Friday, 6 July 2007

what i would like to have from an animation tool

wishlist for an animation application

- Games workflow
in games one hast to animate very short animations and cycles
so the animation file ends up beeing like 3000 frames long
with 100 different animations
it becomes a mess quite quickly
I would love to have the ability to seperate these animations in the app,
so that i can look at one single animation in the graph editor.
name the animation so i can easily find it again. (maybe like the video editing apps)
define start and end poses and find those again once you want to change them - (there is a lot of from this animation endpose to that animation startpose
so your idle start/end pose will end up beeing used VERY often as the beginning or end of other animations

- games exporter for most common engines and middle ware

- proper 2D drawing and animation with a wacom
(like reflex, alias studio, alias sketchbook, tv paint, not weired splines but nice bitmap or vector lines)
- FULLY and very easily customizeable interface
(easy load and change - for colleagues, ability to save it with the file)
ability to change camera navigation
for using wacoms it sucks to do something intricate with middle or right mousebutton
would be a lot better do do it with tip AND rmb or tip AND lmb
- map frame by frame buttons to every sort of input device
- realtime playback
- custom buttons with code execution
(like mel shelf buttons) but lay it out in the scene and save it with the file (every shot is different)
- marking menues (also save with file)
- ability to split animations representation into shots
..if i hit "f" in graph editor it only focuses and shows the animationcurves of the current shot and not all 1000 frames
some of the animations are totally independent from each other - like game animation
you should also be able to save that framerange (for example "walk", "idle" "shot1") and come back to it with a simple click.
this should also save with the file
- save config and code with every file and not in seperate file
some of the above features need a different sort of saving configs and code
usually this is saved seperately from the animated file
but i think it would be cool if you could save scripts, code, buttons(which execute code), configuration of the app (bring up a warning that the file calls different config and give animator the choice of taking 6 outofthe 11 local configs for say camera fcurves editor and so on)
- realtime, stable and EASY TO USE onionskinning (coming and past frames different color, drawing strength changes with proximity to actual frame nr. ability to tell app how many frames)
- more intelligent selection of handles and controllers (highlight on mouseover and so on)
.. current technology ends up in a mess quite often because of too many controllers
.. one controller beeing hidden by another or geometry, two look exactly the same and you often select the wrong one - modify it and not knowing why the the part of the character does not change
- stable, fast, intuitive, modular autorigging functionality (setup machine, face machine, cat)
thats an easy way to standardize rigs and that helps to add advanced rig functionality
standardizing should not mean unflexible
ability to rig an octopuss aswell as a simple human game character, cartoony daffy duck or realistic beowulf, biped, quadruped, hands on the end of tentacles, tails, ponytail . . . . .
- ability to insert reference video INTO the scene (eg. on a plane). with realtime playback (ram player)
- save selection of channels in graph editor
(on handles like the hand it sometimes becomes quite a mess with all the custom attributes, or all rotations on the spine only)
- change representation of rotation vs translation and custom attributes in graph editor
(rotations have very high values whereas translation often doesnt change more than 5 units, so in the GE you cant really see tranlation and rotation because the values are too different. same with custom attributes)
- ability to colorize (or some other sort of visual feedback) certain frames
start and end frames of a loopable animation that is embeded in bigger animation. (games)
keys, breakdowns, extremes . . .
start end frames of a shot or a move that you want to focus on
ability to hide everything but that part of the animation, focus GE on that part and so on
- easy and convenient set start and end time for timeline
thats something that you need ultra often and you always have to double klick some textfield and enter values. why does no software support (use current frame for start of range/end of range. with hotkey like shift left arrow/right arrow)
- quickly copy keys and poses in Graph editor and timeline
3dstuidomax has this cool thing where you just have to shift drag a keyframe and it will copy it to where you drag it
since you do that a lot in animation
that saves you the akward strg c strg v thing
- local global gimbal (rot trans)
only gimbal will tell you what you are actually changing (in the graph editor)
only local on trans (depending on app) will show you what the app will do under the hood
easy way to switch it
quick way to see what you are using right now
- well copied features from other packages/plugins
I prefer well copied features over brand new ueber features ANY time.
In the end its about workflow and usability, and that something that only Animators can say/see while working on a pruduction shot.
Devs should check out how features work or dont work in other apps and then incorparating them in your own app.
I think ambitious developers are sometimes afraid of shamelessly copying features.
please ! don't giveashh..
- graph editor having a way to tell what which courve is
sometimes you select the whole character
and you see a weired courve and you cant really tell which object it belongs to
you have to slowly scroll down a huge list and look very closely to find it

to be expanded . . .
please add your thoughts on functions that should be embedded in current animation applications.
there is still a lot to improove from the usability point of view

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Autodesk Montreal was looking for a User Interface Dsiegner for a 3D Game Engine app... haven't checked on that lately... you seemt o know what would be needed...