Friday, 5 June 2015


So I've started looking into some games studios recently and I decided it would be a good idea to try and get to grips with Unity, the software that most of them use.

I had no experience with game engines so it took a lot of tinkering and problem solving but I managed to string together a simple idle, walk and run cycle.

I started out creating a basic idle cycle with a character from my time on iAnimate. While I was happy with the cycle, whenever I tried to import it into Unity the mesh broke, with the head detatching from the body, and none of my animations were transferred across.

I tried several solutions to get the character into Unity but I reached the conclusion that the characters I had were not built to go into it. I searched online and through all my rigs to see if one would be suitable to transfer across while also allowing me to animate with it in Maya but could not find any. So I took the Max rig, removed the mesh from the rig and re-rigged it myself using abAutoRig, found at

With this rig I was able to animate all my cycles and import them into Unity. On each cycle I had to bake the animation into the bones and then export the bones and mesh as an FBX.
I imported the base rig, mesh and bones, into unity and then imported my 3 cycles. Using the animate tab I created transitions between the idle and walk and the walk and run cycles.

I found this exercise really interesting and rewarding. I always enjoy trying out a new piece of software and I found most of the issues I encountered helped me out with figuring out how unity works at a basic level, at least as far as creating animations that will work inside of it.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Parkour 2.0

My Final project as part of the Ianimate course. The brief was to have a character run from one location to another and to incorporate some acting and camera movement and cuts. I feel a lot of what I have learned over the previous two shots came through in this one and I tried to push the 2D aspect of the finished piece instead of focusing on the 3D world space of the scene so much.

And that's it for Ianimate for now, I got a huge amount from the course, learning a proper workflow which was something I had struggled with before, really pushing my poses and getting them locked down before moving on to breakdowns and knowing at what point I'm ready to start polishing to avoid confusion at a later stage. I may return to complete another semester at some stage but for now I'm gonna take what I've learned and apply it to the work I'm currently involved with.

Monday, 17 November 2014

iAnimate Work - Push

Second project in the iAnimate class. The brief was to do a push/pull/lift so I eventually settled on animating a mime artist. I figured it would help me push the pantomime acting as mimes must be very expressive.

Monday, 3 November 2014

iAnimate Work - Sneak

This was the first project I did as part of iAnimate workshop 3, "andvanced body mechanics and pantomime acting".
Our task was to animate a walk or sneak, and seen as I'd animated 2 sneaks already, I decided to try and get it as polished as I could, while I had the help and tuition of Michael Kiely.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Rigging On The Fly

I got this character from Basim Ahmed who's working in Piranha bar at the moment, he had rigged it himself but I wanted to try my hand at creating an animator friendly rig with controls I thought would be helpful as an animator. The workflow I used with the biped was useful here to a point though I had to edit it quite a bit due to the different anatomy.

the wings where the biggest challenge in this rig, I wanted to have as much control as i cud over them, with some set driven keys to allow for easy posing and curving of the basic shape, while not cluttering it up with too many controls or a complex bone system that would make skinning extra difficult, I learned this part the hard way after a bit of time spent trying to fix what could not be fixed. I also wanted to have a control that made the wings and wing covers fold in so that you don't have to pose them in every time you want them closed.

All of this involved a lot of parenting, grouping and figuring out what combination of parenting, constraining and use of the connection editor as well as the node editor. I also employed some of the dorrito effect I had learned from the previous rig to get the controllers on the lower parts of the wing to move with the deformations. I found this part highly enjoyable, trying to figure out the best, or sometimes only, way that something will work with all the incoming and outgoing connections

Below is a quick test animation I did with the rig.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Fully Rigged

I pushed on from my rigged head to rig a full biped character using the skills and techniques I learned on the last piece and adding in a lot more. The character I rigged is XSI man exported from Softimage and brought into Maya

The extra bits I learned and implemented in the rig:

  • How to rig a biped character, including setting up the hierarchy and constraints for the controls and what bones to place where.
  • How to set up the reverse foot lock so that he can roll on the ball/toes/heel.
  • Creating a setup where the animator can switch between FK and IK allowing for greater control of the arms. Three sets of arm bones were created, one for FK, one for IK and one which blends between these two to hold the geometry.
  • Adding a twist system for the wrists and legs to avoid mesh pinching when the wrist/ankle are rotated.
  • Using extra bones in the knees and elbows to maintain volume when the arms and legs are bent. These extra bones find the average angle of the bones on either side of it to orient themselves in the correct direction.
  • Using clusters to control deformations on the face.
  • Facial controllers that will follow the deformations caused by the jaw while still allowing control over the shape of the mouth AKA the "dorrito effect".
  • A constraint system led by custom attributes on the controllers for knee/elbow/eye controllers to follow parts of the rig or be free in world space.