Sunday, July 23, 2006

tweenMachine v2 in the works

While a tiny UI with one slider that operates on selected objects is useful, it's also extremely limited. I'm in the early stages of development on v2.0 of the tweenMachine, and wanted to let folks know what's coming. This will be a major update with a number of new features, including:

Sets: Users will be able to create custom sliders that affect a specific set of controls. With this feature, you can more easily sculpt the start of a breakdown pose without selecting a single object. For example, make a slider that affects the entire body, another that only affects the spine, one for the left arm, etc. Controls can be assigned to any number of sets.

Groups: Any number of set sliders can be organized into collapsable named groups. For example, you could create a group for each character in your scene.

Save with scene: Data for groups and sets is saved with your scene file. When you reload your scene and start the tweenMachine, it will read the existing data and rebuild the UI automatically.

Load/Save: Save data for all groups and sets to a text file, and load it into another scene.

Import: Import specific sets or groups from a saved data file.

Timeline ticks: Enable/disable ticks on the timeline for any set or group, so you can see where your poses are without having to select anything.

Stay tuned for more!


Brian "My Fault" Nicolucci said...

Wooo, that sounds great Justin. This has been a very useful script, especially when working in stepped keys. Not having to take the time to alter the tangents on the keys I want, set the new key then go back to stepped is an amazing time saver.

One thing I am trying to do now, but my mel script skills are a bit weak, is to rewrite different versions of the script with a set percentage and save as hotkeys. So for instance if I know I want to set a tweened key for 70% I could just hit a hotkey and it automatically runs tweenmachine, sets it at 70% and voila I am done. No need to pull up the script at all. Haven't got it working quite yet, but I am sure I will figure it out. Wouldn't be useful in all occasions, but anything that speeds up workflow here and there is cool by me.

Keep up the great work, can't wait for 2.0!

Justin Barrett said...

You know, Brian, once the tweenMachine is loaded, you have direct access to a procedure that will do just what you want, and you could just setup a hotkey that calls that procedure with your desired percentage. The procedure that does all the work is named "tween_Machine", and takes a single float value as an argument. So using your 70% example, just make a hotkey that executes the command "tween_Machine(0.7)" and you're good to go!

Kind of along that line, a suggestion I got from a co-worker is to have buttons that sit just below each slider, each with a preset value. I'm trying to keep the interface lean and clean, though, so I'm not totally sold on the idea, but I haven't totally discarded it, either. I'm experimenting with the new interface now, so we'll see how it goes.

Justin Barrett said...

You could also skip the actual loading of the tweenMachine interface. Just source the script, then directly access the procedure I mentioned before.

Brian "My Fault" Nicolucci said...

Awesome, that is super helpful and so easy. I definitely like the simplicity of this script and in most cases I end up using the tweenMachined results as more of a starting point. This script is kind of like greasePencil in that I can't believe I ever lived without it. Woo.

And to respond to your question at my blog, I took this and last quarter off, but plan to be back for the short film sections starting this upcoming quarter. Any idea what you will be teaching next quarter?

Justin Barrett said...

Well, for this term I'm a campus mentor, not working with a specific class. With my schedule being what it is lately, that just works out a lot better. Chances are I'll be doing the same next term.

Mentalray said...

The tween machine is awesome. Working in stepped mode, it makes it a ton easier for me to see what is exactly 50% between the key poses and I can adjust the breakdown as needed. Rock on dude. I feel like a tween machine rep :)