NLA head Clips library and transfer

edited December 1969 in Carrara Discussion

Hi,

I've borrowed from another area of expertise I have and I'm on the verge of producing a method (therefore tutorials) on how to use NLA with a very flexible clip library idea - for head movements. This will include improving dramatically on the flexibility of mimic pro.

Very exciting, only I've hit a dead end.

NLA clips are not transferable to different models from what I can see (despite a tantalizing sentence in the C7 manual saying you can apply an nla clip to several characters).

Ideally I'd like my library to be created once, brought in as a set of clips and then applied to whatever character in my movie I like.

If someone knows how to do this then please do tell!

Failing that I think a way around it is to have a fully morphed figure. I used M4s so morphs++, F4, H4 injections, and then find some way of copying the settings from one character to another saving that out as a scene file.

So each scene file would be the character and it's morphs held as NLA clips. I'd then import the scene file to use the character in the movie, enjoying the flexibility of NLA clips and a more robust way of editing visemes.

So, how can I get a set of morphs from one character to another? Or do I have to manually look up the settings and apply them. Don't worry about clothes, I'll add them after.

Last ditch idea would be to save out the character with a modified model holding all those morphs in the model. I really don't want to go down that line if I can avoid.

Cheers.

Comments

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,966
    edited December 1969

    NLA clips are not transferable to different models from what I can see (despite a tantalizing sentence in the C7 manual saying you can apply an nla clip to several characters).

    That is true, in the idea that, at that time, many of us would use a single figure, say Michael 4, to make a whole bunch of characters. An NLA from one M4 character will at least load onto another.

    If you wish to try and load an NLA clip onto a different model, say, Genesis, but the clip was made for someone else, like M4, it might still be somewhat possible but the data would have to be tweaked and then saved, once again, for Genesis.

    To do that, with the clip in the clips tab, select the incompatible figure and go to the NLA tab of the figure, not the tray down below. In the NLA settings, select "Load Clip Data".

    This will load the keyframes of the clip onto the model. I make all of my clips for different figure separately, so I've not tried this - but since the hierarchy from one is in a different order than the other, it might be that it just won't work. But it's worth a try.

  • edited February 2014

    Dartan

    Thanks man. Alas no help.

    I'm down to trying to hack an uncompressed Car file. You know you are desperate when it gets to that (which will be pure guess work).

    Using a variety of scenes I've located the clip data, and I can wade through the multiple lines of M4 code. Trouble is although they are similar, they are not the same. So I'm struggling to know where to insert the clip code, or even if it's a doomed idea from the start.

    Last chance saloon here, or the bulk of my weeks work is down the drain and we start again. I can still do this for mimic, the re-set up is not so bad. I was hoping to roll this out to all like figures and save a ton of time.

    [EDIT] I think I'm ok with where the clip code goes, there is a clip section within the figure. I'm probably missing something else (like vertex info?). Find where else or what else clip data works with and its all systems go![/EDIT]

    Post edited by Sci Fi Funk on Youtube on
  • 0oseven0oseven Posts: 492
    edited December 1969

    SciFi

    I just loaded a clip of head moves and expression made (I think) with V4 morphs ++ and ran it on V4 side by side with M4 morphs ++ .

    Worked fine but not on Genesis..

    can post video if you want to see.

  • edited February 2014

    0oseven said:
    SciFi

    I just loaded a clip of head moves and expression made (I think) with V4 morphs ++ and ran it on V4 side by side with M4 morphs ++ .

    Worked fine but not on Genesis..

    can post video if you want to see.

    Thanks doubleo.

    If you are saying you've created an NLA on one character then applied it to another - I'd love to see your workflow from start to finish - because it doesn't work for me.

    Post edited by Sci Fi Funk on Youtube on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,966
    edited December 1969

    Well, if you want to transfer a head animation that you've made for M4 onto Genesis, as an example, just load in M4 and his head clip. Now load in Genesis and match poses from one key to the next - BAM! Head motion clip under way! LOL

    Sorry about that. I know my head isn't always screwed on correctly. But that's what I do - just do it again, and again, and again... I love animating people!

    Another cure is to try and stick closer to using a single generation for certain types of people. I never prefer that, as I just like to let my whims and artistic needs flow from me as I work. Animating is about my favoritest thing to do in the whole world... if only I had more time to do it.

  • edited December 1969

    Thanks Dartan.

    The aim here is to set up many NLA clips, one per viseme for example, on an M4 to be of use to any other M4 I use in the screen. I might have 4 M4s in my scene for example. I'm trying to avoid setting up the same UW viseme 4 times if you see what I mean.

    Dropping onto another M4 track doesn't work. Sure it goes there, but the animation data doesn't show.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,966
    edited December 1969

    I know... I was being... well... me! 8-/
    But wait...
    No, if you make a clip using an M4 figure, it should work the same on another M4, unless there are morphs applied that wrecks the data - which is just something we have to watch for if we want to use these kinds of shortcuts. But I have facial movements that I use for both V4 and M4, and both of those characters have entirely different morphs applied and are even at odd scales that throws off other clips, like walk loops and such. Visemes are a thing, though. With mimic, you're actually encouraged to make separate clips for those on a per-character basis, simply because everyone does express themselves slightly different. But that shouldn't mean that you cannot set up basic visemes to work as a standard. The dmc files that come with mimic pro for Carrara should do that already. If you're having issues, there's something else at play here - either there's already head data in another clip that's already being applied to the figure, or the morphs blow the face so far off the original that it calls for something special. Most M4 characters should work fine with the same set of M4 clips, though - although they'd all look the same when they emote.

  • edited December 1969

    Funnily enough I've changed my experiment to another plain M4 and it works!

    So what are we saying here?

    If I add an M4 within the scene and then add in some morphs NLAis still ok. (Tested).
    If I create a plain M4 and import it, then NLA is ok. (Tested).

    It's my Mr Smith figure. It was created in Carrara, and uses a load of morphs to get the unique face, but it's still a basic M4. So I'm confused. I guess there is a difference in these figures somewhere.

    At least this means the idea is still on. I was just about to conclude I've wasted an entire week, but now if I can figure out WHY it rejects certain M4s then we are back in business.

    Believe me this is significant If I can do it. NLA across multiple characters with better control than mimic.

  • edited December 1969

    Good news!

    I am happy to report that I recreated Mr Smith from scratch, imported him to my blank scene of NLA clips and he animates!

    I think he was created in the original version of Carrara 8, it was in 2011, I wonder if that was it?

    Man. A whole day lost to something that was never going to be right anyway. This is why I can't upgrade to 8.5 - too many little things wont work and you think its you to start with.

    Soon then I can start to talk about my NLA discovery.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,966
    edited December 1969

    Sometimes things get broke, I guess.
    Mimic's manual is really pretty cool. It talks about making custom expression NLAs and such. That's where its magic is. When I get some voice acting completed, then I'll be creating Rosie and Dartan's custom expressive speech NLAs and various emotes. I already have them saved with quite a few of their expressive body lingo, unique to themselves, as well as a bunch of other animations for them. Rosie's way of speaking is very important for me to get right. The hardest part for me to switch over to the new Genesis 2 Female for her, is that I have her V4 version so well equipped with facial expressions that are totally her - all the way! And it HAS to be that way! LOL

    For most of the background folks it will be like you've said - make up a few generic visemes and run with them. Perhaps add in the odd tweak by hand during the final shoot if needed - otherwise... bam! I totally here ya!

    So now that you've got that going, load in a V4 and you'll see that it works on her too - your M4 ones. They might not be exactly what you want, but they'll work.

    SimonWM has Victoria Alive and Michael Alive and Expressions and Face AniBlocks, and then stuff for Genesis as well - not to mention his wresting action!

  • PjotterPjotter Posts: 266
    edited December 1969

    I don't think this going to work. If I am correct, the bone hierarchy has to be exactly the same. I think the bone names are not important, but the order of the bones is. They have to match. I think the best option is, to use the skeleton from a working character and import in the new one. I have done that. But this is a lot of work. You have to weight paint again. The original morphs from the new mesh could stay if you don't export as obj.

    Even with import BVH you will have problems with some non Daz characters. Some import all, some none and other partial. If it imports partial, it is only the upper parts of the skeleton structure. As soon as it find something wrong, it stops importing the rest of the keyframes. I think it is the same for NLA. The bones need to match.

    I don't think it is possible to exchange morphs between different characters. The morph area needs exactly the same amount of vertices. And the basic character (without using the morphs) needs the vertices at the same location. In other words, they will have the same face, etc. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

  • edited December 1969

    Thanks guys,

    Atm this is limited to facial expressions. However my theory would work for all body parts IF there is bone compatibility as Pjotter says.

    If both m4 and v4 work for faces off a single set of clips that would be wonderful. I am prepared to do it all again for v4. As stated elsewhere I'm not interested in genesis yet - I'll let Carrara properly catch up (gen 2 without bugs, and even then having put in the work for gen4s it would have to be something special to get me to do it all again in gen5+).

    I'm dying to get on with the tutorials, but todays work will be finishing the facial movements so that I have a complete set. it will be interesting to see who actually uses NLA. It confused me totaly when I first looked at it back in 2011, now I've spent a week with it and mimic (within Carrara) I am confident enough to move on with using NLA as my main tool.

  • edited December 1969

    Dartan - ad for that matter anybody.

    Once I'm up and running lets talk about effective use of clips. I'm sure if we pool our knowledge resources together here we'll all benefit. I'm going quiet on this one now until I deliver on my promises (tutorials).

  • argus1000argus1000 Posts: 701
    edited December 1969

    I'm dying to get on with the tutorials,

    And I'm dying to watch them. I use NLA's all the time.

  • edited February 2014

    argus1000 said:
    I'm dying to get on with the tutorials,

    And I'm dying to watch them. I use NLA's all the time.

    he he. Thanks Argus. Just went out for a long walk - now I'm back in the (key)frame of mind to get this done.

    [EDIT] I've run into problems with the visemes in conjunction with mimic's own visemes. So there will be a delay, no idea when this will be ready now, but I need it so I'll find a way and report back.[/EDIT]

    Post edited by Sci Fi Funk on Youtube on
  • edited December 1969

    Hi,

    I am just wondering. What is the likelihood that this could be considered as a DAZ product? I will be completing a set of NLA clips to be used together in a highly modular fashion.

    You could set this up for yourself, and I will demonstrate how to in a free Youtube tutorial, but I wonder as a Platinum Club $1.99 product you could just get going straight away without the tedium of the set up. I'm not sure I could part with a weeks work for nothing, although as I say If you want to go through the paces and do it, then be my guest.

  • argus1000argus1000 Posts: 701
    edited December 1969

    Hi SciFiFunk,

    I'm also in the process of learning Mimic Pro for Carara. What I would like to know is how to transfer .DSA facial animations to .DUF, so I can used them in Carrara.There are several sets of facial animation still poses for Genesis by Ironman and others, but they don't show up in the Carrara browser. If they would, then I could be making my own NLAs, though I wouldn't mind paying $1.99 for a set either.

  • edited December 1969

    argus1000 said:
    Hi SciFiFunk,

    I'm also in the process of learning Mimic Pro for Carara. What I would like to know is how to transfer .DSA facial animations to .DUF, so I can used them in Carrara.There are several sets of facial animation still poses for Genesis by Ironman and others, but they don't show up in the Carrara browser. If they would, then I could be making my own NLAs, though I wouldn't mind paying $1.99 for a set either.

    I wish I could tell you what I've come up with, but I can't until I've got a decent example out there. You might find with this one piece of information, that NLA is transformed. Or you might not - ha ha.

    Anyway the good news is I've made all the blocks now and I'm applying them to a test piece of mimic speech. If I can get it to look ok I'll post this weekend.

  • 0oseven0oseven Posts: 492
    edited December 1969

    0oseven said:
    SciFi

    I just loaded a clip of head moves and expression made (I think) with V4 morphs ++ and ran it on V4 side by side with M4 morphs ++ .

    Worked fine but not on Genesis..

    can post video if you want to see.

    Thanks doubleo.

    If you are saying you've created an NLA on one character then applied it to another - I'd love to see your workflow from start to finish - because it doesn't work for me.

    I see many helpful posts were made whilst I was trying to make a video of the process and I think you may have solved your problem.
    But what the heck - I placed the video in the CarraraTors web tutorials anyway.

    If you want to see please go here

    0oseven Using Clip from one character on another

    http://bond3d.wix.com/carrarators#!nla-clips/c7u3

  • edited February 2014

    ooseven - I'm going to give you a mention in my tutorial series. I was literally sitting there with time up (a week invested and a result I couldn't use) when your original message and another by Dartan, suddenly made me think my mr smith character was the problem. It shouldn't be a problem (its just an m4) but it was.

    many thanks for your input(s) here.

    Post edited by Sci Fi Funk on Youtube on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,966
    edited December 1969

    Dartan - ad for that matter anybody.

    Once I'm up and running lets talk about effective use of clips. I'm sure if we pool our knowledge resources together here we'll all benefit. I'm going quiet on this one now until I deliver on my promises (tutorials).

    I resurrected my AniMating in Carrara article from the old forum, but haven't added anything new since then - around the time when that Information thread started, and I found it to be a major pain trying to open old forum threads.

    Absolutely. I'll help any way that I can.

    Personally, if I saw that you had a good clip pack up at the DAZ store, I'd likely buy it. I really enjoy having bits of animation helpers.
    The one that I tend to stay away from, in that respect, are ones that actually control expression, face shape, visemes, and eye control. Only because those are normally more personal to each production. But I can see that, with your description, I could really put something like that to good use... people standing on the corner muttering to their dog. If your files already have great motion timing... I'd immediately toss that on as opposed to animating some imaginary speech.

    One way "I" would pursue this as a product, however, would be to also offer them as PZ2 files, which work in Poser and DS. Fenric's Pose Exporter can actually even read from NLA Clip data... so that part of it is easy! :)
    Both PZ2 and NLA. Then, if you wish, use the PZ2s to load them into DS and make aniBlocks, so you have files for everybody's tastes.

  • edited December 1969


    Both PZ2 and NLA. Then, if you wish, use the PZ2s to load them into DS and make aniBlocks, so you have files for everybody's tastes.

    A good thought. The idea is specific to NLA editing atm, but let's see what comes of it.

    Also I keep hitting road blocks, but I'm not giving up on it just yet.

    I'll come back with the next update soon.

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