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Old 16-11-2007, 11:30 AM   #1
RobMasters
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Default First model....would like rigging/animation advice please!

Ok, this isn't the first time I'ver ever used maya. I dabbled with it a few years ago and only ever made models by following a video tutorial or something. So I know a little of the basics regarding modelling, but I've never tried rigging/animating before. I am attempting to model and animate a mouse at the moment. This is the first time I've ever modelled anything without following a tutorial, so its a little daunting to say the least - especially considering the only references I'm using are googled images of mice (mainly this one) . Here are two perspective views of my model:





I'm sure most people here would consider this model a little rough around the edges, but I'm considering it finished as far as the polygon modelling goes. Now I wish to learn how to rig and animate it. I'm only aiming for a very simple animation; I'm not bothered about animating each toe individually! But so far I've had great difficulty finding any simple resources that would explain where to begin animating a mouse, so I've just looked at a few tutorials for rigging a human to try and understand the fundamentals. This is why I'm posting here....I'd really appreciate any advice regarding what I need to do to achieve a simple animation. All I have done so far is create a bit of the skeleton (working from this reference image of a mouse skeleton):



I'm not even certain that what I've done so far is correct, so I'd appreciate it if somebody could point me in the right direction. I'm not sure what would be the best way about animating the tail so any tips on how to do this would be great. Also, if anyone knows of any good tutorials that would help me on this subject, or maybe any books that you'd recommend, then that would be very helpful! Thanks!
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Old 16-11-2007, 12:51 PM   #2
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Your skeleton looks fine so far. I am glad too see you are using anatomy reference.

For building a quadruped skelton there are a few more challenges to overcome from this, intead of a biped.

Try this link for some pointers:
http://www.peachpit.com/articles/art...&seqNum=3&rl=1

Good Luck.
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Old 16-11-2007, 01:48 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply R@nSid. I don't suppose you've got an in depth example of building the skeleton for a mouse instead of a dog though, have you? Hehe, just kidding. That looks really useful - much more relevant than following examples for a biped! The page seems to assume a fair amount of prior knowledge though, but I'll give it a go and see what happens. Thanks again.
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Old 16-11-2007, 11:48 PM   #4
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About the model - I don't think it's actually rough. there seems to be sufficient mash density. Try to convert the model to subdivs and than back to polygons. I don't know why or how but it somehow smooths the mash (EDIT: I think it smooths the edges). also try using render instead of screen grabs.
Nice model by the way!

For building a skeleton there's a free basic video tutorial in this site:
http://www.simplymaya.com/movie_page...html?tut_id=36
Also take a look in 'Maya > Help (menu) > Maya Help > Using Maya > General > Animation', and in particular '... > Character Setup > Skeletons' and '... > Character Setup > Skinning'

There's also a step-by-step tutorial for 'smooth skinning' that I did but I don't know it's exact location. I found it using the Search option.

Also have a look in FBIK (also look in Search)

Hope this helps,
Benny

Last edited by BennyK : 16-11-2007 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 17-11-2007, 12:19 PM   #5
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Thanks BennyK, that video you linked to certainly taught me a few things I didn't know about creating a skeleton. But I was after something that would explain the controls such as ik handle/spline. Not to worry, I've got a basic rig set up and working now, and I've added rotational constraints on a lot of the joints so that it moves as I'd imagine a real mouse skeleton moves.

I've also began work on skinning my mouse. I couldn't find anywhere that clearly explained how to go about painting weights onto the mesh, so I just jumped right in and started playing around and now its actually going fairly well! Perhaps not the best way to learn, but it seems to do the trick. But I'm having a problem trying to mirror the weights to the other side of my model. I've only been working on painting the weights for the right side of my model so far. Is there a simple way I can mirror these weights to the opposite side? So for example, I'd like the weights I've painted for the joint for the right elbow to mirrow over and automatically fill in the weights for the left elbow. Is this possible?

I've attached the scene that I'm working from, and it would be great if somebody could take the time to have a look and give me some advice about what I have done wrong, what I could improve etc, with regards to the overall rigging and skinning that I've done so far. I just don't want to start developing any bad habits if I can avoid it! Thank you so much for any help.

EDIT: Slightly off topic.....but I'd really like to buy a book to have as a reference for this kind of thing. I've looked on amazon.co.uk and found two books by Michael McKinley that I like the look of: "The Game Animators Guide to Maya" and "The Game Artists Guide to Maya". They look fairly similar to me though judging by their descriptions....is it worth buying both of these or just one of them? Can anyone recommend any other books on this topic? Thanks again!
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File Type: rar mouse7.rar (111.0 KB, 20 views)

Last edited by RobMasters : 17-11-2007 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 21-11-2007, 06:03 PM   #6
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There's supposed to be a way to mirror skin weights... I didn't manage to do it first time I tried, but maybe some of the more experienced users can help you with that.

About the scene:
*You don't have to use a translucent material to look through the mash. Use 'Shading > X-Ray' instead. (for a shelf button see FAQs).
*You have some non-manifold geometry in the lags. Look from inside the model and delete the unneeded faces in the legs.
*delete history from time to time (where you don't need it) ('Edit > Delete by type > History' while selecting an object).
While investigating the mouse it often did some freaky stuff... It may also be the version (I have 8.5).
*I'd soften many/all of the edges ('Normals > Soften Edge' while selecting it).
*EDIT: Beware - this may un-skin the mash. Always make sure you're done with the model before skinning it
Benny

Last edited by BennyK : 21-11-2007 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 26-11-2007, 07:48 AM   #7
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Hey, this is me 'Rob Masters' but I'm on my original account now. I've been away from this for a little while while I've been working on other things, sorry I didn't notice your reply until now Benny! I've tried doing as much as you recommended, but theres only so much I can do without ruining the skinning that I've spent ages sorting out.

I'm now trying to texture the mouse, but I was wondering if I'd be able to just lay out the UVs for half of the model to do the job. I really don't want to delete half the model if I don't have to as this would mess up my skinning that I finally got to a half-decent level. Here is how I've divided up the areas for half of the model:



So can I get away with just laying the UVs for this half and then somehow mirror the texture to the other side of the model as well? At least I've learnt a fair bit from doing this....especially not to attempt skinning until I'm 100% done with modeling and texturing! I had no idea this could cause me any problems.
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Old 26-11-2007, 08:32 AM   #8
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Yes the recommended 3D workflow is:

Concept/Idea
Modelling
Texturing
Rigging
Animation
Post Production
Finished

Look on Google and you will find articles on the process people/studios use
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Old 26-11-2007, 10:46 AM   #9
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Ok thanks, I'll be sure to keep that in mind in the future. Well for now I'm ploughing ahead with the texturing as I need to learn how to do this as well. It may just mean I'll need to redo the skinning later on, not to worry though.

This is the first time I've been inside the UV texture editor, so its taken me a little while to lay out the UVs for half the body and head - probably the most complicated parts of this model. As always, an image best describes whats going wrong.....



I've assigned the same chequered material to the head and the body, so I don't understand why the pattern is so much larger on the body than it is on the head. I did my best to try and keep the UVs roughly in proportion to the actual model, so I'm not sure what to do to fix this. Any ideas? Is there something in the settings of the chequered material that I need to change?

I realise the title of this thread doesn't really apply to what I'm doing now, but none of this seems worthy of creating a new one. Thanks for any help!
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Old 26-11-2007, 12:30 PM   #10
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Is it actually the same material assigned to both parts (like Lambert 1 or lambert 2)?

In the uv texture editor, there is a setting to display the image, if you turn that on it may give you a better idea what is happening.

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Old 27-11-2007, 09:49 AM   #11
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Sorry for the very late reply, I've been rather busy at the moment with other deadlines for university as the end of term is fast approaching!

Yes it is definitely the same material assigned to the head and the body. I have only created one lambert with this chequered pattern. At first I unwrapped the head and body UVs so that the were still attached to each other, and this problem occured. I figured maybe I could try separating the head UVs from the body so that I could scale them down, but this doesn't seem to have any effect on how the texture appears. I'm hoping that there is some simple option somewhere that I've overlooked on account of being a newbie! Can somebody help me fix this please? Thanks.
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Old 28-11-2007, 09:08 PM   #12
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The reason why the Checkers are bigger on the body and smaller on the head is because of the projection scale. When you UV maped the body, with whatever kind of projectiong, whether it be (planar, cyclinder, sphere, etc.) each projection should have a scale attribute input box, just go back into those projection and scale them to have all the same number.

so for example, if the body projection has 16 for the scale size, use the same number for the head projection scale attribute box number as well. and may be a good idea to keep it a square ratio, like 16x16 or 3x3. etc.

hope that helped, or if not i was probably thinking something else.
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