Software : MAYA
Rigging is a crucial process in animation production, Where the whole dependency of all the movable 3D objects are defined by this. Rigging will decide and restrict the particular 3D objects movements according to the style of animation decided in the early stages. This module is totally based on actual physics and mathematics whereas the 3D object will go under optimisation, scripting,traditional rigging and automation.
The 3D model or object will go under a modelling optimisation, In terms that Rigging department will decide how the Topology or Line flow or Mesh flow will be adjusted according to the requirement of movements from Animation department. This process is crucial and it determines the characteristics of each 3D model or object.
Most of the 3D models or objects could not be met with such criteria all the time, So there will be a further solution to fix such issues or compromise. This complex optimisation will result in hyper realistic character rigging,
A very important part in rendering as this stage can analyse the burden of mustering a particular show. If the optimisation isn’t done properly the 3D objects gets heavier in further stages such as Animation, Lighting and FX.
Example: New generation 3D creatures will behave with ultra realism and the new innovative ways to create such 3D objects for entertaining people. This is a never ending process to optimize as much to produce the best.
Scripting and Binding
This is a highly important stage in Rigging, As major work on 3D model or objects is scripting. This involves Skeleton Setup, Orientations, Skinning or Paint Weight, Nurb controllers, movement controls, Blend shapes and binding.
All these parts are must in traditional rigging process. Where each stage will go back and forward with lot of screening and corrections.
Skeleton Setup / Bone Setup
Creating a Rig for any 3D models, Organic or Inorganic all depends on how an actual human or animal bone works, this decides the movements of each Bone joint and required bend movements. This is no different than how an actual bone setup is, in the world. The inspiration for Rigging Artist will be real life as same bone movements will be added how an inspired creature or objects works in real life.
Example: The 3D Tiger in the movie Life of Pi, Was an exact replica of real tiger. The Rigging artists created the same bone setup and muscles to bring the 3D objects to it’s life and such as many examples are present and will come in the near future.
At this stage we need to decide how and which angle the 3D model or object moves. Every element in this world cannot be moving in the same direction. Every object in this world has its own orientations. As our body can bend forward but not backwards, as with our fingers & toes, so these kind of movement restrictions are sealed in this stage. From Head to Toe each bone joint should undergo with this process to determine the flexibility or movements as requirement.
Skinning / Paint Weight
This stage is complex and needs years of experience to understand how a bone joint works or moves, With respect to the movement there will be an area of particular joints movements has to influence on others joints, not all joints react when we move, which joints are supposed to be connected only those do. So having a basic understanding of which bone has to move or which bone shouldn’t is decided in this stage. Removing an extra reaction from other bone joints or other parts of 3D model or object will provide a clear picture about what moves and doesn’t, What could be movable and cannot.
Examples: Elasticity, Rigidness and Body weight shifting
These are expressions which are the characteristics of the 3D model or object. Expressions such as Smile, Angry, Grumpy, Sad, Crying and etc are done in this stage.
The expressions are created based on the requirement, The number of expressions will lead into a beautiful face when it is expressed.
Example: In the movie “ Finding the Nemo”, Nemo ( Goldfish ) character had more than 1000+ blendshapes for his face, In the same way in the movie “ Kung Fu Panda “, The Panda had more than 900+ blendshape for most exciting facial expressions.
Controls and Binding
Controls are handlers wherein, an Animator can produce a movement which is required. A “controller” will be in 2D or a nurb circle which will be assigned to that particular movement. Here we need to create as many controllers as the joints exists in the 3D model or objects. All the required movements which was created during the process will start reflecting in this process gradually. We will be having body movements and restrictions, Expressions and Automation, this process is called “Binding”. We need to combine all the stages of rigging work and finalise the 3D model or object.
There are some advanced movements, Which can assigned during the process of Rigging, Where these kind of movements will save time for Animators, such as ear movements, Hair movements, Tail and etc are some reactive movements which are not bound to be animated manually because it depends on the body movement or body weights. These rigs are called “ Dynamic Rigs “ where most of the movements are automated. This is a new generation rigging process that is emerging into the industry and taking over most of the innovation. Dynamic Rigs made possible motion captures for Games and Movies easier. In the coming days we will eliminate the traditional way of animation. The new technology is coming up with vast majority of flexibility.
Any artist can create a 3D model or object with imagination, But only Rigging can make the world understand that how each 3-Dimensional object can move. The meaning of Animo is to create life from non-living objects. In order to do that Rigging has been always important from years. This process creates many possible ways to execute a animation show. From Jurassic Park to Marvel’s Avengers the complexity of showcasing a character is not easy with such details and movements, Ultra Realism is being achieved in the coming days.