Flux Studio is a VRML97 authoring and animation application. In addition
to that, it has three tools which allow for creation of gestures which work well with
Blaxxun Interactive's CCPro server software (the software that powers Cybertown).
Download and install Flux Studio ( http://www.mediamachines.com
). It is free for personal use, and reasonably priced for commercial
Create an avatar. Keep it simple at first. A stick man maybe.
The easiest way to give it life would be to then click on the Wizards
pull down menu and select "Generate Simple Avatar". This makes an avatar with
"whole body" gestures, i.e. the whole avatar rocks back and forth or round and
round. There are 8 gestures which you can fire off from the "gestures envelope"
menu or from Chat Macros and Body Language combinations. These gestures are cute, unique,
well thought out, and way better than nothing.
A more sophisticated approach would be to use Flux Studio to make a simple
animation and then associate that animation with a trigger called (gesture 1). In CCPro,
when you type /g1 or HELLO, gesture one is fired off.
Flux Studio has an additional tool which is handy to test your gestures in
an entirely VRML environment. It is also located under Wizards and is called Create Avatar
Arena. As the name implies it is an area where you can test your animations and evaluate
the scale of your avatar. The wizard wraps your avatar with a Blaxxun Proto, creates meter
sticks, and creates a series of buttons which activate each gesture.
If you think about avatars as two parts, the model and the actions, then
you can easily imagine giving unique actions to someone
else's original model. If the avatar is constructed by the Humanoid-animation model, the joints will
rotate at the correct places. There are thousands of static vrml1.0 avatars out there
begging for gestures, you can give them that life without being bogged down by
measurements and proportions.
Blaxxun creates a VRML cache on your machine so that you do not have to
download everyone's avatar every time you see them. Look in this rich resource on your
machine, you may be able to use something you find there.
You can get a h-anim compliant avatar and lots of information about it
from a very good starting
place written by Peter Graf of Blaxxun and it works very well with Blaxxun's 3D server
software (i.e. Cybertown). They even have a perl tool that allows you to make your own creation
which you could later modify in Flux Studio.
Another way to view and evaluate your avatar is through the Blaxxun
"View my Avatar" facility. If you focus on the 3D window by clicking on it, and
then hit the "a" key, you will go into that mode. If you then hit and hold the
number 9 key your viewpoint will rotate around your avatar. The other numeric keys also
have actions, usually the next number up is the opposite of the previous key. Try them.
I animated a pre-existing avatar (that I got with VRCreator) using the
animation tools in Flux Studio. The 2 in 1 hand move was the hardest to program (had the most
key-frames). The Complex Avatar Wizard in Flux Studio made this all possible. This is saved in a
Avatar Arena so you can test the gesture