A4 Animeted HelpMe
|A4 Animeted HelpMe!|
The following "HelpMe" documentation is intended to provide you with one consistent workflow, from installation to final rendered output taking various options into account. Once you have installed A4 Animeted and used it a few times you will not need to perform most of these steps.
The term "Animeted" arose during development. The "Animeted" products were in part inspired by users, in part inspired by some "Anime Teeth" I was working on (whose scope of functionality expanded to the point where they are now called "Toon Teeth", somewhat breaking the connection). The "Animeted" products are a combination of custom MIMIC configuration (DMC) files and customised "head" characters (CR2 and OBJ) primarily to use within MIMIC in combination with the DMC file. So "Anime Animated Head" was contracted to "Anime Head" and then finally to "Animeted". I can't help it - I have a computer techy background, we ALL have terrible senses of humour and an inclination to invent new words at the drop of a hat!
The DMC file should be installed to your "Configuration_Files" folder within MIMIC's file structure. The custom geometry and character file are accompanied by default textures from DAZ, and should be installed to the Runtime that you associate MIMIC with. If you only use one Runtime with MIMIC, I would recommend you install to that Runtime. Second best would be to install to your Aiko 4 Runtime (if different) and as as a last option you CAN install to a completely separate Runtime (bear in mind using multiple Runtimes with MIMIC requires some effort).
If installing to a new Runtime which has no Poser executable in it, you will need to create a "dummy" Poser executable file for MIMIC to use as a reference (i.e. know how to do this before deciding to use a fresh Runtime for A4 Animeted).
If you DO use Multiple Runtimes, then you will have to "point" MIMIC to the A4 Animeted Runtime before use. With MIMIC 3 Pro the procedure is as follows (refer to your MIMIC documentation for other versions). On starting MIMIC 3 (Pro) you are confronted with the session Manager:
Close the Session Manager without selecting any Sound or Text files (click the "OK" button or the "close" button, shown here as an "X" in the top right corner).
Within the main MIMIC 3 Pro interface, select "Preferences" from the "Edit" menu:
This will bring up the following dialog Box:
Press the folder button next to "Poser Path" and then browse to select the path where your Animeted product is installed. When you have selected the relevant path the Preferences box will display the newly selected Runtime, for example:
Select "Session Manager" from the File menu to return to the normal starting point for DAZ MIMIC 3 Pro, ready to use A4 Animeted.
|Using A4 Animeted|
Once you start MIMIC you need to select the A4 Animeted DMC and character files. For example, here I have selected a Sound file we recorded for Aiko 4 and it's Text file, before selecting both the A4 Animeted DMC and the A4 head CR2 in the DAZ MIMIC 3 Pro Session Manager (refer to your MIMIC documentation for other versions):
click "OK" to start analysing the sound and applying the results to the custom A4 Animeted head. Possibly after a little tweaking, the result should look something like this:
You should bear in mind that MIMIC applies a certain randomness to it's movements (blinking, eyebrows, head movement) so you should not be surprised to get SLIGHTLY different results - if you don't like the movement MIMIC generated, you can always return to the Session Manager and get MIMIC to analyse the sound file again - each time it does this it generates new "random" movement for the eyes etc. (which can be quicker and certainly easier than manually adding eye blinks in).
In the list of Expressions supplied by the A4 Animeted DMC you should notice a number of unusual options:
These are not true "Expressions" or "Emotions" but are "Characters" - alternatives to the basic A4 head shape. Because they have been implemented as Expressions they have to be used on an Expression track (MIMIC 3 Pro has two such tracks so you can easily use one for "Character" and the other for Expressions). You can even transition from one character to another during an animation :)
Note the Expressions "Custom1" to "Custom5". We can use these to create custom expressions or characters (within reasonable limits) both for MIMIC and Poser (and DAZ Studio and Carrara and so on).
|Using the results outside of MIMIC|
One of the main draws of MIMIC is to export your movement data to other applications for rendering. You do this using the "Export PZ2" feature from the File Menu:
Save to a Pose folder (see MIMIC manual for further instructions):
You can now use the Pose (PZ2) file in other content-based applications (Poser, DAZ Studio, Carrara etc) by applying it either to the A4 Animeted head or to the full A4 figure from DAZ, and make any adjustments as required - lighting, clothing, hair and textures for example.
Here, for example, is a Poser render of the same video clip from earlier on, with a few tweaks to the scene.
Using custom A4 characters with A4 Animeted is possible, but it is considered an "advanced" feature. As such, while I will aim to be comprensive in these instructions I won't be providing a screenshot of every keypress/mouseclick. The easiest way to do it is to create a custom morph (called "Custom1" to "Custom5") in Poser and save that as a separate character (CR2) file. Then use that custom CR2 file to create a 'combined' custom morph for A4 Animeted.
Let's walk through making a custom morph for MIMIC and Poser (and DAZ Studio and Carrara and...) using Poser 6 (other versions should be similar). This is the "default" workflow - there are always different ways to achieving any end.
Before we start, choose a "base" Aiko 4 character. There are 5 slots for "Custom" Aiko characters built into the A4 Animeted MIMIC DMC and they correspond to Aiko 4 charatcers like this:
So start witht the base closest to the morph that you need before designing your morph - this should help with correct scaling and placement of the eyes.
I shall start by using a magnet to produce a quick-and-easy modification for A4:
With the Head selected, set the base morph value to 0 (Aiko4, American...etc.) choose "Spawn Morph Target" from the Object menu.
Name the morph "Custom1" to "Custom5" based on the base morph used to create it (see list above) to be compatible with A4 Animeted:
Set the value of the new morph to "1" and delete the magnet (basically we want JUST our new morph morph applied, not whatever tools you used to create your morph)
You can design more morphs at this point or later - up to 5 "Custom" morphs are pre-named in the MIMIC DMC file. Once you have finished designing morphs, set all morph values to 0 excpet "Aiko4" which you should set to 1. Then add your A4 character to your "Figures" library (or save as a scene file). This is our custom character to return to for full quality rendering later - in the meantime, let's create the A4 Animeted compatible version of the morph. Make sure that the base morphs (Aiko4 etc.) are set to 0 and our custom morph value is set to 1, and Select "Export... Wavefront OBJ..." from the File menu:
We only want a single frame worth of OBJ file export...
In the "Hierarchy Slection" window, untick UNIVERSE to deselect everything, then select Head, upperJaw lowerJaw, and the various parts of the tongue.
In the next dialog box, clear all export options
Once again, since these are slightly unusual values, double check that you have deselected everything before exporting. If you have moved the A4 figure within the scene this will go KABLOOEY very shortly so you may need to tick "As Morph Target (no world transformations) but I recommend not moving A4 when designing morphs.
Save the file with a filename you will remember, in a location you can find.
Clear your Poser scene, and load the A4 Animeted head "Figure". Here you can see I have an empty extra "Runtime" dedicated to A4 Animeted so it's clear to see which figure to load (the only one!). You will most likely have to choose from a list of figures.
This is the ideal time to change the materials to further customise A4 Animeted within MIMIC if you so desire - though please, use only textures which are installed to the same Runtime as A4 Animeted (and refer to the MIMIC and Poser documentation if you have any issues).
Even though A4 Animeted is just a head, it has rigging for more of the body to make sure it works as identiclaly to the full Aiko 4 as possible. So make sure you have the Head part selected, then load your custom morph.
It is most important that you give this A4 Animeted Head morph the same name as it had in the full Aiko 4 figure.
Once you have loaded all the custom morphs you want, add this new version of A4 Animeted back to your Figure library.
Close Poser (there is no need to save the scene file for this demonstration...) and start MIMIC. Choose a sound file & text as usual, and the A4 Animeted head figure that you saved in the last step.
MIMIC should look no different to normal, and if A4 Animeted looks any different it should be because you have changed material settings. However - since you have a custom morph called "Custom1", let's add that to an Expression track (I will use MIMIC 3 Pro's second Expression track here, leaving the first track for existing expressions).
You should find if you play the animation in MIMIC now that your custom morph is working perfectly:
Apart from your morph design skills, the default A4 Animeted head is limited only by your imagination... you can use it to produce new facial expressions or characters within MIMIC. If you follow the general workflow given here, you can also take the resulting PZ2 file back out to Poser etc. for "final" rendering, removing the guesswork of trying to use the standard Victoria 4 figure in MIMIC 3 and earlier.
Thankyou for buying A4 Animeted - I sincerely hope you enjoy using the product.