Instant Animation for Blender

In 2007, when I was using Maya, I created a program called Walkerman, a MEL program that automatically animated a Biped, Quadraped, Bird, Centaur or a Spider . . . Now I am working on a similar project for Blender (www.blender.org).  This program will allow you to choosing a character type, and it will create the skeleton for the character, skin the character to the skeleton and, when you press the play button the character will walk or run. The quadraped will also hop or gallop. The project will be done via Python, it does not require any fooling with IK, and it has "Stabilization" (it adds bones that allow the character to move freely without major distortions in the character skin), which minimizes having to paint skin weights.

When created, the bones are in the pose position, and you attach the character to it, hit PLAY, and the character walks or runs away. Just like that . . . . if you hit rewind, you can re-pose the character. You can make the character walk or run in any direction, or create a crowd of characters, all walking or running in different directions. You can manipulate all the fingers of each hand at once, to open or close the hand or you can control the fingers individually. The old Walkerman program is approaching 30,000 downloads . . . I'd like to  see the same or better results for the Instant Animation program for Blender . . .  Expected completion in December.    This will be  an open source project.  

Update - - - All Basic Functionalities are Now Added to All Characters, and they are on the Github site, https://github.com/Skywola/anim The biped, bird, centaur, quadruped and spider are ready to walk and function on their basic levels.

What's coming - I am listing this as a compendium of what could still be done: Set Gait: Biped - Run, Hop. Spider - Walk, raised run. Quadruped - Walk, Trot, Pace, Gallop. Bird - Walk, Run, Hop. Climb/Descent rate. Arm and leg rotational magnitude and position. Certain characters can benefit from "Stabilization" (it adds bones that allow the character to move freely without major distortions in the character skin), which minimizes having to paint skin weights. I will probably add a direction property strictly for convenience, it can be changed above, but it would be more convenient to have one near the other properties of each character. I will be adding buttons for creating the characters of your choice on the panel via buttons. By the way, if you are in a hurry to create something like the bird flying, you should be able to simply delete the legs, and as far as I have seen, it will not cause issues with the other functionality. I still need to check the viability of running multiple character types together, that will be done, and if there are issues, I may need to look into solving those issues. I need to also look at animation, should I create buttons that . . . . Key - Set a keyframe on a joint. Unkey - Unkey a joint . . . or are they already handily available in Blender? (You can see I have been programming so long I forgot some of Blender's interface functions.) Blender has a Delta Transform - Rotate x,y,z, Location x,y,z, Scale x,y,z . . . . Delta Transform will be important because some properties are controlled by code, so they are locked, but if you use Delta Transform, you can override the code!

I have yet to even do an animation to prove that the frame rate is going to come in correctly . . . . I would suspect it may prove to be very fast, in which case, I will adjust the code to be more amenable to current properties settings.

I will also add buttons to the panel that allow you to delete parts of the animation, for example if you want to just have the bird's wings moving, you could delete the leg equations, fold the legs in their upward position (I can create a button to do that.), and have the bird flying about. I would also like to tidy up the interface a little. I will probably spend some time next weekend refactoring, which means no updating, unless I get through the refactoring early.

I am also considering adding a dragon (basically a quadruped with wings) and a kangaroo.

Despite the enormous amount of progress, we are still working with prototypical code, so there could still be some issues here and there. Also be advised, if you have an idea and I like it, I will incorporate it into the program. Keep in mind, I have to consider it worth my valuable time, and if I do not accept it, that does not prevent you from doing it yourself, this is an open source project after all.

Be advised! From now until I create a all-inclusive interface, when you open the file in Blender, you will need to click the "Run Script" button in the lower right panel of the text editor, that way you will get all the options that you can modify to change the characteristics of the movements, which is important! If you do not do that, you will have no way of seeing all of your options, nor will you even see the character's bones. This goes for ALL characters. I noted that if I just upload the file, with the character in it, it does not show all the options in the tools panel. Also be aware that to see the tool panel, you will need to put your cursor over the 3D window, then press "n". You have to do this after you have pressed the "Run Script" button in the lower right panel of the text editor. If you had earlier opened the bird file and did not see the modifiers in the tools panel, it is because you have to run the script . . . . . It seems that Blender does not save this info, as far as I can tell, I will eventually be looking for a possible solution to this issue.  I will also be creating whatever tutorials are needed once the programming is finished.

I am making all of it available for download as open source on my github site. You can track my progress on Blender Open Artist Group.  

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