I wanted post something up because I’ve had such a difficult time tracking down much precise info on this.
It must be something that lot of people are trying to do and I was surprised that I couldn’t find anything from searching around where it was relatively clearly set out as a process.
I thought there must be some way. Even though the the current hair referencing system might still be a bit incomplete in it’s average user experience or off the shelf form.
If a reasonably basic guide for the artist/animator is up there anywhere I just didn’t manage to find it.
I should also point out that I’ve been using an older version of Blender for this 2.73a. This is because the rig was originally set up in an older version and I had already worked over and fine tuned the Hair dynamics. I tested the process with the newer hair system in 2.75a and it worked the same, although it took quite a bit longer to cache. My original dynamics set up of course didn’t look exactly the same.
I just want to add that I love working with Blender and I think it’s just terrific.
This was just the first time since I’ve been using it that I found myself almost totally stumped for a solution. I thought I would have to abandon referencing for the rig altogether. But all of the rest of the referencing system in Blender works so well and just seems so robust. Also the advantages of referencing are so enormous that I was very reluctant to give up on referencing for any character with any hair or fur movement.
As well as internet searches, I looked through a lot of the videos on the cloud. There is a Gooseberry video about simulating Franck’s Hair that seemed to be quite complex and project specific. It was so far beyond the more basic sims I would want to ever try and run.
I thought there just had to be a more basic or common everyday method for the average solo artist or small group working on more modestly sized projects.
Anyway after a lot of searching around I found a thread in Blender Artists about referencing cloth dynamics that got me to this page.
Now there was actually something to go on. Especially the tip about the object panel pinning of the referenced rig. A clue towards a solution.
It took me about half of the way but then I had several hours of frustration with the animation file. The referenced rig, if it actually did pick up the dynamics was just not saving a baked cache. Every time I re-opened the file the baked dynamics were gone. I kept testing with different settings and got nowhere. I was at a loss and then another search got me to this page.
I don’t know how I missed it the first time but I think I wasn’t expecting all of this to be so tricky.
Towards the end somebody had actually found the answer. Mr Priest I solute you !
The rig file seems to have an invisible flag to say if it’s baked or not. To bake in the animation file with the referenced rig you have to bake the source rig file first even if it’s just for one frame. Otherwise on opening the scene it will keep telling your animation file it’s not baked and wipes out the all saved data.
This still wasn’t all of it and I had to still do a bit of back and forth testing and a bit of reading up on Blender Wiki to be more clear.
Anyway, the most robust and clear process that worked for me I’ve written up. It’s still not totally perfect for everything but seems pretty reliable. One thing to be aware of is that the hair dynamics settings are frozen out in the reference file. So this only really is ideal if you already have dynamics settings that you think are acceptable and are also robust enough for most scenarios.
It’s in the form of 3 quite a large jpeg’s. I hope this works on here ok. I was thinking to make a video, but I think in this case it’s easier to follow just written up with some clear images.
Here is the previous video I already had up of this rig. But this time I re-rendered it totally from a referenced rig using referenced hair dynamics. Now it’s time to get this guy doing a bit more.
For now I think I have got a good grasp on a process. I tested it several times before I wrote this up and posted. All I can say is it works well for my scenes, although I would no way want to call myself any sort of expert on Blender dynamics sims and referencing.
It’s obviously best practice and even more important than normal to always keep a current rig file backup. A master file in reserve, considering all the opening and re-saving that might need to be done.
The remaining questions I have left, if there is anyone around with very much experience of this, and that might have time to reply are…
Does the way I went about this look broadly correct ? If I missed anything out or took any unnecessary steps please point it out and I’ll revise the process.
Or is there perhaps a simpler or more direct way?
By that I mean one that is reasonably straight forward for small projects, individuals and small teams. One that doesn’t rely too much on highly involved custom scripted patches etc…
I know a lot of things have been improved after Gooseberry and possibly I’m missing some of this.
Also is there a way of re-pointing a referenced rig in an animation file to a different rig file after it has been animated? One with possibly different dynamics setting for a particular situation ?
Hopefully this situation can be avoided as much as possible though.
This is my first time writing up a thread on Blender Artists. But it was also the first time that I felt like I might have reached brick wall syndrome and really struggled in finding a clear solution for something. I hope it might help others and also that people will be able to explore their own options and expand on it.
Anyway all the best to everyone.