Friday, 4 February 2011

Busy busy busy

Holy balls, where to start?

I've been working hard on 3rd year projects.
My roles as of current are the (sole) rigger of 'The Little Helper' and an animator on 'Inbetween -A Fable'

I've decided to work on these two because I wanted to stretch my Maya muscles, and I want to be able to rig better, so I'm learning as I go - but I didn't want to exclusively 3D work - I want to stay varied.

I've already rigged a jack-in-the-box, which caused me an insane amount of hell to finish, and I still don't think it quite works properly - I think there are some hierarchy problems that breaks one thing when I fix another - leading to a never-ending spiral of fixing.

Anyway, here's the final rig - no textures.

1. FK hat controls
2. Head rotator
3. FK arm controls
4. Lid control - limited to 'open', 'closed' and only between those two angles (except for some give for animation overlap)
5. Body spline rotator
6. Handle control
7. (a) Arm compressor (b) hat compressor - for when the jack is inside the box.
8. 'Spring' control - Dragging up/down extends/retracts the Jack's body. It has limited top/bottom values for clean, intuitive control
9. World control - controls the rotation/translation of the entire model

Besides making it work properly, the major change I would make to this is to perhaps link the spring control to the body rotate control, so that changing the length/rotation of the body could all be done by dragging a single control. That might perhaps be more intuitive.
I think having a bit of a past in product design makes me constantly want to improve anything with human interaction; making it easier to use and more comfortable to use. I;m pretty sure ergonomics can be applied to rigs. Right?

I'm now in the process of rigging Sally, the spider. After shortened deadlines it's a frantic rush - I still have an old man to rig, too.

Here's the controls I've developed for her eyes.
It works in such a way that each eye is independently controllable, with Aim Constraints making the eye track the control circle, which itself remains facing its respective eye. The surrounding yellow box is a way to control all of the eyes at once.
I've made it so that the eye controllers aren't limited - so they can be physically placed by the object of focus - and if they get lost, then they can be safely zeroed back to their starting points.

Here's what her rig looks like so far

A lot of these don't work yet, but I'm just getting it all drawn out first.

As for the 2D piece, I've been already tasked with a transformation.
I immediately had an idea of a sort of flow of 'evil' traveling up her body, as if she can't contain it.
It reminds me of the transformation scenes in Ghibli films.
Trying to actually find clips of this on YouTube sent me down a spiraling void of crappy Ghibli AMVs to stupid music - the other kind of hell, way more frightening than Alighieri's, and was ultimately a failed cause.
I think pretty much anyone reading this knows the sort of forceful, gelatinous morphing (I can't actually think of a specific example - Dan fail)
Here's the sort of thing I mean:

Another aspect I wanted to include was to perhaps make her human form literally burning with her conviction as she transforms into her inner beast - so the wave of change could be indicated by ashes advancing along her body with the wave.

Here's the concept sketches I'm working with:

Lots of 'old master' style hands. Brilliant. I've been practicing this monster and I'm determined to nail this style before the real animation is due!
I haven't gotten a detailed one of the woman yet.

Next: Post production.

Well, I've got no scan-ins to show, but after changing ideas for the last week or so, I'm finally settled on an idea.
You'll just have to imagine
So I'm holding a sketchbook, then I slap on a disk-like lifegiver onto the front, let it glow, then open the book up.
The pages start blank, but doodles start creeping out of the paper into 3D space.
I keep turning the pages, and lots of my fanciful and surreal doodles jump and dance about, but as I keep turning, the doodles become more surreal and horrific, until I'm turning the pages so quickly that most doodles don't get a chance, until on the final page, something horrible leaps out at me, at which point I slam the book shut.

I'm thinking of doing it from a first-person perspective, only showing my arms. I'm going to do a quick test shoot next week to see if it's possible to do - and to see if the the tracking is easy.
I quite like this idea over the other ones I've had because it includes both 2D and 3D.
I'm planning on doing this on my own, so I'm going to be very busy. Hopefully it will be simple enough to manage. I know I'll have to ask for help at some point, though.

I've got a bit of new sketchbook work to show, but I haven't scanned it in yet.
Speaking of sketchbook, Hugh showed me some cool markers here, and I'm extremely tempted to get those grey ones - just to give my pen sketches a bit more depth and shadow. They're out of stock at the moment, so more waiting for me.

In Dead Space 2 - related news; The game is finally out. Do I have it? No.

I've been promised a free copy by Visceral - but I'm still waiting by the letterbox for it to arrive.
Pretty much everyone I know has seen my 'glorious' appearance.

I also did an email-based interview for a website called 'Asylum', which was also referenced in a Kotaku article.
Since these articles - that Meat Cello video got nearly 50,000 views - double what it had in the almost-year beforehand.
I'm practically a celebrity...ish.

And finally- here's some cool stuff I've found:

( I really like this song and the video. Double win.

(I remember being shown this earlier last year - it's sad)

Cool Viewtiful Joe-style animation

Really cool 3D animation short - really visceral!

Well, that's all for now. Expect this to be updated with sketches soon.

Oh, and this new thing by Harry Partridge:

His stuff is always amazing.

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