Rigging a Scorpion Mech: Part One, Prepping the Model



I thought it be interesting to document my rigging process from start to finish using a fairly challenging model. I’m not going to push this series of tutorials as an “ideal” way to rig such a machination, but it will show one approach. I’m going to rig a scorpion model I came across in the forums of CGTalk (original post here). The artist, Nicholas Silveira, modeled and rigged the creature and was nice enough to share the bare model to give anyone else the oppurtunity to rig his creation.

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Vertex Weighting Tool for Maya

screenshot

Download python script for Maya

The Weight Tool is a Python script designed to make your skinning life easier. It streamlines the process of manpulating skin weights on the vertex level with a neat UI. I came up with the idea of making this tool after skinning some rigs in 3dsMax. The result is a script that works very similar to 3dsMax’s built-in Weight Tool, but in Maya now!

Installation:

Like any python script, this will only work in Maya 8.5 or later regardless of OS (tested only on Windows). To use the script in Maya, simply copy all the scripts from the archive into your PYTHONPATH. Once copied, restart Maya and type “import WeightToolInterface” in the python command line. To start using the tool after importing, type “WeightToolInterface.draw()” in the same commandline/scriptEditor.

*Note that you can find your PYTHONPATH by opening your Maya.env file with a text editor (usu. located in …/My Documents/maya/versionNo/Maya.env). If PYTHONPATH is defined, simply copy the scripts and continue from there.If PYTHONPATH is NOT defined, type in the Maya.env, “PYTHONPATH=C:/your/script/path/here”, replacing C:/your/script/path/here with a real system path you wish to install Python scripts to. When editing Maya.env, be sure to restart Maya to apply any changes.

Feel free to post any feedback!

PSPad Highlighter for QC files

If you’re using PSPad for viewing .qc files (the text file needed for compiling assets for Source), try out my custom highlighter. To use it, take out the .txt extension and copy it into [Program Files]\PSPad editor\Syntax\. Once in place, it can be loaded through PSPad in Settings->Highlighter Settings and assigning it to an available slot. For those using a fancy text editor other than PSPad (shame on you!), and want to make your own QC highlighter, check out the example here (ConTEXT) http://bit.ly/dkbCtY.

Syntax screenshot

Dead to Rights Retribution Trailer

Been hiding for a few months, but I’m starting to roll out some new stuff. Check out this trailer for the upcoming Dead to Rights: Retribution. It features a few characters I helped skin for Volatile, notably the female in the diner and some of the baddies that get their arses handed to them. I wish I got to help out with the dog, Shadow. The game is looking really awesome and looks like people are getting excited!

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The Saboteur

Official Box Art

The Saboteur was a pleasant sleeper hit that came out this past holiday season. I helped rigged the main character, Sean Devlinn, using Softimage|XSI. This was the first serious project I’ve done in XSI, and I struggled with some of the quirks. In the end, it turned out great and its the first protagonist I’ve had the opportunity to work on in a game.

Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard

Just got word that I got credited as a Rigger for Vicious Cycle’s latest game, Eat Lead. I skinned some of the enemy characters for the game, using 3ds Max. Massive Black also did some of the other NPC models and textures.

Big shout out to Vicous Cycle for this project; it has a nice charm to it. I recommend everyone to check it out

Bioshock 2

Game Informer Cover

Game Informer Cover

Just got word that Game Informer is releasing this cover. 2K Marin hired us at Massive Black this past Janurary to create a setup a high-res verision of their in-game model of the Big and Little Sister. They supplied us with the original rig and assets. After collabaorating with our Shanghai branch to ensure the high res model was built similar to the game-res 2K sent us, I had transfer the high res model onto the game-res rig and skin it. One very neat thing about 3ds Max is it’s ability to make a wrap deformer and “bake” it into a skin for faster manipulation. After the bake, I simply edit any weights and polish the deformations.

Afterwards, I handed it off to our Animator, Chris Hatala, to pose and render the image who passed it to Jason Chan, to paint over the render in Photoshop.

Scribd

I just found out about Scribd after google searching a maya error at work the other day. Basically, it’s like YouTube for PDF and text files. What this does is allow embedding a pdf file on a web page. I tried this out with my resume page and got a nice result; way better than before.

It’s pretty handy (and free!), check it out at www.scribd.com

Massive Black Commercial

UPDATE: Now have a video of the monster I rig by itself. I moved the video of the full commercial after the jump.

We did a pretty funny spoof commercial to advertise our company. I’m featured in one of the last shots and the very last shot is a creature I rigged a while back in Maya. I highly recommend checking out the HD version, if you can.

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Massive Black: Volume 1

Check it out!

Check it out!

Whew! It’s been a minute since my last post.

Massive Black: Volume 1 is an art book from my company and not only contains some of the most inspiring concept art out there, it even features a few of my rigs in action in the Intellectual Property section.  The book’s been well-received thus far and receiveing mention around the web.

I’m proud to be a part of this talented company and here’s hoping that we can make Volume 2 even better!

Massive Black: Volume 1 is published by Ballistic.

CGSociety Feature – The Art of Massive Black

Kotaku Article – The Art That Launched a Thousand Games, Now a Book

Gamer’s Daily News – Massive Black Launches Art Book Volume 1