Are you sitting comfortably?

by Muvizu_Admin in Mogul Questions

New to Muvizu? We understand you may have some questions!

We’ve created ‘Ask a Mogul’ to help you pick the brains of the Moguls - our most imaginative and experienced animators - who continually stretch the possibilities of Muvizu with their videos.

Selecting the best user question, we put it to an individual Mogul to offer their unique, in-depth insight. This month, we’ve opened the floor to riunguireripat, who asks:

“How do you make the characters sit on a chair for example, to drive a car, ride a bike etc.?”

We asked Ziggy72 (who’s currently knee-deep building sets for his Muvizu film about serial killer Ted Bundy) to take some time out and tackle this conundrum for new Muvizu users. Ziggy72 (AKA Ron) is one of our more advanced users, viewing the software as an animation tool to generate footage he can then develop by integrating with an editing program like Sony Vegas.

So, over to Ron...

Sitting down – it’s a basic feature of Muvizu characters but can cause problems for the beginner. Characters always begin in their default standing pose when created but can be set to always be sitting by right-clicking on them and selecting Prepare > Actions. At the bottom of the Actions window, there is a drop-down box for Initial State – change this to Sit and the character will stay seated until told otherwise (by another Action).

But what if you want a character to walk into a room, and then sit down?

First, right-click on him and select Direct > Movement. Don’t concern yourself with the boxes that appear (for the moment anyway) and hit the red Record button. A large white directional circle appears at their feet – you can either click on the arrows in the circle to make the character take steps in that direction (looks a bit odd for more than a step or two) or just double left-click on the spot you want him to walk to. Once he gets there, use the arrows to align him up with your chair, then stop recording.

(in this example you can see 2 movements are recorded – one is him walking to the chair, the second is the ‘turn 180 degree’ arrow move).

Now that he’s poised above the chair, we right-click on him and select Direct > Actions. Using the arrow buttons at the top of the Actions window, go to page 3 and you’ll find the Sit action. Press the red Record button, press the Sit action and stop recording.

Now, open the Timeline window and you’ll see your movement blocks and your Sit action block for your character. Move the character to get him lined up with the chair, then move the movement and action blocks in the Timeline to get the timing right. You usually don’t have to be too accurate with your timing when directing the characters – you can always reorganise or change when actions will happen later on. It’s fine to have the situation as you see it here – you just drag him over to the chair, so when he sits down he’ll line-up okay.

The process works the other way too – with a character who starts sitting, you use the Stand action on them, then Direct the movement to make them walk away.

Also, there are a special set of Sitting actions in Muvizu just for bikes – go to Prepare > Actions and click on an action – from the list that appears, there is an option for “Biker”. These are poses designed to fit a motorbike – to get the character and bike to line up properly, you would use a non-visible object (like a ground plane) under the character to lift them to the correct height, like I had to do here :

It’s always a good idea to set your character’s initial state to Sit first, and build around that, to make sure your seat (whatever it is) is at the right scale/height to match up with the character when they do actually sit down.

Hope this helps ‘riunguireripat’.

Ziggy72 AKA Ron

Comments (10)

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  1. wdeprospo
    • wdeprospo - Over a year ago
    • Question

      First of all, I love tutorials. Even though I have been using Muvizu for a little while, I usually get some good information. Thanks.

      After the sit action, if you move the character to the chair position, doesn't that change the starting position of the walking movement. If the character is on camera when he/she starts to walk, that could be a problem. I guess I want to know is there a way to change the start of the walk without changing the end position?

  2. ziggy72 Muvizu mogul Experimental user
    • ziggy72 - Over a year ago
    • Yes wdeprospo, moving the character does change the start point, but it's near impossible to be 'step perfect' with a Muvizu character when actually animating them, so I find it's always better to give myself some room to manoeuvre, as it were, and have them start walking from off camera.
  3. ziggy72 Muvizu mogul Experimental user
    • ziggy72 - Over a year ago
    • Also, I was trying to make it clear that the character and seat don't have to line up to begin with - I overdid it, I think :)
  4. simonheffer Muvizu mogul Experimental user
    • simonheffer - Over a year ago
    • Yes, the old 'invisible ground plane' is useful when the object, e.g. a bar stool, is not the standard height. Doesn't always work because the collision models of the object and the ground plane may not allow it.
      Is that a good case for having an ignore-collisions-except-for-characters attribute?
  5. betslarkin
    • betslarkin - Over a year ago
    • Is the set shown here available on the web site? I couldn't locate it.