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

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!