Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Demo Reel

I made a new Demo Reel that can be viewed at my website or at vimeo here. It's more or less the highlighted work I've been doing the past couple years. It is what it is. Personally I'm not happy with it since it doesn't really show what I can do, but I plan to improve upon it a lot during this summer once I finish up the last of my student projects and start working more high end stuff.

My school had their career fair last Thursday as well and I had five interviews at it. Dreamworks, Blue Sky, Nickelodeon, Microsoft Games, and Lucas Film. All were interesting. I'd have to say Blue Sky and Microsoft were very pleasant interviews, but Dreamworks was the eye opener. I haven't heard back from any of them yet, but I'd by happy to work for any of those companies probably.

My short term plan is finish up projects, which includes Bug Crew, The Claw Machine, and Sagar Patel's thesis characters. Definitely need to update my website, reel, and associated profiles like Linkedin. After that I can get back to theory rigging and working on some high res characters. In the meantime it seems I have enough smaller contract work to keep me busy.

Longer term I might consider Graduate studies at Texas A&M if I feel I'm not learning enough on my own. But that's expensive and need to save money for it. In meantime I ordered about $200 in books on scripting and related topics to keep me busy. Maybe I'll finish a fully functional base version of my modular autorig this year.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spring Show Entry

Turned in my AAU Spring Show entry last sunday.


If the video doesn't work, I have it on Vimeo at http://vimeo.com/11477868

Basically the video shows some of the Animation with the rigs that I did for Bug Crew. So far, I've done a total of aobut 4 rigs. A biped named Lenny, the Mantis Armor that he rides in, a "TinyBot" robot, and a Beetle looking tank. Shows a good range of my rigging skills as far as skinning and mechanical rigging goes. A special thanks to the project director, Luis Nieves, for helping me with overlay of the rigging on top of the animation in the video.

There were some nice rigging entries this year. I'd be surprised if I won, as hyped up as I was working on this video. I regret not showing as much controls this year as I did last year, but I hope showing the rig in animation would look better for people than staring at me showing off every control.

Models by Luis Nieves and Animation by Daniel Moors

Monday, April 5, 2010

A quick splash of updates

The past couple of mouths have been real busy for me. Haven't had a chance to update till now, which I'm hoping to finish before my breakfast gets cold. Up till yesterday I was working on Luis Nieves' Bug Crew project. It involved rigging his primary character and the armored suit he rides in, which my previous post showed some of the RnD I was doing for it. I'll do my best to post some images or videos of that as soon as I can. I'm waiting for some watermarks and possibly an animation to show.

GDC also passed a couple weeks back. Really wanted to post when that was still fresh on my mind but better late than never. I have learned a few things going there for my second year. First, the position of Technical Director is pretty much reserved for people with a number of years of experience and it was much easier as a new graduate to go around meeting people as a Character Rigger than a TD, which for some reason all the riggers were calling themselves TDs as of late. As in high demand riggers are for all the various projects at school, it really isn't easy to find a position whenever I go to GDC. The ones I found were mostly overseas. As much as I want to travel, I have to stay in the Bay Area for the meantime until I work out some things. Maybe I'll get lucky and land a local rigging job after this year's Spring Show.

This year seemed to have a lot less about MoCap than the previous. A lot more about motion sensors related to 3D user input this year. The 12 foot tall hamster ball that you could walk in was interesting, but a deathtrap waiting to happen. I much prefer the multiple linked treadmills for any kind of stationary multi-directional movement. Something like that looks promising if they ever made it affordable.

I'm going to continue rigging the Rhino now that I have free time to do so again. So much more to write but I'll find some time later to do so. I think my food is already cold.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Adding delayed reactions to rig

Came across a handy rigging tip today from a video David McMahon linked me earlier. It was a youtube video done by Aaron Holly of Fahrenheit Digital with how to make muscles flex before the joints actually move, to simulate the actual driving of the muscles before an action. It's done with expressions, which I'm not too fond of, but it works and I haven't figured out a better way than that yet. It's keyable, so I thought of trying to use it to add delay to something instead and that's basically what the videos down here are showing.

On the Bug Crew project there's a character that basically is driving a mechanized suit much like the one in Avatar or Matrix. They wanted the appendages of the suit to follow the rotations of the main character, that's going to be standing in the center, but with delay. I haven't received the model yet but I was originally going to make a script that copied animation with an offset from the character to the mech, but instead this expression would provide instant feedback to the animator and it's keyable to their taste, so it works out better this way.

I did the test on my Female Blank rig I did for 24 HourBloodline, which is usually the rig I do most of my tests on when I need a rig to practice. It's a simple biped that is easily modified. I'll probably use it for testing muscle on as well.

Here it is with a 3 frame delay:


Here's the 5 frame delay:


And the 10 frame delay:


Probably not the best quality the way it's uploaded here. The original files look better and it's a very quick and basic test on just the Clavicle, Shoulder, Elbow, and Wrist joints. Sorry if it's hard to see, didn't expect the window to be so small. It'll definitely look better on the finished model and his mechanized suit. I just like how learning new techniques leads to improving ideas on other techniques in a whole different mindset.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rhino Rig Part 2

First of all, here's a couple screenshots of the wireframe:

It's not a bad model at all by any means. It's pretty detailed, but I do worry that it may be too much detail, or at least too dense in certain areas that may not need to be that dense. Like I noted in the other post, the feet and the folds in the skin do worry me. I'd love any comments from other riggers on what they feel about this model, and I can take more screenshots as needed.

I'm not very used to some of the edge loops like behind the knee and on areas of the back where it meets the folds. This could play to my advantage in terms of deformation, or it may not. I have to be careful about those areas to make sure they deform right.

The first thing I did after looking over the model was to go online and look up some Rhino reference videos. I need to check out how much motion and what kinds of deformations I would need to have on the rig. I should note that the goal is for a realistic rig, which as you can see from the render of the other post, too much stretch is going to stand out like a sore thumb with how this character is textured. It's always important to have live reference before even starting to rig so you get an idea of what you need to match up to.

I have to say I was pretty surprised how much more flexible the skin looks on the real rhino than what some of us may have been led to believe. It's definitely thick and tough, but yet it seems more malleable than not. Also, they don't act stiff when they are active. It will be a fun challenge to see if I can give the character just the right amount of flexibility and keep it looking realistic. I definitely think I will have to use a muscle system extensively to get not only the skin to look right, but the jiggle and secondary movements like the stomach and neck areas.

Research Research Research. That's all I have to say before I even place my first joint.

Rhino Rig Part 1

For some time now I've known I needed a rather flashy character to show off my rigging skills on my demo reel since it's a lot easier to show off a rig on a nice character than it is on a bunch of parts, tests, or low poly characters. This Rhino is probably going to be that character. Or at the very least, the first one.

The model itself I was told was a stock model from Modo that was transferred over into Maya. The video posted here and all the texture and lighting work is by David McMahon. He's the one that proposed the idea of me rigging this with the potential for it to be animated in time for the AAU Spring Show this year. This means I probably will need to find the time to learn what I need to learn and rig this within a couple months if not less. Should be completely doable, long as nothing crazy is in my way.

The model itself is over 18k Verts and while it's not that high, it's where the dense areas concern me. Under and around the folds and the feet have what I normally would consider overly dense topography but it hopefully wouldn't be a problem. Since this model is already textured and that process took quite a bit of time, having anything that would chance the UVs would be a bad idea at this point so it's either a "Yes, I can rig this" or "No, I can't" situation and I said yes I can. Ideally would have had some cleanup but I don't always get that luxury. Going to be using Maya Muscle heavily on this character and that's the area I need to learn the most since I never had a reason to dive into that part of rigging yet.

Here's the video of the rendered turnaround. If I had this in a wireframe version I would have used that instead to post.


Here I go. I'm going to do my best to document my process (first time) as I go rig this Rhino, or at the very least, remember to document at all, for I'm pretty new at this blog stuff.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Finished my first real melscript tool!

I just finished my first melscript tool by the name of dhAnimCurveFilter. I will probably make this download able on my website soon as I figure out how to. Basically I was told by one of the animators, Louaye, about how the Animators often (even me when I used to animate) select curves, in this case, all the spine controls, then having to shift select each rotateX, for example, in order to see a filtered view of all the rotateX curves of the selected controls. He asked me if I can either show him a way to filter just those curves, so I offered to make a UI.

Took me about two days to finish it as its first version and my first public script. I had to study and learn quite a bit from Erick Miller's Pose2Shelf script to get mine working because not only did I make the UI to allow them to select a bunch of check boxes for all the translate, rotate, and scale axises to be filtered, I wanted them to be able to save that selection onto the shelf for quicker selecting if they wanted to. The shelf maker actually took the most time to figure out. The filtering itself was quite easy to do but I like making tools with multiple functions and even if they didn't ask for it, seemed like a nice bonus to do.

So basically with the UI open, they can check a few boxes, select the controls they want filtered, then hit a button and in the graph editor, you'll see just those animation curves of those controls. It does it by actually selecting the animation curves, not actually shift selecting or highlighting the curve in the graph editor like the animator normally would. There's another button to save to shelf with a textField for them to type in a name to save it as. I'll try to post pictures or a video when I can.