BlenderPeople Development

Tracking the development of the BlenderPeople script suite.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Getting closer to an official release of Blender 2.40 with the spiffed up character animation tools.

I also dove back into the Blender sources over the past couple of months, doing a little coding that made it into the release: the Floor constraint (actually called MinMax internally), and a small tweak to the armature ghost drawing code.

The holy grail of Blender character animation for me though, has always been a feature that would allow you to string together a series of actions in the NLA, and have the NLA line them up properly for you. In fact, such a feature is essential to using the NLA for script generated actions, eg. BlenderPeople.

I tried to code this last year, but things were too much of a mess in Blender's character animation system to make it happen. Well, either the rewrite of the code by Ton was excellent (it was), my skills have improved (they have), or a combination of both, because I have actually achieved success. I have a demo video of the feature in action, but due to the pounding my bandwidth took a couple of weeks ago from being one link removed from a Drudge Report link, I'm not going to post the link to it.

I still have issues to iron out, like putting in support for BlendIn in action strips (essential), and adding a UI. There are also some flagging issues with the state of NLA that I'm aware of, and I'm sure I've abused the whole DAG thing in a way that makes me think will frown on my code. But, it works, and it will be very useful.

Thanks to Martin for what was probably to him some rudimentary information on matrices and matrix math, but was to me completely invaluable and helped me solve a number of problems.

One more thing... it had been suggested in the past that I try to abstract the database layer, or use something simpler like SQLite. The abstraction project is down the line - it's a good idea, and one I'm going to try for 1.0. For the next version, though, I think I'm going to test it using SQLite. I'm currently not using any of the features of MySQL that aren't shared by SQLite, and for the kind of access I'm doing, it's probably going to be faster. What it really comes down to, though, is that since I began using it MySQL has become more and more cumbersome to install and run for basic users. Better to have something simple and with zero config, and it seems that SQLite can do that.

Also, I'm still waiting for someone to donate a nice new Athlon X2 dual core, or dual Opteron machine to the cause! Because I'd only use it for BlenderPeople. Honest.

posted by Roland  # 8:00 PM
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