CG Cookie New Blender Animation Training

If you are interested in character animation you probably know about CG Cookie. They have a load of free and pay-for tutorials. All the basic information is free. The advanced and time saving stuff is usually pay-for. So far, everything I’ve paid for I have been happy with. I haven’t paid for all that much, but I have paid for some.

Recently CG Cookie put up a new YouTube video: Animation Toolkit – Training Series for Character Animation in Blender. It is promoting their release of the new training series.

This series gets into things that cannot be imported into Second Life™ with the BVH import. Gaia Clary’s Avastar is progressing toward what I think is the best all around tool for making mesh clothes and animating avatars, human or non-human. One of its better features is the ability to create .anim files that the SL Viewer can import. The .anim file format allows one to use more of the animation features found in Blender.

Back in April of this year I wrote:  Avastar Rigging and Animation, which had to do with STORM-1803 and the addition of the ability to import .anim files.

There is a wiki page that explains the Internal Animation Format used in Second Life. You can get an idea of what is possible reading the specification. It is pretty geeky and requires you know the BVH capabilities to see the difference, so the quick summary of differences between BVH and .anim uploads is:

  • Individual Joint Priorities – BVH sets all priorities for all joints/bones moved in the animation to the same priority. Using a .anim format one can set different priorities for each joint/bone. This can allow better mixing of animations.
  • Animation control of eyes, something we cannot do with BVH.
  • Stretchy Bones – Each frame can control the length of a bone.
  • Animation of attachments – actually just control of the attachment points, but that controls the attachments.
  • Client side scaling – I don’t really understand this one. I think it is tied in with the appearance sliders. Or it may allow the animation to better work with different size avatars. I haven’t figured that part out.

The SL Wiki has links to discussions of various animations tools. Those all seem to be horribly out of date, mostly 2006 and 2009 stuff. All made previous to the viewer’s upgrade to allow .anim file import. So, to some extent new animators are going to have a hard time chasing down good animation information.

Now with the ability to use .anim files the CG Cookie animation information is more useful.

3 thoughts on “CG Cookie New Blender Animation Training

  1. I make use of Blender to create avatar animations. It’s a little depressing that there’s no other open source exporter for LL’s internal animation format for Blender. Ah, well.

    • Actually there are a couple. Search on MoCap Madness. A script is in the Blender Artists forum. It can be installed as an addon. That will give you two choices.

      I’ve been researching the problem for a month now digging through what is needed to get export/import and re-targeting of motion capture files to work with Second Life.

  2. Hmm… I must be searching for the wrong things. I can’t seem to find anything at Blender Artists that can export to LL’s internal animation (*.anim) format.

    As for re-targeting, I’ve done a little of that. Blender comes with an add-on (Motion Capture Tools) that can do it for you. But I find I get better and more predictable results by applying constraints to the LL rig (or my IK rig) and copying what I want from the source rig.

    Being unable to export to SL’s .anim format is kind of a pain, for sure. I lose a lot of little details that can make an animation look more natural in-world, or wind up with unexpected movements in the hands or feet.

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