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BlendShape Combination System

Current Version: 1.3.3

Last Change: Sep 08, 2017

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Last Change: Mar 24, 2011


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Last Change: Mar 30, 2011

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ACS vs. BCS?

posted by danielpk on 09-20-2012 19:09

(This post was mainly inspired by email conversations about the possible role of the ACS in BCS setups.)

If you are new to the BCS (and the ACS), I'd suggest not to worry about the ACS at first. Using the BCS together with the ACS is adding another layer of abstraction.

Basically, the BCS is used for combination-sculpting of shapes, while the ACS is just used to do sort of combination-sculpting on simple float attributes. You could do quite primitive combination-sculpting with a Maya blendShape node plus an ACS setup, but the BCS has the complete feature set for this purpose (e.g. left-right separation, easy modeling of shapes, etc.).

After working with the BCS for some time, however, you might notice that certain shapes can be replaced by much simpler means than doing a combination shape or tweakMixing. If all you need is controlling the mix of the weights' values (as opposed to their mixed shape), you can put an ACS setup on top of the BCS, thus creating another layer of combination sculpting. The pipeline would be:

    animated attrs -> ACS -> BCS -> visible shape
In some instances, this approach can significantly reduce the total number of combinations to worry about, but you need a deeper understanding of the implications. For example, by using the ACS to avoid bad mixes of two attrs, you just need one ACS dataPoint, while on the BCS, you'd need to correct not only the direct mix of the two attrs, but also all combination BCS dataPoints they participate in.

One of the example scenes has a setup of the lower half of the face, which utilizes the BCS and a layer of ACS. It's in bcsAttach_finished.ma in the bcsGettingStartedScenes.zip file. It shows how to integrate the ACS and the BCS. It does not show, however, the full potential of this approach. For example, AU 17 participates in 103 combination dataPoints, most of which deal with only one issue: the lower lip pushing up the upper lip depending on how far the mouth is opened. I would not be surprised if a few strategically placed ACS dataPoints could make most of these redundant.

First Post after Years

posted by danielpk on 09-06-2012 13:36

After more than four years without any posts, I guess it is time for some updates. First of all, my tools (including the BCS) are still actively supported and will also be in the future.

The lack of new projects and updates for my scripts is due to me being in the middle of studying physics here at the University of Hanover. I recently got my Bachelors degree and now I'm heading for the Master. For those interested, my thesis was about the motion of charged/uncharged particles in a five dimensional Reissner-Nordström-(anti-)de Sitter background, i.e. in presence of a charged, non-rotating black hole, including effects of a cosmological constant :D

As mentioned, I plan to continue my studies but I still hope to be able to do a bit more development on the BCS and other projects in the future. I also intend to post a little bit more often here on my site, but I wont promise anything. Future posts might deal with certain less understood aspects of the BCS and other tools, such as WeightPositionGroups or the relation to and integration with the ACS.

STARGRAV Website Announcement

posted by danielpk on 12-27-2007 10:53

We're planning to (finally) build a website for our company STARGRAV GmbH. As soon as it is ready, the BCS will be distributed through the company's site. You don't have to worry, though, as the BCS will remain free for personal use.

Until then, please contact me if you're interested in a copy of the BCS for personal or testing purposes (daniel@dpk.stargrav.com).

BCS v1.1.3

posted by danielpk on 05-08-2007 20:37

I've finally uploaded the updated version of the BCS. The previously published version has been 1.0.8, to which version 1.1.3 adds a few small new features and fixes several bugs. Among them are UI problems mostly on Linux. The version history (in the description and readme) contains a list of all the changes.

Note that the manual is in the process of getting a rewrite. Especially the quick start, now to be found in Getting Started, and several other chapters have been or will be completely redesigned. Since the old manual contained some information that hasn't yet been merged into the new, it can still be found in the "old-docs" folder of the current download.

The plugin is now available for both Windows and Linux for Maya 6.5, 7.0, and 8.5.

ACS License Change

posted by danielpk on 05-08-2007 19:49

Similar as in the BCS, I've decided to change the ACS license so that it remains free for non-commercial use, but requires a separate license to be obtained when used for commercial purposes. This was necessary in order to protect the basic ideas behind the BCS, which are to a certain extent also part of the ACS.

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