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Steven Cleary

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About Steven Cleary

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    Journeyman

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  • A:M version
    v19

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  • Location
    UK
  1. Hello Dhar, Following on from Mark's suggestions, I am further developing the Head Gizmo, so keep your eyes peeled for possible changes in the not too distant future. Here are the basic rules for installation: The installation rig in the Zip file contains bones for the features of the face but not the head itself, so keep the original head bone of the model and delete its children. Right click the model you are working on and go to Import > Model and select the Head Gizmo. In the bone hierarchy in the Project Workspace, make the XHead bone a child of the existing head bone. You must keep the WEyesStill bone on the root level of bone tree (just don't change its position in the hierarchy). In order to fit the bones to the face mesh, use the yellow X bones in conjunction with the transform manipulators (keys N=translate, S=scale and R=rotate) so that all the children of the X bones are moved at the same time. It is important to hold down the CTRL key (not sure what key it is for Macs) when moving the different parts of the rig in this initial stage so that the guide splines move with the control bones (the ones to the sides). This applies when you move the X bones by hand or when inputting data into the manipulator axis boxes (hold down CTRL before you press enter). Move and scale the XHead bone so that the features roughly fit the head mesh. Do the same to the feature X bones so that they match each part of the face exactly. The XEye bones have to be dead centre of the eyeballs, the GLip bones have to point at the corners of the mouth, and the origin (start) of the GCheek bones can be moved but the corresponding WCheek bones (the ones to the side) must be moved by the same amount (Snap to Grid really helps here). You can move the GEyebrows to whatever position you want but make sure the roll handles are in the upper hemisphere. I've just noticed I placed some jaw bones in the wrong order and angle which makes installation a bit difficult. Attached is an update with corrections that allow you to reposition the jaw and mouth controls much more easily. You need to make sure XJaw and XMouthControls bones have matching angles. I'd suggest scaling the XMouth bone along an individual axis would be the easiest way of adjusting the mouth elements. It's probably best to have the start of the GSneer bones halfway up the nose. As for applying the mesh to the bones, you cannot use the auto assign bones option. You need to apply bone weights by hand and only to green bones prefixed with a G. To apply weight influence of bones to control points, go into Modelling Mode (F5), select the control points you want to influence, right click (option click on a Mac, I think) the bounding box and select Edit CP Weights. In the window that appears, hit the button that says Select All CPs, then select the bone(s) that appear in the box on the right and delete them with the button located bottom centre. In the drop down box located just above the delete button, scroll to the G section and select the bone(s) you want to influence the control points. Select the bone(s) in the box on the right and you can either enter specific amounts by using the Weight box located bottom right or press the Balance Selected or Balance Connected buttons on the bottom left which automatically assigns weights. Use my Simple Simon example model to see how much influence to give to bones, but it's basically a question of balancing the weights between the green G bones that are located near the part of the face in question and the head bone the Head Gizmo is a child of. I'll investigate an auto rig installer and perhaps a Flash tutorial, but I'm rather busy at the moment so I cannot guarantee either will come to fruition. I hope my typings help and I'll crack on with the development of the Head Gizmo. Steve. headgizmo_v2_sgjdm_jaw.zip
  2. Hello Mark, I was unexpectedly busy over the bank holiday weekend, hence the delay in getting back to you. The middle lip nulls' parent bones are aimed at the mouth corner nulls and I think they move in a fashion that mirrors my observations and gives predictable results. I may have placed the cheek bones too close to the teeth (in them, infact), so I'd move them a little to the sides which in turn makes the middle lip nulls move more sideways. If you think that the lips aren't moving quite right in a head you are rigging, have a little experiment with where the cheek bones are located. Upon reading your comments, I had another thought on a new way to do things that might allow for different mehods of movement. I'm quite content with how this one has turned out and it didn't feel like I was fighting against the rig at all in my animation test and I achieved the look I was after. If anything comes of my new idea, I'll let you know. Thanks for the critical eye; it really helps with the development process. Steve. P.S. I've just realised I didn't mention the fact that the mouth curvature occurs only when you use the CMouthShape null, but I guess people have discovered this. Also, the CCheek nulls have to point at the origin/beginning of the WCheek bones. An easy way to do this is to place the end of the null on the start of the cheek bones and then in the nulls' properties under Bone Position > Length, reduce the figure so that the null becomes a reasonable size.
  3. Depending on how satisfied people are with the new changes and if they have any more ideas/suggestions, I think it's pretty much there. I'll just have to go through it a few more times to check for any anomalies and then write up a short installation/user manual. Not to my knowledge, but I have seen his books on library shelves before and thought "how far removed am I?". I then thought "hmm... not science fiction" and walked out. Steve.
  4. Hello Mark, The best position for the cheek bones to be in is at 90 degrees pointing straightforward or alongside the back teeth and you can make them any length. You need to test to see if the lip nulls start to come back in on themselves when the lips are pursed, then adjust the Mouth_Stretch_Curvature slider accordingly. The amount of curvature also depends on how pointy the lips are (which should relate to curvature of the teeth). Only the start of the bones should be manually adjusted; the end must always lie on the end of the lip bones. If all else fails, you can always go back to the old way of cheek contraction by returning the Mouth_Stretch_Curvature slider to zero and moving the origins of the cheek bones to the ideal contraction position. The old style is good for flat-faced characters such as inanimate objects coming to life e.g. walls, doors, stamps, etc. After all of the cheek adjustments have been completed, you must make the CCheek nulls point straight along them. The easiest way to do this is to place the end of the nulls on the origin of the related WCheek bone and then, in the nulls’ properties under Bone Position, make the Length an appropriate size. I look forward to finding out what you think of my tinkerings, Steve.
  5. Hello Mark, I’ve had another think about the mouth bending round the teeth when stretched and I’ve come up with a solution which you can find below: headgizmo_v2_sgjd_mouthbend.zip You’ll notice another slider in the model properties under User Properties > Steves_Head_Gizmo which allows you to adjust how much of a curve the mouth does and it is size independent. The cheek retraction bones are now pointing straight ahead and can be moved to any angle just as long as the WCheek and WCheekScaler bones match what the GCheek bones. I think the cheeks work better than before so thanks very much for suggesting the change; it was the example you posted that inspired me. Let me know what you think of it, Steve.
  6. Hello Mark, The pose works well and the setup looks nice and straightforward. I don't think I can put this pose in because it's size and shape dependent. While you could scale the timeline curves of each null so that they fit the character you are rigging, I think it might be easier for people to create a new pose themselves to ensure it fits exactly. You may have noticed rotation transformation curves appearing in the project workspace. This is because you may have clicked on the end of the null but as the rotation has a fixed value, the angle stays the same despite what the graph shows. You can delete these curves to reduce the clutter and space taken in the project workspace. The reason I didn't make the nulls translate only was because I noticed I kept clicking on the single axis movement handles which got quite annoying. The only null that rotates is the tongue control so that you can rotate the tip. If you go on a rotation curve deletion frenzy, watch out for the tongue; it's completely innocent. Steve.
  7. I like the idea of stretchy guides, so I've given it a go in these new versions of Simple Simon and the Head Gizmo v2: headgizmo_stretchyguides_jawdepth.zip ** EDIT ** Apologies to the 8 people who downloaded the earlier models: while it's not a big error, in my haste to show what a good idea Paul had, I neglected to assign some spline guide control points. I've also repositioned the CJawDepth null to a more convenient place; it was really getting on my nerves where it was before. The Zip file that's there now is the correct one. The single eyelid controls and the jaw depth don't have stretchy guides as they only move on one axis and the nulls themselves hide the lines. You can change the colour of the guides or even make them thicker by editing the properties of 'control_guides' in the Groups folder. I've left the guides white as I doubt many people have white backgrounds which would camouflage them. I'm not sure yet how easy the lines are to see when only small translations have taken place. It would be interesting to know what people think about this method of visualisation. Would a combinatoin of the two different guide methods work, or would that clutter up the screen? A note to those installing this rig: hold down the CTRL key (I can't remember what it is for Macs) whilst moving/rotating/scaling any part of the rig so that the guide splines move with it. The axis restriction keys was one of the main reasons why I changed to the translation of nulls. It makes things so much quicker and I wish I had started off in that direction in the first place. Just in case people haven't seen this tip: Snap To Grid works on bones in the modelling window and it saves heaps of time and effort and makes rigging a character a breeze. Oh, by-the-way, if you do make that example, make sure it's v11.1i, not v11i; v11 didn't handle expressions very well, if memory serves. Steve.
  8. Hello, I've put in two additions as suggested by Paul Forwood and Mark Strohbehn; they being the control guides and a jaw depth control null. I've made the guides render as lines so you'll have to be careful during final renders and make sure the Control_Guides pose is turned off. You may not want the guide splines to be rendered as lines, so you can either adjust the group settings in the Groups folder and turn off 'Render As Lines' in its properties or even just delete the group. The JawDepth null only moves on the Z-axis and all of the mouth controls move with it. headgizmo_v2_guides_jawdepth.zip I cannot open the model file you posted because I have A:M v11.1i, but I get the gist of your ideas. The jaw depth is a good addition and I've implemented it in the above models; thanks for suggesting it. The only way to do this would be with expressions and implement them in the same way as my eyebrow forehead curvature calculation. That method is suited to the forehead as you won't need the eyebrows to be manually controllable in the Z axis. The lips are different: they need to be controllable on all axis. When you put an expression on any aspect of a model, you lose direct control over it. Therefore it limits the range of movement and expression and is an automation too far. In order to achieve an arc of motion, you need to adjust the Z axis translation curve in the timeline. Are you talking about the head's Z axis or the lip segment's Z axis? As a matter of interest, what would the advantage of either be? Hold down the 3 key in order to move the nulls on their own Z axis and the angle changes in relation to the jaw's position. Thanks for your interesting suggestions and yes, it's always fun looking down new avenues of thought. I put my Gizmos up to be used, so I'm happy for them to be available to American students. Ah, so you'll be wanting a nicely formatted description of its usage. I am guessing there are other user manuals for the other rigs; are they all combined into one document or are they similarly formatted separate files? How quickly do you need it? As this is just an example rig, would you need a beginners' guide of how to install it into a model? While I have done much testing with this rig, I'd like to go through it a few times to make absolutely sure there are no errors since this will go on a permanent distribution. Steve.
  9. To have translate limits on the nulls wouldn't be consistent with varying sizes of models. Say I made the model of an ant - the translation limits start off at a human dimensions and wouldn't be effective at that smaller size. While you could always model at a certain size and scale the model down in the action or choreography, I doubt very much that technique would suit all users of the rig. And like you say, the lack of limits does feel nice and allows for extreme poses. The translate limits that are there are arranged so that they are at zero to ensure the eyelids won't pass through each other. ** EDIT ** - Hmmm... This was a bleary-eyed response I made (my apologies). The words "character dependant" didn't register in my head. You can always add your own translate limits when modelling because you know the range of movement you need. I'd rather not second guess what someone will need as I know that it'll be either too lenient or too restrictive. Each control null will probably need its own slider to adjust the constraint limit and even then, it'll be my guess as to what is the largest or smallest model that'll need to use the Head Gizmo. There doesn't appear to be a way of using an expression to adjust the limits, so maybe I should put in a feature request. Actually, come to think of it, that might very well be a good idea, Paul. Yes... the more I think about it, that might very well be a great addition. Thanks! You can refind the centre by looking at the figures in the Manipulator Properties box and pressing N or looking in the Properties window to see how far the figures are away from zero. I can see your point, though. You could assign the control points to the X group bone so that when you move that bone and hold down CTRL, they move with it. Might be handy to have the visibility of the guide splines turn off and on-able with a pose. This could be a good addition and is something I hadn't thought of. Nice one. Funny you should mention that... I had labeled them a while ago but found it cluttered the screen and was redundant when I got used to where the nulls are located. The unsymmetrical layout of the controls helps identify them from front or back. The only confusion that occurred initially was picking the tongue instead of the jaw. Just remember that the jaw always goes with the teeth and the jaw null is at an angle. ** EDIT ** - Whoops. I meant to say 'Just remember that the jaw always goes with the lip controls' not "the teeth". Well, it was 2:30am when I typed that. Thanks for the feedback Paul; it's much appreciated. -------------------------------------------------- Trajcedrv - Curses! You've discovered my secret plan of working people to death! If it weren't for you pesky kids... It's nice to know you like it so much. Pequod - Great to know you like both Gizmos. Maybe I should polish up my Biped Gizmo and score a hat trick. Every time I look at your avatar, George Michael pops into my head. -------------------------------------------------- One slight mistake in a pose description that's in the text file: Eyelids_Close_Position - This pose changes the position/angle at which the eyelids close (can go high or low and you can vary it in an animation). I copied and pasted the wrong bit of text when I was compiling. Steve.
  10. I've installed the previous version into a dog and a chameleon with no problems and it works a treat. This new version uses the same main geometry bones so it'll be the same but with better controls. As with all spline heavy models, it's a question of control point weighting between bones to achieve good deformation. (For those who don't know, you edit how much influence a bone has on a mesh by selecting control points in the modelling window, right clicking them and selecting 'Edit CP Weights'. Select all the control points in the left column then in the drop down 'Bone' menu at the bottom, select the bone names you want to move the control points. You can either input the percentage of influence manually in the box on the bottom right or try the two buttons on the bottom left which automatically calculate an influence.) Mark, John and John - Thanks for the plaudits on the animation front. I'll have to spend more time animating rather than rigging; there's always something to tweak... I'm glad this thing is generating interest and I hope it lives up to expectations, Steve.
  11. Hello, Head Gizmo V2 For those who haven't seen my Head Gizmo before, it's a rig for animating the head with as few controls as possible in order to make the animating process quick and easy. Import the rig, position the bones, assign control points and it's ready to be animated; no poses need be setup. I redeveloped the rig so that it uses the translation of nulls instead of the rotation of bones to animate the features of the head. As a result, I've used different techniques that have reduced the number of bones and constraints needed which in turn has made it easier to install. To me, it feels more intuitive and it's easier to edit the translation data. The new rig design allows for all of the controls to be placed where the user sees fit. As the method of operation is translation, you can now use the single axis restriction keys (number keys 1, 2 and 3 for X, Y and Z) for speedy manipulation. In the attached Zip file you will find the Head Gizmo V2, an example head model called Simple Simon with the Head Gizmo V2 in, and a text file containing information on how to use and install the Head Gizmo. I have also made a test animation with my Simple Simon model which you can find below and yes, that is me doing the voice. I'm not posh. Honest. (If anyone has trouble playing the video, please let me know and I'll encode it into another format; it's MPEG 1 which I have assumed can be played on most systems.) I hope this rig is useful to all who download it, Steve. headgizmo_v2.mpg headgizmo_v2.zip
  12. It's great to know this thing is still being made (for some reason, I thougbt it was dead in the water). You have created a definite feeling of depth in each shot; great use of colour and lighting there. Edges have a fantastic quality to them. The characters move in a marvellously camp way without going over-the-top. Ooo-ahh, I do like that there west country accent. Both voices suit the characters well. Keeping it British with the use of Wham! Heh, I found myself studying Gordon's dancing to see if I could detect any George Michael influence Marvellous movie Mr. Millingen. Steve.
  13. That's a fabulous model. I didn't really pay that much attention to the subject title, but as soon as I saw the car, I knew what it was from: 'The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix'. That is one of my favourite animations of all time, so I'm quite biased I wish the DVD of that animation was easier to get hold of here in the UK as I'm having a spot of bother getting it. Congratulations on producing such a good model. Steve.
  14. I was wondering if my Hand Gizmo would be useful to this rig? I've now put squetchy functionality into it and it can be varied somewhat. You can find it here for testing. I've only just finished it... well... I had a celebratory cup of coco between now and then... I'd be very interested to hear what it's like to use. Steve.
  15. I've updated my Hand Gizmo and it now includes squash and stretch nulls. The first four pose sliders are mainly meant for use with the 'CFingersL/R' control bones so that you can vary how the two end joints of the fingers bend. The next two adjust how the fingers react to the scaling nulls of the fingers by hiding the two end nulls of each finger and making the base nulls scale the entire finger. The hand nulls scale the whole hand and can scale the fingers as well if you have the 'Fingers Scale With Hand' sliders on full wack along with the 'Hand _ Finger Scale' sliders set to 'Single'. The fingers can be at any angle with any amount of curl and each section will still scale along their own Z-axis, not the hand's. It's a fair bit more bone heavy, but if you follow the previous installation instructions and keep the finger bones aligned as they currently are, it should be a fairly straightforward process to bung it in your own rigs. Steve. [attachmentid=11874] EDIT: Updated the file very sightly so that the CFingers control bones don't react to the hand scaling nulls. steves_hand_gizmo_v2_squetch.zip
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