Today I finished off the rig. I followed a fantastic tutorial here** and at the end felt confident enough to even go a little further and add my own additions to the rig (such as eyebrow bones and ear bones.) This is something I just wouldn’t have done at uni so I already feel more confident in the process. Obviously a project like this is a kind of ‘time will tell’ situation as its only once you start animating and skinning that you see all those faults come to life.
This of course leads us to skinning. Skinning goes hand in hand with rigging for me so when I let out a groan at the idea of rigging I am in fact imagining all of those tiny verts just waiting to be weighted. I also have to apologise as I am writing this as if the people reading this will know what these processes are. In case you aren’t familiar, skinning is the process of adding the model to the bones. This is the process that tells the computer how it is meant to move. In theory it sounds fun, you get a paint brush and you paint on the weights you want using a nice colour graded system but realistically there are thousands of verts all reacting off every bone and it’s a fiddly pain. The advantage of this type of work (in my opinion anyway) is that its one of the rare jobs in Maya that you can bung on a podcast or some music and just listen away while you work.
This is normally the part of the process where all the little mistakes you’ve made along the way start to show. I am prepared for a long graft but I am already excited to see how he’s moving. He is currently block weighted which means I grab each section and give all the verts a value of 1 for the main bone that controls them in the component editor. Now that’s finished I’ll be able to go into the intricate process of painting a middle ground onto other verts. The tricky part of skinning, like animation is that no one notices when its right but every person sees when its wrong. If you were to move your wrist up and down its amazing how much skin moves, it’s this tricky balancing act that makes skinning so hard but ultimately so satisfying. Unfortunately I will have to leave it at the block stage today as my travel blog (so that I don’t bug you lovely people with my Korean and Asian travels at www.doodlezilla.blogspot.com) has a header that I am not happy with and its in need of changing. Did I mention how much I love desk warming?