Character Animation Toolkit for Blender

there is a plugin called Character Animation Toolkit, CAT (www.catoolkit.com) for 3DS MAX. It allows you to create any rig in a couple of clicks, adjust it to your mesh very quick. You don’t need to worry about setting up IK solvers or use expressions. You just animate. In 5 minutes you can create walk cycle your character and tune it in real time. Also you can save poses and animations as presets and mix the real time later.
Is there such thing for Blender3D? Maybe it’s in plans. It would be very useful asset for everyone.
I am an indie game developer and I just don’t have time to learn all technical details about IK and rigging. But I also don’t have $4400 for 3DS MAX + CAT bundle :stuck_out_tongue: Blender3D with such powerful animation module would solve my problems :slight_smile:

There is a thing called blender 2.4, which has this great thing happen to it called the animation code rewrite. This great thing happened where you could quickly create armatures with automatic I.K. Then you can do this thing called assigning vertex groups which takes all of five minutes. Also you can save poses and animations as Actions and use them later. Is there such a thing for Blender? Yes.

There is a script called walk-o-matic. I’ve never used it myself, but you might want to look into it.

Some animation scripts:
http://blender.org/cms/Python_Scripts.3.0.html

Walk-o-matic:
http://biphome.spray.se/millfield/

Unfortunately, that’s all you can do. Without putting in the hard work you’re not going to get any kinds of results unless you get a TD to do stuff for you pro bono. The best thing to do is to get a few books or DVDs on rigging and start teaching yourself; even the automated rigging systems don’t work perfectly and need tweaking, and without rigging know-how you’ll be left with something that only works 50% as well as you want it to.

He was talking about automated skeletal generation. While the 2.4 animation system upgrades are The Hot Shiznit ™, they’re not automated. Personally I think that’s a good thing… It forces people to learn at least a little about rigging, and that’s something people need to learn if they want to be successful in the industry. Even character modelers need to know rigging basics to pose characters for still images.

I think the real issue here, though, is that Blender still doesn’t have a standard rig. Most 3D packages with character support have a standard rig around which a set of standard animations could be created would be nice.

I think it’d be a nice community project to create such a standard bipedal skeleton now that 2.4 has come out.

Can you, please, recommend good free/cheap books about how to rig/weight characters in Blender3D, how to tune IK, etc. ?
Also for indie workflow is very important. If I would have some stuff similar to CAT, I wouldn’t have to look for animator who knows how to setup rig, etc. Or I wouldn’t have to learn new stuff (I am willing to learn, I just have no time). I would just animate. CAT for example leave more free time for actually animating rather than messing with setups.

Perhaps someone with a little time and some expertise to show off would make a blend file with a rig with actions already defined that people could appendinto their creations and just tweak the bones to fit!

The new envelope system gets pretty darned close to allowing this without ever having to define vertex groups!

Anyway - just a thought.

motorsep, do you have an AIM/Yahoo account?

I can walk you through making an armature.

My AIM/Yahoo are both fonz2591

It would be nice if some of the best put together some new nice tutorials for us blender beginners :slight_smile:

hmm,
i have the same problem. i need a rig but it takes so long. i advise you not to get any automatic generation rigs. they never do what u want. thats why i love blender it gives you so much freedom. also, you can weight paint . so just build a skeleton.

also. i am an indie game developer as well. do u use by chance TGE?

2 BlendMaster: I used to MAX and now it’s hard for me to switch to Blender :confused: I don’t know how to create custom rig (all that IK solvers and IK constrains). If I would do it in MAX, it would be much easier, but I used to use CS and then CAT when it came out.
I don’t use TGE cos it sucks :stuck_out_tongue: compare to DarkPlaces or Quake3. I don’t understand why indies don’t use that engines. They are free (unlike TGE), there is huge community behind it, they have proven track record, they are cross platform engines. Graphics away higher quality in Quake3 or DarkPlaces rather than in TGE. They are away more stable.

i looked into DarkPlaces, im not impressed by the graphics. TGE is in my opinion better also the TSE is amazing. as for max. i have max 7, the character studio is now a part of it so its nice. but i prefere blender. i bought max first. then i found blender. blender has much more flexibility. thats what i am looking for. also its so much more costumizable (especially the arrangement of panels). so if u like max then go ahead. blender still rules and although it doesnt come with a auto rig option, it is better since u actually have to think about how to animate ur character instead of simply having them predefined.

If you looked at DarkPlaces home page, then it was wrong place to look at, because all screens done with original Quake content, which has no normal maps, no high res textures, it has only real-time lighting (maybe not). Take alook on two screens at http://www.alientrap.org/
It is DarkPlaces engine, but with content created from scratch. And it’s away much better than TGE. What TGE has behind?! Tribes… What Quake has behind? Quake2 evolved from Quake, Quake3 evolved from Quake2, Doom3 evolved from Quake3, etc. Half-Life2 even has some traces for Quake code. There is tons of games based on engine from iD Software. Why all that companies chose to use Quake engine instead of Tribes engine? Cos it’s better optimized, flexible, cross platform (including consoles), has nice graphics, etc. And finaly now it’s free. John Carmak is a genious in engine coding. He is an icon for game engine coders. Granted it’s a bit harder to code for Quake engine cos it’s written on C (I am pretty sure TGE is written on C++), but at the end it worth it.
As for Blender… I was on IRC #blender yesterday. And when I asked how to migrate from MAX to Blender, ppl said it would be wrong decision, because if I have MAX or I can by it, that would be definitely right way to go. MAX is better than Blender. But it’s expensive. Yes, Blender has it’s own adventages before big packages. But atm it’s weaker than other commercial packages. CAT (www.catoolkit.com) is awesome package for animation. If somebody will write stuff like CAT for Blender and will leave space for coustomization of a rig, that can be created from preset, then I would be amazing.
You can not customize Blender UI. You can move panels around, but you can’t for example create environment, that is going to look like MAX or Maya or XSI.
Every package is flexible, you just have to be a coder to use all flexibility. As for MAX - everything is there already. As for Blender - atm there is some tool I would like have, but Blender doesn’t have it. I am sure and I believe later Blender will transform to big time competetor with MAX and other packages.
I chose Blender cos it’s free. If I would have $4400, I would buy MAX. And no questions asked. But since I can not afford it, I have to go with Blender. And who knows, maybe I will fall in love with it and stay with Blender more than for one project.

At the wiki there will shortly be a tutorial and documentation on using all of the new animation features.

LetterRip

Sounds really good! Do modeling tools and techniques, UV unwrapping stay the same as in Blender 2.3 ?

there have been improvements in the modeling tools - delete edge loop, organic extrude, rip, and others. see the release notes - also uv unwrapping has ‘live LSCM’ which is much faster, see the release notes :slight_smile:

LetterRip