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I've just received a grant to expand and release my rigging system, which has been developed and used in production since 2008.
I thought I'd kick the pre-release out of the door, because there are a couple of issues with it that I'd like to discuss with you people out there!
Visit my site to check it out and download the beta/pre-release:
Here are some thoughts on the rig (which will be in the upcoming help page on the plugin):
Unhappy with CAT and Biped, I decided in 2008 to program my own simple and easy-to-use custom rigging system. I wanted something with minimal setup, high framerates and little fuss. I've kept upgrading it for every new character project the past five years, and I've just received a grant to add more functions and release it to the public.
The rig is inspired by the work of Paul Neale, Jason Schleifer and Paul Thuriot, and it carries with it a lot of their principles. It's made to be fast, minimal and modular, with as few controls as possible. It tries to avoid counter-animation, caused by multiple controllers affecting a single bone. In a way, it's a Max rig that wants to be a Maya rig. In Maya you can do beautifully complex rigs using just clever node connections, so in the same fashion, this is a rig that tries to manage without too much wiring, script or expression controllers. Also, the rig does a Channel Box imitation, where you can reset or dial in every animation value from the modifier panel.
The rig is part of a larger animation system that makes it easier for individuals or small teams to make animated projects in 3ds Max. Unlike the powerful reference system in Maya, 3ds Max has nothing comparable for easily swapping out a character rig while keeping the animation stored on it. This rig overcomes that obstacle by storing all animation in its controllers, which can be saved out and loaded onto a new rig. This opens up a more non-linear production process, and puts less pressure on the rigger. I have used it on two projects where we updated the rig on several occasions - without any loss of animation
My plan ahead is to:
- Add squash/stretch presets to most bodyparts.
- Add storing of rig presets.
- Add custom bodyparts, such as tails. The code is there, it just needs a proper GUI.
- Face rigging. I have code for controller setup and a mouth bone system. Again it needs a GUI.
- Loading of skin data, perhaps breaking up a mesh for pre-skin rig testing.
- The graph editor is a bit of a mess, it's best to turn off transforms and only view attributes. Will have to solve that.
- Quadruped rigging. It's in there, but needs some fixes.
- Documentation and some tutorials.
- A lot of other stuff!
I want most of this to be done before summer. Preset-saving, squash/stretch and face rigging have highest priority.
Here are some of the things I'd like feedback:
- Are there install problems?
- Any errors when running the script or clicking buttons?
- What is your playback framerate when playing back the animation?
- At the moment, the hand has a separate rotation and translate controller. That was to avoid gimbal lock and make for "cleaner" curves. But is that cumbersome to work with?
- I've linked some rotations directly to the attribute holder, which means they are in radians. When dialing, you very often have to hold "alt" for proper control of the values. Will that be a problem?
I'd like the last two oddities to stay that way, but I will be listening if they are causing issues.
Finally, a little warning! I only program as a hobby, and this was just a part-time project that happed to work better than I planned! A lot of what I can do will be limited by the time I have available and my programming skills!