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Creature Creator's Handbook Volume 2 Part A

Volume 2 Part A of this masterclass takes you right back into the action, showing you in great detail how to work efficiently with Spline IK Setups, the cmiRigging menu, Standard Tools UI, Advanced Twist, and Stretchy Spline. This is top-notch instruction that simply can't be found anywhere else, and Simon Payne's teaching methods are absolutely fantastic. This is rigging and animation at it's finest.

Length: 2 Hours 15 Minutes 33 Seconds

Price: $29.95

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cmiVFX presents the second installment of a three volume masterclass series for Creature Rigging and Animation featuring the legendary Simon Payne as our mentor. If you want to become a master at rigging and animation, look no further. Volume 2 Part A of this masterclass takes you right back into the action, showing you in great detail how to work efficiently with Spline IK Setups, the cmiRigging menu, Standard Tools UI, Advanced Twist, and Stretchy Spline. This is top-notch instruction that simply can't be found anywhere else, and Simon Payne's teaching methods are absolutely fantastic. This is rigging and animation at it's finest. NOTE: If you're new to this course, you'll need to watch volume 1 before beginning volume 2. Due to the large amount of information covered in volume 2 of this course, it has been split into five parts labeled A, B, C, D and E. You'll need to watch the entire course to fully understand this material. So, if you're all caught up on the previous material, enjoy Creature Creator's Handbook Volume 2 Part A!

Volume 1

Volume 2 Part A

Volume 2 Part B

Volume 2 Part C

Volume 2 Part D

Volume 2 Part E

Chapter Descriptions

Welcome and Introductions

After a brief introduction, Simon gives you a quick breakdown of volume 2 and provides you with a set of links and suggestions for better understanding of the material. Then you'll go on to learn how to set up the scripts and utilities for this project.

Creating The Spline

Methods for creating splines for spline-based IK systems vary based on how you intend to use it. Here, we are going to use it to build a fast and intuitive spine setup. We'll be looking at handling the relationship between the spline IK and the joints themselves, and then applying animator-friendly controls and orientation options.

Standardized Tools UI

In this chapter we'll start using some simple, but powerful standardized toolsets and tool-building utilities, including a set of my own tools that have been exclusively customized for cmiVFX. They make life a little easier for the less technically savvy artist. We begin by standardizing the UI design so that all tools have common features that limit the requirement for instruction or documentation. All python scripts included in this volume come complete with built in "help" documentation should you require it. Standardizing UI design also makes it far simpler for those who have not built Maya UI's before with mel or python, or are not confident enough to do so. We take the most common elements required for UI's and put them into into a simple command so that all you need to do is add buttons and widgets. This volume comes with the new cmiVFX rigging menu from which all tools included here can be launched, including this chapter's automatic IK spine system. The tools are very simple to install. Just drag and drop.

Advanced Twist

Here we demonstrate the usage of Maya's "advanced twist" system to intuitively control our character's spine. We look at the quirks and try to understand why certain things happen in different conditions in order to find the solutions to common problems. We include the first of a set of helper utilities via our standardized UI setup that builds a set of color-coded joint-helper objects that enable us to see exactly what is happening as we deform the spine. At this stage we learn about usage of object-rotation for advanced twist up-vector control to avoid flipping, and we learn about how important it is to orient joints intended for splineIK setups in a different way to the standard we use for other parts of the rig. As such, the spQuickJointOrient tool provided in volume 1 has undergone a considerable makeover to support a number of new features.

Intuitive IK Spine Controls

The animation controls for the spine system need to respond in a way you would expect when animating the character. Here we learn about automating the torso between the hips and shoulder controls and we start to use switches for these options. We also look at linking the "advanced twist" system to the animation controls, giving us intuitive twist-along spine from both the hips and the shoulders.

Stretchy Spine

Now we learn how to make the spine stretchy, without the traps of expressions or limitations that scaling joints will cause to the character. We look at a number of issues involved including the deformation setup, which gives us a low-resolution curve driving a high resolution curve (to avoid movement of joints when the ik spline was attached) and we see how that is effected by scaling the entire rig. We must accept that all rigs need to be scalable, so it is important to make sure that our spine system is entirely scalable. As the stretchy spine is based on length factorization, we have to compensate for the additional scale factor invoked by scaling the character as a whole.

Special Thanks

Thanks again to Dosch 3D for their on going support. Please visit their website here:http://www.doschdesign.com/products/3d

About The Mentor

Simon Payne is a truly outstanding person and he is one of the VFX industry's most experienced experts in characters and creatures. Simon has over 13 years of feature-film experience working within large, streamlined teams with high performance requirements. He was the designer of the feature-film-standard, Modular Rigs and Rigging Technology. Simon has also led VFX teams, match-move teams, and on-set crews while working as Lead Character TD for companies like Reliance Mediaworks, Reliance: Digital Domain London, Passion Pictures, The Moving Picture Company, Senate VFX, IPC (Captain Scarlet), Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Mill Film, CFC, Realise Studio, Peppers Ghost, and more.

Simon has been a long-standing beta developer for Sci D Visions and 2D3 since the year 2000 as well as leading his own VFX teams independently. Simon has led VFX and CG for his employers as well as independent clients for various projects including film, broadcast, and commercials. Simon's character-based projects have persistently received strong praise from the general public and VFX professionals worldwide. He contributed the creature and character rigs for commercials such as "Evian's Roller-Skating Babies" (which has over 70 million views on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQcVllWpwGs), and Cadbury's VES award-winning fully-CG "Spots Vs Stripes" undersea campaign. Simon recently completed an award-winning short film called "Firelight" (http://vimeo.com/36217471) for the American Film Institute as VFX Supervisor and Creature Animator. Simon is producing this three-volume set of rigging and character-pipeline based cmiVFX tutorial videos, which are designed to take absolute beginners to advanced, feature-film-level riggers. This series has a very steep learning curve, but aims to streamline the learning process by introducing basic strategies and consistencies from the beginning that gradually tie together over the course of the series.

Project Contents

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About Simon Payne

Simon Payne

Simon Payne is a truly outstanding person and he is one of the VFX industry's most experienced experts in characters and creatures. Simon has over 13 years of feature-film experience working within large, streamlined teams with high performance requirements. He was the designer of the feature-film-standard, Modular Rigs and Rigging Technology. Simon has also led VFX teams, match-move teams, and on-set crews while working as Lead Character TD for companies like Reliance Mediaworks, Reliance: Digital Domain London, Passion Pictures, The Moving Picture Company, Senate VFX, IPC (Captain Scarlet), Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Mill Film, CFC, Realise Studio, Peppers Ghost, and more. Simon has been a long-standing beta developer for Sci D Visions and 2D3 since the year 2000 as well as leading his own VFX teams independently. Simon has led VFX and CG for his employers as well as independent clients for various projects including film, broadcast, and commercials. Simon's character-based projects have persistently received strong praise from the general public and VFX professionals worldwide. He contributed the creature and character rigs for commercials such as "Evian's Roller-Skating Babies" (which has over 70 million views on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQcVllWpwGs), and Cadbury's VES award-winning fully-CG "Spots Vs Stripes" undersea campaign. Simon recently completed an award-winning short film called "Firelight" (http://vimeo.com/36217471) for the American Film Institute as VFX Supervisor and Creature Animator. Simon is producing this three-volume set of rigging and character-pipeline based cmiVFX tutorial videos, which are designed to take absolute beginners to advanced, feature-film-level riggers. This series has a very steep learning curve, but aims to streamline the learning process by introducing basic strategies and consistencies from the beginning that gradually tie together over the course of the series.