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For Universe Mac/win

Kindly provided by Toby Thain at Telegraphics
XPressionist 1.0
The "intelligent" interactive animation, a Revolution!
Most of you must be thinking "What the hell can I do with that", and God knows it's quite unusual for one to wonder of what use a plug-in could be, but with this one...
The time has come to try and unveil the revolution lying behind this impressive plug-in.

First encounter...
When first starting XP (Xpressionist) the user faces a blank page, or more accurately a grey one, in front of which a feeling of deep stupidity starts growing as the user realizes he doesn't know what to put in there... At this stage, the only solution is to jump to the documentation in order to discover the magic formulas that will activate the thingy... If you're like me and like to start playing around with things before reading the docs, you're up for a big disappointment. With XP you can't escape reading the documentation first.

Let's check the Doc then!
XP's documentation is sheer pleasure and really at par with the product, extremely precise and full of concrete examples. A step by step "Quick Start" section will allow you to attempt your first trials without delay and without being a pro of scripting.
Anyway, no need to be a coding pro, as simple mathematical operations will produce amazing results.

A quick Overview of the Possibilities:
It's going to be real hard to sum them up... as XP is so versatile that even its creators can't enumerate them all!
Let's say that XP allows to automatically animate objects, link them together, create complex motions, even dynamic ones, in short create unlimited behaviours that can be assigned to anything in the Project Window, like Objects, Lights, Cameras...
Anything that's animatable can be controlled by XP!

Despite XP giving a first impression as being very maths oriented, the user will quickly learn to enjoy the coding work in XP, as it will not only allow to create animations one could only dream of managing with Universe, but also to improve the productivity and quality of one's workflow.

Applied to Character Animation for example, XP will allows you to:
- create a tailor made walk generator
- assign sliders to any animatable channel
- control the simultaneous rotation of x bones, ideal for fingers or a spine, a real time saver in animation.
- synchronize eyes rotation, or assemble several motions into a single one.

In the mechanical field...
- you'll be able to animate gearings with slowed down reversed rotation, adjusting the speed of only one of the wheels, while all the other ones will always adapt their speed to that of the 'master" one, which simplifies immensely any modification.

- you'll have the ability of managing complex mechanics requiring that a rotation will create a motion, like an engine piston, which is currently impossible with the current constraint sytem of Universe.
- Or the other way around, like having the speed of a car in motion controling the rotational speed of its wheels..and all that with a mere 3 lines of code!

Dynamics? Err, well, that too :-)
- how would you like being able to generate dynamic behaviours where given objects will react to the movement, rotation or acceleration of other ones...
- you can define relational conditions like, if object A bumps into object B this will trigger some sort of reaction, i.e. modification of the texture, distortion of the geometry or an explosion with Mr. Nitro, well pretty much anything a tortured mind can think of !!!
They shouldn't have named that thing XPressionist, but X-Box as it very quickly becomes a game working with it :-))
That's it for now, I've got to stop. And I haven't even scratched the surface of what's possible to do with XPressionist.

It doesn't look that simple after all
Don't be afraid, believe you me! I'm the biggest math-challenged individual, don't even have an HSC, and still managed to whip up some nice little scripts... I'm impressing myself so much that I feel like going back to school to fill the gap in my maths and physics poor knowledge.
All of the above to say that the scripting in XP will widen every animator's horizon, even if math-challenged like me ;-) Simple operations or even ready-to-use scripts that will soon be appearing on the Net will sharpen your creative edge for years to come.
On the opposite, if you're a maths freak and have fun calculating the estimated time for a frozen pizza to reach optimal eating temperature when re-entering the earth atmosphere after a long trip to a galaxy far far away, then you'll enjoy so much working with XP that you'll be very quickly creating your own home-made plug-ins.

Here we are, I hope I've been able to give you a taste of what can be achieved with XPressionist, as it's really an awesome tool, so much so that it's probably the only plug-in I use on a daily basis, either for work purposes or just for good ol' plain fun.

David Della Rocca

XPressionist v1.0
by Ramjac softwares
Plugin for Universe Animator
Where to buy:
Price: $249US
Platform: Mac OS9/OSX
Universe 4.0 (4.0.7 is better)
Demo version: No
Documentation: English