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3 Dimensional Chat / More vs less keyframes for animation

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Posted: 14th Jul 2012 16:53
Recently I've created an animation rig and I'm wondering whether the amount of keyframes used will affect performance or if it's just a thing for precision (one can use as many as they need.)
It will be saved as a .x file for use Dark Basic Professional (for personal use).
Travis Gatlin
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Posted: 14th Jul 2012 18:20
I'm pretty sure that keyframes don't affect performance massively. I doubt it takes much processing power to recall a keyframe from an animation. The only way I can see it affecting the performance is if it's a really high poly model you're animating.
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Posted: 14th Jul 2012 19:49
There is more to this.
Mister Fuzzy
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Posted: 15th Jul 2012 19:43
Yes, keyframes do have an impact on memory. Even if you don't notice it as the user, there is always lag caused by adding a 3D resource to the game. Normally, the "true" framerate should be about 1000-3000 (on my PC. Will be different for yours), but the Sync() command restricts to 60FPS. At the lower rate, you won't notice the lag because it's covered by the sync rate, but it's there. Models with more frames of animation will take more memory than the same model with fewer frames, and not all of the frames will ever be seen! But a model with very few frames can look intensely clunky and awkward, so it's really a matter of finding that point where the model has as few vertices as possible and still looks hi-quality and having just enough animation keyframes that the animation appears fluid. The MIKO character that came with my copy of DGDK was massive: I had to run the animation at speed 5000 before I saw any motion! And that thing is a beast to load! It's smooth, but I don't feel that it's entirely worth it.

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Posted: 16th Jul 2012 22:06
Thanks. I didn't intended on having an uber amount of key frames, but I wanted to know how big of an impact it would have.
Again, thanks for the answers.

DBP newbie
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Posted: 3rd Aug 2012 23:11
Quote: "Thanks. I didn't intended on having an uber amount of key frames, but I wanted to know how big of an impact it would have.
Again, thanks for the answers."

Just to add to whats been stated: in general, the more there is of something in 3D, the more it will affect performance. But you should also be mindful of what keyframes are versus straight animation frames. A keyframe is a final pose for any given series of frames in an animation. It is 'key' because it is meant to allow interpolation from one key to the next. Interpolation is a calculation that figures out how to transition between poses.

So, I could have a 3000 frame animation but only have 2 keyframes: 1 and 3000 . The other 2998 frames or more would be calculated using interpolation by the animation system depending on the frame rate and the depth of the interpolation.

Now, even though you have only 2 keyframes, the interpolation calculation for all of these other frames and the possibility of calculating 'in-between' frames (like 25.6) is going to be more taxing than simply stepping through individual animation frames without interpolating between them.

That means if you have a 3000 keyframe animation, and the interpolation is turned off, your animation will step through the frames like an index without have to do the in-between calculations. However, if you have a 3000 keyframe animation and the interpolation is on, you might end up with 6000 frames where 3000 are being calculated as in betweens. That's more work than stepping an index.

It all comes down to design. If one is a good animator, then they know how to include only necessary keyframes with the thought of interpolation in play and a decent frame rate. If one relies on motion capture data, (especially the free stuff floating around the internet) then they are subject to the method and result of that data that may be too frame intensive, or the data isn't accurate to individual frames but only to the whole motion where rotation or position artifacts aren't really noticed.

In short, like any 3D or programming project, there are trade offs between memory, speed, and quality.

Enjoy your day.
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Posted: 4th Aug 2012 06:20
Read this post for important information on how a .x model should be exported for use in DBpro.


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