Sunday, 30 January 2011

3rd week, I say bap, slip me some skin maaan.

The first thing I wanted to do this week was to get the back, arm, leg and tail fur attached and then get some quick & basic skinning done so I could pass the rig over to our animators Roy, Oddne and Emma to play with. Below is the topology changes that have taken place with bap as a result of adding the fur to him and also a few minor general topology changes. The 3 and 5 point star rule was particulary useful in achieving the desired topology. It helped me to reduce any unnecessary topology to keep my character as low poly as possible, while maintaining smooth deformations in all the key areas. The use of reference of anatomy of various animals that share similar characteristics to bap where also useful in creating good deformations.

 I then proceeded to work on the worst of the weighting and fix it up as quickly as possible. The video below pritty much sums up the majority of the first pass at weighting the rig, with a little aniamtion demo at the end of the video showing all the joints being animated real quick.

 Overall at this stage I was happy with the progress and I decided to hand the rigs over to the animators for a proper test. Below are some videos that feature some basic animation tests by Roy Nottage, Oddne Madsen and Emma Taylor.

Walk cycle test by: Roy Nottage

3 Jump tests by: Emma Taylor

There were a few rigging elements that Emma mentioned would be good to add in, such as bum controls similar to that of shoulder controls and the tail control needed to be simplified to stop double transformations occuring with rotations and the spine controls needed to be organised to allow for front and back control of the character. These features will be addressed and added to the rig in the following posts.

To round up here are a few stills of the model and rig all tidied up with fur on board now and modelling in wireframe and little preview of the uv's. See stills below.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

2nd week bapping it out.

Jan 17th - 23rd

For these videos Ive uploaded them to youtube real quick just to show the problems, the quality is pritty terrible but il work on getting some decent quality videos out with sound when I get time. To view whole video you may have to double click it.

This week the first thing I set out to do was to get the foot rig nailed, I created a reverse foot as standard, but the real trick was building a hand rig over the top as bap would need to use his feet like hands as well. So I built a seperate hand rig for the feet which wasn't a big problem, I just built a hand with set driven keys as I normally would a hand, but due to time constraints I just built in only the necessary controls for spread and grip. When I get more time I may intergrate some individual controls for the sake of making a more user friendly rig. The main problem I came across was once I connected the hand rig to the reverse foot. When I animate the foot ballroll, the back of the hand would roll up with the ankle and the fingers would roll down rather than staying with the reverse foot toes as you can see at 0.46 on the above video. Other than this though the hand rig seemed to follow the foot perfectly fine. To solve the problem I once again added in locators to zero out the joints and stop flipping which was also occuring. The locators helped the joints of the hand rig to follow the foot rig and roll up onto the knuckles as it should while maintaining the animatable features of the hand rig.

The above video shows the next part of the rig I tackled was the tail, which I made a basic set of fk controls for individual control and set driven keys to control all the joints from the base to allow for tail curl and tail wagging. The next aspect of the rig which I proceeded to work on was the shoulder, which I made stretchy and wasn't to much of a problem to make. The only real trick was connecting the stretchy shoulder into the global scaling of the rig which took a bit of fiddling in the hypershade to get right as the shoulders were not scaling correctly with the rest of the rig. Once the scaling of the stretchy shoulder was incorperated into the global scale the rig scaled up and down fine with the shoulder following correctly. Below is a quick demo video of the shoulder joint.

 So to round up the second week of blasting the rig below is a video of the changes made to the rig over the last week. The rig has been split up into layers, which has really helped stop me from selecting bits that are already done while still being able to see that they all work together. Ive also split up the outliner into an animation controls and off limits sections. The animation controls are hierachied according to the order you would want each joint to be controlled respectively. The off limits section contains all the joints and iks, splines ect that i dont want the animator to touch. There is also a geometry group which contains most of the geometry which I also dont want the animator to touch. Though this the video shows how all the corresponding parts of the rig follow. For example when the chest is moved and rotated the arms follow and when the the waist is rotated the top half of the body follows but also allowing for movements like waist rotations to simulate bum wiggle see 1.02 on video. Also of note is at 3.10 on the video which shows the solving of the alighnment problem I had with the ikfk joints. This was solved through using a rivet script which helped to correctly alighn the pole vectors which in turn solved the mis-alighnment. At 3.50 on the video it shows the fixing of the footroll problem previosly explained.

The next changes video shows the locking out of all unnecessary controls such as scale and rotate and translating where appropriate. It also shows the more organised and tidied up outliner. I always found keeping my outliner clean is a tip ive always valued and naming...NAMING everything. The COMMET rename script is really good for this and Id suggest everybody has the commet menu installed or the rename script at least on their shelf. The layers here help to show how ive locked down the joints and geometry so that all the animator can select is the controls bar a few joints in the feet. The next blog post will show some development in terms of topology changes and the start of the weighting process.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

New years rigging progress.

In the next few posts il be doing a 3 week break down of the rigging of bap and then the rest of the modelling, texturing, scene layouts iv built so far and hopefully a few pritties. Its just a matter of the time it takes with my bad internet to upload videos, snap screenshots and the time i take out to blog. I plan to catch up on all progress so far very soon.

Jan 10th - 16th

Ok so soon as I started back after the new year and the bulk of the dissertation had been tackled. I dug my teeth back into the rigging of bap. I tried setting up individual controls using a script for each joint on the fingers but this didnt seem to want to work for me due to the script throwing up errors. I will probably come back to this at some point for my own learning as il probably need to learn scripting more for any future rigging i do.

So what i decided to do was to use good old fashion set driven keys which were simple enough to make, but they dont allow for as much control as individual control but I was under time constraints so I just got the job done. I think the finger keys I set do allow for a nice range of movement and I got in all the different movements that hands can do. I also started splitting the rig into layers see below.

The next task I attacked was the rigging of the fk_ik switch on the arms, I created the fk_ik blend and used a locate as a marker. The locator would follow which ever is active either the fk or the ik arm. The fk_ik blend worked, but there seemed to be a problem with alighnment of the joints on the wrist and hand which was due to the pole vector being ou of alighnment.

Below shows the alighnment problem.

Below shows the initial fk_ik switch.

The last thing I did this week was to mirror the joints across, but this cause some of the joints orientations to be flipped and the scaling reversed on some elements. So to solve the problem I put the locators on all of the left arm joints and put them into a group and mirrored the group. I then rebuilt the right arm over the locators to avoid the scaling and orientation problem. The other part of the rig that I actually did quickly during christmas was the stretchy spine, which I didnt think id need but I thought it would be nice to have it there in case the animator wanted the flexibility. I split the geometry up into sections so I could see how the geometry would roughly deform. See below for demo.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New yr presents Dissertation & Rigging score!

Ok so last few weeks I decided it was best for me to put the rigging down and work on my dissertation as im slow with anything that involves writing. I know I havent done enough dissertation work up to christmas break, so I decided to get a good amount of that done and worked out. I would much rather work on my project work as I want to have something good to show end of term, but I have to balance my time to fit the dissertation in also without doing a bodge job of it. As Im one of the first people to see anna when we get back also so the more I do now, I figure the more chance I have to get good feedback. Iv done the bulk of it and planned out how Im going to make the last 1/3 fit in and conclude my arguement. Though im still organising my research in my plan to back up my points at the moment before I commence writing the last part.

So after christmas I started workin on the rig again, now thinking more about how im doing the hands as well as the feet. As I started to do the classic foot roll and ik leg, I realised It needed to be more like a hand as he will need to grip trees and walk more like a monkey. So I scrapped the foot and started on the hand instead. I looked at a few different ways of doing the hand, individual fk controls, set driven keys or using a script to make a menu that would speed things up. I decided to go down the script route to try make things quicker, as I would have many joints to make many different actions. The script was supposed to duplicate set driven keys for each joint, so each joint could work with other joints and seperately. For example fist and spread would be able to work together or seperately and then you could still individually curl each finger on its own as well. The script also allowed for the creation of individual fk controls. However I after a long time typing and de bugging the script, I found that different errors started to come up that I couldn't figure out how to fix. I decided that although this script I was following may help me in the long run to create the foot joint like the hand, it would be quicker for me to use set driven keys. At least till I get some scripting advice as im cack at it. I feel this may not be as user friendly using the set driven keys for the animators, though if I get more time I will try make a more user friendly animation control for the hands.

So I went back to doing the simple channel box slider using set driven keys, using one hand control anim as the base as show below. And the current controls viewed in channel box is were im up to at the moment. I will be adding more in for individual finger control and maybe some fk finger control if necessary and if I have time. I will obviously be making the foot slightly different to the hand, in that it will have a few extra control for actions that only apply to feet. Essentially though it will be the same as a hand. I will be updating again soon with video showing all the range of movements with my hand controls.