PLA from Tracer-guided Extrude?
Posted: 24 June 2021 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I’m creating a laser gantlet with swinging beams (see link). The final destination is UnReal Engine. Even using the DataSmith, UnReal seems to be confused by the path the beam is tracking. The polygons come in, but the animation is missing. I tried baking as Alembic but that only seemed to make things worse. NOTE: I’m a beginner in UnReal, so I could be making some basic mistakes just getting through the door.

https://shared-assets.adobe.com/link/f560e748-a3cd-4500-6c5e-ed8d363553c0
BTW: got the MIME error again when I tried to attach directly…

My sense is the DataSmith is struggling with the tracer tracking animation. So I’m wondering if I should try to create something using PoseMorph or another approach to get keyframes I can bake (baking the Xpresso controls doesn’t capture the geometry changes). I haven’t had good success tacking a spline point to an object and pulling the spline along after it - though that may be more understandable by DataSmith.

Any suggestions you have re: animating a laser beam to follow the contours of another object would be most welcome!

Thanks!

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Posted: 24 June 2021 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Hi fordmar,

How about animating the laser beams with a pair of joints?

I have (just in case) used PLA here as well and exported it as FBX.

You could also bake the position and rotation of the two joints and export an FBX with just this tiny setup [File 03]

I assume that the FBX should work smoothly. Keep in mind that FBX and PLA needs the folder [.pla] associated with it (export settings PLA to Vertex cache)

https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/2OIiFruFUeeZAsBGv5XlMH6XlrRP5xpwLY7fbxq8wce

All the best

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Posted: 24 June 2021 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Excellent! Thank you. I will give it a shot.

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Posted: 24 June 2021 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Thanks for the feedback, fordmar.

Please let me know how it worked.

Fingers crossed.

Cheers

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Posted: 24 June 2021 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Brilliant! As in, brilliantly simple. One of those situations where I have to ask, “why didn’t I think of that?”

Because I’m not brilliant, of course. Simple.

Now to see if UnReal likes it.

Thank YOU.

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Posted: 24 June 2021 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Hi fordmar,

You’re very welcome.

If you had no brilliance inside of you, you wouldn’t have a chance to notice it. It is that simple.

But I take the kind feedback anytime, anyway. wink


Enjoy.

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Posted: 25 June 2021 06:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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OK - Success in all respects EXCEPT how to get the mesh to deform and follow the goal - i.e. squash and stretch. The joint stretches, but the mesh does not. Is the secret switch in the skin, weight tag, or the bone? I’ve checked and re-checked all the settings and they all appear identical to your sample. But the mesh doesn’t squash or stretch. So something is turned off.

Seems like it should be in the skin. But what do I know?

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Posted: 25 June 2021 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Hi fordmar,

Please have a look into:
Attribute Manager> IK Tag> Tag> Squash/Stretch

I have no working Unreal installation here, but somehow I would go with the PLA/FBX route first. Whereby I certainly would check how far I can go to reduce the point amount of the mesh.

All the best

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Posted: 25 June 2021 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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OK, I have explored every nook and cranny of the Squash/Stretch tab in the IK tag, and from my ambulations my sense is the key is in the “Type: Position” attribute, which in my instance does not induce the effect as advertised. The IK attributes in the individual joints (which I understand affect performance of this setting) are set to be identical to the demo model.

The only difference I can see between my version and the demo is the number of polygons in the mesh. But subdividing doesn’t change anything.

Take a look here:

https://shared-assets.adobe.com/link/94c1aff9-72f6-4d49-71f3-81118f749146

Am I blind?

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Posted: 25 June 2021 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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And can you explain “single-sided polygons?” My understanding is UnReal likes single-sided polygons for laser beams - get better transparency effects. But I’ve never heard of such a thing.

I need to get out more.

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Posted: 25 June 2021 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Off-topic

Hi fordmar,

To keep the forum readable, please no new questions with different topics in the same thread. Thanks. Since you asked:

Game engines typically try to have the least amount of load for the rendering, e.g., the polygon amount should be as low as quality allows. Similar to that is the idea to use only the positive normal direction of a polygon and ignore the negative one (typically called the backside)

So for your laser, the single side means that the effect is like “Backface Culling,” with the effect that you see only the polygons closer to you of a given object. So you don’t have two Polygons adding an effect, just the front one.

If I’m not mistaken, Unreal has a node for two-sided materials, with an extra node to feed the alpha channel to make the node working two-sided.
This should be a question for the Unreal Forum. Always try to get first-hand information. Adult training is typically first unlearning, then instructing what was intended to be learned. I really don’t want to contribute to that, with perhaps data that is already updated in Unreal.

https://docs.unrealengine.com/4.26/en-US/Resources/ContentExamples/MaterialProperties/1_4/

Cheers

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Posted: 25 June 2021 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Understood. My UnReal mentor advocated one-sided polygons assuming I knew what he was talking about. Now I do. Thank you. 

Any thoughts on the question above about IK Tag/Squash Stretch/ Type: Position?

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Posted: 25 June 2021 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Yes, fordmar, here you go:

Please compare the weighting of the example and yours.

Here is your file back, with the weighting needed to have the effect:
https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/ZGkEFYsxgCa15BvOX13UknfVIUyJHmtZN72gcT160oL

In a nutshell, the weighting you had applied was 100% for all points and only for the Parent Joint (START).

Whatever Joint.START does affect all points. So any change of the Joint.END has zero influence.

All the best

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Posted: 25 June 2021 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Ah! that makes sense. Thank you!

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Posted: 25 June 2021 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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You’re very welcome, fordmar.

Enjoy your weekend.

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