Seems I didn’t write a post last week, so this one will have to serve. I’ve done a few things, but only three seem worth mentioning:
First, I looked into driving joint-chains with dynamics, yet still retain some control over the motion. Wasn’t all too much to look into – turned out Hannes could point me to a tutorial which did pretty much exactly what I had in mind. Basically, you make a curve dynamic, use it with a spline-IK-d joint chain which you skin your mesh to. But you can also take the original, non-dynamic curve, and skin it to a simpler skeleton, and animate that one. By controlling the dynamic curve’s Start Curve Attract-value, you get as much neat, free secondary motion as you like, but can also control it all by yourself.
Reason we’re doing all that is that we’re wary of using nCloth for the characters’ clothing, and even more so of using the actual hair system in Maya for the hair. So we might skin the cloth-meshes to a bunch of semi-dynamic joints, and try to control fur-hair in this way, too. But there’s some looking-into still to be done.
Next, I actually did some environment concepting. Well. I made the picture that’s now our header, and that one above, which is a paintover of a shot from the film. Those two concepts didn’t help all that much, though, when we started doing our first models.
In the end, I’m pretty much basing this off my main inspiration-area; the Spanish Alhambra. Another location we’re keen on drawing from is Bada Bagh, in India; I’ll get to that eventually.