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Simulating Creatures in Endorphin

This video covers topics in creating custom creatures and using all features of Endorphin to simulate realistic behaviour and movement for any kind of shots. The learning structure used in this video, gears all users up to be able to follow its contents from start to end. This is one of the few videos made that allow a novice or experienced Endorphin user the ability to learn on the same level.

Length: 4 Hours 5 Minutes 9 Seconds

Price: Free

Preview.

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This video covers topics in creating custom creatures ( horse and human in this course ) using all features of Endorphin to simulate realistic behavior and movement for any kind of shot. The learning structure used in this video, gears all users up to be able to follow its contents from start to end. This is one of the few videos made that allow a novice or experienced Endorphin user the ability to learn on the same level. The results produced by this video are truly superb, and near impossible to achieve any other way. With this revolutionary blend of technology, every user can have the ability to understand the roots and principles of constructing default characters so you can change its shape into a custom creature and manipulate its behavior. At this same time, you will learn how to seamlessly transfer (without any plug-ins or interoperability software) between Endorphin and your favorite 3D application (We use Autodesk Maya to demonstrate). When you're finished with the video, you will have the opportunity to create very complicated movements for your custom creatures, in very difficult scenarios, such as impacts, falls, and anything else you can dream up.

Chapter Descriptions

Introduction To Endorphin - Discovering Endorphin's Special Environment

 

In this video we will navigate through Endorphin's special and simple layout to get comfortable with its tools and nodes, and we will set a simple environment ( room ) to define collision and mass objects which are the main materials for all fixed and moving objects and characters in Endorphin. We then set rules for interaction between them all. 

Characters In Endorphin

In this section of the video, we will define various kinds of characters in Endorphin with its collection of preset characters and props. We will make a rock, a door ( in Maya to Endorphin ), then a horse prop character. We then introduce joint limits ( swing and twist ) tools, to define our character's movement limits.  Then we will create our first human simulation character so we can transfer its animation into Maya for the very first time.

Building Horse Simulation Character ( Our First Creature )

This is the longest chapter in the course. We will study our creature's anatomy ( horse ) and compare it with human anatomy. We do this to understand the similarities between the two in order to ease the process of reshaping the default human simulation character's skeleton into our horse character's skeleton. This way, we can get all the benefits of the features and behaviors of the default simulation character into our creature character. We will then limit the joints' twist and swing angles and reshape the mass and collision objects to suit the horse meshes shape. Then we will put the horse into action by applying some forces and behaviors to test its movement in Endorphin, and then Maya where we will discover some problems with the front knees. ( Setting us up for the next chapter. )  

Fixing Problems

In this section of the video we'll re-rig the horse's front knees to improve and correct their bending direction, and to explore how easy these modifications can be in Endorphin. Then we will try applying some forces and behaviors against our horse to test in Endorphin, then in Maya for the last time before we save the new creature ( horse ) character in Endorphin's library. 

Animating The Horse

Up till now, we have been working on rigging and creating our creature and applying simple animation to test the rig. This chapter will try to push the rig harder into more breakable animation circumstances to test the joint's limits and outer collision objects' behaviors. This is done by applying a run cycle from Maya to our character and pushing the horse from its cycle with a force node while applying a jump behavior.

Finally, we will introduce the latest Endorphin release version and some of its new features where we can do the simulation character reshaping process in Maya and THEN use the Endorphin_Maya plugin. This allows us to work mostly in the Maya environment, while previously we preferred to do most of the work in Endorphin. This lesson is one invaluable way for us to show you how to work the way you want to work. (It wouldn't be a cmiVFX video if we didn't show you all possible scenarios!)

About The Author

Hashem Alshaer is a 34 years old Palestinian VFX supervisor. He studied mathematics and physics in college, then graduated from an electronics engineering university. With more than 10 years of experience in visual effects, he is currently teaching 3D visual effects at Arab European University's Visual Communication department. (If you are located in that area, and are looking for live training, please email us at info@cmivfx.com) Hashem started as character specialist, then as technical director, and since 2006 has become a visual effects supervisor. He loves painting and sculpting but developing smart robots is his main passion. Currently, he is working at ArtWare corp as a vfx supervisor primarily for commercials and film effects.  Recently he began work on the company's first feature film.

He uses several softwares in his daily grind such as 3DS max, Maya, Houdini, Massive, several Tracking systems, Real flow, and Endorphin. Because of his company's unique production line, he has acquire experience in motion control data management and tracking tools.

Project Contents

In the course files, to get very realistic horse movement such as Lord of the Rings or King Kong's creatures, we included a high resolution skinned and rigged horse mesh, with skeleton mesh visualization, to ease the comparison with human skeleton in 3D environment. We also included a realistic run cycle for this horse so you can manipulate and change some of its timing and key frames to get your custom movement.

Availability:

Free access

About Hashem Alshaer

Hashem Alshaer

Hashem Alshaer is a 14 year veteran and CG/ VFX Supervisor and Technical director. He studied mathematics and physics in college, then graduated from an electronics engineering university. He started his career as a 3D character specialist, then as FX and Tracking TD. Following that, as a lead technical director migrating finally to CG/ VFX Supervisor. He is teaching visual effects tools at several universities, fine art departments, and virtual engineering field to augment his schedule. His collection of work spans over many films and tv commercials and is working at 3Quarter FZ LLC, as a VFX supervisor and consultant along with other activities in virtual engineering fields.