Procedural Animation: How to best export it to .X or .DAE ?

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Procedural Animation: How to best export it to .X or .DAE ? // Tech Forum

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Post by VerlSnake // Apr 2, 2009, 2:56pm

Total Posts: 14
I can export keyframe animations successfully to .X or .DAE; but what about exporting procedural animations to those formats ? What do I mean with 'Procedural Animation' ?

- It is animation that is generated via scripts or blocks in the 'Link Editor (LE)'

- It is normally NOT triggerable via the 'Animation Editor's (AEs)' 'Play Button' - there's no animation track in the AE for it

- One impressive example: The 'Steerable Morphed Shark' in the Base Objects

I know that I can create 'Procedural Clips' for 'Physical Animation'; and then do 'Generate Key Frames' for such a 'Procedural Clip'. Is something along those lines available for 'Procedural Animation', too ?

Let's take a closer look at the 'Steerable Morphed Shark':

- I can start the animation by enabling 'Active' in the 'Steerable Morphed Shark' Panel

- I can also influence the animation (in realtime) via several sliders available in this Panel: Up/Down, Backwards/Forward, Left/Right, etc.

Maybe one approach could be:

- Start and influence a Shark animation manually

- Record this animation (have tried that; seems to be quite buggy ...)

- Then somehow convert the recorded animation to keyframes and export the resulting keyframe animation

Since 'Procedural Animation' has so much more value if it can be exported (to .X, .DAE, etc.), I am very grateful for decent solution input :-) !

P.S.: I would have preferred a 'Steerable Morphed Dolphin' over the 'Steerable Morphed Shark'

Post by Jack Edwards // Apr 2, 2009, 3:37pm

Jack Edwards
Total Posts: 4062
You can't export procedural animation.

There aren't any formats that support transfering scripting that is specific to an application. That would be like asking trueSpace to support importing Maya MEL script. You'd have to write some kind of emulator that would mimic Maya's functionality. There's just no way to do it.

The only way to get procedural animation (scripting) in your target application is to create it there.

BTW, what's your target application?

Post by VerlSnake // Apr 2, 2009, 4:04pm

Total Posts: 14
Target application: I am still in the web 3D package evaluation phase; looking into DX Studio, Shiva, Unity 3D (Windows version is there) and Esperient Creator currently.

I am not sure if Your statement 'You can't export procedural animation.' is fully correct ...

Take the HotRod model, for instance; if I move it, the wheels are animated automatically by procedural animation provided in the LE; I have generated a keyframe animation with two different positions for this HotRod model; and then exported the HotRod and its animation. And look: The animation INCLUDES the spinning of the wheels :-) ! This very simple example led me to believe that procedural animation is NOT completely buried in TrueSpace7.6 ... Am I drawing the wrong conclusions from the animated HotRod model ?

Post by stan // Apr 2, 2009, 4:06pm

Total Posts: 1240
there are parts of the shark you can keyframe.
right click on the steerable morph shark on dopesheet , open keying panel, there are items you can set keyframes for.

look at some of trueblues scripts for keyframing things like background settings etc. in garage.

Post by Jack Edwards // Apr 2, 2009, 4:34pm

Jack Edwards
Total Posts: 4062
Yes. You are drawing the wrong conclusions. ;) The scripting is not exported. What you are doing is converting the scripted animation to keyframes.

Though there may be a practical solution for you. If you can successfully capture the procedural animation as keyframed translation, rotation, and scale, then that can be exported.

Vertex morphing is not supported for export though, which is disappointing because it means there's no way to export the vertex animation. Depending on the other application's features, you may be able to export the model at specific morphed "poses" and then use the other application's morphing abilities to morph between the poses.

Skeletal animation does export though. The problem comes in what your target application/platform supports and whether or not it can read the files in correctly.

Keep in mind, that some of the target options you mention are programming envirionments, so you could still use trueSpace to prototype the procedural animation, then reimplement it in the target platform.

Also be aware that your procedural shaders don't export either. But again much of the code concepts once solved, you should be able to recreate in the target platform.

Post by TomG // Apr 3, 2009, 4:13am

Total Posts: 3397
As Jack says, you'd need to convert any procedural behavior into fixed keyframes in order to export. The formats in question don't support any way to have code or scripting embedded in them, so you can't export anything procedural.

Note that an exporter would be theoretically possible to write, given that computer languages are well defined - you would need to reinterpret script code and your self-written exporter would then translate the commands into the equivalent commands in a different language. Very very complex to do of course, especially if there are differences to the flow of control in the languages - while translating an individual statement from one language to another shouldn't be too hard, getting functionality controlled by nodes and linking in tS would be incredibly hard indeed, as would ensuring your translater captures the overall structure and flow of control.

This is why we don't see exporters for scripts and languages. It's usually better just to re-write it manually in the target language, as Jack suggests.



Post by mrbones // Apr 3, 2009, 10:01am

Total Posts: 1280
This is a must see Character Animation Program.
Its Called Animeeple.

What doesnt Animeeple do for Character Animation?

It has FBX, BVH Collada Second Life Avatar Import /Export and Automatic Skeletal Retargeting.

And its Totally FREE

Animeeple is a mash-up tool for 3D character animation. You can take some
character animations, edit/sequence them how you like, and put them onto a

Our hope is that when you use Animeeple you don't have to worry about the
messy details like file formats and skeletons. That's why we do retargeting
automatically, and why we want to support lots of different file formats.

We hope this tool will be useful for people who need 3D animation but who
don't necessarily want to get into the gory details. We've designed it for
virtual world users, casual video game creators, and people who like making
3D movies.


Post by Scala3D // Apr 3, 2009, 10:37am

Total Posts: 157
Wow, thanks MrBones, you ROCK !!!! I am one such user, I love 3D but I am not an artist. I am currently working on bringing in some video of 3D GIS terrain animations in to TS as animated textures. I would be cool to add 3D people in my scene as they watch the 3D GIS terrian animations..LOL. I t's hard to explain what I am trying to This stuff is sweet. Thanks for all the support that you guys provide to us lesser mortals.


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