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#1 Old 4th Sep 2018 at 12:08 AM Last edited by TheSweetToddler : 28th Sep 2019 at 12:39 AM.
Default Tutorial: How to make a smooth animation - Step by step guide. [Old]
In this tutorial, you'll learn how to make a good smooth animation, as this tutorial was requested.
In this tutorial you will not learn how to install blender, s3pe, the clip tool plugins or the sim rigs (or wait, just download them and open them! ). You will also not learn how to install mods nor get the requirements. (You can learn how to install the clip tool plugins here: https://sims3cliptool.wordpress.com/instructions/)

For the beginners this will be a good place to start out, since I will also be guiding you on setting up your rig, as well as exporting it and testing it in-game.
For the more advanced ones you can skip step 1, and if you want step 2 and 3 too and get to the actual smooth animating in step 4 and 5.

For this tutorial, you will need:

* Blender, the CLIPTool plugin and the sim rigs: https://sims3cliptool.wordpress.com/download/
* Cmomoney's Animation player http://www.modthesims.info/download.php?t=441682
* S3pe.

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Step 1 Opening your rig

Open one of the sims rigs, in my case I'll be using a toddler rig since I mainly animate with toddler rigs, although I do animate with the child rig too, I'll be using the toddler one.

Your toddler rig should look exactly like this:


Unless you are using another rig. If you open your sim rig for the first time, and see it's all white, click on the plus sign at the top right hand side, and a bar will open, scroll down to "display" and change the option from either singletexture or multitexture to GSL.

Step 2 Setting up your rig in Blender

The first thing you'll need to do, is click the little red button below the timeframe, then select the two little spheres where it says "Pivot Point" and change it to Individual origins and last but not least, change the start number in the timeframe from 1 to 0.



After that, press Shift + A and go to mesh > UV sphere, this will add a UV sphere to the scene. Scale it down by pressing "s", then, while still having the sphere selected, press Alt + D and drag the cloned sphere to one of the rig's hand bone, do the same with the other hand bone, and finally add 2 more spheres to the feet bones.



Now, here comes the part that will be the most useful for animating , select one of the spheres, and then shift + select the hand or foot bone that it has been placed on and then press Ctrl + shift + c and select inverse kinematics.



After you've done that, delete all the spheres by pressing "x" on them. Once that's done, select one of your rig's hand bone or foot bone and go to bone constraints located in the properties tab on the right hand side, go down to where it says chain length and change it to 3. Do the same with the rig's other hand or foot bones. Basically what this will do is make it so you can select either a hand bone or foot bone and move it around without it stretching from the rig's body. You can do the same sort of thing with other bones in the body, but for now we'll be working with the 4 bones only.

Step 3 Preparing your rig to be animated

What you will do now, is pose your rig in a desired position. In this case, I'll be posing my toddler similar to how they look in-game:



Each time you move or rotate one of your sims's bones, a keyframe will appear wherever the green line is, in the timeframe. This is what the little button at the bottom does, it automatically loc-rots the pose/bones for you . Now that you've posed your rig, select the other little plus located at the other side of where the right plus was, just next to the dopesheet. Then, press A until your rig turns blue, now go to "Pose:" and select Copy, then Paste. This does help a lot, by also loc-roting all the bones of your rig, not only just the bones you moved. This prevents weird or unwanted moved bones when you pose your rig in another keyframe.

Step 4 Actually making a nice smooth animation

Here comes the harder part, animating. But it'll eventually become easy after a few tries
I'll be making the toddler do a simple wave, as this is a very easy and simple animation at first.

When I animate, I like to keep the keyframes in a good place, since if you have them too far apart from each other, the animation will be too slow, and if they're too close together, the animation will be too fast.
In this tutorial I will guide you where to place the keyframes for the waving, but for other animations you'll do, just experiment yourself and observe the human body's movement and gravity, like ask your brother to jump, and observe how his body prepares to jump, he bends his knees, closes his fists a bit, and bends slightly, then when he jumps into the air, his legs go straight, as well as him arms, but only slightly, and either stretches his body or keeps it straight. Then as he falls back down, he bends his knees slightly, and looks down. As he hits the floor, his legs bend more and then go straight again. This is a very good tip on animating imo, just observe how people move, or even how your own body moves.

So now, go to frame 6 and have your rig's arm go up a little bit, and their head move down slightly. Also, try bending the spine bones a bit, and maybe having them go slightly to a side.



Then, go to frame 13 and move the arm up, have the hand always tilted to the left (rig's right hand) when first starting to wave, since in general people usually start from left to right, although you can also start from right to left. Then, on the same frame (13) copy and paste the pose again, if you forgot how to do that, press the little plus sign next to the dopesheet or press "T" , select your whole rig then copy and paste the pose.



Now, we'll start animating the toddler in a waving motion, so, not only the hand will wave, but the body will also slightly "wave" along with the hand, this is very important to make an animation smooth and have motion throughout the whole body. This will also prevent your rig from looking stiff.

So, in frame 18, move the arm to the left side, then go forward at least a couple frames (frame 21) and move the body towards the arm's direction, but don't move the root bone, move the spine bones. Tilt the head towards the opposite direction for more realism. If you move the body in the same frame as when you moved the arm, the animation will not look good and won't have much motion and look very robot-like. Robot motion is our enemy, so try to observe how robots move compared to humans, and see the differences.



Once again, copy and paste frame 21, and do the same as above but just in the opposite direction
Now, maybe have the animation sequence maybe go like this: 21 - 25 - 27 - 33 - 35...etc. but also make sure the animation isn't too slow or fast, in fact, it's better to make the animation a little fast, because it seems to slow down a little little bit in-game, depending on how fast it runs too.

Once you have made your rig wave a couple times or more, after at least 5 frames after the last wave, move your rig's arm down a bit, but not all the way. It's better to move down from the elbow down and then afterwards the whole arm, because if you move the whole arm down at once, it'll look robotic, and robot movements are our enemy, right?
So then, after you've moved the elbow down, after another 4 or 5 frames, depending on how fast or slow it looks to you, make a mark there by just moving a bone, then go back to frame 1 and copy the whole pose, and paste it where you marked the last keyframe. Between the last keyframe and the one before the last one, add a little more motion by having the arm wave slightly, like if you droped your arm down, it'll wave a little bit. Try doing that with the rig.

Once, you've done the animation, and it's reached it's last keyframe, in the timeline set the end number to the last keyframe, e.g. if the last keyframe is 70, then put in 70 in the end time.

Step 5 Littlest Details

Now we've finished animating the basic part, now we can go into details for our animation, details in animations are what give it realism, especially the littlest ones such as cheek bounces (aka cheek physics) to super realistic eye movements, where the eyelids move along slightly with the eyeball.

So, now we'll go to a random frame, preferably one where the rig is about to switch waving to the other side. We'll be making the toddler blink, so in order to make a realistic blink, follow these steps:



Don't just move down the upper eyelids, that makes it less realistic, so move the lower lids to a decent height, and cover the rest of the eye with the upper lid. Don't close the eye completely, leave just a very teeny tiny bit of the eye showing, because of you close the eye completely, the eyelashes might clip through in-game if your sim has long eyelashes. The eyes in the picture above have a good amount of the eye showing, even though it's hardly noticeable that the eye is not completely closed. Now, you see if you go back a couple frames, the eye will still be closed, or almost closes, well open it again by selecting the upper eyelid and pressing Alt + R, this will reset the eye lid's position. Do the same thing a couple frames after the keyframe of the eye closing, and open it again. Do this at least 2 times in an animation, depending on how long it is. Sometimes you don't even need to have your rig blink if it's a very short animation.

Now, we can move the fingers in a slight waving form too, but only slightly, because if you move them to the side too much, they'll look weird
So, as the rig waves their arm, say to the left, select all the finger bones of the waving hand except for the end point ones, and move them a little to the right. This will make animation look a whole lot smoother. You can try doing a similar thing with the hand as well. And just as the arm moves, just have the fingers follow, same with the hand.




Moving the eyes, sounds simple does it? But can you make them move around realistically? (probably...) but I'll be showing you a good realistic way of moving the eyes around.
So, first go to a frame you'd like the eyes to move at, then copy and paste only the whole eye area, you can press "c" and select both eyes, on that selected frame. Now, go 2 frames ahead, and move the eyes in the desired direction, but! make sure you select both eye bones, not all of them (eyelids etc.) just both eye bones. They will move at the same time, unless one goes out of the socket, in which you forgot something in Step 2, which is to set in the Pivot Point change it from Median point to individual origins. Now, here comes the part that makes the animation even more realistic, if you move the eyes up, then select the upper eyelids, and move them up a bit, and the lower eyelids slightly. Now, if you've moved the eyes down, then have both upper and lower eyelids go down. Here's a picture to show what it should look like:



That's all the basic details I will give you for now

Step 6 Naming & exporting your new animation

Now, if you already know how to do all this, then congrats! You've made a nice smooth animation
If you don't know what to do next, keep reading. And as for the ones who do, skip these last 2 steps.

Naming your animation - naming your animation is very important, if you don't name your animation properly, then it won't work in-game. Every rig has their own age letter, here:

Adult rig (male & female) - a_
Child rig ---- c_
Toddler rig - p_
Baby rig --- b_

So, put in the letter of whatever age of rig you have, in my case it's a toddler, so I'll put in p_[name]. Always make sure the letters are in little letters.
Now, export it by saving your animation and naming it for the appropriate age. Remember, when you save your animation, you can no longer change it's name! So don't touch it's name at all. Unless you re-import the animation and name it something different.



After you've saved it somewhere in your computer, open s3pe, go to file > new.
Now, go to resource > Import > from file, and select your animation clip file.



You will always get that when importing something, but don't change ANYTHING unless you know what you're doing. But in this case, it's just a simple CLIP file so no changes need to be committed, but still don't do anything and just click OK.

Now, go to file > save as... you'll need to save your package to something, you can enter the same name you used in blender, as I find this easier to do if I ever look for my animations.
Then, just place it in your mods folder, and you're done!

Step 7 Testing it in-game

Now, load a family that has the same age as your rig, in my case I'd need a household that has a toddler. Buy the animation player if you haven't already, and select your toddler (or whichever age you chose) and then have them enter the animation name in the animation player. Now, have them play it. Check to see if it looks smooth, too fast, too slow or if it just needs a little more work on.

Step 8 Just keep practicing

I have to admit myself, I was really bad at animating at one point, but the more you practice, the better your animations turn out, I can guarantee you'll be at least a decent animator between 6 months to a year, but in my case, if you have a lot of free time and a smart brain (c'mon, everybody's smart! ) you'll get the hand of it by at least 4-6 months

So, congratulations on making either your first animation or a better animation! I hope I helped you learn a lot more stuff about animation

Quick Disclaimer I am a self taught animator, so all that you've learnt right now is all I learnt myself, so there could be more tips out there, as well as tricks. and aswell, I did guarantee you'd be a decent animator between 6 months to a year, I may be wrong, everybody has their own time and knowledge about things, so some of you might understand this better than others, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments.

- When one gets inspired by the other, the one inspires another - Anything is Possible

Join my Discord server if you want ---> https://discord.gg/tvrTafF
Watch speed animating videos or rendered short movies of sims ---> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK...w_as=subscriber
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#2 Old 4th Sep 2018 at 2:49 AM
I'd been wondering about this. I've made animations for both TS3 and TS4; in TS4's case the keyframes are smoothened automatically. Blender applies some sort of bezier curve to each keyframe which results in entirely smooth motion, but it doesn't do that for TS3. I don't know if it's a huge problem on your end, but I've always found TS3 animations to be incredibly janky unless you're very meticulous in how you position everything, like you are. A couple of seconds of high-quality animation can take an entire afternoon to make. Should I ever need to make custom animations for my series, and I probably will at some point sooner rather than later, it'll be a significant timesink.

Hypocrisy is only okay if I do it.
( Join my dumb Discord server if you're into the whole procrastination thing. But like, maybe tomorrow. )
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Original Poster
#3 Old 4th Sep 2018 at 12:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrijzePilion
I'd been wondering about this. I've made animations for both TS3 and TS4; in TS4's case the keyframes are smoothened automatically. Blender applies some sort of bezier curve to each keyframe which results in entirely smooth motion, but it doesn't do that for TS3. I don't know if it's a huge problem on your end, but I've always found TS3 animations to be incredibly janky unless you're very meticulous in how you position everything, like you are. A couple of seconds of high-quality animation can take an entire afternoon to make. Should I ever need to make custom animations for my series, and I probably will at some point sooner rather than later, it'll be a significant timesink.


Yes, animations can be smooth, but if you learn a few things I've taught you the animations will look more realistic in a way that they're not roboticy, because I've observed some animations of other people and the sims look like robots tbh, but still it's great that you can even animate

And once you get the hang of it, it'll take you at least an hour to do a few animations, like me, I can more or less animate very quickly so I believe others can if they practice too.

- When one gets inspired by the other, the one inspires another - Anything is Possible

Join my Discord server if you want ---> https://discord.gg/tvrTafF
Watch speed animating videos or rendered short movies of sims ---> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK...w_as=subscriber
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