Weekly Update – 12/02/2018 Dec 1 - Tosh
Welcome back everyone; hopefully, you’ve all had a good week. If not we’ll at least have some things to cheer you up today! We’ll be going over our new integration of Discord Rich Presence, Lake’s Anatomy season 2, something about Instagram, Reddit, and more!
Before we dive right in though, recently content creators have been suffering from copyright strikes on their channels for using Halo music in them. This really sucks for everyone affected so we wanted to offer up our library of Halo music for your usage in any of your video content as long as you provide the appropriate credits to us. We’ll be getting some Complex Stems, and Basic Stems for you out next week. Stay tuned to us on Twitter for those. You can also visit Jafet's SoundCloud.
Alright, now let’s down to business!
We'll Do It Live
In case you live under a rock or just forgot we have both YouTube and Twitch channels, we recently did a stream on both of them at the same time using the power of technology.
Greg Wasdyke, LegendaryGamer, TheFeelTrain, TheChunkierBean, and a few more "special" guests make an appearence in what starts out as modelling the Spartan Laser. It quickly turns into something so much more than that. This stream is probably one of the best streams to ever be streamed in the history of streams. You don't want to miss it.
We will be doing more streams in the near future so smash that like button on your streaming platform of choice. You can find us on YouTube or Twitch or even Mixer if you're one of those people.
Lake’s Anatomy Season 2
We loved having Mr. Lake come on, and talk about animation so much that we renewed him for a season 2. Grab your popcorn, soda-pop, and candy it starts now!
Matt: "Anndd... we’re back! To our non-scheduled tech talk! I’m Matt, and I’ll be your host for this evenings chinwag. If your a returning guest from the previous rigging talk, then welcome back - we will be finally answering that overly dramatic and abrupt Halo 2 tier cliffhanger from last time. Today we are going be to covering bone solvers in detail, as well as introduce you all to control rigs and their behaviours - if this is your first time reading I suggest you go check out the first season where I discuss the beginnings of the rigging pipeline that we utilize on Installation 01 from bone placement to skinning up the character.
So last time, we had just finished our base skinning for our spartan undersuit, we got it moving but noticed some glaring issues on skinning. Here is what we discovered earlier.
So what do we do about this? Skinning in itself is a flawed technology, it doesn’t truly behave like ‘skin’, but it does it’s best - in big culprit areas like the thighs and shoulders, something has to give - wherever that's letting mesh collapse in on itself, or stretching something like a metal material to prevent clipping issues. It’s a riggers job to minimize these as much as possible and come up with smart solutions to navigate around them. With the bare minimum amount of bones you’ll get the bare minimum of quality for any rig, so last time we made the bare minimum, now it’s time to go deeper and push the limits!
We have to make some solvers. Solvers are additional bones that are added as a layer on a skeleton to fix bad deformation, the most common example of these are known as ‘roll bones’ or ‘twist joints’ (interchangeable names depending on whom you ask). Roll bones essentially add X amount of extra bones to limb component, which behaves in a twisting manner depending on what the two bones on either side of that component are doing.
In this sequel update, we’ve pushed all the boundaries of all our technology, and we have procured explanation gifs for you
As you can see, the two additional ‘twist joints’ in green on the forearm are reacting to the rotation of hand - while the forearm itself is not rotating, the twists smooth out the rotation between the hand and the forearm across the length of the forearm rather than having it all focused on the wrist. These bones have a divisible % of rotation between itself and the following bone, so mathematically we can increase this to a potentially infinite amount of bones. Two to three is typically the best for these kinds of systems until you begin to get diminishing returns and it just adds unnecessary expense to the character in the game engine.
We can then add these bones to the already existing skin cluster, and use these bones to ‘soften’ the skinning over the limb. Wonderful - So now we’ve got some wonderful twist links working on the forearm, it’s time to repeat that throughout the model on all areas with potential for skinning issues to arise. Let’s skin them up and behold!
Much better! We utilize this methodology in multiple areas on our characters, and even on our first-person arms where the wrists can be a little bit of a nightmare. Now, we have a lovely rigged up character, some excellent twist links to prevent skinning issues, but that is not the end of the rigging process.
But Matthew, where do we go from here? I’m glad you asked Jimmy - It’s time to create a control rig.
A control rig is a series of controllers that manipulate the bone game rig underneath - It’s essentially a layer on top of the previously created skeleton that animators can use to animate, imagine like strings on a puppet. Control rigs work off two basic principles, orientation, and positional constraints. These constraints are utilized on the controllers to drive animation on the underlying skeleton.
Constraints are a relationship between two objects (A parent and a child), there are various types of constraints such as positional, orientation, aims, scale, etc. These all behave in their own unique way and have their own unique properties. Positional constraints create a relationship between two object’s transform nodes; the child inherits all of the transforms of the parent. Rotational constraints create a relationship between two object’s rotational values, so the child inherits all the rotational changes made to the parent.
As you can see, the green cube is driving the grey cubes translation but not rotation.
As you can see, the green cube is driving the grey cubes orientation but not the translation.
These can be used in a variety of ways to manipulate the skeleton bones from controllers. A rigger makes a series of control shape/controllers and constraints the control to drive the specific bone. The majority of bones in a rig should work exclusively through the rotation, with a few exceptions such as the hips, root, and IK nodes - we will discuss these in a moment. In the following example, I have created a circular control shape and orientational constrained a spine joint to be driven by this controller. Tada! We now have a controller driving the skeleton; this is what an animator would use to animate with rather than the skeleton directly.
The hips controller relies on positional constraints to allow the whole rig to be translated through the scene like so.
Continue this throughout the rig until all the bones have rotational based controllers associated with them. This type of limb manipulation is referred to as FK - Forward Kinematics. This is basically the principle for posing that you work from the first joint in the limb, to the end-effector (last bone) to acquire the pose - essentially like working from shoulder, to upper arm, to forearm, to hand and rotating one each at a time to acquire your desired pose. This is a pretty standard way of working, but it’s not ideal for all situations - especially for leg limbs.
Is there an alternative you say? There sure is. Inverse Kinematics, otherwise known as IK. This is the reverse process of FK, rather than work down the joints to the desired pose, this works from defining a position of the end-effector with a pole vector angle to determine the rotation of the rest of the limb.
There is a demonstration of an IK manipulator on the leg limb. From a single translation value, you can determine the pose the entire limb reaches. As demonstrated it can be far better for the creation of walk cycles or properly planting a limb to an object such as feet to the floor, or a hand to a table and keep it locked there. Riggers typically create smart systems on each limb so they can have a hybrid of both FK and IK systems, so the animator gets the best of both worlds, with tools to allow you to switch seamlessly between whichever mode the animator may require. All of these stack on top of each other and create something useful that an animator can puppeteer.
And there we have it - a basic setup for a bipedal control rig. Keep in mind this is just a quick overview of rigging, it’s a big rabbit hole to get into, and there is some crazy advanced stuff that can be done.
But that's all the time we have today; hopefully, there are some helpful tidbits in there, and I hope you may have learned something! Again, if you like what you see be sure to let us know over on our public channels like Twitter and Discord and we can cover further technical and animation content in the future.
If you’ve got any questions, message me over at @Chrisnepts on Twitter!
Till next time,
Thanks for sitting down with us today Matt, It’s always a pleasure my friend. As Matt said, please let us know what you think of the piece, and let us know what you’d like to see next!
Discord Rich Presence
Some of you in the Discord may have already seen us messing around with this new system, and we can’t be happier with how it works. Discord has made an advantageous system built into it called “Discord Rich Presence,” it allows you to add your game to be supported by all of Discord’s lovely game data trackers. We’re always pushing for ways to help keep you all engaged with the game, and the community itself. With the use of DRP, we’ll be able to allow everyone on our Discord server to see each other's current match, scores, maps, players, spectate games, and even invite/join people straight from Discord. To give you an idea of what it’ll look like, I've gone in-game to give you all a preview!
We hope to use DRP to its utmost potential, as a way for you all to chat, share, and jump right into games with each other!
From Me to You
Da da da, da da dumb dumb da
Da da da, da da dumb dumb da
If there's anything that you want
If there's anything I can do
Just call on me and I'll send it along
With love, from me to you
I've got everything that you want
Like a heart that's oh so true
Just call on me and I'll send it along
With love, from me to you
Are the Beatles songs getting out of hand? Probably. Will I stop? Unlikely. To get to the point though, we’ve finally got around to including Instagram in some unique way to our social media presence. Each week we’re left with screenshots that don’t quite make the cut for the update that week. We figure we can upload those onto our Instagram to give you all some extra exclusive content that you can’t see anywhere else! You can head on over to @Installation_01 on Instagram, and check out some more of the covenant crates from last week’s update if you’d like. But please, do come back, and continue reading!
We’ll also periodically upload some cool screenshots, art, models, and such that you might have missed to fill in the gaps between updates. We hope that this will encourage you all to check it out and consider supporting us over there as well. If you have any other ideas what we could utilize our Instagram account for please let me know!
While I’ve got you all here, and we’re asking for suggestions on what type of content you’d like to see from us on other platforms, please give us some ideas for our Reddit as well! We want to provide you the best content we can, but to do so, I need to know what you’re all interested in. So please, to reiterate, send any and all suggestions my way. Contact me on any of these platforms: @Tosh_i01 on Twitter, Tosh#4035 on Discord, or email me at [email protected].
It’s a Halo filled one this week folks, you all have been killing it with all the art submissions over on our Discord, and we wanted to show off all the cool Halo fan-art you shared with us. If you didn’t make it in this week, have no fear! We’ll hopefully get you in next week.
Art by Fox Is My Main#6722
Art by Box04Chicken#2342, bfrgmfrdchkn3 on Deviantart
Art by Iowa#8653
Art by Nicht Mehr#6328 nicht-mehr-draws on Tumblr
Art by GinsuJunior#9153, GinsuJunior on Artstation
Art by SamBA IV#5082
That concludes another week's Community Spotlight, remember, if you’d like to submit something to be featured share it over in our Discord Channel or Tweet us @installation01.
With a Little Help From My Team
What would you think if I doot out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your eyes and I'll write you a doot
And I'll try not to doot out of key
Oh, I get by with a little help from my team
Mm, I get high with a little help from my team
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my team
Tosh: What do I do when my team is away?
Train: Does it worry you to be alone?
Tosh: How do I feel by the end of the day?
Train: Are you sad because you're on your own?
No, I get by with a little help from my team
Mm, get high with a little help from my team
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my team
Train: Do you neeeed anybody?
Tosh: I need someone to join...
Train: Could it beeeee anybody?
Tosh: I want somebody to join...
Bean suffered a brutal defeat in the Halo 3 HCS world championship finals. It turns out his Halo skills are about on par with his Counter-strike skills after all.
That does it for this week folks. I'll be back again next week with the latest on i01, and a brand new Team Focus update! I’ll see you all there.
Tosh (with some help from TheFeelTrain)
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