This whole OpenSource blender campaign has really piqued my interest. I’m currently using Animation Master, but I’ve been looking for an alternative. I was just wondering if Blender was suitable for character animation (one of A:M’s main strengths). What are it’s advantages/disadvantages in this area? Thanks
-The NLA is not finished (yet).
-The renderer is not what alot of people want.
I don’t dislike it, I think it has a broadcast TV gamma and lot of people want print or computerscreen gamma. No raytracer. And shadow buffer system is really bad.
-Export is hard. No export of animation data to other packages, unreliable amature python script export to other render systems without shader support.
-Blender’s character animation system was made with A:M as an example, crazy things where improved (Go RVO!)
-Blender crashes much less then A:M (so i’m told).
-If ransom is met; free!
I can’t really tell you much about the upsides/downsides of using Blender V animation master because of the two I’ve only used Blender
The best way I know to convince you is to give you a link to Lyubomir Kovachev’s website. In case you didn’t know Lyubomir is the undesputed champion of character animation using Blender. Anyways, download his demo animation and see for yourself:
USE IT BABY!!!
great subdivision surfaces
intuitive control, once the fundamentals are captured
ability to create action groups
anything applied to one object (textures, movement, armatures, blah, blah, blah) can be duplicated and applied to another, i.e, hiarchey baby!
NLA isn’t bad at all (from my experience) in 2.25
advance scanline renderer, perphaps the best scanliner i’ve used
UVMapping is excellent
light control is awesome
no raytracing, reflections are a pain in the ass
look through the gallery and you’ll get an idea of what can be done with blender.
I started with A:M and Blender the same year (99), then found A:M was a nightmare, crashing every 15 minutes or less. I never had a problem with Blender. I miss NLA.
AM still has better character animation. There are more constraints and they are more flexible. However with blender publisher and there NLA (Non Linear Animation) they made a big step towards something that is useable. I tried to setup something similar to Raf Anzovin rig. It was bulky (all the constraints have to be on the same armature) and not as stable as AM’s.
Baking actions - still buggy.
It needs more work.
and I that have looking for another alternative that have more features
that Blender lacks off …and actually, I have been looking at A:M ,
as a matter of fact, strange that some that have even a better tool
(in most areas) is looking for Blender !! :o
and too bad I didn’t know that A:M was more buggy than Blender !!
Yeah its funny.
I started with AM, but wanted to have better modelling tools that work without splines. So I switched to blender because I was into the game aspect. Then I was frustrated with lack of good IK control. I ended up making a very specific exporter using the quats of AM animation to create IPOs, by manually editting and running some scripts. I actually got it to work but was a pain.
When the last publisher came out. I thought now I could have the best of both worlds. New NLA, baking actions…great!
When blender went under I stopped all work on it. Too much uncertainty, plus I was already thinking the GameBlender just couldn’t compete.
In the last months without blender, I have been playing around with the different game engines out there. Most are pretty good and can do much more than GameBlender, BUT! Game engines need art to look good.
Blender’s main strength IMO was this integration between Engine and Modeller.
Now Open Source?
After all the investment in Time and (some Money) I am not sure if I will get involved again. My decision will be made when I see the source…then I will know if it is worth pursuing.
Blender is a great tool. Still the best free modeller out there.
I guess that last message turned into a personal rant (sorry).
AM is not that buggy actually. It may have been but I don’t even have the latest version and it doesn’t crash (that often). It is very good at skeletal animation. You have to work with splines so modelling with it is different. Things like pose sliders instead of vertex wieghing make it maybe not the best game art creating tool, but otherwise is very good.