Character and creature rigging is a broad discipline that encompass many fields :
- Structure setup for animation .
- Skin / envelope configuration.
- Surface, hair , cloth and rigid body simulation.
- Scripts / tools writing.
Throughout my previous posts , the acute reader may have noticed my inclination for character deformation.
For this part of my work , as a goal , I would like to take more time defining the behavior of an articulation and its associate body region with a set of specialized tools.
The current tools like skincluster, curve deformer , lattice are precious and versatile , I just think that to handle creature /character work more efficiently we need to free ourselves from weight painting , spreadsheet , and vertex tweaking.
The ability to assign an attribute per element is a powerful concept that has yet to find a limitation, I want to reserve it to more complex phenomenon like , jiggling, wrinkle etc.
In order to illustrate my process and prepare these tools , I will use the geometry of a free animation rig : PackageMan.
This fully rigged character can be found on Javier Solsona ‘s website and was modeled by Bob White.
Before reading the following opinion and observation one must keep in mind that this material was made in 2004, with fast animation rig as its main purpose.
- less computing power,
- less memory
- less functionality by default in maya
- non existing support program like topoGun or Zbrush .
Overall the strongest point of this character is its personality : a Vin diesel like skinny character wearing a pair of socks and a speedo is by definition hilarious and is a good subject for cartoon animation.
The first weak point that can be seen is the inconsistent topology : in the the above image we can see lots a triangles in sensible area like the shoulder or face .
This introduces spikes, pinches and lots of irregularities on this character surface that are not part of the intended design .
Some triangles on the contrary are well used and help reinforce the shape of this sculpture ( on the the belly and crotch for example ) .
The face seems also to have receive less attention : especially the nose and ears which are not on par with the rest of the body in terms of readability and execution.
I am merely an average modeler, this works on this character is by no means a way to prove some kind of superiority or technical prowess : its a preliminary work to test and evaluate idea and techniques that will be covered in future post.