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    [PLUGIN] Vertex Animation Toolset, crowd rendering

    Greetings! I developed an in-editor tool for baking skeletal mesh animation into textures, allowing for instanced static meshes to be animated through the material shader.

    Update, Now available on the UE 4 Marketplace: https://www.unrealengine.com/marketp...x-anim-toolset

    Here is a video showing 10 000 Mannequins animated as a single Hierarchical Instanced Static Mesh Component.



    Models are colored depending on their LOD.

    Here is another video of 2500 Mannequin Instances of a single HISMC showing multiple animations. Each individual instance can be on a different state: Idle in place, Running from the sphere or walking back to their original position.


    Here is the video showing the process for baking and aplying the animation using the Toolset.



    Core Features:

    -Take the vertex deformation from a skeletal mesh animation (both bone and morph target) and bake it into two textures (one for positions and another for normals).

    -Vertex positions and normals are encoded to allow for different LODs of the same model to use the same texture (on the videos only one texture is used for all LODs).

    -Multiple animations can be packed into one texture, and animation can be interpolated, only needing to bake a few frames of animation.

    -Create static mesh asset from skeletal mesh with the additional UV-Set needed for fast animation texture lookup. Can also stack multiple rows to acomodate models with more vertices than UE's texture resolution limit.

    You can check out the Documentation here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ijeva2sifk...ation.pdf?dl=0

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Hethger; 11-15-2019, 11:04 AM.

    #2
    This is incredible! I have always been interested in using WPO as a cheaper alternative to a rigged mesh for background extras.

    Question. I am not very knowledgeable on HISMs, but would you be able to toes these meshes to AI and have them move around?
    Check out our game Arcus!

    Comment


      #3
      Finally! I was just about to experiment with Houdini and the Vertex Animation baking in order to be used on characters, but this changes everything!

      If you need a beta tester count me in, this is so usefull!
      ENTER REALITY

      VR Solutions

      Contact us for more informations

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by StevenWaltherMedia View Post
        would you be able to toes these meshes to AI and have them move around?
        As long as you can access the Instanced Mesh Component you'll be able to update the location / rotation with the "Update Instance Transform" function.

        The content example will include a simple RTS example with an actor that manages the instances desired velocity, updates the transforms and sets the animation to be played by each instance.

        cheers.



        Comment


          #5
          I have posted a comment on your YouTube video, I would absolutely love to test this ASAP. I have a great use case and would love to share the concept with you, as well as have a future conversation. Thank you!

          Comment


            #6
            Thats so awsome! Gime!

            Comment


              #7
              New video showing Multiple Animations, each instance can have their animation set through blueprint depending on their state.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Hethger View Post
                New video showing Multiple Animations, each instance can have their animation set through blueprint depending on their state.
                Just amazing.
                Are you also considering collision in same way?

                Like if I'll be using an instance of a character as an enemy, his weapon/fist can have somehow a capsule collision in order to account for damage?

                If you solve this, well, release it
                ENTER REALITY

                VR Solutions

                Contact us for more informations

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hethger, dude this is impressive!

                  Any chance this could be used to run CROWDS OF ENEMIES in a mobile phone?

                  I hope you don't laught at the question!
                  Best regards! You are awesome!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The Plugin has been sent to the marketplace! In the following video you can see how the animation baking process is done:



                    You can also check out the Documentation Here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ijeva2sifk...ation.pdf?dl=0

                    In my experience publishing the Mirror Animation System, Epic can take months to release a product.

                    Because of that I'm gonna put up a BETA version through Gumroad at a reduced price. You can find it here (full Source Code included): https://gumroad.com/l/rXMUp

                    Everyone who purchases the BETA version will get the final release in the UE Marketplace, I did the same aproach with the Mirror Animation System.

                    Since I was a little busy with this I was not able to respond to all the questions, will answer as much as I can now that I've finished version 1.0.

                    Cheers.
                    Last edited by Hethger; 11-02-2019, 08:37 PM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Hard Frecorency View Post
                      Hethger, dude this is impressive!

                      Any chance this could be used to run CROWDS OF ENEMIES in a mobile phone?

                      I hope you don't laught at the question!
                      Best regards! You are awesome!
                      It can be used for the rendering side of the crowd, however dealing with the collision / AI with lots of characters is another issue on its own.

                      For reference or as a starting point you could check out the content examples of the plugin where there's a crowd of agents driven by the standar UE 4 AI + Recast navigation.

                      Cheers.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Enter Reality View Post

                        Just amazing.
                        Are you also considering collision in same way?

                        Like if I'll be using an instance of a character as an enemy, his weapon/fist can have somehow a capsule collision in order to account for damage?

                        If you solve this, well, release it
                        The agents in that video do not have any collision resolution.

                        As for having crowds of enemies with complex collisions like swords and all that you may have to resort to doing what ubisoft did for crowds in assassins creed, where they have a crowd of simple instances, but they spawn full characters in the place of the instances when the Main character gets too close, or hits them, etc.

                        Cheers.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by RealAero View Post
                          I have posted a comment on your YouTube video, I would absolutely love to test this ASAP. I have a great use case and would love to share the concept with you, as well as have a future conversation. Thank you!
                          Hey finally saw your comment, you can now test the BETA version through gumroad, as for any questions involving your specific use case you can put them in this thread or message me about it at: hethger@gmail.com

                          Cheers.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Hethger View Post

                            It can be used for the rendering side of the crowd, however dealing with the collision / AI with lots of characters is another issue on its own.

                            For reference or as a starting point you could check out the content examples of the plugin where there's a crowd of agents driven by the standar UE 4 AI + Recast navigation.

                            Cheers.
                            Interesting!
                            Will definitively try the Beta! I just have to finish some stuff am doing this days, and will go for it!

                            Just quick question that pop-up on my mind. The crowd of agents on the content examples of the plugin driven by the standard method they use the same tech right?

                            And also now i got this other question as well:
                            Is it correct/accurate in your opinion to describe this tech as "Vertex animation texture with multiple segments in the texture for different animations", and then having to use distance to point to select segment?

                            Thanks! This is so cool!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Hard Frecorency View Post

                              Interesting!
                              Will definitively try the Beta! I just have to finish some stuff am doing this days, and will go for it!

                              Just quick question that pop-up on my mind. The crowd of agents on the content examples of the plugin driven by the standard method they use the same tech right?

                              And also now i got this other question as well:
                              Is it correct/accurate in your opinion to describe this tech as "Vertex animation texture with multiple segments in the texture for different animations", and then having to use distance to point to select segment?

                              Thanks! This is so cool!
                              The Crowd of agents is an array of regular characters, but rander than having a Skeletal Mesh, theres only 1 Instanced static mesh component that Updates the transform of each instance to the transform of their corresponding character actor, the material shader for the instances uses the material functions included in the plugin.

                              As for the second question, the way animation is selected is by simply scrolling the UV coordinates along the y axis, it is mostly based off of Houdini's version of the same technique explained here:


                              cheers.

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