So it’s been quite a long time since the last update, but here are some exciting news about me, Ambrosia, your pet Hippo, remember?
Due to me having never really gotten as deep into rigging as I’ve wanted, this dev diary has somehow been over 2 months in making! The sad/funny part is that what I’m showing off isn’t even finished…
So what have I been doing over the last two months? Well other than private maters and generally creating some scripts to help me with rigging; rigging is exactly what I have been doing.
Below you will find a lot of images of Ambrosia inside of Maya as I slowly but surely create a rig that even a very meticulous animator would enjoy working on.
Body joints and first IK leg setup | June 5th
First up we’ve got this image of Ambrosia’s body skeleton, may have gone a bit insane with those tail joints, but as long as I end up with somewhere around 100-120 joints including the face, I’m not going to fret over it.
Looking at the front left leg, you can see that it has brown joins rather than purple ones, this is due to an IK-chain having been installed, what an IK or Inverse Kinematic solution allows you to do is to, in this case, move the leg using the foot rather than by bending the knee.
Here you can find a rather more technical explanation without Game of Thrones references for what IK vs FK is.
First pass on facial joints inside of Maya | June 6th
Next up is the first facial joint pass and with this I landed on 104 joints, a small enough number considering it’s a character with a face setup, however, with too much control, the animations would take a whole lot longer to create and with the relative low resolution of the mesh and the distance she’ll be from the camera, this will more than suffice, it’s not Uncharted 5 after all!
What may be interesting to some who are just getting into rigging, is that the joints seen in the picture above are not the skinned joints (this is actually true for the first image as well) instead this is a second skeleton to which the skinned skeleton has been parent and scale constrained.
Why do this you wonder? Well, one reason is that doing something wrong is less likely to break the entire rig, more importantly however is the fact that this new rig doesn’t have to have the hierarchy needed in a skeleton which is going to end up in a game engine! What this means is that I could for example create a reversed foot, allowing me to animated her fot rolling from her heel rather than from the ankle where the final IK-handle is positioned.
WIP Ambrosia controller setup | July 3rd
Here is a view of the first controller setup, roughly one month after the skeleton was finished, let’s just say I learned a lot during this time and no small part was spent reading books on python and starting my own rigging library.
The legs are the only things actually done in this picture, but they can do pretty much anything you could ever want, including automatic and/or manual squashing and stretching!
I found that creating custom controllers can be quite a pain, especially if you want two curves or more in one, but with some scripts which took… Days to write, I now save a few minutes every time I need a new controller, in a few years I will have made up that time for sure!
Body controllers version 1.0 and facial controls version 0.1 | July 23rd
Twenty days later, minus twelve days of vaycay in Murica and the body rig is finished, this includes a very cool spine controller allowing for some rad squash and stretch action… yo! Look at her, isn’t she cute?
First version of the Ambrosia Substance and facial controls version 0.7 | August 9th
Jump to today, or yesterday as midnight was now more than two hours ago, we’ve got brow, eye, nose and cheek controllers. Exciting! Other than a preemptive turning 30 years ancient party which lasted for 3 days and a 4 day visit to Lion Game Lion in Croatia I’ve ben working on this little girl.
From the last picture to this one, roughly 42 hours of work has been done, the next rig I make will definitely go a lot smoother and faster, those weights are driving me mad, mad I say!
Ambrosia Facial Rig V 0.73
Since moving images are a lot more interesting and well, since I figured you may want some proof that I’ve not just created some splines in a Maya scene, here’s Ambrosia going from upset to happy!
Important to note is that other than opening her mouth, none of the mouth controls have been setup, so look forward to much nicer looking smiles, aimed at you inside of the game!
Perhaps more important still is the fact that this texture is far from done, due to a new UV setup and engine change, I decided to create the new texture using only Substance, so again, look forward to a much cuter Ambrosia in the future!
That’s all for this recap, I’ll do my best to get a new one up faster next time, with that said though, KJ has just started working on its new official project Beneath the Waves, this game will be produced in conjunction with Red Line Games, make sure you check it out!
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