Well I’ve finally banged out a functional rig + deformers in houdini. The first thing I wanted to test out is the object mesh as bones display idea. So here’s a video of me playing with it with completely default weighting.
Obviously there are a few problems, such as missing faces, default weighting, etc. Everything I mouse over and highlights is a control, so the logical place to animate those leg pockets is obviously to click whatever gets highlighted on the pockets themselves. However there are other areas I want to address:
Colour is obviously going to be an important feature. Red, Green and Yellow for left right and middle. But then there should also be Red for “not in use” (such as a leg bone while in FK mode) for quick feedback on what controls can’t be used.
Looking into other display modes for pre/selection highlighting. Wireframe is an ugly and boldly intrusive way of showing that you’ve got something selected. I’m not sure how I can change this though. Maybe openGL shaders? Begging sideFX?
I will also have to change what faces some groups occupy. As you can see, some controls such as explicit knee control is hard to grab when you’re zoomed out a bit, also some floating polygons is just a bad idea for accidental selections, like on the main hip control.
I like the way I can propagate the subdivision of the mesh down onto the display as well. What you’re seeing in this video are directly bones. This won’t be rendered, but it can be nice to see a smoothed version of the mesh for when you’re tweaking for penetrations.
I will still have to have non-mesh controls, such as “noodle” controls for the leg spline deformers, and anything else I simply cant fit into the main level of rig controls. However, those extra rig displays will be toggled on only when you need them. Hopefully you can get 90% of the way there with just what’s displaying in the mesh.
Well I’ve started using Houdini. What an awesome application. Using some of its magical powers I have implemented an idea for displaying rig controls as the mesh of the character directly. This way there’s no silhouette or rig controls to hide every time you want to see your animation. At least that’s the theory. Anyway here’s the video of the quick experiment on a simple cylinder.
I might as well give this away since I never will use it again. I used this rig for a bunch of my personal stuff and on my reel, so I hope some other people can get some use out of it now. Free rigs on XSI are slim pickings, and they usually have terrible rigs. Well this one isn’t perfect either but it has a lot of the features my Spaceman rig has.
Here’s my main character for this short film I’m sort of making. He’s a spaceman! (Or spacekid, depending on how you feel about his age). It’s still early so any part of his textures, hair and design can still change to make him work.
And this time it’s a video of a still incomplete facial rig. It’s fairly simple using mainly shapes for the bulk of the work on the eyebrows, eyes and mouth shapes. The eyes also have some latticing, but nothing fancy. I still have to deal with lip and teeth penetration, rig a tongue and get some eyelid shapes in there as well. I have to turn the hair off during interaction because it is horrendously slow with it displaying… Shave & Haircut certainly wasn’t designed for anything realtime.
Here’s a video I’ve made of a bunch of most of the rig features my Spaceman character has. It’s actually a modification of an old, old rig that originated back about 5 years ago, just made a lot faster, but kept a lot of the features (and added some more).
At the start you can see me moving a plane around that is raycasting some points onto the body. This is a quick ICE tree I’ve set up to drive a weightmap that modulates certain snow and ice effects on the materials. Since some of the setting of this short is going to be in snow, then he has to show frost and snow accumulation on him. This was a quick way to do that since it casts shadows and saves me painting a new weightmap each shot.