Toolset Tutorial: Pin-Ups


 

This quick guide will tell you how to use the Toolset to create illustrations or fan-art, in the style of Errant Knight, or as seen in some of my chapters of Bannon & Zevran.


 
Step One: Create the Cutscene
==============================
From other tutorials, you should know how to
1: Create/Open your Cutscene Module
2: Create a Cutscene
3: Assign an area to it

I haven’t shown how to use the Heirarchy to access the original campaign’s resources, so here’s how…
 
File: Manage Modules
Hierarchy…
Check all modules you want to access
(Single Player for the main stuff)

Note: You still won’t be allowed to edit/save Single Player original resources. You can save copies, or make duplicates in your module as shown in previous tutorials.

 

This is the Video Guide. It is the same information as this tutorial, but more visual and less explanatory.

Tutorial Video

 
 
Step Two: Add Figures and Set Camera
======================================

First, move the timeline scrubber to the middle of the cutscene, so you can slide the animations around more easily.

Find your character(s) in the creature list and paint them in.
Use the Object Inspector to turn items of clothing and weapons on/off.
Drag the figure around where you want him. Also, get the camera pointed to frame the image.

You can right-click the viewport and turn on the safe frame.
If you turn that off, you can get images of different proportions. ie: tall portrait images.
But your view will also change as you change the viewport size, so you’ll have to fiddle with the camera again before you’re done.
I like to work with safe frame on, then mess with that later.

 
Step Three: Pose/Animate the Figure
=====================================

NOTE: when making an illustration, do not create keyframes. If you do, the figure, lights, and camera will snap back to where they were when you let go of them or move the scrubber.
Only use keyframes if you want to ‘memorize’ the scene and then tinker with things that you might want to undo later. While tinkering, you must always make a keyframe (hit the K key) whenever you move or change something.

First, start with a base Pose for your character. You assign this in the Object Inspector.
Standing Neutral is pretty basic. Standing Left and Standing Right are a little sexier.
Here’s Wall Lean Right, and we’re just about finished. :X

Now I want Zevran to tip his head.
Right-click and Add Track so there is a track for the animation.
Depending on how complex your pose is going to be, you may need between two and eight tracks. Or more. :X

Beerfish’s Excel Utilities has a comprehensive animation name list. Here are some shortcuts I’ve learned.
Add an animation (Alt-A). In the Animation Load screen, use the wildcard *po_h* to get head (and hip) poses.
You’ll quickly get used to which number points the head which way. Or near enough you can try one or two to get it.

To mess with arm poses, use these wildcards:
*r_arm* (to move the right arm)
*l_arm* (to move the left arm)
*2arm* (to move both arms)

Drag the animation back and forth over the scrubber to find the frame you want.

If you want a facial expression, you don’t have to use FaceFX Studio; there are a few base facial animations you can try.

Quick wildcards for facial animations:
*f.aod*
*face*
*mouth*
*brow*
*eye*

Suppose the animation is too strong? If you are using mouth open, you will see what I mean!
You can change the animation Weight at the bottom of the Object Inspector. 0-100%
If the animation isn’t strong enough, you can play it in two tracks at once, to combine for more than 100% total Weight.

Tinkering with animations will take the longest out of everything in creating this animation.
Take your time and make it look good.
The simple quickie tutorial illustration took 3 head poses and 3 facial expression poses. Plus the base Wall Lean.

 
Step Four: Add Lights
========================

If you click the sun icon, you can toggle level lighting vs full lighting. Highlighted means the level lighting is on.
You may find your character is in the dark! So we’ll need lights in the scene.
Right click to add a light, then drag it around in the scene. You can see in real-time how it looks.

Adjust the light’s colour, intensity, and radius to get different effects.
I like warm lights with low radius and intensity.

You will also probably want a fill light or bounce light in the shadow areas, so they are not fading out of sight.
Definitely use a darker colour and lower radius for these.
Consult photography studio books and tutorials (or 3D rendering apps) for theory and practice of setting up lights.

 
Step Five: Capture the Image
==============================

There are two ways to capture the image. The quickest and easiest is to do a screencap of the Toolset.

Make your Active Viewport as big as possible.
Remember to turn off the safe frame if you want to work on an unconstrained aspect ratio.

Then, just hit your Print Screen key.
Paste into your image app. Edit. Voila!

You can also capture the image from the cutscene in the game.
Please see my cutscene tutorials and resources on how to run a cutscene.
You will need FRAPS (recommended) or other video capture software.

FRAPS allows a hotkey to take screencaps, but you have to hit it at the right time.
Here’s how I capture a frame of video (Windows only)
1: Open the video in Windows Media Player.
2: Under Tools: Options: Performance tab,
3: Set Video Acceleration to None.
4: Move to the frame you want to capture and hit Print Screen.
5: It should now paste properly to your image editor.
If you don’t turn off video acceleration, it will probably come out black.

 


One Response to “Toolset Tutorial: Pin-Ups”

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