Sprite Swap Tips/Suggestions

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Pixel Mush
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:58 pm

Sprite Swap Tips/Suggestions

Post by Pixel Mush » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:44 am

Hi there,
First off loving the updates. The PSD import padding is wonderful. But I have a couple questions for you regarding sprite swapping. I have watched all the tutorials regarding the process. And I am using Creature Pro, so I have full functionality. I have also set-up python and all the code for editing sizing outside of the program if I need that at any point. Here are my questions/concerns; So I have a character I want to animate in the program which will have multiple things to be swapped in and out including, bomb sprites, flames, and different hand positions. I was curious if I just upload the the sprites into my original PSD atlas that is imported if can just simply turn the images on and off inside of the program. As you will see in one of the pictures below I have an open hand with a closed fist underneath it. Couldn't they just be turned on or off If I connect the bone to both regions? Secondly I was wondering if I need to export every individual sprite as a separate file out of my art program in order to import into sprite swap? Is there a way to simply make an atlas of all the images to be swapped so I don't have 20 extra file exports (to save time)? And thirdly even when using a rectangle like suggested in one of the tutorials for sprite swapping when I swap images in it still warps them. Am I doing something wrong? Or will I have to go through the longer Python adjustment route for each of those images? I would be prefer to do all my work inside of the program itself as I am not exceptionally tech savy when it comes to programming or anything of the sort. Also I'm sure you have a simple answer for this but I haven't gotten to delve deeply into the program as much as I would have liked so far (this animation will be my first full endeavor rather than just cursory), how do I go about taking the rectangle (place holder) from my psd import and making multiples so i can replace different objects? Like the hands (on both characters), flames, bombs, facial, etc. Do I have to place rectangles in the positions from my art program then swap from within creature? Any suggestions or help is greatly appreciated.

-Pixel

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chong
Posts: 702
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:21 am

Re: Sprite Swap Tips/Suggestions

Post by chong » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:33 pm

Hello,

Thanks for the great questions!
The recommended way is still to import the sprite swaps in as separate images. You can also swap locally ( the second option, swap from Character Meshes ) but you will have less control. You cannot turn on/off sprites to bone regions, that is not how Creature works since everything is a mesh and thus has to go through bone weighting.

For the image warping/sizes when swapping in, yes the recommended way is to use a rectangular blocky mesh that you can swap in images with. For the images you do want to swap in, what you can do is to use the same image width and height for each image. ( Say you have an explosion and an arm both 2 different images, make sure they are of the same width and height. When you author the arm or explosion, they are placed within the extents of their respective image boundaries which are of the same width and height as the other images. If you need more resolution, the width and height can be increased, however they should be multiples of the original. So say your arm has width 200, height 200. You have an explosion requiring more resolution. It should be multiples of width 200, height 200. So one size could be width 400, height 400, twice the resolution of the original.)

Another way to do it is to use the new Skin Swapping feature, however it will not be useful if you are using sprite swapping for animated images over time.

Oh yes,one other thing you can do is to install a simple transform motor. This is a mesh motor installed in the regions tab. You can scale the swapped mesh over time with this motor. ( https://www.kestrelmoon.com/creaturedoc ... Motor.html )

Cheers

Pixel Mush
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:58 pm

Re: Sprite Swap Tips/Suggestions

Post by Pixel Mush » Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:38 pm

That's disappointing. That seems highly counterintuitive towards design and animating with multiple images (a more traditional style). Having to build only in original dimension multiples of itself seems like a massive constraint to workflow, character creation, and to possibilities in general. I know about the simple transform motor, but it takes a LOT of finagling and time to get images to "perfectly" line up. And when you have 15-20 different sprites to swap at all different dimensions, it because extremely painful. Is there any plans to further support an ease of importing images, or a better workflow for using multiple sprites? Thanks.
-Pixel

chong
Posts: 702
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:21 am

Re: Sprite Swap Tips/Suggestions

Post by chong » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:32 pm

Hello,

Actually I was thinking about the issue and one possible avenue moving forwards is to allow animated dynamic Skin Swaps type events to happen from within an animation clip. A Skin Swap does not have limit on resolution since you are just swapping in/out different actual mesh regions. So I will investigate into how this will work from within an animation clip. This will allow for much easier sprite swapping of different resolutions from within an animation clip.

I will mark this down as a future feature, will go through some research/investigation first since it is not trivial to implement in the current framework. I do however have some ideas how to proceed.

Update: Actually, I just had an idea that might work. I am now thinking of adding a new functionality on the Simple Transform Motor that will "Self-Adjust", or in other words. try to automatically align itself when Sprite Swapping is enabled. I will look into this functionality and if it works, it should save you quite a bit of time in doing Sprite Swapping.

Thanks

chong
Posts: 702
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:21 am

Re: Sprite Swap Tips/Suggesions

Post by chong » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:46 am

Update: Good News! The next Creature Update will have a feature called "Auto Fit Sprite Swaps".
This functionality is specifically designed to address the shortcomings of the current Sprite Swapping framework when dealing with images of different size ratios, resolutions etc.

Here's how it works:

1) First, you need to install the Simple Transform Motor onto the Region where Sprite Swapping is Active
2) Make sure your Mesh Region is a rectangular Block so it can fit any image.
3) Go ahead, via the Sprite Frame Manager, and swap in your sprites. Don't worry, the sprites can be of any resolution/size. You will now see the swapped in sprite animation. Some of the swapped results will look strange ( warped/stretched etc. ) due to the mesh not being sized correctly.

4) Now you run "Auto Fit Sprite Swaps", an option under the "Edit Motor" button for the Simple Transform Motor. There will be a more thorough documentation when the feature is officially published. The end result however is that Creature will now size all your sprite swaps automatically, taking into account their scale ratios and resolutions! There are options in this feature to either size relative to the current swap, or keep the x/y size and rescale proportionally ( useful for a long dress swapping into a short dress for example ) :)

This new feature again requires Sprite Swapping via the Sprite Frame Manager and the Mesh Simple Transform Motor. It will be published with the next upcoming Creature update! Btw, the next update will have a whole host of other cool features as well, including a ruler which will allow very accurate character sizing operations in Rig mode!

Cheers

Pixel Mush
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:58 pm

Re: Sprite Swap Tips/Suggestions

Post by Pixel Mush » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:23 pm

8-) You're the man Chong! I appreciate the quick responses and care for your program. Can't wait to be able to try the new features. Also the ruler will be a great touch as well! Thanks again for the hasty replies. I'll be keeping my eye out for the update. -Pixel

chong
Posts: 702
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:21 am

Re: Sprite Swap Tips/Suggestions

Post by chong » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:35 am

Here is a video of the new Auto Sprite Sizer in action:

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The different flames/explosions and lightning are all of vastly different image resolutions + ratios. Notice how after running the auto sizer, the image scaling of the effects sprite swaps are preserved.

The new update will be published soon.

Cheers

chong
Posts: 702
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:21 am

Re: Sprite Swap Tips/Suggestions

Post by chong » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:13 am

The update is now out with the new feature. However, please wait a bit for the actual video tutorial + docs to be online.
They will be up in a couple of days.

Cheers

Pixel Mush
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:58 pm

Re: Sprite Swap Tips/Suggestions

Post by Pixel Mush » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:45 am

Awesome I will download it now. Looking forward to the documentation. Thanks again.

Pixel Mush
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:58 pm

Re: Sprite Swap Tips/Suggestions

Post by Pixel Mush » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:50 am

Hello there again. A couple more things (please don't hate me :P)
1) Is there anyway to make the menu bigger for the "Create with Weight Regions" box? It only show 3 choices at a time and I have close to 30 regions so it makes it very inconvenient to try and scroll through them. Also if the name of the region is too long it doesn't show in the box and actually overlaps the "Create with weight regions" text (once selected). It gets troubling when trying to create new bones for specific regions (for weighting)
2) Is there anyway to make it so the bones rectangle (the one that shows parents and children) to be moved out of the actual frame of the program window. Using two monitors loses a little bit of luster when i can't move some of the UI out of the way of my view. This gets extremely tedious if using the Deep AI, because the window blocks part of the bones in the editing view.
Once again these aren't like massive issues just more of workflow inconveniences. Thanks again for all your hard work and updates. It is honestly phenomenal of you to be so helpful. -Pixel

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