The default animation tool you get with DAZ Studio seems to have come from the Stone Age. It is basically a line with some buttons above it, with a triangle to show where you are. There’s NO way of moving keyframes around, no way of SEEING your frames, and if you’re working with animations more than say, 10 seconds long, it makes you want to kill yourself.
In DAZ Studio 3, however, you get ANOTHER tool to help, called "AniMate Lite". And that’s great, but the problem is, it’s NOT great.
Every time you go to click on most of the buttons on the interface, you get a dialogue pop up saying something like "This feature is not available in AniMate Lite". FFS, if it’s not available, THEN WHY THE HELL DID YOU PUT A BUTTON TO IT?! There’s no documentation for it, either, so you have to kind of GUESS. If you want the version that WORKS properly (AniMate+), you’re gonna have to shell out $100 (£61.10). To put that into perspective… the Advanced version of DAZ Studio 3 costs $150. DAZ Studio is a program that does many things. AniMate+ is a PLUGIN that does ONE thing. I would like to end this paragraph by screaming "RIPOFF!!!".
Of course, I’m not stupid, so I downloaded it from a certain site for free. After installing it, I would have been REALLY pissed off if I HAD spent £60 on it. Because… it’s crap, and worth about a TENTH of what they’re charging for it.
Took me a while to figure out most of the controls, and then I made my first "AniBlock", or what I like to call a "REALLY stupid idea". I made it one second long, because that was the default. After importing my music track (after downsampling it to a pathetic bit-rate, because the plugin can’t handle high quality sound), I found out that I wanted the first part of the animation to be TWO seconds long, instead. Problem is, YOU CAN’T DO THAT. Once you’ve made an AniBlock, you can’t modify its length unless you DELETE it and make it again. WHAT KIND OF DUMBASS MADE THIS PIECE OF CRAP?!?
Then there are the REALLY irritating problems. After starting a new scene, I imported the SubDragon as normal. I assigned my default standing pose to him, and used one of my own character presets to turn him into Whirlwind. So, now, Whirlwind is standing on his hind legs in a semi-zero pose, which is exactly what I want for now. Then, I make an AniBlock of 2 seconds long for Whirlwind. And then, for some REALLY screwed up reason, AniMate+ thinks that it’d be a GREAT idea to put the model THAT I’D JUST SET UP PROPERLY into its ZERO pose! WTF?! NO! I don’t WANT his arms, legs and wings outstretched, I want him to stand on his hind legs! So, I re-assigned the pose and character preset… and then I pressed the "new keyframe" button. And IT DID IT AGAIN, it reset my model FOR NO REASON!! When I press "new keyframe", I don’t want it to RESET MY MODEL, I want it to take the current pose of my model, and copy it into a NEW FRAME that I can edit, like, y’know, EVERY OTHER ANIMATING TOOL EVER?! Jesus Christ… no-one can friggin’ do ANYTHING right nowadays…
Also, when you move a morph dial that you haven’t touched yet in the current animation, AniMate+, for some strange reason, thinks that you want that morph dial changed in ALL your keyframes. Uh, no, I pursed his lips to say "O" ONCE, I don’t want his lips to be pursed throughout THE ENTIRE ANIMATION! GOD-DAMNIT! AniMATE? More like AniENEMY!
EVENTUALLY, AniMate started to behave itself and stopped resetting my pose, so I could practice manual lip-synching. I’d use the lip sync tool, but for some reason, DAZ Studio’s OWN SubDragon isn’t even set up properly for DAZ Studio’s OWN lip-sync tool. Seriously, are all professional artists and animators… this stupid?
Alright, well, I’m gonna try and finish this little animation off… if I can. Pray for me, ‘kay?
Just managed to get Whirlwind to roughly say "Lost in a thousand days". You may be able to tell where this is going.
Still… although it’s a bit rough, it’s not bad for a first attempt!
Got him to say "Through the fire and the flames we carry on!". Sort of.
Now… I have a guitar model. I think it’s time for Shadow to shred.
I might try doing that tomorrow, cuz I think it’s time for me to go to bed now. New PC parts arrive tomorrow, woot! I SO should have spent a little more on delivery and not used cheapass slow Super Saver delivery…