Connection Mapping Templates
When you copy an action source from one model to another, you can resolve any unconnectable parameters “on the fly” (see). However, you can also create connection-mapping templates to set up rules for mapping before you copy actions between models.
For example, in the image below, Jaiqua’s (on the left) elements are mapped to the corresponding ones on the Club-bot using a connection-mapping template. This lets them easily share actions.
Connection-mapping templates are sets of rules used to convert object and parameter names in action sources to those that are available in a model. For example, if you have an action that animates a model with an object called LEFTARM. You can use a connection-mapping template to apply this action to another model with an object called left_arm.
Each model can have multiple connection-mapping templates and each of these templates can be active or not. You make connections when you instantiate an action clip. The rules from the first active template in the list are used.
The order of templates is the order of their creation, as listed in the explorer or the Effect > Connection Template menu in the animation mixer. You cannot change the connections once a clip is instantiated — you must instead delete the clip, change the template, then reinstantiate the clip.
If the object and parameter names in an action source are still unconnectable using the rules in the first active connection-mapping template, the Action Connection Resolution dialog box opens . For information about using this to connect parameters on the fly, see.
Creating Connection-Mapping Templates
You can create a template based on objects in your scene or you can create an empty connection-mapping template and then add rules manually.
After you create or edit a connection-mapping template, new clips use the first active template to establish their connections. Existing clips are not affected.
If you change the name of an object driven by a clip in the mixer, the items within the clip are updated to reflect the new object name.
In addition, if that clip was instanced from a source without going through a connection-mapping template for the object, then the source names are also updated (so that subsequent instantiations of clips will not display a connection-mapping dialog box).
To create an empty connection-mapping template
Do one of the following:
• Select an object in the scene, then choose Actions > Templates > Create Empty Cnx Template from the Animate toolbar.
Although it appears that nothing has happened, an empty connection-mapping template was indeed created for the selected object’s parent model. You can check for it in the model’s Mixer > Templates > Connection Mapping folder in the explorer.
• In the animation mixer, choose Effect > Create Empty Connection Template. A template is created for the current model and the Connection Map property editor opens.
Once you have created an empty connection-mapping template, you can add and modify rules as described in the next section,.
To create a connection-mapping template based on an object
You can create a connection-mapping template that automatically maps the object names in a source hierarchy to a target hierarchy. This procedure works properly only when the two hierarchies have the same number of children and the same subtree structure.
1. Select the target; that is, select, branch-select, or tree-select the object or hierarchy you want to be animated.
2. From the Animate toolbar, choose Actions > Templates > Create Connection Template.
3. Pick the source object or hierarchy in object mode, branch mode, or tree mode.
A template is created by matching objects in the hierarchies according to their positions in their subtrees.
4. To see the template, choose the template you want from the Effect > Connection Template menu in the animation mixer. You can fine-tune the template as described in the next section, .
You’ll find the template in the model’s Mixer > Templates > Connection Mapping folder.
Example: Mapping X to Y Values
You have an action that is only the X Roll values on a skeleton and you need to copy it to another skeleton but change the X Roll to Y Roll values. Here’s how you would do this (see the next section for more details about editing a template):
1. Create a new connection mapping template.
2. If the parameters were called bone.prop.xroll and you want to map all the xrolls of all bones to yroll (bone.prop.yroll), then you just need one rule in a template:
3. With that template active, it maps all X Roll parameters onto the Y Roll when you re-instance the original action source.
Editing Connection-Mapping Templates
Once you have created a connection-mapping template, you can add, edit, and delete rules in the Connection Map property editor. You can also use this editor to activate and deactivate templates, as well as save and load preset templates.
To edit a connection-mapping template
1. Make sure the correct model is open in the mixer: if not, select the model or one of children and click the Update icon on the mixer command bar.
2. Choose the template you want from the Effect > Connection Template menu. The Connection Map property editor for the chosen connection-mapping template opens.
If there is no Effect > Connection Template command, it means that the current model has no connection templates. Choose Effect > Create Empty Connection Template to create a blank one.
To see the rules better, you can resize the property editor as well as the columns. To resize a column, move the pointer over the dividing line between column headings. Once the pointer changes to a double-headed arrow, click and drag to set a new width.
For complete information about the options in this property editor, see[ ].
Once you have entered rules in the Connection Map property editor, you can check their validity by clicking the Validate button. If an object or parameter name does not exist in the current model, it is shown in red.
Rules with wildcards, substring substitution, or the <unmapped> token are always shown in red.
To delete a rule, select it in the Connection Map property editor and click the Delete Rule button.
Activating and Deactivating Templates
Each model can have multiple connection-mapping templates and each of these templates can be active or not. When you instantiate an action, the first active template establishes the connections. The order of templates is the order of their creation, as listed in the explorer or the Effect > Connection Template menu of the animation mixer.
To activate or deactivate a template, toggle the Active option in its Connection Map property editor.
To delete a connection-mapping template
1. In the explorer, select a connection-mapping template in the Mixer > Templates > Connection Mapping folder of the model.
2. Press Delete, or right-click the template and choose Delete.
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