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Forum Home > Sims 3 Machinima Tips and Tricks > Creating custom animations in Blender

Ballantyne
Member
Posts: 181

Hi all.


Do many people here use Blender to create animations? I'm still very much a newbie, but I've been following some of the great tutorials made by the community and have been able to make a couple of simple animations so far. 


Animating the upper body, arms and face seem fairly straightforward now, but I'm finding it very, very difficult to animate the legs so it looks natural. I'm currently trying to make an animation where my sim has been injured and he staggers forward a couple of steps whilst clutching his left side in pain.


I guess my main question is: does anyone have any advice on making a decent walking/stepping animation? My attempts so far have resulted in a sort of demented forward-sliding moonwalk :/ 


Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thanks :)

March 11, 2013 at 7:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SSProductions
Member
Posts: 904

It's awesome you're creating custom animations :) I don't use Blender myself, I use Milkshape and 3ds Max,  but the principle is the same :)


Animating the legs, especially a walking animation is one of the most difficult to achieve. Animators usually use other methods rather than static keyframing, such as motion capture or using a biped as that has a natural walk cycle built in. The advice I can give is to get hold of footage of someone walking, then use that as a guide. Study the movements and try to reproduce this as closely as possible in Blender. Slowing down the footage significantly can help, or even pausing it at various frames.  If you can find a similar piece of footage where a person is staggering clutching their side, or maybe even film this yourself to use as a guide, this can help significantly to create a smoother, more realistic animation :)  Hope that helps :)

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March 12, 2013 at 1:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

CloudwalkerSims
Moderator
Posts: 594

you can also clone EA's walking and use it and change the keyframes one by one. It's a very very long process.

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March 12, 2013 at 9:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ballantyne
Member
Posts: 181

Thanks for the replies guys! :)


@SSProductions, good advice :) I have just been using a full-length mirror to try and copy my own movements so far (unsuccesfully lol) , but on the weekend I might try filming myself doing the animation and use it as a reference in Blender. 


@Cloudwalker. Hmm... sounds interesting. I will check it out. Maybe I could just use a few of EA's keyframes and overlay the torso animation by hand? Not sure if it is possible, but I will experiment *Rubs chin thoughtfully* 

March 13, 2013 at 5:54 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SSProductions
Member
Posts: 904

Thanks Ballantyne, hope you have fun with them :)


Using Sims 3 animations can work as Cloud suggsted, I've 'recycled'  and modified animations myself at times, especially in the new movie to save time. With Millkshape, setting "Operate on Selected Joints" to ticked, then select a joint, eg left arm. Then delete all keyframes. This deletes all the keyframes for just the arm. You can then re-animate it how you want without losing other parts of the animations such as the walk cycle.  With Max it's even easier as an animation layer will override the orginal. Not sure about Blender but there must be a way to do this. Your animation overlay is a good idea. Good luck and have fun :) Looking forward to seeing your animations :)

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March 13, 2013 at 12:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

CloudwalkerSims
Moderator
Posts: 594

Alex, I did not know about that about the way to delete the keyframes for just tht joint!!!! woohooo!

I need to play more in Max with animations. I (ahem) was thinking I could use a rig someone said they had ... cough cough cough ;)

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March 13, 2013 at 8:09 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SSProductions
Member
Posts: 904

Indeed, I only discovered this while experimenting, and it seems to work well and save lots of time. I've been a bit distracted :lol: PM me your email address :)

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March 13, 2013 at 9:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ballantyne
Member
Posts: 181

@ Cloudwalker/SSProductions, I took your advice and borrowed some of EA's keyframes for the walkstyle. It took a bit of head-scratching and time in blender as I couldn't figure out how to delete all the keyframes for one part, but eventually I was able to overlay an upper-body pose. Here is my progress so far:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZV-YW2Jn-s

It still looks a bit strange, I haven't added any detail (grimacing, clutching etc) to the upper body yet, plus the walkstyle moves on the spot instead of across the floor. But I will keep working on it. 

March 17, 2013 at 2:34 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SSProductions
Member
Posts: 904

Great work so far :) With the walking on the spot, it seems the game engine treats walking differently as the sim is directed to a spot in game, an interaction. This can probably be rectified by editing the b_root_bind bone so the sim moves forward when walking. Otheriwse I don't think it will translate properly using the animation player and the sim may still walk on the spot in game. It's awsome what you're doing :)

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March 17, 2013 at 10:13 AM Flag Quote & Reply

CloudwalkerSims
Moderator
Posts: 594

really? so we could take their walk animation and add the b_root_bind ad it would move? I was just going to use green screen, but this sounds intriguing!

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March 17, 2013 at 11:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SSProductions
Member
Posts: 904

It should in theory work, but I've noticed some animations work slightly differently than others. The best way to find out if it works is to try it :) I can always send a version of my walk animation in a form that could be tweaked by you (I used it in the Time Machine movie). Maybe an fbx version would do the job so it could be imported into MS or Blender, or any software. Then it will be a case of animating the upper body for different animations you may need.

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March 17, 2013 at 5:54 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ballantyne
Member
Posts: 181

Thanks! :) 

b_root_bind, eh? By edit, do you mean nudging across the floor keyframe-by-keyframe? 

March 17, 2013 at 6:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

CloudwalkerSims
Moderator
Posts: 594

I've been working on a Catwalk, but when I had the model's legs cross over each other I got some strange hip action and I don't know how to fix that. But I did get it by tweaking another walk animation.


http://s1071.beta.photobucket.com/user/CloudwalkerSims/media/runwaytest2_zps655fd581.mp4.html


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March 17, 2013 at 6:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ballantyne
Member
Posts: 181

Nice job so far, Cloudwalker :)

 

I wish I knew how to fix hips too, I still have a lot of modifying to do on the wounded walk. If I manage figure out any tricks whilst experimenting I will share it here.

March 17, 2013 at 7:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SSProductions
Member
Posts: 904

Nice animation so far Cloud :) I think there are other forces involved such as compression and rotation which is part of this type of walk. The hips kinda swing with a catwalk walk, and there a side to side motion with the spine so that may have to be animated too. 


Ballantyne, b root bind would only need to be nudged at key intervals, when the foot hits the floor. The software should then interpolate the motion :) It'll be a case of trial and error to find what distance works best and how to key frame this, but I've done a few early animations with a sim moving forwards but only a step or two and it seemed to work ok :) Also, when someone is injured they don't walk with regular steps, it's more of a shuffle at non regular intervals. That would probably need to be taken into account too.


You're both doing awesome work so far :) I may experiment myself in the week with more walking animations :)

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March 17, 2013 at 7:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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