Problems with Exporting/Importing Actions

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Problems with Exporting/Importing Actions

Postby Ahroo » Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:41 pm

If I have a simple action with nothing more than bone movements, I have no trouble sharing it among different files/characters (identical bone structure and names). My problem is in more complex actions, which include switch layers and/or layer order changes: the switch layer changes and the layer order changes do not carry over when I import the action into a new character (and yes, I have made sure that "enable animated layer order" is checked in the new character). Also, the point translation in one of the switch layers didn't carry over, either. Are these things that Moho should be able to do? Am I missing some step along the way in either the exporting or importing of the action? Or am I expecting too much of the program and should not expect it to be able to share such complex actions (which really limits the usefulness of this feature)?

Also, after making all of the changes to the new character's imported action to add back in the switch layer and animated layer changes (and point translations), and saving the file, the next time I opened the file, ALL of those changes were eliminated! All I had were the basic bone movements again.

I appreciate any help! Thanks,
Laura
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Re: Problems with Exporting/Importing Actions

Postby Ahroo » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:21 pm

So...after 10 days with no replies, I thought I'd bump it up to see if anyone can help me.

Even if you don't know the answer to my problem, can anyone at least let me know if you ARE able to successfully share actions among characters which include switch layer changes and/or layer order changes and have those changes import into the new character? And do those switch layer/layer order changes "stick" after saving-closing-reopening the file?

Thanks!
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Re: Problems with Exporting/Importing Actions

Postby Greenlaw » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:15 pm

I don't know if I have truly helpful info but I've been working a lot with rig references at work lately, and these are the kind of things I've had to watch out for. Mostly, we need to maintain the connections between master rigs and the referenced rigs that other animators are animating with, and in the process of setting this up and testing these rigs, I did learn a lot about what transfers and what doesn't. I'm not working so much with Actions I/O for different character rigs but I can take a guess about what's happening in your situation.

Layers and Groups have specific ID's assigned to them, so it's possible that your different characters may have different layer IDs in them so, even if the names of the layers and stacking order is identical, the Actions may be failing to recognize them as you expected. And that's more likely to be true for points, especially if the drawings are different for each character. The only way to maintain the relationships for these things is to use the same exact layers and groups, and the same shapes (you can edit the point properties but probably can't add or delete points without breaking the relationships.)

Bones and layer transforms, on the other hand, seem to be less likely to break with transferred Actions--I'm wondering if this is because maybe the actions are instead looking at names and hierarchy of these items, and not the IDs? That would make sense, especially if the Actions are meant to be transferred to different characters and not just the same character.

I hope this helps explain a little about what may be happening. TBH, I'm really just guessing though. Maybe somebody with more knowledge about the internal workings of Moho will pop in with better answers and have some solutions you can use.
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Re: Problems with Exporting/Importing Actions

Postby Ahroo » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:16 pm

Thanks for your input, Greenlaw. If you are indeed correct (that the layer/group ID, not the name, is what controls how these actions transfer over), then I guess we're limited on how useful this feature really is unless both characters are absolutely identical in layer structure. In my case, they are very similar (in fact, most of Character 2 is a direct duplication of Character 1), but I do have a few additional layers in Character 2. Those few new layers are not involved in the actions, but I guess it is enough to break the ID continuity.

My bigger concern is the fact that the imported actions, after I've fixed them, will revert back to the original imported actions once I close out of the file and reopen. This last time I reopened the file, the imported actions were greyed-out and no keyframes were saved at all.

So my work-around now is to import the action, then go back to the mainline and insert a copy of the action, then delete the action from the actions window. Then I create a NEW action, copy the keypoints from the mainline, insert them into my new action, and make all of the required changes. A lot of extra work, so not worth it for anything that is not a complex action, but I am still glad that there is a way, as convoluted as it is, to share actions among characters.

I'd still be interested to hear if others who share actions among characters are having any of these same issues or if it is working as it should for them.

One final question, Greenlaw: is there a way to identify (and possibly edit) the layer/group ID?

Thanks again.
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Re: Problems with Exporting/Importing Actions

Postby Greenlaw » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:56 pm

Ahroo wrote:Thanks for your input, Greenlaw. If you are indeed correct (that the layer/group ID, not the name, is what controls how these actions transfer over), then I guess we're limited on how useful this feature really is unless both characters are absolutely identical in layer structure.


Where transferring regular Actions from one character to another, I think the workflow is mainly meant to share motions for the skeletons of the character. It's easy to have the same skeletons for different characters even when their body proportions are very different. (You can use Convert to Relative for that.)

Smart Bone Actions tend to be more specifically created to a given character so, in general, that's not something you would transfer between different characters unless the characters are going to be more or less 'generic'. When I use I/O for this feature, it's generally meant for the same character in another scene (and when I'm not using Rig Referencing.)

I think if you got the Smart Bone Actions to transfer to a different character, it's likely that you'll need to edit the quite a bit to make it work for that character. If that's the case, it's probably going to be a lot easier to just recreate the actions from scratch for that character.

It might make more sense to build a completel 'template' character and modify that setup for each new character. This way all the layer structure and actions will be the same and it might be easier to transfer Actions between them.

My bigger concern is the fact that the imported actions, after I've fixed them, will revert back to the original imported actions once I close out of the file and reopen. This last time I reopened the file, the imported actions were greyed-out and no keyframes were saved at all.


That sounds odd...I don't think I've run into that one before. My guess is that the Action was imported but maybe because of the differences in that scene, it couldn't find the items it was assigned to, so now it's basically just sitting there 'unlinked'.

One final question, Greenlaw: is there a way to identify (and possibly edit) the layer/group ID?


Hmm...I think that's beyond my expertise. Hopefully another user with better understanding about this will post here soon.
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Re: Problems with Exporting/Importing Actions

Postby Ahroo » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:08 pm

This last time I reopened the file, the imported actions were greyed-out and no keyframes were saved at all.


And, today when I opened the file, they were back! Not greyed-out, keyframes there - but still not any of my corrections. I obviously cannot trust that they will be accessible reliably in the future, so I am going to continue with my workaround (which I need to do anyway, to get my switch layers and layer ordering to work). Oh well....
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Re: Problems with Exporting/Importing Actions

Postby Greenlaw » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:22 pm

You know one thing we've noticed when using Rig References in Moho is that sometimes the result will look odd immediately after updating, but if we close the file and reopen it, the problem will clear up. Maybe it's the same with Actions?
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Re: Problems with Exporting/Importing Actions

Postby Vanof » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:47 pm

@Ahroo

Hi,

We have the same request, and then the same problem as you have.

I seams that it doesn't carry all the animation at once(only the layer that will be selected when you'll export the action). That's really regretfull because this feature could be a really handy.

So how we did proceed : We have a main character rigg that we use for different scene. So if we did an animation with that character, that we would like to use again.
We have, into the main character rigg, to copy manually all the keyes (bone, layer ordering, point animation....) and creating a new action into that main rigg. Like that each time that we will use that rig for a new scene, it will keep those actions. That's mean that we have to do that twice. The first time into the new animated scene, and then re do it into the main rig.

I don't know if this could help you.
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