Future of motion graphics in Blender 2.8x

This thread is specified for suggestions and ideas about workflow for designing motion graphics in Blender 2.8x.
Numerous examples can be taken from Cinema4D, Houdini, Modo,…

Please, share your thoughts so that we can have some constructive discussion.

How to intertwine manipulation of particles, (smoke/fluid) simulations, meshes and splines, taking into account new UI and procedural workflow?

"Numerous examples can be taken from Cinema4D, Houdini, Modo,… "

Blender developers rarely do this… for one, sometimes their workflow can be improved upon… but also that copying another program may infringe on IP of that program.

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No, I haven’t meant in that way, to copy another program.
I meant to follow new trends in motion graphics department, just to get ideas how to adapt and what can we do for Blender.

This. How to design core motion graphics workflow for 2.8x?

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We can already use addons like Sverchok or Animation Nodes for some motion graphics stuff. But it is still far from being as streamlined and intuitive as C4D or Houdini. Mainly because of not having enough people using them (therefore documentation and sample files are hard to find), and also for not having a simple way to save a node tree or effect as a simple preset file.

I’ve tried so many times to replicate a C4D effect inside Blender, but every single time I found that I NEED to have at least some math and python knowledge, which makes it even harder. Some tools that are available in that program with just a click are also possible in Blender, but you have to make your own script for it… :frowning:

Seems like the “nodification” of things like particle systems, modifiers and simulation will help a lot though.

If all the features and changes planned for 2.8 get done I think we’ll have a very powerful tool but with the same problem that Cycles has right now, a severe lack of presets and pre-designed stuff. Blender doesn’t even has a proper presets system; which makes saving a custom node tree for a shader a complete PITA. I certainly hope 2.8 comes with a way to save presets without having to mess with the startup file every single time.

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Animation Nodes (AN) has pretty much solved all of your Motion Graphics problems. That’s outside of things that are hardcoded into Blender that need to be fixed…

I make Animation Nodes tutorials. You can view them here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCastC3ywL7qDE9XrWWxpEZw

Seriously, if there is a particular effect you are trying to achieve, 90% of the time it can be done with AN. If you have a tutorial request, please post it in this thread or mail me at [email protected]

If the everything nodes target is realized then it should go a long way in terms of what you will be able to do for motion graphics.

In addition, it could help with modeling and character animation as well.

Well I really don´t think that Houdini is more intuitive than Animation Nodes. It´s a great piece of software but is by far the most complex I have ever seen. But really powerfull.

Regarding C4D mograph, what really you have there it´s an advanced veresion of the modifier system. With the ability to influence better copies or clones. Specially in terms of color and offset animation. This is the main thing to improve. Apart from that AN is really powerfull and the work done with this tool only shows a small piece of its potential.

This +1

A C4D style cloner system in Blender will be a huge step for Motion graphics artists.
It wouldnt even need to be as advanced as AN.

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This thread reveals that people are frustrated by old 2.4x dupli stuff.
It is lost into object properties and need a parenting relationship.
When you have such relationship; it is absolutely not obvious for newbie if you have to enable the button on parent or children.
You can be annoyed by every else attribute herited from parent that may not be wanted.
And often, they are not satisfying by themselves for animation and need use of particles (their UI is displaying and mixing too much things to be intuitive) or modifiers.
Duplis, instances from particle instance modifier, arrays through array modifier are dithered tools about different cases of same theme that are covered by same cloner tool in other software.

Animation Nodes are helpful because they are exposing the problem at a scene level while Blender’s Default UI is almost an Active Object only UI.
Today, Sergey added a pin button for channels in graph editor.
A request from Colin Levy to be able to have a graph editor not limited to display only selected objects channels or the ones corresponding to predefined filters or all.
But their is a limitation, pinning is done at object level. You can’t pin a material channel. You have to pin all channels of the object using the animated material.

You can animate Cycles materials and textures but you cannot see the animation in viewport.
Only viewport settings of Settings panel 's animations are displayed.

I expect from Viewport upgrade the ability to see my materials and textures animations without the need to render them with cycles.
I expect from nodes everywhere project to abandon the constant selection switch to edit my settings at scene level.

But motion graphics are not complicated animations. Most of time, they are just focused on geometry distortion tricks, arrays and some particles with texts.
If it was the case, you could not find less than 45 min video tutorials about that.
They are a piece of cake compared to a crash in a movie that combines animated vehicules, dynamics, fracturation, fluids…

If devs will succeed to do an intuitive interface for nodes with complicated physics as target, it will be intuitive for Motion Graphics.
You will just have to ignore nodes with no interest for your work.

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The problem in Blender, not just for motion graphics but in general, is a lack of connection between features and tools. That and (I say it again) a clear system to create, save, and share presets.
UI and ease of use is another topic, but since people is so sensitive about the matter I’ll skip it.

Look at this C4D sneak peek:

Are there any groundbreaking tools? Not really
Do we have the ability to create those examples in Blender? Most of them, yes.
We’ve had fracture tools for quite some time for example. But…

  • Can we see the fracture results in realtime on the viewport? No
  • Can we control the shards creation based on other objects volume? No
  • Can we use curves to control slicing and fracture? No
  • Can we use objects as triggers so only some shards move while the rest remain intact? No, well kind of, in a separate build that may never get added to trunk, and very complex to use…

Around min 4 he talks about a dynamic weight paint feature, exactly like the dynamic paint inside Blender; again, nothing new here.
But by now you would expect to have some sort of connection between these two features inside Blender too, right? Unfortunately no, not unless you hack your way into a solution using drivers, modifiers and/or maybe AN. But again, there’s not a clear, straightforward way to set it up.

Most people just say: “Blender is totally capable of doing this”.
And yes, you’re absolutely right. But!, is it efficient? Is it fast and clear to setup? Is there any way to save that setup and reuse it later in another project?
Creating great motion graphics pieces is more about the actual design of the piece than it’s animation. So the animation part should be the easiest, not saying there’s no complexity in that part of the process, only that it should be fairly straightforward…

I’m really hoping for the everything nodes project to become that final solution that allows us to combine and connect all the great tools Blender already has. Otherwise we’ll still have a bunch of isolated and disconnected tools.
And devs, if any of you read this, please give us a way to create and share presets!!


A big +1 on this. Even a simple circular array can be tedious to setup in Blender if you don’t know how it’s supposed to work.

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We have great toolsets like Animation nodes and Sverchok.

Check Jacques Lucke’s channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ABAuGEvBMmau-1xJsNw6w and Nikitron’s

For example, Cinema4d’s effector effects can be created with AN nodes

You can see the power of it.

So, Blender has everything for it.
2.8 will have new animation tools and improved Graph and NLA editor.

The OP question is how to design efficient workflow and UI for it.

That’s pretty easy with empty. I found what is not clear for newcomers is to apply Rotation and scale , Location and setup the origin in edit mode. Often their object is rotated and translated in 3D space.

I couldn’t agree with this more, the less focus required on the technical side the better. This energy is better suited on making good Motion Graphics/Design.

I have another unpopular opinion here, I hate nodes! To me in order to be usable the user must possess a certain type of logic, it requires “left brain” thinking which is typically not the strength of “right brain” artists (http://ucmas.ca/our-programs/whole-brain-development/left-brain-vs-right-brain/).

The modifier system just makes more sense for artists, to be able to drag and drop and experiment with different results… think of a Chef sprinkling in different ingredients. All the best artists I know do this. This is why After Effects with it’s Layer vs Node based approach is used over tools like Fusion or Nuke for Motion Graphics. It’s just more intuitive for artists.

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There is no reason to paint a so bleak picture.
I suppose that meta-androct kept fracture tools for its specific object types like bomb.
But seriously you choose to talk about the oldest addon about fracturing.
Cell Fracture addon have a Show Progress Realtime option and Fracture modifier have an autoexecute option and a dynamic mode.
Cell Fracture Addon allows to control shards creation based on other objects using Child Verts or Child Particles buttons (particles for particles using a Volume emission).
You can’t use a curve to control slicing but you can use grease pencil.
The slicing is perpendicular to GP stroke in cell fracture addon.
It is weird. So like others, I asked to scorpion81 if slicing could correspond to GP stroke direction in fracture branch.
Voronoi fracturing is 3D and to correspond to GPstrokes in one plane a Cutter Axis have to be precised.
And we have regular booleans, knife tool and all sort of tools and slicing addons available for regular modeling to create fractures.

Fracture branch uses a modifier on one object instead of Cell Fracture addon that creates several shards objects.
So, the branch supports tweakening of things through vertex groups, control of breakening thought constraints controls, utilities to add different materials on inner and outer faces and buttons to convert final animation to keyframed objects.
These steps are logical, wanted, expected but it means many settings that will clutter the UI of a modifier.
Like when you use Blender’s particles, you will not change default value for each setting available.
The UI is impressing but life is easier when using fracture modifier.
You can switch to dynamic mode, just modify shards count and may totally neglect everything else.
Resulting animation can be saved in a .blend that official release can open.
Coyhot did an addon to join several object animation into a file that mesh cache modifier can read.

If scorpion81 update fracture branch to keep close 2.78 after 2.78, we could use alembic.

One reason why Fracture Modifier will not go into master was always “because modifiers will be replaced by nodes in 2.8”, “because it will benefit a lot of an node UI where you see only what you use”.
The others are more technical like physics for multiple parts of same object when choosen way for rigid bodies was animation for a group of objects. Because animation sytem was by design forced to use an object.

Fracture tools are not really integrated. Cell Fracture is an addon.
For almost every modifier in Blender, there is an ability to influence it through vertex groups.
(Explode modifier use a vertex group to protect original mesh parts from explosion.)
Particles can be influenced by vertex groups or textures. (Size will be influenced by a texture.)
But to have a vertex group to use, you need a shards net mesh reference. This is not something that Blender’s fracture branch or addon are creating.

It is easy to be straightforward when you only go into one direction. It is more complicated when you want to be able to go into several locations.
You started by an enumeration of 3 different cases for one tool.
But I agree nobody should have to be aware of history of addons and have studied each little option to have an idea of what Blender is capable of.

just recently a crowd simulation addon was made
Also there is an addon from manulle bastioni lab to create humans, make human style but better optimized for Blender.
And there is there is molecular addon
Same or fraction colision addon.

It might be an idea i think to have those in by default (as many newbies try to make people, but there is an addon for that).

Those are big advanced addons
maybe for 2.8 have a bit more of such addons intalled by default.

Maybe there will be add-on for creativity, similar to Oliver Villar’s Beauty Render add-on. :eyebrowlift2:

I’m not complaining about not having the tools in Blender, or not being capable as a software. I know that almost everything you see in a C4D (Maya, 3DsMax, whatever) tutorial can be achieved in Blender, specially thanks to the huge amount of addons at our disposal.
Plus we have native tools that are only available in other packages via paid plugins, Cycles being the most obvious :stuck_out_tongue:

I do this kind of stuff on a daily basis for clients work, and I know my way around Blender fairly well.
But the fact is, Blender makes things more difficult than they should be, simply because the tools are not well integrated between them.
Instead of presets, I have to keep a folder with lots of files for different things I’ll maybe have to use later again. Just so I can check them for reference or to append a node tree.

Often when people create a new thread asking “how can I do this?” refering to something related to motion graphics I answer the same: check Sverchok and AN. I love those 2 addons, and I’ll be forever grateful with their creators. But again, we have to be objective, and no matter how powerful they are, they’re not the most accesible to people. So not many people are using them.

I used that video as an example because they’re offering features that we’ve had inside Blender for years, yet as of this day not many people are aware of them or if they are, don’t know how to get the most out of them, and that’s really sad.

local time for duplis, in 2.49 there’s a dupligroup time offset option that was never ported back, it makes instancing so much useful for motion graphics… should be feasible now with new depthgraph; then in the 3 bullet gsoc projects it’s been mentioned the intention to integrate particles and rigid bodies, that didn’t happen either…

just those two things would bring much better addons, but there are other things, like better text and curve objects :stuck_out_tongue:
on the other side I will enjoy nodal modifiers if it happens, and new viewport will allow some cool real-time renders

Translated with the help of Google Translate

What things for animation could Blender 2.8x have?

.A part completely in real 2D, as much for drawings and paintings, as for animations and games in 2D
.Simulation of lightning(thunder; rays).
.Efficient and light simulation for snow and sand.
.Advanced control for particles and simulations including painting and sculpture.
.Libraries and tools facilitating and agilizing rig, animation and mo-cap.
.Control and animation for clothes and hair.
.Pre-configured rig and poses system.
.Use of realistic glows and halos, from sources such as lamps, emission materials and specular materials, to things like render Internal, Cycles, Freestyle, Blender Game Engine, including automatic creation of stars in the sky, and their effects on the Camera to leave it white at a certain angle.
.Muscle system definitely added.
.Advanced damage and breaking system including metal, rock, wood, rubber, glass, and other pre-configured materials. Crunching, breaking, shattering, kneading, twisting, tearing, bending, melting, burning, charring, corrosion, disintegrating, evaporating, among other things.
.Advanced simulations, such as architectural simulations, to expand the use of software, and allow more advanced and realistic animations. Including its use in games up to Blender 3.0.
.Animation with rigidbody physics for characters such as simulation of collisions and simulation of physics applied to animated characters.
.Improvements in the ocean simulator, such as fluid simulation, fluid mode particles such as metaballs, fluid dynamic paint, ready-made materials for the Internal, Cycles, Game Engine and Freestyle, and a system for simulating things like waves and their breaks. And perhaps allow for a dynamic auto-boolean or something like the metaballs.
.Fullly add CrowdMaster in Blender and fill it with improvements and extra functions.
.Automatic motion capture systems, whether for indie uses, such as using Kinect 2.0, or through multi-angle shooting, markers.
.Include the best skin simulation system possible.
.Include all the best animation addons possible, such as the motion trail.
.Improve, and especially, speed up the system for adjusting speed and acceleration of animations that currently require complicated and time-consuming refinements in the graph editor for animation curves. I’ll bet you can even add some things in an automated way. I got the impression that I already have seen this in Maya and Cinema4D.
.Add libraries of ready-made simulations, and factories for them. Like to add a tornado, a waterfall, a river, a wave, thunder, sand, smoke, fire, and explosions of various types, and magical or hi-tech effects for either Cycles, Game Engine, Internal, or Freestyle (animé, Cartoon). This way you can study and try out certain things more easily. And also speed up your work. We do not add vertex by vertex of a 3D model. We add primitives, and model and change everything in a very visual and artistic way. The same should be done in things like adding materials, and advanced parts of animation like Rig, character animation, crowds, mo-cap, simulations, particles, damage, etc. So in fact it would be good pre-made things and new visions on how to change them and manipulate them to all areas of Blender, not just about animations.
.Substantial performance gain.

Original Language

Que coisas para animação o Blender 2.8 poderia ter?

.Parte completamente em 2D real, tanto para desenhos e pinturas, quanto para animações e jogos em 2D
.Simulação de raios
.Simulação eficiente e leve para neve e areia
.Controle avançado para partículas e simulações incluindo pintura e escultura
.Bibliotecas e ferramentas facilitadoras e agilizadoras de rig, animação e mo-cap.
.Controle e animação para tecidos, e cabelo
.Sistema de rig e poses pré-configuradas
.Uso de glows e halos realista, vindo de fontes como lâmpadas, materiais com emissão e especulares de materiais, para coisas como o Render Internal, Cycles, Freestyle, Blender Game Engine, incluindo na criação automática de estrelas no céu, e seus efeitos na câmera como de deixá-la branca em certo ângulo.
.Sistema de músculos definitivamente adicionados.
.Sistema avançado de dano e quebra incluindo metal, rocha, madeira, borracha, vidro. Trincagem, quebra, estilhaços, amassar, torcer, rasgar, dobrar, derreter, queimar, carbonizar, corrosão, desmanchar, evaporar, dentre outras coisas.
.Simulações avançadas, como simulações arquitetônicas, para expandir o uso do software e permitir animações mais avançadas e realistas. Incluindo o seu uso em jogos até o Blender 3.0.
.Animação com física rigidbody para personagens como simulação de colisões e simulação de física aplicada a personagens.
.Melhorias no simulador de oceano, como incluir simulação de fluidos, partículas no modo fluid como metaballs, pintura dinâmica do tipo fluid, matérias prontos aplicados para o Internal, Cycles, Game Engine e Freestyle, e sistema para simular coisas como ondas e suas quebras, e talvez permitir um auto-boolean dinâmico ou algo como as metaballs.
.Adicionar definitivamente o CrowdMaster no Blender e enchê-lo de melhorias e funções extras.
.Sistemas de captura de movimento automática, nem que seja para usos indies, como usando o Kinect 2.0, ou através de uma filmagem com vários ângulos, marcadores.
.Incluir o melhor sistema de simulação de pele que for possível.
.Incluir de vez todos os melhores addons de animação que forem possíveis, como o motion trail.
.Melhorar e principalmente agilizar o sistema de ajuste de velocidade e aceleração das animações que atualmente exigem refinamentos complicados e demorados no graph editor pelas curvas de animação. Aposto que dá até pra acrescentar umas coisas de forma automatizada. Fiquei com a impressão de já ter isso no Maya e no Cinema4D.
.Acrescentar bibliotecas de simulações prontas, e fábricas para as mesmas. Como adicionar, um tornado, uma cachoeira, um rio, uma onda, fumaça, fogo e explosões de vários tipos, e efeitos mágicos ou hi-tech, tanto para o Cycles, ou Game Engine, ou Internal ou Freestyle(anime, comics, cartoon). Assim você pode estudar e experimentar certas coisas mais facilmente. E também acelerar o seu trabalho. Nós não adicionamos vértice por vértice de um modelo 3D. Nós adicionamos primitivas e os modelamos e alteramos tudo de forma muito visual e artística. O mesmo deve ser feito em coisas como adição de materiais, e partes avançadas de animação como Rig, animação de personagens, de multidões, mo-cap, simulações, danos, etc. Então na verdade seria bom coisas pré-prontas e novas visões sobre como alterá-las e manipulá-las voltadas a todas a áreas do Blender, não só sobre animações.
.Ganho substancial de performance.

Houdini intuitive? I have to read this threee times. Houdini is powerfull but is by far the less intuitive 3d program I have ever seen.