New toys!

Well, not exactly new, but new to me, and good fun. I have been learning to rig in maya, and have a growing knowledge of how it works. After having done rigging in 3DS Max its not too big a step  to pick up in Maya. a lot of it is just learning how to re do things in a new program with new shortcuts and the like. some things are much easier, and so far I am liking Maya for rigging so much more.

Normally I post with videos as I am much better at it, but I totally forgot and just wanted to update my progress while I am thinking of it. Been forgetting to do that way to much this trimester!

So, firstly. My first rig has been for a rooster. it has gone OK so far, learning basics such as making the bone system and creating basic IK systems and controls for the legs. Then I proceeded to skin it and test that, which worked well. Once I know some more I want to come back to this rig and put in a jiggle system for the roosters tail and also for its crest.

There are a few things I would like to learn to do with this rig eventually as well. such as see about spline controls so I can have custom attributes to control the curl of the roosters toes. However I am only allowing myself a certain amount of time per rig, and so can not do it this time. But I will be coming back to re make this rig with all I know as my final things this trimester.

The second rig i have made is for a Cat. Simple in many ways, and having many of the same needs as the rooster in the IK for the legs. however I added in some Spline IK for the tail to give better control over how it animates and looks. except it seems to be breaking right now…not actually sure why either. Maybe just to make it harder for me, cant have it working well all at once can we? And that was a simple fix for the issue. parent things the correct way and it may work properly….DOH!

The tail has been controlled using clusters made from the points in the spline system. it looks pretty chunky here, but that is okay as its not meant to be a super refined rig or model. If I was to be going for more refined I would create at least double the bones in the tail and use cluster to control it again.

For the cat I had to do some research on their skeletal system and how they work, as well as make sure that the muscles would look realistic when I skinned them.
I did this by looking at a few anatomy websites, and one picture in particular was of good help with this.

Yes, I am aware that the website says it is for kids, but it helped so stop smirking! Also, going into too much depth is just confusing. so it was really good. some things, such as around the face, did not bother me too much as it has not been modeled in a way that it will need to use facial features too much at all.

The next rig I make will be for a Dog, and I will be trying to get some facial controls working on it, mostly just for twitching noses, but it is always a good thing to know how to do!



Mortem-Pole for the building a world

As with most projects, once they are done the students need to write a post mortem. It is actually something I enjoy, reflecting on how everything went, and what has been done well or not. This particular post mortem is for our world builders project, which was to take a scene from a book and make it in 3D. we also had to make a narrative for the story that. There are so many things I would like to say about this, so I will do my best to make it legible.

For this project each team member (Of which we had 4) had to create their own shot of the created scene which was the Witches house in Hansel and Gretel.
As seems to be normal, I was project lead, but also did a lot of the modelling and scene construction in Unreal. As with many of the projects, its difficult to get anything that actually touches on the specialization I would like to chose, which is actually animating things, creating rigs, and the more technical side of things. I got to do a small amount of this in unreal, but a lot of it was just to place things in the scene.
I feel that we managed to hit the brief fairly well, and would have been capable of delivering the product on time according to the first documented due date.
One of the major things that went wrong during this project was the loss of many weeks work. there where backups made, but the people with those backups did not know where they put them and so many weeks of work was lost, which was rather disheartening. however it was a valuable lesson to us all to make sure that backups are made and kept in safe places with people who will not lose them.

Our team, for the most part worked well together. However some people did not pull their weight. which was disappointing. This forced a lot of work onto others that should not have happened. As lead I had to talk to these people and ask them to do more. some responded well and did start to get a lot of work done, however some did not and had excuses as to why they could not do the work.
However despite this I feel I have done better as a lead this time. I delegated better, as well as spoke to people about doing what they needed to better, and more calmly.
I feel the level I got my documentation too this project was much better as well. Between this project and the final project I have got much more efficient at doing documentation. My timelines are doing better, as well as being able to create asset lists and time tables much more comprehensively. whilst I tend to use the same methodology, I have been getting better at deciding between them, and changing the way the work to make them better for a project. For this project we used an agile methodology, which worked fairly well. However one thing I did learn was that people will not get things done with out solid deadlines. and even then, they have to be made to check the deadlines constantly to ensure they are met. Which is possibly one of the less fun things to have to do. All of the documentation we used can be found here