Update: Demo version of Camera system added (no morph-target animation yet). is fully functional except for Save and Load functions and maybe some bugs that you will find.
Download the attached ZCamera Demo file for use
And here's a quick example result:
Thought I would let you guys know!
If you remember a year ago I had developed a ZScript called ZCamera. It was very limited however, with only a start point and destination point for the camera, and where only one layer could be animated at a time. It was in a sort of "Alpha" stage at that point.
Later after that, great Zscripter Marcus Civus came out with a great Plugin called TurnTable Plus which surpassed ZCamera so I thought I would scrap my initial ZCamera plugin and not develop it further because it had been done officially and done more well!
However, it's been a year since then and I'd like to announce a new version of ZCamera which I am developing based on the suggestions of some of the members here on ZBC, great suggestions which I haven't forgotten since last year and which kept me quite busy.
Animation in Zbrush has always been a very interesting concept. My goal was to create an ideal camera and animation system which included a time line and to make it Keyframe based. As much as i thought about it and tried in the past, I was never able to achieve this last year, it was too hard with all the limitations of ZScripting and the such. But good news is that recently I had finally found a solution!
This new version of ZCamera is no longer static with only 2 camera points and one layer animation. It is now dynamic, versatile and interactive. Here I'll just highlight the main features:
TimeLine: With this time-line slider, all morph-target animations and cameras are now KeyFrame-Based. Which means one thing. You can have as many cameras and morphtarget keys as there are frames in the time slider!
Set and Delete Keys: You can now set (or delete) keys for certain frames for cameras and morph-target layers on your tool. When you do so, all the inbetweens are automatically calculated. Moreover, for morphTargets, your layers act as keyframes, and you just have to set where on the timeline they will be keyed to be played one after another.
Select KeyFrames: You can scroll through keyframe slider and use the Next Key and Previous Key buttons to jump between certain keyframes on timeline.
Preview Mode: This is an Interactive feedback mode where you can move frames along the time slider and the camera and tool animation will update instantly on screen. You can also preview the scene in real time before rendering. (Note, previewing camera movements alone is very fast in realtime even when you apply high fps, but animation in real time is slower depending on number of layer keyframes and tool resolution).
Adjust settings such as frames per second
Save and Load: This part is still in development, it will allow you to save out all your camera and morphtarget keys so that you can load them later to any tool. (For instance you can save out complete camera animation and then load that in for another tool, hence rendering your cameras reusable!)
Render Scene: Set a start frame and an end frame and the scene will be rendered with the applied settings , cameras along with animation simultaneously giving a final result.
So far the camera system is very smooth, and overall it's memory efficient but unfortunately the animation part does not support multiple subtools and can be heavy on RAM if your tool is very high res or if you have many 3D layers since you can have countless layers as keyframes and they will animate one after the other when played.
In any case, sorry if I am saying all this before even releasing the plugin here on this site, it's just I'd like to let you guys know that I haven't scrapped this like most who knew it may have thought! And I guess I'm just a tad bit excited and I've been working on this a while and felt that I really wanted to say a word or 2 to someone at least lol cause no one else even knows what I've been doing with this.
Anyways, hopefully I will release the first version within the week! Stay tuned...
Here in the meantime is a demo or alpha version if you will of the Camera features only, no animation in this one since that needs bit more development.
1: Load the ZCamera Zscript
2: Load Your tool. With tool selected, press on the: Prepare Tool For Camera Button. Press this button ONLY ONCE if you modeled the tool normally to optimize camera rotations around y-axis otherwise you may get strange results at certain points.
3. Use the Set Camera Key button to set keys for camera at certain frames which you select using TimeLine. By doing so you key the current view in the canvas. When you set more than one key, all the inbetweens are automatically calculated, so be careful and set more keys for accurate and controlled results otherwise camera will always take shortest path. You can add as many keys as you want.
4. With a keyframe selected, press Delete Camera Key to delete a keyframed camera view and by doing so recalculating camera path based on all other keys.
Select KeyFrames: You can scroll through keyframe slider and use the Next Key and Previous Key buttons to quickly jump between certain keyframes on the timeline. (Alternateive Use: Multiple Camera views can also be saved in this way)
6.Toggle the Preview Camera Button to gain real-time feedback as you move frames along the Time-Line slider, and so that you can use the preview button.
7. To preview the scene in realtime starting from the selected frame, press the Preview button. Make sure Preview Camera is toggled.
8. Render Options: Adjust settings such as frames per second and Render start and Render end frame to specify which frame the scene should begin rendering from and where it should end.
9: Press the Render button to render out scene into a movie. If you toggle the Best Render button, then each frame will be rendered with best render settings before snapshot.
I hope you like it.
PS I know interface is still messy but will fix for later more official release, this is still WIP. Also code isnt organized yet.
Also tell me if you find bugs please. And I'm open to all suggestions, again remember that this work is based on many suggestions.
Again, this is just the demo without the animation part! But that should be coming soon! Cheers!
Small Fix: On the first frame there seems to have been an automatically keyed camera on a view far away from tool so I removed this key so should be fine now.