Exciting new animation tools from Valve

SimonKJonesSimonKJones ModeratorWebsite User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
edited June 2012 in Practical Filmmaking
So, this was unexpected:

Interesting stuff, eh? While we've yet to see the tools it looks like a very promising platform for creating CG animation, with a workflow that might be rather more beginner-friendly than more traditional routes.
While the initial release will focus on Team Fortress 2-themed videos, it sounds like in future they may expand it to be used with any Source game resources - Half Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal - or custom-made bits and pieces.
I'll be interested to see how hard it is to get up to the visual quality level seen in some of Valve's own work, for example:

or their latest:

I'm rather looking forward to it.

Comments

  • 3dmus3dmus Website User Posts: 117
    That looks fantastic. Machinima on steroids!
    Loving the last video :-)
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Absolutely. While they're currently using the tool to promote Team Fortress 2 (and vice versa) there's potential here for something really quite special, if they expand the assets in the future to include more realistic or more varied characters and locations.
  • 3dmus3dmus Website User Posts: 117
    Yeh, agreed. In the first video the guy was whizzing through the animation curves, making it all look very simple. In reality of course, it will be an awful lot of work to make the animation look good. And...requires patience (not one of my strongest attributes!).
    In the right hands though, wow... exciting times. I remember playing around with Machinima 10 years ago or so....it moved on!
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Yeah, I've always fancied having a go at machinima but the tools have never really appealed. Similarly, I'd love to have a go at 3D animation but I don't have the time or money to go the traditional route.
    While I'm sure the Source Filmmaker will have its own learning curve and will take lots of time, as you say, the idea of having the entire workflow in one application is very compelling. In fact, it's similar to what we're trying to do with HitFilm. :)
  • NuttyBananaNuttyBanana Website User Posts: 151
    This is like a dream come true, if only Blizzard had done something similar with WoW it could've made it so much more fun. Will definitely be taking a good look and time to play with this.
  • FoxFox Website User Posts: 87 Enthusiast
    edited June 2012
    I really like to know if you are able to import your own 3D objects into it ?
    I have applied for a beta because i am a big animation nerd
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    From the official FAQ:
    [quote]Q. Does the SFM work with other Valve Source games and mods?
    At this time, the SFM is only being released for Team Fortress 2. Users familiar with modding with the Source engine will be able to mod the SFM build of TF2 to create new worlds.
    Q. Can we make new characters or props?
    Yes. Check out the TF2 blog posts for how to make a hat, a map, or a gun, or just to get an idea of where to start. We will also be creating blogposts on sourcefilmmaker.com in the near future about how to create new characters for the SFM.[/quote]
    So it sounds like the answer is 'yes', but that you'll have to know what you're doing. :P
  • NuttyBananaNuttyBanana Website User Posts: 151

    I really like to know if you are able to import your own 3D objects into it ?
    I have applied for a beta because i am a big animation nerd
    It does say in one of these videos that you can put your own models into the game models folder and it will show up when you add models/objects to the scene. Looks insanely fun, and surprisingly easy, well until getting into the deep end of animating anyway!
  • spydurhankspydurhank Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,829 Ambassador
  • ESPicturesESPictures Website User Posts: 533 Just Starting Out
    I'm having a lot of fun animating in Daz 4 right now and then importing the animations into Hitfilm. I'm in the process of rendering a movie scene right now. The software is free, has lots of features, and has a short learning curve. Here's a small example of what I'm doing:
    The really cool stuff, I can't share on youtube yet. But I am getting some amazingly life-like virtual characters and environments made and doing some very cool stuff with them once I get them composited into Hitfilm. Hopefully another week or two and I'll have a lot to share.
  • fredclipsfredclips Website User Posts: 228
    It does look interesting.
    Personally I've always wondered why EA haven't released something similar with The SIMS. When you see the amount of videos people make with the program as it is now, just giving more control over the characters and movements would be received very well.
  • guitar74guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    Looks like it would cost a lot to buy it!
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
  • NuttyBananaNuttyBanana Website User Posts: 151
    Although you would need to buy TF2, which everyone should've done long before now :))
  • pixelizedFXpixelizedFX Website User Posts: 77
    edited June 2012
    You can download TF2 for free on Steam.
  • guitar74guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    Tell me one thing, is it easier to use than blender, cause that was to much of a headache for me?? :D
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Nobody knows yet, as it isn't out. :)
    The video above was obviously edited to make it look easier than it actually is (plus you also need animation skills, which is a whole other thing), but from what I've seen it certainly looks more intuitive than Blender.
    But, then, everything is more intuitive than Blender.
  • AculagAculag Website User Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    This looks amazing. What a great idea, and so potentially useful for all kinds of things.
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    I wonder if the animation engine is capable of exporting elements with transparent backgrounds. Be quite fun to composite some TF2 animations into a live action shot...
  • RubberEagleRubberEagle Website User Posts: 4
    Well, you could always add a virtual greenscreen ;)
  • guitar74guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    When is it suppose to come out?
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Rubber - yep, presumably that would be pretty easy to do. Not nearly as efficient as exporting with a nice clean alpha. But we shall see. :)
    Guitar - not sure, they're just starting into public beta at the moment I think. So it'll probably be a month-or-so, perhaps?
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    edited July 2012
    I got hold of the beta this morning and had a quick play. At first glance, it looks pretty amazing. Check out the tutorials in here: http://www.sourcefilmmaker.com/post.php?id=8065&p=1
    In particular, check this out:

    The idea of building up a scene through multiple takes is very cool.
    UPDATE: Had a play this weekend and it is indeed a phenomenal tool. Relatively simple to use but capable of great results. I'll hopefully post up an example animation soon.
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