This is where the hard work is starting to pay off.
With absolutely no change apart from using "Leg" as the procedures argument instead of "Arm" the whole process of adding IK, FK, Pole vectors, Stretchy limbs and control curves is completely compatible with all "Leg" limbs.
And By "Arm" and "Leg" this is referring to all upper and lower body limbs be that birds wings, flippers horse legs.
For parts like the spine and head the bones are different so they will need there own custom procedure's but those custom procedures will be very small as that will just be using the same procedures that the arm and legs do to convert to joints, set-up the GUI and do all the IK/FK stretch and controls.
making this all procedural and flexible to work with any limb has really saved a huge amount of time as basically one process can be applied to all limbs.
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Top down view of procedural controls.
At the moment im just setting up the procedures to create the stretch, IK and FK but also the procedures to create the controls.
I'm making the controls in there own procedures so the script becomes more fixable, this means I can call the CCTubeControl to make a tube control at any part of the script and use it for anything in that area be that arms, legs or other parts of the rig.
For the FK arms (Tubes) there actually inside a Group that's been rotated to fit the joints, this means that I can have a nice clean 0, 0, 0, in the rotation of the controls but still have the rotation axis in line with the bones.
The next step now is to set-up the IK/FK switch. This is sometimes done by having 3 arms, IK arm, FK arm and another arm that blends between the two.
However for this im quite confident everything is working fine so im going to just set up different constraints and when you blend form IK to FK different constraints blend off or on.
This is the node graph procedurally generated when applying the stretch to a limb.
Moving from left to right, basically its a distance tool connected to the start and end of the limb,
This tool outputs the length of the arm,
The condition node then compares the distance to a "Stretch start" value (will mention later)
If its larger it will switch the outputs to true (which is is the distance/by "Stretch start" value)
The "stretch start" value is the length of the arm when its fully locked, this means the condition node compares the current length of the arm to the length when its fully locked,
If the distance tool have a value larger than the length of a fully locked arm this is where the stretchy switches on,
So basically the stretch starts when the arm is fully extended.
The final output is linked to the scale X of the joints which just stretches the joint chain.
The multiply/divide nodes basically make sure its a smooth transition,
this means as the arm gets fully locked, the dimension tool and "Stretch start" value are equal,
so dividing these two results in 1,
as it increases its basically stretching the limb in proportion to the "Stretch start" value
Without this the limb would jump a large amount as it would stretch and add the length of the arm as well.
The top left multiply/divide node holds the "stretch start" value,
This will later hook up to the Global controls scale,
This means as the whole rig is scales up, so is the "stretch start" value as the length of the locked arm will be larger due to the arm being scaled up as-well.
Thursday, 26 July 2012
Thursday, 19 July 2012
Added even more functionality to the GUI allowing you to create as many limbs and also delete them if you don't want them.
Here are 4 pairs of different limbs made in under 60 seconds.
Next step is to add the procedures to make the controls and things like stretchy IK and add in the IK/FK blend if the user requires it.
once there added its just a case of the user clicking what they need and should be able to make several limbs fully rigged and fully customizable in minuets :D
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
This is the result of the previous image (GUI window).
Here 3 sets of limbs have been made, each with there own names and using the drop down menu at the top of the GUI you can edit each on there own at any time (well any time before there converted to joints).
Quite a large update that has added a great new feature :D
Now as a user chooses a name and generates the limb, it creates its own script node which it links to.
This also adds the name to a drop down list at the top, this list is above the tabs so it can be used in all tabs. As the user makes multiple limbs, they all get added to the drop down list.
Then if the user selects a different limb in the list it runs a procedure that disconnects the window from all limbs, then attaches to the new selected limb.
The basic idea is, you make as many limbs as you want, then whatever you do in the tabs below (moving sliders and buttons) will be applied to the limb that is selected at the top.
This means you can edit as many limbs on the fly and go back and edit them later even if you have made more limbs since the 1st was created.
Also, the best thing about this is that no global procedures or variables are used and no information is needed to be send out of maya. Also you can save you work, close maya, re-open it and all the values, limb names and attributes are stored which is a section missed by most rigging scripts as they require you to start and finish before closing maya.
I hear you like limbs, so we put limbs on your limbs :D
Added the dolphin limb and just messing around to see how it copes in strange situations.
Here is a human arm with a bats wing and dolphin arm all joined up just to test how it will work.
Just adding some more pre-set sliders,
This is the horse legs, to make it blend better though all limbs are in the t-pose so there will be an added section to scale/rotate the limb as a whole
Thursday, 5 July 2012
Errors or unexpected things can be good sometimes :P.
I've started on the procedure to converts the spheres the user positions into joints.
For bug checking im trying to do things that your not supposed to, like going back to the first tab of the limb generator and generating new limbs after you have already generated some but this has given a new idea.
If you do go back and generate a new limb it will work and follows the same rules so this could be used to makes a character with lots of the same limbs (like a centipede's legs)
Another useful bug is that when the limb is converted into joints, to make it fast i just run the procedure on the left, then run the same procedure but change the prefix to L, so with this, i might split the left and right up again as the user could click to convert the left but then still edit the right before the convert it. This way if a user wants one limb human and another a wing the can work on them at the same time but still have them different.
Monday, 2 July 2012
Its been a while since the last masters project update and there doesn't look to be much change but under the hood in the code quite a lot has.
The main update since the last is now it has a mirror function, custom name prefix and attachment object.
So now the user chooses a connection object in the list, types a prefix and the limbs are generated and mirrored.
The mirror options are non (no mirroring) symmetrical (which links the right to the left so changing the left will update the right) and asymmetrical (mirrors the limb type but user can move the other limb freely.
Main updates under the hood is mainly making a phalanx (finger) procedure so the fingers are all made in the same block of code, later this will be expanded so every bone is made from this finger procedure.
It seems like not much is happening at the moment but by spending extra time fine tuning means later on I can practically copy this section for the next limbs so in the long run it will be saving some time.