Illustrator imports... THE REAL BIG DEAL

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rafdesign
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Illustrator imports... THE REAL BIG DEAL

Post by rafdesign » Tue Dec 20, 2005 1:24 am

I have been using for 8 years After Effects and the usual softwares from Adobe. I am a director of 2D animation for motion graphics. I just dicovered Moho and I found it very cool! But really the poor import of Adobe Illustrator makes it almost useless. I do understand the differences between Illustrator and Moho but there got to be a solution. I would be more than happy to create my works in Illustrator following the Moho guidelines than having to try to redraw in Moho the mistakes of importing. Honnestly if that was not such an issue, I would be happy to pay much more money for Moho! I feel almost that the people behind Moho don't realize exactly its possibilities in the world of motion graphics with some stylized characters animations. Few years ago I was involved into the evolution of After Effects with the Adobe team. I wish I could help the same way.
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Rasheed
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Post by Rasheed » Tue Dec 20, 2005 2:30 am

I believe Moho is developed and maintained by one individual, which is quite common for shareware.

You may think the A.I. import is bad, but it was far worse in earlier versions of Moho. Hopefully for the Illustrator users, it gets even better in the future.
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stephklein
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Post by stephklein » Tue Dec 20, 2005 4:00 am

I do all of my initial drawings in Illustrator and then import them into moho. The only problem I've found is that moho doesnt reckognize illustrator's gradients, and sometimes it imports the colours a little off. Other than that I've had no trouble working between Illustrator and Moho.

What kinds of problems are you having exactly?
-Steph Klein
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peteindigital
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Post by peteindigital » Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:51 am

I completely agree with rafdesign.
Yes, its importing is a LOT better than it used to be, but it still isn't all that loyal to bezier handles (especially if in illustrator they aren't symmetrically aligned).
Importing .ai's often ends up very messy looking.
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Post by rafdesign » Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:23 pm

I have no idea who is behind the software. Well if it is one individual then I must say I am amazed with it so far! But again, it's way better than shareware. I know every aspect of After Effects, and really I found some potential that are not in After Effects and wont probably... The new After Effects 7 is turning more into a compositing tool and FX, something closer to Shake. Also since Macromedia has been eaten by Adobe it's going to turn into more Flash crap. I believe the days of Flash for animation are really limited as fast broadband become a reality... Flash technology is great when slow doeanload, but it's esthetic of flatten cleaness are about to die in our fashionable graphic design world. Don't get me wrong I love what Flash does for interactivity, but in term of animation, there is a big hole and there is room for softwares like Moho doing some specific things very well. It is evolving and it is so close to be really good, but then again, illustrators use Adobe Illustrator, and those few who use Freehand may soon be gone... And all those PC softwares, well I don't think a lot of illustrator or 2D motion animators use PCs in general, but that's another debate. Here in Los Angeles all the company I have been frelanced for use Macs at 99%. Some PCs of course for 3D for which they are better than Macs. Anyway, I can keep writing...!
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Rasheed
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Post by Rasheed » Wed Dec 21, 2005 12:25 am

rafdesign wrote:I have no idea who is behind the software
Start up Moho and select from the menu
Help -> About Moho
and you will see who's behind Moho.

He has helped us out on numerous occasions when bugs were reported. Sometimes a bug release was issued within a day. If you ask for a useful new feature in the New Features subforum, it is quite possible it will be incorporated in a next version. And when we all get stuck on an animation problem, he sometimes jumps in to find a solution. He goes in this forum under the user name Lost Marble.

I have never met a software company that was as dedicated to its user base as Lost Marble. And a company which produces for three platforms at once you don't see so often either.
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Post by Lost Marble » Wed Dec 21, 2005 6:42 am

There's been quite a bit of discussion lately regarding Moho vs Illustrator curve representations. The reason Illustrator files don't import exactly is the same reason you don't have as much control over curves that you draw in Moho as you do in Illustrator. Moho manages some of the bezier control handles for you, rather than letting you have all the control. See my comments towards the end of this thread for more about that:

http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtop ... 3&start=15

I thought I'd try to illustrate the reason for this decision. First, let's take a look at some curves in Moho. You could imagine these curves being part of a leg or arm. The dots on the curves are the control points Moho lets you work with, and the red structures are Moho bones (we'll see why I'm talking about bones in a minute):

Image

Now let's look at the same curves using an Illustrator-type representation. In the picture below, you see some extra control handles. Illustrator lets you adjust these types of off-curve control points, while Moho does not. These points still exist in a Moho curve, they're just hidden from you. The following picture was set up so that the Illustrator control points and the Moho control points are in the same positions - the Illustrator and Moho curves are the same:

Image

Now let's start animating - here's where things get messy. If we bent one of the bones, here's what happens in Moho. The Moho control points that you can see move with the bones. The hidden control points are adjusted automatically to keep the curves smooth. I hope we can agree that this is what we would expect to happen:

Image

In this next picture, I've superimposed the Illustrator control points to show where they would end up when the bones move:

Image

Hmm, that doesn't look so good. Here's what the Illustrator curves would look like after moving the bones. The Illustrator curves are the bumpy ones:

Image

You can see what happened in this view showing the bezier control handles - the Illustrator curves lost continuity because they were bent by inconsistent amounts by the bones (because some control points are under the influence of one bone, and some by a different bone):

Image

I don't know of a good way to avoid this problem using Illustrator-style curves where the user has complete control over the interior control points of each curve. One way to prevent your curves from getting lumpy or non-continuous is to let the software automatically adjust some control points for you - and this is exactly what Moho is doing.

You might argue that Moho should let you control those points unless they are being moved by bones, but I would argue that this would be a worse situation. In that case, the outlines of your artwork could suddenly change shape as bones go from standing still to moving, or move back into their original positions.

Of course, discussion and suggestions are always welcome, but I hope this helps illustrate (no pun intended) why Moho curves work the way they do. By the way, it's not just about bones - consider if you moved the two rightmost points on the Moho curves to the same position that the bone example moved them to, using the Translate Points tool - you would get the same visual result. But if you moved the two rightmost points of an Illustrator-style curve like that, you'd end up with a funky s-curve.
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Post by rafdesign » Wed Dec 21, 2005 7:24 am

First of all thank you for taking time to respond. Your description helped a lot to understand. I think it make sense. But I still wish Moho could import Illustrator files without transforming the curves. If I build a character, I basically want the legs and the arms to move and create a knee (angle). But for the rest of the character such as the head and bovy, I would totally be satisfy to not use bones but having the capability to move the point of drawing. Then I would rebuild the legs and arms in Moho, with maybe the Illustrator under to replicate.
Image
Like this example, I only want to animate the leg with bones, but I still want to scale the eyes a little, move the tongue and the 'stuff' over its head (sorry for the shocking picture!) etc. So if I could import this and just add bones to the legs I would be fine. Maybe a message alert should alert the user of this limitation or ask how the user want to import it as converted to Moho or as close to Illustrator. Anyway I am thinking also maybe mixing bitmap with vectorial, so maybe my Illustrator won't look bad when imported. I hope this reply explain better what kind of characters (more graphic design driven) I am trying to animate.[/img]
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Post by jahnocli » Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:04 am

LM - I think your response should be in FAQs or somewhere, so you don't have to keep saying it over amd over. This explanation certainly helped me understand the reaspning behind Moho's use of control points. Thanks.
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Ramón López
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Post by Ramón López » Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:14 am

jahnocli wrote:LM - I think your response should be in FAQs or somewhere, so you don't have to keep saying it over amd over.
...TOTALLY AGREE! :D
jahnocli wrote:Thanks.
...TOTALLY AGRE! :D
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Post by Toontoonz » Wed Dec 21, 2005 1:24 pm

LM - Thank you for the detailed analysis and description of why the line and shape architecture between Moho and vector illustration files from drawing programs (such as Freehand, Expression, Illustrator and others) are basically incompatible with each other.

Then when one adds in that for the most part Moho can´t import the colors of these vector files correctly, one has to wonder why Moho even says it can import .ai files.

If Moho imported image files (png,jpeg, bmp) that were slightly distorted, the colors off and other problems in shape architecture and animating would it be okay that Moho list that it can import these files, too?

Moho says it is a vector program - what other vector program can Moho import vector files from where the files import exactly as in the originating program?
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jahnocli
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Post by jahnocli » Wed Dec 21, 2005 2:05 pm

If Moho imported image files (png,jpeg, bmp) that were slightly distorted, the colors off and other problems in shape architecture and animating would it be okay that Moho list that it can import these files, too?
This is unfair, and a little ignorant, if you don't mind me saying so. Vector images are mathematical constructs which the computer interprets as being a certain shape; it's entirely plausible that two different programs (esp. with different functions) should interpret these files differently. Bitmap files, however, are like canvases that have been daubed with colour -- it's just as plausible that most programs will interpret these files in the same way.
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Post by 7feet » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:23 am

So, how would you describe that? A uniform bezier curve? So it's a bezier, but with the control points tied to each subsequent point auto to make the animation smoother? I perhaps begin to understand, and it seems to be a much diff underlying concept than I had in mind. Damn, Mike, you smart. Truly, I'm trying to picture it and it's a pretty elegant solution. Damn.

Okay, I have to. Could be all wrong. Would it be possible, perhaps, to still have the control points tied to the bone that is controlling the base point, affected as they are by bone movement and such, and add an animatable offset to those controlpoints that would still be tied to what the base point wants to do?

It would seem that, because Moho has only curvature on the curves adjoining a point, each control point must be equal, ... Okay, I'll leave it alone. But interesting ideas.
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Post by stephklein » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:06 pm

Anytime you import a proprietary file type into foreign software, you're going to lose some control over it. It's to be expected.

As a side note: Why does moho require an Illustrator 8 or lower file?
-Steph Klein
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Rasheed
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Post by Rasheed » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:08 pm

stephklein wrote:As a side note: Why does moho require an Illustrator 8 or lower file?
no PDF allowed for Moho
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