PatMarrNC - all messages by user

2016/6/1 21:42:14
sketchup's extension warehouse I was exploring Sketchup's extension warehouse last night and found two new extensions I hadn't seen before that might be useful to some people. They both have to do with the automatic creation of trees.

RP TREEMAKER is a free extension that creates trees in 2 dimensions. In the sketchup environment they will always face the camera , so they don't look flat. I guess in order to use them in Muvizu you'd export them as 2d graphics and put them on a backdrop?

A more interesting and useful extension is called 3D TREE MAKER, and it does exactly what the name says. You can pick a type of tree from a menu, change some parameters, and get a different 3D tree every time you generate! This one isn't free, although the price is pretty low. I guess you'd have to ask what your time is worth. I think it costs something like 10 bucks... you get 30 days free use to try it, but the list of tree types only has one entry unless you pay up.

the good: yep, it's a 3D tree...with individual leaves! (as opposed to a plane with an alpha graphic of leaves painted on it)

the bad: all those individual elements take up resources.

It can also generate grass, bushes etc... pretty cool!
edited by PatMarrNC on 01/06/2016
2016/6/1 21:30:14
rotating a backdrop IMage with Keyframing. Speedking5 wrote:
Didnt know if this was posted already. Keyframe the angle property and You set the first keyframe to zero and then you set the next keyframe to 100 percent and that will rotate your image 360

Thanks for the tip, Speedking5! If that has been posted, it didn't sink into my conscious awareness. The fact that attributes can be keyframed is pretty powerful IMO, and it's probably one of those things that merits a little more discussion than it gets.
2016/6/1 19:07:10
My first published Muvizu Video one way to avoid the overhead of having a whole mess of models in your world, eating up resources is to create the scene as a 2D graphic and display it on a backdrop. Better yet, leave it out of the Muvizu scene altogether and add it to the background in your video editor.
2016/6/1 18:59:08
My first published Muvizu Video
Thanks Pat. The music and words are original and all of the instruments and vocals were produced, recorded and performed by my friend/partner Harry Havery.

I'm a musician too, and I hang out on several musician forums, so I get to hear a lot of original music. Having that basis for evaluation, I'd have to say that this song sounds very well done! Great mix also!

There is a lot of learning to do and there are limitations to the program, but it is very fun.

I agree! nice to find an activity that's fun and legal at the same time... ;-(

Some things could be a bit more intuitive (including navigating the Forum and Help).

When I first came here, I thought the same thing, because the forum didn't work the same way as some others I use... but now I use the header in the grey bar at the top of the screen and click RECENT TOPICS, which works pretty well for staying current. But in the beginning, I just blitzed it and read everything that had been posted over the past few months.

I actually think the WIKI and the tutorials are excellent! I wish all software web sites had such accessible information!

Is there a way to make someone who has "fallen and cant get up" back to her feet using native motions within Muvizu?

are you referring to my comment about the Rosie character's gravity-defying resurrection? If so, I have no suggestion except to say that sometimes (like when you want an action that doesn't exist in Muvizu) it works to IMPLY it somehow. For example, one of the forum gurus (Artpen) wanted to show a character climbing a ladder (an action that doesn't exist in Muvizu) So he showed the character walking up to the ladder, then he switched to a view of onlookers watching with raised heads... implying the characters ascent up the ladder. very clever and useful !

Having said that.. there is a built-in action for getting out of the bathtub, and one for rising up out of a coffin

I had to scale back on the band gear, PA, and lighting. Apparently my graphics card couldn't keep up. Also, when I tried to load the smoke machine with the stage full of stacked amplifiers (much like those in Eddie's band), it would freeze things up. My biggest delay and challenge was in getting the "Effect" for the keyboard player and male lead singer to work.

yes, 3D animation requires a lot of horsepower. The more the better. I've had projects where I built a whole mess of stuff, then had to abandon it all because it bogged the scene down.

Jamie Hill is the bomb, though.

Indeed he is. Very helpful person!

I couldn't help my self last night when Donald spoke so eloquently to the press. I had to garb a sound bite and within minutes I had a rough version ready. Proof that I'm coming along.

that's what I like about Muvizu: the ability to actualize an idea rapidly! The internet moves very fast, and there is a niche for people who can supply timely animations about current events!

It would be great if things like the fiddle motion you needed, and all of the attachments could be used on every character.

I agree, that would be great. But keyframes might allow doing some of that in a way that can be transferred to other characters. When I have time, I plan to put a keyframed fiddle player in the store.

I couldn't get Rosie to hold a microphone,

You can get Rosie to hold a Mic, but unfortunately they haven't added any of the singing moves to her repertoire of actions. But what you did with a mic stand was perfect! Problem solved!

and couldn't figure out how to prevent the solid-thru-solid thing from happening (above head clap, etc.) with his arms though his hat.

sometimes you can change the camera view so it isn't noticeable... for example, when viewed from the side, the hat would be obscured by the arm, and it wouldn't be noticeable that the arm was going thru the hat...

I've created rough versions of Hillary, Bernie and Barry. Uh Oh!

"Uh-oh" is right! My political incorrectness-O-meter is going off! LOL.. looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
edited by PatMarrNC on 01/06/2016
2016/6/1 16:15:47
favourites suggestion my file organization scheme:

DOCUMENTS is where I keep stuff for each of the programs I use...
DOCUMENTS > MUVIZU has the following folders:

  • SETS (where I store all the stuff I download from the store)
  • SKINS (where I store all the character templates and skins I modify
  • MODELS (where I put any models I may want to use later. Subdirectories are used to keep things organized
  • TEXTURES (where I save any textures, like seamless patterns that can be appled to backdrops or objects)
  • AUDIO (where I store sound effects like applause, laughter, environmental noise, foot steps etc)
  • PROJECTS (where I store all the assets for each project) Each project contains all the same subfolders as the MUVIZU folder, plus a VIDEO folder so I can collect each scene as it's rendered to video. It also includes a DIALOG folder, where special audio used for character dialog is kept. The PROJECT folder also contains a text file for collecting ideas, writing scripting notes, recording the lyrics to songs etc. If I'm using any assets from another animation package, such as Anime Studio, I also maintain a sub folder for all those resources.

Without a way to organize projects, one directory full of random files gets confusing in a heartbeat.
2016/6/1 15:57:41
favourites suggestion Rocque wrote:
It sounds like something to consider as your experience on the site grows. I am thinking that now is the time to start thinking seriously about how I am going to keep all of this organized for the future.

the sooner you start to organize your assets, the less clutter you'll have to rearrange later. Video making (in my opinion) requires a LOT of different resources... many of which can be re-used in other projects. If you have everything stored logically so you can find it when you need it, your work flow will be faster and your degree of sanity will be higher.

How often do you use the same set in different projects, Pat?

A lot of the sets in the store are highly re-usable, and that's what makes them so desirable. I re-use as much stuff as I can. Obviously, some stuff is very specific to a story.. but there's a lot of stuff like trees, vehicles, accessories, that I use all the time.

Is it a good idea to build a set and save it, and then once you start using it in a project do a new "save as" with that project name?

A lot of the sets in the store are highly complex and they take a long time to load. I frequently open sets and delete a bunch of stuff and re-save under a different name. In any given project, I might have the same basic set saved under multiple names, with different dialog and camera animation (in case I want to go back and change something later)

I tend to work in very short scenes, and piece it all together in the video editor later

Am I correct in that you can save sets to upload or "open", but not characters unless they are saved as favorite characters in Muvizu, then you scroll through the list of names to find the one you want just by the name? I can see where you might want to keep a list of names with perhaps a screen shot of the character when creating series, but with time gaps in between them. My brain needs more memory space so I rely in things like that to help it along. External memory. Ha!

anything that you get in a downloaded set can only be reused as follows:
1) you can open the set as-is, and start your project from there...
2) you can open two sets, and copy-paste between them...
3) you can open a set and save anything you want to use later as a favourite. Then you can re-load it from favourites without having to reopen the whole set

And yeah, it would be great if you had a visual thumbprint image of each saved favourite. I tend to use detailed naming conventions. For example: (VEHICLES_red car) (CHARACTERS_Napoleon) (ANIMALS_red squirrel). That way, if there are a lot of items in the favourites list, at least they will be sorted with all the vehicles , animals and characters together so I can more easily find the one I want.

I guess the longer I can keep things simple, the better off I might be. However, that could get boring.

yeah, everybody has to find a set of conventions that works for them. Artsy people especially tend to be unconventional in their preferences, so it's hard to find one convention that works for everybody.
edited by PatMarrNC on 01/06/2016
2016/6/1 15:36:58
How to modify character? qootrial wrote:
Anyone can tell me could I modify the character in Muvizu (for example, I want to change the head shape of character "stickman" from circle to more like "grey man", remove its nose & eye brows, make its lips shorter ....)? Or I could only do that using another software?

most of the muvizu characters have faces that can be modified by choosing different attributes from a library of options. The changeable attributes include, eyes, ears, hair, hat, glasses, eyebrows etc. You can do all that with Muvizu alone.

In order to dramatically change the shape of a character, you'll need 3D modelling software that can export to FBX or ASE format.

If so, please tell me which software should I use?

There are many 3D modelling programs, and if you already have one that you know how to use, that's probably a good choice. If you don't already know how to model, then you may want to start your learning curve with a free program. Blender is a free and powerful modelling app that can export to both ASE and FBX format. Sketchup is also free, and with certain add-ons, it can export to ASE file format. ASE and FBX file formats are the only ones that Muvizu can import. Milkshape is another program that can export in ASE format. Autodesk also offers a free utility that can change a variety of other formats into FBX.

Could I input "crazy talk" 's character head to Muvizu?

No... But here's what you CAN do: You can use a variety of tools to create scenes, then you can assemble your scenes in a video editor. Video editors (Like Sony Vegas, HitFilm, Adobe Premiere Elements etc) let you add effects, and mix scenes from different animation tools. For example, you could use a scene of a closeup of a talking face you animated in Crazy Talk, a closeup of a hand you animated in Poser, a dialog between two characters you animated in muvizu, and an animation of an animal running that you animated in AnimeStudio... ANY combination of photos and/or video can be combined in a video editor. Expecting any one program to do everything will drive you nuts.

Here is a link to the WIKI where you will find a lot more detailed information on what you want to do:

also, here's a link to the tutorials, which I strongly recommend before you start trying to go beyond Muvizu's core functionality:
edited by PatMarrNC on 01/06/2016
2016/6/1 15:00:43
My first published Muvizu Video Bilkovacs, welcome to the forum! I really enjoyed your video!

The side lighting you used really made the 3 dimensional quality of the characters jump out! And I was amused by the seat the keyboard player used!

I recognize the tune, but was the audio track a commercial recording? or do you have a band that recorded that version? Sounds great, either way!

I liked Rosie's ability to go from sitting to standing without having to change her center of gravity... she must be filled with helium! ;-)

Anyway, great first video! I look forward to seeing a lot more from you!
2016/5/31 15:16:49
favourites suggestion gonzo wrote:
perhaps the file browser in muvizu .. for download the sets and models....

is the answer for a better overview.. for sets, ase and fbx files

rebuilt it so that it use on or more directorys on the comp (on and offline- file bowser)

if that works it might be nice
edited by gonzo on 22/04/2016

you are right, Gonzo. Organizing models in subdirectories already works if you access them via the IMPORT menu... (and I do that too)

But given the current paradigm of allowing only SETS to be uploaded to the store, the only CONVENIENT way to get cool stuff out of a set and stored so it can be loaded conveniently into a new project is to save it as a favourite. Hence the problem of finding needles in haystacks once I have hundreds of favourites in the same directory.
2016/5/31 15:03:29
favourites suggestion I finally made a formal request about adding the ability to navigate subdirectories under the FAVOURITES folder. The answer was
I don't think we would add sub-directories to favourites.

Oh well, back to the idea of creating my own subdirectories for organization reasons, then moving items in and out of the top-level favourites folder to keep only the items my current project needs

I've been doing this for a while now, and it does help me find what I need more quickly. It's just inconvenient to manually move stuff around when I know how easily the same task could be accomplished if I could simply navigate to subdirectories.
edited by PatMarrNC on 31/05/2016
2016/5/30 17:21:11
Depth of field and layers Ikes,

I agree that in the 3D realm, "channels" is a term that makes more sense... especially since the term "layers" is already understood to have Z layering in the worlds of 2d graphics and animation. I think my current inability to wrap my brain around the task of using Muvizu layers is partly due to my expectation that the layers will have a Z-order.

Having said that... in a 3D world, I'm struggling to understand why I'd need layers or channels at all.
2016/5/30 14:19:12
All of my Star Wars Characters for "FREE" ukBerty wrote:
clayster2012 wrote:
I don't even know how or what to do to become Mogul

I still have nightmares over that initiation ceremony. Let's just say I'll never eat beetroot again!

2016/5/30 14:17:33
Depth of field and layers My wish for Muvizu layers is that they followed the Z-order paradigm that layers follow in video editors. In other words, the top layer moves to the front, and the bottom layer recedes to the back. It would make it easier to make it all work together without having to troubleshoot positioning in my video editor.
2016/5/30 14:06:52
MUVIZU.. the best deal in town!
Sometimes restrictions are good.

I agree completely! It isn't hard for me to get bogged down in option paralysis and learning curves.
Part of what I love about Muvizu is :

1) it provides a logical and reasonably consistent way of doing things, which is pretty easy to grasp and use

2) it is highly modifiable, but not to the extent that it introduces major complexity to the learning curve

3) in areas where Muvizu lacks power, there are other tools available to fill in the blanks. Hit Film, for example... and other animation products that can be animated at whatever degree of precision you might need (as long as you film that scene without moving the camera)

In my opinion one of the determinants of a well-designed product is an abundance of completed projects by its users. Products that aren't easy to use tend to have forums that host little more than demo projects of a few minutes, because it's too much hassle to do more than that.

One of the first things that caught my eye here is the large number of full-blown video stories that are excellent! When you don't have to spend as much time making the visual details happen, you can think at a higher level and create better stories.

"Directing", as opposed to "animating"
2016/5/30 0:03:05
MUVIZU.. the best deal in town! MrDrWho13 wrote:
Cough Source filmmaker Cough
But yes, Muvizu is certainly one of the very few low cost pieces of animation software.

hey that looks powerful! Do you use it?
2016/5/29 20:06:16
MUVIZU.. the best deal in town! Here is a one-stop look at what some of the other players in the animation business charge:




(note that the ability to create characters, import your own models and many more features all require separate purchases above and beyond the initial price)




MUVIZU: you already know it is the most affordable animation software available!
2016/5/29 10:24:49
May 2016 50% off sale MrDrWho13 wrote:
I've heard about some other features that are in the works that could be coming in a year or so.... very interesting.
Runs from people asking for more details

I don't want to encourage you to leak information with which you've been entrusted.... but I will say that it's encouraging to hear there are new things in the works! And especially encouraging that you think the upcoming features are interesting!

I previously said I'm not crazy about subscriptions... but if subscriptions would give Muvizu cash flow for more developers that made new stuff happen more often... in the case of Muvizu only, I'd go for that. I like this software, and I'd really like to see it take off like a rocket!

I honestly think it is a superior product in many ways, and with a little more active development, it could totally dominate a segment of the animation market.
2016/5/29 10:02:49
May 2016 50% off sale Virtually all other animation software uses the paradigm of "bones" that can be animated, then they provide a way for you to rig your picture or model to the bones. But I think the Muvizu concept of providing attachment points makes more sense, and it's very easy to use. Now that I understand both ways, I like the Muvizu way much better.

So yeah, if we had a special character with attachment points at every joint, plus the usual other places for hats, hair, eyes etc, that would make it possible to create just about ANY biped character that can be modelled!

And if the character's various parts could be made invisible (or not) then we could start combining multiple characters to get more legs on one composite character!

What would be REALLY cool would be if there was a way to make 2 characters both respond to the same action. It would be MUCH easier to make a quadraped walk if you didn't have to synch two different sets of legs.

Even if none of this ever happens, it's fun to discuss what features would open up more potential. Creative people tend to revolve around ideas, and that's why I like to spend time on forums where creative people hang out. ;-)
2016/5/29 0:58:32
May 2016 50% off sale It might be worth examining the way Reallusion markets Crazy Talk Animator... it is VERY similar to Muvizu, so it merits an apples to apples comparison. Both programs come with stock characters, stock scenery, character actions are predefined, as are walk and run cycles... both systems have lip-synch and can be added to by buying add-on packs or by users creating their own stuff and importing it to the environment.

So, the similarities are remarkable. But, here are some of the differences:

1) Muvizu comes with FAR MORE capability... more predefined actions, more modifiability of characters etc.

2) Muvizu's store is chock full of free resources (little to none of that for CrazyTalk animator)

3) Crazy Talk Animator's initial price tag is a LOT higher... and as soon as you buy, it becomes evident that you are going to have to spend a LOT of money on add-on packs in order to do much. By the time you buy enough content to match what you get with Muvizu for about $30, you will have spent several hundred dollars.

4) Muvizu's paradigm is VERY well presented to the user, and it is far easier to learn (in my opinion) than Crazy Talk Animator

5) Muvizu is 3D while CrazyTalk Animator is only 2D and not nearly as cool

if Muvizu was priced on par with Crazy Talk Animator, it would STILL be the better buy (in my opinion)
2016/5/29 0:40:58
May 2016 50% off sale another way to increase revenue might be to sell STORE subscriptions (as opposed to a software subscription. )

Assuming new store items like characters, outfits etc were introduced on a regular basis, having a pre-paid ticket to DL assets that would normally be for sale would accomplish a couple of things:

1) it would minimize the number of transaction fees levied by paypal or the charge cards... there would just be one fee for many transactions. It could be set up as an annual fee or as a block of prepaid credit that could be used for transactions until it runs out.

2) This arrangement usually results in more spending, because the buyer doesn't really have to part with any money after the first purchase. It doesn't "feel" like spending, but you get cool stuff anyway... instant gratification! Any time I've ever prepaid like this, I ALWAYS ended up spending more freely than I would have otherwise.

In my opinion, the only way this would work would be if there was a fairly constant flow of new items

Or maybe a combination of a slightly higher entry level price coupled with a constant flow of store revenue. Really, when your product is this cool, there are lots of ways to sell it.
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