View Full Version : Need to animate a lot of different characters (custom rigs) quickly and roughly
04-05-2010, 07:28 AM
Hello everyone. I'm a game design student and i'm currently working on my BA project, its been proceeding quite well till now.Most of the sculpting/modelling/texturing is done but a great incognita has shown up recently: animation. And the time is running out, 6weeks to go. I know this might be the wrong place to ask since its more of modeling/texturing oriented but i havent found a more pertinent forum to ask yet, so hope you will all excuse me.
Ive been doing some rigging in 3dsm with bones and skin modifier in the past, even thou it takes a while i have an idea of where to start. What really leaves me clueless is the whole animation story, ive been doing some "placeholder" animations but they really are just ugly placeholders and theres no way i manage to make em look better in a short time within 3dsm.
So basically what i need is either another program (maybe motionbuilder? poser?) or some free, already animated "skeletons" to start from, beginning from scratch would take too, tooooo long. Ive been looking (shortly) into motionbuilder and biped/quadruped thing seems good but quite complicated, and the fact that i have strange, custom rigs to animate does not help.. (a satyr-> hoof, a wolf with long paws, an octopus).
I shall be able to animate all my character to a decent level quickly leaving room for polishing later if theres time left.
So if theres anyone that could help me with an easy way out or some tips on which app i shall look into(times running, user friendly interface is a huge plus)...
even a comprehensible tutorial for 3dsm/mobo would help.
04-05-2010, 07:55 AM
Motionbuilder is a great animation system and deals with Mocap very wellas well as leting you quickly transfer animation from one rig to another, but I'm afraid there is no magic bullet out there that will help you and you'll have to learn one system or another.
Animation transfer inside max isn't great, Biped has some very useful features that will let you load, save and mix animations, but that won't deal with an octopus very well.
You could maybe look at Puppetshop, it's a free plugin for max.
04-05-2010, 08:43 AM
CAT comes with 3ds Max 2010 IIRC, and it has tons of pre-built rigs for various bipeds, quadrupeds, etc. Pretty easy to animate with too.
04-05-2010, 08:49 AM
MotionBuilder is pretty awesome, I like it a lot but it can be a bit daunting to learn and it might be easier to just stick to max.
Are these being exported to a game engine? Or are they just for rendering?
For the bipedal characters I would say use Biped, CAT or PuppetShop.
Biped: It makes great use of Motion Mixer allowing you to filter different animations to different bones. It focuses on ease of use and less clutter than other rigs.
Character Animation Tool: Being included in 2010 (on subscription) and fully integrated into 2011. It allows you to do some pretty crazy non-bipedal rigs as well as bipedal. It sports some nice features also.
PuppetShop: A great rig, does bipedal/non-bipedal characters really well. Handles motion capture and has a motion track system very similar to biped. The layer system is second only to Motion Builder, rock solid. BUT (and this is a big but) the documentation is all in movies which makes it hard to find the info you need and it takes hours and hours to get through it all. You'll need to take notes...
For the octopus I would say stick to max bones, probably do a stretchy bone setup.
Between each bone there are helpers that allow you to control the position of each bone and you can swash/stretch the bones as needed.
04-05-2010, 09:34 AM
Hey everyone and thanks for all the feedback!
I've taken a look at those two plug ins you all mentioned, CAT and PuppetShop, puppetshop seems a bit outdated and as said the fact that docu is all in video format does not help... regarding to CAT i had heard the name before but never "encounterd" it during my 3dsm sessions.. will look for it and check it out. Motionbuilder sure looks highend, but im not sure its what i need at the moment. So i searched for other posts regarding animating and i found this which will be helpful for the mantle of the main character:
(post 17 especially: http://boards.polycount.net/showpost.php?p=1021761&postcount=17 )
so afterall the best solution seems to get my hands on this CAT thing and keep going with 3dsm.. do animations (bones) export well to FBX? My aim is to make them all run in Unity.
edit: lol just noticed thats a post of yours vig
04-05-2010, 11:20 AM
For an octopus, have you taken a look at spline IKs?
04-06-2010, 09:12 AM
Ha, no problem good thing someone bumped that thread, I updated the mini-tut with some images which made it a lot easier to follow.
When I first rigged up the octopus I did, I used spline IK, it has some nice functionality, but it also has some classic spline IK problems which are hard to solve so I went with a mix between stretchy bones and spline IK.
Paul Neale covers solving the most common problems with spline IK in the first 3 chapters of his intermediate rigging DVD.
Paul is a genius giant of knowledge.
Here are some links that I dug up when I was looking into it all.
I think splineIK works a little better for some things that are less organic like this:
Pretty amazing but not very helpful...
Legend has it that he did it all using constraints and no scripting. If I had to guess he uses a lot of the techniques used in the stretchy bones script along with some procedural tracks.
If your interested I'll dig around in my archive and see if I can release more info on the rig, it was a company project with some custom scripting done so they might not want bits of it released...
08-25-2010, 03:10 PM
i ended up doing all the animation work with CAT.
for the octopus, simply added 8 tails or so to my hip-bone/skeleton :) it worked out well.
heres an outdated teaser
thanks again for all the help and sorry for bumping old threads!
08-25-2010, 03:50 PM
Very cool style! I'm really impressed with the overall feel, very dreamlike.
What engine is this?
08-26-2010, 03:28 AM
It has been done in Unity 3d, thou the guy i was working with who coded all together also did an editor (again with unity) for me to work with.
the video down here shows three (most important) of a dozen different funcions you can adjust from the editor, from wheather conditions to sound emitters to walkable/nonwalkable etc.
08-26-2010, 04:53 AM
That's really cool. Thanks for sharing!
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