Skitter Tutorial #1 - Create Your First Skit!

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Creating Your First Skit!

Any AIBO owner has probably noticed that AIBO moves!   

AIBO moves a lot in fact.  It walks, scratches itself, chases pink balls and does all sorts of other stuff.    Besides walking, most AIBO movement is controlled by skits, made with a program like Skitter.

In this tutorial, we focus on creating a simple skit.  The next tutorial covers dressing things up with lights/LED's & sound. 

Our goals are:

So you want to make AIBO do something?   No problem.   Let's get started!

1.0 Starting Skitter

Install Skitter if you haven't done so already.  

Download the Skitter Installer to your PC desktop.    Double click the program & follow the simple step-by-step instructions.

Select the "Start" Menu, then "Programs",  "AIBO Tools", and finally  "Skitter".

The first time you start Skitter, you see the "Welcome to Skitter" window (see right).  

You're asked if Windows should use Skitter to open AIBO skits.  This only appears once & you won't be bothered by it again.

Click "OK" (recommended).

Welcome to Skitter

If you clicked "Skip" instead, Windows is not configured.   You'll need to start Skitter first, then use "Open" from the toolbar or File Menu.

2.0 Create an AIBO Performance

New AIBO PerformanceTime to do something interesting.  After starting Skitter, you are asked about creating a new AIBO performance.

Skitter supports all AIBO models (11x/2x0/31x/7).

Select your favorite AIBO flavor.

(2)   Skitter now displays the performance editors -- there is one each for Motion,  LED's (for lights), and MIDI (for sound).  The image below shows the ERS-210 editors.   For the moment, we can ignore the LED & MIDI editors.

3.0 Editing AIBO Motions

First, let's make the motion editor bigger.   Click on the toolbar "Motion" button.   The motion editor fills the Skitter window (see below).

Down the left side is a list of AIBO's moving joints, or servos.   There are quite a few -- you might need the scrollbar to see them all.

Below the toolbar, is the 3D AIBO preview, and timeline (or ruler-bar).   If you click-n-drag on the preview, the AIBO image rotates around for different views.

The preview shows AIBO standing up.  In this performance we need AIBO sitting, so do the following:
  1. From the Edit Menu, click "Select All".   The editor will turns gray (since everything is selected).
  2. From the Motion Menu, click "Set Pose", then "Sit Position".
The AIBO preview should now show AIBO sitting (see right).

We need a keyframe.   Keyframes tell AIBO how to position itself at a given time.

Move the mouse to time "60" (on the timeline) and left-click.   The orange marker appears.   It doesn't need to be exact, but the left/right arrow keys can fine tune if you like.

Next, from the Motion Menu click "Create Keyframe".   A tab appears under the orange marker (see right).   The tab shows a keyframe was created.

Time to get our hands dirty.   Move the mouse down the orange marker line until lined up with "Front Left Leg Vertical".

Left-click where the orange & black lines cross.   An orange "edit-diamond" snaps to the intersection.   An orange box also appears next to the servo title. 

Now press [Enter], type in a value of 90, and [Enter] once more.   This adjust the position to 90 degrees.   The small preview also shows the change.

Punching numbers is a little tedious.   So let's use the "AIBO Window" instead!   From the View menu, click "AIBO Window" (see right).    You get a bigger AIBO with a media-bar along the bottom.

Click the pencil icon Pencil in the lower right to enable editing.

Now just click-n-drag on AIBO's legs & head.   Easy eh?   Adjust AIBO until he is waving at you (as shown).    Watch the motion editor while adjusting & you'll see the values change.   Here are settings to aim for:
  • "Head Tilt" to be "-15"
  • "Head Pan/Yaw" to be "25"
  • "Head Roll" to be "19"    (ERS210 / ERS220 only)
  • "Mouth" to be "-30"    (ERS210 / ERS7 only)
  • "Front Left Leg Lateral" to be "30"
  • "Front Left Leg Knee" to be "110"

Click-n-drag on AIBO's body to rotate & view from different angles.
AIBO Preview

Only a couple little things left.   We need to make AIBO's front leg pause slightly so it looks less mechanical.

Go back to the Motion Editor, and click on time 60.   The tab turns green.

Press the toolbar "Copy" button.   Click on time 80, and press the "Paste" button.   A copy of our keyframe appears at time 80.

Finally, let's make AIBO look happy with some tail wagging (skip for 220/310).

Skitter has a nifty tool for this otherwise tedious challenge.   From the Motion menu, select "Tailwag Wizard".

Move the "Tailwag Speed" slider fully right.   The preview shows how fast AIBO's tail will move.   Feel free to try the different settings here.

Click OK.   Tada!   Instant tail wagging.

Don't like the result?   Select Undo from the Edit Menu & try again.
Tailwag Wizard

Save it!    Click the toolbar "Save" button.   Because this is a new performance, Skitter asks for a filename.

Save somewhere on your PC -- not the memory stick -- preferably a folder just for skits.  Skitter refers to this as your "action directory".    It's used in the third tutorial when we cover initializing memory sticks (so AIBO performs for real).

Type "firstwave" (or whatever filename you like) and press [Enter].

4.0 Preview the Motion

Ok, the moment of truth.   Let's see what its going to look like on AIBO.

Click on the "AIBO Window" -- anywhere but the media-bar.

Click on the Rewind move-to-start button (left-most).   You should see AIBO back in its default sitting position.

Now click the green start button Start to begin playback.

AIBO should move his arm up to wave, then put it back down again.

Congratulations!   You've finished the first tutorial!

Your first AIBO skit is ready to roll!  

Click-n-drag on AIBO to rotate around to different angles.  Try the replay again.   Feel free to play around with the media controls.  

Got a question?    Ask Dogsbody!

In the next tutorial, we add lights & sound.
AIBO Preview

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