Skeletal/character animator???

Can anyone recommend an app that can do character and skeletal animation that's under $200?

One that I did fine (but was $299) was Animation Master (http://www.hash.com/products/am.asp). I never heard of it until this evening.

TIA

I think this is the big problem right now for indie game development in Unity. There don't seem to be any truly low end skeletal animation tools that export to FBX format.

Animation master seems quite nice, but I've never tried it. I don't believe it will export FBX.
Art of Illusion has some really neat animation tools like joint pinning, but won't export FBX
Blender has good support for skeletal animation and apparently they are working on some neat new bones, but again... no FBX
:cry:

I think the problem stems from the fact that kaydara used to sell the FBX dev kit, so noone in the low end or open source community ever picked it up. Now it's free though and few people seem to have noticed.

The under 200 dollars is a big issue for me since i'm still saving to buy Unity indie, it would take me quite a loooong time to buy a license for any of the current animation offerings on the mac.

I'm desperately searching for a solution to this, so i'll watch this thread with anticipation!

there may be a solution if you try Art of Illusion or Blender and export with OBJ and use the converter Freyr mentions in this thread http://otee.dk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=622
I'll eventually try that. If someone tries it sooner please post a result here!

Animation Master is the way to go. It is a great application, made by a great bunch of people.

The best way to think of Animation Master is as: an 'independent animators Maya'

or 'Maya for studios Animation Master for independents'

I know currently the way you can get Animation Master character animations into FBX is to export from A:M to .X(using plugin, additional $20). Then convert your .X into .FBX, using Polytrans(additional $300 or so).

Currently I know that Dave from OTEE has signed on to the A:M Forum and the Unity guys are looking at how to directly support A:M which would be great.

I also think it would be just as great(maybe easier?) for Unity to support .X.

Also another suggestion for the Unity guys is for the Unity engine to support character animations from Fragmosoft( http://www.fragmosoft.com ). It's a small application that converts into many different character animation formats. I think that would be a solution to help us A:M guys, just support one of the formats from fragmosoft, and we would have a cheap solution for getting character animations into Unity.

It is a HUGE WEAKNESS that Unity only supports FBX for animation.

Wow, thanks for the info everyone. I did see something called "Poser 6" (http://www.e-frontier.com/go/poser_hpl) but don't know a lot about it. Seems pretty straight forward.

I'm going through the tutorials for Cheetah and am very impressed, Blender seems to have more features but doesn't seem as straight forward. I'll probably save myself a few bucks and stick with Blender until something better comes along.

It seems like Blender, Wings 3D, or Cheetah 3D is the way to go. It is easy enough to decide individually on them. We use Blender mostly, as it is the most powerful of them. Once you learn the very few quirks, it works fine for getting static things into Unity. The others have their definite bonuses.

There does not seem an inexpensive way to get animations into Unity. I'm under the impression that OTEE is quite happy not bothering with other formats, so I wouldn't waste your breath too much. There probably isn't any profit in it anyways. (Don't have cash for a 3d app, maybe not any for Unity either)

You could join my ranting in getting someone (besides me) to do FBX and Blender. ;)

The SDK licensing seems compatible with a Blender plugin.

Avoid Poser, as it is not suited for real time applications. (To the best of my knowledge)

None of the applications you mentioned can get skeletal animations into Unity. As it is, if you need those, you're going to have to purchase something else I'm afraid.

-Jon

A while ago I am pretty sure that the guys at nevercenter.com were working on bones for Silo though I haven't checked lately. If you can animate stuff in Silo its a no brainer to own since you'd also get modelling and UV mapping (v2) for $109.
Boxy

[quote]
There does not seem an inexpensive way to get animations into Unity. I'm under the impression that OTEE is quite happy not bothering with other formats, so I wouldn't waste your breath too much. There probably isn't any profit in it anyways. (Don't have cash for a 3d app, maybe not any for Unity either)

You could join my ranting in getting someone (besides me) to do FBX and Blender.

The SDK licensing seems compatible with a Blender plugin.
[/quote]
If blender would support the collada format, we would have a very good reason to add a collada importer to unity.
So if the blender guys are just not buying the fbx thing, you can change your ranting to collada.

Collada would also give direct Modo support (for those who don't have access to a Maya instal). (Not sure about the quality of the modo collada exporter tho)

cheers,
Richard.

Is there a complete list of what's going to be in version 2.0 of Silo? http://www.nevercenter.com/silo/silo_20/ only had a few items. I tried out a few tutorials and I filled my drool cup. The rendering and other features that they do talk about are just too d@mn sexy.

I didn't look for long but I posted this question about animation in the forums - never got a reply. I've always been tempted by Silo, looks great, but so far Cinema4D and ZBrush seem to be doing everything I need them to...
Cheers
Boxy

[quote]
Currently I know that Dave from OTEE has signed on to the A:M Forum and the Unity guys are looking at how to directly support A:M which would be great.
[/quote]

Any news on this?

apparently Modo 201 will have support for FBX format, however not in the Universal Binary version as the FBX SDK from Alias hasn't been updated yet to support intel based Macs...

Cheers.

Animation Master is a great solution for character animation, if no the best. It's inexpensive and comes for both Mac and PC.

You will need a PC to follow these steps! But still should offer one of the most inexpensive solutions for creating character animation for Unity.

To get your character animation into Unity use the following steps:

  1. export .X from A:M using AMXtex($20)

  2. import into Fragmosoft($20)

  3. export to .ms3d (Milkshape)

  4. import into Milkshape($25)

  5. export to .FBX

Hope this helps. Mileage may vary.

Excellent news. I have all these programs.

The new version of Milkshape3D has a plugin for FBX ... sweet!