First things first: this is not a whine. Oh, no. I love what I do and when it gets challenging life just gets better (if a wee stressful at times).
That disclaimer out of the way, some 3D geek musings on tweaking my Wakely model.
First issue: I had already built the head and was playing around with the features and stuff when the client dropped the bombshell right before (as in, one day before) Xmas: they really wanted the first animated promo piece by the following Wednesday night to support a New Year’s Eve party. The original plan was the first piece wouldn’t be needed until Valentine’s Day.
Of course I stepped up and said I could do it, then went about making that happen (while still not letting it interfere with quality Holiday family time).
I had to (gasp) take some short cuts to get the body finished, textured and rigged in time to do the animations and renders. The shirt, cravat and tuxedo jacket are all separate builds layered over each other. In subdivision surface modeling (subD), at least when I do it, getting good contoured seams and crisp demarcations between textured areas takes some time to get right by my standards (bezier curves, which control subD poly flow, are influenced by the nearby connected geometry) and time was one thing I didn’t have. The quick and dirty method looks fine when static but during deformations that leads to potential issues with one layer bulging out through another, and so on. I faked it this time around with corrective morphs and transparency, and it helped the character didn’t have to do much.
Yesterday I finally had time to sit down and rebuild the whole upper body as a single contiguous subD mesh (including the jacket, shirt, cravat and cuffs) that will deform properly under any reasonable pose.
Second issue: I made the base model with the snooty frown from the reference mural. Mistake, if you intend to do facial animation. You always model the face with a neutral expression and then sculpt that into the various other ones for animation. I built to the original reference image to make sure I had the mouth sized and placed properly and had planned to adjust the facial morph suite once I had the full build done. There wasn’t time to go back and fix that, I had to deal with ad hoc corrective facial morphs as I went.
That, too, is now fixed.
Third issue: the rig itself wasn’t fully tested before I had to start animating because render time is immutable and so are deadlines. The last thing I did last night was tweak the rig I already created and then add better static and mobile hold bones to help hold the shape of that massive belly during larger deformations. Then I did tons more testing and pronounce the new rig vastly improved and ready for the next job.
Which, apparently, is landing right now with another tight deadline.
Aiee, times two. Welcome to my world. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. 🙂
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