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In this second part of the Mammoth rigging tutorial Nathan Vegdahl will show you how to create good looking deformations. Even the best rig and control setup won't help if you didn't setup proper deformations. Unnaturally deforming skin, weird wrinkles and intersecting faces can destroy every rig. There are different ways how you can assign weighted vertex groups to your mesh: automatic weights, weight-painting and manual weighting, with automatic weights being the quick and dirty way and manual weighting the most precise albeit tedious way. We went for the precise way which gives you a lot of control over the weights of every vertex but takes a lot of time and is a challenge of it's own. That's why we decided to separate it from the other part of the tutorial, where we cover bones and controls, and only focus on the deformations in this one.
For a clean start we'll weight the mesh in segments. Even though the resulting deformations will look horrible it will give you a lot more control over what exactly which part of the mesh is assigned to which bone. With the smooth automatic weighting it would really be hard to keep track of which vertices are being deformed by which bone.
This is the point where you will finally see the Mammoth moving! Setting up test poses after the segment weighting will help you to check out the actual deformations without having to constantly move the bones manually.
The most tedious and difficult part of the whole weighting process is getting the vertex groups to deform exactly the way you want it. To have the maximum control over the deformations we will literally weight every single point manually. But don't worry, there are ways to make this easier, and that is working in cross-sections.
Just like in modeling you probably only want to do this whole weighting process o one side of the mesh. Blender has some great tools to help you with this and mirror the weights. However, that works only with perfectly symmetric models, which unfortunately is not the case with our Mammoth. Due to some inaccuracies during the sculpting process of the first tutorial from the Mammoth series there are some slight asymmetries in the mesh. Luckily Nathan has written an add-on to overcome these problems!
Another add-on that comes with this tutorial lets you interpolate weights between different vertices. This allows us to fill in the weights between the cross-sections.
Although we now have some pretty darn good looking deformations there are some areas that could still be improved. Here's where we will use Blender's sculpting and modeling tools to create corrective shape-keys. Once set up you don't have to care about them any longer, with the help of drivers they will automatically be triggered by the according bone-movements.
Not everything has to be animated with bones. Some facial movements like eyebrows and lids can be animated with shape keys, that you control with animatable custom properties.
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Sebastian Koenig is a German 3D-artist who is working as a freelancer and CG-instructor for several years now. During his studies for Education of Art he discovered the joy of modeling and creating 3D-Animations with Blender and hasn't stopped since. Being a passionate Blender-User he has been teaching Blender at the University of Art and Design Halle/Germany. He has been working for various studios and companies as a 3D-Artist and freelancer. During the dozens of projects and jobs he completed with Blender he got a profound knowledge of almost every aspect of this great Open-Source 3D-application.Project ContentsAll cmiVFX videos come with all the training materials you can need right from our website. No matter what time of day, your location, or how your feeling, cmiVFX will be there waiting for you!