Sunday, January 11, 2009

Walkin' the Walk

Holy not posted in a while batman! Here’s why: the whole training department got cut so I’m out of work. The TBOS project has slowed down to allow me to turn my attention to things like making an income and all that miserable stuff. For those just tuning in, I’m working on a short film: and it was going to be done in two years but I’ll have to readjust that assessment due to career interruptions. There will always be unforeseen downtimes during a project of such massive scope. These downtimes are ultimately beneficial, as it allows me to step away from the project for a while, to see it with fresh eyes. As I haven’t shown any production work recently, I’ll post some character tests.

This first one is the protagonist’s mother. I was testing her rig and looking into getting some secondary action on the hair. I like to produce a quick and dirty walk cycle as the first “test” for a character I’ve just rigged. A simple walk can usually reveal problems in the model or rig. I put some of the character’s perceived personality into the walk to see them as in-context as possible. A well-designed rig should make animating a character’s personality traits intuitive, since the mannerisms of the character should be implicit in the design. The mother, for instance, has a passive, frail and meek persona. Her design is such that a few basic keyframes can convey this, even without facial animation!

For the priest, I wanted an arrogant and self-righteous walk that spoke of his portentousness as well as hinting at some hidden guilt. On a technical front, this cycle was really done to test Maya’s nCloth and hair follicle systems, and how they can be made to collide with each other. His sash is rigged with Maya Hair (used as wire deformers) and his cloak is nCloth. This quick-and-dirty test shows they can collide with each other, and in the future I can adjust them to fix all the minor interpenetrations.

Finally I’ll post a turnaround of our main protagonist, Sinister himself. He is rigged, but I haven’t done a walk cycle with him yet. When my work situation stabilizes, I’ll return to working on him.