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Creature Creator's Handbook Volume 2 Part C

Welcome back to the holy grail of rigging and animation. Volume 2 part C of this course provides you with a vast amount of in-depth knowledge and expertise on rigging. We'll learn how to make telescopic joints that are 100% reliable and will never flip, we'll learn about IK arms, IK hand space options, IK/FK spines, IK/FK legs, auto clavicles, IK/FK ArmSwitch, and FK heads, jaws, and eyes.

Length: 3 Hours 43 Seconds

Price: $29.95

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Welcome back to the holy grail of rigging and animation! cmiVFX has just released volume 2 part C of an outstanding Creature Rigging and Animation Masterclass featuring a true VFX legend: the one-and-only Simon Payne. Volume 2 part C of this course provides you with a vast amount of in-depth knowledge and expertise on rigging. We'll learn how to make telescopic joints that are 100% reliable and will never flip. We'll also learn about IK arms, IK hand space options, IK/FK spines, IK/FK legs, auto clavicles, IK/FK ArmSwitch, and FK heads, jaws, and eyes. 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 its finest. NOTE: If you're new to this course, you'll need to watch volume 1, as well as volume 2 part A and part B, before beginning volume 2 part C. 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 C.

Volume 1

Volume 2 Part A

Volume 2 Part B

Volume 2 Part C

Volume 2 Part D

Volume 2 Part E

Chapter Descriptions

Telescopic joints

Inverted telescopic joint setups (pistons) can be tricky and prone to flipping. Here you'll learn how to build them in a reliable and controllable way. We'll use a triple joint hierarchy and Inverse Kinematics to ensure that we can animate either end of the inverted-telescoping system while maintaining full control of the joint's orientation.

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IK / FK switching

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Modularization

Setting up effective IK and effective FK to be as functional and intuitive to animate as possible is not especially easy to do simultaneously, and it's difficult to make it switchable without glitches. Here we learn how to do it correctly, while going several steps further by allowing our IK/FK switching to be modular. We make sure that any limb can be switched between IK and FK without loosing its parental control level. For example, the left leg may be switched to FK, while the right leg is switched to IK, but the spine may be switched between either mode, and yet both legs still function and remain attached to the spine regardless of the spine's FK/IK mode switch.

Quick control constraint menu

In addition to the cmi Rigging Menu, having already introduced "spSimpleControls" control building utility, and "spQuickJointOrient," we add the menu items that allow us to easily constrain selected objects to a selected control's constraint node. All of these utilities are designed for the purpose of hugely speeding up the rigging process. We'll be taking more of our processes into scripted forms in volume 3.

Planar skeleton layouts, modeling adjustments, and seamless switching between IK/FK

We also learn about planar skeleton layouts and why it is important to bare this in mind during the modeling process. Sometimes, it may be necessary to slightly adjust the model to allow for a more reliable IK setup. The two main issues when setting up IK joints are:

  1. the rotation plane that a pole-vector object will need to reside in, and
  2. the result of switching IK off to go into FK mode.
If the joints are not planar, the pole vector object has no properly defined plane to control the joints in. This will produce an unexpected behavior during IK manipulation and result in unwanted rotation values applied to the joints (creating a triangulated rotation plane). This rotation value is the reason that the joints appear to move when switching between IK and FK. In this section we learn how to resolve this situation and make sure that switching between IK and FK is seamless.

World and orient space switching

We also learn about switching between "worldSpace" movement modes for each limb, and between different "orientSpace" modes (movement control) for related pole vector controls. Sometimes, for example, you may want feet to be controlled in world space, and stick to the floor during walking. Other times, you may want the IK foot to move with the spine for flying or dangling. Likewise, during the motion of kicking, you may want the foot control to drive the pole vector control. Most of the time, you may want the knee's pole vector to move with the hip or spine. Other times, you may prefer for it to be free in world space. Likewise for elbows.

Joining finger controls to the arm, and obeying IK/FK switching

We have already learned earlier in this volume about setting up IK fingers. Here we learn how to join our finger IK to the rest of the arm, and obey switching rules to manipulate in FK mode.

Automatic clavicles

Clavicle animation is something often ignored by animators who just assume that the rig is not performing the way they expect it to, and complain to the rigger that their animation is limited as a result. Just because you provide a clavicle animation control, doesn't mean animators will actually use it. So we are going to setup an automatic drive for our clavicle controls using a ghost set of arm joints and an IK aim joint. We use a weighted constraint to drive the automatic movement of our clavicle with the freedom to stiffen it up or effectively switch it off.

Head, Eyes and Jaw

This section covers the simple addition of the head controls along with a set of eye controls with offsets and aim. Characters do not always require the head to have an IK option. Our ogre is an example of a character that raises this question due to its design. The jaw control is also one that we must consider in terms of its freedom. It is obvious to most that a jaw only rotates on one axis, however, in CG, we often have to bend the rules a bit to achieve the poses and animations requested, so we allow full movement in translate and rotate. We won't worry about the bearded (fleshy rather than hairy) section of our Ogre in the puppet rig for now, because we'll be revisiting this and all other high-level deformation issues in volume 3. Nonetheless, due to the demonstration here of planar joints and mapping the pole vector control position, we introduce a new batch/individual skin-saver/loader utility that I have provided with this volume in the cmi Rigging Menu. We'll look at this in greater detail in Part D of this volume. We'll also tidy up our rig and prepare it for connection to the deformation rig for saving and loading animation, which will all be covered in full in volume 3.

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 is a designer for 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.