Rigging a Scorpion Mech: Part Four, Progress on Proxy Model

Reduced model to about 12k polys. The original model is about 330k.

Positing a minor update. With the rig completed for the spine and tail, today I mostly focused on creating a proxy mesh for the newly rigged areas. A handy tool I like to use when building proxy models is zooSurgeon. This neat script takes a skinned mesh, breaks it down to solid segments, and constrains the segments to influencing joints. I incorporate this script in my workflow by first skinning the reduced mesh using solid weights (one joint per vertex), and then running the script to get my true proxy. For me, this is efficient because I can preview the behavior of the proxy prior to breaking down the model.

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Cat Rig

Le Purrrrrrr

I did this quadruped rig as a freelancer for Mondo Studios.  The cat uses IK for the legs and a spline IK for the spine. Achieving the feline’s seated position required both careful weighting and some corrective blendshapes around the hindquarters.

Postmortem: Rigging Chopsticks and Characters for a Short

This was an animated short I contributed to  as a freelancer in 2007; and after an almost 2-year hiatus, wrapped up in late-2009. The two characters were modeled by Shon Mitchell, and animations were done by our client, Jonali  Bhattacharyya. This was a fun project that involved rigging two bipeds with the added twist of making them capable of wielding chopsticks. Jonali was really great to work with, and communicated her needs well. I’ll go into some detail about the Maya rigs created and the accompanying MEL tools used by the animator.

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sasStretchySpline

In part three of my scorpion rig series, I went into some detail of how I make a spline IK stretchy. The approach is something I’ve used for a while and I’ve made a Python script a while back to automate the process. Today, I wish to share that script with the world! How it works is that it takes the specified Spline IK,  builds the nodes, and connects the network together to make a stretchy system. You can download it here; give it a try, and feel free to post any feedback!

Download sasStretchySpline

Bat Rig

A bat rig I did at Massive Black for use in an animation lecture. The bat features IK/FK switching on the arms and legs and some extra layers of control to deal with gimbal locking. The wings were quite fun to skin in a masochistic sort of way. The bat was modeled by Shon Mitchell and animated by Chris Hatala.

UPDATE: here’s the flight cycle, animation by Chris Hatala.

Game Over. Necessary Or Just a Nostalgic Relic?

Hard games can be fun and very immersive when done right. Do “Game Over” screens get in the way of fun?  With the progression of technology and proven designs showing how much more fun a game can be without this element, why do games continue to use ‘Game Over’?  The additional menus and loading times can take the player out of the experience and force them to quit prematurely. Maybe it’s time for them to go…

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A couple old guides I wrote for GameFAQs

So nostalgic. Guilty Gear X2 is an awesome fighting game, one of the best even. The character designs were truly unique and the animation was superb. This game was my heart and soul before I ditched it for Third Strike, heh. There was even a point where I was so deep into the mechanics of the gameplay I wrote up a few guides on how to play a couple of characters. One was Venom, a very unique character who could create projectiles from pool balls for either offensive pressure or defensive zoning. The other was Axl Low, a long-range character with some awesome corner combos.

GGX2: Venom FAQ

GGX2: Axl Low FAQ