Moving objects with Choreo Designer –
My “ancient Chinese secret”…and… how I moved this bathtub up on stage for this dance!
Moving objects with Spot On Choreo Designer is easier than you think and can add significant impact in a dance. Below I will detail step by step how to do it, and expand on how it interacts with the Stage Manager and Performance Director if you use them.
Step 1: Determine what object(s) you would like to move. The only requirement is it must have modify permissions. Note: you CAN link and move objects, such as a little linked gnome army. (side artistic note here: any effect you add to a performance should enhance it. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Always consider the impact it will have and if it contributes to the overall expression of your performance.)
Determine what objects you would like to move. If they will move together, link them.
Step 2: Determine where the starting positions for your objects will be, and put them into position, whether this is on the set or below because it rises up (or down) during your dance. It is much easier if you start with it in the exact position you need for the performance.
Determine the starting positions for your objects, especially if they will be “entering your set” from below, above, behind, etc. Example: columns rising through the fog floor of your set. Place them in the starting position.
Step 3: Moving an object with the Choreo Design system is very similar to moving a dancer. Because the object can’t sit on a mover, you will be linking a mover to the the object. You will use a designer ring and create waypoints just as you would for a dancer. Each object (linked or not) will need it’s own mover and route. Example: If you have 2 gnomes and 3 trolls and they will all be moving independently of each other, you’ll need 5 movers and 5 rings – just like you would if they were dancers…except they can’t twerk. I prefer to place my movers on top of an object so that I can see the mover, ring, and waypoints – which is more difficult for me if placed underneath.
Rez a designer ring for your object. I recommend centering the ring over the top of your object, placing it as close as possible so it appears to be resting on top of it. Repeat this for each object that will be moving independently.
Step 4: It’s time to rez a mover and link it. We’ll go into mover details about the movement card inside the mover later, but it is very similar to a dancer movement card. The mover must be the “root” prim. When linking objects together, the last object selected is the “root prim”. This is where primary scripts go, where the linked object gets it’s name, and also defines some of the object properties like phantom and permissions. By making the mover the root prim, you’ll also easily be able to view the contents in edit mode and modify your movement card.
Click on your designer ring, and select “Rez Mover”. Right click and select edit on the object you will be moving so that it is selected, then press your shift key and click on the mover. You should see both highlighted. In the edit window, click on “Link” to link both objects together. It is important to click the object first and the mover second.
Step 5: Your “dancer” (i.e. object) is now “on its pad” and you are ready to build a route. Click on your designer ring and add a waypoint. Think of the object just as you would a dancer, and create the route in the same way. Where will it move to? How much time should it take from the current waypoint to the next? Does it need to sleep, rotate?
Click on your designer ring and add a waypoint. Create your waypoints exactly as you would for a dancer. Continue adding waypoints, setting position, rotation, travel time and sleep time until complete.
Step 6: Once you’ve defined your route, it’s time to get the notecard from your Designer Ring. Click on Get Notecard on your ring.
Click on your designer ring and click “Get Notecard”
Step 7: Open the movement card in the mover linked to your object. For now you do not need any commands such as @text, @spot_dancer, etc. Simply paste everything from local chat, starting with #BEGIN NOTECARD through #END NOTECARD. Paste this over everything currently in the movement card.
Open the movement card in the mover linked to your object, paste all of the route information from local chat into the movement card, replacing everything already there.
Step 8: Rename the movement card to match the card names used in your dancer’s movers. Example: if the movement card name is “Standing PD” in the movers for your five dancers, rename the movement card in your object mover to Standing PD also. Whatever it is, the card names should all match whether it’s a dancer or object.
Rename the movement card in your object mover to the same card name used for your dancer movers.
Step 9: Time to test! Your object mover is the same as a dancer. If you press play on the standard choreography design system HUD, your object movers will start to play just as your dancer movers will. If you are using a Performance Director HUD, once you begin your routine, your object movers will also be activated if the mover card names match your routine name.
Play your routine, using the standard choreography design system HUD or the Performance Director HUD.
Step 10: Make any adjustments to your route that need to be made, time, waypoint positions, etc. Take a new notecard and update the card in your object mover.
Make any adjustments to the waypoints, take a new notecard and update the object’s mover notecard.
Step 11: You definitely don’t want to keep looking at that mover sitting on top of your object, but if you try to set it as transparent manually, you will probably find that it keeps coming back into view. There is a command for this. Open your mover notecard, and on the first line add @invisible. Press enter twice after so that there is a blank line between this command and your route data. Your mover will immediately change to transparent. To find the mover so that you can make additional updates to the mover card, turn on transparency mode, Ctrl-Alt-T.
Set your object mover as invisible. Open the mover card, add @invisible to the first line, press enter twice and save. If you need to find it again, turn on transparency mode – Ctrl-Alt-T.
That’s it! You now have objects that will move as part of your performance!
Packing the Objects for Your Performance:
You still need to get the objects where you need to go, right? You have two key choices:
If you DO NOT use Stage Manager:
Treat your objects exactly as you would any other set prop – put them in a rezzer, restore to last position, etc. When you play/start your movers, your objects will move from wherever you rez them.
If you DO use Stage Manager:
Stage manager not only allows you to rez your sets, it can act as a “homing beacon” for your movers, always making sure they start in the right position relative to the stage coordinates.
If you had a stage manager set up on your building platform/where you created your object mover notecards, you should have noticed “offsets” at the begin of your waypoint data. This enables your movers and stage manager to coordinate with each other, and is what makes your movers “pop into starting position” automatically.
When you click on the name of a Routine in the Performance Director, or select a notecard in the standard Choreography Design HUD (there is a small button in the upper right hand corner), this loads the notecard and triggers the offset position, moving your mover (and linked objects) into place. This leaves you two options.
- You can put your moving objects into your rezzer just as you would any other object
- If you want them out early, and they start off stage, simply rez them at the venue. They will pop into starting position if you are wearing your HUD and activate that routine/notecard.
If you have multiple moving objects, you can “soft link” them by selecting them all, then taking them (or a copy) into your inventory so that they appear as a coalesced object (the icon looks like a bunch of blocks in inventory). You can then rez this coalesced object at the dance venue and they will all pop into their starting positions automatically.
(Note: Stage Manager must be configured for the venue before you rez your moving objects so that they know where to go. Always set your Stage Manager first.)
Questions and Notes:
- When using Performance Director:
- You do not assign a spot_dancer to mover notecards for objects. They are not dancing.
- You will not create a group for these objects in your Routine notecard. The mover notecard simply needs the same name as the Routine notecard so that pressing play will automatically start the object movers.
If you find any issues with the above or anything needs clarification, please feel free to leave a comment. Have fun and enjoy the creative opportunities in SL!