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Animation in Blender Tutorial! NEAT!


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Edit: I'm back on and off after a few years... I plan on finishing this tutorial up and modifying it so it will work with both Oldrim and Skyrim SE. (Plus, it helps me after a few years of not doing anything!) 

 

This is a WIP tutorial. Currently only the Animation file creation part is done (from blender to a usable .hxk file) This tutorial, when done, will cover the steps required to either replace, or make a NEW animation in Blender, then add it to the game. This is meant to be a FULL tutorial, so steps should be covered from opening blender to seeing the animation play out in game!

 

Needed Tools:

 

For simply replacing vanilla animations:

 

Both Skyrim SE/Oldrim: Blender (I'm using 2.78c)                                                                                        

 

Both Skyrim SE/Oldrim: Anton's Animation Tools (Specifically the N3 folder, this is the main magic here)

 

                                                      For Skyrim SE: Animation.hkx Conversion for Skyrim Special Edition 

 

For adding new animations, the additional tools required:

 

Oldrim only: The Creation Kit                                                                                                 

 

Oldrim only: FNIS for modders and users (I'm using V6.3)                                                       

 

Oldrim only: Highly Recommended Skyrim Script Compiler Pro (I'm using SE 4.0.0.0             

 

                    For Skyrim SE: The Creation kit For Skyrim SE

 

 For Skyrim SE: FNIS SE for modders

 

               For Skyrim SE: Skyrim SE Script Compiler Pro

 

Pre-Setup
 
Download and install all required files. If you are just replacing stock animations, you should be good with just Blender and Anton's Animation Tools (N3). Otherwise install everything and continue to the Animation section below.
 
I have this section more as a placeholder in case there is any confusion on installation and I need to add something. The default options should work for installing everything, but let me know if there is confusion and I'll try to list it here.
 
As for Anton's tools. You can place the N3 folder ANYWHERE you want to, just make sure to keep all the contents in this folder in tact! When making an animation, Anton's script will only work when the blender file you are working on is in the "Animation Tools N3" folder and it's opened from that folder! Open the Blender file FROM THIS FOLDER as well, otherwise, you'll get an error saying some files aren't found or something. If you want to save the example_female_UNP (or example_male_vanilla) as a different file (in case you want to have different base files to work off for animation setup), you can! Just save it as whatever you want, just make sure to keep it in the N3 folder for use with his scripts.
 
What I like to do is take the example files and change the bottom window to the timeline mode, then save again so I don't have to change this every-time.
 
 
Helpful tips for Navigating in Blender:
 

 

Middle click: This rotates the camera around
Shift + Middle Click: This moves the camera around (translates the view)
Mouse wheel: This zooms in or out
 
Right click: This selects or unselects objects in the window
Shift + Right click: This allows multiple selection of objects
 
A: This deselects any selected objects or selects all objects if nothing is selected.
 
? This brings up a circular selection that allows you to select several objects at once.
     Use the right mouse click when the circle is up to select obejcts under the circle.
 
H: This hides selected objectes.
Shift + H: This hides all UNSELECTED objects
Alt + H: This unhides all objects
 
When an object is selected:
 
R: This changes the movement mode to rotate. Very useful in animation. You can hit "r"
     twice to change the angle of rotation. The rotation angle is based on the current view
 
G: This "grabs" the object so it can be moved. It's basic translation of the object.
 
 
When a bone is selected in Blender, Right clicking AFTER moving the bone will result in cancelling
that movement. LEFT clicking will result in keeping that movement. This movement must still be
keyed on the selected frame is the auto keyframe feature isn't selected!
 
 
 
Animating
 
 
1. Open the example_female_UNP (or example_male_vanilla) blender file from the N3 folder.
 
33191889113_4cdccf49e4_b.jpg
2. Change the bottom window to timeline, then set the frame length, keyframe options,
     and adjust the frameview bar to better see the overall frames. Notice in the object window,
     the mode is in Pose Mode. Keep it this way, this is used for making animations.
 
 
33847098272_62880eef63_h.jpg
 
33847085772_bd8ab44515_h.jpg
 
 

 

 
     2.1 About KeyFrames:
           
 

 

            Keyframes are how Blender records the bone movement (or animations).
            When a bones position has keys saved, a yellow line will appear on the frame timeline (as
            long as the bone is selected).
           - The Keyframe LocRot means that the bone location and rotation will be recorded when hitting
             the set keyframe button (or if the auto keyframe button is selected.) I use this keyframe when
             animating since it will cover pretty much everything you need. If for some reason you need bone
             scaling or something else, you can selected LocRotScale or something else. It's probably best to
             leave it at LocRot for now.
           - The auto KeyFrame button will automatically save the bones positions based on the keyframe
             selected (LocRot etc.) for the currently selected frame. This is useful for quickly saving positions
             though animations. You can toggle this on an off whenever you want. It will start saving keys when
             toggled on, and won't do anything when toggled off.
           - The manual keyframe button will save the selected bones keys for the current frame.
           - The clear keyframe button will delete the selected bones saved keys for that frame.
             
 
      2.2 The frameview bar:
 
 
This can be adjusted by selecting one of the dark circles on either end of the bar and dragging out
to make it larger, or in to make it smaller. This isn't necessary, but helps a lot when trying to view the
animation.
 
 
 
 
3. Start making your animation!
 
 

 

 
     3.1 The motion of the bones will automatically move to the next position between keyframes. So if you
            have the wriste bone keyed to be all the way up in the air at frame 0, then down as low as it can go
            at frame 50, then from frame 0 to 50, it will move from the top to the bottom.
 
            Example animation pictures coming soon!
 
 
 
4. When you are done with your animation, try previewing it as a whole. If you are satisfied, hit the "Run Script"
     button on the script window.
 
33847083732_f50ac6f518_h.jpg
 
5. Minimize or close Blender and locate and open the "Convert" Batch file in the "Animation Tools N3" folder.
 
33161324564_4dc913415e_b.jpg
 
 

 

 
      5.1 Info on files in folder
 
 
Notice, then "zBoneKeys" text file will have the "Date Modified" to when the "Run Script" function was
used in Blender. This is important to double check to make sure you ran the script. You don't need to
do anything yourself with this file. It is used to know the bone positions when using the "Convert" batch file.
 
 
     5.2 You should see the following window pop up:
 
33963173696_246b9d670a.jpg
 
 
 
6. Type in KFmaker.exe empty.kf zBoneKeys.txt
 
 

 

 
     6.1 Your command prompt window should look something like this after running:
 
33161323114_1d3d286801.jpg
 
 
7a. A file "empty_new.hkx" should be created!
 
33963172726_4b33bf8085_b.jpg
 
7b. Skyrim SE step only: Use dnalloh1987's "converttoskyrimSE" .bat file to convert the animation file to a compatible Skyrim SE file. I will flesh out this step a little more once I get more 
       organized, but to do this, you'll move the animation file to you're steammapps/common/Skyrim Special Edition/Tools/HavokBehaviorPostProcess folder (or wherever your main Skyrim SE 
       installation is.) This folder is where you'll have placed the "converttoskyrimSE" .bat file. Once you move you animation file you just created to this folder, run the "converttoskyrimSE" file. It
       should only take a fraction of a second. After running the file, move to the next step!
 
8a. If you're replacing an animation file, rename the "empty_new.hkx" with whatever file you are replacing
        it with. For example, name it "mt_jump.hkx" and place it in the proper folder (folder location should be
        meshes/actors/character/animations) to replace the standard jump animation. There are many animations
        for jumping, so this will just replace that ONE animation.
 
 
That's it, this file is now done and ready to replace an exisitng animation. If you are replacing an animation, BE SURE
TO MAKE A BACKUP of that file before in case something goes wrong or you decide you don't like it!
 
8b. If you are adding a new animation, name the "empty_new.hkx" file whatever you want! This file will be
        placed in the mod's animation folder you are adding it to (either your own mod's folder, or another mod's
        folder if you are editing one of your own.) The mod animation folder will have the folder structure
        meshes/actors/character/animations/MODNAME. You can replace mod animations by following step 8a and
        placing them in the mod folders, or you can add your own. Adding new ones requires FNIS for modders and
        some small (or large, whatever your main goal is) which is explained in the next section.
 
 
 
FNIS Setup
 
coming soon!
 
Scripting
 
coming soon!
 
Creation Kit
 
coming soon!

 

 

 

 

Give any advice or feedback and I'll improve the tutorial if I can! I'm still kinda a knewb, so I don't know everything, but I'll post what I do know to help others out!

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I finally feel like I'm getting close to fully learning the ropes with Blender and then you release a guide that would've saved an entire week's worth of time and effort. Give me my time back.  :(

 

Good work though! Thanks for the guide.

 

If you want to consider putting my experiences in the guide, the parts I got stuck on during my on-going adventure were when the script couldn't find "skeleton.txt" because (in my case) searched the Blender directory. A few tweaks in the script and one filepath change later it exported fine... And then I couldn't find the zBoneKeys.txt because it was dumped under the Blender directory. More tweaking of the script fixed that as well. I also suggest installing Blender somewhere that doesn't require admin privileges otherwise the provided Convert.bat won't function properly because hkxcmd can't write to the aforementioned administrative location.

 

EDIT: Oh and the readme Anton provided is misleading in some parts about the skeleton_female.txt, and others.

EDIT2: Eh nevermind, following your instructions, Anton's readme shouldn't be needed.

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I finally feel like I'm getting close to fully learning the ropes with Blender and then you release a guide that would've saved an entire week's worth of time and effort. Give me my time back.  :(

 

Good work though! Thanks for the guide.

 

If you want to consider putting my experiences in the guide, the parts I got stuck on during my on-going adventure were when the script couldn't find "skeleton.txt" because (in my case) searched the Blender directory. A few tweaks in the script and one filepath change later it exported fine... And then I couldn't find the zBoneKeys.txt because it was dumped under the Blender directory. More tweaking of the script fixed that as well. I also suggest installing Blender somewhere that doesn't require admin privileges otherwise the provided Convert.bat won't function properly because hkxcmd can't write to the aforementioned administrative location.

 

EDIT: Oh and the readme Anton provided is misleading in some parts about the skeleton_female.txt, and others.

EDIT2: Eh nevermind, following your instructions, Anton's readme shouldn't be needed.

 

Thanks for the compliment! Yeah it took me quite a while to finally try and learn to animate because I thought it was going to be pretty difficult with 3DS Max, let alone Blender. When I finally worked up the motivation and time to animate in 3DS Max (I managed to get the havok content tools as well), my 2012 subscription expired.. After some reading differnet tutorials and putting things together, I managed to make animations work with Blender! I was surprised how simple it really was.

 

As for your experiences, I'll find a spot to add things in to help people with issues along the way! I know when I had the "couldn't find skeleton.txt" issue, it was because I opened blender from a different location, and not from the file in the N3 folder provided in Anton's tools. I haven't looks at his scripts really at all (not have I messed with Blender scripts), so I didn't try editing his. It would be useful if you could open Blender from anywhere to run the script!

 

 I love to learn Skyrim animation in Blender...I'm following this

 

It's surprisingly simple so stay tuned! I'll probably have the FNIS section up in a day or two, and the scripting part up not too far after. I haven't taken any screenshots or anything of the FNIS section, but I have most of it semi written up. With what's up now, you should be able to start messing with animations to use as replacers though!

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I was looking for something like this. I know there's tutorials for making animations in 3dsMax, but I didn't want to invest time into learning after I've already gotten comfortable with Blender while making my pose mod. Although incomplete, I think I have a general idea of what to do once I export the hkx.

 

Thank you for you for putting this tutorial together, I've bookmarked the page.

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Thanks for putting this together! I'd love to see a section on importing game objects (cups, baskets, hermaeus mora) into animations/ poses.  Also, I'd like to see going backwards, from an animation already in game to putting it into blender.   

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  • 7 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Same here. I'm not too interested in the animating part but I need detailed help when it comes to conversions of the animations in and out of Blender, as well as finding the relevant rigs and so on.

 

There aren't a lot of animators in Skyrim and I know I can make some good contributions, but unfortunately tutorials are scattered and often times incomplete. (Most of which are for 3DS Max which installs a whole bunch of junk in my PC so I'm not going back to it anymore)

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  • 2 months later...

This is amazing and the export works fantastic!

 

However I found a bug in the armature while exporting my animations but was able to remedy it. The issue is with the skirt bones as the "left", "right", and "rear" will come out wrong after export.

 

To fix this problem just edit the armature and roll all three skirt bone segments and all is well.

 

left -90

right 90

rear 180

 

cXNNaB9.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have to say this is really wonderful stuff, and I really appreciate you for this!!!! Thank you so much, this allows me to make any animations I wanted and I've also learned a lot of useful stuff. Here's a little thing I made using this awesome tool, is a showcase of my 1-hand spear animations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYxavHHS-6k

 

First thing is to change a command line in Convert.bat. Need to add a -s at the end of the hkxcmd call for example "hkxcmd.exe convertkf skeleton.hkx empty_new.kf empty_new.hkx -s". Without this when converting the .kf to .hkx it will not include the the Camera3rd [Cam3] and Camera Control transforms.

 

Now what exactly are these two transforms? Well they control the camera of course! Together with these two AnimObjectA is also used for this function.

 

AnimObjectA = Controls the local camera location and rotation. Used by all stagger, head bobbing, camera sway during attacks, etc.

Camera3rd [Cam3] = Controls the global vertical positioning? Move this vertical to control the value, this isn't used much.

Camera Control = Controls the FOV also move this vertical to control the value. Used for sprinting, blocking, etc.

 

Now if you look into the model provided by the Bubbajones you will not be able to locate Camera3rd [Cam3] in the armature, this is because it just wasn't included. You'll have to manually add it in. It's best to import another hkx animation and copy the exact placement of this bone. Also need to update the skeleton.txt by adding a section for this bone, you can place it anywhere I just place it right below NPC Root [Root].

 

With these you can duplicate animations like sprinting, blocking, stagger, etc where the camera sways or change FOV.

 

If you're not too familiar on how to make these changes I'll included a modified "01. Tools" folder that includes these changes. These are only the files with changes, to use just extract and drop the contents into the original "01.Tools" folder and replace.

01. Tools.zip

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Well it's been a long time since I've been on, but I'm going to try and start modding again on and off. I'm glad that this tutorial has helped people since I've put it up (despite me never finishing it). I have had a lot of big life changes (got married, enlisted, then moved to Wyoming) that have kept me from playing games much and doing much on the computer.

 

However since it gets way too cold here and I'll start to have a lot of free time inside when the weather is bad, I'm going to be back at this.

 

I have decided I'm going to make the switch to modding for Skyrim SE, so I'm pretty sure the tutorial I set up won't work with SE right off the bat. I'll do some research and see what I can do to make animations for that as simple as it was with this process. If anyone has any good info on animations with blender for Skyrim SE, I'll gladly take that info and try and see if I can compile a new tutorial for that.

 

I'll admit I'm a little rusty with modding, so I'll have to go over what I've done before to finish off this tutorial I've made. I can't promise it's coming soon either, but I'll be working on it.

 

Also, thanks for the info Ashingda! I'll take a look at that and try and incorporate it into what I mod next!

 

Edit: I misspelled "too" as "to" and it bothered me.

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From just a tiny bit of research (which may or may not be 100% accurate since I didn't look to hard into it yet), it appears that making animations from this method will still work fine for Skyrim SE, you'll just have one extra step to convert the animation file after it's complete using this program from dnalloh1987 on the nexus https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/2970/?

 

Haven't tested it yet, but after using that program, the animation file created should work for Skyrim SE.

 

Also, correct me if I'm wrong but I read that scripts from oldrim to SkyrimSE work identically, so there is no need to change anything with scripts (besides have them in their proper folders.)

 

Once I have some more time and fiddle around, I'll try and add the FNIS section up which I think will be the same between oldrim and SE.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 4/23/2019 at 8:08 AM, 2Dimm said:

wish i wasn't completely lost, after doing a simple pose and running the script i just get a "python script fail"

you do a pose > run script > profit right? am i missing something?

I had the same issue too but ı dont remember how did ı solve it. You can see the error from "window - Toggle system console" on top menu but be carefull when you close the console blender also closes.
Edit: okey ı guess its because of the skeleton.txt file , you should have that file in the right folder.

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  • 4 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/23/2019 at 2:08 AM, 2Dimm said:

wish i wasn't completely lost, after doing a simple pose and running the script i just get a "python script fail"

you do a pose > run script > profit right? am i missing something?

Check this vídeo:     

https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/videos/11200

 

That show how to solve this problem ("python script fail"). 

 

Its a complete tutorial that show how to make an animation with Blender. 

 

Basically, you have to double click directly on the file (Example_Male_Vanila  or Example_Female_UNP) to open it. Do not open Blender and then the file. Open the file directly by double clicking.

 

The second way is by changing the file name and file path. You must include the path in both with two slashes ("\\")

 

Example:

 

FileName_AnimationKeys = "D: \\ AnimationTool \\ Animation Tools N3 - Animation with IK armature \\ 01. Tools \\ zBoneKeys.txt"

 

FilePath = "D: \\ AnimationTool \\ Animation Tools N3 - Animation with IK armature \\ 01. Tools \\ skeleton.txt"

 

Credits: thorGraves 

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/10/2019 at 8:20 PM, radzio2k said:

Is there some way to import existing Skyrim's animations to it to edit them? 

There is this: https://github.com/opparco/io_anim_hkx

 

Not used/tested it myself so can't tell you if it works or not, but worth a try. You need Blender 2.78 though.

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  • 1 month later...

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