Melanie Sautereau “Manual Runway Posing”

2011-01-27

/1 Hello everyone:

/1 On Monday, Melanie Sautereau gave a workhop at noon on how to execute a runway routine without a walk replacer or posing HUD. What I’m talking about here is doing EVERYTHING by playing manual animations. Lulu and I thought this was so important to know that we decided to repeat it here tonight for those who missed it.

/1 It’s pretty common for show directors and academy instructors to warn you to have manual animations ready in case your posing HUD were to fail because of lag. As you know, walk replacers and posing HUD’s are scripted objects and in SL scripts get rather low priority when it comes to the sim’s resources. So in lag, these objects sometimes don’t work well and you end up being unable to function.

/1 Playing an animation manually, although still subject to lag, is generally considered more reliable.

/1 I have to admit I’ve been a bad model. When they tried to teach me this at one of the schools I attended, I cheated. Also, my Runway HUD has never failed me. So I’ve never felt the pressure to learn this manual method. I’m also told that many schools don’t teach this at all.

/1 So for me, Monday was the first time I ever attempted learning this. I flopped my way around this just like everyone else and looked like a total klutzy newbie. I still need more practice to do it fluidly.

/1 But I think I understand it well enough to teach it to you tonight. I’ll try to explain some of the things that gave me trouble and hopefully help you get started with it. I’ll also try to explain the rationale behind what I’m teaching.

/1 Lulu will start by demonstrating a complete routine done completely by using manual animations. This will give you an idea of what we are aiming for. We’ll go through all the steps one at a time afterward.

/1 Let’s do this standing up. Spread yourselves out so you have room to walk and do your poses. Remember to shout out any questions since we’ll all be rather far apart. After I explain it, we can go practice on the runway if you want or just out on the floor.

/1 Go to your animations folder and pick out a walk, a default standing pose, as well as 3 regular poses. Remember, the default pose is the one you revert back to just before and after you walk.

/1 All of these animations should be the same priority, preferably priority 4. Most runway animations that you buy these days fit that requirement. You’ll see why this is important in a second.

/1 Take off any AO, walk replacer or shoes with walk animations you may be wearing. At this point you should walk and stand like a total newbie who has never heard of an AO.

/1 Let me preface all this by making sure you understand how animations work in SL.

/1 SL allows several animations to be playing at the same time. What you see depends on the rules by which one animation will over ride another.

/1 The first rule is based on the priority of the animations that are playing. Animations of higher priority will over ride those of lower priority. So if you start an animation and don’t see it play, it is likely that its priority is lower than the one that is already playing.

************** Optional if someone asks

/1 The best way to determine the priority of an animation is to use the Animation Info display. If you are using a v2 viewer, bring up the Develop menu (Ctrl-Alt-Q). Then Avatar-> Animation Info. If you are using a V1 like Phoenix, it’s Advanced->Character->Animation Info.

/1 The Animation Info display will show everyone’s animations, not just yours, so keep away from others when you do this. It will show ALL the animations that each avatar is playing, including all the low priority SL default ones.

/1 The most recent animation started will be at the top. It may have a name or a UUID (key) as a name. The thing to look for is the number at the end of the line. That is the priority of that animation.

*******************

/1 Since I asked you to use animations of the same priority, this rule will not affect us here. Rather, the second rule will be the one that dominates.

/1 Animations of the same priority that are started later will over ride those that were started earlier. This is the main rule we will rely on here.

/1 There is another factor to consider. Some animations, particularly walks, don’t control every part of the AV. For example in a walking animation, the head is often left to move freely and controlled by earlier or lower priority animations.

/1 So you may be playing a walk animation and still see parts of an earlier or lower priority animation still playing through. This will have an effect in the order that we have to play our animations manually for our routines. Generally, you should not have any other poses playing while the walk is active. To prevent the pose from bleeding through into the walk.

/1 Any questions about any of this before we start practicing? (Shout out your questions if you do.)

/1 Ok, let’s play around with this. Place your walk and your default standing pose next to each other on your screen. I found that putting the default stand in the top left and the walk right under it works best for me. I would leave about a half inch space between them for reasons that will be obvious later.

/1 Next line up your other poses either in a row or column in the order you plan to play them.

/1 Next, click on the Play in World button of your walking animation.

/1 Notice that when the animation is turned on, the button has a colored border around it. The window containing the animation is active and has the focus.

/1 If you were to try to move the AV forward using the up arrow key while the animation window has the focus, you would not move. Try that now to convince yourself of that.

/1 That makes things a bit awkward. In order to move forward you have to return the focus to the screen. You do that by clicking anywhere on the screen. I would recommend that you click just below the animation. When you do that, the arrow keys regain their responsiveness and you can move.

/1 I am right handed. So I use my left hand to control the arrow keys and use my right hand to control my mouse.

/1 Let’s practice that. Stop the walking anim if you have it on. For now keep the camera behind the AV. Don’t worry about starting or stopping your default stand at this point. Let’ just focus on the walk.

/1 Start the walking animation and immediately click below it then immediately start moving forward. The key to this is to do those 3 steps very quickly in succession so you avoid “moon walking” or gliding in place.

1) Start the walk,
2) click on the screen below,
3) press the forward arrow key to walk.

/1 Any questions about that?

/1 Ok next step. Let’s add the step of walking to a particular spot. Stop your walk if you still have it on.

/1 Like usual, while you are posing, turn the camera so it is looking toward the direction you want to walk. Then alt click on the spot you want to aim for. This will determine the direction in which you will walk when you press the up arrow keys to walk.

/1 Notice, when you press the forward key to walk, your AV will turn and start moving in the right direction. Practice doing that a few times.

/1 Any questions about that?

/1 Next, let’s work in your default pose.

/1 Start walking as above. When you stop, immediately turn on your default stand. You don’t need to turn off the walk first since, because the stand was started later, it will over ride the walk. In fact, if the walk is the first thing you start, and it likely will be, you could keep it running all the time as long as parts of it don’t show thru because your other poses failed to control a particular joint.

/1 When you are ready to walk ahead, just stop the default pose and your walk should resume. So you never turn off your walk and you control the walking vs default pose by turning the default pose on and off. (You have to make sure that at least one of your poses is playing at all times otherwise your walk will start back up)

/1 Some people may be inclined to keep the default standing pose on while you are walking. Since walks often don’t control the head while standing poses most often do, you would likely end up with your head locked while you are walking. Unless you want to look like a zombie, this is not a good idea.

/1 Try practicing the walk and default pose routine now.

/1 Any questions about that?

/1 Ok let’s add the final step… playing other poses.

/1 First let’s try it by keeping your default pose on. Just start and stop your other poses. Since they are started after your default pose, they should over ride it.

/1 As you start a new pose, stop the one that was playing previously after you start the new one. The point here is when you are done the routine, you want to revert back to your default pose. For the default pose to come back, all the others will have to be stopped.

/1 Try doing that now.

/1 Any questions about this?

/1 There are some complications that can arise here. When you revert back to your default pose that has been playing in the background, you may snap back into it like a static pose, or you could go back into it with a nice smooth transition. The animations that you are using will determine if that happens.

/1 If you transition nicely back to your default, you can keep it playing while playing the others. If you find yourself snapping back in a snappy static pose at the end, you may want to stop the default pose while you are playing the others and restart it last.

/1 Also, you may decide to just skip the default stand at the beginning and move right to your first pose, keeping the default just for last. I would be most inclined to do it this way.

/1 After you have played all your poses, and have reverted back to the default pose, all the other poses except your default should be stopped.

/1 You’ll have set up the camera to get ready for your walk while you have been doing all this. When you’re ready to walk, just stop your default pose, click the screen right below it to activate your arrow keys and off you go!

/1 Any questions about any of this?

/1 Frankly, this whole manual method is quite cumbersome and I would personally seek to avoid using this method if at all possible. But it’s important to know as a method of last resort. Some models claim to use only this method and never rely on posing HUD’s or a walk replacer.

/1 You could use a modified version of this also.

/1 For example, you could use a walk replacer to manage just your walk and play your poses manually as above.

/1 Many people use an AO, like ZHAO, with just the walk loaded into it. Frankly, that is overkill and not very sim friendly. AO’s are very consuming of sim resources.

/1 I sell a basic walk replacer that allows you to activate any one of up to 12 loaded walks. It uses less than half of the sim resources that an AO would use. It’s only L$50 and can be bought at the end of the runway. There’s also a demo available.

/1 Some people will use an AO to control their walk and default stand while playing the other poses manually. The Balut Runway HUD can be set up to do that and would consume less sim resources than a standard AO.

/1 Finally, if you don’t want to do any of this manually, most people use a posing HUD of one type or another. There are many available around SL. Some animation stores sell them already loaded with a set of their poses.

As you likely know, I sell a variety of such posing HUD’s too. SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Sekmet/154/245/62

/1 But the point of tonight’s workshop was to teach you how to do it all manually.

/1 Practice all this for a few minutes. When you feel comfortable with it, go back stage and take turns doing a routine on the runway and let’s see you strut your stuff.

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