Exporting morph coordonates

JeanPierre's picture

Hi there! I'm a newb, and not the end-user (and awkward english speaker) so you're warned. The question is about a worlkflow.

What i've done: 1- built an object in 3ds Max, which contains 3 morph (equal number of vertex) 2- exported it as an fbx file, which in know keep the morphs datas

What i want: 1-import it in Kineme 3d (until there, no problem) 2- recover the morph datas (kind of sounds like the blender thing but including more than two stages) 3- animate this object (eg: morph stage A 30% towards stage B and 20% towards stage C in 3 seconds) 4-export not the object, but the morph coordonates as a sort of keyframes list 5-import back in 3ds max so that my animated object can now be lit, textured and composited.

My point is to use QC only as a 'live morpher' and leave the modeling and rendering steps to 3ds. The most important question is: can Kineme 3d export animated morph coordonates (maybe as a list) rather than only images?

I don't want you to write the patch for me, it's just: does it appear realistic?

If (if?) it's a bit woolly, i might be able to be more specific if you ask me.

Let's hack up!

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yanomano's picture
Bake to morph

Hi JeanPierre, I think you have to bake you morph in 3 differents meshes with max. Then import the 3DS with the 3 objects inside or 3 differents 3DS files as you want. You have to build a morpher in QC with 2 kineme 3D blender patch animated with a timeline patch.

cwright's picture
not particularly

There is zero write capability in Kineme3D, so it won't help you at all for writing intermediate blend results. It's mainly intended for rendering, not morphing (which 3DS et.al. will probably do better anyway).

yanomano's picture
Sorry JeanPierre

wow i have to read more slowly...:) "Toutes mes excuses" jean Pierre... indeed export a mesh as deformed by QC is not possible....

franz's picture
why ?

quote : " My point is to use QC only as a 'live morpher' and leave the modeling and rendering steps to 3ds. The most important question is: can Kineme 3d export animated morph coordonates (maybe as a list) rather than only images? "

why would you do that ? why don't you use the 3dsmax modifier caller " Morpher " that does exactly tis: it lets you morph between an unlimited number of targets. way more efficient than KnM 3D morpher.

If your final goal is not REALTIME but rendering, why go through QC ?

Anyway, what you ask is still possible (= record your morph coefficients to pipe them back into 3DS) : record your values over time with value historian, export to plist with Structure to file, then convert (somehow) into a PC-friendly format (ascii ?) , then import into max via some Max-script magic to interpret your data back. To me it seems amazingly awkward as 3D has better built-in tools for this... like a real timeline.

That said, if you envisionned QC as a live puppeteer app. , - take no offense - you would be wrong, since you can plug into 3Dsmax all your gear - from a P5 glove to a playstation controller, including all you Midi keyboards... - and use it to manipulate and morph realtime 3D meshes that are easily 100000+ polys, all realtime.

JeanPierre's picture
Right on, Franz!

Hi guys, thanks for replying.

Well Franz, you got it! My intention, awkwardly named as 'live morpher' is indeed absolutely better described as live puppeteer. My wish is to get rid of the tedious lip-sync task using a fun-friendly tool.

I guess the idea of remaining within 3Ds seems the best (by the way, do you know about a cool plugin for this job?)

However, the results we had so far are quite cool and fun to make: the system is based upon real-time sound detection plus other fancy controllers, and thus we can achieve strange facial expressions we would never have reached if they didn't pop up to us as by magic.

So i'll gather some infos on 3DS plugs for real-time, but we're still working on that project, 'cause it has this 'homemade' touch i'm trying to get (except, though, in the renders...)

Thanks everybody, the 'export morph coordonates' is still to be fixed!

franz's picture
live puppeteer

As far as i know, professional puppeteers in the movie business still use their hands to trigger digitally controlled pneumatics. They are using these datagloves, which can capture finger bending and spacing. Nowadays, these gloves are quite cheap, and very efficient cause they are very sensitive.

I would recommend renting such a glove - or even buy the very cheap P5 on ebay, it sells at around 30$, but it is really cheap and not precise. Then you can hook up your glove to 3dsmax. 3DSmax currently accepts RS-232 , MIDI, USB or SERIAL joysticks (HID like in the PC world), maybe even OSC via some plugin, and surely others protocols to receive realtime data (even live audio is possible). Needless to say that all this data can be recorded for offline playback, and eventually mixed "a la" FinalCut, mith the motion mixer module.

blouboy's picture

The closest thing I've seen to Quartz Composer for manipulating 3D objects is the Grasshopper plugin for Rhino. I've seen a few demo movies and it looks to be very handy. It has a spaghetti wired nodal interface that is very similar to Quartz Composer or Isadora.

I haven't tried it myself yet. I need to learn to use a 3D modeling app and I couldn't deal with the confusion of learning Rhino and Maya at the same time, so for now I've opted for Maya since my Mac can run it. There is a beta version of Rhino available for the Mac, but Grasshopper won't work with it yet (if it ever will).

From what I've seen, Grasshopper may only be useful for generating forms based on the functions of the nodes, but it seems very likely that it could also manipulate existing models. I would also assume that Grasshopper can take external OSC, MIDI, etc. input. All of that is purely speculative on my part, since I won't have time to experiment with it myself for a month or two at least.

If you have access to Rhino 4.0 or can gain access to it, I would recommend looking into Grasshopper. The website has download, wiki, tutorial, and forum links. http://grasshopper.rhino3d.com/