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Question about Motion Clips

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I am wondering if anyone here uses motion clips constantly, and has developed a proper pipeline for character animation? 
I am struggling to implement this on my daily work, even though it is super attractive at first. Keeping basic pre-animated loops/sequences in clips, and being able to integrate/blend them independently. 

My main problem is.. what is the proper pipeline for this? 
I've noticed you cant add new keyframes to an already made motion clip (like, adding a rotation keyframe to an object that only had position animated) 
and when you try to convert the motion clip back to keyframes, it is basically unusable, one keyframe for each frame, making it impossible to edit back like in the beginning...
So, should I create several copies of the same character before I create one motion clip? 

I saw the nice tutorial from the C4D user Retro (Dan)  and it was amazing! But I am still lost at this part, how to make non-destructive work, that I could adjust back as I need.

Thanks in advance!

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Hi.  First Im glad you liked the tutorial.  I felt this area has not been covered enough, and even as you have pointed out it has its down sides.  There are some things that may help.

 

Relative and Absolute layers. 

 

You can add keys to a layer which is placed above the clip by going to the animate menu and add Relative or Absolute Animation layer.  This is not the same as a motion clip layer and your see this by the icon difference.  When you add these layers your see them listed under the Motion /Tag properties.  Your have some options for each layer and the layer in which you check box will show its own keys for that layer.  These layers can override the clips if placed above the clip,  Their strength and layer type can be changed and even baked down multiple layers into one.  You can when ready convert a animation layer into a motion clip by right clicking on that layer.  You dont need to use any motion clips at all to use the animation layer system.  This method is a way to keep your translation separate from your rotations, and them blend them while having separate editing over each layer rather than all keys mashed together on the same timeline.

878741743_animationlayers.thumb.jpg.fe2e140a1a1160d886d177c47dd9db07.jpg

 

 Now I will say that I dont use this system every day, but I have used it on full production and did run into issues which I will try to remember how I dealt with it.

 

Reduce Key frames:

 

The next issue is baking down a clip into key-frames.  Too many keys are placed so you cant really edit this after.  You can reduce the keys by going to functions menu from the timeline and chose Key Reducer.  I would have made a video to show this but cant talk at the moment, getting over a illness.

1262674363_keyreducer.thumb.jpg.b320a63900c44eef5733eb1ac5c17697.jpg

 

Hope that helps.   

Dan

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  • 2 hours ago, Rectro said:

    Hi.  First Im glad you liked the tutorial.  I felt this area has not been covered enough, and even as you have pointed out it has its down sides.  There are some things that may help.

     

    Relative and Absolute layers. 

     

    You can add keys to a layer which is placed above the clip by going to the animate menu and add Relative or Absolute Animation layer.  This is not the same as a motion clip layer and your see this by the icon difference.  When you add these layers your see them listed under the Motion /Tag properties.  Your have some options for each layer and the layer in which you check box will show its own keys for that layer.  These layers can override the clips if placed above the clip,  Their strength and layer type can be changed and even baked down multiple layers into one.  You can when ready convert a animation layer into a motion clip by right clicking on that layer.  You dont need to use any motion clips at all to use the animation layer system.  This method is a way to keep your translation separate from your rotations, and them blend them while having separate editing over each layer rather than all keys mashed together on the same timeline.

    878741743_animationlayers.thumb.jpg.fe2e140a1a1160d886d177c47dd9db07.jpg

     

     Now I will say that I dont use this system every day, but I have used it on full production and did run into issues which I will try to remember how I dealt with it.

     

    Reduce Key frames:

     

    The next issue is baking down a clip into key-frames.  Too many keys are placed so you cant really edit this after.  You can reduce the keys by going to functions menu from the timeline and chose Key Reducer.  I would have made a video to show this but cant talk at the moment, getting over a illness.

    1262674363_keyreducer.thumb.jpg.b320a63900c44eef5733eb1ac5c17697.jpg

     

    Hope that helps.   

    Dan

    Hello Dan!
    I am absolutely grateful for you taking the time to explain this!
    I had no idea about the difference between animation layer/motion clip, etc.. for me, it was all part of the same thing somehow. But thanks to you, now I know the key difference!

    I will go through this tests before I get on with the animation process (I am doing a personal short film at the moment, with 3 characters, etc... ) so this will definitely save me a lot of time, I can already tell.

    And I will say it, thanks to your amazing tutorial on youtube, I learned so much more about Motion Clips... an aspect from C4D that i never used for about 12 years I work with the software. It takes the highest amount of care and dedication to make a 1 hour tutorial and post it on youtube. 

    Thanks you so much for your amazing dedication Dan.
    And I hope you recover very soon from your illness, and be 100% fine very soon!

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  • Hello Dan (and everybody who is struggling a bit with the same issue I had)
    I think I discovered a very, very nice solution to my problem.
    I am not sure if this is only on version R21 of C4D (I will check later on my R18 perpetual license later on) 
    But I realised after I removed the keyframes when creating a new motion clip, a new timeline appears on top of my main character animation, folded, with the name of the motion clip I just created (in this case, Walk Cycle)... when opening, I can see the entire embbed animation from the motion clip in there (the same as accessing Dope Sheet from the motion clip timeline) so you can do your fine adjustments there. 

    walkcycle_02.thumb.PNG.d14a4efb3ac0272f7f5227b3b3a4a0a4.PNG


    So far, nothing new... but of course, you can adjust the settings over there, so there is not really a need to convert the motion clip back to keyframes, since it is already easily accessible from there.

    But..  when you decide to add a new keyframe element (for instance, rotation on X axis, but you forgot to make a keyframe for that when creating the motion clip. you can leave your motion clip on as a reference for the new keyframe, or not, and animate on your main character on its own timeline (this will be the only animated bit since everything else was taken inside the motion clip):

    walkcycle_03.thumb.PNG.bc45e1ef7cfcc189b6696010f21c61c4.PNG

     

    And after you are done, you can simply drag this new animated element inside the motion clip timeline! 
    The new motion clip will automatically contain this new animation setting, in a very non-destructive manner!!
    of course, if you animated LEFT_FEET rotation on X axis, you drag it inside the "WalkCycle" motion clip LEFT_FEET rotation tab as well..  but if you want, you can drag it anywhere you want, pelvis, etc.. and it will still work! 
    walkcycle_04.thumb.PNG.884c67976cbd0ae105254fcec829bfb2.PNG

    This is just amazing!! Next level stuff. This will definitely help me a lot with my character animation productions from now on. Being able to keep snippets of my animations, adding things here and there and keeping it overwall, being able to match animations,etc.. damn.. I have no idea the level of programming magic that goes into this! But I am so happy this exists on C4D ❤️  

    Thanks again Dan!
     

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    I recently jumped into the system and yes in the beginning it is really confusing.

    I just wanted to give a warning for two bugs:

    When you use the Hierarchy tab in a motion clip and cut it with the cut tool into more than two clips the hierarchy settings are getting lost and cannot be changed back. This is a major bummer. Support confirmed it and called it a limitation.

    Second bug: when you bake a clip sequenze into a single using the bake clips function in the motion system menue the bake generates keyframes at 0 every second key which makes absolutely no sense. Seems the algo is broken. This one was replicated by a Co worker of mine but I still have to send it in.

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  • 25 minutes ago, zeden said:

    I recently jumped into the system and yes in the beginning it is really confusing.

    I just wanted to give a warning for two bugs:

    When you use the Hierarchy tab in a motion clip and cut it with the cut tool into more than two clips the hierarchy settings are getting lost and cannot be changed back. This is a major bummer. Support confirmed it and called it a limitation.

    Second bug: when you bake a clip sequenze into a single using the bake clips function in the motion system menue the bake generates keyframes at 0 every second key which makes absolutely no sense. Seems the algo is broken. This one was replicated by a Co worker of mine but I still have to send it in.

    Yeah, thanks for the headsup.
    I ran into other bugs as well, but I cant replicate them the same way.
    one thing that happened with my post above, is that, when I added new keyframe to an already made motion clip, first time things worked perfectil..

    but the second time, the whole mesh was destroyed, pushed apart beyond recognition.... I have no idea what happened there...

    It is a bit of a confusing system, and I can see a lot of potential, but yeah.. I need to do more tests with it before I implement this into production..

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    Do you rig in Mixamo or another software? Because for example when you receive a fbx rig from 3ds Max for example the Joint axis is along x axis while in C4d it is along z. If you combine it it will explode due to different axis orientation.

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  • 7 hours ago, zeden said:

    Do you rig in Mixamo or another software? Because for example when you receive a fbx rig from 3ds Max for example the Joint axis is along x axis while in C4d it is along z. If you combine it it will explode due to different axis orientation.

    Nah, I do my own rigs inside c4d. Even jf they are usually basic most of the time.. but yeah, sometimes a well functioning rig just “explodes” when I add a new keyframe element 😞 will try to replicate step by step and see what is happening

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