Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Sirens Call - A Beginning for the New Dancer, Post 6 - Animation HUDs! It's time to move it - move it

A series of posts sharing my own beliefs, methods, and suggestions for the new dancer.  As with anything I say or teach - QUESTION EVERYTHING!  There are many different approaches and methods to dance.  From all you learn, all you experience, strive to create your own methods, ideas, and knowledge.  Unique and in your own voice.

Disclaimer:  The author of this article wishes to point out, in case it was not already embarrassingly, ridiculously obvious, that the opinions expressed belong solely to the author and they do not represent in any way those of Dance Queens, Dance Queens members, any affiliations, friends, non-friends, the guy in the 3rd row, or management.  If you must...EvaHarley bio

Welcome, welcome, welcome to the wonderful, crazy, consuming and thrilling adventure called dance here in Second Life!  Perhaps you've been bitten by the bug or wonder what all the hullabaloo is about?  Step-by-step I will share what I know of creating a dance performance and self-expression.  The stage is your canvas, the dancers your paint.  What story will you tell through your creation?

Previous posts:

Post 1 - An Introduction to Dance
Post 2 - Observation, Learning Style, and Inspiration
Post 3 - What is this Choreo Thing and Choosing Music
Post 4 - Animations
Post 5 - Basic Skills Needed Before Working with an Animation HUD

As we explore the process of creating your own dance performance, you will find that I follow a certain flow and focus heavily on building a strong foundation.  I love tools, gadgets, particles, and anything else that gives that extra bit of oomph which enhances my dance.  In time, these will also be introduced in this blog series.  I believe strongly that choreography is the core element in creating a dance - the animations chosen, how they are linked together, and those infinitesimal changes, transitions, pauses, and poses that express the music.  Amazing choreography can be performed in front of nothing more than a black screen and still draw the audience in and take their breath away.

Through this series, we've explored the basics of dance, what is choreography, choosing music and animations.  It is now time to get our hands dirty and delve into putting the music and movement together.  This is done with an animation/choreography HUD.  Choreography is an extremely important part of this consideration when you choose what tool you will be using for creating.

So what am I referring to when I say Animation/Choreography HUD?

An Animation/Choreography HUD is a tool/gadget in which you can load animations and wear on your screen.  This HUD allows you to play the animations, primarily by pressing a button for each animation, and to invite others to dance with you.  HUDs designed for dance choreography also generally allow you to record a series of animations (referred to as a sequence), create sequences, play your sequences, and edit them.

There are a number of Dance Animation/Choreography HUDs that are available.  When choosing which HUD will serve you best, consider what the HUD can do, ease of use, and also the support and training available.  Every single animation/choreo HUD has its strength and weaknesses - every one of them.  Not only will you be investing money but time in learning the tool you choose.  I always encourage making a conscious decision - knowing what's out there and what's right for you.  Ask, research, observe classes if you can!  Build a foundation slowly, no need to rush and buy every tool available.

In this post, we will focus on what tools are available and resources for each.  In our next post we will focus on loading your HUD and beginning to play your animations.

Please feel free to add constructive comments and suggestions for alternate HUDs!  Each of us will always know more of the HUDs we use and our own experiences.  I would love to add additional helpful information supplied by you!

Question everything and never stop dancing in the rain!

~ Eva

Below will be an ever-changing list of Animation/Choreography HUDs.  This information will be updated as I become aware of new information/updates.  While I do have my own preferences and have chosen what tools work best for me, I will try to remain as impartial as I can and wholly encourage you to make that choice for yourself.

Spot On Smooth Dancer
Marketplace:   Link
In-world:   SLURL
Website:  spotonsl.com
Maximum number of dancers:  20   
note: you can invite up to 40 after using the updater tool, but the "WHO" tab showing who has been invited to your HUD will only list 20.  You cannot re-invite or remove anyone individually that aren't in the first 20.
  • play animations and invite others to dance from the HUD or by wearing/rezzing the included invite object.  Inviting from the HUD, you choose to invite.  Using an invite prim, anyone who touches it will be invited to dance with you.
  • Easily record dances to create your own timed sequences.
  • Easily edit and play sequences, record sequences within sequences.
  • By editing the !Sequences notecard in the HUD contents, you can create a list of animations in any order you choose.  (aka an untimed sequence).  Extremely useful when creating choreography.
  • This HUD was purely designed for animations and choreography, making it very streamlined, reliable, and easy to use.  Low learning curve.
  • Integrates seamlessly with the suite of Spot On Tools
  • Each page displays 20 animations per page and can handle a large number of animations.  I often load 200, 300, or more animations into my HUDs when working on choreography.
  • With this HUD, you can see who you invited on the WHO tab, but you can't see who accepted the invitation unless you play an animation and look.

Spot On Performance Director
Marketplace:   Link
In-world:   SLURL
Website:  spotonsl.com

STOP!  I had to list the Performance Director here because I've seen this tool used for choreography so many times.  This tool is amazing for what it does - brings together the movers, sequences, trigger commands, dance groups and more, all under one routine.

It's NOT designed for creating choreography and is not what I consider a foundation tool.  It is the maestro of your symphony, it isn't the flute, drums, or trumpets that create your music.  I encourage you to use an animation/choreography HUD for creating choreography and beginning to perform.  Save this tool for later - when you've built your foundation.  You don't need a Performance Director as a beginning choreographer.


Barre Dance HUD
Marketplace:  Link
Maximum number of dancers:  haven't found a max yet

  • Dance multiple groups (different animations for defined groups of avatars)
  • Built in recorder for creating timed dance sequences
  • Sleeps unused scripts, reducing lag
  • Retrieve a list of animations in the HUD using the search feature, handy for creating lists of ordered animations
  • Three ways to invite dancers to your hud - using HUD invite button, touch orb, or pose balls rezzed from the HUD.  When the avatar sits, they are invited to dance.
  • My go-to tool for open crowd dances and group freestyling, which is my primary experience using this HUD.
  • Rezzed pose balls can be linked together if they won't be moved using a mover type tool.  This makes it easy to pack them with your set.
  • Each dance sequence is stored on an individual notecard in the HUD.  Additional notecards can be added.
  • I've only explored 20% of the features available with this HUD!

Artiste Dance HUD
Maximum number of dancers: 


From the Artiste Performance HUD blog (link above):
It is a suite of products custom tailored to suit the needs of the solo burlesque and cabaret performer as well as dance groups. Its flagship is the Artiste Performance HUD. It controls all the other parts of the suite.

It is a HUD you wear that you can start and stop a mixture of sequenced functions planned to occur at specific times(events) or at offsets to specific times. Its strength comes from combining functions to occur close enough in relationship to each other that their mere association tells a mini-story.

 Examples of these functions are: dancing, moving, formations, set-rezzing, emoting, stripping, outfit-change, auto-camming, to name a few.

 The HUD can also trigger activities not directly tied to the avatar by triggering behaviors in Palettes which are extension-objects controlled by the HUD like: throwing, moving, particle-emission, lighting, fading, rotation, to name a few.



Metaharper Show Tools (aka MST)
Marketplace:  Link
Maximum number of dancers: