Tuesday, 24 July 2007

cool features in other animation applications

things i encounter when working in other animation packages
i write it down for you and also for me to remember what i liked and disliked before getting used to the app too much.
First off - i will always prefer maya over those packages - but they have some cool features that could be brought to maya or other apps like the hopefully soon released reflex

- distance to camera (very easy just go view and tick that and every obj you select shows a number with the distance - not really animation specific but its great and simple)
- great reanaming (select a couple of objects and rename them all at once - auto nr at end)
- very good and flexible frame counter built in (KA slate)
- mouse buttons context menue on different commands (eg constraining -middle=to, right=from)
- middle or rightclick on hirarchies selects all in branch or all below
- high level editor in graph editor (advanced sort of lattice for fcurves)
- open multiple independent graph editors (for one or multiple object)
- rotation order (check gimbal lock post) can be keyed and changed during animation (halleluja)
- great keyboard mapping settingpage (doesnt do multiple assignments though)
- custom toolbars can be saved as a seperate file and is easily accessable (wont save with the scene but better than nothing)
- playblast aka capture in quicktime sorensen3 !!! (now thats something great innit ?)
- memo (little buttons that allow you to save viewport settings - unfortunately not the showed components (poli, curves . . ))
-Paths on save and open
(saves paths you used - very annoying if you have to surf there every time you save or open a file like in maya)
-color code via artist panel (you can colour code stuff VERY quickly)
- keeping frame forward backward buttons pressed will play the animation (maya has seperate button)

- holding ctrl over any button or command gives you a quick help window on what it does
superbly quick and convenient way of tackling the "what does this do again" problem

- animation layers - damn, thats powerful !
- highlighting of keyed parts - when you scrub the timeline and move over a keyframe
the controls which are keyed on that frame light up - very nice, never annoying, visual feedback
- adjusting the timeline size can be done by dragging over the start and end frame button
nice for quick adjustments
- camera navigation is quite nice (one mouse button with "shift and ctrl", "shift", "control")
- graph editor navigation has GREAT usability - especially resizing
- arcs tool - trajectory -animation curves works great
- nice way to work with keyframes in the timeline (dopesheet kind of way)

3D Studio Max
-trajectory (animation curves, arcs tool)
works nicely and intuitively
- character studio
really bad for high quality stuff - but good for quickies
not everything is tripple A or feature film quality
interesting footroll pivot solution
unfortunately no squash and strech/scaling and you cant use graph editor
- CAT havent tried it yet but its some pimped, modular version of character studio
a lot like The Setup Machine in maya
- resizing the playback range is nice
- copy a key in the timeline via shift + mousebutton (nice and fast)
- selection sets are a very well designed feature
- skinning (over all it sucks but some cool features)
color, bone envelopes (for superquick tests only), the mirror mode is great
- camera has a walk through mode (3d shooter like camera)
great for positioning the camera
- doesnt change anything when you save the file (maya does some sort of refresh- changes selection)

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