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Beginners Skinning & Poly-Morphing Animation Tutorial Using Free 3D Modelling Software

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Uploaded on Dec 9, 2010

For this tutorial you need Seamless3d 2.168 or up which you can download from: http:seamless3d.com/download
Narration:
Here we see a low poly head of Lucy where the mesh is being animated directly instead of using nurbs.
If you want to make movies I still recommend using nurbs as shown in my beginners nurbs control point animation video because nurbs make it easier to animate high definition models but this video is aimed at animating low poly meshes for games and virtual reality where render time is critical.
In this tutorial I am going to show how to animate a simple arm which will cover the basics in skinning and poly morphing.
00:27 First create a new seamless file.
00:35 To begin with a simple mesh, click on this button to add a nurbs lathe to our scene.
00:40 Zoom in using the mouse wheel and position the view by dragging on empty space in the 3d window.
00:47 Reduce the poly count by reducing the staves and bands (6 and 10).
00:52 Convert the white part to a blue part by right clicking on the seamless node and selecting "convert all". This will allow us to perform poly modeling.
01:00 We want to drag 2 rings of vertices towards the elbow. To select a ring of vertices use the rectangle selection tool by holding down shift while dragging. Note you can only select vertices like this when a part node in the scene tree is selected.
01:16 We also want to bring this ring down a little to form the upper arm muscle.
01:22 Toggle into X-Ray mode by clicking this button and toggle into x-ray edit mode by clicking this button .
01:28 Now that we can see the pivot point for the selected part, drag it up to an appropriate position for the shoulder.
01:37 To add a new part for the elbow, hold down the right control key and click where you want your elbow's pivot point located, do the same to add a wrist.
01:45 Name the 3 parts l_shoulder. l_elbow and l_wrist Use the exact same spelling as I have used and use only lower case characters so that seamless will recognize the names for the preset color codes. You can use any name you like but if you use an unrecognized name you will have to specify a color for that name.
02:10 So that we can paint in the color coded ownership to the vertices, click on the button that looks like an Easter egg.
02:18 Because we built the mesh originally for the shoulder part, it owns all of the vertices and this is why all of the vertices are color coded to orange, so lets move straight on to painting in the elbow's vertices.
02:31 First, select the elbow. While holding down the left shift key, drag out a rectangle to select the vertices. All the vertices we have painted pink are now owned by the elbow
02:42 To inspect what we have done from a different angle, right drag and to set the view font on, click the face button
02:51 Plug an anim node into the scene node and then click the anim node to display its anim bar.
02:58 Set the period of the animation cycle to 2 seconds.
03:03 Drag the anim bar's slider midway and select the elbow
03:08 Drag this lever to pose the elbow
03:12 Click loop so that our animation will repeat
03:17 Click resume play
03:22 We can improve the elbow by making the first ring in the elbow rotate only half the amount and we can do this without adding another part. All we need to do is add another color coded group to the elbow.
03:39 To do this open the ownership palette, click insert and paint the elbow's vertices we want to rotate only half the amount. That looks much better.
03:54 Now lets morph some vertices to simulate flexing muscles.

03:58 Enable polymorph capture by clicking this button.
04:02 Close down the ownership palette so that we can use the rectangle selection tool to select vertices for dragging instead of painting.
04:09 Now before we drag the vertices, drag the anim bar's slider to where we want to capture our morphed pose. Remember to hold down the left shift key while dragging the rectangle out to select multiple vertices.
That makes it look more interesting and makes it look more alive, lets see it with the triangles filled in.
04:35 Lets now resume poly modeling, before we can do this we must first stop the animation playing and then close the anim bar.
04:46 We will delete some triangles from the elbow. Toggle back-face selection so we only select triangles facing us and and we want to be able to accumulate our selections so click this button.
05:00 Select the triangles by holding down the Right shift key and then delete.
05:06 To join a vertex to another, drag a vertex to the target and click the join button or use the short cut key J.
05:26 Now lets resume animation mode by opening the Anim bar. Had we just dragged vertices to modify the shape there would not be a problem but because we deleted vertices from the shoulder we have messed up the indexing from the morpher to the shoulder's vertices and this is why we can now see the wrong vertices being morphed.

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