Sunday, November 18, 2012

Feline Animation Moveset

The animations are coming along, the blending and rotations are still being tweaked, everything is still very much a work in progress, but we're definitely on schedule for our big December 12th deadline!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Low poly Scrapyard bear rig with two-handed weapon

Here's Scrapyard's tankiest character, the Bear. He's a sledgehammer-wielding tough guy. I had to modify his character rig to facilitate two-handed weapon wielding. Expand below for more info.

The rig has standard IK/FK limb controls. By default, the hammer is attached to the hand.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Scrapyard Midterm Presentation Video

Midterms was this week, so we game a small presentation on the progress of our game. I'm the 4th presenter (around the 2:59 mark), talking about animation in a surprisingly monotone voice. Must have been the cold I was recovering from!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Some IK/FK Character Rigs for Scrapyard:

These are some of the playable characters in our game we are developing in CTIN-491. The greybox geometry was modeled by our sculptor extraordinaire, Michael Muwanguzi and the character designs are by our art director, Ryan Sullivan. I built the mocap-friendly skeletons, skinned the mesh, and built the IK/FK control rig for each character. Several more after the jump:
Feline Character Rig, Inverted legs, IK/FK switch for all limbs (Reversed IK/Fk after the jump).
This is the Bruiser Character Rig. Normal biped setup.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Scrapyard Greybox Mocap Test

Testing the skeleton/skinning of a lowpoly character mesh for Scrapyard. The mocap data is from a silly capture we did with actress Lexie Lowell, at the end of a different project back in March 2012.

It's funny, because she is performing a dance from the musical "Cats."

Monday, April 9, 2012

More Mech Brawler Animations

Here are some more rough animations for next semester's CTIN 491 mech brawler game pitch, "Scrap Yard". We are aiming for a playable UDK demo by the end of the month, so wish us luck!

I think the key to getting the game to feel "right" will be in the speed and timing of these animations, as well as the accompanying VFX (lasers, dust, sparks, etc).

It's been an exciting journey so far. Almost as exciting as Dark Star '72 Winterland. I really hope we are one of the games that gets picked!

You can watch a trailer for our game here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vicon, Xsens, and Kinect

We head-to-head tested the capabilities of the Vicon, Xsens, and Kinect mocap systems to assess the pros and cons of each piece of hardware. Markers cannot stick to the Xsens system, hence the incredible tape job. In conclusion, Vicon had the smoothest, most accurate capture, but it's also by far the most expensive, and marker setup/occlusion can be a headache.

Xsens did a great job tracking rotations. Not having a stage or a long setup is a plus. That being said, it had a bit of trouble tracking translations (if I were to run around the room and return to the middle, the character's position could be slightly off). This is a perfect rig for game animation cycles. It is also significantly cheaper than Vicon, but still quite expensive.

The Kinect System worked surprisingly well, so long as I continued to face forward (We only had a single camera setup for it). It was a little bit jittery, but for the price of ~$200 it totally beats out the competition in affordability.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hand Joint Rigging MEL Script

Yesterday I was getting bored of rigging all 15 finger bones in each hand to curl, so I wrote a script that will expedite the process.
Basically, it relies on very specific joint naming conventions to construct driven keys that operate each finger numerically (the channel editor on the right). The whole point is to get the fingers to open and close with precision and ease, so I'm happy how the script turned out.

The naming convention to get this rig to work is as follows: 
  • Name the controller (in this case, just the joint wrist) LeftHand and RightHand, respectively
  • Left Index joints 1, 2, 3, and end: index00_L, index01_L, index02_L, index03_L
  • Left Middle joints 1, 2, 3, and end: middle00_L, etc.
  • Left Ring joints 1, 2, 3, and end: ring00_L, etc.
  • Left Pinky joints 1, 2, 3, and end: pinky00_L, etc.
  • Left Thumb joints 1, 2, 3, and end: thumb00_L, etc.
  • Right fingers are the same except ‘_R’ instead of ‘_L’, obviously.
You can download the script here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Photofly to 3D Printing Test

I was thinking about experimenting with the scanning software 123D Catch (in beta) to see if I could print figurines from photography with relative ease. Jared was my first brave volunteer, and he struck this pose for 5 minutes while Madeline and I took photos of him from 360 degrees (about 70 photographs total). We uploaded them to the program and it rendered Jared with acceptable detail. I spent an hour cleaning up the model and preparing it for Zprint.

I will be painting it some time after Spring Break. Then I will make more hilarious models of various people.

Friday, March 2, 2012

491 Mech Brawler Prototype Animations

Although production for 491 will not formally begin until we take the class next semester, we've been determined to push its approval through during the pitch session in April.

Therefore, amidst the chaos of GDC and spring break, we are building a prototype! It requires placeholder assets, typically boxes, so I thought "why not just make the guy out of boxes?"

(Suited performance courtesy of Chris Oslund, our producer.)

It didn't take that long at all (a day to mocap and a day to model/rig the character), in fact the longest time spent was waiting for Motion Builder to boot back up after it crashed for the hundredth time.

Now that I think about it, Motion Builder is kind of a troll program. The "export" command renames the current file opened, so if you unwittingly change stuff and save, you affect a file you thought you sent off down the pipeline.

But to end on a happier note, everything is getting done faster than anticipated, and better than expected! :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Early concept work for next year's CTIN 491 game

These are some early sketches for an untitled 3D mech brawler game I am working on in class next year. We are in the process of recruiting a team and building a prototype, so this week I will be building and rigging a basic character to act as our placeholder (also known as a 'box').

A big part of our game is the use of customizable parts that affect gameplay (such as rocket boots that allow you to jump higher). It's a pretty daunting task, but I think we have the chutzpah to pull it off.

As with all fighting games, the animations are going to be hugely important. Getting these robots moving as epically as possible means I am thinking about recruiting a stunt coordinator and casting a martial artist for the base movements (Jet Li, if you're reading this, I'd like to introduce you to our producer).

Here are some simple color studies that took longer than they should have (color matching is tricky). There will be around 4 different robots and this is just the first one. A much chunkier guy is on the way.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Legend of Satomi: A Character Study

My roommate and I have been working on-and-off on a couple game characters that feature an East-West duality. I will be sculpting figurines for my 3D printing class.

Here are the characters in question:

The character on the right is based on the shrine maidens of feudal Japan. She has a large rope belt with prayer papers, kimono, hakama, and armor.

After I modeled her clothes, I made them nCloths so that they could be ripply and dynamic in the still figurine. I messed with her skeleton a bit to get a more interesting pose.
Getting a 3D model optimized for printing is not something I have had experience with. The number of overlapping polygons this model has looms over my head with foreboding.

I decided to put a wakizashi in her belt. Speaking of belt, it's a huge ropey thing on purpose.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chromakinetics: Motion Capture and Fluid Dynamics

I have completed Chromakinetics! My first animation using motion capture and fluid dynamics. One of the most complicated projects I’ve ever completed. The fluids are nParticles set up to a system of goal weights and collision triggers. It was not easy caching all those fluid calculations.

The character is animated by a suited actor (me) in a studio with 46 Vicon infrared cameras. His hands were animated manually(no pun intended) and the camera animation was a combination of virtual cam and scripted expressions that mimic the “handheld look.”

I rendered out the entire animation in 720p, optimizing with the use of mipmaps,cards, and LOD modeling. It was rendered on two machines (mine and my roommate Nathan’s) and took a day and a half to fully render. I applied motion blur in post, using the CC Force Motion Blur in Adobe AfterEffects (I would’ve used Nuke but didn’t have access this weekend.)

Anyways, It was a great experience and I hope you all enjoy this short film! Thank you to my professors Eric Hanson and Eric Furie for their guidance and support and have a great long weekend everyone!