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Question Need some help for some great animation

Discussion in 'Virtual Production' started by Harsh-NJ, Apr 15, 2022.

  1. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    Hello everyone,
    We want to make some animations based on a story... and this is for the first time, so we do want to keep it easy and less time consuming, but it still has to be good. My friends drew some character arts, which looked quite good on paper, but when I made them in blender (2D, armature bones), they didn't look that great, and animating it is not an easy job too..
    I also tried frame-by-frame animation in blender via rotoscoping over a procedurally animated 3D scene (just park scene with children playing football), but it was rather boring and time consuming to draw over and over.

    After that I thought Unity also has some good 2D animation and story-telling tools.. then decided to give it a try.
    We may also go for 3D animation (no need to draw anything!), but it is itself more cumbersome (modelling, texturing, rigging the characters)
    We are 3 of us, with me only knowing unity and blender

    Any ideas how to make easily animatable and controllable characters and animate a whole story in unity.

    Our main target is to make an animation in summer vacations.. and submit it in one of the animation film festivals, maybe in August-September.

    I am not asking for help directly, but rather for some guide for doing it.
    If someone's willing to help.. then they are welcome.
     
  2. akent99

    akent99

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    There is only one of me, but I ended up using VRoid Studio (free!) for creating anime-style characters, then Unity to animate them using a variety of tools, including VTuber (free) tools like VSeeFace. Here is an example: https://episodes.extra-ordinary.tv/ - by doing as a comic I avoided audio, reducing my effort. I have some blogs etc on bits of the story on extra-ordinary.tv (look under "behind the scenes"). Its not "good" quality either, but gives a bit of a feel of what is possible... with effort!
     
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  3. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    Thanks for suggestions.. trying and sharing with my friends right away!
    Forgot to mention, we are targeting anime style animation in the first place....

    I can't believe that VRoid Studio is free!
    If my friend can make 3d characters in VRoid studio with ease, then the rest, I can handle.
    btw, For face tracking, its not a real deal... one of us looks like an anime character in real life already!

    Thanks again!
     
  4. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    Read your blogposts too @akent99, they are very helpful... thanks.
    Now we are on to making our stories true!
     
  5. akent99

    akent99

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    I was waiting to find a combination of versions that seemed stable, so if any questions feel free to ask - I might turn into a blog post later! I was holding off for a bit. (That is, knowing the problems you hit is interesting to me!)
     
  6. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    Hey there, I found a video on youtube while searching through how to use timelines to create animated episodes, and found this:

    Then I saw the channel name and was.... well SHOCKED.. it was you (Extra Ordinary). I understood Sequences now.. and will try to experiment some.

    Videos on your workflow and how you created things (will, for sure) help us a lot in our project.
    Thanks for helping yet again!
     
  7. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    BTW, how do you utilise animation rigging with timeline and animations to achieve desired results...

    I mean i have rig weight set to 0 initially (as I don't want hand to always be hanging around at the IK target), then I would animate the IK target position in timeline to get the desired results, but the problem is I don't know where the hand would be right now (it may be anywhere in accordance to the animation character is currently playing, and maybe even not static), and once I set the weight to 1, hand would just snap to the IK target, and then will animate.

    Current approach is to move the IK targets to hands and feets in OnEnable()
    but if I change the animation from Idle to something else, hands position will change...

    Won't updates from the IK rigging reflect in edit mode, cause I don't want to enter play mode every single time
     
  8. akent99

    akent99

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    First thing, make sure you have the latest Animation Rigging package. I was getting lots of exceptions when used with Sequences that they have fixed. I am hoping when 2022.1 is officially released the Cinematic feature sets are updated to use it. Until then you have to update it manually (I used the git URL approach in package manager, as described by the Unity folks in another post here somewhere).

    What I do is have the weights zero by default (in my videos I might have completely disabled the components to avoid the exceptions being thrown), then I use key frames in an animation clip to first keyframe a weight of zero (you can right click on the property and select "Add keyframe"), then a second later add a keyframe with a weight of 1 (move the playhead forward a bit, then with record mode on change the value to 1). That will slide the weight value from 0 to 1, blending the hand movement from the animation clip (when weight = 0) to the IK target (when weight = 1). Then when the hand movement is done, I set another keyframe for weight = 1, move forward a few frames again, add a keyframe for weight = 0. I then go in and move the keyframes around, adjusting timing etc so it looks good.

    I try and do everything through animated property values with keyframes in the timeline. I find it easier to line up different values. E.g. I have a backpack that I hide or reveal - I use a property on a component on the character to make it appear, and animate that property. It meant I could create an animation clip that did updated multiple properties at the same time, or create an animation clip for "show bag" that I drop on to any character, and it reveals the bag for that character. I could have used an activation track instead to enable/disable the object (and I do that sometimes), but I like creating animation clips with meaningful names. Then I can then look at "Sam" with multiple override tracks with all the animation clips with sensible names. It groups them nicely.

    Oh, and I tend to create numeric properties because then its easier to use blending of animation clips in the timeline. For example, if you wanted to, you could create two animation clips that set the IK weight property to zero and another that sets it to 1. Then you can drop those clips into an animation track, overlap them a bit, and it will blend them for you. No need to record individual key frames. Then when you look at the animation tracks, it is clearer where IK is being turned on and off. You just slide the clips around, adjust their length, and so on. Both ways work, just pick which you prefer. I find myself using animation clips (even if they just set one property!) more and more because I can come back and read the clip names to remember what is going on. It can also make editing later easier if you decide to change the timing of things.
     
  9. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    Sometimes Animation Rigging doesn't works in the scene view... so I can't see where the foot is being placed by the IK. Then how can I animate it. Sometimes animations are just weird.
    Any workarounds. Or is that working in unity 2021 LTS?? cause I am on 2020, (2021 LTS is on download, I am on limited internet connection, it will be done downloading in ~5 days or so)
     
  10. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    Now that I did it.. I understand what you said here.. using 2 animation clips for weighting 1 and 0 is indeed a good idea.. we can also blend them in the timeline!
     
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  11. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    Another question... do you use root motion animations for real walking or just animate the movement??
    root motion is a great option, but I can't rotate the character then.. if I do so, character just walks in-place.
    Animating the movement with non-rooted walk animation, on the other hand, sometimes feel slippery or super-fast motion, if you are not well précised!
     
  12. akent99

    akent99

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    I am using 2022.1b12 with Animation Rigging 1.2 and still have the same problem. You cannot always see it. I don't understand why. Sometimes I flip to another timeline and back and that seems to clear it. If you are using Sequences, there was a bug fixed in Animation Rigging 1.2 that helped a lot. I don't know the minimum Unity version for this however. You could try a test project and download just the Animation Rigging package and see if you get lucky! (Much smaller download.) https://extra-ordinary.tv/2022/04/2...animation-rigging-versions-april-2022-update/ - has instructions how to install it etc.
     
  13. akent99

    akent99

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    Suggestions:
    • I use root motion animation clips and avoid the characters turning as much as possible.
    • There are some animation clips to turn a corner, but they are a pain to line up timing wise.
    • I started with Animation Controllers and having the character to "walk towards" an object that I animated, but found it too painful (you cannot scrub the timeline).
    • You can create a Track-with-dolly? (cannot remember name just now) from the Cinemachine package. This allows you to draw a spline. Create an empty "container" object, put that in the cart, put the character in the container. You can then put a non-root-motion animation clip on the character (walks in place) and animate the dolly position. Its a bit of work, and yes, you have to time it precisely to avoid ice skating.
    • There is an option in animation clips talking about "Foot IK" that I believe is supposed to stop the foot slipping. I have not worked out how it works yet though! Maybe it only works during play mode?
    But my final solution is the first point = write scenes that don't require walking around corners! Do camera cuts so you don't notice it! And when it is needed, use head-and-shoulder shots with the camera so you cannot see the feet sliding!

    I still use the empty container object to wrap the character approach quite often. Animation clips sometimes do little position motions to look more natural, so if you animate the root position of the character directly it conflicts with the walk animation - so having a container object that I put the character inside (in the Unity scene hierarchy) allows me to animate the container position on one Timeline track, and use the non-root-motion animation clip in another Timeline track.

    I would love to hear if you find a better solution!
     
  14. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    That's 2022 LTS minimum! (has been downloaded 1.56 GBs by now!, 700MBs to go!)
    Yeah! This Cinemachine dolly track-kart idea came to my mind, but I managed to forget it somehow... thanks for reminding!
    It will definitely work, as we can define paths for the kart (aka character) on the dolly track and we can animate the path position property.

    That's the writer's job!

    I noticed that root motion clips have a velocity mentioned. So can't we just use that velocity to calculate no. of units to move in 1 frame (1/60 secs). But still, root motion clips would be difficult to control on a large scale. I will be trying the dolly-cart idea today...
     
  15. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    What about assets (buildings, environment, props etc), I mean I found some free "city-packs" on the asset store, and they are good for now for testing purposes only (I'm using the demo scene provided).
    I could make the assets by hand in blender, but that would be (very) time taking. I found some "anime-style" packs on the asset store (https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/3d/environments/anime-city-pack-199255 , https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/3d/props/interior/anime-style-classroom-prop-pack-80199 ), but the only issue is.... you know... the price.
    We cannot spare even a single rupee!
    Were you got the assets for your episodes?
     
  16. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    Ok, tried the cinemachine path... and guess what?? It works like a cake... and foot IK is a cherry on the top. It does works in edit mode too and prevent ice skating!
    Thanks
     
  17. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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  18. akent99

    akent99

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  19. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    Yeah! Thanks!
    For the Blur, I just tried different Post-Process effects to get an idea what looks good... BTW I have decreased the blur intensity after this render, cause it was REALLY too much, and several other actions like Jeet's mom placing her hands on his eyes, and focusing on the huge gift box.

    Thanks for your helps, Today am here using sequences (and vroid and animation rigging and timeline and ...) flawlessly, finally created this. Our first story is about Jeet's 13th B'day and about true friends (Mai and Sura, upcoming soon).

    Wanted to ask something... after I did all of this.. mind-blowing cool scene ready.. what should I do. I mean, render it out as a movie, or Image Sequence to post-process in Blender or OpenEXR frames ( I exactly don't know what to do with those). There is also something called AOV but can't find that option is recorder?

    Other than that, when I have all the scene rendered from unity (either movie or ImageSeq), I will just need blender Video Editing to join those with transitions(or something) with intro and credits as the last thing.. right?
     
  20. akent99

    akent99

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    You are already creating a MP4 file. Do you have access to iMovie or other video editing software to add any credits etc you want? I have no experience with using Blender for post processing (I have almost no experience with Blender at all! Lol!). So I cannot help if you want to use Blender for post processing sorry. I personally try to do it all in Unity so I create a final video clip directly. Less work! (I splurge on an Adobe subscription so have Photoshop, Premier Pro, After Effects etc. So I use them for video editing.)
     
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  21. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    Hey, wanted to show you something @akent99, Draft of our Studio's LOGO (yiepeee!) (3 people, Me and other 2, remember?)

    werewolf_studios_logo_3.png
     
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  22. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    akent99 likes this.
  23. akent99

    akent99

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  24. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

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    I did Mixamo + Made animations myself in blender which I didn't found/liked from Mixamo.
    Me 2! Nope, but I will let you know if I find something useful. (BTW, We asked Sir about dialogue recoding today and we are doing it on next Thursday!)