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Using Target Helpers to Help
Posted: 08 September 2012 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Okay, so far I’ve seen both Evil Producer and Argus2000 mention the ability to use Target Helpers to assist with manipulating the placements of various parts of the figure. I find myself entirely clueless on this idea and am hoping that you folks could, perhaps, give some good instructions on how to set this sort of thing up.

EP has pointed out that this method could be used to keep the feet from moving below ground - while bending the above joints, and Argus was using it to keep the hand in correct placement upon a sitting figure’s knee. I would like to learn all of that, in hopes of taking the whole idea beyond all of that to help with my animations. Animation is everything to me - that’s all I ever want to do - so… any help would be greatly appreciated - even if it’s just some links to existing tutorials.

Thanks in advance,
D’Artagnan

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Posted: 08 September 2012 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t have much time at the moment, but I’ve been working on an animation with targets. It’s still rough as I’m still trying to find the best way to set my targets, and how many I want and where.

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Posted: 08 September 2012 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Was going to look into this in later, but now is a good time.

No good hits in the C7Pro manual.
Google gave me this after some digging:
http://docs.daz3d.com/doku.php/artzone/pub/tutorials/carrara/carrara-basics04
http://docs.daz3d.com/doku.php/artzone/pub/tutorials/carrara/carrara-basics05

Some scenes to reverse-engineer if that is your style:
http://www.sharecg.com/v/49996/view/7/Material-and-Shader/Carrara-7-Studio-scene
http://www.sharecg.com/v/58780/browse/3/PDF-Tutorial/Carrara-Helpers-and-Modifiers-for-Genesis

Keep us updated on your progress.

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Posted: 08 September 2012 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks for the links, but they don’t address the issue.
Trying to figure out what to do with the target helpers in relation to the figure.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I doubt that I can drag the left hand into a target helper. The opposite might make the helper move when the hand moves, but… see what I’m asking?

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Posted: 08 September 2012 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Just a hint towards… say, place in a target helper and position it somewhere near the right foot. Now do this. This will keep the foot from doing that - sort of thing.

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Posted: 08 September 2012 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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No idea what you need or how to do it.
Did you check the last link that has some helpers connected to Genesis?

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Posted: 08 September 2012 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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HI Dartanbeck smile

just a hint ..

Create a target helper object (give it a name, EG: left foot helper) and then position it roughly at the Ankle joint in a figure’s foot.

Select the figure’s foot, and go to the Modifiers tab , choose Inverse Kinematics,. and select that target helper object which you just made, as the object to track.

Now, grab the target helper object, and move it.

that’s a very simple example,.

Another way to see this target helper arrangement in action is to “Import” a figure like V4 or M4, instead of loading it from the content browser . This gives you an option panel, where you can choose to have carrara create a set of IK target helper objects for the hands and the feet.

The only thing you need to do to make it work, is to enable the tr5acking for the body parts, IE: Hands and feet   (See pic)

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poser_import.jpgIKheplers.jpg
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Posted: 08 September 2012 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Dartanbeck - 08 September 2012 09:27 AM

Animation is everything to me - that’s all I ever want to do - so… any help would be greatly appreciated - even if it’s just some links to existing tutorials.

Dartanbeck, if animation is everything to you, then you seriously need to learn some of the non-Carrara basics.

You should start by searching for information on what’s called “forward kinematics” and “inverse kinematics”. Those are both absolutely elementary and crucial to understanding how you animate 3D characters, and apply to all software. They sound complicated, but in practice are fairly simple, but you should understand with some depth what they’re all about.

“Target Helper Objects” are also called “nulls” in other applications. They are nothing more than invisible, non-rendering, name-able and moveable points in space that serve as goals for inverse kinematics chains (among other things, such as targets for modifiers like Point At). But you first need to learn what that means. I suggest you search for simple tutorials on the subject, it’s not that complicated but you really need to have a broad understanding of it, far more than just how you do it in Carrara. Because to really do any animation you’re going to have to apply various techniques beyond just setting up IK chains and target helpers. 

There are numerous books on animation out there that discuss all of that if you’re interested.

BTW, there was a recent discussion of animating walk cycles, where I posted some info on setting up and rigging feet and legs. That should help to show how to set up IK and target goals.

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Posted: 08 September 2012 03:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hi Dartenbeck - all of the above, plus - if you want to see a video on great usage of target helpers in animation to whet your appetite, go to http://www.markbremmer.com/3Bpages/darkarts.html and select the multilegged walk cycle video.

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Posted: 08 September 2012 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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hi when I first strated I ound this helpful
from memory has target helpers involved
appears to be garbled now tho
http://www.polyloop.net/showthread.php/5004-C5-Rigging-and-Skinning-bones-and-setup?s=aa64f3aa96df0b46eb49642fb0314d2d

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Posted: 09 September 2012 09:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Here’s one example of how you can use target helpers. Genesis is riding a bicycle. I used the Inverse Kinematic modifiers, which are target helpers located in each foot. I parented the left foot target helper to the left pedal and the right foot target helper to the right pedal.  I put a spin modifier on both wheels and on the front sprocket wheel. I also parented Genesis to the bike.  Since the pedal are children of the sprocket wheel, I used a negative spin modifier on the pedals so that they do not rotate and keep Genesis feet steady.

I could have animated Genesis body to make him more natural looking, but this is only a quick and rough example to show how the IK modifiers do all the work.

http://youtu.be/1sxMmZiVWyU

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Posted: 09 September 2012 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Awesome!
Thanks to all. That’s exactly what I meant.

Joe, Thanks for that. In 3ds Max, I always used the kinematics for animating. Still new to Carrara (well, 3d anims in general) and have felt as if I had a firm grasp of forward and inverse kinematics. The discussion where I saw your comment on the subject was in reply to my C9 pro wishlist. It appeared to me that you tweak out the IK chain of the figure itself, rather than using the helpers… is that right? If so… I may try that approach instead - using the helpers only where needed.

As for the assigning of targets to bones, I’d imagine that: If I have collision detection “On” for the helpers, that they prevent the bone from passing through objects… is that correct?  I’m in the middle of a previously started animation now - with work being over-bearing again (that time of year) so I have very little C Pro time. I’ll be trying this concept out next - as soon as time allows - probably in the one hour periods I get between work and supper this week.

Thanks for all of your input. I really appreciate it.

3dage, one of my C9 Pro wishlist items is to have the ability to export as CR2 from Carrara. This would make the ‘import’ option much more feasible. Currently, the only way to get my main characters into Poser or DS is to reconstruct them from scratch (haven’t tried duf yet), but I think that applying the helpers manually will be simple enough. Maybe use vanilla V4 and M4 imports, save the animations and apply to my versions, but I often find that my custom scaling doesn’t always play nice with that. This is where I’d really like to try Joe’s idea of applying IK directly to the figures - then saving them out that way.

I’ll get some practice in and see how it goes smirk

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Posted: 09 September 2012 09:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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argus1000 - 09 September 2012 09:25 AM

Here’s one example of how you can use target helpers. Genesis is riding a bicycle. I used the Inverse Kinematic modifiers, which are target helpers located in each foot. I parented the left foot target helper to the left pedal and the right foot target helper to the right pedal.  I put a spin modifier on both wheels and on the front sprocket wheel. I also parented Genesis to the bike.  Since the pedal are children of the sprocket wheel, I used a negative spin modifier on the pedals so that they do not rotate and keep Genesis feet steady.

I could have animated Genesis body to make him more natural looking, but this is only a quick and rough example to show how the IK modifiers do all the work.

http://youtu.be/1sxMmZiVWyU

Awe Man… That’s cool!
See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. And with the above explanations, I feel confident in how to make all of this work in Carrara.

Thanks again!

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Posted: 09 September 2012 04:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Dartanbeck - 09 September 2012 09:36 AM

... and have felt as if I had a firm grasp of forward and inverse kinematics. The discussion where I saw your comment on the subject was in reply to my C9 pro wishlist. It appeared to me that you tweak out the IK chain of the figure itself, rather than using the helpers… is that right? If so… I may try that approach instead - using the helpers only where needed.

I’m confused about what you’re asking. Here’s a very basic explanation of IK, maybe it will help.

When you reach for a cup of coffee on your desk, your brain tells your hand to go to where the cup is located. Your hand starts moving in that direction. Your forearm bone, shoulder bone, collar bone, and spine bones all follow along automatically to help the hand get there and maintain balance in your body so you don’t fall over. It’s automatic. The hand goes, the rest of the body follows along. That’s what’s called “inverse kinematics”.

However, first your brain has to tell the hand where to go. That’s the IK goal. It’s the goal for the IK chain. 

You MUST have an IK goal to tell the IK chain where to go. The IK system includes a behaviour that “pulls” all of those bones and muscles, starting with the hand, in that direction. But without that goal, it wouldn’t work.

Now, if instead your brain tells you to pick up the cup, and you first have to figure out how to rotate your shoulder in that direction, then how to rotate your forearm, your wrist, your spine, etc., that’s different. That’s forward kinematics, and it’s what you do in any 3D app to pose your figure when IK isn’t applied.

So I don’t know what you mean by “tweak out the IK chain rather than using helpers”. There is no “rather than”. You need a goal. You can use a cube, or a sphere, or a sword, or another V4, or a target helper null, but you’ve gotta use something. Usually people use null objects (target helpers) because they’re more convenient.

And no, collision detection doesn’t do that.

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