After a few weeks into the first term we have been giving the task of rigging one of this Ants leg. Just one leg but there’s always a catch. The ‘foot’ of the ants legs is ment to work as a kind of suspension for the leg. Also the clavicle or shoulder of the ant leg is ment to move before the ‘foot’ to give the illusion that its controlling the leg. The leg is also needed to be controlled by a IK handle to make it easy to animate.
After looking at the leg and see how ants walk my first solution was to use a Spring IK Solver. This was very easy to do. I moved the ants leg into a natural standing pose, reset to joints and attached the Spring IK. The leg moved great, it was easy to animate and looked good. However it didn’t fit the brief, there was no ‘suspension’ on the foot and the shoulder moved in time with everything else and not before. After tinkering with other IKs and trying SDKs this seemed to beyond me to solve.
After taking it to class and realising everyone had the same problem. This was not an easy exercise. In class we discuss the problem at great length and there seemed to be a lot of ideas bouncing around the room. But nobody knew for sure, Mick gave this as homework for another week.
After the class chat the solution that i thought id try was going to be an inverse foot rig. Something we did last year with a normal human foot. Using my notes this i thought would be an easy fix, it didnt solve the shoulder problem but one thing at a time.
The inverse IK was a double IK handle ment to cushion the foot when it came down and rise a little for natural looking. After spending quite a lot of hours and attempts to do this from my notes and memory i realised it was not working very well. I feel this might not be the fault of the rig or the idea but just but lack of rigging talent. With a few saved versions this image to the right is a screen shot of the one that works best, bust still doesn’t work right.
The ant leg is something i enjoyed for a learning exercise but frustrating to fit the whole brief. Although two of my solutions work as a simple leg they do not work as well as id like in relation to the task we were given.
We have been asked to rig a simple spring (polly helix). This was a home exercise where we were ment to explore different ideas and different methods. The point was to make it expand and contract like a spring normally would but the trick was not to let it deform when it squashed.
My first attempt was a Spring IK solver, by putting joints to the top and bottom of the spring and linking them with the Spring IK solver. After binding it and testing i very quickly realised that it didn’t work. Although it did squash and stretch it deformed terribly. Thinking i was still onto a good thing i tried it again but tried to paint the weights on the bind to better suit its purpose. Another fail.
Still on the train of thought with the Spring IK i tried using more joints. Zig zagging them up the coils of the spring. After binding that and testing it it still didn’t work the way i had hopped. It’s still deformed, although it did look good in every other way. It was easy to animate and very versatile. Perhaps if this was in the distance of a shot or not all that important this might do the trick. The spring still deformed and was their fore unacceptable.
After coming into class and everyone discussing their own solutions i learned the best or easiest way was to use Blend Shapes.
This solution works very well, its easy to rig, easy to animate and fits the brief. My only fault is that its limited, not a lot movement outside the blend. You would need a lot more blends to make it do anything interesting, so that’s obviously a con for this rig but i guess nothing perfect.
Animation comes down to 12 principles, *squash and Stretch, *Anticipation, *Staging *Straight ahead and pose to pose, *Follow through and overlapping action, *Slow in and slow out, *Arcs, *Secondary action, *Timing, *Exaggeration, *Solid drawing, *Appeal. Rose had gone through these last year and but wanted to make sure we understood them and their importance.
The class was mostly an overview of the semester ahead of us and covering the principles.
We were also given a walk cycle assignment and told to draw thumbnails for a personality walk cycle. Ive picked a ‘sneaky’ walk as i think it will be a good challenge as well as fun.
Week one we hit the ground running by being introduced to Mental Ray in Maya. Covering some of the history of the program and how it works.
Being introduced to the tools and capabilities of Mental Ray and how it differs from Mayas renderer. Vince showed us different tools, effects within Mental Ray.
Starting to explore different illumination methods such as Global illumination, Indirect illumination, Final gathering and ambient occlusion.
This was all just an introduction of what Mental ray rendering is all about.
Week one has started with a overview and refresher of our knowledge of what we learnt last year in rigging classes. Mostly covering Joints, their hierarchy and placements. Aswell as deformers and skin binding.
We have also been given required readings in books such as Stop Staring, The ARt of Rigging, Introducing Maya 2011 and Mastering Autodesk Maya 2011.
Week one has been a welcome introduction into the greater world of rigging and a much needed overview on last year.