Animation Archives

Switch between frame count and seconds in the Blender Timeline

You may have seen projects or screenshots of Blender displaying a disturbing view of the timeline, in which rather than a pure 12345 frame count, you get something like 44+2 or 18+16. Something that sends the cold shivers down any animator’s spine. What is this madness you ask, and how can we restore it to …

Read moreSwitch between frame count and seconds in the Blender Timeline

My Animation Workflow in DAZ Studio – The Basics

I often get questions in regards to Animations in DAZ Studio. It’s a complex topic, because it combines “animating in general”, and “using the animation tools in DAZ Studio”. I recently described my animation workflow to a reader/viewer (Nkem) and thought this information might be useful to others too, so here’s what I said.

Most new users have an issue with the time it takes to both build the animation itself, but also the enormous time it takes to render an animation out. Something relatively short and simple like this is a good example:

Aside from the setup, rendering an animation frame should be treated differently to a still image. We need to live with compromises, because we’re rendering quite a few images (30 frames per second, on a 10 second animation, that’s 300 images). If each of them would take 6 hours to render, the whole thing would take about 75 days, or nearly 3 months. And that’s a very short animation.

Let’ see how we can trim that down to a few hours or less instead.

Read moreMy Animation Workflow in DAZ Studio – The Basics

Removing x-translation wobble when converting keyframes to aniBlocks

When you convert keyframes to an aniBlock, there’s a phenomenon that can happen in that the figure seems to sway left/right. It’s not something that is present in the keyframe animation, and I’m not entirely sure why this happens on conversion. The above shows how Darius 7 does his keyframe funny walk, while the bottom shows what happens after conversion to an aniBlock. In a word: terrible!

aniMate is a powerful tool, and in this article I’ll take a look on how to fix such shenanigans.

Read moreRemoving x-translation wobble when converting keyframes to aniBlocks

Using Non-Linear Animation (NLA Features) in Blender 2.8

Many animation apps have an exciting feature that lets us re-use a group of keyframes in a more convenient way to build larger and more complex animations. They’re commonly referred to as non-linear editing. A popular example includes setting up an action as keyframes once, and then looping it using an NLA bock of sorts (like a walk cycle). Better yet, animations can be combined and transitioned without interruptions or ugly pops. We can even overlay several actions, such as a walk cycle, an eye blink and a waving hand gesture.

Blender has these features, and while difficult to grasp at first, they’re surprisingly simple to use once you grasp the concept:

  • setup an animation using regular keyframes, or import it from a service like Mixamo
  • turn this group into an Action Strip (that’s what Blender calls an NLA block)
  • add this Action Strip onto an NLA track, repeat it or combine it with other strips
  • add transitions in between blocks to seamless motion
  • add tracks to combine animations

Here’s how it works for me. This might not be 100% accurate, but it’s good enough to build seriously cool animations with ease. I’m using Blender 2.82 for this example, and I’m expanding on principles I’ve briefly touched on in my previous article about looping walk animations.

Read moreUsing Non-Linear Animation (NLA Features) in Blender 2.8

Animating sunlight (SS Time) in DAZ Studio

I’ve recently explained how to make use of the realistic sun disk in DAZ Studio. I’ve talked about how to make this thing visible and how to set it to mood/effect you want, and I’m pleased with the results. This workflow works great for still images, but for animations, it quickly becomes clear that the SS Time parameter under Render Settings – Environment cannot be keyframed.

Or can it? Looks like it can, thanks to a little helper tool called the Sun Dial. Let me show you how it works.

Read moreAnimating sunlight (SS Time) in DAZ Studio

Comparison: 3Delight vs NVIDIA Iray for Animations

For this animation I’ve rendered the same scene twice in DAZ Studio 4.8: once with 3Delight and once with the new NVIDIA Iray engine. It’s interesting to compare the results in an animation rather than a still image due to the different challenges involved.

One thing is that the┬ásubject is illuminated differently depending on how far away it is from the camera. Another is that it’s difficult to get matching end results when mixing faster and slower hardware: Iray can take a long time to finish a render if no GPU acceleration is around.

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How to render with Alpha Channel in Anime Studio 8

We’ve been playing with Anime Studio 8 Pro and love it – for years I’ve been bombarded with “special offer” emails that told me how amazing this programme was so we finally gave in. I’m glad we did – Julia and I are having lots of fun creating 2D animations.

The included tutorials are great, but I believe they’ve been made for previous versions of the software. Some features have changed, and this is one I’ve had trouble funding on the web:

How to render an animation while retaining the Alpha Channel.

Read moreHow to render with Alpha Channel in Anime Studio 8