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Old 05-29-2013, 08:12 PM   #1
sneather
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Best way to animate a watch strap?

I need to animate a watch strap. But I need to have a great deal of control over the movement.

Therefore, that has basically ruled out simply using a series of bend deformers.

I've tried to use Spline Wrap with similar work in the past, but it's a horrible solution. Too many goofy rotational issues when the spline is animated. Plus, animating a spline means using PLA, and that's never particularly enjoyable.

So, I'm wondering whether the superior solution might be to just use some IK bones, and mesh the strap to those? My experience level is quite low when it comes to IK and character rigging, in general. So, any tips on how best I might proceed? Or is this solution no better than the others?

Thanks.
 
Old 05-29-2013, 09:36 PM   #2
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I'd probably go with the IK joint chain but it kind of depends on what you want the band to do, and how it's constructed. Is it links or a strap? If it's a strap then spline wrap should work fine. You'd just want to use a rail spline to control rotation. Morphs might be another option.
 
Old 05-29-2013, 09:57 PM   #3
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Thanks, Adam.
Sorry. I'm in a fog with too many projects, so my basic skills of explanation are really shoddy right now.
Yes. The band is a basic strap. No links. It'll simply be textured to look like a nylon weave.

The only issue, is that I don't yet have the script, so I'm not entirely certain how the animation will proceed. So I was looking to hedge some bets on the prep. But I think I might start with the easiest, and go the Splinewrap route, with the rail spline, as you suggest.
 
Old 05-30-2013, 12:34 AM   #4
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MoSpline
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:27 AM   #5
sneather
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hsrdelic
MoSpline


But I'd still need to use Splinewrap to link the strap to the spline from MoSpline. Right?
Or is there something else? I've never used MoSpline for anything before.
 
Old 05-30-2013, 02:14 AM   #6
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It really depends on what the shot requires, but the simplest approach if you have to show a strap curling or wrapping with good control is just to add some joints, skin the strap mesh to them (auto weighting will often do the trick if you place the joints at the edge loops) and animate their rotation (FK). Unless the shot required some more complex motion than that, it's the way I'd go. It's easy to complicate things but the simplest approaches are often the fastest IMO.

Cheers,
Brian
 
Old 05-30-2013, 02:33 AM   #7
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Seems perfect for a spline IK setup with null controllers. Or get Cactus Dan's plugins. Just finished an extensive animation showing a pouch strap unfolding and attaching to the pouch.
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:37 AM   #8
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Spline IK tut

This simple little tut has been the jumping off point for many strap/band/tube animations.
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Old 05-30-2013, 04:52 AM   #9
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The one thing I don't like about Spline IK for this kind of thing is that you don't get very fine control over the twist (rotation along the Z Axis) unless you add a lot of controllers, at which point I feel I get more direct control just rotating the joints with FK. If you specifically need IK for one end of the prop to interact with something while the other end moves then it's a given that you need it of course, it really depends on the shot. I think FK is sometimes underrated though - you get nicer arcs to the movement with less keys in a lot of cases, particularly if something has to wrap around something else.

There's no right or wrong really of course..just different options.

Cheers,
Brian
 
Old 05-30-2013, 02:40 PM   #10
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Thanks, guys. All fantastic advice.
I'm going to test out some of these ideas, in preparation for finding out exactly what the script will ultimately call for in the video.

Cheers!
 
Old 05-30-2013, 03:11 PM   #11
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It really does depend on what all is happening in the shot. You could use Pose Morphs in conjunction with the spline IK rig for wrapping and twisting instead of relying solely on the nulls.
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:11 PM   #12
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