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Learning Programming for Animation Master graphics

HI there,

Quick question. My brother and I have started learning animation with Animation Master. I was wondering what steps I would go through to be able to create programs that can control animations and graphics created with Animation Master. I have been working with computers and have done some programming mostly with Visual Basic.

Can anyone tell me where I can go to start learning how to create programs using Animation Master files?

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Jose ParrotGraphics ExpertCommented:

More than C++ skills, you need courage.

Animation Master has the most creative modeling approach I know. Hash's program doesn't use polygon sets to model. It uses a set of patches for meshes generation, thus defining geometry that way. So, fisrt, you need understanding the construction technique AM uses.

You need also know AM features. Some are close to high end packages (timeline animation, bone construction, bump, texture decal mapping, transparency), others are not so good. Then, you can select which features you would enhance. By my experience, IK animation is very hard to handle, so if you create a plugin to make it easer, it could be a very interesting tool. Another point  is MoCap, as AM uses its own file format for motion capture, ACT, and industry standard is BVH. A conversion utility could be useful to animators. (Please note I don't have the last version of AM, so it is probable that last version already supports BioVision BVH.)

From the skills you'll need a good base and experience on:
- C++ programming. In special, Microsoft Visual C++
- Good understanding of Object Oriented programming, as AM SDK has a lot of classes
- the Animation Master SDK (it is included in the CD)

The samples included in AM SDK are a good start to understand how to program a plugin.
My suggestion, assuming a good knowledge of C++ and Visual C++ IDE, is to compile the samples and try to make gradative modifications until you have added new features or have modified the original code.

AeadenAuthor Commented:
Thanks Jose!

Sounds like a pretty interesting challenge!

Jose ParrotGraphics ExpertCommented:
Yes, absolutely.

Additionally, I'd like to suggest the book:
    3D Math Primer, Fletcher Dunn and Ian Parberry, Wordware Publishing
This book has a good coverage on main procedures for Computer Graphics, with lot of samples in C++. It will help you in understanding matrix calculation, perspective and geometry math.
About AM files, they are exclusive for AM, and you'll understand its structure in the SDK documentation.

Good luck!

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