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Skitter » Skitter 101 Part 2

Objective

By the end of this part of the guide you will have created a dance (or skit) to go with the audio file you created in Part 1

While this guide demonstrates using a ERS-7 model AIBO, the same steps also work for the ERS-210ERS-220 and ERS-31x model AIBOs as well (some of the screens or names for things will vary slightly)

Tools/ Things required for this guide:

WinZip (or the zip tool of your choice).... to get a trial version of winzip goto http://www.winzip.com/

YART/ YART 7…. There are different versions for the 210/220/31x and 7 Downloadable from www.aibohack.com (direct links will be given later)

YART APG…… this tool is included with YART/ YART7

SKITTER…… There is one version that works with ALL models…. Get it from http://www.dogsbodynet.com

A compatible WAV file…. If you don’t have one yet… see ‘skitter 101 (part 1)’ at http://www.madpair.co.uk/aibo/skitter101part1.pdf

An 8mb or 16mb PMS…. You can not use your mind/mind2/mind3 or other aiboware stick… it must be a Programmable Memory Stick…. For a full explanation of what can (and can not be used) check out http://www.aibohack.com/pms.htm

A SONY BRANDED stick reader…. do not use the cheap non Sony branded readers…. They destroy aibo sticks

Before we start:

Lets get a few terms sorted… to stop confusion later

Skit….. a term we use for a canned motion/ series of motions…. It can be very simple…. Such as aibo waving a paw, to more complex…. Like a 2 minute dance. Skits can be created using a motion editor such as skitter …. As we are going to do in this guide

Rcode….. this is a fairly simple programming language used to produce personalities for aibo…. There are others, which are more powerful, but more difficult to use…. We will not be directly looking at Rcode in this guide. However, we will be using YART to generate a basic Rcode personality to test our skit. If you have a 2x0/ 31x you will actually be using an AiboPet enhanced version of Rcode called RcodePlus…. For the scope of this guide we will treat Rcode and RcodePlus as the same thing

YART….. stands for Yet Another Rcode Tool. Basically it allows you to write personalities by simply dragging and dropping Rcode commands i.e. you can program without worrying about all that horrid code. We will be using it to test the skit we are going to create

YART APG….. this is a tool that comes with YART. The ‘AGP’ stands for Audio Personality Generator. This tool can automatically generate head, mouth and LED movements from a compatible WAV file (we will do this in guide 3). You can also use YART APG to add skits (and wav’s) to a stick, so they can be used in a YART personality…. Which is what we are going to use it for in this guide

Ok…. Enough with the terms…. Lets get going

1. Preparing a PMS to test our skit

We are going to test the skit we create in a simple YART personality. The personality will sit down, and perform the dance skit… with audio when ever we press the head button

FIRST WE NEED TO DELETE ANYTHING ON THE STICK (IF ITS NEW… GO TO 1.3)

1.1 Insert your PMS into your Sony branded stick reader 1.1.1 depending on the contents already on the stick, and your pc setup, you may get a screen appear automatically

If you see something like

(111a)

then select ‘Open folder to view files using Windows Explorer’ and click on OK. Then go to 1.2

If you see something like

(111b)

then go to 1.2

If you don’t see anything appear….

  • Click on ‘My Computer’
  • Double click on the Sony Memory Stick (see screendump below)

(111c)

Now Go to 1.2

1.2 you should see a screen something like

(12a)

the contents will depend on what is already on the stick… it may have several, one, or no files

Highlight ALL files (drag mouse over files while holding down the left mouse button)…. All files should become highlighted, press the DEL key on your keyboard and confirm you want to delete the files…. See below

(12b)

NB: NEVER FORMAT A PMS…. IT DESTROYS THEM

OK…. WE NOW HAVE A BLANK PMS… LETS PUT YART ONTO IT

1.3 Download the correct version of YART from www.aibohack.com to your desktop.

For the ERS-210… http://www.aibohack.com/rcode/RCodePlus252A(210).zip For the ERS-220… http://www.aibohack.com/rcode/RCodePlus252A(220).zip For the ERS-31x… http://www.aibohack.com/rcode/RCodePlus252A(31x).zip For the ERS-7…… http://www.aibohack.com/ers7/RCODE7_YART703_E.zip

  • NB.... THE LINKS ABOVE DONT WORK PROPERLY.... YOU WILL NEED TO COPY AND PASTE THE LINKS INTO YOUR BROWSER, until i fix them*******

1.3.1. double click on the zip file you just downloaded… this should open your ZIP utility…. If you don’t have one, I recommend WINZIP http://www.winzip.com/

1.3.2 unzip the contents of the zip file to the stick (see below)

(132)

YOU SHOULD NOW HAVE YART INSTALLED ON YOUR PMS.

NOW WE NEED TO MODIFY IT SLIGHTLY

1.4 Double click on ‘My computer’, and select the Sony Memory stick

(111c)

1.4.1. you should see

(141)

NB…. IF YOU ARE USING YART FOR THE 2X0 OR 31X YOU WILL ALSO HAVE A FOLDER CALLED ‘PHOTOS’

1.4.2 Now you should see the following.

(142)

1.4.3 You are now looking at the YART program. The first thing we need to do is delete EVERYTHING in the default personality. This is very easy… but time consuming.

(143a)

You should now find the Startup(once) option is empty

Lets move on to 'Sensor'. when you click on THE LITTLE '+' NEXT TO SENSOR… you will see several different sensors appear…. Click on each of these and delete everything (same as in 1.4.3)… note some sensors will already be empty

(143b)

Ok…. You should have the idea now… also delete all commands in ‘IDLE’, ‘AIBO VOICE COMMANDS’, ‘AIBO HEARS’ and ‘AIBO SEES’

1.4.4 phew…. Glad that’s over…. Lets save the stick before we forget…. Just click on ‘SAVE Rcode program to stick’

CONGRATULATIONS…. YOU HAVE JUST WRITTEN THE MOST BORING AIBO PERSONALITY IN HISTORY

BEFORE WE GO FURTHER…. LETS SAVE THE PERSONALITY TO OUR PC (FOR FURTURE USE)…. WE DON’T WANT TO GO THROUGH THAT EVER AGAIN…. DO WE?

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:48 pm Post subject:


cool.... looks like people are coping fine

this bit is slightly later than expected.... but here goes

BEFORE WE GO FURTHER…. LETS SAVE THE PERSONALITY TO OUR PC (FOR FURTURE USE)…. WE DON’T WANT TO GO THROUGH THAT EVER AGAIN…. DO WE?

1.5 The main reason for saving the personality to our pc is so we never have to go through it and delete the default personality again (after all we are going to create loads of skits in the months/ years to come). However you can use the following steps to back up ANY aibo stick (including mind3/ life2 etc)

1.5.1 First thing we need to do is create a folder on our pc to store the personality…. Start by right clicking on your desktop

(151aa)

give the folder a suitable name (called mine ‘yart7 blank personality’)

(151b)

1.5.2 Double click on ‘My computer’, and select the Sony Memory stick

(111c)

1.5.3 you should see

(153)

NB…. IF YOU ARE USING YART FOR THE 2X0 OR 31X YOU WILL ALSO HAVE A FOLDER CALLED ‘PHOTOS’

1.5.4. hold the left mouse button down, and pass it over all the files…. They should highlight Then

(154)

1.5.5 we have now need to paste the copy of the personality to the folder we created in 1.5.1

So…. Double click on the folder we created earlier then

(155)

You will now see the files pasted into the folder

CONGRATULATIONS…. You now have a backup of the personality safely stored on your pc

ok.... lets get aibo to join in....

2 Uploading what you create to your test personality

I know we haven’t actually created a skit yet…. But we might as well upload the WAV we created in the first guide… and make sure it sounds ok when aibo ‘sings’ it. It will also enable us to practice uploading stuff before we get too involved in skitter.

2.1 First thing we need to do is create a folder somewhere…. I usually create them in the root directory of drive C…. simply because its easy to find them. So

Click on My Computer, and select DRIVE C Then

(21a)

give the folder a sensible (and short name)…. I have called mine ‘dance’

(21b)

2.1.1 locate the WAV file you created in ‘skitter 101 (part 1)’ Then

(211)

2.1.2 now we need to paste it into the folder we created in 2.1…. so Click on My Computer, and select DRIVE C, double click on the folder you created earlier (I called mine ‘dance’) Then

(212a)

You should now have a folder with your wav file in it

(212b)

NB…. Later we will also put the skit we make in the same folder…. But as we haven’t made it yet, we cant do that yet

2.2 We will now use YART_APG to add the contents of the ‘dance’ folder to the pms

2.2.1.YART_APG is supplied with YART…. So is on the pms…. So put the pms back in the reader

2.2.2 Double click on ‘My computer’, and select the Sony Memory stick

(111c)

2.2.3. you should see

(141)

NB…. IF YOU ARE USING YART FOR THE 2X0 OR 31X YOU WILL ALSO HAVE A FOLDER CALLED ‘PHOTOS’

2.2.4 Now you should see the following

(224a)

Double click on YART7_APG/ YART_APG (depending on which version you are using)

Now do the following

(224)

2.2.5 now hit GENERATE…… YART_APG will now generate mouth/ head and LED motions automatically…. Based on your WAV (pretty cool huh?)

If you have entered every thing right in step 2.2.4, and you made the wav correctly (using guide1) you will see the following

(225)

Click on OK…. Then ‘SAVE TO STICK’ (may take a minute or so)

CONGRATULATIONS…. YOU HAVE NOW SAVED YOUR WAV TO THE PMS. NOW WE WANT TO SEE IT WORKING ON AIBO

2.3 We need to write a little code using YART…. So open YART….

HINT If you cant remember how…. See steps 1.4 – 1.42

We are going to write 2 bits of code….

When aibo boots up, we want him to assume the sitting position Then when we press the head button, we want him to play your WAV

2.3.1…. lets get him to sit when he first boots….

Just follow this

(231a)

After dropping the ‘sit’ command in the ‘aibo does this’ window you will see the following

(231b)

So…. When aibo boots…. He will sit…. Now for our wav…..

2.3.2…. we are going to play our wav, when we touch the head button…. Which is sensor… so click on the little ‘+’ sign next to SENSOR…. We can now see all the sensors

(232a)

When completed you will see your wav (and one of those WAIT commands) has been added to the ‘aibo does this’ window

(232b)

Save the contents to the stick

CONGRATULATIONS…. YOU CAN NOW BOOT THE STICK IN YOUR AIBO…. After booting he will sit…. When you press his head button, he will move his head, open his mouth, and flash his LED's in time with your wav

Ok…. We are now ready to create our dance

3.0 Skitter- a bit more detail Creating a skit is very similar to making a stop frame or cartoon animation, except you don’t need to be able to use a camera, or be able to draw

We create a starting position for aibo…. Then move each leg, head and tail in a series of steps (called frames)….. the more frames we produce a second…. the smoother the movement will appear….. to get a smooth movement we need many frames per second…. Which is why stop frame animation takes so long Skitter allows us to cheat…. As we don’t need to create every frame. We just have to create key frames…. These are the first and last frames in a particular movement…. Skitter fills in the rest. The time the movement takes depends on how close the two frames are (the closer they are, the faster the movement will be). So as an example…. say we want aibo to lift his arm….. if we used the stop frame animation technique we would need to position aibo… take a photo (1st frame), then move the leg very slightly, take another photo (2nd frame) ,move the leg a little more, take a another photo (3rd frame), etc etc until the leg reaches the desired position….. If we want the movement to take 3 seconds, it could take 50 or 60 photos (frames) to make it look smooth. With skitter we set the start key frame….. set the end key frame…. Position the 2 frames the correct time apart…. And Skitter will create all the frames in between. Cool huh???

Hopefully that makes sense…. If not- don’t worry, it will when we start creating the skit

Ok ….lets download skitter and install skitter….

3.1 goto http://www.dogsbodynet.com/ 3.1.1 to download skitter

(311)

3.1.2 then

(312)

3.1.3 feel free to look at the tutorial if you want…. But I will warn you, that we will be doing somethings slightly different (as some features of skitter do not work for the ers7)

Time to load up skitter

3.2.1 Double click on the skitter.exe file (in the location you saved skitter)

(321)

NB.... DEPENDING ON YOU PC SETUP.... YOU MAY NOT SEE THE .EXE EXTENSION.... THE FILE MAY JUST BE CALLED SKITTER (but should still have the green 210 icon)

3.2.2. The FIRST TIME you open skitter, you have to tell it which files it needs to be associated with

(322)

3.2.3 now select the model you want to make a skit for

(323)

as shown I selected the ers7

3.2.4 now you can see the skitter screen

(324)

Here is a better look (without the tips)

(324b)

Don’t panic…. Its not as scary as it looks

3.2.5 As you can see we have 3 windows

The Motion Editor Window

(325a)

The LED Editor Window

(325b)

And the MIDI Editor Window

(325ca)

3.2.6 So lets simplify things slightly….. in guide 3, I will show you the easy way to create led pattens, that are in synch with the music…. So lets get rid of the LED Editor window…..

(326)

The LED Editor is now gone

(326a)

3.2.7 now we need to add our dance wav (we created in guide 1) to the MIDI editor window. If you are following this guide closely, you should have the wav in a folder… see steps 2.1 - 2.1.2

Follow the following

(327a)

Then

(327b)

Nearly there, now

(327c)

Now check the MIDI editor window….you will see our wav is now there… we can now minimise, and forget the MIDI Editor window

(327d)

Ok… now lets give ourselves some room to play

(327e)

We are now pretty much ready to start…. However before we do…. Lets save what we have done…. So we don’t have to go through all this each time we want to work on the dance

3.3 we are going to save everything we have done to the desktop…. Where we can find it easy next time. We will save it as an ACT file (ACT stands for action) which will include the motion info, the wav info, and even the fact we don’t want any LED info.

(33)

A warning box will appear…. Say yes

(33a)

this will create a couple of folders on your desktop called MOTION and SOUND…. Don’t worry about them for now (they are necessary for the act file to work….. and a useful backup)

Ok shut skitter down…. And look on your desktop….. you will find a file called xxxx.act (xxxx is the name you gave the action)…. Double click on this…. And you will see the motion edit window, with the MIDI editor window behind it ….. you can minimise the MIDI editor window, and maximise the other windows as in the last part of step 3.2.7

That’s it…. We cant put it off anymore…. Lets create that skit.

4.0 Skitter….. the basics

Ok …. This is what we have been building up to…. Lets take a look a look at skitter, and create a simple skit….

4.1 If you don’t have your skit open, double click on the xxxx.act file (where xxxx is the name you gave the action) which you saved to your desktop in step 3.3. Remember to minimise the MIDI editor, and maximise the motion editor, and skitter itself…. So we have loads of space to play

4.2 We now need an aibo, so we can see what we are creating….. a nice virtual aibo…. So if we screw up, we don’t snap off a leg. You can do this in two ways

4.2.1 If you like key commands, just type Ctrl+W…. if like me, you can never remember key commands…. Do the following

(421)

4.2.2 A virtual Aibo will appear (model you see will be the one you are writing the skit for)

(422)

As you can see…. We have a few buttons to play with…. These work just like the buttons on a cd player…. But of course play our skit (with the wav we have attached). Give it a try…. Press the play button (green triangle)… Virtual aibo wont do anything yet…. But you will hear your WAV. When you are board, press stop…. And rewind the skit to the beginning

4.2.3 We can move virtual aibo around, zoom in/ out, rotate or even change his colour …. Try doing that with a real aibo

(423a)

(423b)

(423c)

(423d)

(423e)

(423f)

Ok…. Now lets create a simple skit…. So we can watch virtual aibo actually do something

4.3.0 ok we are going to create a simple skit- that will show all of the main techniques you will use to create your dance later. The first thing we need to do is decide in our head what the aibo is going to do.

So we are going to start off with aibo standing…. He will the lie down, go to sleep for a few seconds (shown by him putting his head down)… have a dream (shown by a bit of head movement and paw twitching) then he will suddenly wake up…. And get up

If you played the skit earlier, you saw that aibo is already standing…. Lets look at the skit, see if we can work out why

(430)

Ok…. The first key frame already has aibo standing… We then have another keyframe 1.92 seconds later (whichjust so happens is also the end keyframe) that is also standing…. So when we play the skit… Aibo just stands there for 1.92 seconds…. Which is a bit dull. NB… note that there are actually 120 frames… skitter automataically creates all the frames between each key frame

4.31…. ok lets add the first level of movement to the skit…. This is the most general movements ….. going from sitting to laying down, remaining in the laying position for 2 seconds, then standing up again…. We will add detail later

Lets get aibo to go from the standing to laying position

We want him to take about a second to lie down…. So lets create a key frame about 1 second after the skit begins

(431a)

Now we need to tell skiter we want aibo to be laying at this point. Thankfully skitter includes stock poses (like standing sitting and laying), so

(431b)

As you can see below… the frame we highlighted now has a green triangle on top…. Indicating it is now the selected keyframe (if a keyframe is not selected, the triangle is blue)

(431c)

4.3.2 ok now we need to add another keyframe about 2 seconds after the one we created above…. So aibo stays in the laying position. However our skit isn’t long enough…. So….lets make it longer

(432a)

(432b)

NB…you can move any key frame in this way (even one in the middle of a skit)… if you need more or less space/time

4.3.3… ok… lets make the next keyframe (so aibo stays laying for 2 seconds)

First use the rewind button (on virtual aibo) to go back to the beginning of the skit (or usethe slide bar at the bottom of the screen)…. Then repeat the steps shown in step 4.3.1…. 2 seconds after the last keyframe we created…. When done… it should look like this

(433)

Ok rewind your skit, and play it…. Aibo should start in a standing position…. Lie down for 2 seconds, then stand back up again

Nb your wav sound will play while this is happening (and continue afterwards)…. Just hit the stop button. Later we will be synching movements to the wav… but not yet

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Page last modified on August 16, 2006, at 06:27 AM CST