Friday, 3 May 2013

Stupid Kow Rigs

For Stupid Kow, I created 2 facial rig setups. 

The rigs changed several times as my skills progressed, below are demonstrations of the final rigs. 

The faces are controlled by joints, which are made controllable to the animator through the selection of various nurbs curves. The animator has the choice of using the curves directly on the character's face, or using the "control pad" I have created, which appears to the side of the character's head (control pad can be hidden to avoid a messy scene). In a bid to make the interface as user-friendly as possible, the control pads for these rigs are set out to resemble each character's face. The animator simply translates the curve which resembles the part of the face they've like to move, and the change can be seen on the model in real-time.

The farmer

  • head control
  • Jaw control
  • "puffable" cheeks
  • rigged mouth
  • moving eyes
  • eyebrows
  • closeable eyelids

  • head control
  • ear controls
  • moving eyes
  • eyelids
  • blendshape-based mouth
  • movable teeth
  • additional teeth off/on ctrl
  • "chest" ctrl

For the Kow, I had to adapt my original plan for his mouth. As the topology wasn't ideal for rigging his mouth, and the modeller wouldn't adjust it, I had to think of an alternative way. After speaking with the director, we decided to use blendshapes.

The blendshapes worked fine, but there were some issues. Firstly, the a few of the blendshapes would clash with the body mesh when in use- something that rigging and good weight-painting avoids. To work around this, I created additional weighted controls for parts of the body- the chest in particular- which meant they could be pulled in when a clash was visable.

Another thing I was unhappy with, was that the animator was having to use the blendshape menu for animating the face. I decided to build an additional control panel, which would activate the blendshapes instead. Using these controls, I could also link-up the controls I had added to fix clashes, so that the clean transformations could be achieved using only 1 control. I was also able to link the "additional teeth" so that they would automatically show with the correct blendshapes.

Overall I am very happy with these rigs- they were an opportunity to try something different, and to problem solve. No one had any trouble animating with them either, which was great! 

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