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wiegje85

Questions for Animators...

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Hello,

Since I'm but a stupid programmer who really doesn't know a lot about animation, I figured I'd ask a few questions to the resident animators here. The reason I'm asking is because I am developing a game-oriented model format and I wish to know what the standards are when it comes to animating for games.


1. At what frame rate do you usually animate for games? I heard this is 15 fps (and Maya seems to agree), but I also heard this is often 24 fps or even 48 fps.

2. Do you (often) use morph animation? i.e. to morph a character's face, or do you use bones that are attached to the vertices through blend shapes?

3. The model format I am developing leaves out vertex animation, because lets face it: bone animation is the standard in the games industry these days. Would you agree on this design choice?


I'll use this topic to post more questions, but so far: thanks!

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1. You could add a value into your model format like 'framerate'. That way you can use animations of 1 fps and 100 fps.
And I have to disappoint you, 3ds max does not agree, there the standard is 30 fps. But for as far as I know every package lets you modify the fps.

3. Depends, do your artists use vertex animations or not? If they use them heavily then you might consider adding vertex animations to your format. If they don't then you can leave it out.

assainator

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Quote:

1. At what frame rate do you usually animate for games? I heard this is 15 fps (and Maya seems to agree), but I also heard this is often 24 fps or even 48 fps.

2. Do you (often) use morph animation? i.e. to morph a character's face, or do you use bones that are attached to the vertices through blend shapes?

At the place i last worked:
1) our code used 30fps as the baseline
2) our latest project used "morph targets" in animations for all the characters.

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morph targets...
For the most part, it is a bunch of "targets" that are hand molded copies of the base shape. The animations describe weighted blends between each target. Usually it would be just for animating a face or head, but could run on the whole body. We had a kinda trim process in the export to make sure the minimum number of verticies were exported to be blended.

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Do any other animators or artists have an opinion on these matters? I am looking for input, based on experience or personal preferences :)

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1 - I think it goes by the artist, but I'm used to 30 (Max user too).

2 - Might work better with your engine, and keep it with a unified bone system: use morph-targets but for bones instead of vertices. Like, a certain setup of bones is stored as a morph state, one you can interpolate in and out of. You interpolate the bones' transformations; their attached vertices will move accordingly.

3 - I agree, bone animation will definitely give you better results than vertex animation, and also (probably the most important reason) provide you with a skeletal structure to which you can apply ragdolls\rigid-bodies, place nodes (like a sword parented to the hand's bone) etc.

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1. Is there special nead to lock animation keys to spesific time?
Float variables can handle fractional numbers :D
Normaly framerate in games is dynaamic and lives on 15.0fps - 120.0fps,
unlike in movies where framerate is fixed to 24fps.

But since monitors normaly are limited to max. 60fps,
there is no advantage of going above 60fps. (if no motion blur is calculated.)

(normaly I don`t care where keys land, I just make sure that animation looks good)

2.
face morphs are must for complex face expressions, but if only moving chin is neaded, then bone animation works.

3.
There is some cases where direct vertex animation is neaded.

Flag waving in wind. (cloth simulation baked to vertices.)
Motion trails fx / streaks.
Complex morphing, that neads non-linear blending of vertices.

/Tyrian

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