Sunday, October 23, 2011

Art dump

So it's been a while since I put pencil to paper, or did anything creative in general. For the last few weeks I've been endeavouring to change this.

I picked up an issue of 3D Artist because it had this wicked tutorial on how to model this stylised woman by this awesome modeler named Andy Hickinbottom and this totally inspired. Initially I was going to create my own design and try to walk through Andy's tutorial but as I spoke with some people at work this thing sort of evolved into my first zbrush sculpt project. Rather than go through some oldschool modelling techniques pushing verts and edges around I'm going to dive right in to zbrush.

Initially the design started off as a saucy witch. I spent a lot of time looking at pop culture (the Disney rogues gallery most prominently) and 40's pin up references, even cheesy Halloween costumes.

Nothing seemed to stick until I landed on Yzma from Emperor's New Groove but even then the design was missing something. So I started straying further afield and began looking at haute couture in the hopes of seeing something strange and wonderful that simply worked. Besides Yzma was more of a flapper girl from the 20's and 30's than your archetypal witch. Seemed like the right path to follow.

Nothing seemed to pop out, all of them had elements that I liked but none of them were the one. Until I went off on a bit of a tangent..

Now I'm just quickly blocking this in with primitives in Maya that I'll import into zbrush. And if this doesn't work I can try to use the zbrush mannequin.

Going to be bugging the crap out of the character guys for pointers for the next little while.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dangerous cat-like reflexes

Feel free to offer any feedback or criticism. This is the first bit of genuine animation I think I've done in two years. No mocap tweaking, no facefx, no rotoscoped facial data.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

The goal is an exercise a day

To work off the rust and work my way up to something bigger. I think I'll do two more quick exercises and then work on something more elaborate. A dialogue or two character interaction.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

And now for something completely different...

Trying to work off the rust with some asic animation exercises. Here's a Preston Blair style walk cycle with the Scout from TF2.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Moving forward...sort of.

So my rigging, modeling and weighting changes have carried over in the over-written reference file the rig file is pointing to, now on to grafting controls, set driven keys and blend shapes. After all the time I spend skin weighting and animating the joints to various visemes I think I'm going to try my hand at blend shapes. There just needs to be more information in the topology and more bones and more skin weighting done to improve the deformations and I could probably get with not doing that by creating blend shapes. Also I get to learn about blend shapes work in Maya.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Giving it 110%

Sporting metaphors really shouldn't apply to skin weighting but they seem to with Maya's weight painting brush. With the weight brush you can add more than 100% of value to a given vert. I've spent the last few days in the component editor correcting the values assigned to pretty much every vertice in the face. After a littler more tuning to the cheeks/checck bones and nasal folds I'll be ready to overwrite the Heavy_Reference file and move on to the Heavy_Rig file. I'm going to be grafting on rig controls for the face, set driven keys for the visemes and some blend shapes for visemes that are difficult to hit rather than adjusting the topology further and adding more bones.

All in all it's coming along well, perhaps not as quickly as it would in Max, but it's getting there. By the end of the week it should be ready to animate with. Now it's just a matter of deciding which bit of dialogue I want to animate to...

Austrian Death Machine - Double Ahnuld

Austrian Death Machine - Intro to the Intro

Conan the Barbarian - The Musical

Predator - The Musical

I love the idea of animating one of the musicals but that's a pretty massive project, even just the Austrian Death Machine dialogues are kinda lengthy. Got time to think about it while I rig the face.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


The slow and dull journey of editing the weight values by component mode continues.

Weighting the jaw and the lips always takes the most time. Hopefully I can put in a good days slog tomorrow and get the weighting done, leaving just the set driven keys for the visemes and some basic controls.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Local rotation axes fun times!

Got a little ahead of myself with the weighting and forget to adjust the local rotation axes of the joints of the face rig. I didn't touch the local rotation axes of the joints on Valve's body rig, just what I'm totally hacking in.



I'm not certain if it's wise to have the local rotation axes the same as the world or if I should have the y axis pointing towards the parent bone. I'm sure I'll find out when this explodes when I try to animate it. In my defence it's not an entirely uneducated decision, through my work I've had the chance to look at some professional face rigs and the local rotatin axes were the same as the world...

On to the weighting.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Progress update

Probably digging myself a hole, but the joints are in place and some minor modeling has been done so it has eyes and eyelids. I may add in a few more edge loops around the mouth so it deforms a bit better. The mouth sack will definitely need an edge loop or two. It's just one poly from lip to top or bottom.

I think with the way Valve structured the files, I',=m going to have to add the nurbs curve controls and possibly the set driven keys for the face rig in the other file. But I'm getting ahead of myself, still have the weighting to do. Wee!

Friday, February 11, 2011

One of the many reasons why Valve is awesome

They provide you with Maya files of their nearly fully rigged characters in your Steam Source SDK dir.

I say nearly fully rigged because the model doesn't include a face rig, but that should be simple enough to take care of.

After some quick rigging and slight modeling changes--eyelids and eyes, maybe a few more edgeloops around the mouth--I'll be able to start doing some animation. Woo!