Dance animation

Works in progress and technical screen shots.

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Dance animation

Postby wolgade » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:12 pm

This is not exactly WIP, but more of a quick experiment. Quick in the meaning of quickly done, not quickly rendered (about 30 hours).

Lindsay was nice enough to post a link to some interesting BVH files (http://www.makehumancommunity.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=13672&start=230#p42019). I couldn't resist to play around with them.

What I did:
Exported a female character with CMU-Rig using MHX2. Exported MHX had too much shufling feet.
Imported the character, keeping the rig and adding face shapes.
Duplicated the character twice to get three ladies.
Used MakeWalk to load and retarget the BVH files. This takes very long.
The BVH files have a framerate of 40 fps, which is very uncommon for videos. I wanted 50 fps, so I scaled up the animations in the Dope Sheet Editor by 1.25.
Probably as a result of the last process I got six frames with a flipped character. These frames had no keyframes at all. Fixing was done by selecting the hip(root)-bone and using "relax pose".

The result is quite promising. Almost no shuffling feet, but a few times the arms intersect with the body. As this is a demo, there's no fancy lighting and the fixed camera position is quite boring, but it shows what I wanted to see. For copyright reasons there's no sound in this video, but you can download the sound yourself (http://perfume-global.com/).
Attachments
test_no_sound.mp4
(7.42 MiB) Downloaded 425 times
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Re: Dance animation

Postby blindsaypatten » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:28 pm

That's great! Much better than what I managed to create. But you forgot to enable physics simulation on their hair. :lol:

For some reason watching it made me wonder what it would look like using the Harley Quinn character...
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Re: Dance animation

Postby wolgade » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:07 pm

blindsaypatten wrote:That's great! Much better than what I managed to create.

Well, to be honest, I didn't create anything for this little test. The important part was choosing the right rig. I first tried to use the MHX-rig, but this lead to feet shuffling on the floor, as usual. I then had a look at the rig used for the BVHs and realized that it's quite similar to the CMU-rig. That's the whole trick. I didn't edit the animation in any way. I just scaled it to match 50 fps and fixed 6 frames that got messed up by this scaling. If you look closely, you'll realize that one character doesn't work as well as the others. The feet slide a bit. I just found out, that one girl of this band is taller than the others. This might explain it. Using a taller character for this BVH is probably a good idea.
blindsaypatten wrote:But you forgot to enable physics simulation on their hair. :lol:

Come on, Lindsay! :) This was a quick test. If there will be ever something that could be called final, there'll be hair physics, better lighting, some kind of camera work and something like a stage. There'll also be a different outfit. I really like these clothes done by punkduck, but the style doesn't really fit this kind of music. My character looks like the singer of a country band. :lol:
blindsaypatten wrote:For some reason watching it made me wonder what it would look like using the Harley Quinn character...

This is a very good idea.
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Re: Dance animation

Postby punkduck » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:43 pm

wolgade wrote:Well, to be honest, I didn't create anything for this little test. The important part was choosing the right rig. I first tried to use the MHX-rig, but this lead to feet shuffling on the floor, as usual. I then had a look at the rig used for the BVHs and realized that it's quite similar to the CMU-rig. That's the whole trick. I didn't edit the animation in any way. I just scaled it to match 50 fps and fixed 6 frames that got messed up by this scaling. If you look closely, you'll realize that one character doesn't work as well as the others. The feet slide a bit. I just found out, that one girl of this band is taller than the others. This might explain it. Using a taller character for this BVH is probably a good idea.
blindsaypatten wrote:But you forgot to enable physics simulation on their hair. :lol:

Come on, Lindsay! :) This was a quick test. If there will be ever something that could be called final, there'll be hair physics, better lighting, some kind of camera work and something like a stage. There'll also be a different outfit. I really like these clothes done by punkduck, but the style doesn't really fit this kind of music. My character looks like the singer of a country band. :lol:


First, I just have a question: your mp4 is 7.5 MB, my is approx. 12MB, your video is of bigger size than my example and your video is 1:10 instead of my 15 seconds. Is the smaller size only because the background did not change? What did you select when you save the video. I guess you also worked with png files first and then append the sound for your private version.

For the clothes: I just checked some of the perfume videos and I watched a typical phenomenon of Japanese music. No matter what kind of music, people over there always experiment with their outfits, often also using very colorful versions. Try that in Europe or U.S. when you play e.g. metal :?

Some perfume outfits I saw are based on a short dress. You can e.g. use the tennis dress with another texture as a base. Some of their dresses look modern and spacy and I like them. If you like, I can create one of these, but be aware that long gowns and things like Kimono sleeves will eventually create problems, when you pose the character.

Just for information about sleeves, because I also had to figure out the right terms: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeve

Using the clothes of Harley Quinn: if you do it, additional work will be to delete a lot of vertices, because these clothes are not doing it, the belt will heavily deform unless you take the .obj file and to dance with these boots could create some problems in real life :lol:

Hair dynamics: Because of the ponytail, there is a good chance to make it look more realistic than my version, because you can avoid the intersections with the skull much easier than my version ...
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Re: Dance animation

Postby wolgade » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:06 am

punkduck wrote:First, I just have a question: your mp4 is 7.5 MB, my is approx. 12MB, your video is of bigger size than my example and your video is 1:10 instead of my 15 seconds. Is the smaller size only because the background did not change? What did you select when you save the video. I guess you also worked with png files first and then append the sound for your private version.

I rendered png files and used MLT-framework (https://www.mltframework.org/) to encode the video. MLT-Framework uses in my case FFMPEG. FFMPEG uses in my case x264 for the video. MLT-Framework is quite good when it comes to passing arguments to FFMPEG and x264. I'll better explain this with an example:
Code: Select all
melt pixbuf:%04d.png in=0 out=3524 -track out.wav in=0 out=3524 -consumer avformat:test.mp4 acodec=mp2 ab=256k ar=48000 vcodec=libx264 crf=18 vpre=veryslow threads=0 mlt_profile=./myprofile.txt

This is how I generated the video. The interesting parts are crf=18 and vpre=veryslow. The first defines the desired video quality. I don't want blocky crap, so this is set quite high. The second part is more interesting. You can achieve good quality quickly and get big files or you can tell x264 to spend some time and do all the tricks that are part of h.264. Makes encoding slower, but results in smaller files. vpre=veryslow calls a configuration file with lots of FFMPEG command line parameters. You can do this without MLT-Framework by calling FFMPEG directly, but you'd have a command line you don't want to deal with manually.

Blender doesn't allow you to fine tune encoding parameters this way.
punkduck wrote:For the clothes: I just checked some of the perfume videos and I watched a typical phenomenon of Japanese music. No matter what kind of music, people over there always experiment with their outfits, often also using very colorful versions. Try that in Europe or U.S. when you play e.g. metal :?

Some perfume outfits I saw are based on a short dress. You can e.g. use the tennis dress with another texture as a base. Some of their dresses look modern and spacy and I like them. If you like, I can create one of these, but be aware that long gowns and things like Kimono sleeves will eventually create problems, when you pose the character.

Right now, I have no idea about the outfit. I don't like the shortdress approach. Don't ask me why. Anyway, if dresses should be involved, for the skirt part cloth simulation will be used. Armature deform looks crappy on skirts.
punkduck wrote:Using the clothes of Harley Quinn: if you do it, additional work will be to delete a lot of vertices, because these clothes are not doing it, the belt will heavily deform unless you take the .obj file and to dance with these boots could create some problems in real life :lol:

Masking body vertices is easy. That's not the problem. The boots are the real problem. They're too heavy for the performance.
punkduck wrote:Hair dynamics: Because of the ponytail, there is a good chance to make it look more realistic than my version, because you can avoid the intersections with the skull much easier than my version ...

Before I think about hair dynamics, I'll have to think about characters and hair styles. This usually takes a while. Right now I'm thinking about the stage for the performance.
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Re: Dance animation

Postby blindsaypatten » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:03 am

wolgade wrote:This is how I generated the video. The interesting parts are crf=18 and vpre=veryslow. The first defines the desired video quality. I don't want blocky crap, so this is set quite high. The second part is more interesting. You can achieve good quality quickly and get big files or you can tell x264 to spend some time and do all the tricks that are part of h.264. Makes encoding slower, but results in smaller files. vpre=veryslow calls a configuration file with lots of FFMPEG command line parameters. You can do this without MLT-Framework by calling FFMPEG directly, but you'd have a command line you don't want to deal with manually.

Blender doesn't allow you to fine tune encoding parameters this way.


In case you are using an older version and aren't aware, Blender 2.79 has ffmpeg as a format option and then has 7 encoding quality options and 9 encoding time options. But it doesn't give all of the other options you noted.
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Re: Dance animation

Postby loki1950 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:22 am

Before I think about hair dynamics, I'll have to think about characters and hair styles. This usually takes a while. Right now I'm thinking about the stage for the performance.


Have a look at Manny's latest videos for version 1.6 of ManLab he has some nice animations of the ponytail mesh hair that he is developing the actual Hair library has been deferred to version 1.8 but there is a how to about in his docs and videos :D He also has a new hair shader and it looks very good but again not in the current 1.6 version. He has changed the workflow preparatory to blender 2.8 so his rewrite for the new API will be less ;) of a head ache.

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Re: Dance animation

Postby wolgade » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:56 pm

blindsaypatten wrote:In case you are using an older version and aren't aware, Blender 2.79 has ffmpeg as a format option and then has 7 encoding quality options and 9 encoding time options. But it doesn't give all of the other options you noted.

I wasn't aware. Thanks for telling me. Might be good enough in many cases.
loki1950 wrote:Have a look at Manny's latest videos for version 1.6 of ManLab he has some nice animations of the ponytail mesh hair that he is developing

Thanks. I'll have look, but for my characters I'll stick to particle hair.
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Re: Dance animation

Postby punkduck » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:19 pm

wolgade wrote:
Code: Select all
melt pixbuf:%04d.png in=0 out=3524 -track out.wav in=0 out=3524 -consumer avformat:test.mp4 acodec=mp2 ab=256k ar=48000 vcodec=libx264 crf=18 vpre=veryslow threads=0 mlt_profile=./myprofile.txt

This is how I generated the video. The interesting parts are crf=18 and vpre=veryslow. The first defines the desired video quality. I don't want blocky crap, so this is set quite high. The second part is more interesting. You can achieve good quality quickly and get big files or you can tell x264 to spend some time and do all the tricks that are part of h.264. Makes encoding slower, but results in smaller files. vpre=veryslow calls a configuration file with lots of FFMPEG command line parameters. You can do this without MLT-Framework by calling FFMPEG directly, but you'd have a command line you don't want to deal with manually.


Ah yes, good old ffmpeg. Of course I know this, I used that on Linux when I converted files long time ago, but I did not expect that difference. And to combine it with sound was also unknown for me (the version with sound wasn't much longer). I've to admit, that you have some advantage considering this topic, because of your job :D

To include it as a default as Lindsay mentioned is a good idea. But I'm still working with Version 2.78. Somewhere I read that makeclothes produces problems in 2.79. I don't know if that is true. On a Linux box I'm able to install two Blender versions in parallel but with my MAC I'm not sure.

wolgade wrote:Right now, I have no idea about the outfit. I don't like the shortdress approach. Don't ask me why. Anyway, if dresses should be involved, for the skirt part cloth simulation will be used. Armature deform looks crappy on skirts.


Okay. But please, please, please do not use school-girl outfits. A typical stereotype. Comic style is okay :(

wolgade wrote:The boots are the real problem. They're too heavy for the performance.


That's what I meant. If you use the boots, you have to add some stumbling. Then you get the movement of these girls on the catwalk wearing high heels :lol:
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Postby DredNicolson » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:24 pm

High-heeled footwear seems to embody an old French proverb [roughly translated]: "To be beautiful, one must suffer." :|
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