Nothing makes me happier than seeing a final product of your blood, sweat an tears – a collaborative work too – placed into the public eye. After a little over a year of being in festivals worldwide, we’ve finally decided to make the film available through the web to share the story. I was blessed with a very optimistic, enthusiastic group of artists who made the production not only feasible, but fun. My partner in crime, Megdad Asadi Lari, is an incredible artist, designer and tech guy – best of all, his humor and mine aligned perfectly. We often refereed to rendering scene files as baking another batch of cookies.
Reflecting on it, the story and some scenes could have been tightened up, animation could have been improved, but considering the short time-frame to develop it while we were not even sure how to rig a 3D model, much less learning as budding animation artists, it came out just fine. The best parts of all this were the crowds of people giving us positive feedback – even a few budding beans making some fabulous fan art! I’m crossing my fingers that the larger world appreciates the work. And, as always, this isn’t the last work that I’ll be working on… Got a few more up my sleeve including a NASA film releasing this October and some other 3D printed side projects, not to mention my 3D printed thesis.
Coloring object wireframes has never been made easier.
Funny how things work out when you’re coding and wondering if there’s a script our there that already does what you want to do. In this case, I stumbled across a very simple, but very elegant MEL/PYTHON Script – Developed by Chris Zurbrigg – that helps with the rigging process. All it does is change the colors of your objects within Maya. And by simple, I mean a well designed tool that makes my workflow that much faster than clicking through many windows and options to change the default colors of controllers. Get the tool here: http://zurbrigg.com/maya-scripts/11-display-color-override.
Again, would have developed my own, but sometimes, there’s someone else out there who nailed it and now it’s a tool favorited on my shelf!
About a year ago, I launched a tool to help out with the Blend Shape pipeline process I went through with my characters for Bean Caught and thought I’d share it with the web. Today, I dusted this off, for yet another film I’m working on, and not only decided to update it, but to also post a tutorial on how to use it. You can download the latest version here: McBe BS Tools v1.10! Continue reading →
Certainly not refined animation, but the goldfish is happy!
In my adventures of creating my thesis, I need one of my “scenes” to include a goldfish. And as you can see by the above, the fish is stylized and not real looking – especially those dang fat fins… But this is necessary when prepping for 3D printing! That aside, I struggled over a week on how to animate this fish to make it feel reel or believable. I also wanted to refine controls while having the fish basically swim freely and automated. After much scratching and flipping tables, I figured out a solution that ended in a good night’s rest! I’ll share an overview and a couple scripts below so it may hopefully help out people later. This can be applied to anything that involves ripple-like animation such as snakes, birds, sting-rays, etc! Continue reading →
So in much of my frustration when working recently on laying out UVs after rigging a few models I’ve been working on in my thesis, I discovered that Maya’s Transfer Attributes function for getting UVs from one model to another model that’s rigged does not quite work right. What appears to happen is that there is a linked attribute between the model and the rest that seems to be just fine at first, however, if you want to move your transfered UVs around in the UV editor, it’s not permanent. Especially if you decide to delete the original model from your scene which is even worse as it reverts the changes you made back to the model’s originally UV positions. Continue reading →
Not too long ago I was viewing a demonstration (I believe it was about mid-2010) regarding a new technology that Autodesk was testing out for their software. It was simply the idea of implementing editable/animated motion trails in the viewport that affects what happens in the graph editor… But now you can visually edit it in 3D with a lot of bonus! After first seeing the Demo, I though, “Pfff – it won’t happen in a while.” Bug now it’s available with Maya 2012!
If anything, this is simply a quick post to remind me to look at this utility later as it’s amazingly-awesome looking. I’m very curious how it’ll work out and the concept of animation layers with blending kind of blows my mind. This would help keep those animated arcs and ease-in/outs looking great.
Hmmmm… Maybe I should start using this in my current film?
I just had to post this as it saved a lot of work for me the other day. I went under a lot of rigging problems with double and triple transformations under a unique scene we had to build out for our film. In my case, I had cluster groups controlling lattice “levels” and then grouped and parented to controls for each level. When rotating the controls, I ended up getting crazy results. Watching this awesomely, simplified video helped me out greatly for finding a solution to my unique situation.
So I’m kinda excited today. After learning MEL for about 3 weeks now, I created my first tool set (slim, but with more to come) to help with workflow and pipelines in creating Blendshapes.
After rigging for the past couple months, I’ve run into some areas of production that could have saved me a little time and one of those areas are creating Blendshapes that are initially symmetrical utilizing utilities like soft select/move or Mudbox (my personal choice). This said, it’s kind of a pain to paint weights on one side and then mirror as it doesn’t provide a perfect solution as you may run into double translations when combining the two Blendshape nodes – especially with parts of the face such as smiles and frowns. As a result, I found a solution to invert the weight maps of the Blendshapes that then allows me to duplicate the geometry to a Rightside and Leftside – breaking up the nodes.
You can download the tool here (McBe BlendShape Tools v1.0) and source/run the script within the Maya Script Editor. This was created within Autodesk Maya 2012 and I have not tested in prior versions.
Options include just inverting, inverting and then duplicating, and if you duplicate, you have the option to identify which is the right side or left side of the object and it will add a suffix of “_LT” and “_RT” to the created shapes. I also added offsetting of the objects as I tend to do this for organizing large scenes of blendshape geometry nodes.
Below are examples of it in action splitting a smile and recombining it. Feel free to give me feedback so I can help you improve your workflow!