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Here's the latest project I worked on for Daniel Lee museum exhibition, Shuffle 2021.

I modeled, textured, rigged and animated also cloth sims. I worked in Zbrush, Maya and Marvelous Designer.  Then everything was passed to David Wu who polished the look with rendering and shaders in EIAS v.10 beta. He also did the music.

Special Thanks to Tomas who supported the software with advanced technical features.

Character Animation Render:

Snippet from Museum







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On 12/24/2021 at 11:29 AM, joseph56 said:

Looks cool!

Was it rigged in EIAS too?

How far is EIAS 10 in the development process at this point?

Thanks Joe.  I’ve been a Maya/EIAS user for years so I use both. I work as a problem-solver on the front end of a production no matter with what or where the final product is finished. (https://avtpro.gumroad.com/). Normally I rig in Maya. I hate to admit it, but when I first started rigging this project I was rushing because I had so many other parts to do. So I rigged and skinned it in Mixamo hoping to get it done quickly.  Tomas once told me Mixamo is good for basic work only. Now I know what he meant. Usually Mixamo is OK for mocap but for key-framing it was problematic because Mixamo gave me weird bone orientations. It may not have been Mixamo fault. I may have caused the problem re-adjusting joints to better fit the character's skeleton. I don’t quite recall now because I was also busy modeling and texturing. The Mixamo skinning was great but the joints were not correct so I may have moved them and didn't reorient them. That was a "No-No".   So instead of animating one axis for an arm swing, unfortunately I had at least two axis to manipulate. This is something I would always avoid as a technical rigger had I started the rig from scratch in Maya.  I thought I could get away with it  and normally I could, but a shuffle dance is a more intricate animation. I keyed it anyway but transferred the rig to a Maya HumanIK (HIK), a Maya auto-rig system. It didn't fix the orientations like I hoped but HumanIK and other Maya tools made it workable.  I would never rush a rig like that again. It’s best to slow down and do it right the first time.  Clean orientation on a keyframe dance animation is paramount because dancing is so involved.   Also, since it was HIK, I also used MotionBuilder to do most of the keying. Yes, I prefer MotionBuilder even over Maya for character animation. MotionBuilder is a great character animation tool not just MoCap editing. I do have access to a Vicon Mocap lab but I forgot the dance steps by the time I got to the animation phase of the project.  I really can do that shuffle dance well. However Daniel took one look of me in a mocap suit dancing as a piggy and said "Key-frame". Lol :-) I was out of practice! 

    The real challenge of this project is the skin deformations, not the skeleton rig. EIAS does really good skinning but I needed really hyper-advanced deformation controls not just for the pudgy character but the cloth. I wanted the cloth to be affected by underling jiggling fatty tissue.  So I used a lot of Maya skin deformation tools that I have been wanting to try out anyway. For years I have been planning to go “Narnia” or “Lord of the Rings” level character creation. Actually, I threw everything and the whole kitchen sink in at the skin deformation including muscles, Pose Space Deformers (PSD) and other forms of corrective blend shapes. I even took it a step further with "Shot-Sculpting" (cache editing) in an legacy app called ChronoSculpt from NewTek. I went very mild on jiggle deformers but heavy on muscle bulge in the bicep area of the arms. Armpits is one of the most challenging areas of any skin rig. It webs when the arms extends and intersects when passing through.  Cloth intersection makes it even more challenging and needs to be compensated for, so I sculpted the shape back when the armpit was too loose or concave and opened the armpits when it convex in on cloth. These two states were triggered depending on the orientation of the arm with set driven keys in Maya. Like I mentioned, I don’t need Maya for most rigs, or rig to this level, but since this was a show case, fine art museum piece for a renown artist Daniel Lee I pulled out all the stops. Daniel never disappoints in the way he exhibits the set design either and amazingly show cases the work along with his theme for the exhibition.

     David Wu handled the shading and look development. I provided a base texture map which I 3D painted in Zbrush.  Daniel had went to a pig farm and brought back great textures to graph on the 3D model.  Also, displacement and normal maps were generated in Zbrush.  The fur,  I groomed in ZBrush. The cloth was Marvelous Designer. I tend to rebuild cloth geo in Maya for quads and thickness as well. Without EIAS v10 I couldn't get this animation to David Wu to render in EIAS.  There was only one very small bug fixed to get it done. It was just one vertex that kept popping up but Tomas got it fixed right away. Then the project worked perfectly but I don't know what else has to be done. The big thing is it all worked and EIAS v10 users are in for a real treat.
   The biggest takeaway is almost anything I can do in Maya can be imported into EIAS for rendering. I also work with Houdini and have been able to get fractured, crumbling effects into EIAS.


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