View Full Version : Motion Merge

12-02-2010, 08:00 PM

Quick summary for people in a hurry:
Anyone knows a way of merging motions? I need to merge motions from several scenes.They are the same objects, but animated by several people on several scenes. Now need to merge all the animations, so if Scene 1 has the object animating from Frame 1 to 20 and Scene2 has the same object animting from frame 21 to 35, I need to merge that so that I get an animation from frame 1 to 35.

Long explanation for thorough folks:
I needed a character animated fast, so I sent the same setup for several animators. Each one did his own thing (a walk cycle here, sitting down there, looking around somewhere else) and delivered the finished animations. So now I have the character animated how I wanted, but I need all the animations to be in the SAME scene.

I noticed that we now have a "Merge only motion envelopes" in the "Load Items from Scene" panel. I thought I was safe and didn-t care much about this... But now that I tried it, I realize this is really picky and must have some constraints, as I am not getting the results I wanted (instead of mergin motions I have duplicated objects, only some of the objects have their motions merged, not all). It seems that if the objects have not the exact same hierarchy this will not work. So guess what! Of course i sent the same rig for every animator, but each animator has his own way of working, so some prefer IKtarget controllers free from the main rig, other like them parented to the spine so that they keep following the character-s movement. Others added some bones where needed, etc, so, the hierarchies are not the same. I am not completely sure that's the reason, it just is not working as I expected (I expected that if the name was the same it would load the motion and merge it).
Since this doesn't work, I would like to merge the motions in any other way. Any way of doing that? A plugin perhaps?!


12-02-2010, 09:01 PM
The two most straightforward methods:

1. Bake the motion onto the deformation bones in all scenes using Petter Sundnes Motion Baker script. Scrap everything else. Then use Load from Scene with merge-motion. If the bone hierarchies are not the same, I suppose you will have to build your own deformation rig that accommodate all others. An intermediary of sorts. Make your rig follow the others. Bake your rigs motion. Load and merge. Alot of work no doubt, first to match it to all rigs, then to clean up any pops as it swaps from one rigs motion to anothers.

2. Bake the deformation of the mesh in all scenes and splice them together using native or dponts mdd tools. If the deformation rigs are different, then naturally you'll have pops as it swaps from one to the other.

3. Place your video cuts where the rig changes. :)

12-02-2010, 09:18 PM
I would open each of the scenes, create an actor using Motionmixer, export each of the animations as hmot. Then I would create a new scene with the character, create a Motionmixer actor and load each hmot.

12-02-2010, 11:35 PM
I generally do that using IKBoost. You can save poses and motion clips from a whole character or parts of a character and paste them onto another character directly or by saving the poses and motions then reloading them on the other character anywhere in the timeline.

12-20-2010, 09:38 AM
Hello everybody!

Thank you all for your replies and deeply sorry for not thanking you sooner! It was very hectic over here, finishing this project, and I never had time for anything, sometimes not even for sleep (I actually had work sessions of 30 hours straight!).

As for the solutions presented, I had thought about Motion Mixer as well, but since everytime I tried to use that thing I had tons of problems, it has been years since I touched it (at least since the 8.0 or even 7.5 days where it had serious show-stopping bugs), so since I didn't have time to experiment much and I couldn't afford to invest time in something that had lots of potential to explode in my face further down the line, I really didn't consider it.

As for IKBoost, I know it allows to copy poses and even motions, but I couldn't see how I could even use that in the present situation, as the problem was that the same character had several loop animations spread among several scenes, and the problem was to bring them all together in one scene.

BTW... Larry?! Is that really you? If you are, does that mean it's all a lot better now? Are things better?! I couldn't follow the blog in the last few weeks, so I do hope so!

I almost fainted reading evenflcw first solution. Jesus, making another rig on top of it all? And have to do it in all the scenes?! ? That would have killed the project, and taking me in the process!

But your second suggestion was the base for the solution I finally used! I baked every scene into MDDs and merged them together. Not the best method, for sure, not because of the difficulty but because it was just very very boring! I mean, I had to do it sequentially.
-Bake one scene
-load another scene, shift all keys to the end of the length of the previous scene
-load the baked MDD int the characters (so as soon as it ended the present scene keydriven animation would start)
-calculate the motion dynamics for the characters in the key-range of the present scene
-re-scan with MDScan all the animation form the beginning and saving the final baked animation (thus adding this scene animation into the last baked one)
-load the next scene and repeat

This way I baked the MDDs sequentially, over about a dozen scenes for each character. This was not difficult, just boring and very prone to error, as after so many scenes and so many steps something went wrong (specially because I was very tired). And if something was wrong, I had to go back and redo a lot of the steps, because this was sequential, just like editing video in the pre-NLE days!

Anyway, project is finally done, even if almost one month behind. Well, at least finished before Christmas!

Thank you all and again sorry for the delay.

12-20-2010, 01:09 PM
Thanks for returning and describing your final process, the advantages and disadvantages with it. It's always very interesting and valuable knowledge. It helps us all, users and developers.

I haven't ever used IKBs motion copy/paste. And I wonder if it's really as limited as you suspect. Larry, nice to see you back in the forum talking LW. Could you perhaps shed some more light on this? It's not just copy, paste, but save and load aswell, no?

PS. I'm sorry all my suggestions were boring and tedious. :)

12-22-2010, 09:31 PM
I haven't ever used IKBs motion copy/paste. And I wonder if it's really as limited as you suspect.

I really didn't spend much time with it, but the problem is not in the copy/paste of motions, but in merging animation from several scenes without destroying what's already in the scene.

PS. I'm sorry all my suggestions were boring and tedious. :)

LOL! No, as I said, it was your suggestion about MDD baking that lead me to a (passable) solution.

02-15-2011, 03:14 AM
Hello all, I thought I'd join the conversation a little late since I need to do something very similar. I have three sequential scenes with all the same objects and I need to merge into one, so that my client can render everything with a single F10. I would just set up RenderQ for him but he might want to change lighting or something so he would have to do it on all 3 scenes. I don't have characters or anything, just simple object and camera animation. I think I've figured out how to add everything to Motion mixer, but I don't see how to export it.

OK I got it, there were some errors but I managed to work around them.