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Tutor: Eva Harley (EvaHarley Resident)
Last updated: 9/5/2018
Geared for anyone new to the Smooth Dancer Animation HUD or still familiarizing themselves. We will be focused on loading the HUD, playing animations, inviting others to dance and how to remove dancers (including yourself). We will also cover what to do when your dancers aren’t dancing. This is the first step before moving on to recording your own sequences.
Focus for Today:
- Review what the Smooth dancer is and the benefits
- Step by step explore 3 tabs on the HUD – ALL, INV, and WHO
- Best practices – naming your HUD and copy animations
- Load animations in your HUD together
- What freestyling is, and freestyling yourself to music
- Inviting others to your HUD and removing people from your HUD
- Activity and Practice – Freestyling with Others
- What to do when a dancer isn’t dancing.
Spot On Smooth Dancer HUD – What is it
An animation HUD is a particular tool you wear on your screen to control the animations of yourself and/or others by choosing different animations. Animation HUDs are used for club dancing, dance performances, rituals (such as weddings) and even theatrical performances.
The Spot On Smooth Dancer HUD is an animation and choreography HUD designed primarily for dance performances. It’s abilities are limited specifically to choreography – animating yourself, inviting and removing others to dance, and for recording and playing sequences of animations.
An animation sequence is a string of animations that are played in a particular order. These can be manually selected one by one, or it can be recorded so that the entire sequence can be played by the touch of a button.
DEMONSTRATION – FLOOR MODEL
There are four tabs on the Smooth Dancer HUD – ALL, SEQ, INV, AND WHO. We are going to be focusing on all of these except SEQ. This is covered in another workshop specifically about Sequences.
Key features of your Smooth Dancer HUD:
- Lock – locks your HUD onto your screen so that it won’t come off during costume changes. You must have RLV enabled in your viewer preferences
- Minimize and Maximize
FOCUS ON TAB – ALL
You can see on this tab a list of animations. It will display 20 animations per page in alphabetical order, and you can use the arrows to move to the next or previous page. I have loaded 200+ animations in a HUD without issue!
Buttons on the bottom –
FOCUS ON TAB – INV
This tab is used to invite people to dance on your HUD. It will display a list of uninvited people nearby. If someone isn’t listed, you must move closer to them.
Buttons on the bottom –
Me – this button is used to invite yourself back onto your HUD.
Best practice is to invite people individually by clicking on their name. It has been common experience that when using the “Invite All” feature, not everyone on the list receives an invitation. You can monitor local chat to confirm your invitation was sent, and also receive a message when they accept.
FOCUS ON TAB – WHO
This tab displays who you have invited to your HUD. It does NOT identify who actually accepted the invitation.
Tabs on the bottom:
We are going to be loading our Smooth Dancer HUDs together and using them today. Smooth Dancer HUDs can be copied, allowing you to use one HUD for each dance or even multiple HUDs. When choreographing or freestyling, I often wear 8 or more Smooth Dancer HUDs at the same time. For today, we will each be using just one HUD – but what a great day to use best practices and keep them organized in inventory!
To keep things smooth and organized, there are two things you can do:
- Name your HUD – While you are loading your animations into the HUD, this is a good time to rename it. I generally add something to the beginning of the name, like “CHOREO BEARS”. <screenshot>
- Always buy copy animations when you can. If you have copy animations, you can load that animation into 1, 10, or even 50 different HUDs without worrry. You can still use transfer animations in these HUDs, but with only one copy of the animation you need to be extremely careful in knowing which HUD it is in. Copy animations make this so much easier and stress free.
To add animations to your HUD, you will need to rez it out onto ground. This is an SL security feature. Once it is rezzed out onto the ground, you can view the contents of the HUD and add your animations.
Let’s do this together.
ACTIVITY – Loading Animations into your Smooth Dancer HUD
Step 1 – if everyone can please rez an empty/new Smooth Dancer HUD in front of them on the floor please.
Step 2 – right click on your HUD, select edit, and go to the contents tab.
Step 3 – everyone should have 30 animations in your workshop supplies folder for this workshop. Please copy these to your HUD contents. Note: you can copy 1 at a time or multiple by using your shift or ctrl keys, but I find that it’s best not to copy more than 20 at a time.
Turn up the heat – for those who are finished, you may also add some of your own dance animations to the HUD. *This is not a requirement
GETTING READY TO USE YOUR HUD
Now is a great time to name your HUD before taking it into inventory. Makes it much easier to find!
Right click on your HUD and select edit. Make sure the xxx tab is selected and you can change the name in the xxx box, then press enter.
Once this is done, right click and take your Smooth Dancer HUD into inventory.
Open your inventory. If you go to the recent tab, you should be able to find or search for your Smooth Dancer HUD. Aren’t you glad you renamed it? Once you find your HUD, right click on it and select “Add”.
NOW THAT YOU’RE WEARING YOUR HUD
On the ALL page, you should now see the animations you loaded into the HUD. It will also show you how many pages of animations there are. Press the right arrow to see page 2, and press the left arrow to go back to page 1.
If you click on the INV page, you should see a list of the people standing near you. No touching yet! We’ll be inviting people after we use the HUD for a bit.
If you click on the WHO page, you should see your name. When you add your HUD, it automatically adds you as a dancer.
Our next activity is going to be freestyle dancing for yourself. I will be playing music, and you will dance along as best you can by click on animation names to change your animations. Don’t worry! This is all for fun and practice! Freestyling is also a great way to get to know your animations and the feel of a song. Let loose, don’t hold back!
Before we can start freestyling, we first need to cache our animations. Caching animations prepares everyone’s viewers to see the animations smoothly.
What is caching? When you play a dance animation, your viewer goes to the SL asset servers to get the dance animation data (like wiggle the hips then spin fast). There is a slight pause while it does this for the first time. Once your viewer has this information, it’s been cached and your viewer can play the animation without delay.
If you are in someone else’s camera view, their viewer will also go to the SL asset servers to get the dance animation data. They will see a slight pause in your dance while it does this for the first time. Once the animations have been cached for their viewer, they will be able to see your dance without a pause between each animation. (This even applies if you are hiding behind a curtain – like superman, their viewer can see through walls even if they can’t.)
This is where the caching button comes in!
At the bottom of the ALL tab, you will see a lightning bolt. Click it to cache your animations.
This will play enough of the animation to prepare your viewer and also the view of anyone in range. It plays them lighting fast – don’t be alarmed if it looks like some really weird future dance! If you’re not moving, don’t worry – it is still caching the animations but I always cache them a second time and see the wiggling just to make sure!
It’s time to move it move it!
You’re ready to freestyle! As you listen to the music, play whatever animation you think will work and change it frequently. Get a feel for your animations and the music. You are dancing in the moment – if an animation doesn’t look right, just switch it! It’s all about having fun, becoming comfortable with your hud, and getting to know your animations. Freestyling is an amazing method for working with your choreography on a new dance. It can really help you get a feel for the music and transitions.
INVITING OTHERS TO DANCE
See how much fun freestyling can be? For small number of people (less than 20), it’s a great tool for freestyling. Did you know you can perform with it too? We’ll be exploring sequences in another workshop but not only can you create your choreography with your Smooth Dancer, but you can perform on stage with it! I highly recommend focusing on this foundation tool when you first begin to perform. Hold off on using an advanced tool such as Performance Director until you’ve built a strong foundation!
So, dancing on your own is fun but dancing with others can be even better.
To invite dancers to your HUD, click on the INV tab.
This tab will display up to 16 avatars within range to invite. When you click on their name, it will send them a dance invitation to accept. A message appears in local chat when the invitation is sent, and another message appears when they accept.
I highly recommend inviting people one by one, watching invitation to make sure they accept. By following this method, you should find most if not all you invited are ready to dance.
I don’t recommend the Invite All button at the bottom of the HUD. My experience has been that not everyone is invited and it takes much longer to figure our who needs to be invited/reinvited.
Why is there a Me button? Perhaps you want to perform a dance for just men, and prefer to sit on the sidelines (or the opposite). You can remove yourself from your own HUD so that they are dancing but you aren’t. Change your mind? Click on the Me button on the INV tab and you’ll be dancing away again too.
Now you can perform a dance sequence or freestyle with others! Have fun with this!
WHAT IS THE ‘WHO’ TAB?
The WHO tab displays people you’ve INVITED. This is an important thing to know. It doesn’t mean they ACCEPTED the invitation. The only way to know if they’ve accepted the invitation is to play an animation and see if they are moving.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SOME AREN’T DANCING
If someone isn’t dancing, there are two primary reasons: 1. they have their AO on, or 2. they didn’t accept the dance invitation.
Suggestions for resolving:
- Have them check their notifications window for the invitation and remind them to accept.
- On the WHO tab, click on their name and click on Reinvite at the bottom for a new invitation to be sent. Watch your local chat to see if they accept.
- Click on their name on the WHO tab, click on Remove to remove them from the HUD. Go to the INV tab and reinvite them by clicking their name. Watch your local chat to make sure they accept.
REMOVING PEOPLE FROM YOUR HUD
There can be many reasons to remove people from your HUD. Maybe they don’t want to dance anymore, maybe you are using the same HUD for two different performances and want to remove them for the 2nd dance, or maybe they aren’t dancing and you want to re invite them. There could be any number of reasons, but the process is the same.
To remove one person, go to the WHO tab, click on their name and click Remove at the bottom.
Want to remove everyone? (Also known as clearing your HUD) Click on the WHO tab and click on Remove All.
What if they want to remove themselves?
That’s it! You’re ready to load your HUD, invite others, and get dancing away!
** SUGGESTED ACTIVITY **
This week, load up a new Smooth Dancer HUD with a mix of your animations. Add FREESTYLING to the beginning of the HUD name.
Go to a club or invite some of your friends over, invite them on your HUD, kick on the music and do some freestyling! Freestyling parties can be casual and such incredible fun!
NUMBER OF DANCERS: By default, you can INVITE up to 20 people on your HUD (including yourself). The Smooth Dancer HUD comes with an Updater, which allows you to increase this to up to 40 dancers. Rez the updater on the ground, then rez your HUD next to it. Click on the updater and choose the maximum number of dancers.
- Special note about this: While the HUD can invite up to 40 dancers including yourself, the WHO tab will not show more than 20 people. You can’t turn the page. What does this mean? You can’t see the others to remove or reinvite them. If you choose to dance more than 20 people, make sure to invite them carefully and make sure they accept. If they didn’t, you’d have to remove EVERYONE and start again.
THE PAUSE ANIMATION: Smooth dancer has a pause feature which plays an animation when you press pause. This animation comes in every clean HUD you rez and will be listed on the ALL tab. Yep – it’s that wiggly bounce that most dancers detest.
Wait! You can’t just remove that animation! Your HUD will start complaining that it can’t find it, and that’s just as annoying as the bounce itself! You have two choices.
- Add an animation to your HUD to use for the pause, or select an animation you’ve loaded in your HUD.
- Go to your HUD contents and open the configuration notecard. At the top of the notecard, you’ll see it has the selection for the pause animation. Remove the name of the bounce animation and put the name of your animation there – making sure the animation name matches exactly.
- Save your configuration card. No more error and no more bounce!
INVITATION BALLS/REMOTE INVITER: Generally you will choose who to invite your Smooth Dancer HUD, but there may be times you’d like people to add themselves to dance with you. Example? Perhaps you’re having a small party and if people want to freestyle with you, it would be easier to have them touch an inviter object. There are two different types included in the Smooth Dancer folder, one to wear and one to rez. Simple rez or attach the remote inviter. When an avatar touches it, they will automatically receive an invitation to join your hud which they must accept.
TIP – PREPARE YOUR OWN HUD FOR CHOREOGRAPHY WITH ALL YOUR FAVORITE OPTIONS
- Did you know you can resize the smooth dancer HUD? I resized mine so that I can fit them 2 high on my screen by shrinking it a bit.
- Having trouble resizing? You can add a resize script to the HUD to get the HUD size just right! Most likely you already have a resize script in your inventory. When you have you HUD the right size, delete the script.
- Hate the pause animation? Choose an animation you like, add it to the HUD contents and update the configuration notecard. Remove the bounce animation.
- Name your HUD something special. I added the word CHOREO to my HUD name so I know this one is prepared just the way I like it.
Now just keep this HUD in your inventory and rez a copy any time you want to create choreography for a new dance! It’s already pre-loaded just the way you like it! A major time saver!
TIP – A BILLION HUDS & MAKING BABIES
When you rez a Smooth Dancer HUD, a copy is rezzed to the ground. Add your animations and take it back into inventory – BOOM! another copy is in your inventory. Need to add more animations? BOOM! ANOTHER copy is in your inventory. You could end up with so many copies in your inventory that you don’t know which way is up.
If you’d rather just have one Smooth Dancer HUD for the dance no matter how many times you rez it, there is an option.
- Add a no copy object to your HUD contents
By adding a no copy object, the entire HUD becomes no copy. When you rez it onto the ground, it rezzes your Smooth Dancer HUD. When you pick it up, it picks up the same HUD. You must be careful though! You now only have one copy of your HUD. Make sure it’s named and you don’t delete it.
Want to make it so you can copy it again? Just remove the no copy object from contents
What I did? I had someone create a cube and change the next owner option to “no copy” and name the cube “NO BABIES”. I then asked them to transfer me 10 copies. When I received them, I had 10 no copy objects called “NO BABIES”. I add one to a Smooth Dancer HUD and BOOM – no more copies every time I rezzed it. Even nicer – I know that if I see “NO BABIES” as an object in the contents, there’s no question about why it’s there.
Birth control for HUDs – who knew? 😀