Two questions regarding action combination/overlapping

Hi all,

   I've playing with Blender for the last two-three months, in order to be familiar with the GUI, concepts and procedures in Blender. Right now I'm trying to do "my first own animation" (after having read/practiced with most of the tutorials), and I've two questions that I'm not able to answer by reading the forums, official documentation and other stuff:


   a) Is it possible to compose actions by means of sub-actions? Example, supose I have an action that has an initial stage, a middle stage (that repeats N times -> loop) and a final stage. The only way I've found to do this is by defining three action strips in the NLA (corresponding to three individual actions) and to compose a sequence of start-middle (with the loop option in the strip properties window)-end. Is there any alternative to view *always* the tree actions as a "fake" (fake, composed, super-action, or whatever) either in the action window or the NLA window?

   b) Is it possible to "merge" two actions? I have designed a simple puppy dog and set up an armature to animate it. I'm using a very simple armature, with just one bone for all his head. I've defined one up-down movement (action) and one left-right movement (action). Of course, they are independent, and it seem that they cannot be combined. Whenever I try to set up to parallel (concurrent) strips in the NLA editor for them, only one takes place. I know this is ok from the point fo view of the precedences in the NLA window, but I've tryied to make them "overlappable", by deleting all curves that are not needed at all (so, for the up-down movement only quatw and quatZ are defined, and for the left-right movement, only quatw and quatY are defined). Of course, maybe this is a lack of knowledge from my part, but from a non-expert, it seems logical that  only defining one rotation in the Z axis for a bone in an action, and a rotation in the Y axis for the same bone in anther action, they could be "merged" as needed, thus giving an up-down-left-rigt concurrent movement. Is this impossible or is just that I'm going the wrong way?

   Thanks in advance, and congratulations to all the blender team and user community. Really amazing software/community... I've not performed any animation in my whole lifetime, and with blender, it seems possible for me to do it!!... ;)

   Best,
   Jose

PD. Excuses in advance if these topics have been already answered or are in the official documentation, I’ve searched for them for four days and I’ve not been able to find anything… (or maybe to associate it to my “problem”)

The ability to bake multiple actions into one, and to bake object-level motion into bone level motion is being written into the Orange branch right this very second. After the 2.40 release, Orange features will be merged over to regular Blender. You can expect this functionality in the 2.41 release.

Is there any alternative to view always the three actions as a “fake” (fake, composed, super-action, or whatever) either in the action window or the NLA window?

I think you want to use “Add” from the N tab, Loop will just cause the selected strip to loop itself.

I’ve tryied to make them "overlappable

You may be able to Copy the curves from one action (in the IPO window) and Paste it into the other, but I haven’t tried it. It’s easier to use the NLA.

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Hi!

   Thanks a lot for the replies. I'm just trying your suggestions in 2.40, and hoping for the next release for "composite actions" (or baked), meanwhile, the "Add" button bring some advances (now it performs half the two actions, that is, for example, if one is rotate x 90 degrees and the other rotate y 90 degrees I get a 45 degrees rotation simultaneously), I'll play around with this.

   Thanks again!

   Best,
   Jose

Also note that by default (I think), when you add an action to the NLA, it adds in Action playback mode which means only this action will play back. To get everything to play, you click the little action man icon in the actions list on the left of the NLA. The icon should then change to a strips icon and everything should play.