This animation was the cutest one I’ve seen in VR so far, it was so heartwarming. It’s about a spiky hedgehog whose only wish is to have one friend. The story may be cheesy and simple, but I really liked the PIXAR style. The only thing I sorry is the lack of interaction, you can only watch, not touch anything.
“She did not know yet how sometimes people keep parts of themselves hidden and secret, sometimes wicked and unkind parts, but often brave or wild or colorful parts, cunning or powerful or even marvelous, beautiful parts, just locked up away at the bottom of their hearts. They do this because they are afraid of the world and of being stared at, or relied upon to do feats of bravery or boldness. And all of those brave and wild and cunning and marvelous and beautiful parts they hid away and left in the dark to grow strange mushrooms—and yes, sometimes those wicked and unkind parts, too—end up in their shadow.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
As it turned out I imported the morph targets, but Unreal ignores it and is looking for animation only in the bones.
But after asking for help from Christian, I don’t have to make every mesh separately to get the effect I want to achieve. He told me about two ways I can go for it in Unreal: have a very basic mesh and add a very cool, textile or flow like material that will constantly change its surface. So now I don’t have to do the random meshes in Maya, I can just have a basic mesh in Unreal, make the material and apply it. The other way was making the blend shapes in Unreal, so I would still have to create them in Maya, but instead of making them blend shapes there, I can export the meshes separately and make the blend shape animation in Unreal.
So now I am making the material, then will create the meshes for the animation then time the blend shapes in unreal.
(I am sorry for the many posts, it is good for me to keep track)
I started by creating first a sphere in Maya, which has flipped UVs, then enabled the Stereo Panoramic Movie Capture and took a screenshot of the default level. This made two png images, which I later implemented in the following material, then attached the material to my sphere and voilà. The settings can be tweaked so the left and right side will seamlessly melt into each other, I left it that way to show that it works.
How it looks like
Useful link: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Platforms/VR/StereoPanoramicCapture/
UPDATE: to make this play a video playing Media Framework is needed and after that should be simple: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/MediaFramework/
Then I moved on to have a movie on the sphere, which didn’t work with the above material. So I watched a bunch of tutorials and this one was the best:
This version did not crash every time I started to view the video, and in theory stereo. YAY.
(I doubt it’s stereo but…)
Useful links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfuQv_5RDRA
I tried to import my animated basic head mesh, put the joints in, binded the skin and baked the animation, but I still didn’t have my animation played in Unreal. For some reason Maya during the exportation process “ignores” the morph targets.
But Maya exports the joints perfectly, which I can tweak later even in Unreal. So I still can’t export morph targets, they disappear when I import them to Unreal Engine, even with a joint and baked animation. But it gave me the idea to do a key frame animation with joints, which works, the animation remains in Unreal and looks intact. I also tried to create the shapes I want for my final, and they look fine for the purpose of this project.
This is a screen shot of a sphere tweaked and animated with joints only.
I also played around with the fluid component, which is awesome, I will use it later for another project for sure, but I didn’t like the texture. I want to create something less realistic, and using this, would make me feel like I am in space instead of a surreal world.
Workflow and Plan:
As of now, I will first create the animation, but only using the minimum amount of meshes needed. Then I will make a group of meshes, which I can transform later and can rotate as a group. I will also add the material in Maya, because as of now, I am not sure, if I have time to make it a VR project. I will focus on finishing the animation in Maya, and then will move on to Unreal. If not for the final assignment, I would like to finish this during the break.
Mood board: https://foreverchangingfaces.tumblr.com/
This homework seemed so simple, and I was so wrong on so many levels. First problem I had was with the sound- couldn’t import my files UE, even though, it was a mono, normalized .wav.
How I exported:
What Unreal said to this:
File I tried to use:
I made a media player that could play my sound, but I could not just drag it into my scene and wasn’t spatial. So I used the inbuilt sounds to practice.
SOLVED: sound must be 16bit!
SOLVED: set up with in the project files, not unreal in general+make shortcut
After not making proper occlusion effect with the lame Unreal Engine Sounds, I couldn’t even package my project because I needed Visual Installer, which I attempted to download twice but there was an error that didn’t allow Visual Installer to run. We tried with 3 different computers in the quad, none of them had it.
At least I made some cute mirroring materials, yay.
I tried first exporting my mesh as a FBX then import it into Unreal, which failed as Unreal only imports animation if there’s a skeleton present. Without it, Unreal doesn’t even offer importing animation option.
Issues exporting a mesh to Unreal Engine:
Currently vertex animation is not supported in Unreal Engine, which means at least a singe bone/joint needs to be skinned to the mesh using Morph Targets and import as a rigid mesh.
Maya crashed every time I tried to bake again my jointed/boned animation, even after I reduced the subdivision and basically killed the animation itself. And it’s not an ideal solution for me as I want to create a lot of constantly changing meshes. I’m just afraid that it will make the already huge file even bigger.
I also couldn’t get around the Morph Targets either.
I am thinking to try using Unity for this project as it seems like Unity supports Maya made animations more than Unreal does. But also I have zero experience in Unity and I am afraid of the workflow, so I am thinking of leaving this project for now and make a simple 2D animation.
This experience is one of my favourite, it cooperates different styles, types of games into one. The teleportation allows you to explore the starting room fast and easily, and I really like that by touching a floating ball you can teleport into another dimension. The design of all worlds are pretty good. The best games were Long bow and the factory destruction. They were all fun, simple and engaging. The Secret Room was weird, apart from looking around and being able to hold a light, there are no other possibilities to interact in the room, which is a shame as I got the most excited in that room. They should have exploit the new world given opportunities more, or make it more clear for a simple player. But all in all, The Lab is a great first time VR experience.
The PDF file: Assignment3