Aliens, they're everywhere!

So I've returned to rigging the aliens for the VFX short I'm a part of, and I'm trying to get the alien sorted for tomorrow (but I really can't see that happening...).  Currently I've been trying to work out how to rig armour pads, ones specifically on the shoulders.

If you watch this clip, around 45 seconds you'll get what I mean!

And the guys says "it was a simple rig setup"  HOW SIMPLE?!  Anyway, I've been on my TechArtist forums and I've been given too forms of advice.  My question was as follows:

Hey everyone, it's my first post so I'd like to say hello to you all out there. :)

Bit of info.; I'm quite a novice TD, in my final year of studying CG animation so this last few months I've focused all my work into character rigging. I haven't done any scripting before so if this answer is regarding scripting please excuse my n00bi-ness and explain it to me? haha, thank you!

Anyway... onto the assistance!

I'm rigging an alien for a VFX film my fellow peirs are working on. The alien has huge armor shoulder pads (like a knights) and I was wondering how I'd skin it? I want to show the illusion of, almost like a secondary motion witht he armor, so as you move the arm up (in fk or ik) the armor will eventually follow the movement.

How would I go about doing this? If you require any jpegs I can provide them.

Thanks in advance. :)

First piece of advice was;

Take a look at using dynamics such as springs to give the characters "shoulderpad bones" secondary motion. Playing with dynamics requires a lot of tweaking, especially to prevent interpenetration. Be ready to noodle.

Here's a video of spring dynamics. Google will reveal a bunch of other stuff.

 Which was really interesting, using dynamics wasn't something I'd covered so it was really interesting to learn, and it's pretty cool!  Unfortunately it wasn't helping me with what I wanted.  So I went back to the forums and posted the (top of blog entry) video so they'd understand more of what I meant.

Here was the second piece of advice;

Look at the muscle spline rig node.. used it on some shoulder pads and worked great as a way to auto keep them out of the way and add shake... one end child of shoulder other child of clav. Adjust and skin shoulder pad to joint rig.

Taken from one of the founders of Rigging Do-Jo!  Neat.  So who'd have thought muscles may work in the situation?  I'm still developing the idea so I'll post something up later to show you a successful workflow!  Seems to be working great so far, just need to add bones to it as well.

Until then.


Maya Scripts!

Well, I've been following the Gnome tutorial on rigging.  It's basically a step-by-step work flow for creating a character rig which, at the moment is really nice to follow!  Finally some great grounding material.

In the tutorial it focuses on a (apparently well known script maker!) script package known as Comet Scripts !!  Check it out animators and fellow riggers, it's working fine for Maya 2011 currently and it's definitely worth it, c'mon, it is free. :)


Lioness Update

Here's another update on the lioness.  Skinning is virtually done, I'm just waiting on Mike to see if he wants teeth in her mouth.  I've had a few issues with including the tongue and teeth in the skinning process which I've been struggling to amend.  Although, depending on Mike wants, I'm in no hurry to having the teeth in the mouth at all.

Anyway, here's the latest update with the texture on.  NB: I didn't make the texture!

Now onto the next project.  Finally I can start skinning in the Alien VFX project.  Until then!

Thought I'd include the skeleton as well- seeing as I can render it! :D



Lioness WIP2

Just thought I'd show everyone my process on the Lioness rig.  I basically had to re-rig and re-skin this beast again last night.  So I spent the majority of the night re-creating;
- SplineIK spine and it's controllers
- Neck/Head joints and controllers
- Front and back leg foot rolls (to stop them sliding all over the place!)
- SplineIK in the tail and controllers

Soooo basically everything!  Ha.  Finally, today I've spent most of it skinning.  I've managed to get up to and further than where I left off the last WIP so I'm very pleased with my progress and feel it'll be enhancing my rigging speed. :)  It's still not complete mind, I have the head/neck, few tweaks on the back legs, tail and jaw to to and it's all set to animate.  Then I get to move on to the Alien VFX work.  Aled's finally finished his model so I can set that up to the rig.

And without further a-do, I give you the second WIP of the Lioness!

It's only a deform test so it's meant to look weird on the back legs. ;)



So I've been struck with Tonsillitis.  It's well fun.  Slash not at all.

Ah well, we move on.  So I've been working on the Lioness again and it's slightly driving me insane with the high poly count, which makes me dred working on this VFX film with Aled and Joe, yey for high poly characters... -_-;

So here's a quick deform test I've done;

It's fast but whatever.  I need to do more work on it, moving about some of the joints and adjusting the weird foot role.

Anywho, whilst having lunch I tend to look for inspirational work and I fell across this ingenius film:

The Saga Of Biorn from The Animation Workshop on Vimeo.

Some Inspiration.

Just WOW!

Almost died inside.  SO GOOD!

Along with this Griffin rig and setup:

Sick as!

Dissertation Work Getting in my Way!

So for the past week I've been stuck writing my dissertation.  
What fun it has been!

My topic was finding out and analysis James Cameron's directing style and also stating it's pros and cons.  It was rather interesting if I must say and ended up buying a few books on him and the making of Avatar.  Tres Awesome beans!

So, I've been relaxing for the past 24 hours now and I fear I have little to show for my tutorial tomorrow.  So I traced this little dinosaur.  :)

And I also made a little logo for my forum user name on

:D  Woo.