Final Image WIP

Well I know I'm supposed to be doing my rigging, but I needed a stress relief from it.  It's really tiring at times, especially now with such a high poly model and muscle deformers and skin modifiers... etc. >_<

Anyway, enough moaning from me, here's a WIP for my final image for business.  It's really hard to create an image and have that image represent who you are but I'm giving it a go I suppose. :)

Here's the WIP;

I think it's summing me up a little.  I'm really liking the process of it and I think it's working for my favour.  I'm not sure whether or not to keep at it or add to it.  Sometimes more is less and less is more.  Not sure.  Your thoughts?



Muscle Jiggle, Tweaked!

I think this is a lot better.  I changed the direction of the "jiggle" to go along the Y-Axis (following the joint's axis) to make the muscle a bit more solid, as muscles aren't generally as wobbly as the previous WIP.  Also got the skeleton/muscle vid so you can see the magic happen. :P


Muscle in the Tank.

Wow, it's taken me all day to get this far with the one muscle on the Tank and I'll tell you, it's a nightmare!

Thankfully there's not too many scenes the Tank is in so there's not much of a hurry for this finale alien.  Not to mention someone hasn't quite finished texturing. ;)  Anyway, I've basically spent all day trying to clean up the muscle jiggle in the right bicep.  A FREAKING PAIN!  Mainly because turning the mesh into a Muscle System slows the rig down stupidly.  I mean it's ridiculous!  Animators, you'll have to use the wireframe or even hid the mesh to actual animate the damn thing.

Anyway, here's my progress so far with him.

It's not really the first WIP.  This was WIP7 test 11 on my saved files.  What a joke.  Ah well, please give me any feedback on it.

Until then! :)


Business Card Idea 2

It's simple.

But I like it.  I was thinking, as an idea brought from my lecturer, to have it printed on laminate instead of card.

Thought it's be different and well cool.  Anyway, here's the WIP2:

Obviously the website isn't legit yet, I do want to buy the domain name though.  
Until then.


New look again.

Thought I'd make the blog look more like the website so I changed it about and added my new logo and logo image.
I think I'm going to work on the logo a bit more, to incorporate into my business cards.


Website Wip2.

So I'd thought I'd look at other work I'm supposed to be doing (besides rigging) and I thought I'd have a look at my website.

So here's the preview..

Naturally it's no where near finished, but I'm getting there slowly.  Just need to upload a lot more videos and sort out the layouts, etc.

In comparison to my initial site, I prefer this one a lot more as it's more simple, clean and effective (as my rigging should be portrayed).

Aside from that I'm now working on the Tank.  Last alien to go!  Can't wait to get it up and running nicely.  Hopefully (after a 10-5 shift in work) by the end of tomorrow I'll have the skeleton drawn out, back legs fully rigged and the stump arm.  Shouldn't take too long now, as I'm pro at IK set-ups (no thanks to the small alien!).  Then I can focus my time on the FK/IK arm, spine and facial controls.  Woop!

Until then.


Small Alien... Complete! Until Further Notice.

Well, it didn't take me as long to do this one as the Medium Alien, but it's finally done.

Here's the deformation test.  Thankfully the skinning was relatively easy, due to the stick-like limbs and general thin physic.  Enjoyed it a lot and I've also learnt a lot by doing it.  This is truly my first proper rig using nodes, finger and toes switches, FK/IK switches and generally rigging an entire animate-able character! (I hope :P)

So now, even though I'm behind, I'm taking the rest of the evening off, settling down with some chinese and 6 feet under.



Where's the Bloomin' Elbow Control!?

So the animators were having issues with this silly auto-rig setup in maya.  I managed to locate how to toggle on/off the IK/FK as well as find where the stupidly placed IKelbow control was!

FK/IK Switch in arms and elbow swiv for IK from Danie G.P. on Vimeo.

Here's a quick screen grab for those who are still unsure (and haven't checked the facebook group page).

So quick analysis of progress.
The smaller alien's rig is almost complete.  Sorting out FK/IK on the arms was a nightmare at first, but after the pass 11 tries of attempting it, I FINALLY got it!  I then had an issue to solve on one of the arms, when I moved the shoulder control, the right armIK would stay in place (woo!) but the left armIK would wonder about like a tool.  GRR!

I thought I'd have to sort it all out from the beginning again, but I calmed myself, looked around the Outliner and tried to locate the issue.  I eventually found it!  I had OrientConstraint the L_armIK joints to the L_arm instead of ParentConstraint.  I was so relieved to see it working properly.  As stressful as rigging is, like maths, once you've solved the problem you feel like you've acheived something great.  Which I had!  It meant I didn't have to create an FK/IK switch again! :P  Lucky me.

So I've put IK on the legs (even though he jumps about it's only for a few seconds on screen) and the limbs are completed.  I just need to create hand, foot and head controls, tweak up the mesh bind and it's good to go.  Thankfully I've spent a lot of time learning how to set up character rigs really nicely, so the Tank should NOT take the same amount of time to sort out.

I'm glad how progress is going.  Unfortunately one of my projects (from RUST) has been pulled as I didn't have the time to sort out a Max rig for Tinman in time.  Too much on my plate, I guess!  But they have allowed me to use the model how I wish, so I'm going to be rigging Tinman (modelled and textured by Amanda Bendandi) in Maya instead of Max, so I can get to grips with stretchy bones in Maya.  I'd like to focus most of my rigging in Maya as it's more friendly to me.  I still know parts in Max but I'd prefer the layout and such of Maya.  So I will be doing a full character rig of the Tinman, with a stretchy-bone grappling hook.  Should be fun!  The feet will probably be my biggest challenge, but my focus of next week (starting Wednesday) is to had the all the aliens completed and begin work on the Tinman.

The following week (final week of Easter break) I want to have had the Tinman completed by either the Monday or Tuesday, allowing me to work on DaniSaur again.  From scratch!  Oh I've missed my little DaniSaur!  In the process of this workflow, I will also be working on my final image and website.  The website is live (I tthink, ha) but still need tweaking.  I'm currently using for web designing but currently I'm not liking the look of it.  I will do more research into web pages.

Until then! (Sorry for a boring blog, there aren't any pictures here today...)


First Dip into MEL. Well... Not quite.

So I was looking into creating a nice arm twist that would work nicely with the smaller alien.  After trying it out first time I managed to get great results.  Finally!  An EASY thing to set up in rigging! Next to eye constraints. :P

Anywho, thought I'd share the code I put into the expression editor in Maya.

First I had to work out the rotation of when the wrist moves, how much the first part of the forearm would move; for now it was as follows;
L_forearm1.rotateY = L_Wrist.rotateY *0.75 ;
So to break it down it's just a bit of simple math.  The way Maya's expression editor works is like so
Therefore my little formula sounds more like this;
object.attribute equals to object.attribute multiplied by value
Sounding a little less complicated?  Well, basically I've found out that my equation is basically saying that the L_forearm1 object will rotate along the Y axis when the L_Wrist object rotates along the Y axis as well, at a multiple of 0.75, or a division of 3/4s but naturally it's easier to multiply a decimal than divide a fraction.

Testing this expression on, when I rotated my L_Wrist to 90 degrees, the L_forearm1 had a Y rotation of 67.5 degrees, showing the rotation has indeed been multiplied by the decimal (90 / 0.75 = 67.5)

Continuing with this succession, I then selected the L_forearm1 as the main object thus allowing the rotation Y to have some control over the next L_forearm2 bone.

L_forearm2.rotateY = L_forearm.rotateY *0.4 ; 
Instead of halving the 0.75 of the L_forearm1, I decided to drop down a unit to 0.4 as the rotation in the middle of the forearm is a little less than half.  Finally, I placed the following expression on the L_forearm3 joint for the finishing touch of the forearm.
L_forearm3.rotateY = L_forearm2.rotateY *0.2 ;
Thus completing the expressions for the wrist.  I can now move this onto the upper arms, thighs and shins.  I can't believe how simple this is!  Yey me! :D

Medium Alien, Completed! (Until someone comes up to me to tell me an issue...)

So the Alien (in my perspective) is done!  Finally.  Took longer than anticipated due to armour issues (which still occur, but the animators will sort out whilst animating) and to diving into my first attempt of facial rigging.

I'll admit, I do enjoy the facial rigging!  From that lecture Monday, here're a few pointers;

  1. Don't skimp out on the upper part of the face.
  2. Animators need the extremes.
  3. All the emotion comes from the upper face.
  4. Don't limit the controls.
  5. The more controls, the more control!  Animators love a lot of control; fine control.
  6. Narrow/Widening of the lips.
  7. Maya muscle in the face?  Hell no!  Will make the rig sluggish to animate with.
  8. 64 joints average for a decent facial rig.  This includes the head and neck; 2 joints for the head/neck and 62 for the face.  The more you have the more control.
So it's a little vague, but you get the idea.  Conclusion:  More controllers = more controller = happy animators. :D

And for the final medium alien movie!

Enjoy animators.  Hope it's easy for you to work with.


Alien update, Facial stuff not completed!

Just uploading the latest update while my beau's sleeping. :)

I'll have to do a close up shot of the face once I've finished rigging it up!  Also, I'll post up some notes I took from this Rigging Webinar I attended earlier. :)

Until then.


WIP4 MEd Alien, almost complete...!

Left to do (for tomorrow):
  1. skinning face
  2. work out how to make a face control curves panel
  3. skin left hand
  4. final tweaks
I've kind of enjoyed doing this alien, even though it's been an extra to my workflow but not really an issue.  Hopefully I can sort this all out by tomorrow and have it ready for the animators to get on with.

Then it's onto the smaller alien!  Finally back into setting up the skeleton. :)


I has tumblr. :)

Here it is!

I tried twitter, just didn't get it, and now i'm giving tumblr a go.  Seems pretty nice.


Also, as promised, I'd get a deform test up of the medium alien.  I ended up not bothering with the muscle spline and just created two extra bones for the shoulder pads.  Rigging armour is hard!  The finale cycle of this vid has the full body of armour visible.  You can see the issue I'm facing when the top of the body rotates forward, the armour is so rigid it just follows it through making it look like the armour is coming off.

Now, I've given the directors the maya folder to see what they think they should do and I basically gave them two options:
  1. Keep the armour rigid but then the animation is limited
  2. Make the armour flexible like for the smaller alien, so that it's almost like a tight, thermal wear.
I'm hoping they go for 2 and also drop the shoulder pads. :P  Or just have them invisible so re-skinning doesn't need to occur.

Anyway, video is here!