Basics of working with timelines in Scirra Construct 3

Construct 3 has received a long-awaited feature when the Timelines got introduce a few years back. They have been built to be incredibly powerful, but getting started with timeline animation in Construct can feel confusing even for professional animators who are very familiar with concepts like keyframes and eases.

Here are the basic steps you should perform when you want to use the Timeline to create a rotation for an object:

-Right click somewhere in the layout editor and choose Timeline -new timeline

-Drag and drop an instance to the timeline

-Turn on editing (the pen icon)

-Select the instance and change it’s angle value in the properties bar

-Record this change as a keyframe by clicking on the + button to set keyframes

Here’s a few other tips:

-If you want to open the Timeline properties like the name of the Timeline, you need to click on the headers for things like the timeline name or a specific track. Then they will open up in the properties bar. Simply clicking on the Timeline bar itself is not enough.

-If you want to access the Timeline with events, you need to add the global timeline object to the project.

-You can zoom the timeline by scrolling while holding down ctrl

-To change the value of an existing keyframe, you don’t click “set keyframe” as in many other animation programs, but instead change the value, right click on the keyframe and choose “update”.

You can set any instance to play with the timeline using the “Set instance” action. Very handy for giving different objects the same animation.

One way of uniquely identifying a timeline is to give them a unique tag, possibly based on the UID of the instance involved.

If you want to do something with the instance you play with a timeline, one easy option for that is using the “system –> wait for previous actions to complete” action, which will wait for the timeline to finish and allow you to operate on the instance right after that.

One really powerful feature is the ability to add tags to master keyframes (the round ones). These tags can then be used to trigger various events in order to make things happen in sync with your animation.

Finally a sprite sheet recoloring process that works

I have been searching for a good workflow for testing out different color palettes for existing video game designs.

I have finally found a relatively pain free method of testing different color palettes and applying them to entire games. I will be making a video tutorial about this in the future, but before I get to that, I thought I would already explain the basics of the workflow.

Continue reading “Finally a sprite sheet recoloring process that works”

Basics of Using Cryptomatte in Blender 2.93

In the buttons area (on the right side of the interface), select the “View layer properties” tab.

Under “cryptomatte” turn on “object”, “material” or “asset”. I like “asset” since it let’s me select entire rigs that consist of several parts.

Go to the “compositing” workspace.

Turn on “use nodes”.

Add a viewer node with shift+a –> output –> viewer.

Add the cryptomatte node from Matte –> Cryptomatte.

Connect the image output from the render layers node to the image input of the Cryptomatte node. Connect the “pick” output from the Cryptomatte node to the image input of the viewer node. Render the scene (keyboard shortcut F12).

You should now see different matte colors that identify different assets in your render layer. Use the + button to access the eyedropper tool and select as many assets as you need for the matte you are building.

To see the actual matte, you can plug the “matte” output from the Cryptomatte node to the viewer.

Now you have a matte that you can use in various way when you are compositing. As a simple example, you could color correct the matted area by combining two copies of the input image with the “AlphaOver” node while using the matte as the factor. Then simply drop a color correction node like RGB curves between the bottom image connection.

Hair modeling tips for Blender

I have recently been doing hair renders in Blender and thought I would share some key tips that I have learned along the way:

  1. Use multiple particle systems. If you put all your hair in just one particle system, it becomes really tedious to edit the hair. You’ll end up combing hair that you didn’t mean to etc.
  2. Place the hair manually in hair edit mode (with the add hair brush). So set the initial amount to zero in the particle settings. Comb after every round of hair.
  3. Use simple children instead of interpolated, they are much easier to handle in the edit mode.
  4. To make the interpolated children more fluffy, increase the “radius” value.
  5. Be careful with the Path –> steps value, large values made my Blender crash.
  6. Use the Hair BSDF if you are rendering with Cycles. As of now that won’t work for Eevee so you’ll need to create your own shader for Eevee.
  7. Subdivide the roots of your hair in edit mode, because the hair needs more bend right where it comes out from the head. Also use enough keys when creating the hair strands.

Save bone selection in Blender

Did you know that you can easily save certain bones into a group in Blender so that you can selected those bones quickly when needed? Simply use the bone groups feature to group your bones into different groups that can then be selected from the same bone groups panel. This comes particularly handy when using the pose library: you probably want to create matching bone groups for the poses that you are creating, especially now that the poses are only saved and applied for the bones that you have selected. You can even give different groups of bones different color to be able to visually separate them from each other.

Here’s the process of adding bones to a bone group:

1. Select the bones you want to add to the group (in Pose mode for example)
2. Create a new bone group with the + button
3. Hit the assign -button

Now you can easily selected that set of bones any time from the “select” button.

Blender 2.8 Grease Pencil basics

Getting the started with the new grease pencil tool in Blender 2.8 can be a bit tricky at first. In this post I will simply list some “gotchas” that I bumped into in case it may help others:

Question 1:

Why can’t I create a fill color for my object with the fill-tool?
I’m clicking inside a closed stroke, but the stroke seems to be getting thicker instead of a fill appearing.

Answer:

You probably need to set the fill opacity alpha to 1. it’s zero for materials by default which makes the fill transparent.

Question 2:

How can I tween or interpolate between grease pencil shapes?

Answer:

The basic tween workflow can be tested like this:
-Draw a shape
-Duplicate the first keyframe on the dopesheet timeline (shift + d) and move it further in time
-Go to this second keyframe and enter the sculpt mode
-Change the shape of the stroke by sculpting
-Go between these two keyframes and from the “interpolate” menu on the top choose “sequence” to have Blender automatically create the in-betweens

Question 3:

Why does the brush size and strength change from what I set it to be in the top bar when I try to sculpt my strokes with grab tool in sculpt mode?

Answer:

Still working on the answer for this one! 🙂

Question 4:

What’s the difference between “Draw block”, “Draw ink”, “Draw Marker” “Draw Noise”, “Draw Pen” and “Draw Pencil”?

Answer:

Try them and you will see they all produce a different kind of stroke. The Draw Ink -brush doesn’t seem to do ink-like angles when painting with a mouse, but using a pressure sensitive tablet and pen helped.

Question 5:

How do I create new grease pencil layers or collections in 2.8?

Answer:

You can add new layers to grease pencil by selecting the little pen icon in the properties area (one tab before the materials tab) and creating layers there.

Question 6:

Where does the white background come from when using the new 2d-animation project preset?

Answer:

N-panel –> “grease pencil paper”

Question 7:

How do I select the grease pencil material before starting drawing?

Answer:

The option to select the material beneath the brush selection is grayed out for some reason. But here’s how you can choose your material colors before drawing anything: go to the materials tab and create a new material slot there. Add a new material to the material slot and change the settings to what you want. If you now draw with the grease pencil, new strokes should get this new material.

Question 8:

How can I assign different grease pencil layers different materials? At the moment changing the material seems to affect all grease pencil layers. I would like my fill layer to have a different material from my line art layer.

Answer:

Take the grease pencil object to edit mode, add a second material slot, add a new material to it, select the lines you want to affect (hiding the eye of the other layer can help), and click assign.

Question 9:

How can I change the origin of the grease pencil object?

Answer:

Place the 3D cursor where you want the new origin and go to object –> set origin –> origin to 3D cursor. Unfortunately this will also move move the location of the object. Now there is a very strange workaround at the moment (probably due to a bug), but you can set the position back to the original position after changing the origin by doing the following: object –> snap –> selection to cursor. And after that undo once and it seems to return to it’s proper location.

Question 10:

How can I quickly switch between draw mode and sculpt mode with a keyboard shortcut?

Answer:

I’m not sure if there is a default shortcut yet, but you can easily assign your own shortcut by opening the menu item, right clicking on it and selecting “assign shortcut”. The fastest and most future proof way might be to open up the pie menu with ctrl+tab and switching between the modes from there.

Basic workflow suggestion for 2.8 Grease pencil:
-Add a new empty grease pencil object in object mode (shift+a keyboard shortcut). This step is needed to be able to activate the draw mode in the next step.
-Switch from object mode to draw mode
-Select your pencil/brush type from the left side tool panel
-Modify your brush settings from the “tool settings” panel in the right side property buttons -area. You might want to try the turn on the “active smooth” for example to get an interesting, smooth and accurate drawing experience even with just the computer mouse.
-Sculpt your strokes in the sculpt mode. You can for example add width variations to the stroke with the width tool.
-Go to the materials tab and change stroke color and add a fill (change fill opacity to 1 first)

That’s it for now, I will append this article with more questions and answers as I continue studying the tool.