General Animation in Carrara

TimVukmanTimVukman Posts: 45
edited December 1969 in Carrara Discussion


I am working outside of the animation blocks I was using to set up some preliminary positioning and motion.

I don't understand why something that I have completed seems to get changed by something I do further down the line in the sequencer. For example, my character is positioned where I want along the x axis and I can go frame by frame and confirm that all is well. I then continue on from where I left off and when I go back to the beginning of my animation and then go frame by frame to review it again, my character will suddenly drop off the x axis and be positioned well below it, or some other movement will occur that I didn't plan.

To stop it, I found myself adding keyframes at every single frame which seems like a poor way to go.

I want my character to rotate from his back to his front over a 4 second period of time. I have tried rotating the hip through 45 degrees at each second and adding a keyframe only on the marker for the second (erasing all tweener keyframes). If I then step frame by frame, I see character movement that I didn't put there and don't want. It's like other aspects are being calculated and added between the markers for the seconds.

I thought that maybe I could just rotate around the hip and then go back and adjust legs and arms to what I want without the hip changing?




  • Steve KSteve K Posts: 1,578
    edited December 1969

    timandjan said:

    I am working outside of the animation blocks I was using to set up some preliminary positioning and motion.

    I don't understand why something that I have completed seems to get changed by something I do further down the line in the sequencer. ...

    I recall a similar experience that was due, I think, to the type of tangents used in Carrara's sequencer. I don't remember the details, but the spline tangents might cause a change to earlier frames to "smooth out" the approach to the key frame. Or something. You might try the linear tangents.

    784 x 314 - 54K
  • DUDUDUDU Posts: 1,829
    edited December 1969

    … and it is here that the graph editor becomes useful !

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,966
    edited August 2014

    I know this frustration well.
    It's due to the 'default' tweener in Properties being set to "Bezier".
    The Bezier tweener will throw a spline curve onto your animation, which can be most useful in many, many situations... which makes it a great default setting for your tweeners. I still use Bezier as my default tweener, since it's so useful.

    For animations, we need to pick a main part of the figure to control the main "Translation" (movement away from zero) of the figure.
    AniBlocks and most animated poses use the "Hip", so I have adopted the same, but you can also use the main figure, or even a group in which your figure belongs.

    Sorry for the slight babble - seemingly off the subject, but it's very important to mainly use one only, and recognize early on which is used. If you use the Hip, for example, to move the character forward, and then use the main figure to move it later, you'll be throwing off your whole animation. So pick one and stick with it. Later, you'll find that this will lend well, because it leaves the other options freed up for other things, like adding an overall alteration to the entire animation, without having to tweak each and every keyframe of the Hip, etc.,


    Okay, so I said that the Bezier can mess things up. Then I said that the bezier is very useful, so I keep that as my main default. Sound confusing? Probably. So here's my brief explanation:

    With Bezier set as the default tweaner all of my arm and leg, etc., (all, actually) keyframe changes are smoothed out and driven further by the curve of a bezier. This works differently the more keyframes are added, as the bezier will look at the next placement as well as the one after that and create an opposition to really drive a natural flow to things.

    But when this bezier behavior is literally wrecking what we need, the quickest and easiest 'fix' is to select all of the Hip (in my example, using the hip as the translation joint) tweeners and change them to "Linear".

    Suddenly you'll notice that the character no longer drops into the ground or other odd behavior. But it might also have the tendency to add a bit of stiffness to the movement, which is far easier to correct on a linear tweener by adding a few new keyframes, than to try and remove the bezier flow from bezier tweeners - if that makes any sense :ahhh:

    Another technique to smooth out linear tweeners can be done by manipulating the In and Out sliders. This can also be used on bezier tweeners to change their behavior as well.

    So the main reason I keep Bezier as my default is because I have found it to be the best main choice for most actions, and easy enough to switch for those joints that might go out of whack.

    Another technique might be to go into Preferences and change the default tweener to linear, and then add a bezier if you want to use it in places. It all depends on how you like to work, and what it is that you're doing.

    You see, with Bezier set as the default, you have to remember that. If you change all of your hip tweeners from bezier to linear, but then add more keyframes, you'll have to check the tweaners, because the default will remain bezier, if that's how it's set up.

    Another real consideration against using bezier tweeners comes when working with speech and expressions, where "Mouth Open" and "Eyes Closed", etc., can go backwards beyond 0.00 unexpectedly, which can really get you scratching your head going: "Why is the jaw closing into the nose, and eyes peeling back to reveal the entire eye sphere? Looks like some sort of Zombie!"

    All in all, just know that if things look strange between the keyframes, check the tweeners and either work with their In and Out thresholds, or change them to a different tweener.

    Oscillate is a repeating tweener. This one is amazingly handy! You can set a pose at the start, one at the end, and set it to oscillate three times to repeat the animation (like wings flapping) instead of having to set up more keyframes!

    Have fun getting to know the various tweeners. They are there to make your animation experience as pain-free as possible, and work very well. They're just very, very good at frustrating us before we realize what's really going on. But once you know that it's the tweeners doing it, it become fun and easy to get it right ;)

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,966
    edited December 1969

    I should also mention that Jonny Bravo taught that "Linear" default tweener setting in preferences is recommended for importing aniBlocks.
    Some aniBlocks just don't act right if you leave the default tweener at Bezier.

    So I am quite used to switching the default tweener in Preferences as I need to.

    I like to save portions of aniBlocks that I've imported into NLA Clips. In this situation, the clips store the tweener information, so I can leave my default at Bezier and use a clip that used a linear setup throughout, without messing things up.

    Like I said, now that you know to check the tweeners, and practice how to switch them, you'll find this whole issue to be a thing of the past. You can use different tweeners all over the place. One of Fenric's products even includes a Tweener Stacker tweener: A new tweener setting that allows us to stack up to six tweeners together. The cool thing is, if you need to stack more than six, you can add another stacker as one of the six tweeners in the first stack!

    I have yet to try a stacked tweener.

  • TimVukmanTimVukman Posts: 45
    edited December 1969

    DUDU_0001, Steve K

    Thank you both for responding and pointing out the direction for me to look. My experience is very much along the line of roadblock to roadblock, which is bumpy, but does lend itself to learning when ready for the next piece of needed understanding. I suspected it was the tweeners, but didn't recognize the degree to which they influence (or interfere).

    I will continue down that path.


  • TimVukmanTimVukman Posts: 45
    edited December 1969

    Hi Dartanbeck

    Your detailed explanation of what is happening and why is appreciated. I had standardized on using the hip as my reference point, so that made it harder for me to grasp why things were changing. I think I will set the default to linear, at least until I get some experience working with animation in general. Once I have a better feel for what I am doing and how to accomplish what I want to do, I will let Carrara "help" me smooth thing out. Until I can predict what it will do, it would be best to avoid the frustration.



  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,966
    edited December 1969

    Good plan.
    Then, once you get used to using the different tweeners for different things, you can easily switch the Preferences back and forth, depending upon what you're animating. It becomes a second-nature practice ;)

    All-in-all, I think you'll find your journey of Animating in Carrara to be an exciting, limitless, and wonderful time!

    You'll also discover, as you go, that most of the special effects within Carrara have automated animation settings that further make Carrara the software of choice for the Home Movie Maker!

    Even the shaders are easily animated!

  • TimVukmanTimVukman Posts: 45
    edited December 1969


    My thanks to the folks who have posted replies to this thread and offered suggestions and explanations of how things work. I have been successful in creating my opening character transition, and while it is not exactly what I want (yet), it is getting closer each time I review it. Setting the defaults to linear resolved the issues I was having with the tweeners being a little too helpful. Now I am seeing what I am expecting to see based on the actual movements that I am introducing.

    Thanks so much


    I would consider this thread resolved from my perspective.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,966
    edited December 1969

    Just to add a wee bit more:

    If this is curving some things out of range, but yet it is actually helping everything else, which it really can, and will... simply set the out of range axis to linear, while leaving the rest Bezier!

    Check it out.

    So your character started going up and down in a manner that just won't work, but the rest is fine. In another of your threads we've discussed opening the Hierarchy to work with the graph editor. We can do the same for tweeners!

    Simply open the hip's hierarchy to Motion Method: Translation: Position, and change the tweener on the Z axis to linear, as an example.

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