Monday, July 25, 2011


Henry and The Circus

We open on an empty dressing room behind the carnival. A young man (Henry) sneaks in. He is wowed by the awesomeness. He pretends to own the dressing room he sits down at the mirror and starts fiddling. He sees costumes hanging on a rack. He excitedly grabs an outfit and runs behind a curtain. A spider crawls across the counter-top. Henry runs out from behind the dressing curtain and into the chair. As he straightens his bow-tie it notices the spider and screams. Henry crushes the spider with a nearby comb. As he lifts the comb he notices a tiny top hat hanging from it. He looks closer at the spider and notices its tiny costume. Henry glances around the room seeing posters for the amazing knife juggling spider. Henry begins to console the spider when he is interrupted by an announcer And our next act ladies and gentlemen is "The Amazing Juggling Spider". Cut to the stage, and we see Henry is a make-shift spider costume juggling knives. He struggles but manages to pull it off and as he leaves the stage he sighs in relief and rests against The Giant's foot in his spider costume. The Giant screams and smashes Henry.

Prairie Robot

Open on a farm, there is a farmhouse, a barn, and a silo of corn. A boy is lying on the ground looking up at the stars he is eating popcorn from a bag. He sees a shooting star and perks up. The star gets bigger and bigger until he realizes it is coming at him. He runs to the edge of the farm to a line of trees and hides behind them just as something huge crashes down behind the barn and shakes the ground. The boy winces, but when nothing happens he peeks around behind the tree, after another pause he takes a handful of popcorn and pushes it in his mouth. Nothing happens for a moment, then from behind the barn the boy begins to make out a huge robot standing up and composing itself. The robot pauses for a moment, looks up from where it came from and then begins to look around as though it’s look for something. It sees the corn silo and begins to walk towards it. It reaches for the silo and the boys eyes grow wide as it tears the silo off its feet and pops off the top. The robot then makes its way to the barn where is sits down with a thud that shakes the ground. Curious now the boy comes out from behind the tree and slowly creeps up behind the robot. The robot oblivious to the boy looks at his hand which begins to glow red hot. The boy creeps up behind the robot as he hears a loud popping noise, but he steps on a twig and instead of a pop it makes a snap. The robot whips its head around and stares at the boy. The two look at each other for a second, until the robot sees the bag of popcorn in the boy’s hand, it turns its body to reveal it has popped all the corn in the silo. The boy’s eyes become the size of dinner plates and the robot reaches down towards him. The robot picks the boy up and puts him on his shoulder. He then turns to the barn and a slot in his head opens, a projector lens comes out and he begins to project a movie on the side of the barn. Cut to behind the robot and the boy the side of the barn flashes and begins to countdown, 5 . . . 4 . . . the robot lifts his hand and offers the boy some popcorn. 3 . . . 2. . . The boys grabs an armful of popcorn. 1 . . . the projector flashes on the side of the barn. Cut to the movie playing on the side of the barn (which is just flashing projector light, over and over). The camera slowly dollys out to reveal the side of the barn is part of a mural on the wall of a little boy’s bedroom. The room is very reminiscent of the farm we just saw, the ceiling is painted like the night sky, there is a row of potted plants in the back where the trees would be, there is a toy silo on the floor, in the center of the room is a boy lying on the floor asleep with a toy robot and a half empty bowl of popcorn, and on a table next to him is an old projector. The movie has finished and the front reel is spinning over and over.

Rig Testing

So, we all need to be testing rigs, you can default skin a mesh (Use one you have or download one, I have the TF2 Meshes like the abAutoRig guy if you want them) to these, or just parent some primitive shapes to the bones, test them and edit this post with you tested animation bits.
Modular Character System
The MCS looks really promising (I'm a bit fan of the squash and stretch functionality), however it isn't released yet. I've sent email to the creator Jan Berger who replied
"I am currently preparing a release but can not give out details regarding pricing and license structure, yet."
On the very lucky chance it is released sometime in the next 3-4 weeks, I think it would be a very elegant solution for out rig.

-I can't figure out how to turn off the stretchy IK in this rig, which renders is useless. If you can figure out a way to turn it off let me know, otherwise we'll have to go with one of the other two.

-This builds upon a skeleton that you build, frankly I think building the skeleton is the hardest part (Orientation, Joint Order, etc.) so if I'm gonna go through building the skeleton, I'm just gonna build the rest of the rig.

-7/26 The proxy skeleton has the X axis translate locked out. I can only assume this is for a specific reason, but it means the character's legs must be modeled in a straight line.

-7/27 I put together the rig with Norman's mesh, test it out!
I tossed together a walk, I didn't have any problems with it, I was worried about the knees, but I didn't have trouble with them in a walk.

-8/25 I'm working on a face rig right now, I'm hoping to have it done by the end of the week, I'll put it up when it's done and you can mess with it. I can see where changes would need to be made for a cinematic project (The basic bone structure was taken form someone talking about a game rigging pipline), but I think I have the general idea.

-8/31 Got everything except for the phonemes rigged on the face. It's dawned on me that you shouldn't need phoneme sliders, you should just position the lips the way you want them, unfortunately I didn't give enough control to do that without animate the joints themselves. I don't have a problem with animating straight to the joints (I actually find it easier), but there is no point in building half a rig, and then making you animate the joints for all the stuff that doesn't have a control. Put the face in dropbox ( if you want to mess with it, let me know if anything is terribly wrong.

-9/5 Suzanne said I should practice rigging on the farmer head, so I modified a head I found online, into the farmer, rigged, and skinned it. It was a LOT faster the second time around, I put it in dropbox ( Try it out, it would save a lot of time and hassle if we can get everyone comfortable with animating straight to the bones, and just keying selection sets, so I only made controls for the blendshapes.
Poked him with a pin:

Edit this Post with your feedback/ Pros & Cons for each rig, we'll decide on which on at the beginning of the semester.