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About ragtag

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    Animation, comics and sailing.
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  • Name
    Ragnar Brynjulfsson
  • Location
    Oslo, Norway
  1. Hey! Haven't heard from you in years.

    Happy Birthday!!! :)

  2. A while back when Gollum was all the rage, there was lots of discussion in Maya circles of the spline IK rig used for his spine. And I'm curious to hear what people here like to use. First, a quick explaination of that rig. In it's most simple form, the spline IK rig is simpy two controller objects (nulls or bones) on each end of a spline. When you move them about the spline maintains a nice curve between them. Some bones are then attached to the curve, which then control the geometry of the character. Since it's a spline, it also means that the spine itself can stretch. In Gollum they had a warning system, basically an object that would turn red or green, if the spine got too short or long. I did a variation on it, where you could weight the stretching of the spine on and off, in addition to the warning system. Some people liked to add a set of straight FK bones, which the other controllers were children of. This way you could animate the spine with normal FK, and use the spline IK controls on top of that as an offset. The more conventional spine is a straight forward FK spine, where you rotate bones from the hip up. I've also done a variation of this, where I had a hip controller, but would then control the spine from the it's center, giving a kind of up and down FK. We did a different one for the Joint Factory (a Maya righ I co-authored a while back), where sliders were used to control a straight FK rig. This way you get normal FK, but you get the option of setting up sliders for things like hip sway without having the head move, while still maintaining a straight FK rig. It did have some minor problems when a lot of different sliders were combined. Even though I did most of these rigs in Maya, all of them are possible in AM and some of them would even work better there. I'm just curious to hear what other people like to use for a spine, and what ideas they have for how to rig one. Cheers, Ragnar
  3. I'm actually opposed to auto balance feature. It just uses up valuable CPU cycles while detracting from the quality of the animation. The idea is nice, but it just doesn't work when put through the test. You spend more time counteranimating the automatic hip movement, than you would animating it in the first place. I find many automatic features tend to get in the way. They may make it easier to do fast and rough animation, but get in the way when you want quality. I agree with most of Parlo's points. A rig should be flexible and relatively simple. The other day I did a quick test with a very basic rig, only IK for the feet and just bones for the rest, and because of how the AM bones work (manipulate with IK, save keys as quaternion FK) I had no problem animating with it. Which brings me on to some thoughts on spines, I shall start another thread.... Ragnar
  4. Yesterday I found a simple way to add automatic backup to my Subversion system. First I made a .bat file containing the following: svn commit -m "Automatic commit." Then I used MS Scheduled Task (in Control panel on windows), to run the .bat file from my project folder every 15min. I'm sure some similair tool exists on OS X. That's it. That way I get automatic incremental backup of any changes I do. The main down sides is that I don't get a comment telling me what I did with each version, though I can still do manual commit of files with comments if I want to. And that a command line window pops up on the screen every 15min, for anywhere from a fraction of a second to a couple of seconds. Works fine so far, Ragnar
  5. Bill - Just make sure it supports binary files too if you want to include textures. I used CVS before for some coding stuff, and it didn't support binaries. Ragnar
  6. I've been testing an interesting approach to backup. I'm using a repository/version control system, most commonly used by programmers. I'm using Subversion with Tortoise, both are open-source and free. I have my working copy of the project on one disk and the repository on another, and I burn backups about once a month (my comp is not connected to the internet, which does wonders for stability ). A repository is basically a storage from which you check files in and out. It only stores the changes or differences between old and new versions, so it doesn't eat too much disk space. The nice thing about it is that each time you check in a file you can add a comment to that version, so that if you later want to go back, you know what you've done with each version. It also means that I'm not storing multiple copies/versions of the same file in my working copy, so the file structure there remains very clean. All the versions are stored in the repository. It's a bit of extra manual work, as I need to check in files I've changed and comment them, but I think it can be worth it in the long run. If you have multiple people working on the same project, Subversion would be a great way to organize the files. Ragnar p.s. Subversion is a command line tool and cross platform, while Tortoise is a graphic interface that I believe is only available on Windows. If you're not freaked out by a command line interface, Subversion works fine without Tortoise too.
  7. If you're ever in Brusselles, check out the Comic musem there. Nearby it you can find a 2-3m large statue of Gaston, it's very cool. Nice model. Just one question, does Gaston have 4 fingers and a thumb? I somehow remember him as only having three. Ragnar
  8. Nice animation. Just one small thing. The first pebble needs "anticipation". It enters the picture and hits his head in about 1 or 2 frames, and then bounces out of the frame. It's small and hard to spot. You could add some dust or sand falling down before the pebble comes, and maybe increase the pebble size a little. If possible, you should also try and keep it in frame after it hits, maybe by having the character react by moving his head down when hit (so you get more space for the pebble). Other than that. Excellent animation. Ragnar
  9. Very nice model, love the simple cartoony style. Once you're finished with him you should use him as your avatar...your current one freaks me out. Ragnar
  10. If you plan to animate this, you need to reduce the number of patches to about 1/4th of what you have there or less. Otherwise you'll spend the next year just doing the facial expressions. Also, all those triangular patches are likely to cause trouble. If I had that model, I would lock all the CPs, and model a new head around it using as few patches as I could get away with. Besides that, the model itself looks good. Ragnar
  11. I like the last picture you posted, looks excellent. Though, I actually think the eyes he has on the poster, flat with a dot for a pupil in front, fit the design almost better than the ones you have now. They're kind of empty and fit that sad/lost expression of his. As for ears, I think either way works fine, he doesn't need ears as is...but I don't think a pair of cartoony ears would do any harm. Since your character is called Clay...I assume he's supposed to be made of clay. The one thing I don't like about the design, if you don't mind me saying so, is the body. It's a nice body, but I don't think it fits the head very well nor does it look particularly like clay. It's too slim and too anotomical (clear muscles and bones), a rounder more smooth and slightly chubbier body might work better. Maybe somewhat in the direction of good ol' Morph, though maybe not that chubby and round ( http://www.aardman.com/showcase/amaz_fr.html ). Anyways, keep up the good work and looking forward to seeing your film next year. (get's on with working on his own models that never get finished ) Ragnar
  12. MY turn! (Grabs the conch shell). Another simple trick to speed up actually positioning the lights is either removing all complex materials and textures or scale the textures down to tiny little 16x16 images (make sure to back up the full resolution ones before you do ). Textures are expensive to load and render, so you'll get much faster feedback without them. I like to use multi-pass with 1 pass for lighting tests, as it doesn't do any slow anti-alias. Once you've got the positions right, you can use Dearmed's approach to adjust the intensity of each light. (for those without PSP or PS, check out GIMP www.gimp.org or www.macgimp.org ). Also coloring the lights with very different colors, red, green, blue etc. while positining them can help you see where each light falls. NEXT person's turn! (Passes the conch shell).
  13. It's just possible that your file might be a little corrupt. You might want to try and select all the CVs, copy them, create a new model and paste them back in there. See if that helps. Oh, and when working...save new versions all the time. Disk space is cheap, a ruined model is not. Ragnar
  14. Hi, You can probably do with lots less patches, about 1/2 to 1/3 of what you've got there. It will make it easier to get the model smooth, and to adjust it's shape if you need to (make facial expression for instance). Not to mention, faster to render, animate and rig. Secondly, I believe the patches at the lower corner of the eye and the top corners (the ones where the circular eye shape joins the square spline pattern), are going to make creases or edges when rendered. Try using 5 point patches instead in these places. The character looks cool, looking forward to seeing it finished. Are you planning on using v11 hair/feathers? Ragnar
  15. ragtag

    Cartoony boy

    Smudge: The character was kind of inspired by those little dudes and gals from "My Little World". I'm looking forward to that film, looks very promising. As for the clothes. Those are not really final, I've been sketching up some different kind of clothes for him, just haven't made up my yet what he's going to wear. Ragnar
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