Every year or so I like to take on a big personal rigging project so I can pick up some new tricks without the pressures and constraints of an actual production. This time around I will be mixing in several ventures all aimed at creating a film quality rig that can be distributed to the animation community at large. I will start off by outlining the goals of this project while giving a few details on how I plan on achieving these goals. Now before I get too deep into this, let me issue a fair warning that I have a son on the way any day now, so this project could go several weeks without anything to report. Alrighty then, with my excuses out of the way, let's push on.
- Work with a small team to develop some rigging tools. Except for the artsy stuff, I hope to generate every part of this rig procedurally. Details on this small team and that development process will be coming soon.
- Develop a robust facial rigging solution that looks great without a bunch of fancy deformers, but is able to layer in deformers and blendshapes to push the look to the next level.
- Push myself to push my skills at cinematic quality rigging.
- Teach all of you about my process. Hopefully we will both learn something new! I won't be going full tutorial style on everything I do here, however I may make tutorials available in one form or another later on. For now you can check out the Rigging Dojo, where you can get my Python class along with a ton of information on everything rigging related.
If I'm going to rig a character, I suppose I will need to start with a model. No, not just any model. It needs to be a great model. Fortunately for me, the extremely talented Daniel Williams has offered up one of his creations for this mad science project. I highly encourage you to check out his work. This is typically the section where I would talk about good topology for rigging, but Danny's models already have fantastic topology. I will talk briefly about what makes topology "fantastic", and I will do some comparisons between what I look for in a cinematic mesh versus a game ready mesh in later posts. Before we get into all of that I want to show you what we'll be working with.
Check out this link to see the Ranger in all his rendered glory.
Here are some reasons why I think this topology is Fantastic!
- The continuous line across the brow.
- The edge that flows from the nose to the mouth furrow line.
- The clean circular edges around the mouth.
- The extruded face between the brows for a nice brow furrow.
That's all I have time for tonight. In my next post I want to start designing the requirements for this rig so I can break the work into chunks. We will talk about how I determine those requirements, and my process for plotting out how to meet them. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you here next time.