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Tutor: Eva Harley (EvaHarley Resident)
Last updated: 7/24/2018
The Spot On Choreography Designer system is a tool to move, rotate, lift, or lower avatars or objects from one point to the next – referred to as waypoints. Use your stage more effectively by moving your dancers, change the appearance of animations by turning your dancers in a different direction, use this system to move props or even an entire stage during your performance.
During this workshop we examine what each piece is – designer ring, HUD, mover, and waypoints, introduce travel time and sleep time, and review movements examples including smooth turns, speed, rotation, and more. Activities include using the designer ring, laying out waypoints, and creating a movement notecard.
An Introduction to the Spot On Choreography Design System
What It Is
What It Isn’t
Why Do You need One?
How Does It Work?
The Spot On Choreography Design system is a mover system, one of several available within SL. A mover system provides the ability to move an avatar or an object from one point to another, much as a people mover system does at the airport. During a dance performance, this is done by creating a “route” of waypoints, much like connect the dots. Each dot on this diagram would be a waypoint, and all of the waypoints together create a route for a dancer which is “played” during a dance performance.
What it isn’t. The Choreo Design system is NOT an animation tool. It simply moves avatars or objects. During a dance performance, an additional dance tool is used for the animation portion – the poses, AO, and dance animations.
Why do you need one? Technically, you may not. Many dance animations “move” the dancer on the stage – stepping forward, spinning in a circle, etc. Depending on the dance, the stage area, and the number of dancers, adding select movements using a mover system can ENHANCE the dance or may not be necessary.
- have your dancers make a dramatic entrance from the sides of the stage
- have a select dancer step forward during the dance to “feature” that dancer
- have all of your dancers change formation to change focus of the dance, add interest, coordinate with the movements and the music, have them step to the front of the stage during a “high” point, then step back.
What else can a mover system do:
- Change the dancer rotation, which also changes the appearance of an animation
- Adjust/place the dancers in the proper position when using both single and couples animations
- Change your elevation – go up stairs, “fly” into the sky, move under the stage, etc.
- Be used to move your dancers from backstage onto the stage
- Move props or even your whole set during a performance – example: lift a ship up onto the stage.
What Is In the Box
- Spot On Choreography Designer 2.0
- Spot On Choreography Mover 2.0
- Spot On Choreography HUD 2.0
Designer Ring – is a tool used to create the route.
Mover – this is the “pad” that your dancer will stand on. It contains a notecard with the instructions of movements for the dance.
HUD – this is a HUD you wear that is used to start, stop, pause, and select the routine you want to play.
How the Individual Pieces Work Together
- The Designer Ring is used to design a route by creating waypoints
- For each waypoint you add, you will set waypoint instructions.
- The designer ring converts the route information into instructions for the mover.
- You will paste this information into the notecard within a mover.
- Your dancer stands on the mover.
- You will wear the HUD and press play to start the route.
- When the mover moves, your dancer moves with it.
The Designer Ring is used to create waypoints, which are markers along the route where you will set the speed (travel time), rotation, position, and pause time. Waypoints are much like GPS directions – turn here, stop here, etc. A different designer ring is used for each dancer to create their route.
Once you have created a route of waypoints using the Designer Ring, this ring has a function which converts all of this information into a format that can be read by the mover your dancer will be standing on.
Each dancer will have their own mover. Within the mover is a notecard called “movement notecard”. This is where the converted information from the designer ring is pasted.
Your dancer will stand on the mover, which now contains all of the information about the route in the notecard.
While wearing your HUD, you can now press play. This triggers the mover to start reading the notecard and follow the instructions. Because your dancer is sitting on the mover, when the mover moves, your dancer will also.
Number of Movements
Naming Your Movers
Naming Your Movement Notecards
Number of Movements
Many dance animations already “move” the dancer – perhaps in a circle, forward, left to right etc. Movers are used to enhance the animations – when necessary. Especially when you are beginning to choreograph your own performance, it is highly recommended to keep your movements few and focus on the natural movement of the animation.
Choose your movements with a mover system selectively – does it enhance the dance choreography? Is it necessary? Does it look natural? If you move a dancer with the mover system, it should always be while the animation appears to make the dancer move – such as walking, tapping, etc. If you want to rotate a dancer, during a turn or spin in the animation is an excellent point to do this. Of course there are always exceptions – if you are choreographing flying or some spooky spectre dancer, sliding across the floor might be a good thing – otherwise it’s unnatural and distracting.
Always name your movers!
This is an excellent practice to get into right from the beginning. You can name them the name of the dancer, or by number such as “1 SILENCE Spot On Choreography Mover 2.0”. The number 1 is the mover number, SILENCE is the name of the dance, and the rest is the name of the mover so you always know what version it is. This will save you enormous amounts of time when you have a pile of unnamed movers in your inventory and can’t find the ones you need for your dance.
Always name your mover cards!
Movers contain a notecard called “Movement Card”. Movers can contain multiple notecards, and if you use the Performance Director tool in the future, this card must be renamed. Why not get in the habit now? The movement card for each mover in a dance should have the same name – so for my dance SILENCE, I would rename the notecard SILENCE. There is no question in the future what that mover is for, and what that notecard is for, plus it helps prepare you for future tools!
What is a Route?
A route is the path you want the dancer to follow. It begins with the starting position for your dancer and contains any rotation or position changes you want for that dancer, just like a connect-the-dots picture.
From the starting point, you can choose to move or rotate your dancer by adding additional dots (waypoints), or you may choose to have your dancer remain in their first position for the performance.
Step by Step – Introduction to the Designer Ring
- Each dancer should have their own designer ring
- Rez waypoints to build a route
- Clicking on it gives a menu of tools to help you build your route
- Generates your route info to paste into your movement notecard
The Designer Ring is the “brains” of the operation. With it, you can create your dance route easily then convert this information for the movers your dancers will stand on.
Each dancer should have their own designer ring. The Choreo Design System can interact with other Spot On systems as you expand the tools you use. It’s always best practice and easier if you use a different designer ring for each dancer.
When you click on the ring, it has a fairly extensive menu of options which will be explained over time. When you are beginning, there are just a few you should focus on. The first is to rez a waypoint. This will rez your first waypoint or additional waypoints as you continue building your dance route. Waypoints are the markers you use to mark the movement changes in the dance.
Additional items in the menu, especially those listed after clicking on “Advanced”, can help you build your route easier and offer advanced features. Read about this on the Spot On website spotonsl.com or they will be covered in workshops as you become more experienced with this tool.
After creating your route using waypoints, this information is converted and put into a mover for your dancer to stand on. The Designer Ring is used purely to design and is not used during a performance, this is the purpose of the mover. Now that you have your route laid out, you wouldn’t want to have to convert all of the position, rotation, sleep, time, or other information would you? This is where the designer ring is a major time saver. Click on the ring, select Get Notecard and bam! all of your route information is converted and pasted into chat just for you to see. You can then paste this information into your mover notecard.
Question of the day: Should you delete your designer ring and waypoints when done?
While I am creating or refining a new dance, I keep my designer rings out on my building platform in their original position. This allows me to quickly make changes and get a new notecard.
After the dance is completed and I’m ready to clean up my building platform, I choose to delete my designer ring. I have all my route information in my mover and technically no longer need the designer ring. What if I want to change something later? Designer rings include a feature called “Read Card” under the advanced menu. By pasting information from the mover into the designer ring notecard, it can rebuild the waypoints for me.
Do I have to delete the ring? No, definitely not. Some people choose to keep their designer rings rather than rebuilding a new one like I do. One caveat – when you rez your designer ring again to make changes, make sure the designer ring itself lines up perfectly with the mover pad in its starting position. The position of the ring is the exact position of the mover.
Step by Step – Introduction to a Waypoint
Waypoints mark each movement transition during your route
- where you want to move to
- where you want to stop
- if you want to change speed during the route – slow down or speed up.
- if you want to change the rotation – have dancers face at an angle, opposite each other, turn backwards, etc.
- if you want to change elevation – “jump up” onto a prop, lift up into the sky, come down a set of stairs
- make a turn – similar to rotation. A dancer can make a turn during the movement.
- move from point A to point B – have all your dancers enter through a door and move closer to the audience
- mark a place where you want a dancer to stop and “sleep” – remain in the same position
A waypoint is marker that is used to create this “point” – where you can set it to do one or more of these functions. Example: move closer to the audience and jump up on a prop.
Step by Step – Introduction to a Mover
- The mover is a small pad that your dancer will stand on and is the only part of this system you need to rez for a performance
- It contains a notecard of the route information
- Each dancer must have their own mover
- The mover simply follows the route instructions in the notecard
- The arrow identifies which direction the dancer will be facing
- Unless you are using “offsets” from other Spot On Tools, the mover will start the route from wherever the mover is.
It is always a good idea to name your mover notecard.
Step by Step – Introduction to the Movement Notecard
The Movement Notecard is a notecard in the mover that contains information about the route. The primary information is the waypoint information, which looks like this:
You can also add hovertext to the mover to help your dancers know which one they should stand on, change the color, and other optionos.
Step by Step – Introduction to the Choreo Designer HUD
The Choreo Designer HUD is a very simple HUD you wear on your screen. There are four buttons:
- choose the notecard
Types of Movements
Travel time is the length of time the mover will travel when moving TO a waypoint.
Example: You’ve added waypoint 2 to your route. You clicked on waypoint 2, selected time, and entered the number 8. When you play the route, it will take 8 seconds for the mover to move from waypoint 1 TO waypoint 2.
Sleep Time is the amount of time you want the mover to stay on the waypoint before moving again.
Example: You’ve added waypoint 3 to your route. You click on waypoint 2, select Sleep, and enter the number 25. When you play the route, the mover will move to waypoint 2, stay there for 25 seconds, then move to waypoint 3.
Types of Movements:
Left, right, forward, back, diagonally
Up and Down
Activity – working with waypoints
Activity – making them “move”
Activity – getting your movement info and putting it into your mover
Activity – “playing” your route with the HUD
Activity – making adjustments and updating your mover notecard