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MSFS Introduction to Animations

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unitedstates
Hi all,

I'm interested in doing some pretty basic animations, but have never done any for any application and wondering if anyone would show me where I could start. I would be using Blender as I'm comfortable with it. Would watching basic blender animation videos be the place to start? If so, once I manage to animate my objects, what would be the following steps to port the animation into MSFS?

Although I'd like to animate some people for now, I eventually would like to have custom jetways animated as well, but again, have zero idea about how to go about doing this. I first need learn *how* to animate, but just want to make sure I watch the right procedures that will be compatible with MSFS.

Thank you kindly in advance!

-PEACE FARM
 
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307
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unitedkingdom
I haven't got very far with animation, the only thing I'm looking for is a bit of rotation, but the Blender file attached has two animations. Also included is the MSFS ready file which shows you what you need to do to get it into the sim.


Basically each animation needs its own entry in the model's XML. Each animation has a name that's attached to it in the Blender file which you enter in the XML and each animation entry needs its own GUID.

Flying Theston on Youtube has a few things. This is the one I referred to -

If you want to pull apart more advanced animated files to see if you can learn anything then there's things like this out there - https://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/curiosity-clean

I expect the first problem you'll have is that you'll forget to remove the / from the first instance of this line - <ModelInfo guid="{40282694-90b3-4783-48cf-04545a0f7884}" version="1.1"/> when adding animations.
 
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158
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unitedstates
I haven't got very far with animation, the only thing I'm looking for is a bit of rotation, but the Blender file attached has two animations. Also included is the MSFS ready file which shows you what you need to do to get it into the sim.


Basically each animation needs its own entry in the model's XML. Each animation has a name that's attached to it in the Blender file which you enter in the XML and each animation entry needs its own GUID.

Flying Theston on Youtube has a few things. This is the one I referred to -

If you want to pull apart more advanced animated files to see if you can learn anything then there's things like this out there - https://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/curiosity-clean

I expect the first problem you'll have is that you'll forget to remove the / from the first instance of this line - <ModelInfo guid="{40282694-90b3-4783-48cf-04545a0f7884}" version="1.1"/> when adding animations.

Thank you, SuperSpud. I'm still a bit confused though. As far as learning animation basics, will watching general animation videos of Blender be applicable to at least learning the animation workflow before jumping on the export to sim workflow? I want to crawl before I run here.... :)
 
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unitedkingdom
Thank you, SuperSpud. I'm still a bit confused though. As far as learning animation basics, will watching general animation videos of Blender be applicable to at least learning the animation workflow before jumping on the export to sim workflow? I want to crawl before I run here.... :)

I find Blender so loathsome I just look for the quickest route and don't bother learning anything else. The above vid told me everything I wanted to know. Apart from a few other bits and bobs I effectively know nothing about Blender.
 
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unitedstates
I find Blender so loathsome I just look for the quickest route and don't bother learning anything else. The above vid told me everything I wanted to know. Apart from a few other bits and bobs I effectively know nothing about Blender.
Hehe, yes that's precisely how I used to feel before actually learning to use it. Albeit, I can't stand the new 2.8+ versions with new UI and key shortcuts etc made pretty for new users. I still very much enjoy the 2.79 old UI version. Anyways, I will have another look at that video. Thanks, Spud!
 
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australia
Any tutorial will explain the basics but here's a couple of points you need to keep in mind for MSFS.

1. Reset scale first. Make sure your objects are scaled to 1.0 first

2. Use only location and rotation as these are the only ones supported by MSFS.

3. Set your default keyframe interpolation to linear. User Preferences -> Editing -> New F-Curve Defaults, change “Interpolation” to “Linear” . I don't know if MSFS supports other interpolation methods but for most situations in aircraft modeling you will need to use linear.

4. Use the non-linear animation editor. When you create an animation it will create a new track. It's good practice to use the Push Down Action button to the right of the track name to make a NlaTrack. You then name the NlaTrack to match the animation name. The reason this is best practice is that it is the only way to get multiple parts to use the same animation.

5. I use the XYZ Euler for Rotation. I mention this only because if you use Pose mode it defaults to Quarternion which hurts my brain.

If you want to do custom animated jetways you will need to learn skin and bone animations. Same principle applies but you use the Pose mode to animate the bones.

There are tutorials on youtube that describe animations for MSFS.
 
Messages
158
Country
unitedstates
Any tutorial will explain the basics but here's a couple of points you need to keep in mind for MSFS.

1. Reset scale first. Make sure your objects are scaled to 1.0 first

2. Use only location and rotation as these are the only ones supported by MSFS.

3. Set your default keyframe interpolation to linear. User Preferences -> Editing -> New F-Curve Defaults, change “Interpolation” to “Linear” . I don't know if MSFS supports other interpolation methods but for most situations in aircraft modeling you will need to use linear.

4. Use the non-linear animation editor. When you create an animation it will create a new track. It's good practice to use the Push Down Action button to the right of the track name to make a NlaTrack. You then name the NlaTrack to match the animation name. The reason this is best practice is that it is the only way to get multiple parts to use the same animation.

5. I use the XYZ Euler for Rotation. I mention this only because if you use Pose mode it defaults to Quarternion which hurts my brain.

If you want to do custom animated jetways you will need to learn skin and bone animations. Same principle applies but you use the Pose mode to animate the bones.

There are tutorials on youtube that describe animations for MSFS.
Mega tips there, thank you!

I've only seen this video on YT. Do you know of others? Thanks!
 
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946
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australia
Mega tips there, thank you!

I've only seen this video on YT. Do you know of others? Thanks!
Maybe I was mistaken about the number of MSFS animation videos. I thought I'd seen more. There are a lot about FSX animation in Blender though. Couple of important differences. In FSX you had to create an empty node and attach your animation to that. If you didn't then the animation would appear at 0,0,0. You needed the empty node to position and rotate your animation. In MSFS this doesn't seem to be an issue. The other difference is tip 4. that I wrote earlier, needing to push down the animation into the NlaTrack. A few other differences is that in FSX you needed to attach your animations to parts. In MSFS you just need to name your NlaTrack to match the animation name so it's a bit easier in that regard.
 
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158
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unitedstates
Maybe I was mistaken about the number of MSFS animation videos. I thought I'd seen more. There are a lot about FSX animation in Blender though. Couple of important differences. In FSX you had to create an empty node and attach your animation to that. If you didn't then the animation would appear at 0,0,0. You needed the empty node to position and rotate your animation. In MSFS this doesn't seem to be an issue. The other difference is tip 4. that I wrote earlier, needing to push down the animation into the NlaTrack. A few other differences is that in FSX you needed to attach your animations to parts. In MSFS you just need to name your NlaTrack to match the animation name so it's a bit easier in that regard.
Thanks a lot, appreciate all the tips!
 
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unitedstates
It's not clear to me how the animation of the gear steering is different from the animation of control surfaces. I watched Dev Series videos and had no serious issues animating ailerons, elevators, flaps, and rudder, and I made propeller move with transitions between still, slow, and blur, and I also animated RPM needle in the cockpit (it's not fine-tuned yet but it works), as well as battery and avionics switches. Everything was mostly smooth with few minor code-related issues. Using Asobo templates is straightforward even though becomes complex at times.

But when I started working on animating front gear steering and compression (non-retractable), nothing seems to work. I see the animation when checking Model Behavior debug window. I can force values and make animated parts move the same way as in Blender, but the game doesn't want to use the animation by itself. I even checked if the game wants to use an empty instead of origin for steering, but no luck with this as well. I tried using the animation name "c_wheel" like current Asobo aircrafts, no change. I'm missing something, and I cannot figure out what exactly.

I've used SimVarWatcher and noticed that GEAR STEER ANGLE does not change for my aircraft but changes with Asobo aircrafts (Cessna 208 for example). And since I have contact points already specified and adjusted (point.0 is center wheel), I'm not sure what else is needed here.
 
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I've used SimVarWatcher and noticed that GEAR STEER ANGLE does change for my aircraft but changes with Asobo aircrafts (Cessna 208 for example). And since I have contact points already specified and adjusted (point.0 is center wheel), I'm not sure what else is needed here.
"Does change" or "does not change"?

If the gear steer angle is not changing then it's a problem with your contact points. Post the whole section and someone might be able to spot the issue.
 
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unitedstates
.Does not change (updated)

Yes, apparently there was an issue with weights and balances, even though I don't understand what exactly was wrong. I spent 3-4 hours yesterday tinkering the model and cfg and somehow GEAR STEERING ANGLE started to work and animation became active. No issues with animation then. Not going to hijack this thread talking about weights. Asobo template ASOBO_GEAR_Steering_Template works fine with expected animation name GEAR_Steering (simple rotation 360 degrees in 360 frames (0-360), clockwise when looking down.
 
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