Question about WoW model viewer?

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Svelyn
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Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Svelyn » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:01 pm

I loaded up the viewer, and the characters, and figured out how to make a gif - but for the life of me, how on earth do you get two characters in the window at the same time? Each time I click on one it completely reloads it instead of adding another one.

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Vephriel » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:06 pm

You cannot have two characters or models in the window at the same time.

You'd have to use an animation program to put two or more together.

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Saturo » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:30 pm

Karathyriel is the resident expert on that. He uses a program called ImageReady, which comes free with older versions of Photoshop.

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Svelyn » Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:29 pm

Ok, so what is the process for getting two animated characters in to a signature? Can you export the animations along with the models? I've seen a couple that have a character walking with a pet beside them and they overlap nicely. I'm talking about the signatures like this one:
Image

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Karathyriel
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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Karathyriel » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:18 am

As I am responsible for those animated signatures, it'd better be me to explain the process of creation.

As I already wrote in some other thread, you can only have one model in the ModelViewer at a time. There you can choose the animation, the equipment and general appearance of the chosen model. And you can export the desired animation as an animated GIF file. Please note that there is an option to make the background transparent, which is absolutely necessary if you want to work with those GIFs like I do.

As was said by Saturo, I'm using an older version of Photoshop, which I could get very cheap, that comes along with ImageReady. While Photoshop is a mighty tool when it comes to create any kind of still image effect, it's ImageReady that seems to be able to handle animations pretty well, as if it was meant to be the tool for creating web graphics.

You have to understand the basic way that Photoshop and of course ImageReady are working: Layers! This means, that you can have different graphics on different layers that will be shown in one image, just as if you would paint on transparent foils. The layer on top will cover those below but only where you have put some paint. The rest will show through. Look at this example:
Image

You also have to understand how an animated GIF is working. It basically is showing one picture after another, pausing for whatever delay was entered for each frame. The delay can be different for each little graphic. to get a smooth animation, every frame has the same delay. Look at my avatar. It's just the basic "look around-idle" animation of the bloodelf, where I chose some frames to be shown longer which creates the effect that he seems to be looking at something. You may also choose to show the animation once, x times or looped. And another advantage of the GIF file is that it can have one colour set to transparent. Here is another example:
Image
All I did was to switch the layers to visible or invisible. Each frame is shown 0.5 seconds except when everything is visible. There I set a two seconds delay. The texts are separate layers as well.

I hope you know what I mean.

Now, when you load an animated GIF into ImageReady, you'll notice two things:
  1. every step of the animation is on a different layer
  2. there is an animation bar where you can add frames, set delay times etc.
This enables you to handle the animation completely as in you decide when which frame will be shown for whatever amount of time you want it to be shown.
A simple animation that was exported by Modelviewer has exactly as much frames as it has layers, as each of the layers will be shown alone.
So, when you look at the draenei with her wolf, the steps of creation were as follows:
  1. Choose the female draenei and alter the looks and equipment to your satisfaction
  2. choose desired position and animation
  3. export as animated GIF with transparent background (NOTE: be sure to turn of all particle or transparency effects of the model)
  4. choose the wolf model and desired skin
  5. choose desired position and animation
  6. export as animated GIF with transparent background (NOTE: be sure to turn of all particle or transparency effects of the model)
  7. IMPORTANT: both animations should have the same amount of exported frames so both have the same length in their animation
  8. open ImageReady
  9. load draenei animation GIF
  10. load wolf animation GIF
  11. open new graphic
  12. link and copy all layers of one GIF to the new file (IMPORTANT: the layers on top of the list will cover the layers on the bottom of the list. copying the wolf first will make the draenei be in front, copying the draenei first will make the wolf be in front)
  13. resize and position the layers lfor the draenei, be sure to have them still linked, so they all will be resized and positioned together
  14. resize and position the layers for the wolf, be sure to have them still linked, so they all will be resized and positioned together
  15. as the new graphic is no animation, you will have to add frame after frame now, choosing the next layer for both the dreanei and the wolf in each frame
  16. when you are done and each frame was created, you can now click the play button to check the look of your animation.
  17. set size, number of colors and quality of the newly created GIF to match your requirement (in terms of this forum, maximum is 800 x 300 pixel and 300 KB file size)
  18. choose the "save optimized version" from the menu and save your creation
  19. upload and use it
I know this is really confusing but that's the way to do it... Or at least, it's the way I do it.
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Svelyn
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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Svelyn » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:37 am

Thank you very much for posting this.

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Drelf » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:33 pm

Hi, thanks for this tutorial, but I'm looking to do each steps you explained, but I cannot find how to "link all the layers together". Could you please help me on that.

Thank you

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Saturo » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:47 pm

Try going to the layers pane, rightclicking a random layer and choose "Merge Visible".

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Drelf » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:54 pm

Thanks a lot

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Mr. Perfect » Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:46 pm

Does anyone know if the WoW models have a set frame rate? For example, the animation of my character standing around idly is 2666 frames. The idle animation of my pet, however, is 3334 frames. Does that mean that the pet idle animation is 1.2 times longer then the character animation?

If there is some sort of set framerate, then it will be much easier to extract the correct frames and have the animations sync up.
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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Saturo » Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:48 pm

You can set a framerate yourself, tough. Just pick something universal.

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Karathyriel
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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Karathyriel » Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:11 am

Mr. Perfect wrote:Does anyone know if the WoW models have a set frame rate? For example, the animation of my character standing around idly is 2666 frames. The idle animation of my pet, however, is 3334 frames. Does that mean that the pet idle animation is 1.2 times longer then the character animation?

If there is some sort of set framerate, then it will be much easier to extract the correct frames and have the animations sync up.
That, in fact, can be a problem.

If you want to save an animation as a GIF, you'll have to set the number of frames the animation is split up in.

If you choose to have the idle animation of model A with 2000 frames in MV saved as a GIF with 30 frames, you'll be fine. Don't worry about this huge difference in numbers, as MV seems to have a frame for each 0.x milisecond.

Now if you want to combine this animation with that of model B, which happens to have 4000 frames in model viewer, you'll have one problem. If you save this animation into 30 frames as well, it'll look like being played twice the speed of animation A, because 4000 frames were now pressed into the same amount of frames as we had 2000 frames before. The only thing you can do to prevent this is to have animation B saved as 60 frames and, when put together play animation B once and animation A twice.

Here is a visual help:
[-----------------------60-frames----------------------------]
[-------30-frames-------------I-------30-frames-----------]

I hope you see what I mean.

Now, what makes the creation of animated signatures even worse is the given file size: Less than 300 KB!

And some graphic hosting sites seem to add some bytes to show that this pic was hosted at their website... :roll:

So it's up to you to choose the number of displayed colors, image size and stuff like that to force it to be under 300 KB, which might result in some very pale or grainy looking GIFs, depending on what you have displayed.

I found out that 3 models in some not to long animation were the limit for a still nice looking and smoothly animated signature.

Examples:
Image
Had to cut down on color and size to make it work.

Image
With only two models and similar animation length, everything is just fine.

Image
Idle animation of hunter is short, while the one of the bug is long. Results in the bug looking nervous, as it is "played faster".

Image
This shows very nicely that both cats have the same animation used, so they go smoothly together.

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Mr. Perfect » Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:23 am

Karathyriel wrote:Here is a visual help:
[-----------------------60-frames----------------------------]
[-------30-frames-------------I-------30-frames-----------]

I hope you see what I mean.
Yes, that's exactly the problem I was afraid of running into. :| What complicates things more is that they don't divide evenly into each other.

Would you happen to know if MV has the same framerate in all animations? I'd like to use the File -> Save Screenshot function to export the frames as BMPs so they aren't all muddied up before I even get to work with them. If I knew the frame rate, I could extract every xth number of frames. Hopefully that makes sense. :?
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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Karathyriel » Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:32 am

Mr. Perfect wrote:What complicates things more is that they don't divide evenly into each other.
Well, that's easy to handle. By saving them as animated GIFs, you decide the number of frames shown. So lets say they are 1800 frames for animation A and 7500 for animation B. Don't be to rude to yourself, man! ust make 'em fit in 1:3 or 1:4. If you slightly change the compression, nobody will notice the slightly slower or faster animation.

By asking for BMP, I fear you are using the powerful tool provided by Windows. If you have access to some other graphics program than MS Paint, you should use that.

If not, well, just use Google and find yourself a free one! :lol:

Honestly, MS Paint won't get you where you want to go. It's just not worth the effort.

If you have a program that can actually handle animated GIFs, you might use that as all frames are in there to be extracted by you.

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Mr. Perfect » Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:10 am

Nah, it'll probably be a combination of GIMP, Irfanview, and yes, MS Paint. I'm thinking .bmp because they're uncompressed. The GIFs that MV puts out are seriously compressed, and that's something I can do later after editing.

That and I've been wanting to try an animated .PNG. :) .PNGs seem to compress fairly well without making the pictures as grainy looking.
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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Karathyriel » Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:23 am

Oh, good luck with that.

That is not my "area of expertise" so I can't help you there.

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Mr. Perfect » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:31 am

No worries. Thanks for taking the time to share what you know. :)
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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Karathyriel » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:16 am

After thinking about it...

I wouldn't worry about compression to much.
In the end, you'll have to compress the whole image anyway and GIFs aren't that bad. JPGs are losing a lot of quality but GIFs should be OK. The grainy look you see in my signatures comes from manually cutting down on quality to meet the 300KB limit for signatures in this forum.

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by Curumor » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:14 am

While the topic's up, anyone have any experience making animated sigs with WMV and Gimp?
Can do it easy if it's just one model, but trying to add another just screws everything up.
Just can't get the layers right...

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Re: Question about WoW model viewer?

Unread post by heyitskat » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:00 am

If any1 knows of any Free imaging programs online that can better help me make my imaging animated please post here or pm me....Im not having any luck and not wanting to really waste any money at the moment.

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