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SplineSoup

*A:M User*
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About SplineSoup

  • Rank
    Apprentice

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  • Website URL
    https://www.facebook.com/christopher.zappe
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Profile Information

  • Name
    Chris Zappe
  • Location
    Santa Fe, NM USA

Previous Fields

  • A:M version
    current
  • Hardware Platform
    Macintosh
  • System Description
    MacBook Pro 15" (mid 2012), Mac OS X 10.11.x, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, 16GB RAM
  • Short Term Goals (Private)
    Finish rigging Chester character for short film project
  • Mid Term Goals (Private)
    Either transition work into the animation/film industry or find work that allows me the mental bandwidth to work on animation in the evenings
  • Long Term Goals (Private)
    Collaboratively produce a short film
  • Self Assessment: Animation Skill
    Knowledgeable
  • Self Assessment: Modeling Skill
    Advanced
  • Self Assessment: Rigging Skill
    Familiar
  1. The eyelids are, in fact, flattened and distorted spheres that protrude out of the character's head. I figured this would give me the flexibility to punctuate his "extreme" looks with visible eyelids but then hide them the rest of the time by pulling them back into his head and just stretch or narrow the eye-beads for most expressions. The connection between the lids and his eyes is a challenge I'm pondering. As for the output styling, I'm thinking flat shading but, in reality, I'll probably end up with some sort of hybrid blending of toon and 3D shading like this: In any case, the presence of actual, skin-toned eyelids would leave undesired traces on the existing face geometry in the way of toon shadows. To simplify this challenge, I think just focusing on these eye beads would be a good step for now, without separate lids. Here's a quick diagram of what I'm thinking: The eyes would sit within an invisible boundary such that they could appear (1) their full size, (2) roll up or down into an imagined eyelid boundary, or (3) be obscured by the boundary line closing. I like the idea of creating decal poses for discreet eye shapes (ala Bubble Guppies) and will look into that further, though for this character I'd like to keep the eyes 3D. Holmes Bryant had an interesting tutorial on animating distortion boxes that I looked at a while back that could be used for things like flat tires. Perhaps this is a viable option for eyelids, as well? I'll see what I get later this week. Chris
  2. I'm working on rigging a character right now that has black bead eyes (like the Peanuts characters) that can track slightly around his face to give him the illusion of looking around. I'd like to add a bit of expressiveness to his eyes by adding equally simplified eyelids that would render as a flat line or an arc. To do this, I created flattened spheres and pose sliders to control their up/down and arc properties. I was just about to start with poses that would conceal the eyes as the lids close but stopped when I realized I was about to have a huge problem with this approach: if the eyes are looking anywhere but straight ahead, I had no strategy for making sure they stayed matched up with my eyelid positions, which are parented to the head. I'm curious if anybody has suggestions for rigging a head with black bead eyes so that the eyes interact correctly with visible eyelids. The combination of eye movement and blink percentages is giving me an interesting puzzle. Some possible directions I've considered are boolean cutters, decals, "maybe expressions...something-something?", and giving up and just animating the eyes frame by frame (eek!). To maintain the look of this character, I'd like to avoid actually having eyelids protruding from his face to cover over and mask his eyes. Any suggestions or lessons from experience are much appreciated! Chris
  3. I'm a little late to the game on this one, but I did discover a relatively simple work-around in version 19.0f on my Mac when I discovered that newly-created pose sliders did not display the indicator bar. I'm posting my solution here because I know how much of a show stopper this issue can be for the affected users if they are trying to create a model. The problem occurs when the pose slider is left with the default "-not set-" state in the PWS. To resolve the issue, you need to open the disclosure triangle for your model in the PWS and open User Properties. If any pose shows up as -not set- you'll need to add a default percentage value for the slider. Once that's taken care of, your pose sliders should work again with a visible indicator that you can click and drag about like normal. Hope this helps anyone stuck at a pose slider dead end in version 19.0f. Best, Chris
  4. Good suggestion! I made a couple of tweaks to the Mirror Mode tolerance, ramping it up from 0.05cm to 0.15cm and also bumping the Group Snap tolerance from 0.5cm to 0.75cm. I deleted the left side SmartSkins that had been created by mirroring and tried the Mirror All SmartSkins operation again but got the same results. ...it's at this point that I discovered something that made me feel pretty foolish: the issues I'm having are not entirely the fault of SmartSkins. I had a rogue fan bone in the elbow that was storing the roll value of the forearm when the forearm was twisting. I unticked the Store Roll option for the fan bone's "orient like" constraint and found that things were behaving a LOT more predictably even before SmartSkins came into play. To test it, I manually created a SmartSkin for the left forearm and began copy-pasting mirrored keyframes from the right side. PRESTO! Mirroring the SmartSkin via the "Mirror All" command now works as well. Now if I can just remember to build my fan constraints consistently from right to left, it looks like I'll be all set! Thanks, Robert! 2ArmsSmartSkin-test.mov
  5. I found this old thread the other day while looking for solutions to this issue in version 19.0e2. I've been able to reliably reproduce the issue with weighted cps and mirrored SmartSkins on a character I'm rigging right now. Do we know any more about what's been causing this behavior and how to avoid it? I have a forearm SmartSkin that this is affecting with about 13 different rotations keyed. Some rotations are working okay, some are definitely not, and it is always centered on the handful of cps that I assigned weights to. Fan bones? No problem! Bother. Chris
  6. Fantastic! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this, but these resources are precisely the sorts of things I was looking for. Thank you for sharing, David!
  7. I've been dabbling a little bit with creating rigs from scratch, building fan bone structures, and bone relationships, and I've recently been curious about how to create an effective and flexible squetchy limb (arm, leg, flower stalk, etc.). I've enjoyed following tutorials on basic IK relationships but haven't been able to find information on how to get started with building squetchy "cartoony" rigs. I know I can achieve some passable results with deformation cages but I was wondering how to squetch a single limb. It there a good entry point/tutorial for learning this or a simple model I could pick apart and study? Thanks! Chris
  8. Thanks for the tip. This is a fantastic overview of the rigging process and has so far shown me that I've been doing CP weighting in a pretty Jurassic way. I'm about 1/3 of the way through and ended up weighting the character's torso while I watched. Looking forward to the section on shoulders and hips!
  9. Hey everyone! I'm working on rigging a character for an upcoming short film and have a puzzle to bring to the table regarding hip/thigh rigging. While rolling the thigh bone on my character (and pretty much every library character), I observe a disconcerting tendency of the pelvis to simply collapse. To remedy this, I'm exploring the use of a chain of "fan" bones to distribute the roll of the thigh along a series of thigh cross-sections, giving the hips a much-needed break. I've currently tested my design with a simple tube model and the results look promising. It basically works like this: A chain of roller bones is constrained to the thigh and the thigh geometry is assigned to them. The rollers are constrained to Orient Like the thigh, but the roll is achieved by separate Roll Like constraints which gradually add up to the full roll of the thigh by the time they reach the knee. Spiffy! I was pretty proud of myself...until I brought this back to my actual character model and realized that legs are not perfect tubes! The conundrum I'm facing now is that I want to apply this principle to a thigh bone that is not straight up and down and to leg cross sections that don't perfectly line up, vertically. Between proper bone hierarchies and constraint options, I'm currently stuck. I've attached the project file with my two concept tests. Any pointers on how to create a chain of roller bones that move with a thigh but maintain their own unique pivot points along the leg so that each leg cross-section rotates, more or less, around its center? Thanks! Thigh Roll Test.prj.zip
  10. Marvelous! I had actually forgotten there was an entire section of the forums devoted to rigging. I am currently running my A:M subscription on my MacBook Pro and am doubtful that this license will work for A:M v16 if I virtualize Windows on this same computer (pretty sure the machine ID is different), but I'll give it a shot, nonetheless. Pretty cool to see the range of rigs and techniques that have popped up as alternatives, too. Thanks, Robert! Chris
  11. I was just going through some of the old Character Rigging tutorials that Raf Anzovin compiled for Animation:Master back in the early 2000's and remembered that Anzovin Studios, which currently produce a set of killer rigging/animation plug-ins for Maya, began by programming for and working with A:M. Does anyone know if The Setup Machine can still be found anywhere for A:M or if it even would still work? If not, has anything come along since then that assists with the rigging process for humanoid and non-humanoid characters? Just puzzling...
  12. Maybe that could be a future mascot competition for Animation:Master. Call it "Weapons with Personality" or something like that. But actually, this noose is a key prop in a short animated adaptation of "A Ballade of Suicide" based on the poem by G.K. Chesterton. I'm creating the first promo image for it and will post it here when completed.
  13. Good information, all of this! I'll take a closer look into the DarkTree material plug-ins as I reacclimate to A:M in the coming months, as they seem to contain a wealth of possibilities for adding low-CP details. I went ahead and tried Rodney's suggestion to try the Sweeper wizard and found that it both simplified the creation of the noose knot and resulted in a satisfying texture when rendered with the toon shader, which I'll be using extensively for this project. Thanks for the excellent options! I am impressed by how quickly this came to a good result! Best, Chris
  14. Thanks! I created the avatar while demoing stereo 3D principles for a group of students a few years back while taking a hiatus from A:M. Oddly, while much of my A:M program knowledge has leaked out of my ears in this interim period, I still seem to remember all of the keyboard shortcuts I used. The texture map works well mapped to a cylinder and appears to be seamless from all sides. At this point though, I've run into the limits of my materials recollection. I have tried mapping the texture using both projection and environment mapping, but get weird results on everything but a basic cylinder. My inclination was that decalling is the wrong way to apply such a regular texture but the Technical Reference (p70 "Add Image...") is leading me to suspect otherwise. What method might suit this challenge best? Appreciated, Chris
  15. Howdy all! I'm looking for a good way to create an animatable hangman's noose for an upcoming project, but am stumping myself with how to texture the rope, ideally with some displacement to indicate the twisting structure. Either a procedural or image map solution would be fine, I think. Any tips or pointers to existing work that I can pick apart would be greatly appreciated! Chris
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