BlenderPeople Development

Tracking the development of the BlenderPeople script suite.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Great progress. I said I was done with autowalking before, mostly, but that was because I had fooled myself into forgetting that autorunning needed to be part of the equation too. It took some doing, but it's as done as it's going to be before SIGGRAPH. If I want to hit that goal, I have to move on to the next phase. Now, moving on doesn't mean I can't or won't revisit autowalk/run. Not at all. I constantly improve, polish and tweak the whole code base (except the GUI, which I despise), and making the run/walk better is at the top of my list.

Anyway, here is what you'll need to give BlenderPeople (or the standalone Walker script) in order to get your people to walk:

1. A walk cycle Action.
2. A run cycle Action (optional, but highly recommended).
3. Information about each: total stride length, maximum foot height, and the range of frames in the Action that represent each foots influence (eg. 1-21=right foot on ground; 21-41=left foot on ground)
4. Your armature progressing along the walk path. This can be done by you (or already done by BlenderPeople) as keyframes; it can be path animation; it can be your armature pushed across a terrain by constraints and parenting. Doesn't matter.
5. Your threshold in BlenderUnits/second that decides between walking and running. This will depend on the scale of your work, so it may take a bit of experimentation.

Of course, BlenderPeople (and the standalone script) will come with at least one premade walk and run cycle, along with settings, so you can play with it out-of-the-box.

When fed the proper inputs, the script calculates and places all footsteps, within a single Action, and creates a new Action with all of your secondary motion from your walk and run cycles, then blends them in NLA (with new, unofficial Multiply mode!).

The script also just got a great boost in automation from the NLA Python commits I mentioned previously. I used the new NLA Strip API to automate the addition and tweaking NLA strips that I had previously been doing by hand for testing purposes.

So, here's video of autowalk/run. 6MB Quicktime. Please ignore the floppy feet -- they show an artifact in my walkcycle that I was fooling with and never removed. It's also a demonstration of the garbage-in-garbage-out nature of the script -- if you feed it a crummy walk cycle, you'll get crummy walking animation.

As you watch it, keep in mind that the script is switching between walking and running on the fly, looking at the actor's velocity in comparison with the run/walk threshold that was set earlier. Also keep in mind that I know the transition could be smoother.


posted by Roland  # 5:44 AM
really good lookin' animation, though the link to it wasn't correct. the blog redirects to,
but it should be

Great to see something new on the blog as well.
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