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    For over 10 years, we at cmiVFX have been providing valuable lessons in both real world and experimental techniques that define the very fabric of the Visual Effects Industry. Our training material cannot be found anywhere else because we provide you with knowledge from mentors who have contributed to a number of the world's most famous movies, advertisements, and media. We operate based on your participation. Each and every sale funds new lessons and web development. Come be a part of the vfx community and join with thousands of others who have made cmiVFX their indispensable source for visual effects and computer training. (REGISTER HERE)

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    Tutorial Info

    CMIVFX Blender Massive Mammoth Masterclass: Rigging V1 Large Poster
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    Duration: 03.29.04

    Blender Massive Mammoth Masterclass: Rigging V1

    It's been about 2 years now since the frost Blender Mammoth training came into the world during the release of Blender 2.49. A lot has changed and it's a new era, the age of Blender 2.5! That's why we are stepping up and finally bringing the Mammoth to life! This resurrection will happen in a series of videos, recorded by some the most talented and famous Blender Artists around. That's why we are extremely proud to introduce the Massive Mammoth Masterclass! The first, dual video kit, will cover rigging and weighting and will be presented by Nathan Vegdahl, the lead rigger of the Blender Foundation's open movies Big Buck Bunny and Sintel. In over 6 hours you will learn the secrets of perfect weighting, efficient control rigs and shape keys. This is the perfect foundation for the upcoming sequels of this tutorial series, which will cover animation and scene-setup.


    • CMIVFX Blender Massive Mammoth Masterclass: Rigging V1
    • CMIVFX Blender Massive Mammoth Masterclass: Rigging V1
    • CMIVFX Blender Massive Mammoth Masterclass: Rigging V1
    • CMIVFX Blender Massive Mammoth Masterclass: Rigging V1
    • CMIVFX Blender Massive Mammoth Masterclass: Rigging V1

    Rigging Video 1: Controls

    Because of the sheer length and amount of information this tutorial is split into 2 parts. The first part will cover some essential rigging concepts, the setup of the deformation rig and creating an animator-friendly control rig with custom bone shapes. The second part of this tutorial has originally been a part of the first video and covers weighting, corrective shape keys and non-corrective shape keys. That way you can decide if you are only interested in the actual bone setup and controls and just watch video 1 of this tutorial. Or, if you are only interested the weighting process, you can watch only video 2. But if you want to learn the whole thing, get the bundle and watch both!Every model has it's own challenges!  With careful planning you can save yourself a good amount of work. Before you even start rigging you should familiarize yourself with the model. Think about where you can skimp a little bit and where you might have to come up with some more advanced solutions. 

    Divide And Conquer

    You don't have to go and do everything at once. By dividing your rig into different sections and finding solutions for one problem at a time you won't run the risk of getting confused and loosing overview. 

    Twist Bone And Parent Switch

    In this divide and conquer approach, Nathan shows you how to setup arms with convincing twisting deformations by making use of the damped track constraint. Being able to choose whether a bone should rotate with its parent is an important option for animators, but with Nathan's Parent Switch that will be easy to control!

    IK/FK

    One of the most important concepts of rigging is the setup of forward and inverse kinematics. A lot of times the arms of a character will be animated using forward kinematics, while the legs are being controlled with inverse kinematics. But especially on a quadruped like our Mammoth you need to be able to use both and dynamically choose between FK and IK. In this tutorial you will learn how to use custom properties and driven constraints to create an easy to control IK/FK Switch.

    Spline IK

    One obvious challenge you have to deal with when you are rigging an elephant or a Mammoth is creating controls for the trunk that the animator can use efficiently. This is where Blender's SplineIK comes in handy. Bezier Curves are used to guide the inverse kinematics of this special constraint. Combined with an IK/FK switch this will allow you to setup a comfortable trunk rig.

    Brining It All Together

    After you have solved the different problems of the Mammoth rig one by one, you can bring it all together by creating the actual rig. First you create the deform-rig that will actually deform the mesh and that the animator won't touch. When that is done it's time for the weighting. There are different ways to do that, automatic weights, weight-painting and manual weighting, with automatic weights being the quick and dirty way and manual weighting the most precise albeit tedious. We went for the precise way which takes a lot of time and is a challenge of it's own, that's why we decided to put that in a separate video and focus just on the bone setup in this one.

    The Control Rig

    Finally we assemble all the different rigging methods we learned in this tutorial and create the control rig for the animator: IK/FK switch, SplineIK, isolate controls with switchable parents, and driven constraint setups with custom properties. And to polish the whole thing Nathan shows you how to setup custom shapes for the bones.

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