New Generic Character

(AndyD) #1

I’ve decided to make a generic character to use for entries into animation competitions such as those at the 10 Second Club - and for practise.

I’ve tried to make the loops simple but versatile and have avoided tris except where the hand joins the arm (and up inside the nostrils)

I’d be interested in comments and suggestions. If all goes well, I’ll make him available for others - though I might need some help with a rig set-up (at this stage it’ll have to be Nozzy’s rig, or an adaptation of it).

He still needs teeth and a tongue.

Say hello to Beebop!


(Z-Axis) #2

Looks great AndyD!
However, I have a crit or two. Firstly, there is a double line running down his chest, its quite faint but still rather noticeable.
The second thing I noticed does not matter in the least, but I might as well mention it anyway. He’s called Cube.001. Not nescesary, but I did see that.
Finally, the ears do not have much detail, but I don’t think detailed ears would fit into the style you are going for.
Apart from that, great work, and nice clean loops (I think).

(AndyD) #3

Thanks for that. I noticed the chest ridge after I posted and have fixed it.

One day I’ll get into the habit of naming objects. Damn, I wish I’d done it before I added even more bits. Anyway, I will make sure to name things from here on :slight_smile:

I’ve just made teeth and they are slightly realistic so I might have another look at the ear later on but I don’t want it too detailed. The main purpose of this guy is good facial animation and gestures.

(PolygoneUK) #4

Noo, it’s some distant relative of the Crazy Frog (Annoying Thing)… any moment now it’s gonna start… can’t stop it… noooo!!!

“brr…ring ding ding ding… ring… br… urp… br… ding din…” :o

(Grape Ape) #5

Hey this is a pretty cool model.
My only crit is his neck, in the front view it looks good but in the side view his neck looks a little to wide.

Other than that I think it looks great. :smiley:

(AndyD) #6

Thanks chaps,

Here’s an update. I’ve fattened the ears but not added detail. The 10 Second Club comp doesn’t (in theory) give marks for nice modelling, it’s all about the animation.

The neck is a little thinner from side view though you can’t really tell from this view.

I’ve added teeth and tongue

I’ve named body parts/meshes and made the major vertex groups (what I think I’ll need). The basic groups are - eyelids top/bottom/left/right, eyebrows left/right, lips top/bottom/centreTop/centreBottom/sides, cheeks left/right and tongue — I think they’ll give me access to most common expressions for setting RVKs.

On that note, I’m thinking of calling him 'Arvey Kaye :slight_smile:

Questions: I’ve added a small bone-pair to test eyelid deformation (see attachment). In the pic the bones are at the side but they will obviously be inside the eyeball. Does this look like the right basic setup. A quick test suggested it should work with some weight painting on the lid. To move both lids should I use just 2 joined bones or 3?

I’ve made the tongue a part of the main body mesh (though still separate) and I guess this will be deformed by either bones or RVK. I don’t know whether to make the teeth part of the body mesh or keep them as a separate objects controlled by their own bones. Any “advanced” tutes on this would be handy.

Re: Crazy Frog: Interestingly, my son got the CD last week and I immediately had a go at modelling the annoying one. I didn’t refer to him for this model but maybe there was some influence :-?


(PolygoneUK) #7

LOL AndyD.

I wanted to wait until I was able to guage your reaction about my Crazy Frog comment before I commented on your work :smiley:

Moving on, nice modelling and I think you’ve got enough detail in the face polygon-wise to deform that suitably for lip-sync stuff.

Keep on going :wink:

([email protected]) #8

you going to post some deform tests?

(AndyD) #9

Tried to attach an animated GIF but that can’t be done here so I’ll have to link to it for a while. Better than a series of stills I think, but might take a while to load fully.

Note: He’s saying “Phew!”

I’ve only done mouth/cheek RVKs on this simple test. I will have to add jaw moves with either RVK or Bones or both. Same for tongue and teeth. Jaw movements should help with creases that occur at the extreme “OO” mouth position.

I’m not getting too carried away with animating everything. It’s all pretty new to me so I’m having to trial and error as I go and I believe it’s not wise to set RVKs untill the mesh is absolutely finalised so I’ve onlt set a few basics for practise.

(PolygoneUK) #10

Lookin’ pretty good there Andy.

Did you by any chance have a playaround with the Project Orange rig when they announced shape keys etc…? The orange fella?

Well I did.

It’s just a friend’s dialogue from when I was at college, it seemed to fit.

Timing of the mouth is so tricky, even when just playing about. Kudos to you for making your own character AND shape keys.

Hopefully we’ll all be able to do the same soon :smiley:

Here’s my attempt at very short lip-sync with the Project Orange fella: mmm…Pineapple…

(womball) #11

You animation is great there! BOth of yours, although the new character definetlly needs the eyes rigged. How did they get the furrows in the forehead to show up?

(AndyD) #12

Finally some progress:

He’s not saying anything in particular, just making a bunch of faces.

I rigged up a small armature for the eyelids and teeth, just to see how it would all work. I now have a slightly better grasp of weight painting.

All mouth, chin, tongue and eyebrow movements are RVK. The bottom teeth are driven by the armature with keyframes at appropriate points to tie in with the mouth movements. The eyelids are individually driven by a bone each.

At this stage, the eyes are just sitting there and have a copy-rotation constraint copying an empty. Ultimately this would be done with another bone and a follow-constraint I guess.

Anyone willing to fully rig him? You can reset vertex groups and redo all RVKs if you want though I don’t really want the mesh messed with unless it delivers a significant benefit. I’d really like a rig that offers versatility and simplicity (doesn’t everyone?). I’d also like him to remain 2.37a compatible for now. No doubt he’ll be improved when the next release is stable.

He’s going to be made available for private, non-commercial use when he’s finished so if you rig him you can keep him to use - for anything other than obscene purposes. I don’t want to see him being shot, clubbed (unless comically) or involved in any perversion.

You can find him here:
This model is the one used in the animation.

EDIT: Damn! It seems I didn’t save the final changes. This guy has only one eyelid rigged and the eyes don’t move at all. There goes another two hours of my life. :frowning:

EDIT: And btw, I liked the “pineapple” animation. The new shape-keys look like more fun than setting RVKs though I assume the leg work of making and deforming vertex groups will remain much the same.

(womball) #13

What settings are you using to create this gifs and movies? They seem to be pretty good quality and load fast. Also how did you do the ll sound? THat was done with RVK’s?

(AndyD) #14

The gif was made by exporting a MOV from blender and opening it in ImageReady (Adobe) then saving as gif. It’s okay with very short, small movies but in the second case, the gif turned out a bigger file than the original MOV.

So, the second movie was exported as a MOV (Quicktime) using “Motion JPEG A” codec (whatever the hell that is :slight_smile: ). I’m on a Mac so this was opened in HyperEngine AV and exported using the 3idvx codec (which unfortunately doesn’t work direct from blender). I had tried Sorenson 3 as widely recommended but in all honesty, the output was horrible.

As I wrote elsewhere today (somewhere on elysiun), I find the whole movie format/codec nightmare somewhat depressing.

And yes, I did the tongue with RVK. I was going to use a chain of bones to get a nice curling motion but that would mean that every time you used the tongue in speech, you’d have to set the RVK for the lips and then set the tongue action to match. Editing would be painfull. The letter L (and TH) goes so fast that for simple animations RVK will work fine (I think).

I had to set a bone for the teeth because they are a separate mesh and looked silly not moving at all. But at least they just go up and down (in an arc) so it’s pretty easy to set them by messing with the IPO once all the other mouth patterns have been set (I guess the same could be done with the tongue but it would require a bit more careful attention).

I would probably still use a bone chain in the tongue for other, more extreme circumstances - like screaming - and the same goes for the chin action.

I’ve fixed the blend file now so it has the eye actions and eyelid bones all working again.
NOTE: This file has replaced the old one so both links link to the same file.

(LGM) #15

Wow, Andy, that’s pretty sick, I wish I could model a face like that! The only thing I see is a little stretching under the cheek in his mouth when he makes an “ooo” shape.


EDIT: Never mind, there’s no stretching in the second animation. DANG! Makes me want to redo my character’s face. You might want to rig his “bottom” eyelid. When you close your eyes, your bottom eyelid comes up a little, his is stationary. (That way he can squint too.)

(foCus) #16

I think he says "Wow wee mmm I like it :wink:

Really nice character.

(AndyD) #17

Thanks LGM & focus. Hmmm, maybe he’s saying “Phew, mmm, I like it”?

I’ve added RVK for the bottom lids. I had decided not to move them for blinking and closing eyes since that movement is minimal in humans - but I hadn’t considered squinting. So, now he squints too!

I just had a look at Nozzy’s rig to see if it might be useful - then I realised just how complex it is :frowning: I understand the fundamentals of rigging but not the detail. If I use Nozzy’s rig I’ll have to add fingers plus the eye and eyelid bones and maybe jaw and tongue bones (Tongue bones? Yuck!)

To make the character useful, he’ll need a complex rig I think. It could be a while before the next update :frowning: I’ve got some reading and experimenting to do.

(ROUBAL) #18

Hi Andy!

Very good job!

I see that you are not only good in 2D!

Your modelling and animation are very good too!


(LGM) #19

Andy, man, check this out.

Especially my contribution :wink:


EDIT: Actually, with the new blender 2.40 it will be a bit outdated.

(AndyD) #20

Thanks Roubal.

LGM: I read that entire thread last night and it cleared up a few things that I kind of already knew but didn’t really understand. Unfortunately, it also left me not understanding some things and I’ve posted a question at the end of that thread hoping for clarification.

I might even use the information in that thread to build the armature from the ground up - just for fun! (and you know how much I like that “bang your head against the wall” kind of fun).

While the new system will supersede a lot of this stuff, I think it’s still important to understand the current concepts. I’ll worry about learning the new ways when we have a stable release version of Blender 2.4x.