Ninja Rig (Action Tests)

I was rumaging through my old backup CDs and came across a folder of character meshes from wayyyy back. (2000 or thereabouts).

Looking at the folder it seems they came from which seems to be pretty dead, so I’ll start by making it clear that the Ninja model I have used is NOT mine, and I do not claim any rights to it. However, if anyone knows who did make it, let me know so the creator can have credit for such a nice collection of meshes :wink:

They were part of a collection of character meshes which were made available for free download (to the best recollection of my memory).

I figured I was ready to start playing about with the new rigging tools in 2.40, and I was also keen to play about with understanding actions and skin weighting.

So here ya go. It’s nothing special so far. Just a couple of punch actions which I’ve tried to blend on the NLA timeline.

Be gentle as I’m actually just starting to learn the character stuff in Blender.

Punch 1 - (Front-on)
Punch 2 - (3/4 NLA blend)

I am no expert, and from those fast motions it’s hard to decipher if there are flaws in the rig, but, hey, the overall effect is very, very intense. Great sense of time imho.

(the hand ends open and starts clenched, ha i got one! :Z )


edit. after inspecting some stills i wonder if the space between the muscles in the arms (left arm on the video) shouldn’t flatten more when the arm is in the “reaching” state (not “V” but “–”)

Thanks for replying Yeonil :smiley:

Yeah, as I said, this is my first proper attempt at anything animated in a character sense. Hence why it’s just here in Works in Progress and not Focussed Critique.

I hear what you mean about the muscles in a reach position. I’m going to look at some shape driven keys at some point, whereby I’ll be able to link the muscle mass with the arm’s rotation and ‘reach’.

But that’s quite a few steps down the road.

Just now I’m happy to ‘play’ about with setting keyframes and see how that goes.

I’m also aware the hands pop from open to close on this version especially when run in a loop/repeat mode. (It doesn’t happen with Punch 01). I just forgot to put my “L&R hand open” actions on the NLA at the end. :wink:

I’ve got some shoulder weighting issues to take a look at too.

The next big step will be to ignore doing fancy punches and try to get a decent walk cycle on the go.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and also, just wanna say how friggin’ terrific Blender’s rig system is. It’s amazing how you can append and duplicate entire rigs with all their constraints. I’ve never seen it be so damn easy. :smiley:

Just so you know, William “Proton” Vaughan made those models, if I’m correct in my belief as to the files you have. He gave away a series of models in various packs on festival. He’s a champion of Lightwave, and an all-around good guy.

I’m at work, so I’m not gonna’ download your .blend and test it, but he’s the one that made the ninja model that shows up everywhere, and I assume it’s the same model you’re using. =D

My only crit is that in the 3/4 view (2 movie) that at the end of the first punch his arm seems to rotate painfully (as in impossibly without dislocating his elbow [is that possible?]). What I mean is his upper arm seems to go forward, while his lower arm, while going forward seems to traslate outward from his body just a little bit, and perhaps rotate a few degrees as well.

Very good work though, I guess I’ll have to devote a day or two here soon to learning all the new stuff about the animation system as well.

I dont know what you are looking for but the punches are wery od :S
Dont think i´ve ever seen anything like it :smiley:
I am absoloutly not a martial arts expert though but i practice Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu twice a week, and BBT is based on 9 shools, samurai schools and Ninja schools, and what we have learen so far, it doesnt look like that :smiley:

The model is extremely cool, great work! :smiley: but why call it a ninja just because it has a mask :smiley:
…and those trousers are quite strange in the crotch(?).

Myabe i should learn how to read.
You didnt do the the model, well its great anyway :smiley:
You animation is great to, but strange :smiley:

Thats no punch thats a swing. :<

One of the files in the folder has Williams as part of the filename, so I reckon you’ve just helped out a great deal, cheers kindly for that. Does Mr. Vaughan have a current website at all? Be interesting to see if he’d be cool with his models being uploaded again since 3dfestival is down %|

It could be the viewport angle, or probably poor keyframing and IPO settings but what I can assure folk is that the elbow joint is keyed to only rotate on one axis, and doesn’t exceed any normal range of motion, so I think it’s possibly a visual trick. %|

I’ll be going back over it all in due time to see how I can improve it all :wink:

I don’t do any martial arts so anything I make is almost certainly guaranteed to be a lot of ‘strange’. The crotch is weird because the original mesh had him wearing some kind of robe thing with bandages. I wasn’t up to doing lots of softbody/cloth stuff so I removed them for simplicity really.

Glad it’s strange though. I really was and am just playing with it. Seeing ‘how’ blender works with stuff etc… getting used to workflow. Eventually I’ll sit down, focus and tighten something more solid out of it. (At which point I’ll post in Focussed Critique)

hehe. Sorry to disappoint you :smiley:

But everyone learns how to walk, and often our first steps are clumsy, awkward, hilarious and fun.

So if I’m currently tripping up, I don’t care. It’s just fun :smiley:

Wow, that’s a cool ninja. :o
I’m no martial artist either, but I know that those who are (i.e. ninjas) are able to kick so much booty because they are so efficient in every move, that is, no time or energy is wasted. I think he might be more ninja-like if you just kept that in mind when animating his moves. Fly mentioned that his punch was more like a swing, which a ninja probably wouldn’t do, it would destabilize his balance and waste kinetic energy. His punch might rather explode away from his chest in a straight line. I like the way the moves you gave him are very fast.
I suppose, though, that it all depends on the way you want to characterize him, and of course I don’t actually know anthing about ninjas; I’m just making this up :slight_smile: .

Cheers for comments folks. :smiley:

I think I’ll just clarify that the only reason I called this rig/set of tests a “Ninja” was because the obj file I have is actually called “Ninja.obj”. I liked the look of this character in particular, and felt it was a good one to start taking a serious look at rigging. There are other characters in the pack which look good too, but this one just “stuck” out.

I’m not sure where I’ll take it from here. Most folk seem to comment on the lack of “ninja” authenticity. I can see where that would be a valid point.

With crimble approaching, I’ll take a breather and think of what to do. I know a mate who does do some kind of martial art, and it may be possible to film him doing various moves as good reference material. I might take things in that direction. :wink:

Very well rigged and very naturally animated. I hope we’re gonna see more of that.

A few folk have asked for a .blend with the Ninja rig and mesh.

I’m not ready to release a .blend just yet, as it’s not 100% weighted etc… but I am working on a draft script for my 1st ever video tutorial detailing how I went from Proton’s model to a rigged character in blender.

I’ve got a script which is currently in 4 stages:

1.) Choosing the model and importing
2.) Building an armature from scratch
3.) Weighting/Skinning
4.) Actions

This is a very early idea of the flow I want the tutorial to take. Each section will have sub-sections for various stages in the process. (Niggly things you may not think of but which help).

So, if folk are patient, with some luck I’ll have a video tutorial done for shortly after the new year.

Well, hey, I’ve got Christmas dinner to recover from too :stuck_out_tongue:

Aww, come ON!! :frowning:

I’d much rather take whatever knowledge I have and put it in a tutorial format for other users to make use of.

I’m a firm believer in not just handing people a finished item to work from. Some folk will moan, whine, and complain as is usually the case.

I don’t consider what I’ve done to be especially brilliant, and I reckon there are better animations out there by other more skilled animators which would be a better target for requesting .blend files.

Just now I believe a tutorial (from a fairly newbie perspective) is much more valuable and relevant than posting a .blend file.

If this annoys, irritates or disappoints anyone, then I’ll not apologise for it. I’m learning like most others remember :wink:

Just to make sure, you have noticed the odd stretching of his skin just above the right biceps in the second movie on the second punch, right? The low one which seem to be aiming for the balls or something :expressionless:

He kinds of looks clumpsy when he “swings” with his hand. From what he looks like he should be able to punch properly.

The elbow should come down to the waist, and the fist near his head. Then it should recoil out.

This would allow the guy to throw a punch quicker and match his character better than a slow pawnsy swing.

Great model!

Well, his punch will be clumsy since it’s my first (and his) and was done spur of the moment. As for punching like what he looks like. Just because something has muscles, doesn’t mean they know how to do karate, kung-fu, boxing etc…

Maybe this fella just lifts weights? Maybe he was just ‘made’ that way (highly probable since he’s really just vertices). He could be a gentle person for all you (or even I) know :smiley:

With regards to other issues pointed out. Yup, I’m certainly aware of some weighting issues around the shoulders. Seems a typically awkward area for some folk.

Now, being honest and polite here, this is my 1st. I can’t keep re-itterating that enough.

As I do more variations and watch more reference material like films, I can promise you all the niggles highlighted will be fixed (or at least carefully hidden somehow) hehe

But it’s great all this feedback. I view none as negative and hear what everyone says :wink:

Season’s greetings to all. :smiley:

Got a little bored and had some spare time. No animations this post, but I decided to model a very quick punchbag in Wings3D. Then did some very basic UV-mapping for it.

I’ve popped it into the ninja scene to see if it may spark ideas for animation tests.

At the moment it doesn’t hang from anything and nothing has changed with the weighting. (As can be seen by bad elbows and shoulders etc…)

This’ll probably be the last post until after the new year. :wink:

Have the guy punch it 3 or 2 times. Then do either a drop kick or a side kick.

Making the punch bag fly into the camera and the camera falling.

Best test anim that would be :smiley:

I think it’s great job. If you aren’t going to make an animation that is a bit longer you won’t notice the elbow and shoulder problems.