Monday, November 11, 2013

Practical Element - Character

Through testing out motion capture and retargeting mocap data onto rigs, I have found out that I'm not able to get the amount of control that I would like from some of the rigs. Also with the rig that I have been using I still find that it is not plain enough for it not to have any contributing factors to deal with aesthetics. As I am focusing purely on the animation and performance I don't want the model or textures to affect this. To overcome this I've modelled and rigged my own character. I've tried to create a model that doesn't have appeal in the way of design or textures, and to make sure that it doesn't fall into the uncanny valley I've taken away the face and hands and replaced them for basic forms. Eye lines are one of the key factors to any performance, but it can also be the tipping point for something to be uncanny or not. The eyes need to be believable and not feel 'dead'. As there is no face it wouldn't look right aesthetically to have human like hands, by creating mitten hands it also allows me to spend more time on the mechanics of movement and the pure performance. The iPi software doesn't capture finger movements, only the wrist action so I would have had to add these all in myself using keyframe.

I used the HumanIK system within Maya to set up my skeleton. When you retarget the data to a rig, you first have to make sure that the rig is characterised and you do this within HumanIK, so it made sense to create a rig in this way. I've weighted all the joints, however I'm having a few issues with the controls. With HIK it will set up the controls for you, I need to go back in and check a few things out, however when I tested it earlier the controls weren't working as how they should be. I may find out that I will have to put the controls in by hand (which isn't a major task) the worst case scenario would be having to delete the rig and start again, but this time rigging it by hand. Hopefully it won't come to this and that I can get it sorted soon. Once it is sorted though, I plan to put my old mocap data onto this rig just to see how it works. I may still need to tweak it and adjust a few things at that point. I want to make sure the rig is working to the best that it can before I move onto my major piece of mocap animation.

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