I am in the process of creating facial expressions for my DAZ character. Each expression is an animation placed in an Additive layer of the character's animator (not an additive layer of UMotion, just to be clear), which means that all animations need a first frame with all the used blendshapes set to 0, before the other frames in the animation animate those blendshapes.
Problem is, I have nearly 300 blendshapes and I'm adding more. They are essentially shape morphs, expression morphs, correction morphs, detail morphs and pressure morphs and yes, I need them all. An expression animation typically uses 10-20 blendshapes (lips, eyes, jaw, nose etc) so all of them need to be set to 0 in the first frame if I want the additive layer to do its job correctly since the first frame seems to serve as the "offset" for all the subsequent frames in the animation.
But only those blendshapes, and no other! Otherwise, the character's other blendshapes are overwritten by this animation even though it is supposed to be additive. Don't ask me why.
For example, my female character's glutes contract when she walks. If I zeroed all the properties (blendshapes and bones) in the first frame of my expression animations, there would be a conflict, the glutes would reset and it would look bad. So I need to zero only the blendshapes I use in my expressions, and not the glutes. This means I have to carefully select the appropriate blendshapes in the clip editor every time I want to make an animation, which is a very error-prone process.
In UMotion Pro, I would like to simply copy-paste the keys from one of the existing keyframes to the first frame, and to click on something to zero those pasted keys. I have looked pretty much everywhere and did not find such an option, but it would be very handy! Right now I have to manually reset those keys in the pose editor by dragging all the sliders to 0 one by one. It's tedious and time-consuming.
My second request would be to be able to export animations that have only one keyframe. Right now, when exporting an animation, UMotion refuses if it doesn't have at least two keyframes, but would it be possible to export it anyway by automatically copying (at export time) the last existing keyframe to the last frame of the animation? After all, we already specify a duration for the animation in the clip editor, I believe it is 1s by default. It would be great to not have to do a copy-paste of the keyframes ourselves so we don't risk inconsistency and unwanted movements when changing one key and forgetting to copy it to the end of the animation.
Likewise, it would be great if we could specify somewhere that we want the animation to loop, without having to manually copy the first keyframe to the last frame (like we have to do in Blender too, it's not just UMotion). Once again for the sake of keeping things consistent and avoiding copying data.
Another request, since I'm working with blendshapes. I noticed that it is difficult to enter a number for one blendshape in the pose editor's channels part then Tab to the next. Usually, that focuses on the "config mode" button and hides the "pose mode" panel, which is confusing. It does not do this by shift-tabbing (going backwards) so for the sake of consistency, it would be great if we could Tab from one property to the next.
Oh, and another request! Could we have the ability to set a blendshape to a negative number or to a number beyond 100, please? Unity allows this but apparently not UMotion. Sometimes it is very handy to use a blendshape with a value that is outside its envelope. For example, DAZ has a "cheek puff" blendshape but not a "cheek sink", which could be simulated with a negative "cheek puff" value.
Thanks and keep up the good work, UMotion is a tool I can't work without, and a tool I know I can rely on.
Customer support service by UserEcho