BlenderPeople Development

Tracking the development of the BlenderPeople script suite.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Call For Help 

Well, BlenderPeople is finally at a stage where I could use some help from the world wide Blender community.

With the basic completion of automated walking, fixes to Action Baking and MatchBone, and additions and modifications to the Python API, I'm starting to put it all together. If you follow this blog, this isn't news to you.

So here's the news: I'm looking for YOU to give me the raw animation materials that'll be used in the BlenderPeople demo at SIGGRAPH. If all goes well, I'll be at the awesome Blender/GNOME/UniVerse booth at SIGGRAPH at the beginning of August, and will demo BP on the big screen.

But I need your help. I have too much on my plate right now to put on my animator's hat in a righteous fashion, and I want it to look good.

Here is what I need:

1. Armatures. I'm looking for fairly simple biped rigs. I have one that I've been using, but there's no reason for me to think that it's anything incredible. The rigs for Proog and Emo are a little too complex, so don't bother sending them.

Requirements for the armatures are as follows:
a. must face to the right of the screen in a top view.
b. legs must be IK rigged, with a single foot controller that controls both translation and left-right rotation. Not to say that the foot can't have additional controls, but those two must be housed in the same single bone for autowalking to work.
c. must be a single armature, with all constraints and ik solvers/targets/etc as bones within that armature. No constraining to empties or other placeholder objects.

2. Actions. I need Actions of the following types:
a. Walk cycles (walking in place)
b. Run cycles (running in place) - run cycles that feature people scared or charging in a violent manner are also needed/welcome.
c. Attack - single motion attacks are fine; kicks; sword chops; spear stabs; combination attacks are also fine
d. Dodges - actions that show an armature ducking an attack; jumping out the way; leaning to the side; etc.
e. Blocks - actions showing the actor blocking as though with a weapon
f. Defensive stances - actions that a character who is hanging out, but who is wary; could include looking around, shifting weight from foot to foot, nervously examining weapon, etc.
g. AN ASTUTE READER POINTED OUT -- Do I need actions of people biting the big one? Absolutely. My oversight. Thanks.
Actions do not need to begin from the armature's rest position. just start them in the best position you'd like them to be in. MatchBone will (should) take care of the rest. There is no limit to the length of actions, but they really should be atomic, taking no more than a second or two each.

If you don't have an armature to work with, and you don't feel like making you own, you can download mine from:

I'm giving no guarantee that I'll be using any of the submissions. I have some crummy ones already, and if all I get is crap, than I'll stick with the crap I made myself. But I'm hoping that a few people out there will really come up with some great stuff. If you submit material to this, it must be your own work (or something that's been given freely to the public), and I will credit you as such on any demo materials that are produced.

You can send submissions and questions to bphelp <-at-> harkyman dot com. That's a fairly mangled email address, but you should be able to figure it out. PLEASE keep submitted .blend files under 300k. If you have something bigger than that, and you think it rocks, email me with text only first, and I'll okay the bigger attachment then. That email address will only stay active for a couple of weeks, and depending on response levels, I'm going to put a tentative deadline on submissions of two weeks from right now.

Thanks for all of your help in advance!

Roland Hess

posted by Roland  # 8:27 PM
Have you seen the "Ludwig" rig?
do you need actions of people getting knocked down or getting killed?
I like your work I hope you get what You need unfortunately I can't help you. But I think what you're doing is great.
Is there a plugin to evaluate balance and momentum? There is an architectural plugin now that, given two objects, will show the distance between them with a nice line. As I looked at the poses of Proog and Emo in the Elephant's Dream cover art, it appeared to me that they are not in balance. Imagine a plugin that calculates the weight of a given skin, the motion of a given armature, and then computes how much torque and force the given body exerts on the center of mass of the parent object.

A character at rest should have all forces pointing down from the center of gravity. When a character is walking forward, the character should be in balance, with forces pointing down, except for the momentum of the body, which points forward.

If the forces of the body point in one direction, and the armature's movement is inconsistent with the forces and balance of the body, it may become obvious.

Does any tool provide a way to visually see how the torques and forces of a weighted character moves? Is this a concept for Blender?
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