how many points to use

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how many points to use

Post by phillyd023 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:57 pm


As I start to improve my drawing abilities in anime studio 9.5 I have stumbled across a question I cant answer myself:

What is the advantage to using more points than fewer?

What I mean is, when I create head and arms and bodies and legs, etc. I do not use very many points in the shapes ..... I usually think the fewer the better. I have bought a couple models to play with and I notice that all of the shapes have dozens and dozens of points to the shapes. Is there an advantage there?
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Re: how many points to use

Post by sbtamu » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:08 am

Use the minimum amount of points needed to get the job done. There is no advantage to having points that do not help in creating a shape. The models you bought might have been created by someone that did not keep in mind that the more points there are, the longer it takes to render.
Sorry for bad animation
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Re: how many points to use

Post by synthsin75 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:44 am

More than likely, those characters where AI or SVG imports.
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Re: how many points to use

Post by heyvern » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:36 am

Yes, I agree as well that your files are probably AI or Flash conversions.

I've seen content provided as "Anime Studio" format when in reality the barest minimum of effort was made to simply import/convert pre-existing Adobe Illustrator/Flash content to Anime Studio. Basically importing raw files without any point reduction or cleanup and then simply using layer or point binding. I often think it might be a good idea to see point counts on content sold for Anime Studio or screen shots of the points.

The only benefit, is that these types of files can often look really good, and are similar to "image" puppet style content with resolution independence. I think a lot of content creators from the "Flash" side of the aisle are looking for ways to repurpose their content. With a growing user base of Anime Studio users it makes sense.


I often play a game in my head when working with Anime Studio, to see how few points can be used to create what I need. Now with the power of Smart Bones, you need even fewer points because they can be moved around and curvature changed based on bone rotation to keep shapes. At some point however, there are some curves that need "extra" points.

I've even started using a "trick" I learned from Animation:Master, using peaked points near smooth points to smooth out curves and keeping point count low. In Anime Studio two smooth points near each other can create a sort of "bump" in a curve that should be smooth. A peaked point along that curve and adjusted can look smooth and not require extra points.

Have to use this carefully so the curves don't "break" during animation, but smart bones can often fix that as needed.
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Re: how many points to use

Post by Greenlaw » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:54 am

The best way to learn how to optimize a shape for bones is to simply play with ASP and see what works best for you and your characters. When you get down to it, there's no hard fast rule--it depends on the character, how you rig it, and how you want the 'bends' to look when it's being deformed. It can also just be a matter of personal taste--some artists will want smooth 'rubber hose' bends and others will prefer sharp angular bends.

That said, here are few tips to help you get started:

As noted above, you'll want to use the fewest number of points to define the general shape of a, um, Shape. But it's a little different around the joints--I generally find I need to place points around the outside of the 'bend' in a joint to help the shape maintain it's volume when deformed--this can take a minimum of four points in a 'box' around the bend and can be as high as six, even for a simple joint. If you use Smart Bones, you can usually get away with very few points since you can compensate by using the bend angle to drive point positions and curvature.

If you have premade characters and you feel the point count is higher than you like, you can try reducing the points using the new reduce points tool. This is a native brush too that can reduce points while attempting to preserve the general shape of a path. It can be a little tricky to use though, even after adjusting the tool's threshold.

Alternatively, you can try the Eraser tool in DKWRoot Tools to reduce points (do a search in these forums.) The Eraser tools is a variant that deletes points explicitly, taking the random factor out of reducing points with a 'brush'. I prefer this tool but it's assumed you know which points you want to delete when using it. Use it when you have a stronger idea of what's optimal for your workflow.

There's also the Simplify Curves script (under Script-Draw menu,) in which you simply select the points you want to reduce, run the script, set your threshold, and click Ok. It may or may not produce the result you want, but if it doesn't, you can easily Undo the result and try again if you wish.

Good luck! Hope this helps.

D.R. Greenlaw
Artist/Partner - Little Green Dog | Little Green Dog Channel on Vimeo | Greenlaw's Demo Reel 2019 Edtion
Lead Digital Animator, Dreamworks Animation

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