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sleeprequired
05-10-2007, 05:26 PM
Hello everyone, this is my first post here. I'm a student and I'm looking at different types of rigs for a project - specifically squash and stretch rigs but I'm interested in your opinions on any kind of rig.

Are there any animators here who could give me any feedback on the rigs that you've liked using - what have you found works best in terms of usability and accuracy?

I'm not asking for any kind of rigging tutorial, or a massive essay, just maybe a few things that you like/dislike about some aspects of rigs and maybe your preferences when you animate, it would be a huge help.

Also I hear squash and stretch rigs aren't that popular, can anyone give me any reasons for that? I'm a bit gutted as that's what I'm looking in more detail at...

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

OneSharpMarble
05-10-2007, 07:58 PM
One thing I always find annoying is when a rig has an individual control for every knuckle on a finger. I would much rather have one thing to select for the four fingers and then select the attributes for the fingers and right mouse button slide to adjust them. Trying to select 12 little controls without hitting every other one is a pain. Also in the channel box if the bend attributes for a single finger were listed one after another it would make selection and posing quicker...
eg. NOT THIS WAY-> Bend_index_1, Bend_middle_1, Bend_Ring_1......
THIS WAY-> Bend_index_1, Bend_index_2, Bend_index_3.....

This way I can set each fingers bend and I still can set the whole groups hand all with out picking out which one I want.

Also a heel raise attribute is always desired, you know when you raise your heel and the toes/ball of your foot stays planted? I have found rigs without this attribute and walk cycles suddenly become more time consuming.

lifire
05-15-2007, 07:34 PM
Eek has a great explanation of fundamental properties of a rig and what almost every rig must be able to do. From there, it really depends on what your animators like. I've noticed most animators prefer having some sort of GUI for selecting control objects rather than curves in the viewer, cleaner and self explanatory if done right.

http://charleslooker.wordpress.com/

Most also prefer IK/FK blending or matching, as it allows for planting and natural arcs.

Intuitive controls is also very important. Think and plan how you want the character to move before you go in and start making constraints.

Make the rig fast in the viewer, if the animator is chugging because they have to wait for viewport updates, that's VERY bad. So in general, create a low-res proxy rig as well.

sleeprequired
05-15-2007, 11:44 PM
Thank you for the feedback, I'll take it all into consideration!

One thing I always find annoying is when a rig has an individual control for every knuckle on a finger. I would much rather have one thing to select for the four fingers and then select the attributes for the fingers and right mouse button slide to adjust them. You're quite right, that makes a lot more sense. Thanks. And the heel plant is very important, I agree.


http://charleslooker.wordpress.com/
...
Make the rig fast in the viewer, if the animator is chugging because they have to wait for viewport updates, that's VERY bad. So in general, create a low-res proxy rig as well.
Thanks so much for the link! It's a very useful website and one i think I'll be referring back to as I progress. And I'm exploring low-res poly rigs at the moment as well,glad to know that's the right avenue to go down.


Does anyone have any opinions on Squash and Stretch in a rig? Was it useful or not? Has anyone worked with it before, are there any major no-nos or shortcuts?

Thanks for your help so far.

eek
05-16-2007, 05:22 AM
The bane of any animator is counter rotation, and gimbal lock. I've dealt with both of these in the some 6 years of working in this industry. I started out initially as an animator and over the years, found a yearning for rigging too. This primarily came about due to not liking the rigs i was animating, other animators leaving and the eventual task of build 40 or so rigs.

So when i first started, i animated all in Fk, no ik, no gimbal help, or twist controls, not even counter rotation help and i was animating a toy dog! eek!.. hours and hours of counter rotation. What a found out in VFX is that a rig, primarily is just a marionette its really very simple controls, hips, chest, head - lots of independence. What made the rig complex was the amount of control that would go in just to fix problems. For example they would have 3 controls for the hip for each axis, under a positional parent. This is great for removing gimbal but the amount of control triples. One thing i did learn was simplicity in control for the animators. It was however still slow in the viewport. This is a huge huge headache for animators.

When i worked in games (still do), i basically developed a standard rig.. off a lot of research: anticz, paul, grant, harvey etc.. and essentially looking at myself and making rigs. Iteratively controls started disseparing. A simple rig grew, built from a combination of fast interaction and artistic control. A good sence of automation is very important - and i find more importantly keeping the animators working from the viewport, not moving back and forth between sliders.

It should also be instantly understandable, its why i color coded controls, and even kept them simple shapes and standard. - modular

My ideas have slowly changed since then, but primary the key controls have never changed. Irrelavant controls have been irradicated and simple ones introduced. Most of my rigs and research could be built on any app, its all just standard math and transform space ideas. Ive kept my rigs like this because i want them fast and modular. Even with twisting i keep it simple, and standard (abeit quaternion belt algorithm stuff im looking into)

Also a great help is animators themselves, if your one of them and you work with them you get instant feedback what a rig needs to do.

Stretching and a curve stuff is complex and shouldnt be aproached likely - because there really two things. Stretching in its simplest form is good for a rig - breaking of joints, curves to the joints etc. When you get into achieving 2d like result the rig basically doesnt exist. You want as much control as possible then and successive breaking of joints, in both ik and fk is needed, control of the shape of the character, its limbs everything. eg madagasgar

So basically i treat it like marionette, and give the same rules to quads too - I'd love to build my rig as a real puppet one day wonder if it would work how i expect.

I love rigs that i can have independence, i can move the hips or the chest and the head is locked. I can basically very quickly construct a pose. I love rigs that dont need a TD explaining anything too, just in the viewport.

gilley
05-16-2007, 10:18 AM
A good sence of automation is very important - and i find more importantly keeping the animators working from the viewport, not moving back and forth between sliders.


This is good advice IMHO. I prefer keeping my focus on the viewports as much a possible, which is a reason why I don't like sliders for the fingers :) I guess you can say it's personal preference, but I still think it's better to not have sliders...or GUI's.

I also love working with the ancient IK system in MAX(I use Maya at my job). It's a wierd system called Interactive IK, where you really are just animating on an FK rig the whole time, but get IK control when you need it. I'm able to set poses 10x faster using this technique. I also love using quaternion rotation instead of Euler. I'm not a big fan of gimbal lock and the wierd rotation wobbles that Euler gives you.

One of the most important things a rig needs is being able to playback in the viewports at a good framerate. On God of War 2, our main hero rig ran at about 18-20 fps when pressing the play button. Some characters got up to about 30 fps. The 18 fps we were getting is just a little to slow for me.

twedzel
05-16-2007, 10:07 PM
A simple rig grew, built from a combination of fast interaction and artistic control. A good sence of automation is very important - and i find more importantly keeping the animators working from the viewport, not moving back and forth between sliders

Echoed for truth.

Ask animators and they'll all give different opinions on what they like. As a rigger I've worked with a number of lead animators now and each one had very distinctive working styles and preferences. But all of them wanted Simplicity, Control, no auckward automation, and as little counter animation as is possible. The technical stuff should be kept all under the hood and not an interference to the animator but not so limited that the animator is restricted.

When animating myself, I prefer to do as little as possible with sliders. I want the controls operating like a puppet so your entire attention is focused on the character in front of you and you are not always breaking your focus to select something/ manipulate from the side of the screen. At the same time the controls should not be cluttered, hard to select, or confusing.

The best bet for rigging is to get animators feedback on rigs. I've heard of production pipelines where the departments are kept very seperate and think that this is rediculuos. Being able to animate your rigs yourself is also awesome experience for a rigger.

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