I managed to stay ahead in October. Excellent progress. In fact, I lost track of how many chapters I wrote. Let’s see – 9, 10, 11, 12. Though I finished 12 tonight on Novel November 1st, and started chapter 13. I’ll still count it. The months are blurring.
Chapter 9 Always have a cha-cha (adding the upper body and lower body root skeleton joints) In this chapter we create a skeleton that allows for the upper body and lower body to be adjusted separately allowing for a good shift of weight.
Lower body control for cha-cha ability
As you can tell we’ve not dealt with the eyeballs – which most hilariously stay put when we move the rig. We’re also utilizing a script I wrote to automate creating offset garbage nodes for our controls. This lets us have controls with rotational axis that match up with the joints which might be offset from global XYZ. This way we get a better controller that can be brought back to a neutral state.
Upper body control for the bird
Chapter 10 Feet and Knees
Group based foot setup with attention to pivot points
In this chapter we go over different methods of creating feed control systems. I prefer a group based method and we also go over the reverse shoe (made from joints). Just to make sure everyone is on the same page we look at the similarities between rigs for a generic bird and human boot.
Reverse foot setup using joints
Chapter 11 SPINES: FK, SPLINE, SDK (SET DRIVEN KEY)
This chapter is quite a lot of fun even though nothing much has changed in the newer versions of Maya here. I think I just like rigging the different types of spines. Of course our bird has this big huge neck to deal with as well. So we compare the bird neck to human neck setups. I use clusters in this setup pictured below to get a nice smooth curve out of the model. We also cover FK spines.
Using clusters to create a spline setup in the neck
We explore more of the node editor and it does take a minute to get used to finding what you need in that window. Certainly you need to only add the controls and joints you are working with in order to keep the window clean and uncluttered. I know what I’m looking for in there and it takes a sec – go carefully in this and the following chapters.
Using the Node Editor to connect a controller to follow a joint
Chapter 12 ARMS, ELBOWS, AND CLAVICLES: SINGLE-CHAIN, TRIPLE-CHAIN WITH WRIST TWIST (SDK OR CLUSTER)
I thought this would take longer than it did – however the IK setups are the same as when they were invented. Some additional steps came into Maya around version 7, and it’s still mostly the same now.
We work on creating an FK and IK setup for the arm and focus on clean math. This chapter is where most have to re-do their character a couple of times to get it right. Missing a step or letting bad math creep into your rig creates jiggly arms.
We create an iconic IK/FK switch and use set driven key to switch from one to the other. What we do not do in this book is create a script that matches the positions. That’s advanced – and quite a bit of fun to create. Baby steps first. In class, I find just understanding what an FK/IK switch does and why to use it is tough enough to convey. Those that really dig it can pick up the next bits in advanced rigging.
I’ve focused a lot on adjusting the images for this book to make them more legible. The first version I tried to show every step. Now I show the highlights and my hope is to go back and add AR capability that shows the menu steps. Should be more useful that way.
I almost finished chapter 13 tonight. 2 more images to create. I’m sitting along side a colleague who is participating in Novel November—so I will match word quota with her and perhaps get this project done this month – wish me luck. I cheer anyone on that’s participating in NaNoWriMo https://nanowrimo.org/ (National Novel Writing Month). My goal is 1-2 hours a night each weekday night. More if a group of us sit together at an establishment and write together as was the case tonight. 🙂 Remember to recharge every so often. (your laptop and you.)
Hope you had a great Halloween yesterday! My favorite holiday of the year.