Learn the essentials of animation and creative approaches to effectively using XSI's robust animation tools. Contains six hours of project-driven training for aspiring animators and experienced artists seeking a refresher. Popular highlights include: Overview of XSI Animation Tools; Understanding Non-linear Animation; Manipulating Keyframes from Timeline; Overview of Animation Editor; Using Animation Mixer; Animation Preferences; Frame Rate Preferences; Copying and Pasting Animation; Fine-tuning animation; Editing Keyframes; Dope Sheet; Region Tool; Utilizing Expressions; Using Edit Key Tool; Editing Slope Handles; Controlling Function Curves; Utilizing Snapshots; Automating with Cycle Tools; Animating Seamless Cycles; Plotting Function Curve Cycles; Ghosting Animation; Path Animation; Layering Animation; Plotting Parameters; Optimizing Keyframe Data; Transitioning Animation Clips; Animating with Constraints; Linking Parameters; Parameter-driven Relationships; Real-time Previews of Sequences. Software required: XSI 6.0 and up.
Delano works avidly as an animation author at Pluralsight. Starting his career at animation studios like Shilo, Delano has developed a strong passion for his talents. His animation and rigging background help him teach and create some of the most-watched training on Pluralsight.
Introduction and Project Overview Hello, and welcome to Introduction to Animation in XSI, presented by Digital-Tutors, a Softimage training partner. My name's Delano, and I'll be your instructor as we go through the process of animating in XSI. Our objective in this training will be to understand the basics of animating in XSI, to grasp a good foundation of its incredible animation tools, which must be obtained before one can work at the utmost creative and efficient level, bringing inanimate objects to life in an enjoyable and desirable way. So we'll start by covering everything from being mindful of our animation settings and exploring many ways XSI allows us to set keyframes to working with path animation and learning how we can extract its data, optimize it, and blend it with other animations using time-saving techniques, non-linearly and non-destructively. We'll look into how we can manipulate keyframes from the timeline and dope sheet more effectively. We'll dive into features like XSI's amazing animation editor to animate efficiently, discuss techniques for seamlessly cycling animation, and learn how to work with XSI's powerful animation layering system. We've prepared a ton of exciting information for you that I know will make the process of learning animation enjoyable. With that, let's say we go ahead and get started by working with XSI's playback control panel. In this first lesson, we'll work on doing an overview of XSI's timeline and playback panel. This first lesson is called 01, and it's located in the project files directory on this training disk. Now before we get started, let's make sure that we're going to be in one our animation module. So we can do that a number of ways. We can either hit two on our keyboard or go to our module drop-down menu at the top left and select the second option; and we'll also make sure that we're viewing the UFO not in Textured, but in our Textured Decal. Notice how it's going to give us a pure display of the texture on this model. Okay, great. So now that that's done, let's get right into the lesson. If we look at the bottom of XSI, we can see these numbers in sequence and we see these lines. This is XSI's timeline. Now the timeline holds our frames. So our frames are going to hold our keyframes. Okay, our keyframes are going to lie on them; and they're also going to allow us to view our animation as we scrub back and forth on this timeline, and we can do that by holding the left mouse button and dragging back and forth. So notice how we're able to scrub and just get an idea of how our animation looks in this scene. So this is even very helpful, can be a very powerful tool for just testing out things like a path of action in your animation or even just making sure that the timing is the way you'd like it to be. So in a way, just scrubbing alone can be a very effective tool. Now, we're going to be getting into some more timeline information that is going to make working with it very fun and very efficient; but let's go ahead and discuss the numbers that are next to our timeline. These are our playback start and end times, or inframe and outframes. Now what these allow us to do is, just as the label says, it's going to allow us to see whatever playback range we have based off of these numbers. So right now they're set to 1 and 70, but what would happen if we took 1 here and brought that to, let's say, a value of 15? Notice now we're only able to see a playback of frames 15 all the way to frames 70, all the way to our end time; and the same thing applies to the end. If we took this value and brought this to, let's say, 45; notice now our view is pretty much constrained to frames 15 and 45 of this animation. Now something very important to note, this doesn't necessarily relate to what our settings are in our render manager. So you can adjust it so that it'd be set to your range or your timeline; but by default, it's currently not going to be linked at all to it. So that's just something that you want to note. And we are going to be getting into some render settings you may want to use, not necessarily rendering out this animation; but if you like to take it that step further, you can sure do that. And we'll just go on to some settings you want to be mindful of, but that's going to be later discussed within the training. So getting right back to our range, so notice now we're able to just constrain how many frames we're able to see within our viewport using this. Now, you may have also seen that this bar underneath the timeline has updated. This is our time range slider. So this correlates with our playback start and end time parameters. So if we were to, let's say, adjust this; and we can do that by going to the front part of our time range slider. If we go to where we see the number here indicating what our start timeframe is, if we were to left mouse button select that and drag to a number of frames backwards, so let's say frame five, notice how we're able to now see from frames five and on; and the same thing applies to the end of the range slider. So if we were to go again to this end, hold the left mouse button and drag, let's say, to about frame 60, notice how we have expanded our view. And also notice how our start and end timeframes have updated as well. So these work together, the time range slider and our frame in and out parameters. Now, you're also able to adjust the range slider from the middle of it, and notice what that is going to do; if we hold the left mouse button on it and move back and forth, we're able to move to a number of frames specified by a global start and end time, which we're just about to get into, but we can get into some really fun things examining our animation using this range slider. So if we just wanted to focus on, let's say, frames 20 to frames 43, for example; we can adjust our range slider, again holding the left mouse button and dragging the front and back section, and notice, all right, we're just able to see, for example, this spin. If we ever wanted to study it and possibly even adjust it. Great! So another cool thing about the range slider is if we double-click the center here, we're able to get back to our global start and end times. So that's something very cool to note. If you're working on an animation sequence and you had your global start and end set and you adjusted your range, you can quickly get back, once you're done tweaking this section of frames you can see, you can quickly get back to viewing the whole entire animation by double-clicking the range. Wonderful, and if you ever wanted to get back to that section again; you can simply double-click the time range slider again and notice it's going to take you back to that same exact setting that you had. Now, this just gives us one undo we can see, so if we double-click, notice how we're just able to go back to our global start and end or back to our specified start and end. So that's just something important to note, that we can't go any past that. So we know what these first parameters do for us. We know what our time range slider does for us, so we have an idea of what these bottom numbers do for us. These are our global start and end times. So we could basically say that our playback start and end times are controlled or manipulated by the values that we see in our global start and end. We are not going to be able to get really past these values. We can put in a value to increase our length; so if we wanted to, we could even bring our playback range to, let's say, a value of 90, but notice how our global end time is going to adjust to frame 90 as well. So you can see how the start time is constrained to this end time by doing so, but I'm going to go back to frame 70 for the demonstration. So this is our playback, or our global start and global end. So if we were to look at our playback start time, right now it's set to frame 26; and we could see this space in here within our time range. This is basically telling us, all right, we do have our current playback start set to 26, but we have some space to work with because our global start is set to 1. Now watch what would happen if we took this global start and brought it to frame 26. Notice how we're able to remove that amount of spacing we had within our range, and the same thing applies for our end times. So if we brought frame 70 here to, let's say, frame 55, notice the amount of spacing that we can see; but if we brought our global time, end time that is, to frame 55, there's no more spacing. So that's essentially what this first section does on our timeline. We've discussed what the timeline is. We've discussed our playback start and end range. We also said that it doesn't necessarily relate with our render settings, so it's something we want to keep in mind; and we've also gone ahead and talked about our global start and end times, as well as just a few other things about testing out timing in our animation. So with these things now discussed, we're going to go ahead and stop the lesson here. In the next lesson we'll get to XSI's playback panel.