Sunday, 26 December 2010

Painting weights is a pain in the ass!

Once again I have come undone at painting weights. For some reason Maya is being very temperamental and not holding the weights I paint. Everytime I paint an area for a certain joint and press hold, then click on something else and click back on the joint I just painted all the work I do seems to vanish and I get a random mess instead. I have spent ages trying to get this to work but no success yet. I would really like to know if its just my copy of maya being weird...

Stretchy limbs tutorial

To create the stretchy limbs I ended up using a tutorial from youtube which for the most part is quite easy to follow. It basically involves using three utility nodes : distance, condition and multiply/divide; which are then hooked into the joints and each other.

I was also given a tutorial by Dan on how to create stretchy limbs which involved using the expression editor. I started off with that method but ran into some problems, which I discussed with Clym. He then recommended me the tutorial on youtube which I had much less hassle with. I personally prefer using the utility nodes over the expression editor as I find it easier now.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

More hurdles and progress.

I think my brain is slowly taking it all in and I am starting to feel I can problem solve issues. That being said I have asked Clym for his expert help a few times as I needed guidance. The rig at the moment has stretchy limbs/arms and torso, locators and a reverse footlock. I have managed to get the reverse footlock working well with the stretch and it is causing no problems at the moment. Earlier I added bend to the wrists and I have been working on skinning the skeleton to the mesh.

I have also just begun learning maya muscle as this is the area of rigging I would like to know the most, mainly down to the fact that alot of the models I make are quite realistic and I would love to be able to get realistic jiggle/flex in the muscles. I will continue learning that and see how it goes.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Making Progress!

I went ahead and learnt how to create stretchy limbs/arms, and I applied the principles to my rig. I am glad to say I had no problems and everything is working fine so far. So at the moment I have full IK handles for the arms/legs with the stretch ability.

Problem with blendshapes on squirrel rig solved.

I spoke to Clym about a problem I was having with squirrel rig I made. The issue was mainly about the rig not functioning properly once I used some of the facial controls. Clym helped me with this and explained it was to do with the inputs, and the skin cluster being at the top of the list. I have taken note of this and will bear this in mind for future rigs. Thnks for the help Clym.


Heres the skeleton I have made. I am being very strict with naming each joint too so that I have no problems mirroring. Next up will be the IK handles and then the stretchy features.

Next model I will rig.

I found this rig/model called Joe which is really simple and stylised. The character reminds me of the kid in my grp film, so I decided I would go ahead and rig it. As before I have deleted everything apart from the mesh so I create the rig from scratch. I will be aiming to give the rig stretchy limbs/arms, reverse footlock and possibly FK/IK switching.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Analysis of rig

Right, creating that rig sure was an experience. I did learn alot, and my confidence is slowly increasing although there still are a lot of problems that have been left unanswered which I need to solve asap. I think the areas that caused me the most problems were skinning/ painting weights, because I was not able to figure out solutions, which resulted in certain parts of the model not working properly (the ears, right hand and fingers). The area I enjoyed the most was creating the blendshapes as it was less technical than the other areas and I actually had fun whilst doing it.

For my next rig I am going to use a slightly more humanoid model I think, as I can experiment and add different features. I want to make sure I get the weights painted properly on my next rig and add a reverse footlock as I was not able to for this model.

Blendshapes done

I am glad to say one area I am quite confident with in rigging is blendshapes. It has to be the most enjoyable part of it all so far. Seeing as this rig has quite a few issues I decided not to go crazy and make every single blendshape possible but do the main shapes so I could give him facial expressions. I will for my next rig however, get much more indepth and detailed.

There are 12 different blendshapes I have made which I know is not nearly enough to have a really expressive rig. I used the soft mod tool to manipulate the mesh, for some reason I did not switch on reflectivity which means some of the parts are a little off (e.g. the eye lids shutting are different in both eyes), guess I just forgot. Doing all these just reminds me why topology is so important and why I have spent so much time making sure I can make models that deform properly.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

I am losing the will...

Where to begin.. I have been having a lot of trouble. I managed to sort out most of the weight issues for my rig, aside from some extremely weird problems. The weights seem to vanish from the ears every time I paint them, so I decided to just leave it be. I tried a few things but nothing seems to work.

Clym was kind enough to help me out with a few problems I had, mainly how to add some rotation to the IK controllers to allow the hands to bend and how to sort out some joint issues using the component editor. This helped me out big time and I feel I am starting to get to grips with things. That being said however, I am having some problems that I just cannot seem to figure out like why half the joints in the hands have removed themselves from the joint hierarchy and why they wont reconnect. This has resulted in me not being able to create set driven keys for most of the joints in the hands. I guess I will have to keep learning and improve with my next rig. The next stage for this rig is blendshapes which I actually feel confident with, lets hope things stay that way. I will not give up, no matter how much I wanna scream.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Painting weights = Problems, yay!

Painting weights...hmm...not quite as easy as I had hoped for. I am having trouble with certain areas not responding correctly, namely the ears, stomach and area where the tail meets the torso. The good part is I do actually know how to do this so it is mainly a matter of trying to solve these problems, and as you can see I can now somewhat pose the model. I still need to add controls to bend the waist and head before I get into blendshapes. There is so much needed to know just to get things working properly, riggers do have my respect.

Base skeleton and IK handles

I have created the basic skeleton, being very careful to name it all correctly so that I was able to mirror it all across successfully. I created IK controls for the arms, legs, tail and a specific control for the head, I also added locators for the elbows and knees to allow for some twist.

I went ahead and also learnt how to create a reverse footlock on a basic leg skeleton, afterwards I attempted to add the RFL to this model but because of the extra toes...things went crazy and I got quite annoyed, thus not saving a screenshot. I will give it another try later once I have sorted the weights out. I also tried to add the FK controls but I am not capable of that yet apparently so it will have to be something I learn at a later time.

Friday, 12 November 2010

It begins..

I decided I would save lot of time if I downloaded a model from the net and rig that, instead of creating something brand new and wasting precious time. So after looking for a few rigs/models I found this squirrel character that I thought would be good for me to attempt to rig as it is very simplistic and reminds me of the child and penguin characters from the film I am working on.

The model came with a pretty awesome rig if I may say so and I am hoping to be able to create my own version which is hopefully a little decent. To ensure its all my own work I have deleted and removed all traces of the original rig and only kept the base meshes, I will start from scratch and see how far I can get by next weeks lesson. I am hoping to add all the key features like IK handles and blendshapes.

Wish me luck!

Getting started

We had group discussions with Dan today and he went through everyone to make sure we all know what we are supposed to be working on. I now understand clearly what I have to do for this unit and what areas I am going to be developing/ learning. I am going to be learning rigging in depth and also researching some dynamics for a specific part of the film which involves a large net full of fish.

1. Rigging
2. Test out and experiment this net of fish problem area.

This is the best opportunity to now develop my rigging skills and possibly expand my skillset. I will be learning and developing in rigging in conjuction with the film I am a part of, so that there is some direct correlation between my learning and the projects I am on. I will be creating rigs (or attempting to) so I can possibly be able to help out when it comes to rigging the final characters.