Animation editor REVAMP!!

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  • Hi dev gang!, I was just thinking, a long time ago, I made a few suggestions to make the animation editor and importing animations a little more streamlined, I'm pretty sure I put them up on the tracker but I did a quick search and couldn't find them. So I'm gonna make this suggestion and see what you think before I add them again.

    So yeah, the way I see it, the animation editor as it stands is largely limited in the fact that it is a panel. I was wondering if it was possible, after a large amount of work and grumbling at Arcticus, to make the animation editor similar to that of TGF/MMF? Or at the very least, keep it how it is and then make an 'advanced' button that brings up the window of the TGF/MMF style animation editor.

    It would have to break away from being confined to a panel and be a separate window like how the image editor currently works. Something along the lines of this:

    <img src="http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1289341/AnimatorWindowIdea.GIF">

    Having the animation editor displayed in this way opens up a whole lot of more advanced/easier to performs actions, such as:

    • preset amounts of directions (which should be possible at the moment anyway)
    • a radial display of each direction similar to that of TGF/MMF rather than a list (for those who use animation angles that are VERY close together, there could be a little zoomed in window showing the current direction and the couple adjacent to it). This leads to easy angle selection rather than a huge long list.
    • more advanced importing technique (what I mean by this is the idea i had a while ago where, upon importing large amounts of frames, for example, a single animation of a walk cycle that has every direction in the one animation, the user is givin the option to create a new animation angle of X degrees every Y amount of imported frames). Here's a quick diagram of what I mean:

    <img src="http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1289341/QuickImportDiag.GIF">

    • a horizontal display of frame thumbnails like how TGF/MMF and the Construct image editor currently does it. Double clicking on one of the frames could bring up the image editor of that frame.
    • animation controls such as speed, loops, etc could all be displayed in the window rather than being on the other side of the screen in a different panel.
    • numerous other possibilities that I haven't thought of yet!

    That's what I would like to see in the animation editor, I tend to make games with lots of animations and it would be a lot easier this way if you ask me. I know its a lot different to the visual basic kinda feel with the properties and stuff. But if I was presented with the options to choose to use the animation editor how it is now and this suggestion, I would choose this suggestion.

    I dunno, gimme your thoughts on it.

    I haven't submitted it to the tracker yet, I want to see what you think first, if you think it's not worth it, I won't bother adding it to the tracker.

    Construct rules!

  • I see what you are saying, MMF animation editor was a little easier to use. However, I have never had any issues with the way construct does it. The added directions would be nice in some situations. Other than that...

  • Well for example, creating a 16 direction 2.5d/isometric looking sprite (ala Diablo 2) with multiple animations would be an enormously long task with the editor as it stands. You would have to manually enter each direction, then import every animation for every direction in manually, whether that involves rendering/drawing them as separate animation files/image lists for each angle or having the whole animation and all it's directions in the one long animation, either way it would take ages and require a lot of work due to people like me making mistakes in such a procedure.

    You would THEN have to do all of that AGAIN for EVERY sprite/character/npc in the game, amounting to HUGE amounts of time and effort that this kind of method i suggested basically eliminates.

    My method would involve:

    • Create the animation
    • Choose the amount of animation angles
    • Import the imagelist/animation file (assuming you've drawn/rendered them all already)
    • Choose the correct amount of frames per angle
    • Let the importer do it's thing
    • Rinse and repeat for each animation

    Bingo

  • Thats what I meant by "some" situations. Diablo 2 was exactly what I was thinking of too

  • Yeah, I still think it would make a -brilliant- addition to the already amazing construct, because while it would help IMMENSELY with a diablo 2 style of game, it would still provide just as much functionality as it does now for other styles of games, if not slightly easier in my opinion. I don't find the current animation editor entirely user friendly, I acknowledge that it's probably largely due to other problems having a higher priority, but animation editors need love too!!

  • I do agree that the animation/picture editors could do with some improvements. Like animation previewing, for starters, and some more control of the animation within the picture editor (like adding, cloning and removing frames).

  • Previewing!! Thank you! I completely forgot about that. That's such a good idea that i'm gonna change my little paint diagram lol

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  • I agree with you about the previewing... It's probably a major improvement, but it would be awesome!

    I posted a nice way of improving the animation editor about a year ago, but it went mostly unnoticed, so I thought I should remember everyone about it

    It's not the same as you are requesting, but I think this method I proposed would save a lot of texture space and video resources and, in the long run, would improve the way you animate.

    After I proposed this I joined a game development studio, and I got to experiment on both Playground (a nice game engine by playfirst, free to use at http://developer.playfirst.com) and the Nintendo animation software package, and they are very similar to this things I tried to reproduce on Construct.

    Have a go, the .CAP is old but it will run on the newer versions.

    BTW, TIMELINE IS GREAT FOR ANIMATIONS!

  • I also agree. The animation editor does need a revamp as for now its a bit lacking of some useful features.

  • I agree that the animation system in Construct could use some work. But I don't think it's a good idea to simply reproduce the UI of TGF's animation editor (your diagram is basically an outlined screenshot of TGF 1's animation editor). That UI was designed some time in the 90s, so it might not be wise to blindly copy something so old!

    Davo's already implemented a very nice "filmstrip" at the bottom of the picture editor for images in animations. I think a better animation system would work as an extension to that. Also, I would prefer to get rid of the animation bar - perhaps a floating panel that only appears when the picture editor is open. I'm interested in redesigns, but not the one you posted.

  • Yeah I figured it was a bit of a copy, but hell it works. A lot of construct looks a lot like those older ones anyway lol!

    But hey I don't care what it looks like as long as it's user friendly!

    I still like the radial display thingy though

    What I would REALLY like to see, even if you don't change anything else, is that importing suggestion I made. That would just streamline importing one hell of a lot and make other 2d genres a little more approachable, rather than just having side-on and top-down games all over the place

    Hey maybe some other people reading this have some good animation editor UI ideas!

    Everyone interested should throw up a little diagram!! Mass brainstorm moving in

  • I'll try to sketch up something about the animation editor next week.

    I agree with Ashley. The design used with the Clickteam's software is not very flexible, even if it's easy to use. There are better ways to do it, while maintaining simplicity.

  • animation previewing is a must in my book. it doesnt seem like it would be too complicated to make. i mean all your doing is creating an exe the size of the animations limits, putting a checkboard bg behind it, and placing the sprite where it needs to be. it wouldnt work any different than the temp.exe type thing thats used for layout previewing.

    i never really use animation angles myself, but i do remember back in the day, the radial view made stuff wayyyy easier and simpler to understand.

    a popup dialogue thats not intergrated within the image editor, but a tab thats part of the same window would be really nice. like you just tab between animation editor and image editor. it opens up the current selected frame and swaps to the image editor when you double click it, the image editor has the animation frame thing at the bottom like it does now, so you can scrub through frames of a specific anim quickly. and the best part of it would be that unlike the current system, where you have to launch the image editor every time you want to alter frames, then close it when you wanna add a new one or change animation, now you would be able to just quickly change what you're doing all in one place. without having to always relaunch the damn thing

  • Yeah that sounds pretty sweet Quazi

    A lot of people don't use animation angles, but i'm hoping a lot of people want to! And with a real UI it'd be heaps easy

    I agree that the clickteam style animation editor would be a bit of a cop out, but as long as it gets the ball rolling for other ideas i'm happy

    Keep those ideas comin! I'll probably try to come up with something later when I'm awake so I'm not a hypocrite

  • The only thing that really annoys me on the animation editor is that I can't pick the transparent color.. I have to use the eraser. It would be a time saver if I could ctrl + click the transparency and paint as it was a color..

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