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'Thinking Outside the Box'- The Bob Animations

I give you the first of 'The Bob Animations.' I hope you enjoy this little animation. The next one is already in production!!!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Warrior Progression and Hindering Errors

I've made progress toward the final stages of the Warrior. But there are still a few kinks that  are halting it. First of all however are the positives. I've successfully added joints to help control the hem of the shirt in preparation for the legs cutting through it when animating.


I've discovered I can now animate the warrior fairly well and the skinning is in the most case successful, as can be seen in the test walk cycle below.



This may or may not be visible however it will be made clear in the video below. But there appears to be a twisting issue in the wrist area of the warrior. It upsets the geometry when the arms are put down 90 degrees and also moved forward and backward. It results in a rather horrific loss of volume in the wrist in some positions as can be seen in the stills. Though this has happened previously in the shoulder I am uncertain as to how to fix it. The video highlights the joint twisting. (It appears to be the lowest joint of the ribbon spine in the forearm)




Though I can now animate the warrior fairly successfully, the only other addition is the piping design. The piping, being denser geometry, requires a secondary version of the warrior body to be smoothed to match the density and have the piping wrap deformed to it. I would animate using the low-res version, then for the final render, turn off the visibility for the low-res version to be replaced by the high-res and leave to render.

Though it has been successful during testing for the main body I have run into some problems with the head. At the moment I am having difficulty applying the head blend shapes to my 'high-res' head,  having followed the same process as I completed previously. However on using the head blend shapes, the animation moves the entire head geometry a slight amount as can be seen in the short loop below.



Currently the hi-res head is pre-smoothing and so is identical to the original head. As far as I can tell the skin cluster tweak and blend shapes are in the correct order. And were applied to the head as 'front of chain' There was no 'parallel blender' to delete. And I am currently unsure as to how to resolve the issue. Unable to complete this last hi-res version I find myself unable to complete the On/Off switch I intend to create to go between the hi and low res warrior for animating and rendering.



Any advice on how I can fix my problems would be much appreciated especially as I am so close to the finish line with this character.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Expressions Tests- Blend Shapes and Textured Test

The video below shows the sort of first draft of blend shapes for all the characters facial expressions. Some are more successful than others and the way in which they have been animated in places is clunky but most can now be viewed flowing fairly smoothly from one to the other.
I am particularly pleased with the shocked and angry expressions, followed closely by the sad ones. The least successful is the confused face (the last expression) Alongside 'laugh', but that is partially down to the way this sequence was key framed. These are blend shapes that will need tweaking at a later stage.



If there is one thing to be noted, its that sadly the blend shaping of the facial geometry, although largely successful in the untextured mode, is unnoticeable in textured. Though it could be considered a waste of time I like to think these subtle changes could still be seen from other angles rather than head on. Particularly expressions such as the angry one. Either way I am pleased with the results so far. Now to rig the rest of his body! Onwards

(The myriad of controls for the face)

(The Blend shape heads set)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Expression Tests- Progress

Following the problem with mirrored blend shapes I repeated the work yesterday recreating the eyes as a pair and manipulating their clusters individually to try and create as close to symmetrical expressions as possible. The resulting video is not so bad. But I wonder if there is an easier way because it means each eye must be key framed separately. And when keying via blend shapes the key frames cannot be seen on the timeline.


Currently I have not pulled the eye shapes around so much when they pass through the face as they appear to witht eh 'surprised' eyes. Partially because I have yet to animate the eyebrows and therefore the brow of the head, but also the cheek bones. This will hopefully lead to a better fit. And if not then I can tweak the blend shapes once more to match.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Expression Tests


As I reached the facial rig of the warrior, I remembered I hadn't completed fully resolved facial expressions for my characters and so went back to create these sheets as my visual aid before returning to my Warriors facial rig.



The experimental attempts to create the facial expressions for the eyes were using blend shapes. I used clusters to successfully manipulate one of the eyes. I was then given the direction to duplicate the set of eyes and mirror them and see if I could attach the blend to the opposite eye. Unfortunately, on activating the blend shape it automatically forms itself back towards the original eye as you can see below. My next attempt will be to create blend shapes for both eyes simultaneously.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Warrior Skinning Tests

The video below is a compilation of all the skinning I've ben doing recently, which is rather a lot. This character has been skinned and reskinned half a dozen times in the bid to successfully use ribbon spines in both the upper arm and forearm. These should enable a more fluid bend than can be achieved with an average elbow. I have used the interactive bind, (Non-weight Normalized Skinning) for the whole body.

There is still some way to go. I believe I may need an influence object or the equivalent in the backside as it loses its volume when the leg draws back. Additionally I've discovered a fault in the way I built and designed my character with regard to the shoulders and position of the clavicles. In pulling the shoulders forward the model takes on the form of a man with even broader shoulders which was not what I intended. I'm uncertain but there may be a way in which to counter animate this perhaps with rivets. When the leg lifts forward it tends to pass through the low hanging part of the warriors shirt. This will likely be counteracted by use of rivets.


Sunday, 7 December 2014

Warrior Skinning- Problems

In my attempts to skin the upper body I have found myself facing some irritating problems. particularly where the ribbon spines have been used. The video below shows the fairly straightforward skinning process working well, but the subsequent pictures highlight where things are not going so well.




I'm currently uncertain as to what joints I should and shouldn't be selecting when applying the skin having encountered problems with what I thought would be the 'logical' selections.

The above [Video] skin job is the latest of many attempts and included the joints... Shoulder, Wrist, Mitten and Thumb. With the Upper arm middle joint (upper arm ribbon spine) and Forearm middle joint (Lower arm ribbon spine) and just in case it was necessary, I attempted to skin the 'elbow constraint group' between the upper and lower arm ribbon-spines.

Left arm at rest
 L_UpperArm_Middle_Jnt_01 clearly not skinned to the upper arm.
  L_Forearm_Middle_Jnt_01 successfully skinned to the lower arm.
 When selecting the geometry to paint the weights it becomes apparent I'm missing the upper arm ribbon spine joint in the influence menu on the left. Although I have no idea why. It was selected when Smooth Binding.

Currently the middle joint of the upper arm is refusing to be skinned, however, its brother in the forearm connects perfectly. On a side note, I'm uncertain as to whether I should or shouldn't be including the 'elbow joint' when I want the ribbon spines to seamlessly bend the arm rather than have the 'point' of an elbow present.

So for the moment I'm in a pickle I have thus far been unable to solve. Once this is completed however, all that is left to skin is the opposite arm (probably by copying the weights), the torso and clavicles. Then finally I will need to work out and complete the facial rigging for the eyes and eyebrows. In the meantime any help and suggestions on how to solve my problems would be greatly appreciated!

Warrior- Skinning

Since completing the warrior's model I have go ten onto skinning. Creating the skeleton was interesting as to create the curved arms i have had to incorporate Ribbon spines into both the upper arm and forearms. This made for some interesting joint work. Now thats I've mastered how to build him I have since been painting the weights. The legs and feet have been really straight forward. The head also appears straight forward. Wrap deforming the lifework of his eyes and monobrow to the head before painting all the weights to one joint. However the general torso area has been challenging...





On reaching the arms I realised on my initial skinning that I had made a mistake with my placement of joints for his shoulders, they were set within the body and thus when the arms were lowered to his sides it appeared distinctly off. Emergency corrections with assistance meant the skeleton was saved. I'm beginning to realise this warrior is the dummy test where I learn what to do, and what not to do! I get the feeling this characters rig will be completely revised, right back to the modelling stage for the beginning of the major project.



Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Morrigan Modelling- Progression

Whilst I figure out the answers to some of the questions revolving around the Warrior's design I have begun building Morrigan. Creating her head shape was a simple affair but the hair was most definitely a challenge from the beginning. As is to be expected the orthographic shapes weren't fully resolved in terms of 3D so I had to compromise early on.


Having created the symmetrical elements, including the basis of the braid, I moved on to the back of the head which was the biggest headache of all. I created quite a mess to begin with. But with additional help, I believe the majority of the geometry was resolved. There are a couple of smaller kinks that need seeing to.




With the hair mostly done for now I moved onto blocking in her body. I can see I may have a few issues with the upper body, but I'm sure I'll be able to tweak the design to create something as close to my orthographic's as I can.



Modelling the Warrior: Progression

The Warrior has been an interesting model in that I've had to make a few compromises and adjust things as I went along, what with the orthographic's not matching up. Below you can see my alterations to the creation of the feet, but also the waist and belt area. The original orthographic's made the line work very complicated and led to me physically modelling a belt instead





The below shows the extruded piping I was creating for the neckspace and leading into the back which bares a different design to the front of the warrior) I('m not entirely sure about the geometry. I don't think the flow is quite right and it could prove a little messy when animated later.




Initially I designed the hands of the warrior to resemble mittens, but when it came to modelling i was struck my the possibility that the characters may need fingers. Having created the majority of a hand I back tracked and turned the hand back into a mitten. What that means with regards to rigging and skinning however I am not sure.




Finally to get a better idea of the overall look of my model I used shaders to take a look at him from most angles. The only thing bothering me about his design now is the lack of fingers or line work present on the arms.