Tuesday, April 29, 2008

OBJ seems to be a much better format

I used Sketchup to create a XinJiang knief and think of using it with PaperVision3D, but I tried and tried and still couldn't get it load up properly. Meantime, if I export the model as .obj, then I can easily use it in DazStudio. Seems like .obj is a much better to use with. I am also glad that all the texture mapping I did on Sketchup got reserved in DazStudio.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Use Flash Player Standalone to debug Actionscript 3.0 Application

By default Flex Builder 3 will create a html for your Actionscript project, and then use it to debug your Actionscript application. I much rather use Flash Player Standalone instead, so I made the following changes in my project.

  • Select [Run][Debug][Others...]
  • In the "Create, Manage, and run configurations" window, uncheck the "Use defaults" checkbox. Now manually changes all entries to reference to ......swf instead of .... html . This will launch your default swf file player. If necessary, set the default application of .swf to the Flash Player Standalone application.
  • Important: make sure that the standalone player you use is a Debug version. You will find it when you download the Flash Player 9 package form Adobe. Unzip the .zip and you will find the Debug version.

Using Flex Builder 3 to develop Papervision3D 2.0 (Actionscript 3) application

Here's the steps I used:

  • Install "Install Flash Player 9 Plugin.msi" (from the Flash Player 9 Update package). That way, when Flex tries to language the application for Actionscript, it will launch your feault browser, and Flash Player 9 will be loaded properly for your 3D fun.
  • Launch Flex Builder 3.
  • Create a new Actionscript Project
  • In your project property, selecPublish Postt [Actionscript Build Path], then under [Source path] tab, select the folder of your 2.0 alpha source folder. In my case: "Q:/Apps/Development/Papervision3D/2.0 alpha/src"
  • Write code.
  • Compile

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Papervision3D 1.5 (instead of 1.7 Beta)

Yesterday I directly grabbed the 1.7 beta from the subversion server. It was working fine with most of the examples found at this site, but there were some that didn't work out, so I thought maybe I should try the stable 1.5 version. So I downloaded it, explain it, put it my ...\Development\Papervision3D\1.5\src folder, and point the ClassPath to it. Well, those projects that failed .... still failed. But at least the successed ones still work fine, with slightly different behavior. For instance, in the 1.7 beta the system was not complained about the missing texture jpeg when needed, while 1.5 do complain about it.

I also need some offline documentation, so I downloaded the source with docs here.

My next stop will be spending some times with these examples, play with them, and see if I can made something useful out of them. That includes:

  • Try loading the 3D models I created in SketchUp 6 Pro
  • Try loading textures that are not JPEG (or check to see if it support transparency on PNG)
By the way, with my first attempt, I found out that when it loads JPEG, it doesn't do smart scaling (that preserves proportion), or maybe that I haven't found the proper API. Well investigation continue.

Flash CS3, crashed

Stupid Flash CS3 Pro Portable suddenly crashed while I was in the middle of messing the PaperVision3D Tutorials. Gee, what the heck is going on?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Papervision 3D

The new bizz in Flash town is Papervision 3D, a open source free engine that allows you to create 3D content for your Flash animation.

A few things to mention when I try out the engine:
  • It WORKS with the portable version of Flash CS3 professional (Yeah, I can code 3D everywhere I go!)
  • The most critical thing is to make sure that the "...as3\truck\src" is in the Classpath under Actionscript 3.0 Setting. To check it, go to [Edit][Preferences...][ActionScript Tab][Actionscript 3.0 Setting button...]. If the path is not there, add it. It should save with the application. I mean, even the portable version I have works.
  • On a Flash document (.fla) page, you can associate a class to it. In fact, a lot of demonstration on PaperVision3D put code in saperate .as class file, so you shall get familiar with the approach. It's actually pretty simple:
    • In your hosting .fla file, enter the document class name in the Properties tab.
    • Save the .fla file if it's not been saved.
    • In the SAME directory of your .fla file. create a text file with .as extension with the SAME name of your class.
    • Click the pencil button next to Document class textbox, and it should bring you the an editor with your .as class file loaded.
    • Put your code in there.
    • Compile, test movie.
  • The Flash CS3, by default, won't save the files you modified before compile your movie. So make sure you save your files before testing any movie.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Toon Boom Animation done in one day

I really didn't anticipate that it takes me almost one day (actually it's from 5 pm to 12 midnight) to finish a simple Toon Boom animation, but it did.

Most of the time I spent was on figure out the best way to vectorized a few photos into vector art that is in manageable complexity for Toon Boom. The problem is that Toon Boom cannot handle graphics that are too complicate. 1000 vector lines seem to be the limit. Too much and the application may crash. There's always a temptation to try to preserver as much detail of the original picture as possible, but in reality I may need with lower color palette range, even though it means that I may need to alter the palette manually later.

I also found that .PNG jacks up the file size dramatically. Unfortunately there's no other option as only PNG support clean transparency. It jacks up the result movie size from 120K to 500+K .

Also, I cannot animate transparency of image like JPEG and PNG. So there's an incentive to convert graphic into vector.

Toon Boom cannot directly important Flash animation. So if I have graphic work done on Flash and need to move to Toon Boom, I have to export those art work into Adobe Illustrator format first. And even then Toon Boom may complain because the latest version of .ai exported by Flash CS3 is still too old for Toon Boom. My solution was importing the exported file into Adobe Illustrator CS3 first, and then export the graphic again into .ai (CS3) format. Now Toon Boom will be able to recognize the file and import accordingly.

It is very important to realize the difference between select and then rest of the transformation tools. Also pay close attention about whether you are animating the PEG or the artwork itself.

The color palette of the graphic imported into Toon Boom seems much shaper than the original palette while it is in Flash or Illustrator format. This is strange and may affect my final art.

On the plus side, I learned even more about Toon Boom and have a better understanding about it's limitation. It would be interesting if there's simply way to move Flash animation generated by ToonBoom into high end effect application, like After Effect or FinalCutPro Motion.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More Toon Boom Studio 4 notes

  • To use Cutout characters, drag the item from library always to way to the LABEL of the time line.
  • To remove a keyframe from the timeline, first collapse the animation, then rightclick on the timeline right on the top of the cell, and select "Remove Key Frame"
  • When selection tool is selection, holding ALT key will turn the selection arrow into lasso, which makes it very handy to select items.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Daz 2.0 released

I just realized that Daz 2.0 has been released. So I downloaded and installed it on the top of my previous Daz 2.0 installation. YOu can't do portable for Daz since it only recognize the full installed version on the host OS. But at least it's nice enough to remove the older version while keeping all the previous setting. I also download some tutorial videos in order to learn Daz 2.0.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Strange things about Toom Boom 4

  • Sometime the checker board will show up in camera will when I switch to different drawing elelment.
  • When you adjust to pivot point for rotation, you should select the Peg of the element to adjust the rotation.
  • those tutorial and exercise at the site are very critical. make sure you finish ALL of them.

Torturing my Toon Boom Studio 4

It took me a whole night and then I finally realized what the heck is going wrong with the pressure sensitve stylus support in Toon Boom Studio 4. It seems like that Toom Boom Studio 4 does NOT like the multiple monitor setting, and whenever I have multiple monitor setup, the pressure senstive stop work. Switch back to single monitor mode resolves the problem.

Great, now I can really get rid of Toon Boom 3, since the gradient color fill doesn't work when there's more than 2 colors.

But I am still struggle with how the peg think works with toon boom studio, and how the whole camera thing works. Maybe I just need more time to soak myself into it.