Learning with Cliff

To get things started, here's a few quick video tutorials on using Puppeteer from DAZ3D...(Puppeteer is now part of the free DAZ|Studio package)

Puppeteer #1 - Not Just For Animation!

I like to think of "Puppeteer" as being "Motion Capture on the cheap" (if not for free!), but it's not limited in scope to animation enthusiasts - as I hope to demonstrate in this first tutorial, it is also a rather intriguing new tool for creating static poses. Puppeteer adds even further to DAZ|Studio's already impressive arsenal of posing tools, and in the process it makes existing (and further) collections of poses even more flexible (and valuable) because it increases their potential use exponentially.

High-resolution WMV (1280 x 770, 2MB)

Online Flash Player Coming Soon

Puppeteer #2 - Free Motion Capture

The meat of Puppeteer is in its ability to let the user animate "in real time", providing an interesting variation on "motion capture" - no expensive motion capture suit, no limiting the range of motion to gross body movement and hand-editing expression and/or fingers seperately, and no limiting the motion to the anatomy of the animator at all! Instead you can set up and record practically any live "performance" you want.

Before doing any "live" motion capture you should be aware of a feature of DAZ|Studio that tends to introduce unwanted "stuttering". Go to the "Edit" menu and select "Preferences":

This will open up the "Properites" dialog box. Select the "Directories" tab and note the "Automatically Refresh Content Folders" option. By default this is turned on, which means that DAZ|Studio will scan any and all Studio and Poser Content/Runtime folders every few seconds - which can interrupt live recording of data.

Turn that option off by removing the tick from the box, and click on the "Accept" button.

High-resolution WMV (1280 x 770, 1.8MB)

Online Flash Player Coming Soon

Don't forget to turn the "Automatically Refresh Content Folders" option back on after you've finished recording (it's not a vital function but it keeps the display of available content up-to-date).

Puppeteer #3 - Layer Clash

Puppeteer has "Layers", but it doesn't always blend well - pose data for one body part can overwrite pose data for the same body part from an earlier layer.

High-resolution WMV (1280 x 770, 3.1MB)

Online Flash Player Coming Soon

Unless/until DAZ3D change the way layers interact (perhaps by making them blend, or by reducing contention from whole body parts down to individual parameters) "Layer Clash" must be worked around. Typical solutions are:

  • Do not use the same body part on different layers.
  • Use the layers "in order" - record your base performance first, then use the animation timeline to set the appropriate position (often back at the start again) to work on a layer that adjusts just a body part that needs tweaking (perhaps the head and neck angle) slowly building your animation up to the final performance with finer and finer detail.
  • Rigging (or re-rigging!) figures to accomodate extra body parts.

Here's an example of using ERC on one body part (of Noggins Ostrich) to control another body part to avoid "Layer Clash":

High-resolution WMV (1280 x 770, 2.8MB)

Online Flash Player Coming Soon

Noggins Owl - for obvious reasons - does not have the extra controls avaialble to avoid Layer Clash betwen the "flight" and "Head" control layers.

Puppeteer #4 - Unsteady Hands?

Coming Soon

Not everyone has perfectly steady hands - I myself don't have good fine motor control (something which may show up in the video sections of these tutorials despite repeated recordings to minimise the issue!). It was therefore important for me to find a way to use Puppeteer to the best of my ability in creating animations, and the technique has the additional benefit of making it easier to create looping animations.

Puppeteer #5 - Presets are meant to evolve

Coming Soon

Puppeteer Presets - your own or third party (bought or freebies) are live, changing, and editable. They should evolve - even during a single session - to better meet your requirements.

Texture Tramsitions #1 - Transitioning between two (or more) texture sets over time

Coming Soon Showing how to use multiple renders and post-processing to switch from one texture set to another "seamlessly" with Poser or DAZ|Studio and a video editor