Setting up the VDMX project

While setting up my VDMX project, for VJing, I looked for some answers to questions I had at the VDMX forum and stumbled upon a complete rebuild of the software. I always update when I’m prompted to update, but haven’t checked in at the forums so much lately and there was no prompt (because the public beta is still the old version). I had completely missed that a month ago Vidvox released VDMX5 B8. It seems to be very, very nice. Developers are my heroes. Thank you Ray Cutler and David Lublin!

Since I’m making a quite different setup than usual I thought I might be a little daring and jump right over to B8 even though it’s very close to our grande finale. I looked through the tutorial videos and it seems that although things are different, most of the changes are made to make things easier and more user friendly. Also syphon, which I wrote about earlier, is very integrated in this new version of VDMX. I am so excited!

Here is my, not finished but totally workable, project in Version b0.7.5.8:

And here is a budding project in Version b0.

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VJ preview

A little taster of what it may look like live:

(and yes it is filmed with my cellphone while trying to trigger clips with my free hand :))

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Milestone 3

All of my character animations:

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Week 8: Closing in

Now we are closing in. Hard work the last few days.

Here is this weeks progress:

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Week 7: Even more animation

With some nice feedback from an old school mate I redid my animation plannings. I have a text document in which I write every key position for all the animations. Starting out I only did this for the trickier animations, but now I got it for all of them. It makes it so much easier to keep track of everything. I needed to move the beginnings of a couple of the loops and the planning document made it so much easier to know which frames to move to.

Soon I’ll be going for the in-betweening. Yay!

Here are some new block-outs:

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Week 6: More animation

This week I’ve been tackling the couple dancing. Fun, but quite a challenge. I realized in the process that it would have been a good idea to give the model more human-like proportions. The short legs, big feet and hands as well as long upper body are giving me a bit of trouble, but still it’s definitely doable.

The most complex of all the animations I will be doing is the swing-out and that’s what I’ve been working with mostly this week.

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Week 5: Animation starts

This week I have started working on the animation, blocking out the general movements for some of the loops, just posing for others. I started out without working with a musical track, putting the beats wherever, since they would be played to different tempos in the end anyway, but I found that it was not such a good idea. They ended up too different and it was hard to get the feel of it without synced audio from the top, so I took a middle tempo song and made a loop-able excerpt of an eight count, brought it into Maya and that made a big difference.
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Week 4: Instrumentation

So I’ve got them cats some instruments to play and they all got nice simple textures and toon shading. Also I fixed some issues with the rig and remade the skinning.

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Week 3: Modelling, rigging, texturing

This week I finished my model and then went to work on the rigging, skinning, UV-mapping and texturing. Still some work to be done though.

I have spent some time reading The Illustion of Life: Disney Animation, which is part of my reference literature and quite excellent. In the evenings I have also watched some of their classics, for inspiration and guidance.

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Week 2: Research & modelling

This week I have been testing out different rigging solutions and it looks like I’ll be using abAutoRig and then do just some basic face rigging. To help save time to concentrate on animation, besides using autorigging, I also use a free existing model by Mike Rhone as a starting point for my cat model. This is what it looks like so far. Some work on the head still to be done.

On Wednesday I had a meeting with a group of set designers and prop makers who are interested in helping out to lend a bit of their magic to the showcasing swing evening. The planning for the swing evening has unfortunately had some setback, but I have b-plans and c-plans, so it will work out somehow.

Yesterday afternoon, as a part of my VJ research, I took a plane down south to attend a show & tell that Micke Wehner aka The Midi Thief, a VJ colleague, arranged for members of the Swedish VJ Union. He showed us some of the technology that he had been playing with lately; a small DVI-mixer and the Kinect-camera, as well as talk about some interesting new software. Most interesting was Syphon, an OS X technology to share frames between different applications. As an example we used Syphon to get the depth mask from the Kinect hack into Modul8 and use it to mask out video. This opens up a lot of possibilities. I spend today looking into Syphon, the possibilities in live 3D and plan my setup. Below is a picture from the show & tell, with the DVI mixer in the foreground, half a Micke to the right and two Carl-Johans to the left.

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