2021-07-22 Animation & Rigging meeting

The main goal of this meeting will be a status update on & discussion of ongoing work.

The meeting will be open for everybody interested to join on Google Meet (link below).

Present: Amaru Zeas, Christoph Lendenfeld, Demeter Dzadik, Gregory Dismond, Jason Schleifer, Kathy McNeal, Nathan Vegdahl, Nico Sanghrajka, Paolo Acampora, Sybren Stüvel

People present are referred to by first name for brevity. Others are referred to by full name.

Links

Since the Last Meeting / Announcements

  • New introduction of colleagues of Jason (Amazon AWS):

    • Gregory helps the team with pipeline
    • Amaru is a CG artist and art director
  • The new Pose Library + of course the Asset Browser improvements of the last months have landed in master.

    • The Asset Browser is still marked as “Experimental”, i.e. hidden behind various checkboxes in the preferences. Not-working-so-well functionality will be removed, such that the more polished functionality (including the pose library) can become normal features.
    • Description of the remaining work for 3.0
  • Adobe joins the Blender Development Fund (posts on blender.org and adobe.com), and releases Blender add-ons for Mixamo and Substance 3D.

    • Paolo uses Mixamo a lot. Has own add-on to adapt Mixamo-generated FBX files and add handles for manipulation in Blender. Has extensive library of mocap, best-in-class retargeting system. Very easy to work with. Of course does not as detailed animation as hand-animating, but great for walk cycles & quick anims.
    • Amaru also used it for prototyping animation & bringing animation into UnrealEngine.
    • Gregory had similar experience for mobile games. Good integration with HumanIK.
    • Nathan: Ian Hubert uses mocap all the time, with the rococo mocap suit, is not that expensive.
  • Sybren will only work one day a week on module work (Animation & Rigging, Depsgraph, Platform Maintenance, Core), the rest will be focused on getting the Asset Browser & Pose Library as far developed as possible for Blender 3.0.

Short-term goals

Sybren: What would be a good new short-term goal?

Nathan: Eagerly awaiting the armature modifier converted to nodes system.

  • Sybren: This is on the radar, including nodification constraints. It’s a longer-term project, though, and still uncertain in terms of planning.
  • Nathan: constraints are their own thing, but the armature modifier could slot into geometry nodes on shorter notice.
  • Demeter: there are more major internal restructurings planned for Geometry Nodes. Better wait until after that’s done.

Demeter: T73434: Weight Paint Overlay maybe?

  • Nathan and Paolo ran into it. Agree it shouldn’t happen.
  • Demeter: weight paint works only with white-ish shading, but when you switch between weight painting and something else this becomes annoying quickly.

Demeter: Another issue that’s annoying: T64612: Pose Bone data is lost when undoing an Edit Bone deletion.

Jason: I would love T83911: Bone IK constraint - add lockable axis properties for stretching to be fixed, as it’s something I hit all the time.

Conclusion:

bRigNet update

Paolo stripped away all the 3D depenencies; the add-on is now using Blender itself for this. There is no way to avoid the PyTorch library, though. It also wouldn’t be too useful, because then PyTorch wouldn’t be available for other, similar projects.

Technically: would it be possible to have virtual environments for add-ons? Would be interesting also for other add-ons.

  • Could be something that uses the importlib library internally. He has messed with it before.
  • The virtualenv could be implemented as add-on itself, even.
  • Problem: when adding something to sys.path or sys.modules, there is no way to keep that local to that add-on.

Paolo has some ideas for Rigify, will talk with Alexander Gavrilov. It has to do with reordering some operations to make it possible to hook up RigNet-generated deformation rigs to Rigify.

Help Needed

  • The Pose Library should be documented in the Blender manual and in the wiki (for some add-on specifics). Sybren can do this, but help would certainly be appreciated. Most info is already available on the Pose Library v2.0 blog post. Better to wait with screenshots until we’re closer to the Blender 3.0 release, as the UI may still change.
    • Demeter is happy to help writing, Jason is happy to review.
  • D11803: Animation: allow specifying a custom frame range for actions. could use some animator’s feedback.
    • Nathan: is there a way to play around with this?
    • Sybren: Alexander will no doubt be happy to make a test build. James Monteath (Blender Institute) is working (or has worked) on making it possible to easily create builds for individual patches.

Jason: the rigging nodes add-on is awesome, go check it out!

  • It’s for generating rigs, not for actually evaluating the rig.
  • Might be nice to have the author of the add-on join with the Geometry Nodes project to help out with naming, structure, etc.
  • Jason will give a demo next meeting.
  • Jason will invite the add-on author.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Thursday 5 August, 18:00 CET/Amsterdam time. Again it will be open for everybody who’s interested. The provisionary meeting agenda will be linked in the #animation-module channel before the meeting.

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