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Skinart Animating

Discussion in 'General and Off Topic' started by Warslut, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. Warslut

    Warslut The Slut!

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    Ok, I alredy made a post about this but maybe this more specific.

    How do you make animated skins?? Like .gifs?

    Someone out there know?
     
  2. The Helios

    The Helios Keeper of the Ancient Ones

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    I'll join this request. Anyone knows? Maybe with Flash?
     
  3. -Tj-

    -Tj- New Member

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    It's kind of like animating .gifs, but a little more involved. Basically you need to import your texture's frames of animation separately into UnrealEd's texture browser, then you select each one in the texture browser and define the duration of the frame and the next frame in the sequence.

    For example, if you had a sequence of 3 frames, named image1, image2, and image3, you'd import those three into UnrealEd. After you have all the frames in there, you'd next need to right click and access the properties of image1. There's a setting in there (under Animation, I think) that allows you to define the next frame in the sequence and the duration of the current frame. Define your duration, then select your next frame (image2) in the texture browser, then click Use in the next texture box. Then you move on to image2 and do the same as you did with image1, and so on.

    I'm not anywhere near a copy of UnrealEd at the moment, so I can't be sure if I named something wrong or missed a step, but that's basically what needs to be done. I've only done this for textures in maps, but I have no reason to believe this won't work for character skins.

    Hope that helps, and I didn't get any info wrong... :p
    When I get home I'll double-check the steps.

    -Tj-
     
  4. Warslut

    Warslut The Slut!

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    Well I found out that you name it image then image_a00 then image_a01 and so on, ok, after I import them all, I have no idea how to actually use the skin on my char, jsut makes the char file reallllllly big. Also, when it imports the pics, it litterally makes everyone in the texture file, so its now huge, and all but one of the files are animated, some with only a second of animation, the lsat with the full thing.

    Still need some help, making it into one file, and making it in use on the char.
     
  5. -Tj-

    -Tj- New Member

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    So far as I know, that's the only way to do a sequence of images. If you want the texture file (the .utx) to be smaller you'd probably have to go with smaller textures. If you're using 1024x1024 pixel textures, that's insanely huge for a sequenced animation. Most I've seen or used have been no larger than half that.

    Another method for animating is using Unreal's shader system. I'm not to knowledgable on this part, but what it does is use existing textures and modifies them to give the appearance of animation. This is a much more efficient way of animating a skin, and there's tons of different settings you can use. I know Bunny and Beatrice (2k3) use this for the visors. There are several animated textures in UT200X's existing texture files that you could reference, and more info here:
    http://udn.epicgames.com/Two/MaterialTutorial#Materials

    Avoid large textures for sequenced animation, though... if you must use it, I'd keep the file dimensions to no more than 256x256, at most. If the animation must cover the entire mesh, I'd try to find a way to make the animation shader-based.

    Mind if I ask what kind of animation effect you're doing?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2004
  6. Warslut

    Warslut The Slut!

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    Well I know there's skins that have one or two animated textures for there skins, and the animation is nice and smooth, so how is that done?
     
  7. -Tj-

    -Tj- New Member

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    Oops! seems I missed your question a little.

    For attaching your animated texture to the character, all you really need do is select one of the images in your sequence, switch over to the Animations tab, then on the Mesh tab, under the Skin area, click Use on the material you want it to be used on. The texture package itself will contain all the frames. It may look like each one is animating, but in reality they're just displaying the info they're given. You may notice each one is a frame off from the one above it. It's been that way in my experience, anyway, though my sequences weren't very long (like a fraction of a second, maybe 8 or 9 frames).

    The only way to arrange them so that they aren't in your way is to arrange them into groups so that you can select, say, your animated files only, or your face textures only. Then you save the animation file (.ukx) and your texture package (.utx). Remember to define the textures in your .u file, or the textures won't show up properly in-game. Check existing .u files for samples of this.
    Your resulting texture package will no doubt be larger than most other skin packages, though.

    Most of the animated shaders you see utilize a lot of texture modifiers and combiners. The main ones you'll probably end up using, though, are TexPanner, TexRotator, and TexOscillator, along with Combiner and Shader. Using these to animate textures typically results in much smoother animations as well as lower texture file sizes.

    If you want, I can write a small tutorial to help you get started. Otherwise, most, if not all of the info you'll likely need to get started is at the link in my last post.

    -Tj-
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2004
  8. The Helios

    The Helios Keeper of the Ancient Ones

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    Please write the tutorial. I'm curious about this feature.
     
  9. Warslut

    Warslut The Slut!

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    Well if I have all those files there and make one in use, the utx file if fricken huge... and I can designate the animation to one part of the skin either... and I know there's a way to make animation one file because I've looked at other skins I have. >_<
     
  10. -Tj-

    -Tj- New Member

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    Yeah, the .utx file will be huge with all the image sequences in there. I'm really curious now as to what you're trying to accomplish with your skin. If it's something that can be done by simply panning one transparent texture over another, then you should probably do that on the shader level as opposed to frame by frame.

    For example, the Matrix effect... it could be done frame by frame, but with so many frames (even with texture repeats) the resulting texture file will end up being huge. Instead, what you could do is create a texture for the black area that contains all the little letters and stuff, then a texture that has a gradient on it (green to black, strategically placed). You would then combine these two files along with some modifiers to create that green scrolling matrix effect.

    This type of solution can be used with most animations that do not require a complete change of the texture. When you look at an animated texture like the example above, you'll only see about 5 texture nodes... one each for the actual texture files, one or two for the TexPanners (these are what move the textures), and one Combiner, probably.

    I'll write up that texture tutorial when I get home today. Should be up by the end of the day. If you're sketchy about telling anyone what you're working on publically, you can PM me if you want. It'll be easier to determine what you need to do and how if I know what you're trying to do.
     
  11. Warslut

    Warslut The Slut!

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    Alright heh thanks a mill -Tj-
     
  12. The Helios

    The Helios Keeper of the Ancient Ones

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    Thanks for the information. The worst problems, as always. is the huge size of some files. It eats my RAM!
     
  13. -Tj-

    -Tj- New Member

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    Sorry folks, I didn't forget about the tutorial. I got home later than expected. Working on it now :)
     
  14. Warslut

    Warslut The Slut!

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    Take your time, we really appreciate it.
     
  15. -Tj-

    -Tj- New Member

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  16. SaD

    SaD Skincollecting Fanatic

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    Nice tutorial Tj :) , added at our Tutorial Page

    And welcome Tj .
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2004
  17. The Helios

    The Helios Keeper of the Ancient Ones

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    With the info and the tutorial it's only left to start making good stuff. I have some ideas that I hope can be used with UEngine. Time to time and I'll see what I get.
     
  18. Warslut

    Warslut The Slut!

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    Well tutorial is awsome, thanks a lot. But I still don't know how to make it actually use the texture on the char or let alone, only on sertain parts of the char :S

    Also how do you make your texture file as dds...? ><

    *EDIT*

    Ok I got it to work, the color is a little warped... can you fix that w/o modifying actual skin? And is there a way to stretch it over the entire skin? Also still can't figure out how to make work in certain areas =-/

    *EDIT AGAIN*

    Found how to stretch -_-
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2004
  19. -Tj-

    -Tj- New Member

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    Thanks for the welcome and the link, SaD. Glad everyone likes the tutorial, too. :)

    Warslut, did you still need help on something? Seems like you figured out what you were trying to do, but just checking. :)
     
  20. Warslut

    Warslut The Slut!

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    Well animation much easier than I thought :p

    But still need help on how to designate the animation only on sertain parts of the skin :S
     

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