Harmony Stage provides you with impressive 2D-3D integration possibilities. This feature allows you to combine the two animation genres within the same production resulting in some remarkable scene composition and a unique style.
Refer to the Chapter 2D-3D Integration in the Harmony User Guide for more in-depth explanations and step-by-step instructions.
2D-3D Integration Basics
Autodesk®Maya® can produce 3D model exports which are compatible with Toon Boom Harmony.
You will first need to install the necessary plug-in to be able to export your 3D models to *.osb files which is the format recognized by Toon Boom Harmony.
When you receive the plug-in, follow the installation instructions in the Readme_install file included with the package.
The contents of the plug-in package should be as follows:
The next time you will export a 3D model from Autodesk®Maya®, the TBExport option will be available from the Files of Type drop-down menu.
If you are have any difficulties installing the Toon Boom 3D plug-in for Autodesk®Maya®, please contact email@example.com.
Exporting a 3D Object for Harmony Using Maya
Once you set up Toon Boom Harmony and your system for the use of 3D, the next step would be to generate the 3D models you plan to import and use in your scene. You will need to use Autodesk®Maya® for this.
Make sure you have installed and loaded the necessary plug-in from Toon Boom prior to taking the following steps.
To export a 3D object for Harmony:
Instructions may differ depending on the version of Autodesk®Maya® which you have. It is therefore important that you refer to the their documentation for correct instructions on how to create and export a 3D model.
Importing a 3D object from Autodesk Maya to Harmony
Once you have exported a model in *.osb file format using Autodesk®Maya®, you can import it into Harmony Stage and integrate it to your 2D animation scene.
To import 3D model(s) from Autodesk®Maya® into Harmony Stage:
The 3D Model(s) will be imported in your scene.
Note that, if at this point, the Preview mode is set to Render View then the 3D model will not be visible in the Camera view. If this is the case, click on the Open GL View button, you should now be able to see your 3D model(s).
Refer to the 2D-3D Integration chapter in the Harmony User Guide to learn more about the import options and 3D rendering in Harmony Stage.
Using Peg Modules to Control the Position of 3D Objects
You can use Peg modules to control the position of 3D objects, and connect them peg modules together as you would with 2D layers to create rigs.
Refer to the Chapter Building a Character > Rigging in the Harmony User Guide to find out more about this topic.
Manipulating the 3D Object
Once you have imported the 3D model into your scene, you can easily manipulate it to setup your scene. You can even add keyframes, just like any other elements and animate it on a trajectory.
This topic is divided as follow:
Refer to the following chapters of the Harmony User Guide to learn more:
To rotate the 3D model in three axes instead of two, you must enable the 3D option in the layer properties. By default, the new layers in Harmony Stage display only the 2D options, allowing you to only move them as flat layers.
To enable the 3D option:
New parameters appear in the Layer Properties window.
Refer to the chapter Working in a True 3D Space > Enabling the 3D Option > 3D Parameters in the Harmony User Guide to learn more about these 3D parameters.
Once the 3D option is enabled, your Transformation tools automatically become 3D Transformation tools, this means that you can now manipulate them on the Z-axis as well. The Translate , Rotate and Scale tools are found in the Advanced Animation toolbars and the Transform tool can be found in the Tools toolbar. You can use these tools to set up or animate your 3D model. Note that if you want to set up the position of your 3D model, you must disable the Animate mode. Do not forget to re-enable it when if you want to animate it.
It is recommended to enable the bounding box selection style in the preferences panel. The default selection style highlights your element, while at the same time hiding the skin and lighting of your 3D element. The bounding box selection style will create a 3D box around your selected element without interfering with its display.
To enable the Bounding Box Selection Style preference:
This section explains how the following tools behave in 3D mode:
Once you enable the 3D option, the 3D Translate tool becomes available. Direction arrows will appear around the pivot points to indicate the different axes.
If you click on a direction arrows you can move your layer on only one axis. If you click anywhere else, the layer can move freely on two axes at once. Once the arrow is selected, it will turn pink.
If you move the layers in the Perspective view, it may be difficult to control the motion, since you may not have the optimum point of view on your stage to understand the setup. In this case it is best to use the direction arrows to move the layers.
Once you enable the 3D option, the 3D Rotate tool becomes available. A rotation sphere appear will around the pivot points to indicate the different axes.
You can click on the direction ellipses to rotate your layer on one axis only. If you click anywhere else, the layer rotates freely on two axes at once. Once the ellipse is selected, it will turn pink.
If you move the layers in the Perspective view, it may be difficult to control the motion since you may not have the optimum point of view on your stage to understand the setup. In this case it is best to use the direction ellipses.
Once you enable the 3D option, the 3D Scale tool is available.
You will see one of two things:
Click on one of the three control points to scale the shape on one axis. Hold down the [Shift] key to scale the object proportionally. Once the control point is selected, it will turn pink.
If you move the layers in the Perspective view, it may be difficult to control the motion since you may not have the optimum point of view on your stage to understand the setup.
Once you enable the 3D option, the 3D Transform tool become available. This tool is a combination of the 3D Translate, 3D Rotate and 3D Scale tools.
Refer to the chapter Working in a True 3D Space > Enabling the 3D Option > 3D Parameters
in the Harmony User Guide to learn more about these 3D parameters.
Refer to the following topics in the Creating Animation Paths chapter of the Harmony User Guideto learn more about managing, setting and animating parameters and function curves:
Rendering and Compositing 3D Models
To be able to render the 3D objects you imported in Harmony Stage through Autodesk®Maya® soft render, you will need to prepare your system by establishing some precise environment variables and setup your network view in Harmony.
This section is divided as follows:
This section is very technical, if you need help or experience problems while setting up the 3D rendering, please contact Toon Boom Harmony support at firstname.lastname@example.org
Preparing the Project Directory
To set up rendering:
The next step is to set up the Environment Variable to assign the port for rendering on Windows.
To set up the environment variable on Windows:
The System Properties dialog box opens.
You can browse to the installation folder of Maya® and copy the complete path to the bin folder from the explorer browsing window to make sure you have the exact path.
If you receive an error readout in the command line when you try to render, please contact support at email@example.com and provide the error readout content.
If you are working on Mac OS X, you need to set up a TOONBOOM_MAILBOX environment variable like Windows and a script that will call Maya®.
Setting Up the Environment Variable
Follow these steps to set up the environment variable on Mac OS X.
To set up the environment variable on Mac OS X:
Creating and Setting Up the Script
Follow these steps to create the script to call Maya® and set to it up.
To create the script and set it up:
Now that your environment variables have been properly set up, you need to take the final step and prepare your network to call the Autodesk®Maya® rendering utility. Once it is done, you will be able to render the 3D objects in your Toon Boom Harmony project and preview them in the Camera view in Render View mode. This will allow you to composite your scene and effects efficiently.
There are two types of script module that work with the Harmony-Maya connection:
This module uses the script renderMayaBatch();
This script starts up a Maya Batch session, renders the 3D elements on that frame, then closes the session. It will open and close the session for every frame to be rendered.
This script starts up a Maya Batch session that stays open so that when you render 3D objects through multiple frames, it does not close the session between each of them.
To prepare the project network:
You are now all set to render your animation project.
Refer to the chapter Exporting Your Movie in the Harmony User Guide to learn about the different export options and parameters available in Toon Boom Harmony.
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