That *^!#^*!#$ Clear Button!

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076

    Speaking of different ways of doing things, I'm home from band practice now, my simulation is complete, so I've finished the little post I was talking about writing in regards to all of this - simulating Aeon Soul's amazing Whymsy!

    My friends, I dForce every single day. Every - Single - Day.

    It is very seldom that I get explosions now. The biggest key to that is to inspect what's going on to cause the problem. I can promise that every single time it happened to me, it was My Own Fault!

    Here's what I mean:

    I'm always saying that I watch a lot of Behind-the-scenes, right? Well I do. So I try to think along these lines as I work. For dForce, that includes inspecting my animations thoroghly before I jam that Simulate button. Waste time if you like, but this is what someone in the studio has to do too. They don't just take an animated figure that's been handed to them from the animation department and expect it to work - this is simply the animation that they want the character to perform in that tiny portion of the scene.

    The simulation artist now has to prep the animated figure for simulation, which includes things like checking for the collision figure to be intersecting with its own geometry. In our case with Daz 3d figures and animation files (or key frames by hand, or....) it's incredibly easy for those tiny polygons (especially after subdivision) in the arm pits to intersect and get behind one another. This happens with nearly any animation. Serious!

    But there are many other factors. I'll be getting write-ups finished, but if we want to have successful simulations, a nice practice to get into is The Inspection Phase, just before simulating. Turn off visibility of everything except the figure and look closely for anything that even comes close to intersecting. Morphforms work pretty darned good for removing issues because we can simply delete those morphform key frames when the simulation is done.

     

    When I need to affect the simulation in the middle of the timeline I use primitives. I have also made my own dForce helper collider that gets parented to the neck. Then I run that through dForce first and then freeze it. I leave that visible in the simulation, but it's not visible anywhere else. Works great if I need it - but I haven't had to as I gained more experience with this wonderful simulator.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076

    Oh... "Inspecting what's going on" in my post above:

    The cool thing about dForce is that, even after it explodes, what happened before that is still intact. The whole simulation isn't trashed.

    So if we catch it early enough to where Cancel works without having to force crash DS, we can back up in the timeline to the frame before the explosion, then turn off visiblity of the exploded content, and look closely at the figure. This is how I first decided that it has to be the arm pits, for example. It could be something else. But we CAN figure it out!

     

    No simulator is perfect. Even I fall down the stairs at times! ;)  Okay... that was Baaad! LOL

    Love you folks! Please never take my optimism as a negative against your thoughts. I just try to provide positive feedback and solutions. And I truly find dForce to be AMAZING!!!

  • marblemarble Posts: 7,449

    But...

    I don't often use the timeline to simulate so an explosion means starting over.

    Explosions may be rare if you are so very careful but dForce is so much less forgiving of intersections, either with itself or with the parent figure or anything else, for that matter. So yes, you can spend 10 minutes checking every inch of cloth to make sure it isn't intersecting with something but then you decide to change the pose a tiny bit and forget that might cause that intersection you have been so carefully avoiding. Also, that 10 minutes is added to the already silly amount of time it takes to simulate a single dress.

    I appreciate your optimisim so I am not getting on your back because of it but I can't ignore the downside of dForce just as lots of others here complain about animation or render times or VRAM usage. It is hard to be so positive when we can compare with other software that is years ahead of DAZ Studio in some respects.

    Nevertheless, I prefer DAZ Studio to Blender because it is designed for what I want to do - make pictures using ready-made content. And DAZ Studio brilliantly offers so many shape adjusting and posing controls that nothing else comes close. I can create a whole world of characters from a set of maybe 20 purchased G8 characters and a few morph sets. So I will put up with the shortcomings and try to highlight them here on this forum in the hope that the message gets delivered. I too want a better DAZ Studio to play with.

     

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076

    Oh.. no. I don't check the simulating cloth - I check the figure it's being simulated to. Check those arm pits!!! 

    Why not use the timeline? The first time I used dForce, some of the most prominent advice was to create the final pose down the line and let the simulator take it there. If you're using Initialize from memorized position, I'd strongly suggest leaving the figure at default on frame 0 and pose on 20 and then disable that "From Memorized" and select the option above it instead at the speedy value of 0.5

    You'll be amazed at the difference in the success you have - and probably the speed at which you're done. Oh... with the pose at 20, let it simulate through 30 - even beyond. You can always cancel if you've already achieved the look you like.

     

    Serious. I mean... I'm using dForce to simulate cloth between my character and chairs, walls, the floor, steps... all kinds of stuff. The tough part was learning how to make it smooth enough to look good in an animation - but dForce settings even make that part easy after getting some practice in and weighing the differences between settings. 

     

    Try it. I'm sure you'll fins a better workflow that way! Truly!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076
    edited February 2023

    Examples (but these are animations, which adds 30fps more things to worry about)

    For doing this with her hair (and she does it in camera during the sim) I use two elongated cone primitives, each parented to their own node, which are parented to the figure - in this case her lower neck. At the point when her hands reach behind her head, I rotate the nulls so the cones match the forearms. The cones' pointy ends are in the null, the larger part is out in the air.

    Then I back track to when the hands should just start to part the hair and reset the rotation to straight forward. That's just an example for this sort of thing, but these principles can be used for Many things!

    This one collides the shirt between Rosie and the couch, which can be tricky. I put the Smoothing Modifier on the couch and lucked out. It just worked. The next animation, she hears a noise and slides of the couch into a couched position and runs off - and that one worked the first time too - but only because of learning from earlier failures. I got used to just repeating what worked in previous scenes.

    These can be tricky - the character hits the floor. Nothing all that tough, per se... but with hair, we want it to look nice without ending up too chaotic. Here's something odd that I do:

    Rosie's default loading file puts her in a Group. Everything about her is contained in that group including a camera. So if I want the hair to be tossed back up over her head after she hits the ground, I can give the floor a touch of friction and move the Rosie group along the x, z or both axis as she's hitting the ground. Since the camera is in the group, it doesn't look like anything strange like that even occurred. In that sense, I can even have her hair go straight up if I wanted, simply by turning her whole group upside down.

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076
    edited February 2023

    Something else I'd like to add: For this shirt to simulate without exploding the way I have it shaped and set up, I have to select both collars, then select all children and turn them off in the simulation. It works great.

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    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • marblemarble Posts: 7,449
    edited February 2023

    I avoid the timeline because I sometimes want to use that scene as the initial frame for an animation and having a dForce animation in the scene already ruins any chance of using it later for character animation. If DAZ Studio had some kind of multiple timelines or NLA it might be more practical but I don't really understand all these technicalities as I am not an animator - I just like to animate certain scenes as best I can manage.

    If I know for sure that the scene will never be used for character animation then I do sometimes use the timeline for dForce but only when Start-from-Memorized doesn't cut it.

    For collisions with props (such as the couch) I don't use the actual prop as a collision target - I create primitives and hide them from the render. Props generally don't have enough polygons.

    Post edited by marble on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076
    edited February 2023

    marble said:

    I avoid the timeline because I sometimes want to use that scene as the initial frame for an animation and having a dForce animation in the scene already ruins any chance of using it later for character animation. If DAZ Studio had some kind of multiple timelines or NLA it might be more practical but I don't really understand all these technicalities as I am not an animator - I just like to animate certain scenes as best I can manage.

    If I know for sure that the scene will never be used for character animation then I do sometimes use the timeline for dForce but only when Start-from-Memorized doesn't cut it.

    For collisions with props (such as the couch) I don't use the actual prop as a collision target - I create primitives and hide them from the render. Props generally don't have enough polygons.

    Here's where the magic comes in, my friend:

    When we simulate something using dForce, unlike VWD, if we save that, either as a scene or subset, the simulation stays with the save. 

    My character animations all begin with a Blank aniBlock covering the first 30 frames. I use these first 30 frames for any tweaks that I might want to make before the render starts. However, when we bake the animation to the timeline, these first 30 frames hold the pose all the way through - so in the timeline I delete frames 1-29 for anything and everything in the scene at this early stage.

    I've discovered early on that this appears to make no difference at all. Those first thirty frames still hold that same position. Oh... I see... it's because the first keys have ALL been set to "Constant".

     

    So immediately following a "Bake to Timeline" operation I:

    1. Right-Click in the timeline > Collapse All
    2. Select frames 1 through 29 > Delete Keyframes button (Not Delete Key on Keyboard!!! LOL)
    3. Select Frame zero - still collapsed in the timeline > Set interpolation to "Linear"

    Now there's a smooth transition between frames 0 and 30.

     

    So now if I have all of Rosie's hair to begin draped over her left eye and off the shoulder on the right, I can go to frame 10 and cock her head to the left and turn it to the left and bend it downwards. Now I go to frame 20 and see what the pose looks like compared to frame 30. I'll usually add another pose using the Neck pose controls to furhter benefit how I want the hair to be draped at this point - on frame 20, then go to frame 30 and zero out those neck Pose dials - or set them for how I want the head in frame 30.

     

    This is a quick rundown example of using the timeline to assist dForce. Since I've started working this way, I've noticed faster, more pleasing dForce results. 

     

    Since I always do this for my Character animations, I save all of my Character presets with that blank aniBlock in position.

     

    Now, if I'm building a scene for characters to reside in - even if I may never actually bring in the character(s) (until I get into DaVinci Resolve) I'll add that 30 frame buffer - even if I don't really need it.

     

    When it comes to rendering, I just set 30 as the first frame (bottom timeline)

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076
    edited February 2023

    I'm currently rendering this into an animation - it needs to be animated because the water is flowing (iReal Ocean Water System). This will be brought into DaVinci Resolve (but this time I'm paying a visit to my old friend, HitFilm) and compositing Rosie's animation over it, and then a foreground element in front of her, and then work with the video from there to get everything matched up nicely.

    I prefer to work on Individual Bits like this. The biggest challange is lighting and/or scene interaction.

    For lighting, I make sure to have a good idea of the scene I'll be making (or have already made) for the character, and set the character lighting accordingly. Remember - we want our characters to POP. So light them a little special.

    For scene interaction, I'll include Only the essential part of the scene that the character has to interact with into the character render and scene. For example a wall, a lever, a chair, etc.,

    If there are more of these things in the scene that the character doesn't interact with, those will either be rendered on their own or in the scene. On their own allows the possibility of moving them around anywhere (within visual reasoning) in the scene - whereas in the scene gives instant gratification. I scrutinize each situation on an individual basis as I work.

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076

    A note about the above post - The example of Rosie's animation is using the Perspective camera, simply to show the dForce results. The lighting in the actual animation render matches the lighting of the scene sh'ell be dropped into ;)

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076

    Point being, I prefer to work on my dForce simulations with only the essentials needed for the simulation itself, and save it. That way too, I can render just that and inspect the simulation. If it has jitters in the fabric where I don't want it, I go in and make adjustments. 

     

    This might sound like a PITA way to work, but it's truly just the opposite. The freedom makes everything a real joy and makes for a nice, responsive working experience ;)

  • marblemarble Posts: 7,449

    Dartanbeck said:

    marble said:

    I avoid the timeline because I sometimes want to use that scene as the initial frame for an animation and having a dForce animation in the scene already ruins any chance of using it later for character animation. If DAZ Studio had some kind of multiple timelines or NLA it might be more practical but I don't really understand all these technicalities as I am not an animator - I just like to animate certain scenes as best I can manage.

    If I know for sure that the scene will never be used for character animation then I do sometimes use the timeline for dForce but only when Start-from-Memorized doesn't cut it.

    For collisions with props (such as the couch) I don't use the actual prop as a collision target - I create primitives and hide them from the render. Props generally don't have enough polygons.

    Here's where the magic comes in, my friend:

    When we simulate something using dForce, unlike VWD, if we save that, either as a scene or subset, the simulation stays with the save. 

    My character animations all begin with a Blank aniBlock covering the first 30 frames. I use these first 30 frames for any tweaks that I might want to make before the render starts. However, when we bake the animation to the timeline, these first 30 frames hold the pose all the way through - so in the timeline I delete frames 1-29 for anything and everything in the scene at this early stage.

    I've discovered early on that this appears to make no difference at all. Those first thirty frames still hold that same position. Oh... I see... it's because the first keys have ALL been set to "Constant".

     I have Animate 2 but don't use it. I have aniblocks but don't use them. Almost everything I animate is quick and dirty manual keyframing from frame 0 to frame 60 (or whatever). Very short loops, generally. I don't have the patience to wait all day for 1200 frames of an aniblock to render. Nor do I like the look of Filament so I render with IRay (I do wish that Filament was more like Eevee in Blender though).

    To explain a little further - I like to make stories like the old photo-comic stories that you could see in magazines. Occasionally I will add a quick animation in with the stills which is something those old magazines couldn't do but I bet they wish they could have. The story will typically be 100 - 120 scenes and will take me a couple of weeks to complete. When it is done, I usually go over it for a few days, decide I could have done better with much of it so I then delete it and start a new story (not the same story). That's my hobby - it keeps me occupied and challenges my creativity. Sometimes my stories are actually memories from my youth or childhood that I populate with digital avatars of friends and family. Other time the stories are just pure imagination let loose.

    The point I am trying to make is that I am not concerned with making exhibition art - nobody will ever see my stories but myself. But I am concerned with wasting valuable time waiting for dForce over 120 scenes. So that's why I am so keen on DAZ coming up with something that can simulate in seconds rather than minutes. I follow this forum and type these posts while I am waiting for dForce (or renders) so if DAZ gets tired of my constant whining, they can shut me up by giving me a quick cloth simulator.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076

    Well, even so.

    So we're not using aniBlocks. Just put the pose at some frame past 15. Say... 20.

    We're only concerned with one frame, right? 

    Let dForce drape the simulation until you get to a frame you like and cancel the sim. Scrub through and pick the frame you like best (even if it's after you hit cancel!*) and just render that in Iray - then use an image editor or daVinci to combine it with whatever.

     

    I only use filament while I'm working. It would be the same for me with eevee. I just don't want my art to look like an insta-render game.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076

    However, I know what it's like to have someone hounding me about trying things I don't feel like trying, so all I can say is: You do You! 

    I just try to share what has really been working well for me - and I've been entirely satisfied with dForce, Iray, the whole nine yards! ;)

    BTW, I love our chats. I learn a lot from all of this. Crosswind comes in with these brilliant additions, and Richard... is Richard a dev? 

    All these forum-frequent folks... I love 'em all!!!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076

    Dartanbeck said:

    and I've been entirely satisfied with dForce, Iray, the whole nine yards! ;)

    ... but it wasn't always like that. Just months ago I was a struggling little bugger!

    Wendy helps me a lot behind the scenes. We've known eachother for a lot of years!

  • Dartanbeck said:

    However, I know what it's like to have someone hounding me about trying things I don't feel like trying, so all I can say is: You do You! 

    I just try to share what has really been working well for me - and I've been entirely satisfied with dForce, Iray, the whole nine yards! ;)

    BTW, I love our chats. I learn a lot from all of this. Crosswind comes in with these brilliant additions, and Richard... is Richard a dev? 

    All these forum-frequent folks... I love 'em all!!!

    I hope you don't mean me about Unreal Engine

    I have given up to be honest your loss cheeky 

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076

    LOL!!! Speak of the She-devil!

    Hi Wendy! :)

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076

    Yup. The loss is mine - for now. You'd be proud of me though. Since I got Cyberpunk 2077 for Christmas and played my first game in a bazillion years, I'm not actually using WASD in DS now - so who knows... maybe a little Unreal Engine is in my horizon? We'll see. For now I'm having waaaay too much fun with Iray! ;)

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,076
    edited February 2023

    My favorite car in Cyberpunk 2077. She goes up to 199mph on or off the road! Love it! And I only had to kill to get it! ;)

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    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • marblemarble Posts: 7,449

    WendyLuvsCatz said:

    Dartanbeck said:

    However, I know what it's like to have someone hounding me about trying things I don't feel like trying, so all I can say is: You do You! 

    I just try to share what has really been working well for me - and I've been entirely satisfied with dForce, Iray, the whole nine yards! ;)

    BTW, I love our chats. I learn a lot from all of this. Crosswind comes in with these brilliant additions, and Richard... is Richard a dev? 

    All these forum-frequent folks... I love 'em all!!!

    I hope you don't mean me about Unreal Engine

    I have given up to be honest your loss cheeky 

     

    I wish I were clever enough to get into Unreal (or Unity - I don't know the difference). However, when I have looked at tutorials they invariably start going into coding which is a show-stopper for me. So I don't know whether it is possible to animate as you might in, say Blender or whether Game Enginines have a set of pre-configured animations (walk, jump, crouch, etc.) that just get strung together to make a movie. 

    One of the reasons I don't export my scenes to Blender to animate is becuase of dForce. I don't think that Blender can animate the character and clothing together like @Dartanbeck describes above. At least DAZ Studio can do that even without NLA. I'm not sure that Diffeomorphic can convert dForce to Blender Cloth Sim.

    So there's so much I need to learn but I don't have the capacity for taking in new stuff like I did when I was younger.

    Just to comment about starting at Frame 30 (for example). Yes, I do that when I'm starting an animated scene from scratch. I generally get the dForce clothing to a starting point at which the real animation begins - clothing included. But If I have a scene which I have rendered already and I have run a dForce sim - I can't go back to that later and use it as a base for an animation because I probably would want to change the poses, etc., and have a different starting position for the animation. If there's a dForce timeline already present, DAZ don't give us the option to delete it.I am stuck with it.

    Having said that, someone (ahem!) advised me to use Puppeteer to save out single frames from an animated scene so that is possibly a workaround.

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