Friday, May 23, 2014

Pay Day Standing tall

PayDay Standing tall from smann on Vimeo.

I was responsible for all the rigging and deformation controls.  For this version we had to kick it up a notch in all departments as the clients wanted as close to reality that they could get.    Numerous reference was taken of scrunched wrappers, various salt levels , stretched caramel, and various lighting scenarios.

My biggest challenge for me was the wrapper scrunching. Since all the assets were actually from our previous pay day commercials, there was a bit of salvage and recovery to keep things on time and budget, but also everything had to be upgraded.  The caramel geo and wrapper geo was double rez compared to previous, along with all the textures getting make overs.  For the salt , the amount and poly count was probably close to tripled.

  originally the salt was created as physical geometry , and although we could actually use it and push it through the pipeline, it really bogged everything down. There was a lot of debate about salt scale, placement, and amount, so I wrote a few tools for loading and affecting the salt for the anm/lgt team.I created a mirror rig of the caramel bar with salt and peanuts that could be used just to adjust the look of the salt.

 Once the salt levels were decided upon, we employed arnold asset files. Other than some weird interaction quirks they worked extremely well, and not only sped up rendering tremendously, but interaction speed in Maya was completely restored.  ( as long as you kept them in bounding box view)

 Other than doubling the poly count and resculpting the divots in the caramel, the process for the caramel was fairly similar to the previous jobs.  The divots this time were a progressive blend shape that the animator could draw on as the peanuts hit the bar. I had to make these twice so the broken half bars matched the full unbroken bar.  There was also a small curl that came off the front edges of the broken bar that had a simple joint rig to grow and animate it. 

 The wrapper got the most attention for this upgrade. The most important part was getting the wrapper to look like it wasn't stretching but scrunching and folding without distorting the textures too much.  I gave the animator a simple scrunch rig based on the original lower res geo, and then used that as a base to create the progressive blend shapes of the scrunch. To get better creasing and control over the wrapped I kicked the shapes into mudbox and back to maya to iterate through the shapes.   The connection to mudbox was great as I had already created the progressive blend in maya, but could just "send to Mudbox"  a target shape, sculpt it , then "send to Maya" and it just fell into place and the blend still worked and was updated.  This was great as I could quickly make changes and see if they worked or not and make sure the movement flowed correctly. 

This technique was especially helpful for the end position of the wrapper as it fell and hit the ground. The client wanted the wrapper to maintain rigid in its shape with folds and creases.  The animators rig was joint driven and looked like a spinal column with ribs( or ladder )  so they could tweak and bend the wrapper into a number of shapes, but it didn't have too much in the way of creasing.   I took the final position from the animation and sent it to mudbox and sculpted a shape that worked well enough, and then brought it back into the rig to augment the joints in finding the final position. I used bspirit.mel to convert the sculpt to the target shape that could be injected before the joints.   So the joint rig and blend shape could be used in conjunction.

 well, that's it..   Just a little bit into the inner workings of Pay day "standing tall" 


Friday, May 2, 2014

What's new and missing in MAYA 2015: keep faces together on extrude

So I can't really say why there is so much removed and moved in Maya 2015 but I can shed some light on how to get some of your options back.

 For 2015 the "keep faces together" radio button has been removed from the top of the polygon menus.Also, the extrude tool listed is the one for the modeling tool kit, not the original Maya extrude.

and for those of you don't want to commit to the modeling tool kit, this can be a bit of a pain.

You need to access the old extrude tool via the shift LMB over your geo marking menu. ( down for extrude Face)

 There is also no option in the extrude tools option box, which I'm gonna flag as a bug.

So you can just do you're extrude and then edit the extrude node in the channel box ( orange arrow below ), or you can use shift + cntrl + RMB and get the extrude options marking menu and "toggle keep faces together" Personally I  would rather this was "turn on, or turn off" as toggling assumes you already know the current state.  

I'm currently hunting down the env to set the default on this. ( for me its ON by default ) which I like.but from what I understand this is not true for everyone. 

 running "togglePolyMoveComponents" will toggle the actual ENV . so if you are currrently ON by default it will make it off by default, and OFF to ON .