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3D Learning Environment
show user profile  rob@dynamic
I'm currently working on my final year uni project. For this I'm working in a team of 5 developing a 3D Learning environment to teach primary aged children to speak French. Myself and a friend are doing all the 3D then we have 3 programmers dealing with the programming and AI.

Am going to use this thread to post random WIPS as I go along. So far I have modelled and textured a french village.

I am now working on modelling one of the characters. A chubby cafe owner. The character is meant to be stylized, and not photo realistic, to appeal to younger children. Im not to keen on the texture may re-work to be more cartoony? And the hair needs sorting out too.

C & C welcome please.

Cheers


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read 1081 times
2/17/2009 3:54:00 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 4:12:43 AM)
show user profile  advance-software
Looking nice so far.

Are you going to lipsync - vonemes, morph targets, etc. ?

Would make a great 3D website !

:-)
read 1044 times
2/17/2009 8:39:58 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 8:40:21 AM)
show user profile  rob@dynamic
Cheers, NO not a 3D website!haha. It's guna be delived on the Xbox 360. Yea I've set up around 20 morph targets so far for the lip sync and expressions. We have a plugin at uni called voice-o-matic which automatically generates lip syncing wen you assign an audio file and use with facial studio. Which i theory sounds great....But is S**T!! I tryed it for a project before and wasnt impressed, so am thinking about keyframing by hand. Just depends on how close we settle in having the camera to the face.


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read 1038 times
2/17/2009 8:45:05 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 8:45:05 AM)
show user profile  advance-software
It's a non-trivial problem - good luck.

Generating each voneme expression by hand will create the best results.

Allo Allo, the video game.

Can't wait !

Where is my little tank ?
read 1034 times
2/17/2009 8:50:30 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 9:00:50 AM)
show user profile  rob@dynamic
Yea well i've made all the phonems and expressions by hand so far, I guess it'll all come down to time efficiency when i decided whihc way i will animate.

Hahaha, yea there has been many references to Allo Allo at work and uni.


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read 1010 times
2/17/2009 9:03:48 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 11:37:41 AM)
show user profile  advance-software
Re: animation.

That should be done by the programmers, surely ?

You provide the individual voneme expressions and they use software to parse the speech into phonemes, then perform a phoneme to voneme conversion. The code should then morph from one voneme to the next.

If you are going with real voice rather then synthesized, the timing/animations might need tweeking to match the speech pattern, additional tweeking will be required to exentuate particular emphasis/emotion.

This is a lot of work to get right, and you'll probably need some good tools to tweek the automatically generated voneme patterns into something that lipsyncs well & looks right.

Very labour intensive, I would imagine, but with the right tools, this could probably be done well.

If this was my project, the emphasis would be on getting these tools right, as they are key to delivering a quality product.

I've haven't done this on a project yet - looking forwards to giving it a go when time/resources permit ...

read 1003 times
2/17/2009 9:18:49 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 9:39:30 AM)
show user profile  rob@dynamic
Is this something that the programmers can do in XNA?

I was under the impression that I would have to create all the animations in max and then the animations would just be pulled into the content pipeline when required?

Cheers


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read 997 times
2/17/2009 9:23:05 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 9:23:05 AM)
show user profile  advance-software
Nothing to do with XNA, it's custom code, but they should be able to interface the custom code to the XNA scene graph. I haven't used XNA, so can't comment further on this.

The 'animation' is morphing from one voneme to the next.

You provide the 'poses' for each voneme, not the animations.

You could in theory, animate going from each voneme to the next, for every possible combination, but I don't think that would be necessary, a simple interpolate (morph) should be sufficient - I think. You'd have to try to be sure. You might need some custom animations for any where a simple morph looks bad.

You would provide animations for anything non-voice specific - nodding/shaking head, eyebrow raises, etc.

Terminology :

phoneme - the discrete sounds associated with speech (audio).
voneme - the discrete facial expressions associated with speech (graphics).

This is going to require a really good animation engine, with triggers, morphing, editing tools, etc.
read 993 times
2/17/2009 9:28:39 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 9:51:38 AM)
show user profile  rob@dynamic
ok thanks very much steve, you've been a great help. Im meeting the the programmers on Friday so i'll definatley bring this up at the meeting. I'll post then what they say and where we are goin with it.

1 question, from me what would the programmers require? e.g. files ect..


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read 964 times
2/17/2009 10:31:08 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 10:31:08 AM)
show user profile  advance-software
Off the top of my head :-

Your programmers will require :

1. Character with base pose. No animation.
2. Character exported with each voneme expression - agree a naming convention so they can locate easiliy. No animation.
3. Character exported with each 'overlay animation' - smile (maybe), eyebrow raise, nod/shake, etc.

Agree a naming convention on the nodes in the hierarchy and stick to it for every export.

Keep the same naming convention across all characters.

They can post process the character hierarchies to extract out only the vertices that are moving to simplify. Will need transforms too if you are moving bones around.

Make sure the programmers understand how to interpolate transforms properly for moving bones.
You can't just interpolate the values in the transform matrix - you must convert to scale, rotation (quaternions), position, interpolate each independantly, then reform the transform. Rotations (quaternions) must be interpolated using spherical linear interpolation (slerp), not linear interpolation. Linear interpolation can be used on scale & position changes. This will make sense to a graphics programmer. If not, look up gimbal lock.

If done right, you should be able to overlay the auxiliary animations over the automated voneme transitions.

Fun project ! Good luck.
read 954 times
2/17/2009 10:45:12 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 11:00:12 AM)
show user profile  rob@dynamic
Brilliant, thanks again!


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read 948 times
2/17/2009 10:49:26 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 10:49:26 AM)
show user profile  mattymoose
The character is meant to appeal to younger children.

I really don't know about that, I'm 25 and it scares the shit out of me...



read 936 times
2/17/2009 11:00:22 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 11:01:49 AM)
show user profile  rob@dynamic
yea i know, what you mean. I did say that i'm goin to repaint the texture for the face to give it a more cartoony look, and maybe one of those stereotypical french handle bar moustaches


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read 928 times
2/17/2009 11:03:29 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 11:03:29 AM)
show user profile  advance-software
Get your hierarchy right first time - if you need to change it later, it will be painful.
read 925 times
2/17/2009 11:04:55 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 11:04:55 AM)
show user profile  rob@dynamic
what do you mean by hierarchy?


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read 917 times
2/17/2009 11:12:34 AM (last edit: 2/17/2009 11:12:34 AM)
 
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