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Save character models as an independent file

Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 6:18 pm
by TDolce
Hey guys,..I had a question,..I have played around with the bones a bit more now and I think I'm beginning to understand it. The tutorials were great in that effort. What I wondered about and did not see in the manual was anything that mentioned the ability to save a character (bones and all) as a standalone file so that I can import it back in another animation down the road without having to re-design the bones etc. I mean is there a way to save the models we create so that they can be used again and agian in differnt projects thus retaining the bone structure that I appointed to them. Kinda like an independent object or symbol in FLASH I guess...


Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 6:58 pm
by Hiddicop
Just put the whole character into one group- or bonelayer and save the moho-file. Then it's just to import this character into another project.

Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 7:02 pm
by Squeakydave
Just save your character as a Moho file. You can then load it into any other Moho project by selecting:
File - Import - Moho Object.
Simple as that!

Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 8:05 pm
by TDolce

Hey there! You're the guy who led me onto Xara X. I owe you big for that as that is my favorite app besides Expression.

Can you answer me honestly on this Moho app? How do you find the program? I mean do you see it being able to handle some serious animation with characters more complex than one dude on a walking cycle? I mean have you tried the other apps like ToonBoom Studio, The Tab. Flipbook, Animo and others? If so, how does Moho compare. When you have an animation project looming near, what is the app you automatically jump to?

Any insight is greatly appreciated.

(I'm one of the lost folks who was left behind when LivingCels vanished before my very eyes).

Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 11:45 pm
by Squeakydave
Hi Todd.
Moho is actually my main workhorse nowadays. I'm doing a 2 minute (ish) spot for Nick jr at the moment that would be pretty much impossible in anything else. Not that it can do it all. I need another app for frame by frame stuff (Bleh - How last century!) Currently that is ToonBoom Studio. (An app that irritates the Hell out of me but as of v2.5 it is usable and has a rotating light disc feature. 4 Cheers!!!!) I found the Tab Too expensive and not responsive enough. Flip Book - no rotating light table ditto for Mirage (Great for other stuff though) and Plastic animation paper. Animo WAY to expensive for a paint and trace app. There were others but they didn't really impress me.
- Note -
I use ToonBoom Studio for rough frame by frame animations that I trace off in Moho and use in switch layers.

I guess what it has come down to for me is that I can not afford to do frame by frame stuff for the money clients are offering nowadays. That and the fact that I am more interested in more designy, stylised animation rather than the pseudo 3d disney stuff (3d does it much better).
Moho allows me to do full productions like that at home in my studio. (aided and abbeted of course by XaraX, Flash, After effects, Painter, Premiere,TBS etc etc.

I will say that when you first come to Moho it is very different to any other 2d app and even has some similarity to it's 3d cousins. This may be daunting at first but any time spent with Moho (and the tutorials) is richly rewarded.

One final comment. It still gives me a Kick to put some bones in a still character and move them around and don't have to inbetween any of it!!!

:D :D :D :D

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:05 am
by Banterfield
What do you mean by rotating light table, Dave? Something for cycling through animation frame by frame? No doubt, a term I should already know! :shock: :)


Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 10:25 am
by Squeakydave
Sorry about being a bit obscure. I forget that not everyone in animation nowadays has the same background as me (Boy does that make me feel old.)

Back in the days whe animators used to draw on paper (No really. It happened!) We used rotating light disks so we could turn our drawings to be able to draw curves easier. If you are right handed the upper left side of a circle is easier to draw/trace accurately whilst the lower right is almost impossible.

In computer software a static drawing environment is Ok for rough sketching but for cleanups being able to freely rotate and draw on your doc is pretty vital. Painter has this feature so does ToonBoom Studio and The Tab (If I remember correctly)

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 4:27 pm
by TDolce
The Tab does have it yes. I was recently in a debate with a Flash user who swore that the rotating disc feature was as useless as hen poop on a pump handle. I disagreed and told him that perhaps I wasn't as talented as he was because I found that it was badly needed by me for any curves that I was constructing. I found later on in that conversation that I was not alone in my position on this.


Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 6:27 pm
by Banterfield
Well, that does make sense. So do you lads use a drawing tablet to rough out characters in moho? It occurs to me that in that case you could use the "roll camera" control to achieve the same effect, if I understand correctly.

As always, thanks for insight.

Kind regards,

(Boy does that make me feel old.)
It's not the years, it's the mileage! :D

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 6:40 pm
by TDolce
To be perfectly honest,..I would much rather design my characters in a program like XaraX or Expression or freehand on paper and then import them into Moho rather than use Moho's unfriendly pen tool. It (the line)just doesn't flow smooth enough for me. The reaction to my stylus in Moho is just not the way I like it. If I have to design on the PC,...Xara and Expression are the only way for me to go.

Dave may disagree.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:09 pm
by Squeakydave
Nope. I'm with you there. My workflow goes something like:

Thumbnail in a sketchbook (V rough)
Rough in Painter
Trace animation in Moho
Background bitmaps and colour models in XaraX.

Mohos drawing tools are actually quite good once you get the hang of them. :wink:

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:23 pm
by TDolce
Yeah,..I shouldn't say that Moho's drawing tools are bad,..just not what I'm used to more or less. I do love that magnet tool though. So are you bringing the Painter files in as bitmaps and then tracing them?

Here is what gets me...I can see where you can add bones to a character,...BUT if I'm adding bones to a side profile of my character, do I get that head turn so that it is still accurate? I mean imagine a head looking to the right. You see one eye and the side of the nose and if you want the head to turn and face the camera, are you doing that? Are you just bringing (importing) in a new model of the head in that correct view? Or are you twisting the bone (if you have created one for the head) and then making adjustements (adding a second eye, full nose and mouth etc.) as you twist it?

Just curious how you handle that?


Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 8:44 pm
by Banterfield
Squeaky Dave uploaded a nice "3d" carrot to the old Yahoo file space, if I remember correctly. In that case, the nose (and the rest of the face) layer floats in front of the head layer (literally, toward the camera on the z plane), and is rotated around the head.

Alternately, you can setup flat vectors, and using switches, simply slide the points around to make it appear that it exists in 3d space.

I used a combination of the 2 methods to make my penguin for the moho contest. The eyes floated in front of the head, but the beak was a switch layer that simply changed to one side or another to achieve the effect.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 10:05 pm
by kdiddy13
For the head, I'll typically create one entire group layer that contains everything for the head. I'll then have the bone control that layer as opposed to points like the rest of the body. I can still put a bone inside the group to control the jaw or eyes, etc. But typically I find that I don't want the head deforming like the rest of the body, and if I do, I just animate the points or various layers. I can also slide the eyes, nose, ears, etc. around on the face to get a head turn. Bones are great but they do have their limits and sometimes you have to go off the reservation and do it the "old fashioned" way (that is pre-bones).
Goddess worship forum

Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 12:14 am
by Squeakydave
Yes I import Painter bitmaps to trace.

As to head turns I guess the most versitile way is to trace frame by frame animation into a switch layer (Extra cool if you can keep the same number of points so that Moho will inbetween it for you). That way you can have a character with a biuilt in head turn whenever you need it.

Alternitively you can just do a very designy character that just pops from side vew to front view to three quater view.

I did post a file (In the Yahoo Moho user group.) of the Carrot from my 10 second club entry that has pseudo 3d features. The technique is quite handy but not terribly flexible. It wouldn't be much good for a character walking across screen but pretty good for closeups.

I guess if pressed I would admit that the easiest way to turn a head is to not do it. Good storyboarding and staging will let you get away with murder. Start a head move in one scene and then cut to another angle on the head and the audience will fill in the gaps, thinking it turned instead of just moving. Just check out some good commercials to see what you can get away with with editing!

If you want to be really efficient do all of the above. Keep changing the trick and the audience will never catch on!