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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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.

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.

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