So with my new job I have been working a lot more in Maya. I can’t necessarily say I enjoy it just because I’ve been working non-stop in CINEMA 4D for the last…6 years? Anyway, I’m making my rounds with it, and I’m learning to get by with it. One of the things that’s really nifty is the ease of being able to isolate what you are looking at. In Maya, by default, if you select something and press SHIFT+I it will hide everything but that object. Nifty. However, for all that niftyness, you still gotta either go into the menu and turn it off, or deselect everything and hit the shortcut again. So I thought I could probably use that in C4D. So I made a little python script that does this.
In a nutshell, select your object(s) run the script. Boom, only those are visible. Run it again, everything is back to normal. If you hold CTRL and run the script, it will include any children of whatever you have selected. The other nice thing is that it should preserve all of your existing layers(see, internally, it’s doing this magic through layers), so when you de-solo everything, your layers are back as they should be. No Muss, No Fuss.
Well, maybe a little fuss. I think if you solo something that is being animated via a deformer, if the deformer isn’t active, the animation wont be either. You don’t lose your animation, it’s just not capable of scrubbing your animation until you deSolo. I think that may be a limitation.
Anyway, do what I did. Map it to SHIFT+I, and CTRL+SHIFT+I(did you know you can do two shortcuts for one command? Awesomeness) and use it at your hearts desire. Feel free to donate via the pay pal on the right if you feel inclined. Otherwise, enjoy.
Here’s a couple of scripts I came up with this week. Both very simple, but very useful, so I thought I’d share them for folks to use/learn from. So I took a break from some other Python related things(in relation to templates and thinking particles) and thought I’d write up a little something about them and post them. Enjoy!
Extrude ‘Em Allis a script aimed at those of you who work with a lot of splines. You probably have done the process of creating an ExtrudeNURBS, adding them all as children and turning on Hierarchical. Or Maybe you hit ALT+G to Group them into a null, then ALT+Clicked to create an ExtrudeNURBS as the parent(since it doesn’t work with multiple objects afaik) and turned on Hierarchical. Well, This is a bit simpler. Select your splines, run the script. Boom, they’re all a child of an ExtrudeNURBS with hierarchical turned on. Lowering the amount of time/clicks.
Group Each is a helper script I made while I was rigging a car. ALT+G(or the Group Objects command) is incredibly helpful. If done on a single object you get a parent null at the same location as it’s child. With multiple objects selected, it does the Average. It’s essentially the same as ALT+Clicking on a Null, but again, it doesn’t work with multiple objects, and sometimes, I don’t need it to do the average, I want each thing selected to get it’s own parent null. Now it can. Select your objects, run the script, each will get a null parent with the same name with “_algn” which is sort of my rigging suffix for a null that just rests at the same place as it’s child.
So have fun with them, maybe they are of some use. If you find them incredibly useful, consider dropping a little donation found on the right, but otherwise just try to learn some python from them.
Life has been busy. Last week, MAXON announced CINEMA 4D Release 13. It’s probably the best version of CINEMA I’ve ever been a part of, and I have been a part of it since R8. It’s also the most involved I’ve been in a beta really. There’s just a great bunch of tools out there, the Physical Render makes some really sexy renders, as does the new SSS shader. There’s a bunch of stuff, but since I don’t render, it doesn’t appeal to me. But MAXON made a shit ton of improvements to both Character rigging and Character Animation.
For character animation they’ve implemented a lot of little things, F-Curve updating in the viewport as you adjust it, local axis manipulation(ie selecting all the joints of a finger, and rotating to make it curl), as well as locking or even limiting axes while animating(so you can only rotate on Y, or only move and not rotate an object).
For rigging, they gave you the Character Object and Component tag, which I have been a part of since…gosh a while ago. The system is, in my opinion the most flexible system out there. Others may prove me wrong, someone mentioned Biped and CAT in Max and the CDK in XSI, the former 2 i believe are not as flexible but again, I might be wrong and if I am, please lemme know with some examples, but hold your thoughts til the end of this, please.
This system is those two objects i mentioned above. Well, one object, one tag. Basically you have a template file stored in your library. This can either be one that came with the app that you shouldn’t touch, or a custom one you create yourself. In this template file you use the Component tag to define and control everything.
The Character Object then reads these template files, and based on the Component tag setting allows you to create “components”. The Components represent elements of your rig, spine, legs, arms, hands, etc. The Component tag dictates when and where a component can be created. So you can go nuts and make it possible to add arms to your head, or make it more restrictive so it behaves more naturally, it’s really up to the template designer(me I prefer the latter the majority of the time).
Here you can see the Object Manager showing the Character Object as well as 2 components that have been built. The Attributes Manager below lists the template as well as components that can be created.
Once you’ve built your components, you then can then switch to Adjust mode, which will simplify your viewport to these circles that are handles. You can just click and drag to move the handles to match the appropriate parts of your mesh.
On the left is the rig when you switch to adjust mode. The right shows the rig adjusted to the character
Then, you switch to the Bind tab, drop the objects you want to be bound, and because the Component tag has it all set up, it knows which joints to weight, so if you are using something like an IK/FK Blend with 3 chains, it knows which chain to bind properly, because the template designer set it up. The Adjusting is really quite insane, that it knows how to handle such complicated setups. The rig in the pictures for instance uses IK/FK Blend for Arms, Spine, and Legs, as well as a Bendy/Rubber Hose type setup for the arms and Legs, SplineIK for the Spine, FK Arm orientation(ie to follow the collar or remain independent), Head Orientation(follow the Head or Neck), footroll and all sorts of stuff. To adjust before you’d have to disable tags, remove goals in some instances, find all the joints move them all, make sure they all match, put the goals back in, and turn expressions back on. For such a process to be simplifies to those simple circles is mind blowing, and when I switch out of Adjust mode, the rig is correct and ready to go!
This is all, like I said, handled by the Component tag, which is a complex beast. Making your own template takes time, it takes patience, and some know how. But it’s also fairly intuitive. Tabs, are pretty well named to know what things do(for the most part). You have control over where things get inserted(Insertion Tab) what elements from the template get included when a component is created(Include), what joints get bound(Bind), and setting up your Adjustment rules so the rig can be adjusted properly(Adjustments).
But like I said, I think the true power of this system is its flexibility. Yeah it can make just about any rig you want(It comes with bipeds, quadrupeds, bird rig, fish rig, etc.) but you can make your own rigs. I have a face rig I have been working on in my spare time for instance.
Big deal, so do other systems right? Yes, they do, and like those other systems, if the template is set up properly you can mix and match these templates to create a mythical creature of some kind. If you want a good example of this check out Chris Korns 2011 Siggraph video. His lobster creature is badass.
The nice thing is as I make changes to templates, they update, much like an Xref would(those are new too by the way). For example, The Ottoman project, I’ve been making a template for us to use on it. The idea being, we have 1 template I have to adjust, and all of our main characters would be updated when I make changes. In terms of rigging, I honestly don’t plan on NOT using this. I am now looking at making sure I am always trying to use this system, because I think it is amazing, and for people who have wanted to do Character animation but struggle learning Rigging, this helps tremendously. I lowers the learning curve to just needing to know how to do weight painting, which while a time consuming and sometimes difficult to get looking good, is not a tough thing to understand HOW to do it as opposed to like setting up proper forearm twists and up vectors and all that stuff that I’ve been learning over the last 4 years….you lucky bastards…you’re welcome.
But this system isn’t limited to just characters and or rigs which is why I think it’s incredibly powerful. Using the same objects(Component Tag and Character Object) I can create lots of custom presets. For instance I can easily set it up so I have buildings for components, so I can quickly make a city, or trees, or pipe systems. Check out this Pipeworks example video. Note the custom icons to make it look real professional
With the Component Tag having python it just opens possibilities. I could script an entire rig so it doesnt have anything in the template file except the code. I don’t even have to use multiple components, I could do a 1 click rig button that will make the whole rig both sides(did I mention it does all the mirroring for me?)
I just see so many possibilities with this system, not just as an autorigger which it does a damn fine job of, but also as a method for creating preset rigs and elements for other developers. For instance, Nick Campbell could port his HDR Light Kit over to use this system, I could make a library of Trees, that you can pick the ones you want. I just see this versatile thing being like an open canvas that I’ve already begun exploring ways to create more things like the pipeworks example.
This is my favorite feature of R13, and there’s A LOT for me to love in it. You’ll find out more in other posts I’m sure, but I just wanted to share about this, because I’ve been working on it for a couple of years now, and because something I created with this system comes with the new release, I’m like a proud papa. Expect some tutorials covering those two objects once R13 is out on Cineversity.
For an excellent list of some of the new smaller features that might go under the radar, I suggest checking out Sebastien Florand’s blog:
For some Video demos of the new tools check out Siggraph rewind videos below. The ones pertaining to what I’m talking about are Sebastien Florand, Chris Broeska, and Chris Korn. Click the Videos tab to the left of where it says Chat:
I’ve been so busy at work, with Kai and Amanda leaving, and other projects that I never got to post any Pics from my trip to New York City. I had a blast. I loved it there. CCW was pretty good too. Anyway, here’s some choice pics from the trip.
Me and Libby in Times Square
No Mugs for us
Radio City Music Hall
Playing the Big Piano
Hey! BB, that's me!
In addition to CCW, I also had a blast at SpiNYC or the MAXON Mixer. Totally cool place. I also got to meet Mike Stamm, head of The Ottoman Project(www.the-ottoman.com/blog) face to face which was nice. Wish I had more time to hang out and chat with Mike who’s a great guy.
Speaking of the Ottoman, I’ve gotten in an insane rigging mode for the Ottoman the last 2 weeks. When Mike mentioned it took almost half a year to Rig The Ottoman Character, I was baffled, because I know it doesn’t take me that long to rig. But you know what? The Ottoman rig was a serious learning project that took a lot of time to solve particular problems.
Now that those problems have been solved, I pretty much said I could rig the remaining 3 main characters in 1-2 days each. I’m happy to report that The Rider was done over the course of 2 days, the Wife in one, and I’ve spent about 5 hours on The Son rigs. The Wife and Rider will need more weighting focus, but the rigs are ready. The Son needs a few things in the Arms, then Hand Rigs, Mirror, and auto-weighting. Then all primary character rigging is essentially done. Exciting!
I plan on finishing the Son tomorrow, but I might have a Rugby Tournament in Santa Barbara so it could put a hinder on that…
OK, it’s about 2:50 AM I should go to bed. Be on the look out for some interesting Python experiments. I’ve been learning Python in CINEMA 4D like a madman and coming up with some cool stuff.
If you’ve wondered what I’ve been doing at work, well now I can tell you. CINEMA 4D R12 is out. Please read about it all here: http://www.maxon.net/news/singleview-default/article/maxon-announces-immediate-availability-of-release-12-of-acclaimed-3d-package-cinema-4d.html
Quick List of new features:
-Fully integrated Linear Work Flow including in the viewport
-Completely New Dynamics System using Bullet including Softbodies.
-A BUNCH of new great deformers for Character animation and more(Camera Deformer, Mesh Deformer to name a couple)
-Real World Units
-Morph and Posemixer had a baby. It’s name is Pose Morph and it Rules
-Screw, the old Batch Render, Welcome the new Render Queue
-Python fully integrated
There’s a bunch more crap out there. Go to MAXON.net and check it all out. It rocks. Rick and Kai will be busy with CINEVERSITY Live This week:
“Cineversity Live! Will be on the air twice a day this week – Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – to coincide with the launch of Release 12.
To view Cineversity Live visit http://live.cineversity.com/
Wednesday, Sept 1
11 am PDT (1800 GMT/ 2000 CET) – General Release Announcement
3 pm PDT (2200 GMT/ 0000 CET) – Rendering Features and Q&A Thursday, Sept 2
11 am PDT (1800 GMT/ 2000 CET) – Dynamics
3 pm PDT (2200 GMT/ 0000 CET) – Release 12 Q&A Friday, Sept 3
11 am PDT (1800 GMT/ 2000 CET) – New Character Tools and Deformers
3 pm PDT (2200 GMT/ 0000 CET) – Release 12 Q&A”
And now some time to breathe as the madness unfolds
Some new posts. Hope everyone had a good St. Patty’s Day, I didn’t get to have a drop of the craythur at all, sadly. Oh well. Onto new news…
CINEVERSITY PRIORITIES TUTORIAL ONLINE
I know it’s been a while for some of you folks enjoying my Biped Rigging Series on Cineversity, things fell through and I ended up having to do the Priorities video myself which required my own learning of priorities in order to try and explain them. Anywho, it is now available for viewing at Cineversity so go enjoy that one.
Below are some sketches I’ve been doing. The first two are from the last two days, a couple doodles for this week’s Stu Pose at AM.
Below is a sketch I took a bit further because I liked the idea of it. I stopped before going too far. I may return to it sometime.
Last night I got to talk to my friend Karli and it was nice to tell her all the crazy painting ideas I have because she is interested in it and thinks they are cool. Almost motivates me to get cracking on some of them, except I’m just really FN tired lately, haha. Maybe tonight I will start one…that’d be cool.
First off, for all you guys waiting on the rest of the Taquito Videos, here’s an update. Kai, unfortunately is quite busy these days, so he is unable to do the Video. Thankfully, the priorities for Taquito are quite simple. So simple, that I can explain them . So I have gone ahead and recorded the video for that one. Once that gets the A-OK I can get moving on the remaining 2-3 videos of Mirroring, Weighting, and Preparing for Animation. Be forewarned, The weighting video will not be very in depth. Weighting is a pain, and it’s quite boring, and it would make you catch qwertyitis(falling asleep with your head on the keyboard). So, it will not tell you HOW to weight, but it will teach you(hopefully) a few things that you can use to weight your characters, some tips and workflow suggestions and such. The Animation one will be similar, just showing you some tips I use for preparing for animation that hopefully you guys will find useful. After that, I think I have a couple more tutorials in my brain to try out, but the Taquito Series should be done soon. I will try to get the priorities A-OK’d this week but those in charge of that are quite busy this week and next. But I will pester them for you all .
And lastly, here is today’s daily sketch. Done, probably in 10 minutes or so. This weeks pose at AM is Balance. And I immediately thought of a meditation pose(actually, I thought of me on a unicycle, ontop of a ball holding a pair of scales, but it didn’t pan out ). So I just took it a a limit, kept it loose and tried to add some color for mood. I hope you enjoy.
Hey, so to help any Animation Mentor People trying to move over to Cinema 4D, I’ve made a quick Crash Course for People to get animating right away. First, go to MAXON.net fill out the form and download the R11.010 demo. When finished, unzip the file and you should have the demo…now, you can’t save it yet. Then when you open the Demo a Window should pop up. You can click a link to get an Activation Code. Fill out the form, get an email with a Code. Then click the “Enter Activation Code” button and paste the Activation Code, and hit OK. You should now have a Save Enabled Version for 42 days. Then, have a gander at these videos to get animating right away. If you need this file, we can probably provide it for you, just email MAXON tech support(fill out the support Ticket on the MAXON website).