Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Making Couples Dances

Making Couples Dances 111025

Making animations is possible but very challenging. Programs such Qavimator or BVHacker give you the basics, but a lot of work generally leads to a jerky and lousy dance. Commercial software combined with motion capture (MOCAP) technology is the way to make dances. Couples dances are even more challenging since coordination of the animation sequence is necessary. Making couples dances from scratch is likely beyond the capabilities of most DANCE QUEENS members.

However, making couples from existing animations is possible. There are four ways to do this. All four include an initial selection of dances and choreographing the couples dance. Included in this is determining the initial spacing and orientation of the two dancers.

1. Static Pose Balls - You can get scripts in SL that sync the animations of two pose balls that are linked. Details of how to do this are included in this notecard.

2. INTAN Pose Balls - You place the two dances in the INTAN and modify the appropriate notecard with the spacing and orientation.

3. TIS Hybrid - You place the two dances in the TIS Hybrid and send the spacing requirements to TIS customer service so they can create it in their database.

4. XPOSE Pose Balls - You place the two dances in the XPOSE and modify the .MENUITEMS and .POSITIONS notecards.

This notecard describes how to make Couples Dances. It starts with the XPOSE because it is the easiest to use for making couples dances.



XPOSE is a system for placing 1 to 15 pose balls and applying a synchronized activity with them. XPOSE was originally developed for cuddles and sex, but is now used for dancing. It is a bit complicated, but is a great way to determine spacing for a couples dance that you want to create. This is the LM for XPOSE.



The first step is to choose the dances you want to put into your couples dance. This is a two-step process. First is to choose the male and female dances that go together the way you want them. If you are experienced at doing choreography, this is an easy process. You need only one dance per avatar. You need to think about speed, feel and floor movement.
Second is to look at the dance after you put it in the XPOSE and eliminate the avatar pass-throughs. A pass-though is when one avatar or part of an avatar passes through another avatar. Sometimes, you cannot eliminate the pass-throughs and need to select a new dance combination.



1. If you are not familiar with XPOSE, read the XPOSE instructions first.

2. Place the two dances in your XPOSE. Modify your .MENUITEMS notecard to create a two-person pose ball set with each avatar dancing the appropriate dance. The XPOSE instructions tell you how to do this. Then, add to your .POSITIONS notecard the positions for the dances. Start with this:

{Name of Couples Dance} <0.5,0,1.0> <0,0,0> | <-0.5,0,1.0> <0,0,0>

This places the couple facing the same direction one meter apart.

3. Save the XPOSE according to the instructions including a reset of the XPOSE.

4. Run the Dances using the XPOSE. This allows you to see the dances for each avatar. Adjust the positions of the avatars using the position adjustment process described in the XPOSE instructions. This involves turning the avatars and moving them to eliminate pass-throughs.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have the dance looking the way you want.



You can now dance the couples dance using the XPOSE System. You also can use the information about spacing and orientation of the pose balls to put the couples dance into an INTAN or to make pose balls. The .POSITIONS notecard in your XPOSE has the information you need. Find the line that looks something like this example:

{Name of Couples Dance} <0.3,.1,1.1> <0,0,-90> | <-0.25,0,1.1> <0,0,90>



There are two things you need for a couples dance. First, you need an animation in each pose ball. Second, you need a script in each pose ball that synchronizes the dance. I found a script on SL Marketplace from Neraz Magic of Spook Animations that is full perm and syncs animation of two or more pose balls. Full permission is helpful if you want to make copies or sell your creation. It also comes with pose balls, so you only need the animations. There are probably other syncing scripts that you can find.

So, all you do is put the syncing script and the dances you chose from Section 2 above in the pose balls. You can manually adjust the pose balls to eliminate pass-throughs or use the pose ball rotation and distance that you determined in Section 4 above.

Along with this notecard is a simple couples dance that I made from freebie dances 'weloveyou-girl' and 'boogie.' It is called 'DANCE QUEENS - Demo Couples Dance' and is not perfect but gives you the idea of what you can do. It is in the DANCE QUEENS Free Stuff Box.

Of course you can make a couples dance with any two animations, but you cannot sell or transfer them unless you have copy/resell and transfer permissions. Very few good individual dances have this. This means that your creations will be mainly for you or where you can rezz them.



Once you have your dances chosen in Section 2, putting them into the INTAN is easy. You can then create an entry in your notecard for the dance using the system described in the note 'All About Pose Balls' or convert the x,y,z and rotation information determined in Section 4 into quaternary form. What I found is that trial and error for determining the quaternion numbers is the easiest. For more about INTAN couples dances see Sync Dancing with Your INTAN.



The TIS Hybrid stores the dance information on an external TIS server. The data has to be entered by TIS tech support. If you create a couples dance and want to use it in your TIS Hybrid system, you will need to contact TIS tech support and provide to them the position coordinates you determined in step 4. They have no way of knowing this information except to get it from you.