Friday, March 20, 2009

tedious, but worth it

okay, i had an epiphany last week when i was rigging the dragons eyelids and nostrils. i realized that i could have been doing the wings with clusters the whole time instead of stupid bone chains that are hard to control and dont deform nicely. the other thing i realized was that i had set the number of influences on the joints too low to get anything to bend smoothly, which was really aggravating me. so i decided to redo the dragon rig...again. i started out by increasing the amount of joints that could influence a given vertex to seven. basically it means that up to seven nearby joints could have a percentage of pull on the vertex when i rotate a joint, making the mesh deform in the direction the joint is bending. this fixed a lot of the problems i was having in the neck, legs, and tail (especially). secondly, i deleted all the bone chains that were within the webbing of the wings. instead what i did was create vertex clusters. a cluster is basically a selection of vertecies that you can move as a group, but can also have a relative value between 0 and 1 which represents the amount of influence the center of the cluster can move and deform. so basically it's like skinning without bones, and can be done on top of an already skinned mesh! i used the same idea for the nostrils and muzzle of the dragon, which is why i came to the conclusion that i could have done that for the wings too. it also allowed me to set the weights for the wing to only 2 bone chains rather than 5, so essentially when ever the two bone chains move closer together the webbing deforms accordingly. then i made the clusters on top of that, which cause the webbing to flare up or down (as if wind is passing beneath it creating drag and lift). i know, lots of technical talk which may or may not mean anything to you, but heres a picture so you can see the difference. compare it with the picture immediately below.

No comments: