re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

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re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

Postby dondo » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:32 pm

I'm creating character rigs from assets created in photoshop. I have a fully rigged character, let's call him "Casey." I'm getting ready to rig another character, let's call him "Isaac." Casey and Isaac have similar enough builds that we can reuse basically the same assets, but have changed things to they look different (eg. different clothes on the torso). Is there any way to switch a rig to use a different asset file, if that file has identical structure (all layers present, etc)?
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Re: re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

Postby synthsin75 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:41 pm

Bone nested layer control (on by default) would allow you to control different assets in switch layers.
Or you can just alter a duplicate to make the other character.
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Re: re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

Postby dondo » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:53 pm

"Alter a duplicate" is closer to what I'm asking. Consider the following folder structure:

Code: Select all
assets
- casey
-  - casey.psd
- isaac
-  - isaac.psd
rigs
- casey.moho


So now I want to duplicate casey.moho, rename it "isaac.moho" -- and then shift it to use "isaac.psd" as its image asset. (One way would be to move/rename casey.psd, and then when Moho prompts me to find the asset, find "isaac.moho" - but then later I fear that Moho would prompt me to find "casey.psd" when it means isaac.psd.)

Does that make sense? Is there any good way to do it?
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Re: re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

Postby synthsin75 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:49 pm

There's where using PSDs isn't such a good idea. Unless you want to edit the internal data of a .moho file, you'd probably be better off importing PSD layers as individual PNGs.
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Re: re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

Postby Greenlaw » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:13 am

I agree with Wes. In general, it's a lot easier to work with separate PNG images...they're easier to update and replace, and you don't have to worry about breaking layer IDs like you do with a layered PSD file. To output PNGs from a PSD, I highly recommend the free Export-Layers-To-Files-Fast plugin. It's not only faster than the native Photoshop command, it has more useful features.

IMO, working with layered PSD in Moho can be convenient but it can also be a headache if you need to make drastic changes later.
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Re: re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

Postby dondo » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:20 am

Well, that's some insight that would have been awfully good to know a month ago!

Thanks. :)
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Re: re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

Postby Greenlaw » Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:42 am

I think you can still do it. Just replace each PSD layer with the PNG counterpart. You might get some weird scaling or positioning results...if that happens, click reset and transform the image to its proper place. Tip: Before you do this, make a screen cap of the workspace then paste it back into the scene and move it behind your character. This gives you a visual reference for where to position the PNGs.

One advantage with layered PSD is that all the layers import 'in-place'. When you import individual PNGs, how they import depends on how you exported the files.

If you exported the layers cropped, all the images will import centered in the project and you will need to reposition them. A little annoying but not horrible. If I'm doing this, I'll also import the PSD flattened and use it as a visual reference. When I'm done, I delete the PSD layer.

If you export the layers with the full canvas size, they will import 'in-place'. The downside, however, is that the bounding box will reflect the full canvas size. Fortunately, it only takes a second to drag the Crop tool over the image to reduce the bounding box size. No need to get it pixel perfect, close is good enough. (This is where I wish Moho had an 'auto crop' button.)

Something to keep in mind: if you use a smart mesh, you can't use the Crop tool. It really doesn't matter though since the Smart Mesh will 'crop' the image anyway. If you previously used the Crop tool on the layer, be sure to reset it before applying the Smart Mesh.

Hope this is helpful.
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Re: re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

Postby dondo » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:02 am

Ah, got it. Explains some of the odd behavior I was seeing around image boundaries (and the sickening realization of what introducing a new layer to the imported PSD did to my carefully configured rig would do).

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that the idea of just importing the new assets entirely into the rig hadn't occurred to me. That's a pretty obvious answer.

As it turns out, my wife has gotten pretty darn good putting all the assets in the PSD file in the right place, which makes rigging the characters up pretty straightforward; she'd be modifying the existing PSD, so just using the updated one instead of the original should work.

Man, I owe you guys so much. I'm not sure there's any way to repay you, but for sure there's a huge bucket of gratitude in my garage with your names on it.
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Re: re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

Postby Greenlaw » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:10 am

A handy tip when importing a whole bunch of PNG layers: You can do them all at once. Moho will probably import them in alphabetical order, so be prepared to sort them. To make this task easier, I like to name the layers in Photoshop before exporting so I know exactly what I'm looking at in the Layers window.

Also, if you're using that free export plug-in I mentioned, you can set up a layer comp in Photoshop to set the visibility of only the layers you wish to export, and the plugin has an option to export only the visible layers. This way, you can keep all your 'work' layers along with the final layers in the same PSD file.

BTW, that plugin has the option to export the images cropped or to use the whole canvas. Use whichever one works best for you. Also, you will probably want to enable Overwrite, otherwise it increments the files and Moho won't automatically pick up your revisions.
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Re: re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

Postby dondo » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:25 am

Well, as it turns out... I've been avoiding details that didn't seem relevant, and there's a bit of a wrinkle to that: we're not actually using Photoshop. Instead, we're using a much cheaper program on the Mac called "Pixelmator." It has an option to export as PSD.

But here's the cool thing: I've just discovered that in Pixelmator on the mac, I can export individual layers as PNG by simply selecting them in the layers panel and drag-n-dropping them into the Finder. Woot! That should solve a lot of problems. (I'm leaning towards continuing to use the PSD for the initial import, because my wife draws all the assets in place which has made rigging them up a bit easier. But for adding stuff after that, PNGs for the win!)

One related question: if I've deleted a layer from the PSD import, is there any way to recover it? That is, if there's e.g. a background layer and I delete it completely in Moho, is there any way (days later, after it's been saved and closed and then reopened) to tell Moho "oops, I want that back?"
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Re: re-use bone/mesh rig with different assets?

Postby Greenlaw » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:17 am

Not directly, but if you save incremented versions of your projects (as you should,) you could import the layer from an older project.

When I'm working on projects, I save a new version after any significant change. At work, this might be every 15-30 minutes. I may keep several dozen versions of files for each scene on a production, at home or at work, and I'll purge most of these files only after the project is finished and out the door.

Additionally, at studio where I work, we have a Windows feature called Previous Versions feature enabled on the network, so there's a version of everything being saved every hour, and these versions are kept around for about a week. I don't do that at home but if you can afford the disk space, it's a good idea--I can think of a number of times when Previous Versions saved my butt at work.
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