Status Report

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February 28, 2012 at 22:38Category:Uncategorized

As one can see it was some time since my last update, so I thought it be about time I explained what I was up to!

Since MS2 I’ve noticed that the spine didn’t quite articulate as expected due to faulty rotation orders. This was a major problem so I had my spine redone (it’s for the better I promise). With both hips and chest controls then having new rotation orders, and lots of feedback on how little space the Huldra occupied of the screen, I went into the blocking in of the animation once again.


As she has jumped down and started pacing toward the camera I thought a flock of birds might catch her attention getting her to change direction. I’m trying to get the timing and spacing better for the walk when her back is toward the camera. Or actually for the whole shot as I want her to linger more as the birds catches her attentin and also right before the defensive pose.

I never wanted her to be run over by the camera, but I didn’t manage to make up my mind about which direction for her to run of to – think I’ll settle for the direction I got so far.

And in other news, I modeled most muscle deform objects for the legs and arms. Tried different ways to get the abdominal muscles move the way I want them to, which I’m still having a hard time with but toward the end of the week I expect to have some rough muscle weight paints down. With only roughly three weeks left for the project I’m starting to feel the heat.


Blendhapes with new vertices

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February 27, 2012 at 21:42Category:Uncategorized

Today I connected the blendshapes to the Huldra. Before I did so I had to add some more edge loops around the eyes by order from Andreas to easier rig the eyes. And as I predicted this caused problem with the connecting of the blendshapes. The vertices after the edge loop tool got different names. I tried to search for a solution for this but found nothing. Originally I had planned to use the transfer attributes by to change the names on the vertices.. But there was no such thing. So I came to a different solution.

First I separated the head from the original mesh and made as many copies of the head as there was blendshapes. Then I positioned them close the respective blendshapes and used the transfer attributes and changed the vertex position and vertex normal with sample settings set to UV. This changed the new duplicated head to the same shape as the imported blendshapes. Then I just deleted history on the new head, made the connection to the old head, reattached the head with combine. And voila 😀 blendshapes done. Of course there was a lot of trial and error. But now it works as a charm. I also have displacementmaps for the blendshapes. But I’ll connect them some other time this week.


I tested a render in the light scene with the blendhapes on. There are still work to be done on the texture, also the normalmaps are some what strange. Have to render a new one. Then of course the ao and the eyes have to texture and no shine. But we’ll get there 🙂

Milestone 2

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February 20, 2012 at 10:00Category:Uncategorized


Here is a video with what we have so far. Most key poses are in place but will be reviewed as we’ve gotten some comments on the size of the Huldra which we will consider. With about half the project time left we still have to do the following:

– Deform Rigg

– Textures

– More detailed environment to get shadow passes

Rigg Overview and Progress Report

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February 16, 2012 at 23:27Category:Uncategorized

We spent the Monday shooting some animation references with Erik Öhman which I found invaluable when starting to do the blocking in. I did also notice some minor bugs in the rigg that I was quick to eliminate – kinda glad I’ve noticed that riggs are actually repair-able, as long as one keeps in mind the labyrinth of connections.

And as of Wednesday, we figured we might want to extent the clip to be able to fit a fade in/out – so I was back in MatchMover trying to add frames unto the sequence which proved to be pointless. Ended up re-doing the whole track in NukeX which turned out to be more accurate, faster and easier to get right. I’ve now managed to get the same scaling in the scene as previously with just a slight offset in translation. But as I’ve only started blocking in poses I thought it was well worth it. The workflow was a bit different and I had some problem getting that amazing track into the actual Maya scene until I found a nuke plug-in to help me.

Now on to the quick explenation of the Rigg. It has a joint hierarchy being driven by other chains which I control with control objects. I implemented IKFK switching on arms and spine, but opted for only having the option available to create FK on legs if I saw any need for it, so for the time being legs are all IK. The hoof is group-based with driven keys for control, and hands all FK. As the scale of the scene is nailed with Sandra having done some quick skin-shading tests I didn’t implement any scaling funtion, so the only funtion my master control has is initial placement of the whole character.

The driven joint has a splitted mesh of the Huldra parented unto it to allow me to get a grip of what the animation is going to look like – also – the mesh of the skeleton is also parented unto corresponding joints so I quickly can spot problems if let’s say the radius ulna twist would stop working for some reason. This skeleton will later be used to drive the skin mesh together with maya muscle deformers.

Last but not least, as we’re going to have a more close-up shot of the Huldra cowering toward the end of the shot, we’re going to implement a blendshape based facial rigg. As the character had a quite human face we saw that adding life to the face might be a high priority.


Blendshapes done

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February 16, 2012 at 17:24Category:Uncategorized

So the blendshapes are done. If we notice that there not enough we’ll add some more, but this will do for now.


??Possible problem??

When I tested the blendhapes with displacementmaps where I had removed the faces that would not be deformed, I separated the head from the body and then duplicated the head THEN I made the blendshapes from the copied mesh in maya, imported them into zbrush, made displacementmaps and then hooked them all up to the original mesh in maya.. NOW question, is it possible to export a bunch of meshes from zbrush into maya, and somehow remove the faces that won’t be blended and still connect the blendshapes to the original mesh WITHOUT maya complaining about missing faces? If someone knew if I just painted myself into a corner, it would be nice to know. If someone have a solution.. that would be nice to know to. Maybe I can transfer vertices names from the original mesh to the blendshape ones. They all have the same uv.

Will do some tests later today 🙂 now, dinner!


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February 15, 2012 at 18:16Category:Uncategorized

So I have started with the blendshapes. The face won’t be talking anything and will only be visible a few seconds so we decided on a limited number of blendshapes. So far I’ve made mouth left, right, lower lips up, brows down, left and right. This is what she looks like with all of them turned on at once. A beautiful sight haha XD

Will be posting a blendshape chart after their done.
There have also been some slight editing of the legs after some more feedback from Dave Grasso 🙂 so a new lowpoly has to be imported into maya with new displacementmap.

High retopo and UV done

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February 11, 2012 at 01:06Category:Uncategorized

The high poly is done and I’ve been working mostly on the retopo this week. I had some difficulty with her back because the twigs are so close together. I could have made the twigs into a separate mesh, but I thought it would be easier to make the two meshes blend easier it only were one mesh. Anyhow I’m finally done, the uv map is also done and ready for the making of the displacement, normalmaps and so on.

Because I’m using zbrush I have to project back the highpoly on the new mesh. Think it’s a little strange that zbrush doesn’t allow you to have to meshes to make a displacementmap. This could probably be the only advantage with using mudbox… I do like zbrush.


Spine IK – the second.

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February 9, 2012 at 23:00Category:Uncategorized

Ok, I just couldn’t keep myself from doing it so I spent the day improving the spine rigg.

I figured I’d also publish a clip featuring the improved motion achieved – not that I’m going to show the previous one! I was reminded by something I read at a forum post looking for solutions to creating a good spine rigg while doing the research for the project – it went something like: Riggers have a tendency to over-complicate the riggs while the animator just want it to work. Starting to wonder if this makes me more of a rigger or an animator.

Anywho – will have the brand new spine up and running in the actual rigg by tomorrow lunch I’m predicting. And fear not – an explenation for how the whole rigg was done, will probably be written toward the end of the project.

Rigging Done.

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February 8, 2012 at 18:38Category:Uncategorized

I’m a few days behind schedule but at last the rigg is done. With done I mean I only have some minor “cosmetic” bugs, like I wanted the IK control object for the arms to have the same orientation as the wrist – as the roatation of the control doesn’t matter at all. And also while posing the skeleton I noticed I missed adding driven key so that I could pivot the hind-leg from the hoof.

Now I’m either going to split a low poly mesh to use for animation or I might make a quick skin-bind and later jump into making the muscle deform objects.

And also – not entierly happy with how the spine rigg works. It posed much more of a challenge to create a somewhat anatomically correct spine rigg when it came to IK, but I think I have an idea of how to fix it. Might just do with 3 driving IK joint chains instead of two. One for Lumbar section, one for Thoracic and one for the neck to better achieve the agility of the lumbar and cervical vertebrae. For the time being it’s only seperated at the Cervical-Thoracic intersection which has led to the chest being pretty hard to keep from intersecting the spine.

mentors and progress

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February 2, 2012 at 16:38Category:Uncategorized

I thought that it would be on it’s place to say that me and Andreas has found ourself some mentors for our project.

Andreas found a mentor for animation/rigging Tomas Tjernberg from Stiller Studios, an old student from gscept.

And I found two guys from the deviantart community that work with modeling in the game and film industry and they were kind enough to help with some feedback on the character 🙂

David Grasso a modeller in the film industry.

And Jon Troy Nickel  a modeller in the game industry.


/Guys if your reading this, I can’t give you enough credit! It REALLY means a lot, tnks 🙂


They’ve both given me good pointers on the anatomy and I feel like now is a good time to start on some detailing. So started with some bark on the back (1. help texture and sculpt, 2. without texture), zbrush project texture is very neat 😀 (3.) Also started with some pores in the face, and some detailing on the branches.

I’m hoping that the sculpt will be ready for retopologising in the end of the weekend.