Rigging snake like character for flow movements?

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  09 September 2012
Rigging snake like character for flow movements?

Currently I have a character, kinda like centaur except his lower body is a snake. At the moment our rigger placed a number of IK's along the lower body and our animators are having quite a hard time trying to make that part kind of flow with the body.

I'm not sure how to explain ... but I think if we can create a nurbs curve and have the lower body kinda flows along the curve it would be much easier for the animator.

For example, if I create a curve with a shape of sin wave. Now I leave the curve where it is and move my character through it, I want the lower body to kind of follow that curve. So it would look like he's slithering along the floor.

Is this possible in Maya? Or is there any other solution?

Appreciate any suggestion. Thanks!
 
  09 September 2012
you could try to experiment with the ik spline handle curve.

You could for example drive the curve via a deformer (e.g. sine) and the joint chain should move along. If you connect that nicely to the rig and find a way of connecting the position of the upper body to the deformer that could save at least some animation work.. I'm not sure how good this is going to work, and setting it up nicely would take some time, but you could give it a shot.

other suggestion for the ik spline handle curve (maybe not what you want, but I just wanted to mention it):
You could also make it dynamic. Use the "Make Selected Curves Dynamic" Option of the Hair Package with the curve (you might need to make a second curve and let this one drive the spline handle curve via a blendshape -> this way you can switch it on/off).

Lattice deformer directly onto the mesh:
Create a Lattice deformer with a good amount of divisions. Form the Lattice like you want the mesh to deform (you can use a deformer to deform the lattice! You could use for example the sine-deformer to deform the lattice as you please). move the mesh out of the deformer -> it should look normally. Move it into the lattice -> it should deform the way the lattice is formed.


All of those suggestions won't solve your problem completely, but maybe your rigger will get to an idea how to improve the rig.


PS: Why are you using IK for that? I would say FK would be easier to handle. You could also pose out the typical FK positions needed when animating overlaps (S-curve, C-curve, S-curve) and make a little Driven-Key for the animators to use..
 
  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by Panupat: For example, if I create a curve with a shape of sin wave. Now I leave the curve where it is and move my character through it, I want the lower body to kind of follow that curve. So it would look like he's slithering along the floor.

Is this possible in Maya?


Yes possible.

Create a nurbs surface.. a strip with divisions along it's length, apply the non linear deformer to the nurbs surface, duplicate a curve along the length of the surface. Use this curve to control the joint chain.

This is a very simplified explanation but these are the essentials of how to do it.
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  10 October 2012
Quote: For example, if I create a curve with a shape of sin wave. Now I leave the curve where it is and move my character through it, I want the lower body to kind of follow that curve. So it would look like he's slithering along the floor.





well actually you could probably do it straight from the ik spline, using the offset attribute, and creating the curve you needthe bone Chain to follow without using the Ik auto createCurve.

check in the doc it's explain and easy to do.

cheers
 
  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by thematt: well actually you could probably do it straight from the ik spline, using the offset attribute, and creating the curve you needthe bone Chain to follow without using the Ik auto createCurve.


I think that might be doable if the character was in fact a snake. But he describes the snake part as only being the lower half of the body. Using the offset feature you'd have to edit a path for the duration of all it's animation and then one way or the other get the upper body to either follow the offset or vice versa.

I think it would be more animation friendly To beable to translate the upper body and use the distance being traveled in an expression to say drive the offset value of the wave deformer that is making the splineIk part of the body wiggle.
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  10 October 2012
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