most appreciated.  Two things:  first is I think I expected more from the Advance Plugin then it can provide.  Second is I'm showing impatience, what I obviously need to do is to slow down, and do some experimenting myself.  Kais is quite write - the tutorials will need to come from me.  What is nice is you have provided a nice road map to start experimenting.  I really wanted to avoid keyframes to do my animation, hence to create basic loop animations in blender and then export in FBX.

 Obviously this is more complicated then I orginally thought, and it seems there are far few people who are using Lumion, AND Blender, AND the Advanced Animation tool (henceforth referred to as 'AA')! , so I guess I just need to try work this out myself.

One alterantive I had in mind is acquiring a basic FBX file - say a walk cycle that works in Lumion, and then study tosee the difference for exporting using Blender -> Lumion

If anyone would like to share, this would be appreciated.

Okay time to sit donw and do some experimenting.

Once again, many thanks.

blendman

Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 06, 2012, 09:00:38 am
Edit here:
Just remembered that you use Blender, but the transform animation via FBX is only for export from Max, so are you using Max to do the export?

BLENDMAN ANSWERS:  NO JUST USING BLENDER HERE.  I'M ASSUMING , PROBABLY WRONGLY, THAT A FBX FILE IS A FBX FILE AND IT CONTAINS ALL THE IMPORTED MATERIAL, I.E. MESH AND OTHER ANIMATION KEYFRAME DATA, HENCE DOES NOT MATTER WHETHER BY 3DSMAX OR BLENDER, OR ANY OTHER ANIMATION SOFTWARE TOOL!

-------------

As in other reply in Sky Drop, depends on what you are trying and expecting to do with your import FBX.  You do need to be more specific or supply test file.

Animation import only supports transform animations (move/scale/rotate).

You don't need to import animation in order to use the Advanced Animation video effect tool(s), and vicecersa.

The Advanced Animation would appear to be a first cut at things.  See my comments in Bugs and Wishes on AA, it might be useful (or fog things, depends) as it can give you some idea of things that might not work as should and need some form of change (perhaps).  There's a number of issues which I'm sure the dev team are aware of and hopefully flat tack fixing/improving/enhanceing as we speak  :-D

Looping should not be a default of an animation but is currently, it has its uses but needs to be under control of user.

I would like to have time to do some tutorials but not plausible at moment, sorry.  

I can maybe point to the following that might help:
1. combine your knowledge and skills of using Lumion in terms of:
   1a. making keyframes:  from video clip editor, whenver you change an effect setting a keyframe is recorded and displayed in the main scrubbar,
   1b. Basic Animation:  any change in position/rotation/scale as you move or rotate etc the transform of an object will ne part of the animation,
   1c. recording animation changes: as in video edit and Basic Animation effect: any change in position/rotation/scale as you change is reflected as a new keyframe and the keyframe visual will appear on scrubbar,
   1d. video clip editor or video snapshot.clip editor: scrubbar to either play or scroll/scrub back and forth over the clip and thus the animation plays,
   2a. whats different from Basic A is you are given a visual (line) of the animation path, as in other software,  each keyframe is a specific transform change and everything in between is calculated,
   2b. you can go from keyframe to keyframe by clicking on the little circle with line beneath it, and your object will move to the recorded trasnform, if you want to change ie edit that, then whilst on that keyframe, just move/rotate/scale and the keyframe will update, (see feedback re clicking on keyframes accurately), it's not 'hard' though to select a keyframe

In most cases you are best to set the length of time showing for an animation to the current max of 30 seconds (left hand side, up/down arrows to set length), then start recording your keyframes.

I did that Xmas scene with Santa fly-in as a test of the AA, and it does take a little while and corrections for things but once oyu get the hang (and know the current limitations, and maybe find some news ones  :'(  ) it's basic to operate and achieve of course more than using the Basic Anim effect.

Leave it there for the moment.

Best of luck, quiet perseverence (and a little patience  :) ) will pay off.
 
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: peterm on February 06, 2012, 09:32:08 am
Unless they export from Blender exactly as Max exports then if they have just 1 thing different then it may not work, of course it may and would be interersting to see if does out of the box, but the FBX importer for Lumion would be written to the FBX Max exporter specification only.

In my experience, FBX like many other (and thats where Collada was supposed to have saved the day) can be interpreted as to what goes in or not and even versions of FBX can be  different, and an FBX from one software is not the same as another, its not a supposed supported 'standard'.

Note as mentioned also that at the moment the AAnim does not support skins or morphs, its transform only, any character type animation is completely internal for Lumion using the PointCache method and them doing whats needed to get the character running in Lumion. 

Does Blender export nicely to Collada?

If you have Deep Explorer or Okino or one or 2 other general 3D mesh tools, then of course you can export, convert and import in diff format (caveat: most/some of the time).
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 06, 2012, 09:45:09 am
Peterm asked:  Does Blender export nicely to Collada?

Peter,  You comments about FBX and Blender/MAX are all noted.
 

Yes and no.  I modeled the RMS Lusitania with many hundreds of thousands of polygons and it worked surprsingly fine, whereas FBX stuffed up import.  On other models FBX is the preferred.

Peterm wrote, inter alia:

If you have Deep Explorer or Okino or one or 2 other general 3D mesh tools, then of course you can export, convert and import in diff format


Blendman wrote:
I would assume Blender now is capable to do all general 3D mesh requirements, but I could wrong here...
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: Morten on February 06, 2012, 02:47:42 pm
Hi Blendman, regarding the Blender animation import issue, the animation is imported when I export an animated cube from Blender 2.61 to FBX format with the default settings (but Scale = 100 instead of 1). Are you using an older version of Blender by any chance?

If it still doesn't work, I'd be grateful if you could start a new thread in the Importing section - otherwise Artur, our import/export guru, won't know that there is a problem.

In that thread, please state which version of Blender you're using and upload the following:

1) The Blender file with the animated object(s)
2) The exported FBX file
3) A screenshot of the export settings that you used in Blender.

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: peterm on February 06, 2012, 11:00:36 pm
Just for general, I did a quick export test from Blender (v2.61, win64 release). 

Using one of the test samples from Blender site - the lamp (luxo) and export as is, as it appeared to be mainly transform anim to FBX using default export settings and also Collada.

Attached video is result of export with FBX, worked fine (as is) animation plays immediately in Lumion after import.  Collada did not seem to work but only tried the once.

So FBX, at least as it supported the animation for that particular sample worked OK with Lumion. 

I must try and find some time (among the 500 other softwares  ::) ) to have a closer look at Blender, looks a lot different now than few years back.
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 07, 2012, 05:56:42 am

Hi Peter and Morten,

I was using v2.61, win64 release but part of the problem may be I did not define the length of the animation for completion.  I will test you file out and get back to you!  I am much relieved it works as Blender now is a very powerful, mature, modelling, animation and compositing tool! 

Morten,

I will post all in the Import section very soon. 

Many thanks for your efforts.  Fantastic support here!

Always appreciative,

blendman
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: TJA on February 07, 2012, 11:25:24 am
Well' I still need to see a video tutorial on how to use the animation plug, with key frames. Especially when you animate a few cars and people at the same time... Please any of you clever 'buggers' that has got it down to a 'T'. Thanks.  ???
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: Morten on February 07, 2012, 11:52:43 am
I will test you file out and get back to you!  I am much relieved it works as Blender now is a very powerful, mature, modelling, animation and compositing tool!
Hmm, could you get smooth shading to work when importing the model in Lumion?
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Manual/Modeling/Meshes/Smoothing (http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Manual/Modeling/Meshes/Smoothing)

I've tried a bunch of different settings in the FBX exporter but in vain so far. I've now forwarded the relevant files to Artur, so that he can take a look when he's done with his current tasks.

Or perhaps I'm just not using the right settings?
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: Morten on February 07, 2012, 12:12:21 pm
Well' I still need to see a video tutorial on how to use the animation plug, with key frames.

We'll start making video tutorials as soon as the long-awaited 2.1 Build 1 has been released.
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: SEVERINO on February 07, 2012, 12:23:32 pm
We'll start making video tutorials as soon as the long-awaited 2.1 Build 1 has been released.

But will this brother?
I refer to the release of new L2.1 B1. I can not wait to check the new version, with the start of a great job I have held and I'm not waiting to start the new version.

Please Ferry, fix the missing item and release the world what Lumion new.

Best Regards
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 07, 2012, 01:58:53 pm

Att:  Peterm

I've spend a good part of the morning experimenting Blender and importing the animated file into Lumion.  The scret is to ensure you have a tight keyframe that loops.  Beyond that it does work fine. It now opens up a whole new possiblity of creating impressive movies in Lumion.

I also think there is a place for creating FBX files using 3DSMAX or Blender etc. and using keyframes.  They both have their merits as animation tools.

So, in conclusion, I'm pretty happy to have acquired the Advanced Animation Plug-in.  Who knows, it some experience, I might do a tutorial or two myself. hehe  ::)

Many thanks for kind help.

Regards,

blendman
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: peterm on February 07, 2012, 10:14:02 pm
Good to hear things are working out.

There is definitely untold possibilities in making animatons within the DCC and then using within Lumion, even more so once character animations are supported.  The AAnim tools within Lumion will no doubt/hopefully get stronger and better as well, so we can best practise mix and match to needs and timeframes.

I guess a lot comes down to how is the scene going to be built, plan, plan, design and plan some more.  If the workflow tools are solid, then its going to make ones life just that little bit sweeter.

Did you get a chance to test also exporting to Collada?
As before, the other possibility is to find a good in-between format in export and then convert to something Lumion will be happy with, but if FBX is going to work well then a direct path is always preferable.
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 08, 2012, 05:57:59 am
Peterm wrote:

Did you get a chance to test also exporting to Collada?

Funny you should ask this again, yesterday I tried to import a Sketchup model aircraft in Collada format into Blender 2.61.  The result was the aircraft came in mash of individual components, and missing key faces. 

At present you can only export FBX, not import FBX in Blender

I then tried this with .obj.  This almost worked fine except the structure is ridged faces, and would not allow me to use the Smooth command.

IMHO, Blender is strong in export, but poor in import if you want to include the textures.  In a work pipeline this is frustrating, but I haven't given up on  trials.

BTW, is it possible to edit the code in FBX??

Regards,

blendman
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: peterm on February 08, 2012, 09:25:12 am
BTW, is it possible to edit the code in FBX??

It's easy in Collada, its just an XML file, not sure about FBX.  Risky though.  What's needed is a mesh tool re file converter tool that converts formats well enough either in or out of Blender or both. 

Obj is usually pretty standard but lacks. 

Try X, now getting a bit old in the tooth, but lots still support or there's plugins that do, and as I recall, not too long ago, Blender had a reasonably good X exporter as someone needed it for games models.  Cant recall if it support smoothing gruops though, but going in, I would have thought that could be done by Blender.
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 08, 2012, 02:58:04 pm

Hi Peterm,

x used to be quite good in Blender but a while since I tried it!

Okay, I have done considerable experimenting with keyframes and Armatures in Blender latest release 2.61B.  Having no luck getting Armatures to work in the FBX transfer to Lumion.  Was that blender lamp animation consisting of an Armature?  Would you mind positing the .blend file?

Up till now I have put off sending an e-mail to Arthur in IMPORTS about this problem but will do so just after a little more experimenting.  If Arthur & co can get Armatures to work on Lumion, I expect things will take off!  esp.  when you consider there are 2 million blender users, and who discover how great Lumion is a fast, dynamic rendering engine.

Peter, not sure how experienced you are with mesh and applying Armatures, but I'm hoping there will be a solution to all soon.

Many thanks.

blendman
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: Morten on February 08, 2012, 08:45:28 pm
Hi Blendman, for the time being, you can only import move/rotate/scale animations in Lumion. Bone animations are not supported (= armatures as they're called in Blender).

Artur (not Arthur, they're 2 different people :)), is currently carrying out a feasibility study to determine if it would be possible to import vertex animations, also known as FBX point cache animations.

Point cache animations simply use vertex positions, regardless of whether bones/armatures are involved in the animation, so in theory you would be able to import any type of object animation (although the animation length and the number of vertices will reduce the available graphics card memory).

You can read more about this topic in the following thread:
http://lumion3d.com/forum/index.php?topic=1534.msg19962#msg19962 (http://lumion3d.com/forum/index.php?topic=1534.msg19962#msg19962)
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 09, 2012, 05:36:57 am


Okay thanks Morten,  I wondered about the Arthur/Artur bit!!  Now made clear.

 If you do sort out the point Vertices/Armature use will you incorporate as an upgrade to the Advanced Animation Plug-in???  I was really hoping this existed before I bought it.

As you guys live in the Netherlands presumably next to the Blender Institute, I would assume you can liase with Ton Rosendaal on sorting this out!!   

Note:  I'm currently working on a series of tutorials using Blender with Lumion, esp using keyframes and importing FBX. I will make available after a short trip to Australia.

Many thanks for letting me know all this.

Regards,

blendman
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: Morten on February 09, 2012, 01:44:35 pm
If you do sort out the point Vertices/Armature use will you incorporate as an upgrade to the Advanced Animation Plug-in???

I don't know.

Note:  I'm currently working on a series of tutorials using Blender with Lumion, esp using keyframes and importing FBX.

Good idea, however, I can't seem to get smooth shading to import correctly in Lumion, ie, a box from Blender looks rounded instead of having clearly defined sides - do you have any tips? (I've also asked Artur to investigate this, but he's busy working on other tasks at the moment)
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 12, 2012, 05:25:19 am

Hi Morten,

I have my hands tied until I get back from my trip to  Australia.  Smooth shading does not seem to work, and I suggest your and Artur contact the key coders of the Bender Instititute: either Brecht van Lommel (Belgium), or Campbell Barton (Australian) to iron out the Blender -> Lumion issues.  From my knowledge they are very friendly guys and I'm sure would help to try and sort all out.  The other thing to remember is that Blender source code (Python) is open source, so you and Artur should be able to fid your way through this, unlike proprietary software.

If there is someway of having Artur solve the Armature animation import problem, this would be a great step forward - something many of us would like to us in Lumion.

Let me know how you go.

Regards,

bendman

Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: Morten on February 13, 2012, 02:03:30 pm
Hope your trip to Oz went fine.

I've replied to this and your other post over here:
http://lumion3d.com/forum/index.php?topic=3277.msg20703#msg20703 (http://lumion3d.com/forum/index.php?topic=3277.msg20703#msg20703)
Title: Re: New Animation Plug-in - Just where to start
Post by: blendman on February 14, 2012, 06:55:13 am


Thanks Morten,

I have just now written to Ton Roosendall about the problem, and cc'ed you and Artur.  Lets hope we get answer soon.  By all means work with them directly too.

Australia!!  I leave tonight so you will some peace from all my rabblings for the next couple of weeks, hehehe.   :D

Many thaks for your always professional help.

Regards,

Michael. (blendman)