AbbeyAdriaan

Hello there! We at Abbey Games (Reus for PC, PS4 and XBone, Renowned Explorers for PC) are diving into your crafty software to create our next game! We already have some experience using skeletal animation tools, as you can see in Reus and we're looking to get a big advantage in our 2D animations by using Spine! So far we've been impressed by some features and a bit puzzledby others. We hope you can help us in making some magic happen!

To give a bit of context, our new project uses a lot of 2D characters on the screen, with customizable parts like hair, weapons, maybe even armor etc. Some are way more elaborate. Those special characters will have animations that suggests movement in all directions. A bit comparable with Renowned Explorers, as you can see a few times in this video
.
I hope that helps with getting an idea what we would like to achieve. :)

I would like to dive into the issues we have directly.
So the first and foremost thing we're missing is the ability to work with multiple skins at the same time. All custom parts are on separate skins. So all different coups, all weaponsets, all physical builds and facial features are in different skins. Our engine has that feature built in, so we can preview animations there. However, getting our hair and eyes on exactly the right place during setup is a bit of a pain. I've seen that you're working on supporting this, I just liked to add my +1 to that. ;) Right now we work around it by duplicating slots that are attachment heavy (like a head or hand), call it "sketchy_x", make it yellow and turn of export. It works ok for set-up, but pollutes the hierarchy structure.

Second, we use a lot of twists and turns in the animation, and go pretty wild with switching parts or messing around with the IK. That means we often want to set Keyframes on the whole skeleton for example in the beginning of an animation, so that when we add something extra in the set-up, it doesn't mess too much with the skeleton if possible. If I'm correct, you can keyframe a lot of the properties of a skeleton with ctrl+L, except for visibility of skinplaceholders. (Correct me if I'm wrong). E.g. we twist our warrior around, going from a stretching pose from the front, to a releasing pose showing his back and changing the IK and sprites. We found the best way to do this is by making two sets of arms and keeping one invisible at start and the other visible at start. While we've been using ctrl+L to key the frames, it didn't look like the visibility of the slots was keyed, as some parts seemed to appear and disappear again.
Maybe we just stumbled around a bit and Ctrl+L also keys visibility, but in case not, we're looking for it!

One feature that would help as well is being able to "hide all children" in the hierarchy explorer. right now you have to manually hide/show all children of a bone or slot. For editing purposes, it would be nice to alt+click the show/hide button and make it hide/show the bone and all its children.

Dockable windows for for example images, slots, or IK's would be nice too. We find ourselves scrolling from images to bones quite a bit, since using the P shortcut doesn't place images in skinplaceholders, and we only use that.

But the feature we would really love to see the most is having a way to change the playback speed in the animation! Especially since tweening can have some unforeseen effects, it would be nice to see how things are going wrong.

A bonus would be a way to setup a skeleton while animating. That way we can mess around with the bones in a certain pose, smack some new textures on them, and adjust the textures to the bones using that pose. Right now, you have to go to setup, put the character in that pose, do the above....and put everything back since all animations are relative to the setup. ;) Our work around is to just have multiple limbs of things that change a lot, like the multiple arms, and just hide the arms you're not using.

I hope you can help us, and any tips are welcome!
AbbeyAdriaan
Posts: 8

Erikari

Skins: I've put your +1 on it! :D Allow multiple skins to be active at once · #17 · EsotericSoftware/spine-editor
AbbeyAdriaan wrote:If I'm correct, you can keyframe a lot of the properties of a skeleton with ctrl+L, except for visibility of skinplaceholders. (Correct me if I'm wrong).
Skin placeholders, as well as attachments, won't be keyed by pressing Ctrl+L because they aren't transforms, if you want to literally key everything, try Ctrl+Shift+L instead. More shortcuts here: Spine: Cheat Sheet
AbbeyAdriaan wrote:While we've been using ctrl+L to key the frames, it didn't look like the visibility of the slots was keyed, as some parts seemed to appear and disappear again.
I'm unsure if your doubt is also about slot visibility, in which case it would be only normal to be unable to key the visibility of a slot, since it is only meant as a container of other things, but making a slot invisible has effects only in the editor to reduce clutter while organizing things, but not when you export an animation.
AbbeyAdriaan wrote:One feature that would help as well is being able to "hide all children" in the hierarchy explorer. right now you have to manually hide/show all children of a bone or slot.
You can select all children with Shift or Ctrl and then press H to hide them all at once, but if you could give your thoughts to this conversation it would be nice: ctrl+shift+arrow_down to select all children instead of just the first · #226 · EsotericSoftware/spine-editor
AbbeyAdriaan wrote:Dockable windows for for example images, slots, or IK's would be nice too. We find ourselves scrolling from images to bones quite a bit, since using the P shortcut doesn't place images in skinplaceholders, and we only use that.
You can filter the tree for this purpose: Tree - Spine User Guide: Filters
AbbeyAdriaan wrote:But the feature we would really love to see the most is having a way to change the playback speed in the animation! Especially since tweening can have some unforeseen effects, it would be nice to see how things are going wrong.
Do you mean in a way different than the one the Playback view already offers? Playback - Spine User Guide
AbbeyAdriaan wrote:Right now, you have to go to setup, put the character in that pose, do the above....and put everything back since all animations are relative to the setup.
You can also keep the Preview view open from setup mode, so you can see the final result while editing the skeleton. But we'd like to improve this part of the workflow to make it easier as well.

Nice to see you on board!:D
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Erikari

Erikari
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AbbeyAdriaan

Hey! Thanks for the reply!

The Ctrl+ Shift+L worked great, thanks for the cheat sheet! We only found that keying our first frame in a new animation first required us to do ctrl +L first or something. going in blank and keying everything from the start did not work. But this saves us a lot of time!

Sorry, I used the wrong term. It wasn't the slots, but the skinplaceholders I was talking about. :) But ctrl+shift+L should fix this too.

The issue you posted seemed fine. It's more that if a certain part of the tree is collapsed - say, the shoulder of a character - that there is no easy way to hide the shoulder, arm, hand and equipment of the character. I need to expand the tree and manually hide everything. It would be great to shift+click on the visibility button to just hide the shoulder and all children, or alt+ click to hide all child attachment or something.

Yes, we do use the filter, but with many bones meshes and attachment we still end up scrolling quite a bit. Using the 'P' shortcut helps, but then we still need to put all the attachments into their skinplaceholder. A dockable 'attachment' windows would go a far way, our parenting by skinplaceholder too instead of only slots. It's not a huge thing, but it saves us a scroll or a find and drag per attachment :)

We were looking at the wrong place for the Playback view, sorry! It does exactly what we want!

Ah using the Preview is a good work around for now! Good to see you're looking to improve!

We're going to try all this stuff out. ;) Thanks!
AbbeyAdriaan
Posts: 8

Erikari

I also added this topic to the Type-to-filter in the tree feature: Type-to-filter for tree · #5 · EsotericSoftware/spine-editor it seems like it could be helpful without havng to detach parts that you'd have to scroll anyway.
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Erikari

Erikari
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AbbeyAdriaan

Hey again!

Two quick things we've found today:

When selecting multiple attachments (either in the same slots or in different ones), I can't tick boxes such as 'Export' on or off - I have to select them all, one by one, manually. How to do this for multiple items at once?

Second, today we accidentally gave a keyframe to a 'sketchy' attachment, which had 'Export' disabled. The export prompt gave us a nice message that this was the case, but exported the slot + attachment anyway. So we spend the last hour of the day looking for our naughty keyframe. Is there a way to improve this? For us it would be ok if there was an export option that just ignores 'Export'-disabled slots entirely, but a quick way to find keyframes of a certain slot through multiple animations could also work. :)

Thanks again! We're getting a lot more proficient with Spine!
AbbeyAdriaan
Posts: 8

Erikari

When selecting multiple attachments (either in the same slots or in different ones), I can't tick boxes such as 'Export' on or off - I have to select them all, one by one, manually. How to do this for multiple items at once?
by hand for now, but here's another enhancement we have on the list: Multi select for mesh properties · #137 · EsotericSoftware/spine-editor
Second, today we accidentally gave a keyframe to a 'sketchy' attachment, which had 'Export' disabled. The export prompt gave us a nice message that this was the case, but exported the slot + attachment anyway. So we spend the last hour of the day looking for our naughty keyframe. Is there a way to improve this? For us it would be ok if there was an export option that just ignores 'Export'-disabled slots entirely, but a quick way to find keyframes of a certain slot through multiple animations could also work. :)
Yes, I must agree on this too, I added the topic to this issue as well: [Find and Replace] Find and remove unused attachments · #200 · EsotericSoftware/spine-editor
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Erikari

Erikari
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AbbeyAdriaan

Thanks again!

We've encountered another issue. We started exporting our spine files, but we made a wrong assessment of our image size. Now we're trying to downsize all images to 25% of their original size. This, of course, messes up the set up. We haven't found a way to reliably adjust the bone size without also changing the attachment size. Our current work around is scaling the images in spine to 400%, and then scaling the root with 25%. This works fine, except that we're working with a 400% scale. Is there a smarter way of doing this? With new files this won't cause any problems of course, since we're working on the right scale. :)
AbbeyAdriaan
Posts: 8

Erikari

Don't scale the root in the editor because it won't take effect at runtime.
You can leave everything as it is, and instead scale it in the Atlas settings of the Json export:


More on the topic: Texture Packing - Spine User Guide Export - Spine User Guide
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Erikari

Erikari
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AbbeyAdriaan

An update:

We're still working with spine and learning the tool is going well. However, not being able to view and edit multiple skins at the same time (like layers in photoshop) has become increasingly painful with more complex skeletons and texture swaps for different angles. We really need it asap, and are willing to help a hand if possible. We got tool and engine programmers ourselves that might make a good contribution.
AbbeyAdriaan
Posts: 8

badlogic

Most of the team (except silly old me :D) is currently on vaccation. I'll let them know to get back on this when they come back.
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badlogic

Mario
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AbbeyAdriaan

Thanks! Looking forward to a reply!
AbbeyAdriaan
Posts: 8

Marklar2323

I'd like to +1 both of the topics mentioned in this thread. The ability to select Multiple Meshes and edit their properties as well as the ability to view Multiple skins at one time in the editor.

While I am posting this... and if it's not too much to ask, I would also like to outline my current workflow process for some professional feedback. I am new to Spine and wonder if I might be 'doing things the hard way' and could simplify my workflow a bit.

In the project I'm working on there is a general 'underbody' skin for characters that rests underneath different sets of clothing and or armor. Each of the 4 different character body types or 'underbodies', sets of clothing, or sets of armor are in their own skin. Because I am unable to view multiple skins at one time in the setup editor, I start by creating duplicate' dummy' underbody set, not in a skin set. The dummy underbody can then remain constantly visible in order to act as a reference for the placement of imported clothing and armor assets. These additional clothing and armor sets are exported from Photoshop as JSON data which by default creates an additional skeleton when I import it into my existing project file.
I then make visible the imported attachments and position them over the top of the current character skeleton and dummy underbody reference. I then create a new skin layer in the main project to house the newly imported clothing assets. In the main project, I have already created slots and placeholders within the bones for the base skin(underbody), clothing, and armor pieces. Next, I go through and re-parent the imported clothing attachments to the main projects bones and existing slots/placeholders for this new skin. After reparenting is complete, I can then delete the temp skeleton that was generated on the import of the JSON data.
In the home stretch now, I go through and individually edit the alpha of the imported assets to make them semi-transparent in order to fine-tune their placement over the top of the character underbody (having the ability to select multiple attachments/meshes and edit their alpha at one time would be sooo super sweet!) - [In 'Animation mode' we have access to the 'Ghosting tools panel' which enables the abilty to sihlouette and 'X-ray' the different assets in order to see more specifically how they align with each other, however in 'Setup mode' the 'Ghosting tools panel' is not available].
Next, I create meshes for the clothing parts and weight them to the various main skeleton bones and free-floating bone influences that I use in for animation. After this is all complete, I can test out the various animations and make whatever final adjustments are required. I can adjust mesh deformation with either the mesh weights, influence bone positions or individual mesh vertices via 'soft selection' (OMG TY for this!) or individual manual tweaks.

With the current way that I am working, the ability to have multiple skins active at one time in Setup would be a huge time saver for me. Also, the ability to select and edit the options of multiple attachment/meshes at one time would also be a really really great.

Lastly, in thinking about UI suggestions... I wonder if anyone has considered the ability to split the window of the Tree panel? An example of this would be how Maya's 'outliner' hierarchy panel can be split vertically in order to view things at the top of a long list and things at the bottom of that same long list, at the same time (screenshot of this attached). A split window like that + filtering would be most useful for quickly navigating the Tree to work with skeletons and the parenting of assets. :D

In case it hasn't been said enough... Thanks to you all at EsotericSoftware for your hard work and the great product that is Spine!
Attachments
window_split_example.JPGexample image for a split window suggestion of the Tree panel in Spine.
Marklar2323
Posts: 6

AbbeyAdriaan

AbbeyAdriaan wrote:An update:

We're still working with spine and learning the tool is going well. However, not being able to view and edit multiple skins at the same time (like layers in photoshop) has become increasingly painful with more complex skeletons and texture swaps for different angles. We really need it asap, and are willing to help a hand if possible. We got tool and engine programmers ourselves that might make a good contribution.
Any update on this?
AbbeyAdriaan
Posts: 8

Erikari

@Marklar2323

I've added your +1 to these github issue!
Multi select for mesh properties · #137 · EsotericSoftware/spine-editor
Allow multiple skins to be active at once · #17 · EsotericSoftware/spine-editor
Allow to separate and/or reorder the nodes in hierarchy view · #322 · EsotericSoftware/spine-editor

How do you use the ghosting panel to change the view of a single frame so that it suits your needs? mind posting a picture?

Besides this, your workflow sounds logical and good, I agree the features you mentioned would speed up things a great deal. (:

@AbbeyAdriaan

I'm afraid we have to follow the roadmap, it would definitely be nice to squeeze these features in, and your offer to contribute is also very nice, but due to Spine's nature it might take longer to make external users contribution possible than to do it ourselves afaik.
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Erikari

Erikari
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Marklar2323

Thanks for replying Erikari!

Great tips and trick tutorial with the Windmill BTW, it was awesome.

A think there might have been a little confusion. When I said..
[In 'Animation mode' we have access to the 'Ghosting tools panel' which enables the ability to silhouette and 'X-ray' the different assets in order to see more specifically how they align with each other
I was not trying to imply that you could isolate out a single asset attachment - only that you can engage the 'X-ray' feature in order to see the outline of attachments and how they overlap one another, which makes alignment and adjustments during animation so much easier. (please see the attached image example of the X-ray feature that I was referring to - both on and off while in animation mode).

During the setup of a character, I find that I end up having to manually adjust the alpha opacity of individual image assets a lot. I do this to ensure correct placement and alignment of the attachments e.g. a bicep that overlaps the connecting forearm. Adjusting the attachments alpha opacity also comes in handy in order to isolate attachments while creating or adjusting a mesh. While you can uncheck the 'deformed' option in the mesh editor in order to isolate for mesh creation, it's not always the best option. This is especially true if there are any translates on the current mesh you are working with. When creating meshes, I have found on several occasions that it was difficult to see the full boundary of the image attachment e.g. Attachment A (bicep) is laying over top of attachment B (forearm) and both are the same color. When entering the mesh editor, the border of the attachment you are creating a mesh for is not highlighted in any way so it can be a challenge as to accurately adjust the mesh vertices around the image. I just make a habit of filtering the attachments and setting the alpha transparency to 70-80% from the start of the import of the JSON data. That way I can work with the attachments while having their overlapping boundaries clearly defined. I just have to make sure and go back through them all and adjust the alpha transparency back to 100%. :P


Cheers!
Attachments
ghosting_xray_02.JPGGhosting_Xray_On
ghosting_xray_01.JPGGhosting_Xray_Off
Marklar2323
Posts: 6

Erikari

@Marklar2323

Thank you for the feedback :D
I find your workflow interesting, I also like that you still managed to use very little bones (at least from the preview screenshot you sent) and keep everything overall clean. Thank you for sharing what you meant!
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Erikari

Erikari
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Adenscott

Hi,
I would like to +1 the "view multiple skins at once, in editor" feature request. I am currently working on game with a high level of customization for facial features, clothing, hair... basically everything, so we have a long, growing list of skins. It's great to combine them at runtime-- but it would help tremendously to be able to select multiple skins in the editor, and see how they perform animations. As of now, we either need to watch a pair of pants (or whatever) animate in isolation, or go through the painstaking task of duplicating individual skin pieces, and dragging them into a new "test" skin, to see them operate together.
Thanks!
-Aden
Adenscott
Posts: 13

AbbeyAdriaan

Hi there,
We still really want this, and if there are any updates I would love to hear them!
AbbeyAdriaan
Posts: 8

Waarten

Bumping and +1'ing this!

The multiple skins editor feature is very much needed in customization heavy games! Can we please have an ETA?

Thanks,
Waarten
Posts: 1

Nate

The plan is to get it done in 3.7, which is the next major release. Unfortunately I can't give an exact date, but I can say I hope for it to be done in the next couple months.
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Nate

Nate
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