animating multiple characters

deadspeakdeadspeak Posts: 15
edited December 1969 in Carrara Discussion

question, i'am trying to animate three characters in Carrrara Pro V 8. I've placed a run cycle lasting about 36 sec on two of the characters, but on the third when i try to extend the run sequence using the repeat in the sequencer, the program crashes. I have a 2009 Mac, with eight cores, 16GB of ram, & a nvidia geforce gt 120 card, is it the computer or is the software just not able to animate more than two characters at a time?
thanks Chris

Comments

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    There is no specific limit to the number of characters you can render, and the specs of your machine tell us nothing very useful other than you are on a Mac. The issues with the scene is probably polygon count, total texture area (pixel) memory, the number of lights in the scene, displacement (if any), etc, etc, etc. But there is no magic rule that says 2 figures at 30sec but no more....


    There are often lower res figures you can use (LOD = Level of Detail), or you can reduce the size of your textures, or you could animate the third figure separately and combine animations in your video editor.... In otherwords, what is holding you back is not Carrara, but your desire to do it all in one go. Could another program handle all of it? Maybe..., but if someone in another program hit a similar "wall", they'd have to consider making the scene load lighter also.

  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 2,003
    edited December 1969

    when i try to extend the run sequence using the repeat in the sequencer, the program crashes.

    Have you tried using NLA clips in the figure tracks, ..NLA clips can be "Looped" and extended, rather than repeating manual key-frame sections.

    Hope it helps :)

  • deadspeakdeadspeak Posts: 15
    edited December 1969

    3DAGE, thanks. I have heard of NLA clips but not sure how to do them. will do some research & figure out how to make it work.
    Holly, the reason why I hate forums is b.c. responses like that. That tells me absolutely nothing. Thanks

  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 2,003
    edited December 1969

    HI Deadspeak :)

    Holly is trying to help you, and is right, it's one of those (it depends) questions, so it depends on what's n the scene as well as possibly what your doing.

    Making NLA clips is easy .

    If you already have key-frames for your figure in the sequencer, and if the figure is somthing you made in Carrara, make sure your figure is an "Animated group".
    If you're using a Daz3D figure, then it's already an Animated group, and it'll have an NLA track in the sequencer timeline.

    Select your Figure, then go to the top right panels, and you'll see an NLA tab. in there you can either click, (Create Master Clip, or Create Master Pose).

    If you click the option for Clip, you get a pop up options box,.
    in here, you can select a reference bone (used for looping the animation) this is usually the HIP in a human figure. although, you can select any bone.

    You also have a list of all the bones,. so you can selectively choose the animation you want to store in the new clip,.

    Normally you'd just select the reference bone and click OK, to create the clip and delete the keyframes from the timeline.
    There is an option to NOT delete the keyframes,.
    But if you want the keyframes back , then you can use the "Import Clip data" option in the NLA tab, to copy the keyframes from a clip, back into the timeline.

    Once you create a Clip, and delete the keyframes,. Carrara will place the new NLA clip in the "Scene" (Clips) tab, on the Bottom Right.

    From there, you can drag and drop that clip into the NLA track for your figure.

    If you select that clip in the sequencer timeline,. then look at the top right section, you'll see a set of options for the NLA clip.
    you can adjust the speed of playback,. reverse it, and Loop it.

    If you choose "Loop", then you can drag the end of your NLA clip out as much as you need. each loop point is marked with a Dotted line.

    You can also create additional NLA Tracks for your figure, and you can have multiple clips in each Track.

    Each NLA Track, also has "options" which allow you to specify which part of the Animation that track effects, so, you could have one track which only effects the arms of the figure,. while another track effects the rest of the figure (except the arms).

    Hopefully some of that will make sense :)

  • Reality1Reality1 Posts: 19
    edited December 1969

    3DAGE said:
    when i try to extend the run sequence using the repeat in the sequencer, the program crashes.

    Have you tried using NLA clips in the figure tracks, ..NLA clips can be "Looped" and extended, rather than repeating manual key-frame sections.

    Hope it helps :)

    Will this exclude the figures from NLA groups?

    I've been dancing around "an error has occurred" with NLA groups trying to figure out a way to animate multiple DAZ figures in a single clip, but the joints and parameters are all grayed out. (not highlighted)

    Is using one NLA track per character the only way presently? (Carrara 8.1.2)

    Thanks for any advice on this.

    -John

  • argus1000argus1000 Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    To add on 3dage's remarks, once you have created an NLA clip, and "looped" it, make sure it is selected and go down further in the options "loop offset" section, click "compute" and choose the "reference object". I have observed that, if you don't do that, many times, although it says it's looped, the clip won't really loop.

  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 2,003
    edited December 1969

    Hi Argus 1000,

    The trick is,.. to specify the looping reference object when you save the NLA,. (normally the hip bone)..then that info included in the clip data,
    which means that you shouldn't need to use the clip offset, (in the NLA panel) unless it's matching the position/rotation for the figure in a different clip..

    but,.. thank you for adding that info,. my bad

    :)

  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 2,003
    edited June 2013

    Hi Reality1

    The NLA clips are really just a more flexible way to use keyframes,. since that's really all they contain, so, each clip contains a bunch of keyframes and the references for which bones they apply to.

    As far as animating multiple figures,. you can have multiple figures, (each will have an NLA track) and you can use the same clip in each of those figures NLA tracks,. just drag the clip into each figures track.

    Right now, if you play that,. than all the figures will move at the same time,. so,. to add some variation,. you can set the clip options to "loop", then you can change the playback time on some of the figures clips from 1 (normal speed) to .75 (three quarter speed) or 1.1, or 0.8,. 0.9 etc.. so that the speed of the clips playing back is slightly different for all the figures.

    If you have an army of figures,. (using replicators) then simply adding the same clip to each of the figure will give you a marching army

    If all of your figure are the same,. like soldiers in uniform,. then you can probably get away with using three (individual) figures,. if it's a close up shot,. and if they're in the distance,. just use one figure,. and use a Replicator, to make it seem like a thousand, or more.
    and because there#s only one figure,. the animation will be the same on all the replicated instances.

    Using replicators,. along with a few figures, and using NLA clips to animate them, can give you hundreds or thousands of figures, with different animations.

    hope it helps

    Post edited by 3DAGE on
  • Reality1Reality1 Posts: 19
    edited June 2013

    Thanks 3dAGE,

    Sounds like some of very good info.

    The question involves animating 8 characters which are interacting with one-another with unique poses-movements. I thought that by grouping them into an NLA group that a clip edited in the group track would include all the parameters of the various group members.

    I'm trying to avoid having to switch among editing 8 separate clips, and I'm thinking I'm just not doing it correctly.

    Make sense?

    Thanks again.

    Post edited by Reality1 on
  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 2,003
    edited December 1969

    HI :)
    yes, that makes sense,. but you'll need a clip, or sets of clips, for each figure. ..not a single clip to control all of them.

    I think the main problem is that an Animation group which contains animation groups will only control the objects in the animation group,. rather than control the animation of each animation group as a single item,. if that makes sense.

    Normally , using Key-frames or motion capture to animate,. each figure would be animated separately (which gives you control) over that figures motion.

    The same applies when you convert those key-frames into an NLA clip.

    So,. a single NLA clip would normally be used to control a single figure.

    but, unless it's an uneven fight, (7 on 1) then the interaction would be limited to two or three figures at a time, and with NLA clips (especially short ones) plus using additional NLA tracks and NLA clips or poses per figure,.. you can create some interesting action,
    but,..
    there's always a but ...

    Most modern action films, use short action clips of a second or less, , clever camera angles,. and sound effects to create the illusion of interaction.

    even in a conversation, there will be a series of cuts from two or more different angles,. to show the figure speaking, or gesturing,. from behind the listener. or focu the attention on some other aspect of the conversation, EG: a suitcase,. ..another figure, etc.

    sometimes you'll see the reaction of one figure, and hear only the vocal from another.

    so,. don't try to have eight people interacting, at the same time,.. and easily confuse yourself in the process,... if you can create the illusion in an easier way.

    Also,. for any animation work,. : work in the nude.
    Clothing, Hair and other things which won't be part of the animation,. shouldn't be there yet, and they use up more memory.
    work on the base figures to get the animation right,. and then add the clothes for rendering,.
    it's less for your application to deal with, and will allow you to work faster.

    work on a few figures at a time,. animate the action using key-frames,. then convert that to NLA clips,. then repeat for other figures.

    You can also Limit the animation from a clip, or multiple clips, on a per figure basis.

    For example,. you have a Walk clip, applied to a figure,.
    and you have a clip of a figure standing, waving both arms.

    You can place each of these clips into two NLA Tracks,. and then specify which parts of the figure, each clip effects,.
    so,. you could have a figure walking along and then waving one arm. just by limiting the animation of the Waving both arms clip,. to effect only one arm of the figure.

    hope it helps

    :)

  • argus1000argus1000 Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    3dage, you're right. I usually don't bother with the first "clip creation" window. Thanks for figuring out it's importance for me. Then, I could check the "loop offset" right away instead of further down the line. As usual, you know better.

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    3DAGE said:
    Also,. for any animation work,. : work in the nude.

    I do all my computer work in the nude.

    oh..., you mean the figure you are animating... right, yeah.

  • Reality1Reality1 Posts: 19
    edited December 1969

    Thanks so much 3DAGE!

    That's what I needed to hear. Not what I wanted to hear though. I don't see why it's not possible to delete the default NLA track (as I did) and have the figurers automatically resort to the group track. It would be a database ballet, I guess.

    It's not so much a 7-1 fight, not necessarily a bad fight mind you, as much as two characters, and conforming figures which would be much easier to edit within the same clip.

    I'd imagine that there are folks out there with 8 figures on a single character, and that's got to be a challenge to keep all of those clips organized.

    Normally nude would be good, but when you're dealing with soldiers and their gear, you must have it all in place to get things where they need to be.

    One other thing. I have yet to figure out how to easily convert regular time-line animation to a NLA clip. I think you may have even tried to explain it to me before and maybe I just didn't get it. :-|

    NLA is clearly a powerful under-rated albeit unwieldy Carrara tool.

    Thanks again for the great advice!

  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 2,003
    edited December 1969

    Holly,.

    you mean the figure you are animating… right, yeah.

    er,.. no..

    I'm completely naked under my clothes, most the time, my parents told me I was born that way,. ..so I've learned to just live with it.

    Argus 1000

    Then, I could check the “loop offset” right away instead of further down the line

    I was doing it that way too,. and I still occasionally forget that option. and then I need to load the clip data back in, then save it and set the loop offset.


    Reality1

    two characters, and conforming figures

    Ah,. that makes things a little easier,. I thought you meant eight individual human figures,.
    Conforming clothing,. (for the most part) will conform to the figures motion,. but depending on that motion, and the shape of the conforming clothing, you may get "poke-through" or, areas of the clothing which penetrate the figure.
    that's normally dealt with by either making part of the figure invisible,. or by adjusting shape morphs, or the additional bones in the conforming clothing item.

    This is where and why it gets tricky to work the way you want to,. and have an animation group which controls multiple figures in a single animation clip.

    The figure has a set of named bones,. and the conforming "clothing" (figure) also has those same bones,. and the 3D program uses those bones in the Conforming (Clothing) figure,. to match the position of the (Human) figure,.

    so,. if the animation clip says the right shoulder and arm moves up,. then the conforming item simply moves with it,. it doesn't need any animation,
    it also means that if the clip says the right arm moves up,. then "which arm", since the human figure and the conforming clothing figure have the same named bones,. so there#s the posibility of a conflict of instructions,.

    that's why a "figure" is treated as an Animation group,. and has it's own NLA tracks,. That keeps it's instructions separate from any other figure in your scene.

    That's why having an Animation group with one animation wont be able to hold different animation for the figure and it's conforming clothing figures. there are multiple figures involved and each should be an separate entity, and no matter which way you go,. or which program you use,. each "Human" figure has to be animated individually.

    If you have two "human" figures, in the same scene,. with the exact same bone names, there needs to be a way to differentiate between them.

    On Making an NLA clip.

    Animate your figure to create key-frames, as normal,. adjust and refine the motion, and when you're happy,. go to the NLA panel (top right) and click (Create master clip)

    that will open a panel where you can Name it,. select the "Loop Offset" and has options for the Parameters, and whether you want to delete the key-frames from the time-line, after it creates the NLA clip

    Click OK to create the clip.

    When you create the clip,. Carrara will place it in the Scene "Clips" tab (Bottom right)
    From there, you can drag it into the browser, to save it in your My Clips folder,
    or,.
    You can drag it into the sequencer , and drop it onto your figures NLA track.

    that's it

  • Reality1Reality1 Posts: 19
    edited December 1969

    it also means that if the clip says the right arm moves up,. then “which arm”, since the human figure and the conforming clothing figure have the same named bones,. so there#s the posibility of a conflict of instructions. that's why a "figure" is treated as an Animation group,. and has it's own NLA tracks,. That keeps it's instructions separate from any other figure in your scene.

    Ahhh. Makes perfect sense. I do hope the architects change the way Carrara handles NLA internally to something like "figure.arm" and give Carrara this functionality.

    On Making an NLA clip....When you create the clip,. Carrara will place it in the Scene "Clips" tab (Bottom right)
    From there, you can drag it into the browser, to save it in your My Clips folder,

    Ahhh. This is going to make working with Carrara so much easier!

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited December 1969

    Just to add to the NLA Clip thing, I have had difficulty with Looping clips not looping correctly. I think that the reason was that I have changed the overall scale of the figures. Dartan is 102% and Rosie is 87%, I think. Nonetheless, when I try to loop their clips, the start frame of the subsequent loop is incorrect. The occurs even when I use these figures to create the clip.

    So if "Loop" isn't working for you, just drag in another copy of the clip after the first, and click the "Match Previous Position" button in the NLA tab of the second (or otherwise, new) clip and select the "Hip" in the top, where "Model" will be selected by default, and "Starting from end of previous Clip" (Or otherwise worded) option in the radio buttons below it. This works perfectly.

    Note that if you copy/paste the clip, rather than dragging in a new one, you are actually adding a whole new clip to the "Clips" tab area, which adds additional scene memory allocations to your file - which can bog down your process.

  • Frank__Frank__ Posts: 233
    edited June 2013

    (nothing)

    Post edited by Frank__ on
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