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View Full Version : once again: we need a path designer in layout and a speed channel



zardoz
07-22-2009, 03:10 AM
I've asked for this before but we don't have it yet so here I am again...
we need to be able to draw a path in layout using nulls, or helpers or something...but IN Layout! not draw some curve in modeler and then send it to layout or any other trick like that. We need to design this path with nulls, choose the kind of curve like bezier etc, and then attach some object, light or camera to this path. Then we should only have to edit the objects SPEED channel along the path. And of course the number of frames the object needs to do the path would vary with the speed.

I'm tired of keyframing a camera's motion and then my boss says it's too fast there or too slow here, and when I edit the cameras keyframes it's path changes...

I work in a studio with 20 other people using max and xsi, I'm the only lightwave user there and it's embarrassing watching them do this with 3 clicks, and having them laughing at me using my arcaic methods.

please if newtek doesn't do this if someone with the necessary skills could create this as a plugin.

tx for reading

Luis

Mr Rid
07-22-2009, 04:03 AM
I hear ya. Meanwhile, use the Dope Track (if not already), the Path Tool can be helpful to edit your motion spline (most dont realize it is even there), and applying Speedometer (Geometry tab) might help by visualizing speed changes. Scaling keys in the Graph Editor works to change overall speed.
75486

probiner
07-22-2009, 05:22 AM
Nice Tips Mr. Rid :)

Hope your are heard zardoz. To control velocity is a great deal for animation. About the path with nulls, it might not be difficult for those in that department to program that, Wind dynamics has a Animation Path, in Wind Mode, that is drawn with nulls.
Yeah i don't see much ppl using LW around here. Altough some ask me about Core, wich i know nothing.

Cheers

SplineGod
07-22-2009, 05:47 AM
You can use Dponts node item motion to do that. Create your path and apply this plugin. The node has a time input so you can use a curve to control the time an item spend on its path.

UnCommonGrafx
07-22-2009, 08:11 AM
Hmm, build that once then how many clicks, Larry? :)

Denis has really built some forward thinking stuff in his node implementations. Amazing and quite functional free stuff!

zardoz
07-22-2009, 09:43 AM
Larry, so I create a path with a camera, then open motion options for the camera and add "Item motion node editor" right?
Then opening this I see the node in the right (this node doesn't have a time input...) and I searched the other nodes from dpont and found the one on the left...how do I use this?
sorry but besides regular stuff I'm not very smart with nodes.

dpont
07-22-2009, 11:00 AM
If your path reference is regular (constant speed)
you can vary time input in a DPKit Item Info node,
using a Constant Scalar node with an envelope.

For irregular path reference,
I added a "Covered Dist" input and a "Pos" output in Motion Info node,
taking a reference item with arbitrary path and speed, another item can
follow the same path with a constant speed, just enter a single Time Info
input (db&w) to get 1 meter per second.

Then if you want to vary this constant speed,
...take it as reference for an Item Info etc...

Available for win32 yet,
Denis.

SplineGod
07-22-2009, 11:34 AM
These extra nodes you guys have added really add to LWs capabilities, thanks! :)

dpont
07-22-2009, 12:32 PM
Added also a Rotation, Scaling and Time outputs,
to the x32 DP Kit Motion Info node,
but of course all channels are relative to the covered
distance of the selected reference position.

Here a simple scene (time envelope for 25 fps),
75510

Denis.

probiner
07-22-2009, 01:21 PM
:ohmy: Great one

cagey5
07-22-2009, 01:39 PM
I get the error message 'no plug-in of type itemmotionhandler found with name nodeitemmotion' on loading the scene.

I have downloaded and installed the latest DP Kit.

PC 32

probiner
07-22-2009, 02:24 PM
I was struggling with same thing.
It's not in DP Kit yet.
http://pagesperso-orange.fr/dpont/plugins/nodes/Additionnal_Nodes_2.html got o bottom of the left Menu: Node Editors (Intel only) and open Node Item Motion where the link to download is ;)

cagey5
07-22-2009, 02:58 PM
cheers

adk
07-22-2009, 05:31 PM
... never knew you could do this with nodes so thanks a heap for the info guys :thumbsup: I am struggling to get that scene that Denis posted working as expected. I'm trying to get null2 to follow the path of null1 but at a constant speed as Denis describes with no luck. (Have the latest Motion Info node & db&w Time Info)

Could someone post the node diagram perhaps ? Cheers


adk

probiner
07-22-2009, 05:59 PM
adk, Dpont has set the scene already.
Select Null2 and go to motion options. Check the Modifiers Tab and there you go. I'ts a Motion Modifier that uses Nodes :boogiedow

Cageman
07-22-2009, 06:12 PM
To help animating the velocity, there is actually a velocity curve avaliable in GE that can help you tweak the motion alot.

Also, you can easily "draw" a motionpath in Layout by animating any item; just turn on Show Motionpaths, to see the actual curve of the animated object. This, in conjunction with displaying the velocity curve in GE gives you alot of info on where to tweak without breaking the overall motionpath.

adk
07-22-2009, 07:03 PM
adk, Dpont has set the scene already.
Select Null2 and go to motion options. Check the Modifiers Tab and there you go. I'ts a Motion Modifier that uses Nodes :boogiedow

... I got all that probiner from the scene with no probs but nothing is connected. I can get the null to go along at constant speed in a linear fashion but not along the path of null1 & at constant speed no matter what I plug into where ? That's where I'm confused.





To help animating the velocity, there is actually a velocity curve avaliable in GE that can help you tweak the motion alot.

Also, you can easily "draw" a motionpath in Layout by animating any item; just turn on Show Motionpaths, to see the actual curve of the animated object. This, in conjunction with displaying the velocity curve in GE gives you alot of info on where to tweak without breaking the overall motionpath.

I use this all the time to smooth out motion paths and timings Cageman but it's nothing like MAX's ability to whack anything onto a path an give it a constant velocity / speed.

probiner
07-22-2009, 07:23 PM
ok, adk. I had everything connected in the scene dpont posted.
Check the attachement, it has the scene and the Nodes files. Also an image of the flow.

Cheers

PS: sorry i was messing around wiht the scene from dpont so i think the original values of the scalar graphic and the Multiply were different. Multiply value was 10 and the second point in the graphic was a bit lower.

adk
07-22-2009, 07:31 PM
Gracias amigo :thumbsup: very much appreciated.
Not sure why mine comes in unconnected ? But I'll have a play with yours & see how I go. Cheers

EDIT : Now I know why ... my Motion Info doesn't look anything like what you have. I must have something old in the plugins somewhere ? No wonder. Thanks for posting that screen grab. That helped me find the problem.

adk
07-22-2009, 08:15 PM
... I'm not sure about anyone else but for me this really is a godsend :thumbsup: thanks a bunch folks. Animating along paths and keeping the speed constant should be a breeze now.

Just out of curiosity, was there a different technique / trick for getting constant speed along an irregular path other than using the graph editor & the show speed/velocity options ?

adk

probiner
07-22-2009, 09:01 PM
I've never done a Motion Path but i guess that if its based on the points of a spline if fairly easy to keep it constant.

Draw the Path with splines.
Make a small polygon Rail Extrude with Uniform Lengths.
Select a Loop of points from beggining to end of the tube shape, inverse selection and delete the points, make an open curve with the loop.
i guess the vertices in the curve are at same distance so there you go
I never used Motion Path so i don't know how it works and how does Layout reads the points.
To change velocity just use the Strecth tool in Graph Editor.

The interesting about this Plugin from Dpont is not the just constancy tough adk.
Its about to edit the Speed seperatly of the direction/motion path.
In graph editor Tension/Bias tweak you will mess with the path's shape.

But with this plugin you can have a very precise drawn movement, and then later you can put the timming over that movement with much more control.

Of course this nodal form with the need of another object might not be the best, but it is a breaktrough for LW i guess/wonder.
Hope core brings new stuff. After Effects kind of graphic could be ok, don't know.

Cheers

SplineGod
07-22-2009, 09:11 PM
If y ou export a spline as a motion path each vertex on it reprsents 5 frames so youll need to adjust/scale things in layout.

probiner
07-22-2009, 09:44 PM
Roger Larry, thanks for the input, didn't know that
I tryed doing one and its a lot of frames, eheh.

Normally i scale stuff with graph editor cause scene editor doesnt snap to frame, making fractional frames that are harder to control, but in this case for contant speed, the scene editor keyframes strecthing gives better results.

Cheers

adk
07-22-2009, 10:50 PM
I've used the spline approach very rarely as it's not at all intuitive when you are talking about camera paths and motions - that is usually what needs smoothing out in terms of speed & rotations for the stuff that I do. Sorry should have clarified that a bit perhaps.


probiner - I do love & appreciate the fact that speed & path are treated separately in this approach. Now if I can figure out how to do the same for rotations (as in keeping a constant rotation speed) I'll really be cooking with gas :thumbsup:

probiner
07-22-2009, 11:20 PM
adk, the best you can do is to post something of the stuff you do :P

Cause i don't see, now, any issues in doing constant speed rotations in graph editor, using Linear interporation.
The problem with Position is that you dont control Position over a path, but the Position over an Axis. But with Dpont plugin the Path becomes the Axis :D So you're not saying how much XYZ changes over time but how much Path's Distance changes over time.

With Rotation that's not a problem since rotation axis is always over the path i'ts moving.
Still, notice in Dpont scene that he also uses Rotation for the object. The Null1 is Aligned to it's path, so it will do the Null 2.

Cheers

:2guns::ohmy::jam:GREAT STUFF DPONT:jam::2guns::ohmy:

adk
07-23-2009, 12:17 AM
Heya probiner ... man I really need to wrap my head around these nodes one day. Some days it sticks while others it's all an uphill battle for me. Today is latter unfortunately.

My stuff is typically arch-vis & because I also use MAX (mostly as a need rather than a want) I see how easily and effectively one can animate a camera on a path with a constant speed and very smooth rotations. Something that's quite a chore to do in LW.

I must apologise for having foot-in-mouth-in-keyboard disease today. Nothing I type is as clear as it should be.

In the scene posted the actual rotations work like a treat but they do tend to snap a little (as in not being smooth enough) in the more kinked parts of the path. No biggie as one would just do that by hand I guess - or perhaps target the camera on an another object moving with a nice constant speed. How would one go about smoothing out the rotation using nodes as in this example ?

In terms of those smoother rotations I guess what I'm after is something similar to what MAX does. I might have to put a quick scene together perhaps to show what I mean as I'm requesting more from past "visual memory" rather than from an actual scene in front of me.


Could not agree more about nodes & Denis & everyone else that contributes such wonderful stuff to the LW community. My hat off to all you great folks :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

zardoz
07-23-2009, 02:43 AM
that's why I started this thread and request...if you animate a camera with a few keyframes and the path is approved by the client/boss it can become problematic if then they want it to go faster here or slower there. And if you have rotations too (in all 3 axes) then you're in big trouble.
My coworkers in max they simply draw a path (not keyframes) and animate the speed of the camera in that path...
And I've been struggling with these problems for so long now...
tx dennis for your amazing nodes.

zardoz
07-23-2009, 03:25 AM
I just to leave here a useful plugin to use with dennis nodes for motion.
If we use a null to draw the path and then we apply dennis nodes in another object/camera/light this object won't show the motion path so I use this plugin
http://www.flay.com/plugs/downloads/f_Custom_DrawMotionPath_v1.1.zip
http://www.flay.com/GetDetail.cfm?ID=1353
withthe null that draws the path in the objects properties/add custom object.
This way this null will always have the motion path displayed. Very useful. And it seems a lot more light than lightwaves.

SplineGod
07-23-2009, 03:27 AM
Theres also the curve constraint plugin which allows you to create a path as a spline in modeler and contol how fast an object moves along it. You can load splines into layout but you need to make them visible using the show curve command. Conversely you can also save your motion path from layout, use the path to curve function in modeler to convert that to a spline and send that spline back into layout.

zardoz
07-23-2009, 03:30 AM
I know that one Larry but if you want to edit the path you have to go back to modeler. I wanted a solution only for layout and this seems to do it just fine. This way I can change an objects speed, even make it go back in the path, etc.

By the way after setting the nodes, I keep the graph editor open for the scalar, and close the node editor because it gets really, really slow to edit anything with the node editor open. Maybe dennis nodes are evaluating stuff and everything slows down...a lot!

dpont
07-23-2009, 04:21 AM
Yes, the node editor preview can be disabled.

Denis.

probiner
07-23-2009, 06:33 AM
You can make LW draw the motion path. Just go to frame 999999 and Create Keyframe. Plugin looks cool but with it, LW skipped even more frames when i hit Play :( So its clunky with both to me (Node edit closed its a bit less clunkier but still eating frames).
I instead use ShowHide (http://www.flay.com/GetDetail.cfm?ID=1548) (edited the LScript to only hide Motion Paths :P)

adz, i felt the same about the rotations.
The problem is since the speed is constant, parts of the path with small detail will lose resolution there so its spread to the whole path.
Like in Dpont's scene the Null1 has detail in the motion path from frame 30 to frame 50 (20 frames for that small space). But Null2 does it in 10 frames.

I see 3 thigs you can do:
1- Avoid tight curves.
2- Increase the overall time (not very good tough)
3-Divide the constant speed in parts.

One good way i think to work with this plugin is to keep the multiply Node at 1.0. Register the frame it arrives to the end, then go to Scalar's GE. The value that frame is the total distance covered by the camera. You can make a keyframe with that value, so you know that at frame X it has covered the whole Path. Even if you make changes in the middle at a frame X it will be exacly in the end.
So by moving this ENDkeyframe over time you might control how many frames you want for that motion path. And after, make changes in middle to smooth those rotations

In Dpont's Scene the Lenght of the Path is 34 meters. So you pin point locations of the path by watching the Scalar Graph Editor Values.

Check this scene file, check the scalar (multiply is at 1). A keyframe is set with 34 meters at frame 150. From 16.84 to 19.3 meters; constant speed, but slower rate. And the same from 19.3 to 19.975 meters; even slower.
So the overall speed ain't constant anymore, but you can break it into constant parts to give enough frames for smaller details in the path.

Cheers

dpont
07-23-2009, 08:18 AM
...
The problem is since the speed is constant, parts of the path with small detail will lose resolution there so its spread to the whole path...

If the object needs to 'read' more subframe details
of the reference motion, if it is slower than the reference
in a part of motion, you can try to increase the
number of samples in Motion Info node.

Denis.

zardoz
07-23-2009, 09:01 AM
but i want this exactly to chang the speed so in thight bends it can go slower, I just envelope the scalar.

probiner
07-23-2009, 10:38 AM
If the object needs to 'read' more subframe details
of the reference motion, if it is slower than the reference
in a part of motion, you can try to increase the
number of samples in Motion Info node.
Denis.

Yes Denis it's a great setting.

Another great possibility with this plugin is that you can modulate one object's speed with other object speed, by just putting a copy of the node set to a different reference object. Made a small scene file with that.


Only have to say that i had some crashes while using it :\ Other than that, It's Great :dance:

Cheers

adk
07-23-2009, 05:42 PM
Cheers a bunch for all your comments and input guys :thumbsup: I'm off to play with this a little more to see how it all gels together

adk