Various Rig UIs

Ideas, enhancements, feature requests and development related discussion.

Various Rig UIs

Postby dcuny » Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:32 pm

I ran across this video on the N-Sided site. It shows a model being imported into a variety of programs.

I thought it was interesting, because it gives a quick look at the different bone posing tools available in each program. They're all pretty much use the same sort interface and tools, although I the LIghtWave version was interesting - when the bone moved, the mesh disappeared, so it wasn't obscured by the mesh.
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Re: Various Rig UIs

Postby John VanSickle » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:07 pm

dcuny wrote:...the LIghtWave version was interesting - when the bone moved, the mesh disappeared, so it wasn't obscured by the mesh.

I trust that this is an option in LW, because oftentimes the modeler/animator is interested in where the mesh winds up as a result of the adjustment.
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Re: Various Rig UIs

Postby dcuny » Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:27 pm

I agree - no single method is going to make everyone happy.

Two important features for me are responsiveness and predictability.

I played around with the latest version of Daz Studio last night, and my experience with trying to pose the character was terrible.

It defaults the display of the character to a high resolution textured mesh. My video card isn't that bad, but the response time was depressingly sloooow. I'd start by clicking a limb, and there would be a delay before the interface responded to the event. Then I'd then try moving the mouse, and the limb would trail behind the mouse. I'd let go of the mouse, and the limb would continue moving, lagging way behind mouse events, overshoot the target. The only mode that I could control the object with decent speed was in "box" mode, where the various limbs were displayed as low-resolution boxes. The problem with that is that you can't tell which way things are twisted.

For JPatch, this shouldn't be a problem. Since models are made of SDS mesh, the user should be able to choose the appropriate mesh resolution to match the responsiveness of their machine. (Similarly with LionSnake).

The default pose mode in Daz Studio is a sort of full-body IK. So grabbing the wrist and pulling means the arm is pulled, and then the character starts bending at the waist to follow. In a few moments, the result is a twisted mess. If there were some way to "pin" the IK chain to stop at the shoulder (as you can with Art of Illusion) it becomes much more manageable. Otherwise, it's a complete mess.

The "bones" option was little better. Neither Daz Studio or Poser seems to display bones as bones. The display is more like what LionSnake used to have. In posing the character, you can only select the joint, and then manipulate it via the Rotate tool. One problem I keep running against is that I it's hard to tell how much an arm is twisted. Returning a raised arm back to a naturally posed dropped arm is much more challenging than it should be.

I've had this problem with other software as well.

One possible solution would be to display the how much the current pose varies from the default pose. That way, it would be relatively easy to see which parts of the body are contorted, and how much they need to be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.

Full-body IK tries to solve areas of high tension by moving the load to other points further up the chain. But it generally seems to do a bad job of it.

You could use different colors at the skeleton to indicate when a joint is reaching an extreme. By default, joints would be blue, and become redder as they move away from their default positions. But this doesn't really address the question of the puppet being poseable, which is the core of my complaint.

A simpler solution might be to have a number of default poses (outstretched arm, raised arm, etc.) that would be available when a body part is selected. This would be a pose, not a morph - no slider involved. So to quickly get a character to put it's arm down, you'd select the arm, and choose the "lowered arm" pose. That would put the arm in the ballpark of where it needed to be, and then it could be tweaked into place.

While it's possible to drive arm animation with morphs, I suspect it's not the best way to do it. Simple IK for poses (but not driving the animation) also works, but again, it's way too easy to get into twisted, unnatural positions. (I concentrate on the arms, because everything else is relatively simple by comparison).

I guess the bottom line is that animation is a lot of work. Still, I keep hoping to find a posing system for arms that works well for me. I have hopes that a simple IK system for JPatch will do the trick. :?
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