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Step-by-step guide to animation

 
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AnemicAnomie
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 3:58 am    Post subject: Step-by-step guide to animation Reply with quote

Here's the short(ish) version. When real life becomes a little less demanding, I plan on making a full-fledged tutorial with pictures and better explanations. In the meantime, the following will make a lot more sense if you first read the Simpose help files and the animation tutorial from Simply Enchanted (#3 on this page).

Note: I used SimPose version 9.4 throughout; I have no idea if this works for older versions.

1. Find the animation and extract the .cfp and .cmx to ...\SimPose\GameData\Animations.

2. In SimPose, go to the Static menu and New Pose Library. Name it. Now go to Static > Save Pose Library. Name the file. You now have a blank pose library to hold the animation frames you are going to capture.

3. Click Animation > Load Animation From File. If the .bcf has multiple .cfp files associated with it, you will choose from a list of .cfp files after you select the .bcf; otherwise, the animation will start to play immediately.

3. While the animation is running, go to KeyFrame > Save Keyframe Animation As. You will see a dialog with the number of frames in the animation; do not change this number, but make a note of it. Name your new .kfd file something memorable.

4. Set the playback speed (under the File menu) to Single step. F5 advances to the next frame. Look at the "Animation timeline" tab at the bottom of the screen. The horizontal green bar shows the playback progress of the displayed animation. Each of the vertical bars represents a key frame. The red vertical bar is the key frame which you are working with at the moment. Click on any vertical bar and it will turn red. If you advance the animation so that the end of the green bar lines up with the red bar, the background will turn white and you will be able to see any changes you make to the current pose.

Now, you could just manipulate all of those keyframes individually using the controls in the Character tab and re-join us at Step 10, but you might save some time and get better results with the following method:

5. Click the first vertical bar to select the first usable frame of the animation. Press F5 until the background turns white so you can see the frame. Save it as a pose with Static > Save Pose To Library. Do the same thing with the last frame, and with any important frames in between. Use descriptive names, and you'll probably want to number the poses to help with sequencing.

MUY IMPORTANTE: Remember to go to Static > Save Pose Library after you've added your poses.

7. If you want to make any changes in the first or last frames of the new animation, this is the time to do it. Once you have set a pose as the first or last frame in an animation, you can't change it anymore.

8. When you have all of your important poses, go to KeyFrame > New Animation: Translation. The sequence length is the final total number of frames at 30 frames per second-- use the number you jotted down earlier if you want the new animation to be the same length as the original. Set the Starting pose and Finish pose to the first and last frames.

9. Your new animation is really boring right now, but you can fix that by adding more keyframes. Go to KeyFrame > Add Keyframe. Remember to use a different "Add at time" value for each new key frame. (It might be helpful to think of the "Add at time" as a page number in a book, where each page is a single animation frame, the starting frame is the front cover and the ending frame is the back cover.) You can tick the box next to "Use listed pose" to use a pose from your library as the new key frame, or you can leave the box unchecked and manipulate the new keyframe the same way you manipulate a normal pose. SimPose will automatically generate the frames between the key frames.

10. When you're happy with the animation, go to KeyFrame > Convert to CFP; then, go to Animation > Save CFP Animation As. You might be able to get away without using the naming conventions for animations (a2o, a2a, etc.), but I think it's better in the long run to stick to the rules.

11. Saving the CFP created three files: a .cmx, a .cmx.bcf, and a .cfp. Put the .cfp and the .bcf into your ...The Sims\GameData\Skins folder.

I recommend testing the animations by plugging them into an object cloned from a mirror (see the Simply Enchanted tutorial), so you'll know right away if the files were converted correctly. If they work, you can use your new home-brewed animation any way you want. thumbsup
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bluesage
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Joined: 31 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done! clap
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mtaman
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much. notworthy notworthy notworthy
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Raeven
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Joined: 24 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Step-by-step guide to animation Reply with quote

AnemicAnomie wrote:
4. Set the playback speed (under the File menu) to Single step. F5 advances to the next frame.


And there's the (crucial) step I missed!!
notworthy
WHOOT!! thank you, thank you!

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