Saturday, December 14, 2013

Where have I been?

Well, it has now been over two years since I last posted something and to be honest, I don't really have a good excuse. The only big change was that I started a new job (well, the company that I'd been with for 11+ years was acquired). That was right around the time of my last post (Sep 2011). At that time I more or less stopped all work on my personal projects. Was my loss of personal project interest work related? I think in part it was. I was also struggling to focus my (little) free time and actually do something worth finishing and/or sharing with those of you that stop by my blog. So, I got frustrated and stopped sitting in front of this computer after work and focused my attention on my other hobbies. God knows I have way too many things that I want to do besides 3D as well....

So, after many abandoned projects I have decided that I'm ready to get my butt back in gear and start creating/sharing with all of you. I'm currently working with a couple people (outside of work) on something that I hope will be very cool!  More on that in 2014 though....

I'm also always curious as to how/why people end up on my blog in the first place. Are you here for my character rigs? my tutorials? you accidentally came here? If you feel like sharing why/how you came to land on my site then please do so.

Also, if you like my tutorials and want more please let me know some topics that I might be able to shed some light on (I'm an animator/rigger and that's really all I know). I've been doing this for over 13 years now and have learned some things over the years. Is it the correct way to do them? Who knows... it's just how I do them:). It could be fun to have a list of topics that I can do some tutorials on. Then I can share with all of you that might be interested in seeing how or why I do something a certain way. It's also a great way for me to stop and look back at how/why I do something.

Anyway, it feels good to actually post something on here. Sure, it's not the most exciting blog post in the world, but it's getting the ball rolling for me!

cheers and as always, happy animating!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Testing...123...testing...hello? This thing on?

I don't know about you, but I am very tired of Basic Guy. He was a model that I created almost 8 or so years ago for just personal animation and rigging exercises. Well, as you may know, he turned into way more than that. He has been downloaded thousands of times and has been all over the world (thank you all for the very nice emails)! I have been having so much fun with seeing him travel the world that I want to share more rigged models with you all. This time I will not be modeling them (whew!). I am working with a co-worker on hopefully 3-5 characters (to start) to share. Each character will have a wardrobe and accessories to choose from. How fast those assets all come out... I'm not sure (hopefully faster than slower). I'm also trying to figure out the best way to release these assets to you all. Do I just release unskinned assets? Or, can I create a pipeline for you all that is a lot faster (as in I skin and you all use a tool to "build" a character to animate in some kind of UI)? I'm leaning towards the latter. I know that most people that download rigs are animators that do not want to rig. So, I'm one of the "weirdo's" that loves both aspects. In my absence (from my blog) I have written an auto rig script that will rig characters in minutes vs the hours upon hours of manual work. So, it would be a very fun challenge to figure out a way to allow you all to build your own character and let you get to animating!

Anyway, above you will see "Zane". He is being modeled currently. But, when he is done, I will rig him up and share with you all. I'm VERY excited to get back to public releases and hopefully seeing my characters show up all over the place again!

cheers and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Basic Guy v3.3.1 update

Well well well... look who finally got around to updating his blog! Yep, it's about time I do something here!

Anyway, I have a new Basic Guy release for you all (really, my blog should be called "Basic Guy's Blog"). The rig is more or less the same as what you're used to. But, I did do some renaming of controls here and there (trying to clean up the scene slightly). There are also some other small(ish) changes that would make merging an old animation somewhat of a pain to do (but still doable).

New feature breakdown:
1) a new GUI
-- for selecting rig parts
-- fk/ik matching
-- for animating the face

2) GUI can work with multiple Basic Guys in one scene
-- NOTE: you must use namespaces for the GUI to work with multiple Basic Guy characters (or else you get name clashing and it confuses the mel).

I recommend watching the "new feature overview" movie (strong coffee is highly recommended for viewing):
Basic Guy v3.3.1 New Features Overview

Anyway, that more or less covers his new features. It may not seem like a lot of noticeable change, but I think that the new GUI and ability to have more than one Basic Guy in the scene is pretty cool. However, I am still working on a Basic Guy design over haul. Well, a co worker has been putting some time into that for me (he's a much better modeler than me!). As to when that will be ready? Good question. He seems to be close, but well, we keep changing our minds on things and he isn't getting paid to do this for me. But, Basic Guy is going to look quite a bit different in his next release (But, hopefully, still look like Basic Guy).

So, here is the new Basic Guy release (drum roll please!!):
Basic Guy v3.3.1

NOTE: I should mention that I created Basic Guy v3.3.1 in Maya 2010 and back converted to Maya 7. When I opened the GUI in Maya 7 there was an error message about "hud". You can ignore this. It doesn't affect the GUI script. If I find some time I'll try to write a GUI script that is more friendly with previous versions of Maya.

Hopefully, my next post will be sooner rather than later... but then again, I always say that ;)

cheers and happy animating!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Finally a rig test!

Hey it's been ages since I've posted anything (big surprise I know!). Anyway, I finally started a rig test with the Basic Guy that you have all been playing with (or not playing with...whatever;) ). I decided that I wanted to animate him riding a unicycle in the test....why not right? Seemed like a good way to test out his updated rig features. There's a lot of fk and ik matching/switching and... switching hands with props... and squash and stretch...etc... Also, I wanted to take a crack at rigging a cartoony unicycle as well:D

I'm also working on an updated Basic Guy that I hope to have out sometime soon (solutions to things that I found irritating when animating this clip). The rig hasn't really changed all that much, but I have written a MEL script that helps tons with selecting controls and all that. Basically, it's a GUI that when you select an object it will in turn select that rig part.

I've also written a MEL script that let's you manage your custom cameras in a single pane. So for Basic Guy, you can switch between his face rig controls and the body rig selector GUI that I mentioned previously very quickly and easily! Whew...time saver!

Oh, I think that I'm close to having the whole referenced file thing figured out too (so you can then have more than one BG in scene and have all the fk/ik matching stuff work...) I'll post another blog on that sometime soon as well.

Anyway, I'm not done with the animation here, but, I felt that it was time that I stop and post something! So, here is my still work in progress rig test with Basic Guy.

Basic Guy and Unicycle Rig Test
(quicktime movie file ~2MB)

Anyway, that's it for now. I'll try to post again soon(ish)!

Cheers and as always happy animating!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

slight bug fix for Basic Guy

Hey all,
If you downloaded BG v3.3.03 you will want to get v3.3.04. There was a small bug reported. I forgot to re-parent the left proxy foot to follow the rig...doh! Anyway, that has now been fixed and can be downloaded below...


BG v3.3.04 Beta Release!!

Wha wha WHAT!?!! A new release!?!?! Yes, I am happy to say that Basic Guy is ready for you all to animate. He's currently still in "Beta" (meaning, that I'm only posting this in limited places), but he should be good to go.

As I mentioned in my previous post, he is currently limited to Maya UNLIMITED users only (Maya v7.0+). However, I'm still looking into ways to get all the "bendy" limb stuff supported when using Maya Complete. So, I apologize to those of you that are not able to use this latest release. But, by the poll results, that isn't that many of you...

Here is a list of v3.0.04 changes:

1) uv's and a generic texture (I included the Photoshop files for those of you that want to edit further). The one there is pretty "basic"... but, should get you all started.
2) I edited his ability to make an "OO" shape some. I received quite a few comments that it was really hard to get that shape. Hopefully now, it's easier...
3) Bendy limbs (select the BGCtrl_Switchers to turn them on)
4) Different way of squashing and stretching the head (select the "BGCtrl_Head" and turn on "SS_Vis")

Known Limitations:

1) You CANNOT change the name of the controls (i.e. reference the file). This will make the fk/ik matching not work (I'm looking into ways to fix this).
2) Settings work best when set to "centimeter"
3) MAYA UNLIMITED only (I'm looking into ways to fix this).

Here is where you can find him:
Zip file
7-Zip file: smaller file size

Anyway, that's about it. Sorry once again to those of you that are Maya Complete users. But, I am looking into other solutions for the bendy limbs. I may just take the bendy stuff out for now so that you all can at least have the rest of the "new" features...

Cheers and happy animating!

Friday, March 6, 2009

About Time I post something!!!

Well, it sure has been a while since I posted something huh!?!? Sorry about that. I mean to post WAY more than I ever get around to. But, life for me has been extremely busy these past few months. In January, my wife and I had our second son! So, we now have a 7 week old and a 2 year old... Needless to say we're very tired;) But, things are slowly getting back to some kind of routine. I am finding some (if very little) free time before work and even some time after the family has gone to sleep (though, lately, I'm WAY too tired to keep up my late night routine) to work on Basic Guy and my other personal projects...

Anyway, I have some good news and some bad news about Basic Guys next release.

Bad News:
The new Basic Guy release that's coming down the pipe only works in Maya UNLIMITED. It has to do with how I handle the bendy limb stuff... I'm using "follicles" and that is a Maya Unlimited only feature. Above this post you will see a poll that I set up (about what version of Maya you're using). Please answer truthfully (though I dont know why you would make up the answer...). To be honest, I don't know how many people actually use Maya "Complete". For some reason my gut tells me that the vast majority of people are using Unlimited. So, the following image probably isnt that big of a deal (what BG looks like when opened in Maya Complete...gha!):

However, if a lot of you are using Complete then maybe I'll need to re-think the bendy arm/leg solution. Or, maybe I'll do a release that has the old rig but will include the other new "features".

Ok, now the good News:
As you can see in the image, Basic Guy is finally uv'd! I was waiting for a co-worker to paint a texture for him, but well, that's just taking WAY too long. So, I'm making my attempt at hacking something together for you all. I will release the Photoshop images for you all so that you all can easily customize and paint your own textures for him if you want.

Also, I want to release a "beta" version of him very soon (hopefully in a few days or so...). This way all of you who stop by my blog can play with him and help me make sure that he is ready for a bigger release.

Here's to a new Basic Guy release very soon!

Cheers and as always happy animating!